Thursday, 3 January 2013

The Lachlan Stuart Photograph (Part Four)

On the 15th July 1951, readers of the British newspaper, the Sunday Express, were greeted with the sensational headline below. Coming to this final part of the Lachlan Stuart case reminds me to look back at what has been written on this blog. The first two parts introduced the story from 1951 and went into the allegations made against Stuart by Richard Frere. This evidence against the photograph was rejected on the grounds that it was inconsistent and contradictory.



The third post examined the claim that the sun was visible in the photograph and was hence taken in the evening rather than the morning as claimed. This was dismissed as unlikely based on the position of the alleged sun in the picture being inconsistent with the date the picture was taken.

In fact, I have been asked why I am critiquing the critics' arguments instead of positively discussing the arguments for a Loch Ness Monster in the picture. In my opinion, that is not a valid point. If I think someone's arguments against a picture are weak or simply wrong, then I will point them out. Now it is acknowledged that such dismantling does not prove the object in the picture is our legendary monster but there are two points to be made.

Firstly, such arguments against this or any other evidence weakens it in the eyes of those who read it but do not have the resources or inclination to dig deeper. The counter-arguments presented on this blog will inform readers more and allow them to make a better judgement.

Secondly, moving a photograph out of the "proven hoax" category into the "inconclusive" category is good enough for me. After all, how am I or anyone meant to prove that the object in the picture is a plesiosaur, giant salamander, outsized eel or paranormal tulpa? Again, I leave readers to form their own opinion.

So putting aside the claims about Richard Frere and an evening sunset, we are left with only one final objection, which is the issue of the shallowness of the waters around Whitefield and the corollary that such conditions are amenable to a hoax (such as our oft mentioned hay bales). That parts of the shore are shallow has been on the record for over a century and Constance Whyte, who was at the scene of the photo within days, acknowledged this in her book "More Than A Legend" in 1961 (p.12):

Mr. Stuart thought too from its movements and ability to manoeuvre in comparatively shallow waters that the creature must be propelled by limbs as well as a powerful tail.

However, despite her examination of the location and the witnesses, she did not come to the conclusion that the shallowness of the water was a problem and stated (p.10 of 3rd edition):

I could not put forward this photograph with more confidence if I had taken it myself.

Likewise, after blazing the photograph across their front page on the 15th of July, the Sunday Express sent two journalists up to Loch Ness days later to conduct their own investigation. Their names were Brendan Kemmet and John Quigley and the fruit of their labours was a follow up article in the next edition of the 22nd of July (banner headline below with picture of the Stuart family).




Whyte, Kemmet and Quigley were on the shore examining the area and assessing the story against what they saw. It is to be noted that none of them saw the alleged hay bales that Richard Frere claimed to have seen behind some shoreline bushes less than two weeks later. If they had, we can be sure Stuart's story would not have appeared in Whyte's book and the Express would have quietly dropped the story whilst asking for their money back.

The journalists cross-examined Taylor Hay and Lachlan Stuart and could not shake the men's testimonies. Stuart himself said he was prepared to swear on oath what he had told them and at the end the two journalists headed back to London to prepare their article of vindication.

Steuart Campbell, in his book "The Loch Ness Monster: The Evidence" suggests Taylor Hay may not be as real a person as made out when he cleverly points out that "Taylor Hay" sounds similar to the phrase "Tale Of Hay" but the fact that Hay spoke to Kemmet and Quigley suggests he is a real person.

The leading Loch Ness spokesman of that time, Maurice Burton, states in his book "The Elusive Monster" that he spoke to Lachlan Stuart the following September and tells us he visited the site to take some comparison photographs for what he describes as "the most important" photograph. He comments:

I have made a number of comparisons, both on the lochside below Whitefield and with photographs taken during my visit to Loch Ness, of objects of known size and known distance from the shore, and I see no reason to modify the estimates of size made by Mr. Stuart.

However, it is unlikely that Burton met Stuart at Loch Ness. Witchell's "Loch Ness Story" tells us that both men were guests on a BBC television panel program on the Loch Ness Monster which was broadcast on the 26th September 1951. So it is more likely that Burton met and talked with Lachlan Stuart in London and his visit to the Whitefield site was nine years later when he visited the loch in 1960 to gather material for his forthcoming book.

