Friday, 24 September 2010

The Loch Ness Kelpie

Here is a great wee cartoon about the Loch Ness Kelpie. If you are wondering what a kelpie is (or was) this short film may help.

Now was Nessie a Kelpie, Water Horse or Water Bull? I never could quite tell ....


Sunday, 19 September 2010

Mirages and Nessie

Recently on one forum I frequent, the Spicer sighting has become somewhat of a touchstone on Nessie believers vs skeptics. Of course I could have picked other sightings to have defended Nessie upon because the Spicer sighting is to say the least unusual. But if you get good mileage on that then who knows what else will follow.

Having shrugged off the otter/deer explanations and saying you would have to be hallucinating to think deer or otter were a dragon like creature, lo and behold the next best thing to hallucinating comes up.

In the aptly named website, Alexander T. Lovcanski suggests the Spicers saw an otter in special conditions which produced a mirage. His article is below.

link to article

My reply is below and Alexander may come up with plausible reasons why we should accept his assumptions and resulting hypothesis but I wonder why they don't just apply Occam's Razor more ruthlessly and say the Spicers lied - end of story. Let's face it, if you do not believe there is a large unclassified creature in Loch Ness then you are obliged to come up with some unusual explanations at times. I would guesstimate the odds of someone seeing a larger than usual otter under special mirage conditions crossing the road is thousands to one against. In July 1933, the Loch Ness Monster phenomenon was about three months old. So set the timer running from then and then ask what are the odds between April and July 1933 of someone seeing a larger than usual otter cross the road in front of them under special mirage conditons on the less frequented side of Loch Ness? And remember car ownership was far less in 1933 than today (George Spicer was a director of a Saville Row tailor which somewhat demonstrates the point).

Thank you firstly for confirming my view that suggesting the Spicers merely saw an otter or deer is simplistic to say the least. Something delusional or illusional would be required to even begin to entertain such a theory.

Let me make a few points. Several things clearly have to be in place simultaneously:

1. A sufficiently hot day.
2. A larger than usual otter crossing the road.
3. Witnesses and otter in the proper positions for a mirage.
4. Suitable surface conditions.
5. Witnesses in an expectant mind to misinterpret mirage.

Now you say the temperature was 16 to 18 degrees centigrade on that day and it was already late afternoon at the time. I normally associate mirages with higher temperatures. I read that a temperature gradient has to be 4 to 5 degrees per metre for the mirage to be strong. Can you be sure these conditions were in place?

I understand a large otter is required to be stretched vertically to "monster" proportions by the mirage. One assumes then that a normal otter is insufficient? Also why the need to have the otter go from L to R, is the tail required on the right to produce the impression of a long neck? Can a mirage really fool someone into thinking the object is going in the opposite direction?

Also what about the horizontal? The witnesses say that the creature filled the road. I understand that road mirages work on the vertical best, how do you stretch an otter which has less that a metre visible across a road?

The road surface itself is important in this consideration. What was the composition of the Dores to Foyers road in 1933? We know road works were in progress on the A82 but what about the B852?

Were the witnesses in an expectant frame of mind? Perhaps they were to see something on the water - but on land?!

Also, why have we not heard of other such land sightings if these conditions are fulfilled? It seems nothing else has been heard of in the literature since! Either this is a very rare confluence of events or perhaps even such mirage conditions still do not fool people easily.

It would be an interesting exercise to work out the probability of such an event happening. I know if enough cars pass by that spot then it could happen eventually but despite the large increase in car ownership no further mirages of nessies across roads on hot days have been reported. I suspect your theory predicts more such sightings - or is this one of those one off special explanations?