Monday 28 November 2011

The Monster Hunters

This is a general post linking to other postings on people involved in the great hunt for the Loch Ness Monster. As time progresses more people and articles will be linked here.

What is a Loch Ness Monster Hunter? In the eyes of the general public, he or she is an eccentric but mainly harmless person who is searching for an unlikely beast called Nessie and (hopefully) some definitive proof for it that forever silences their detractors.

But in truth they follow in the lineage of Saint George pursuing his dragon or the wealthy Victorian stag hunters who went after the local guide's oft-mentioned and feared water horse.

Some spends weeks if not months at the loch trying to fulfill that mission statement - See Nessie and Prove Nessie. A few even set up permanently by the lochside as they took a diversion from the Rat Race to scan the loch full time amongst the lapping waves, tweeting birds and howling gales. The majority, constrained by family and job commitments, make it to the loch whenever they can over a lifetime to indulge in this most unusual of hobbies.

Others exiled in far flung continents join the new band of e-Hunters as they carefully watch the various webcams trained on Loch Ness for that stirring of the waters or that slightly inexplicable black blob that makes a fleeting appearance on their screen.

Finally, when not at the loch, they continue their pursuit of the monster as it is found on the Internet, newspapers, books and any other resource that is reasonably to hand. Such are the Monster Hunters from days of old to the present day.

Another group which merits mentions are what may be called the Loch Ness Hunters. I drop the word "Monster" because their main motive is not per se the pursuit of a large, unidentified and exotic creature in the loch, but rather adding to the store of knowledge about the loch and its surrounding area. Clearly, gaining a better picture of the creature's ecosystem could be called an indirect pursuit of the Loch Ness Monster as the ecology of the loch tends to put constraints on the beast's identity (unless you believe it has resources beyond the local ecosystem such as in tunnels out of Loch Ness or it is a paranormal phenomenon).

Some combine these hunts with Summer holidays as they drag along willing or unwilling wives and children to the loch with them. Others plow a lonely furrow and disappear down a stream or hedge only to appear again at sunset to fill their stomachs and pint glasses as they contemplate the day's general lack of success.

Although such people tend to work alone, they will occasionally band together in an attempt to maximise resources. We saw that particularly in the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau of the 1960s and the Rines expeditions of the 1970s as people known and unknown lent of their talents to further these escapades.

In that light, should the Monster Hunter be deemed a "professional" or an "amateur"? In my opinion, there is no such thing as a professional monster hunter. They are very rarely paid for their efforts and there is certainly no accreditation at any institution of learning that will confer any kind of qualification. People may bring their own levels of expertise into the hunt such as photography, sonar, biology and local knowledge but as a whole a Monster Hunter is a Monster Hunter whatever else may lie beneath their exterior.

It's a labour of love and to a degree an obsession. Those that see the creature are hooked for life. Some who do not see it quickly enough for their own liking fall away never to be heard from again. For the rest of us, it is a matter of "keeping the faith" in a world that demands the creature be dumped dead at their feet before they consider its existence.

Click through the links below and consider the human side of the Loch Ness Monster phenomenon.

General - the legacy of past monster hunters

General - various monster hunters interviewed plus pics

Some Photographs - here

Tim Dinsdale - herehere and here

Ted Holiday - here, here and here.

Alex Campbell - here, here and here.

Roy Mackal - here

Rupert T. Gould - here

Steve Feltham - here, here, here and here

Dr. Denys Tucker - here

Frank Searle - here and here and here and here.

William H. Lane - here

Marmaduke Wetherell - here

Joe Zarzynski - here

David James - here, here, here and here

Richard Carter - here and here

Adrian Shine and others - here

Maurice Burton - here

James Aloysius Carruth - here

Captain Donald Munro - here

Blog author's own trips and stories - here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here.


  1. I look forward to seeing Dr. Robert Rines included as a feature article. I’m not sure I’ve come across a dedicated story about him in the archives yet. Then again, I have some catching up on 3 years worth of articles! No other individual, in my opinion, in the modern era of monster hunting, with the possible exception of Tim Dinsdale has been as influential or prominent and added to the research and validity of the LNMs existence in the data base as he. His inclusion here would truly honor him.

  2. It never occurred to me that Dr. Roy Mackal was not yet listed on this page. Now, with his passing another noted Monster Hunter can rightfully take his place.

  3. What has become of Nicholas Witchell? I mean, i know he still works for the BBC as the Royal Correspondent, but does he still maintain an interest in Loch Ness? I devoured his book several times over as a kid and still consider it to be the definitive work on the subject.

    1. I don't think Nicholas has been involved at Loch Ness since Project Urquhart in 1993. I don't think he is a believer in large creatures now and is doubtless one of the many old LNPIB members to have renoucned their former beliefs after Nessie refused to comply with their many search techniques.

  4. he research and validity of the MONSTER

  5. This is interesting. If theres is no monster then why sack him ?