Burton's own conclusion is that the photograph belongs to the "phenomenon associated with the term Loch Ness Monster" and says "we have to  look elsewhere than among the prehistoric animals to account for it". I take that to mean Burton thinks there is a perfectly normal and rational explanation for the photograph but had not made his mind up as to which one was most appropriate!


A SHALLOW ARGUMENT

So much for the initial investigations of the time. But going back to the shallowness of the waters of Whitefield, these depths were surveyed in 1903 by Sir John Murray as part of their general survey of Scottish lochs. Their survey map for Whitefield is shown below.



If we look at the depth of the loch at the point where the path up to Lachlan Stuart's croft meets the main road, then the depth is 68ft (~21m) at 175ft (~54m) from the shore. The actual profile of the loch sides underwater is a gradually descending "lip" which then steeply drops to the loch bottom at some distance out. What that depth may be at varying locations up to that distance can only be known by going in and testing the waters.

In that light, a recent set of photographs was taken by Loch Ness researcher, Dick Raynor. You can see his results at this link (it might be an idea to keep a separate window open on that page as it is discussed here). The bottom line of Dick's article is that the Lachlan Stuart photograph is technically not difficult to reproduce using hay bales.

Now to employ a phrase Dick once used on another website (below), I have to be the harshest critic of the evidence presented against this photograph.

That is my position exactly. I am open to the possibility [of things waiting to be discovered - Ed.], but I have to be the harshest critic of the evidence presented to avoid being lumped in with the absentee gullible bloggers. 

Looking at Dick's analysis raises one obvious question to me - why didn't he reproduce the original photograph?

By that I mean, why he didn't line up the two bales of hay with two of the original humps and (for lack of a third bale) have his colleague stand in the position of the third hump? The closer to the original picture, the greater the visual impact. Dick would know that as a photographic expert.

But instead we have a picture of a man with two small hay bales either side of him occupying less than half the area occupied by the three Stuart humps. Though Dick says the aim of the experiment was not to reproduce the original photograph, I say "Why not?". It is unclear from Dick's statement whether it was a case of his team "would not" or "could not" reproduce the original photograph. It is further unclear whether an attempt to move the haybales further to the right would result in them disappearing under deeper water and render the whole experiment questionable.

Dick says his experiment proves that Lachlan Stuart's ducks or humps do not metaphorically line up. Unfortunately, neither do his humps.

Perhaps a better photograph will turn up. But even then it should not be assumed that this was the spot where the photograph was taken. In fact, no one knows where the exact spot is and guesswork would be involved depending on one's initial assumptions (e.g. did Stuart hoax the picture or not). When I was there last October, I took a series of photographs over a length of about 60 metres which could also equally be spots where the picture could have been snapped. This series could have been extended for a lot further as progress is made southwards down the shore.


But the problem with the pictures I present above is that each successive hump would be further out from the shore and more difficult to keep at a "hump-like" height above water. I present my own two overlays here and wonder if hay bales could stay high enough in those locations? Note the second photo is panned further out from shore to show the overlaid humps further out.




The other issue is the distance of the objects. I asked Dick how far the bales were from the shore and he gave a range of 7 to 12 metres. However, Steuart Campbell, who also has some skill in photography has this to say in his book "The Loch Ness Monster - The Evidence" (p.32 of 2002 edition):

Making certain assumptions about the camera, it can be shown that if the objects are in the water they are about 21m away and about 6m long overall. From the fact that the camera was aimed at Urquhart Castle we know that it was pointed at about 45 degrees to the shore; this puts the nearest object to the shore still 11m from it. At that distance the water is too deep for it to be a rock.

This however puts the rightmost hump even further out. I emailed Steuart and asked him how he came by these results and he kindly sent me his original calculations. These put the rightmost hump at just over 15m from the shore. In summary, at an estimated distance of 21 metres, this is potentially three times as far away as the low end of Dick's estimate.

If  Steuart Campbell's calculations are correct, Dick Raynor's humps are too close and probably in the wrong place. Moreover, if the objects are 21 metres away, his haybales would appear smaller at that distance and smaller than Stuart's humps. It's all about assumptions and I suspect you pick the ones which suit your case. Once again, let the reader make his own mind up.

