Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Forthcoming Book on Frank Searle?

I am just back from a rather damp visit to Loch Ness, but I will post more on that later. When I got back I powered up my daughter's Kindle and it downloaded the new e-version of Paul Harrison's "The Encyclopaedia of the Loch Ness Monster". Well done, Paul, on another good job. I posted a review on amazon.co.uk which I reproduce here.
I already have the hardback version but when I heard Paul had revised and updated his book for Kindle, I borrowed my daughter's kindle and purchased it. It was not a disappointment and as I flicked thru the pages, I was again finding stuff new to me despite being someone who researches and blogs on the monster myself. Some indeed was quite revelatory and I wonder if Paul has a website or newsletter as I have failed to find any mention of him at all on the Internet?
There were a couple of errors in the text but this is to be expected of such a vast subject. Firstly, Rip Hepple still publishes his newsletter and I am sure the land sighting of Nessie at a place called "Sandy Point" actually occured at Loch Shiel. Also, some sightings are not recorded in the book which are visible on the Internet. I think particularly of Ala MacGruer's head and neck sighting last year.
All in all, a worthy book.
I would also like to flag up what Paul said in this book about his next work. It is to be a book on the notorious monster hunter, Frank Searle. I had checked Paul's entry in the encyclopedia about Frank and was astounded to learn that he had tracked down Frank to his home in Fleetwood in 2003 and had a long conversation with him about his life at Loch Ness. I say "astounded" because Andrew Tullis had tried to find him for his TV documentary ("The Man who Captured Nessie") but was too late as Frank had died some weeks before. Now it seems we will get a chance to hear what Frank Searle's last words to the Loch Ness Monster "community" were. I put the word "community" in quotes because as far as Frank and the other Loch Ness researchers were concerned, it was anything but a community and more like a battlezone.
Some of what Frank said to Paul is already known from his unpublished book, but Paul goes deeper in that he claims that somebody from over the other side of the loch sent some people round to Frank's caravan and threatened to kill him if he did not leave. It seems they also beat him up by way of proof of intent and after Frank had left, they tipped the caravan into the loch to make sure he never came back. Make of that what you will but I am sure Paul's book will make for fascinating reading. As a result of this conversation, Paul's attitude to Searle mellowed, I wonder if any of our attitudes will change? My own opinion on this has already been posted, there is more to this story than meets the eye and if the old adage "History is written by the Victors" is anything to go by, there will be more to come.

As an aside, Paul Harrison seems to be one of those Internet-invisible Loch Ness researchers. He says in the e-book that his Loch Ness Monster Research Society is still active but I know of no regular publications or web presence. If he is reading this, send me an email to lochnesskelpie@gmail.com and tell us about your current work and new book.

In fact, there is a group of 1990s researchers such as Richard Carter, Alastair Boyd, Paul Harrison and others who do not post to the Internet in any open way that I can see. It would be great if they could engage with other Loch Ness researchers in a more visible way and share their undoubted wisdom and knowledge. Books are one thing but these people are in a sense living books with a limited time span stamped upon them. The generation of monster hunters such as Holiday and Dinsdale were gone by the 1980s. The generation of leading skeptics who followed them will be gone in the next 10 to 20 years. Who will that leave for the next crop of enquiring minds? In that light, the Carters, Boyds and Harrisons of this world who were believers in a large creature in Loch Ness need to make their presence more visible in this Internet age.


  1. The story about Franks caravan being kicked into the Loch is true. I don't know about the other things. I have fond memories of Frank what ever anyone says.He was a showman and no doubt faked photographs,though I often wondered if any of them might be genuine and we wouldn't know.He was a womaniser and just typical of the sort of bad lad of his era. He always treated me with with politeness as a young woman enquiring about the Loch and his sightings. I was always careful not be alone with him though anywhere isolated lol.
    Tim Dinsdale was a real gentleman, like my father he had been in the RAF in the war , and it sort of changed their attitude to life.They both kept a boyish enthusiasm about things. I could listen to Tim talk all day.
    I have been asked to write my memoires of the Loch etc but each time I start it I find I cannot do so without saying things people wouldn't like . There were and still are some characters around the Loch, some of whom are not very nice.Others are helpful to anyone who comes along and asks for information. I think sometimes we forget its not the people but the creature that may be in Loch Ness that counts and that some things are best left unsaid. And Yes I did once see something in the LOCH but whether it was real or mirage I could not say.

    1. Tabitca,

      I would only be too happy to hear your story and sighting - even if it was to stay out of the public domain. It's part of the Loch Ness tapestry after all!


  2. I anxiously await this book, if it is indeed forthcoming -- I have been trying to dig up any and all information on Searle for a project of my own.


  3. Bodge from Suffolk11 April 2012 at 12:27

    Anything new about Frank Searle would be great i loved his book even if it was a wee bit fictional !!! As has been said he was a man of his time a 70's bloke ex army who liked the ladies etc. IMO he brought a touch of colour into the 'nessie' story & although he made many enemies while camped at the loch i for one won't be swayed by the many oneway attacks on him & his involvement at the Loch (easy for me to say but he must have been a right pain to the many totally serious researchers about at the time !!!)

  4. Thanks to all who post, and to Glasgow Boy for his always excellent work. Tabitca - thanks for the kind words about Tim Dinsdale. His kind spirit comes through so clearly in his books, and I am glad to hear it echoed elsewhere. A warm tribute to him can be found in this article by Henry Bauer, who wrote an excellent book on the mystery, as well. Hope this link works -- or search under "Bauer Loch Ness Odyssey". And Tabitca -- it sounds like your memoir of the Loch would be a delightful read, a different angle on the mystery and all the seekers and monster hunters.
    Does anyone know if Alastair Boyd is working on a book. His own sighting, as he briefly recounts in a National Geographic documentary, intrigues me greatly. Something about how he watched this huge animal or object surface, like watching a whale... and how if he could he'd spend the rest of his life on the loch just to catch another glimpse. Maybe that's what he's now currently doing...


    1. My impression from Rip Hepple was that Alastair Boyd was not well and so perhaps limited in his activities. A book on his experiences would nevertheless be welcome. I wrote a letter to him some months back but have received no reply. Perhaps others know of his status but he seems to have gone away since doing some work for an "Unexplained Mysteries" TV documentary around 2003.

    2. Ah, it seems my letter was not answered because the Boyds moved house in the last 2-3 years and I probably had the old address. Finding Alastair is a bit like hunting for Nessie!

  5. I also thought I'd mention that there are several excellent articles by Henry Bauer, available in free PDF format, on the website of the Society for Scientific Exploration. One of the articles I was just reading has an excellent examination of books and newspapers as source material, with number of sightings listed by year and from which newspapers they came from. From the link below, click on the "Past JSE" box to view all the older (2008 and before) articles available for download.