Elsewhere in the article, Dick continues to advocate Richard Frere's "confession". We have dealt with this elsewhere.


EVENING OR MORNING?

His final point is the persistence with claiming the photograph was taken in the evening. Again, we dealt with the alleged evening sun in the picture, but Dick doesn't mention this as he takes another tack. First, he states that his evening photograph (in which you can see the sun) is similar in shadows to the Stuart picture and claims this is proof that the Stuart picture is an evening picture. My first reply to this is that the Stuart picture is actually brighter than his reconstruction shot and for some reason the Stuart picture he uses is a bit darker than the one I have below which is taken from Constance Whyte's book. It all depends which version you use from what book/website/etc.




Secondly, Dick can prove his is an evening shot because the sun is visible. In Stuart's picture, no evening sun is visible. Along these lines, Dick Raynor takes the commercial photographer to task who developed the Lachlan Stuart film for advocating a morning time for the snap. You can read Dick's argument at his website.

Not having expertise in photography but at the same time not being satisfied that Dick's explanation about orthochromatic film was the only (let alone the best) explanation, I sought opinion and advice from those who also have some skill in this area. That indirectly includes the man who developed the Stuart photograph, John MacPherson via both Express articles. He says:

The film appeared to be perfectly normal  in every way. Mr Stuart said he took the snap at 6:30am and the picture of the monster was dull enough to have been taken at that time. The negative development took nearly twice the normal time owing to the light conditions at the time of the exposure.

Unlike the rest of us who debate this subject sixty years later, Mr. MacPherson had access to the negatives and the best prints and he gives his opinion on the poor clarity of the hills in the second Express article:

I know something about times and lights, and I also know the locality where the picture was taken. I would say that the film was perfectly consistent with a 6:30am snapshot. It was not a very good picture. These little box cameras have limited performance. In this case the camera seems to have been moved.

You can disagree with MacPherson if you wish, but you cannot deny he was closer to the subject material. The phrase "limited performance" offers a clue to a simpler reason for the poor light levels in the photograph. Consumer cameras at that time were indeed limited in their performance. A look around the Internet for 1950s cameras gives an entry level camera that would be simple in the extreme. Indeed some would offer only one setting for aperture and shutter speed that reminds me of those disposable cameras you pick up for your kids these days. Others might have two or more settings which elicits two speculations.

It is to be noted that Lachlan Stuart had limited knowledge of photography as he states that the camera had a spool winding problem which had to be corrected by his wife after each exposure. According to the second Express article, there were five previous exposures on the film and these were family snaps. If we assume these were taken in typical summer afternoon light conditions, then it is possible that when Lachlan Stuart ran down the hill in haste to take his picture, the shutter speed was set for sunny afternoon conditions rather than the early morning. This would, of course, result in an underexposed picture lacking the desired details of the remote hills.

Speculation number two kicks in for a camera with only one setting for aperture and shutter speed. You bring that into an early morning situation and again the picture could be underexposed. So the issue here is not low light levels due to a late evening shooting but low light levels due to an inadequate combination of aperture size and shutter speed.

But, as pointed out by those I emailed, underexposed film can be compensated for at the development stage (but I am told with an increase in contrast and graininess). Fair enough, let us assume that was done - though I wonder how this increase in contrast and graininess contributes to a lack of detail in the picture. One other opinion raised was that the film may be fogged due to the camera being inadequate. In that light, I requote MacPherson:

It was not a very good picture. These little box cameras have limited performance.

In other words, the lack of details could easily be not down to dark conditions, but it being a rubbish camera. This is further exacerbated by two facts from the Express articles. Firstly, Lachlan Stuart states that the winding mechanism on the camera was faulty (confirmed by Quigley). Secondly, he said it was bought for him "many years ago" by his wife. Could it be this already old and decrepit camera was further bashed in some way which damaged the winding mechanism but also affected the exposure mechanism in a way that would always render pictures less than they should be? In the light of these observations, I don't think one is compelled to consider an evening setting for this photograph.


WOODEN POSTS

There was one more minor mystery concerning this location which is of more historical interest. When the Loch Ness and Loch Morar Project had a look at this photograph and its location around the early 1980s, they mentioned seeing fence posts in the water indicating the shallowness of the shoreline. When I was there I saw no fence posts and assumed they had long gone (though admittedly I only looked along a few hundred metres of shoreline).

However, a look at ordnance survey maps from various years reveals no piers at Whitefield. What could these wooden posts have been? An answer was perhaps forthcoming in a 6 inch to the mile map from 1862 which reveals a potential boathouse in that vicinity long ago. The boathouse is the grey rectangular box on the shore above the big letter "C". It is also located opposite where the small forestry road from Stuart's croft would have met the main road.



There is a further confirmation of this by the presence of old stone steps at the very same location which I photographed (below). Clearly, if you have a boat house, you will need ease of access via a path and steps from the main road.




What this boathouse looked like exactly we may never know but there are old boat houses still around the loch such as this one at Knockie near the Horseshoe crag (© Copyright John Allan and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence - original link here).



And these ones ... (original link).



The boat house posts were gone when I visited in 2012. They were still visible thirty years earlier but what was their condition in 1951 when Lachlan Stuart took his picture? Were they higher and did they extend further out? This raises one final question since Dick seems to have taken his picture around the same location. If he had been transported back to 1951 and taken the picture from the same spot, would boathouse posts have appeared in it - unlike Lachlan Stuart's picture?


CONCLUSIONS

I have probably written more words on the Lachlan Stuart photograph than all the Nessie books on this picture put together. Whether that amounts to a hill of beans or not is down not to me or any other presumed "expert" on this subject. It's down to what you (plural) think of it.

The mystery and, perhaps to some extent, the reality of the monster is not driven by "experts" but by the collective attention of the public who have held it in their consciousness for decades. Therefore, the veracity of the Loch Ness Monster does not depend on whether the Lachlan Stuart photograph is a genuine mystery or not. As far as I am concerned, the creature continues to make its way through the murky bottom silt and hopefully this blog will make its way to the next subject in this most fascinating of mysteries.

27 comments:

  1. "On the 16th July 1951, readers of the British newspaper, the Sunday Express, were" presumably in a chip shop :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I thought such comments were reserved for "The Sun"!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, the subtlety was wasted :-)

      Your intrepid reporters are unlikely to have published anything at all in the Sunday Express on 16th and 23rd July 1951 as both dates were actually Mondays.

      My earlier post was a reference to a British saying that "today's newspaper is tomorrow's fish and chip paper". I hope GB takes this as a gentle reprimand for incomplete fact-checking.

      If the photo was taken one evening, which the lighting demonstrably supports, how can that have been Saturday 14th July? There is no time available for the rumour to get to Inverness, the reporter to collect the film and take it 20 miles to Cawdor for development and printing, then get the image to the Sunday Express in Glasgow before the paper went to bed.
      The timeline doesn't work, the published story is therefore inevitably untrue, and Mr Raynor's acceptance of Mr Frere's alternative account would seem to be well-founded.

      Delete
    2. Thanks. I'll correct those. Remember to contact Dick as well, he states at the top of his page that the photograph was taken in 1952 (it was 1951) and he quotes Richard Frere from his book "Beyond the Highland Line" when it is actually his book "Loch Ness". These minor typos are irrelevant on both sides.

      The photograph does not demonstrably support an evening shot as my article attempts to show, so there is no obligation to answer your question. A morning shot is a different proposition.


      Delete
  3. Another interesting read Roland and again I commend you on the huge amount of word that you put into this.
    I take your point about not wanting to argue the case for this being “Nessie” and if I understand correctly you are just presenting the picture as something “unknown” That being the case, someone (like me) taking a more critical stance might take the point of view that although I think its bales of hay, I might not be able to prove that 100% so I might also accept that ultimately it’s something unknown So we actually agree on this and the debate can’t go any further.
    It might turn out, as I suspect, and I’ve said before, that there are different kinds of “unknown” There is the spooky, mysterious and intriguing unknown that paranormal researchers talk about, but there is also the boring unknown as in “I don’t know what this is but it’s likely to be something mundane”
    When I look at the LS picture, just from experience, the objects look very close to the shore. Looking again at Dick Raynor's analysis I reckon he has got his bales of hay in very close proximity to where they appear in the LS picture – in shallow water.
    Let’s look at your second picture where you have superimposed the LS picture. Your shot is a wider angle and includes more of the background. The superimposed LS picture does not match the background on your picture. The LS shot clearly shown the background smaller, which is why the objects look smaller and further away. If you enlarge the LS picture so it matches yours, the objects will be bigger and appear closer to the shore and basically look just as close to the shore at the point on your picture where they end up. If the reason you did this was to show how the objects would look if they were further away. I think you have also showed why that is wrong, and they weren’t further away, because the pictures no longer line up.
    Opinions will vary, but standing back and looking at the evidence I believe it’s proven “beyond a reasonable doubt” that this is bales of hay. Without 100% proof we’re left with balance of probabilities and to me, common sense also dictates that they are more likely to be bales of hay than Nessie. There really is no evidence to suggest this is Nessie, that’s a key point here.
    Roland, I know you have done extensive research over decades, but if, after that you still don’t want to say you think this is Nessie then surely that’s also a big negative against this picture, it’s really got nothing going for it.
    The positive points I see here is the research you have done has fleshed out more information surrounding the making of the image and joined up a few dots.
    Cheers
    Les

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Les, the problem is we don't know where the shore is in the original picture. Some cropping has no doubt occured. Dick errs to the side of his analysis that the shore could have been visible in the negative, but equally the other side of the analysis could have more sky cropped above than shore below.

      The point being we do not have a proper frame of reference, was the picture taken with the shore parallel to the line of photo or in other cases, perpendicular. Again, it's a matter of opinion.

      I don't expect people to say "monster" in response to my analysis, rather explanations can be found to bolster both sides of the argument. In the end, personal judgement may be pronounced depending on one's overall view of the mystery.

      Delete
    2. In fairness also to the point about properly lined up image overlays. That is a matter of time and resource.

      Dick Raynor's experiment required a team from the Loch Ness Project, quite a lot of time and equipment. It also helps to be a short drive from the loch as he does.

      I do not have the luxury of a team, multiple cameras, hay bales, and a short drive. What I produce with my more limited time and resources has to be taken in that context.

      Delete
    3. Les has raised one or two interesting points but the use of the term "common sense" should be reserved for much simpler assumptions, for example refraining from putting ones hand in a fire, rather than applying it to a relatively poor quality photograph that is lacking a lot of important detail that would be relative to the argument for or against the claim of hoaxing a sighting of the LNM. I have no idea what the picture actually shows but that will not make me automatically assume that it is bales of hay positioned a few yards from the shoreline. I think that GB is just trying to say that there is a possibility that there is more to the argument than meets the eye, and with pretty good reasoning. Having said that, I can say with some certainty that the LS photo wont prove anything one way or another but it is still very intriguing and well worth the effort put in that may help keep the picture 'luke warm' in the LNM archives.

      Delete
  4. Hi Roland, I wasn't suggesting you need to pay a visit to the Loch, in the picture I'm refering to it would just be a matter of enlarging the LS picture you have superinposed onto your own, so the backgrounds match. What Im saying is that the way the pictures have been superimpossed makes it look like you are contradicting yourself. If I understand correctly you are doing this to show what the objects would look like at a distance, but because the two shots are out of proportion your actually proving that they couldn't be at that distance. If you don't mind me using your picture I'll do the superimposition to show you what I mean.

    PS - Do you know what happened to the original negative?

    Cheers
    Les

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The superimposition issue I had with the LS photo and a modern one was that the LS one is at a slight angle, I did not have the facility to rotate the LS photo a few degrees clockwise but the sizing should be not far off the mark but you can show me what you mean with your own re-edit.

      Delete
  5. Happy New Year G B,
    hope you had a good time,I hear Edinburgh can be pretty good at Hogmanay.
    About 30-35 years ago when the Loch Ness Monster was in the News a lot I seem to recall someone interviewed on TV about Loch Morar.A short clip of film was show and in the shallow water at the shoreline a creature looking something like a Crocodile or dare I say a ''Salamander'' seemed to be visible.The film seemed to be taken from a Helicopter and the person being interviewed said they intended to jump from the helicopter onto the creature to obtain a tissue sample.I remember thinking better you than me.
    I never heard anymore about this and wondered if you had any information or knowledge of this venture.
    Best Wishes for the New Year.
    Jack.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy New Year to you, Jack.

      I don't know about that Morar film. Adrian Shine would be the man to ask on the goings on at Loch Morar at that time ... unless someone can post something here?

      Delete
  6. It's not directly related to the photograph. Just looking at the Bathymetric Survey map made me think about the fact that the level of Loch Ness was about six feet lower in pre-Caledonian Canal (and pre-Ordnance Survey) days. I think that it would be interesting to see where the loch shoreline would have run in the Urquhart Bay, Lochend, Dores, Foyers, Invermoriston and Fort Augustus areas before the 1820s. It might indicate that settlements and some of the roads in existence at the time sat rather further back from the loch than they do today.

    ReplyDelete
  7. GB I have all sorts of difficulties with Dick Raynor's experiment not the least being Raynor wrapped his bales in black vinyl sealed with duct tape yet according to Richard Frere Lachlan Stuart admitted to covering his supposed bales with tarpaulin.

    Now there's a whole world of difference between carefully parceling and taping something up and merely covering it over and that difference only becomes exaggerated when tarpaulin replaces black vinyl.

    Just try'n'o shift a dry tarpaulin even a few feet's an absolute nightmare they're so unwieldy but parceling three separate bales of hay up in one while keeping the bales so many Nessie humps apart from each other seems highly unlikely.

    Yet the moment you drag the tarpaulin in the water's also the moment when all those issues become irrelevent because that's when all your previously problems shifting the tarpaulin start exponentially increasing.

    Raynor admits each of his vinyl wrapped bales took two people to shift once they were soaked but a wringing wet tarpaulin in the middle of a loch need far more than two people to shift it especially if it contained three bales of sodden hay.

    In fact I'd suggest the moment you get out in the water's the moment the bales of hay become irrelevent because the tarpaulin'll immediately begin either sinking or/and expanding outwards even as the monumental increase in its weight'll force the bales below the water's surface.

    For me therefore Dick Raynor's experiment only underscores the likelihood any admissions Lachlan Stuart made to Richard Frere didn't involve the use of bales of hay covered with tarpaulin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alan, you raise an important point. The experiment should match as much as reasonably possible the tools used at the time of the photograph. After all, reproducing the picture with photoshop or CGI is a pointless exercise, Lachlan Stuart had no such tools.

      Obviously Dick did not use such modern tools, but in every case, people need to be aware of how the experiment differed from the original alleged hoax. Again I remind readers to check Dick's own website and form their own opinions on the extent of reproducibility and how far it should have gone to satisify their own criteria.

      Delete
  8. AlanBorky - you seem to have read much that is inference in Roland's blog, and much that is absent from my website.

    Richard Frere is quoted in Nessletter as writing: Before we parted he took me down to the pebble beach where, concealed within a clump of alder or hazel, I was shown, on my promise of silence, three or four bales of hay (as supplied for horses) and some strips of tarpaulin. I was told that these were the ‘humps’ of ?. m S. was proud of his joke, in which he saw no harm, and he was greatly surprised that his photograph had come out at all, as it was taken ‘near dark’"

    No mention of LS "wrapping" anything, nor did a colleague and myself "shift vinyl wrapped bales once they were soaked". That is not what the words say. Feel free to email me if you are unclear about the tests.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This one certainly has got some debate going! All good stuff if we can hack out any more conclusions.

    Roland, I did a new superimposition of the picture using your picture and the LS picture. I agree that it needed a little rotation. In my version the humps look a little bigger, all other things being equal. I can't post it on your blog but I can e-mail it to you. I found proportion wise, I couldn't get it to line up along the length of the horizon suggesting your picture was not taken from exactly the right place (as LS)on the shore, but I’m not sure it would be enough difference to matter in the final result, none of that is particularly accurate way of doing it.

    You say that we don't know where the shoreline is, but if you look at the LS picture, in the bottom left corner we see waves that look like they are breaking on the shore. If they are not, there must be some other explanation why they look like that. The Sunday Express is not a scientific journal; they are in the business of making money by selling papers. A sensationalist story during the silly session will help that. I would expect (rather than suspect) they simply cropped out the shoreline to make it look like the objects were further out in the Loch. That doesn’t mean they thought it was a hoax, they just didn't want any doubts.

    It’s worth taking a step back here and considering what we have. The only explanation on offer is that this is bales of hay. In all the debating no one is suggesting its anything else. The case for the bales of hay is conclusive it my opinion. There may be inconsistencies in the information due to the way it’s been gathered, Frere would be quoting LS from memory, not quoting him literally from notes or recordings, but issues with minor details that wouldn't affect the outcome doesn’t make a difference overall, especially with the lack of any other suggestion.

    It also worth considering your first paragraph in this blog Roland where you say "the evidence was rejected" For the benefit of the casual reader I think I should clarify that the evidence hasn't actually been rejected. If you personally reject evidence (which you are entitled to do of course) then that’s your opinion, it doesn’t equate to the evidence being rejected in a wider context. Only you are rejecting it in your blog.

    It’s also worth asking what you mean by "the evidence against the photograph" If you are not claiming this is Nessie,(or anything in particular) how can there be "evidence against the photograph" The bales of hay evidence is actually in favour of the photograph, it’s trying to explain what it is. Can you clarify why you regard it as “evidence against the photograph”

    Cheers
    Les

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, email your version to me for a look.

      Yes, the shoreline may well be just short of the cropped picture but it is not conclusive. Having been on the beach myself, the shoreline is never that far away from the photographer but every foot counts in this debate about the critical height for haybales to work!

      To clarify, "evidence against the photograph" could be put as "evidence against the photograph being interpreted as a creature". Remember this photo had been in the "canon" of historical evidence for at least three decades. It comes with history attached.

      No slack from me concerning Frere. We have it on the record from one witness that he told them he witnessed the hoax being set up and later we have him more simply being told. If this was a Nessie witness muddling up his details, you can bet the critics would take that as conclusive evidence he was lying.

      Delete
    2. The rejecting of the Frere evidence makes me wonder if you're applying the same criteria to all the evidence before you accept or reject it. Take the Spicer testimony - at various times Spicer described the size of the "creature" from 5ft to 30ft. Inconsistent in anyone’s view.

      You reject the Frere evidence as being inconsistent but not Spicer’s? That makes it look like your acceptance criteria for evidence is based simply on whether or not the evidence supports the existence of Nessie or not, rather than on its own merit. If you reject all evidence that is inconsistent, there wouldn't be much left.

      I appreciate your clarification of "evidence against the photograph", without that it looks like a subtle attempt to establish in people’s minds that the Nessie hypothesis is the main theory when it’s not. This is true of all the photographs; we don't debunk or present evidence against them, only against the Nessie hypothesis. Any evidence presented as an explanation of what the picture might be is a positive thing; it’s not "against" anything.

      Delete
    3. Funny you should say that, Les, because I plan to include a revisit of the Spicer case on my "Nessie on Land" series and that very question will be addressed. The main part of that issue was that Spicer changed his estimate after consulting with Gould on the matter. I doubt Frere changed his story after consulting with anyone.

      But if nessie commentators were prepared to give Nessie witnesses the same slack they cut for Frere, I might be prepared to concede the inconsistencies in the Frere saga.

      Delete
  10. Roland - thank you for publishing my earlier post. Could you kindly explain any conflict between Steuart Campbell's calculation of a distance from the shore of 11 metres for the LS humps, and my recollection of 7 to 12 metres for the hay bales?

    And it was he, not I, who first wrote "the sun, which appears to be in the top right corner...cannot be rising".

    While I do not claim to see the sun itself in the photo, I do see "lighting" from the general direction that the camera is pointing, and this brings Steuart Campbell and myself to the same conclusion.

    It is not rising, but setting in the West, and there is no time for a Saturday evening photograph to appear in the Sunday morning newpapers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Steuart puts the nearest hump at 11m but the rightmost at 15m - from the shoreline. But the distance from the observer he puts at 21m.

      If we take your low estimate of 7m, that makes Steuart's furthest hump twice as far as your bales?

      When you replied to my question, it was clear (to me) the 7-12m range you gave was a range of uncertainty rather than the range of distances of humps from left to right.

      It's all about assumptions: his, yours and mine and that feeds into the issue of the observer/shoreline/object orientations wrt each other.

      You don't mention the sun? What about this quote of yours:

      "No, I never discussed Lachlan Stuart's photo with Richard. I am basing it on the photographers statement that he "went down to milk his cow in the morning", while the photo shows the sun shining down Glenurquhart"

      http://www.cryptozoology.com/forum/topic_view_thread.php?tid=5&pid=846662

      Delete
  11. A few points, Roland. You wrote :
    "But the problem with the pictures I present above is that each successive hump would be further out from the shore and more difficult to keep at a "hump-like" height above water."
    My comment: I think that objects float in a manner which is independent of water depth.

    You also wrote: "I asked Dick how far the bales were from the shore and he gave a range of 7 to 12 metres", and
    "When you replied to my question, it was clear (to me) the 7-12m range you gave was a range of uncertainty rather than the range of distances of humps from left to right."

    My comment: Your question and my answer were as follows:
    Q "How far out were the hay bales and person from the shore?"

    A "As two people were in and out of the water for some time (actually about 30 minutes - DR - 9/1/13) and the video cameras were running continuously it is impossible to be precise about the distances when that frame was recorded, but was probably in the 7-12 metres range."

    The purpose of the experiment was not to replicate the photograph but to discover if bales of hay could float in the manner of the LS objects. They can, and I have presented visual evidence of it. As it is likely that Mr Frere hadn't ever bothered to launch bales of hay into the loch himself the experiment validates his reported conversation with Lachlan Stuart, who claimed that he had!

    For anyone trying to replicate the LS image I would recommend connecting the three bales together with twine (or strips of tarpaulin) to prevent the bales drifting apart, and to attach more twine to the nearest bale to prevent the whole apparatus drifting out beyond reach.

    The exact distances and sizes are however a distraction from the main argument which is that the camera was pointing approximately towards the sun and definitely not away from it. This is "obvious" to many people, and photographers will be able to give exact reasons. The orientation of the camera relative to the sun is important because the camera is known to be pointing roughly West, which would indicate an evening photograph. Mr Frere quoted Lachlan Stuart as saying it was taken "near dark" - an unusual phrase but one with obvious meaning. People out early in the morning might describe the landscape as "still quite dark", or "getting light", but not as "near dark". This again points to an evening photograph. So why the fuss about an evening photograph? Quite simply, if it was taken in the evening it couldn't have been on the claimed Saturday 14th July when the sun sets at 10 pm, as there is simply no time for a rumour to spread, a man to hear it and drive 12 miles from Inverness to collect the film, then to take it for development and printing 25 miles away, and then send it to Glasgow or London in time for splashing on the front page of the next morning's newspaper. The media version of the story is therefore untrue to some degree or other, while Mr Frere's account still holds itself well above the water.

    ReplyDelete
  12. "Whyte, Kemmet and Quigley were on the shore examining the area and assessing the story against what they saw. It is to be noted that none of them saw the alleged hay bales that Richard Frere claimed to have seen behind some shoreline bushes less than two weeks later. If they had, we can be sure Stuart's story would not have appeared in Whyte's book and the Express would have quietly dropped the story".

    How do you know that none of them saw the hay bales? All you can say is that you have found no written report of it, which is a very different thing. They were not even looking for hay bales, which were in any case "concealed within a clump of alder or hazel". Absence of evidence - i.e. a mention of hay bales - is not evidence of absence. Furthermore, would the Sunday Express run a headline "We were Conned by a Crofter!"? I think not. They are in the business of selling newspapers period.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If K+Q found hay bales, I would not expect a follow up article vindicating the photo - rather a perpetual silence.

      Delete
  13. Leonor Oliveira23 February 2013 15:49

    i dont know if tath is real, it can be a elephant. i live in portugal, but im goin to loch ness lake to comprove if taths REAL or FAKE.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I was just re-reading this series of posts and the relevant comments and this phrase jumped out - now I love Dick Raynor and his wisdom and commentary as much as is possible for someone I've never met, so nothing mean spirited or personal is meant - but this is a funny phrase: "Dick Raynor's humps are too close and probably in the wrong place".

    ReplyDelete