One aspect which makes blogging a fruitful pursuit is the interaction with others who take an interest in the same theme. So, as ever, I encourage comments and anything that could add to the online content. So, with this in mind, one of this blog's readers, Jack, sent me this old clipping. It is from the Daily Mail dated 12th August 1992. He had heard my audio interview with Binnall of America and was prompted to open his old copy of Nicholas Witchell's "Loch Ness Story" when an old newspaper clipping fell out! He sent a scan and through the wonder of the Internet, we can all check it out below (click on image to enlarge).
The text of the article follows:
A long brown neck pokes out of the still waters of Loch Ness. Snapped by a Daily Mail reader at the weekend, is this Nessie coming up to take the morning air - or an elaborate hoax?
Ian Bishop, head of the zoology department at the Natural History Museum, smiled as he studied the picture and three others taken in the same sequence.
His first question - in reference to the traditional summertime lull newsmen call the 'silly season' - was anything but scientific. 'Are you aware,' he said 'that the month is August?'
Such scepticism will not dampen the enthusiasm of the 45 year old man who took the pictures, which bear a striking resemblance to the classic 1934 photograph by London surgeon Robert Wilson.
'I believe I saw Nessie' he said yesterday. 'Let the experts pore over the pictures and deliver any alternative explanations they can. I'm a simple man, not a scientist. And I say, if that wasn't Nessie, then what was it?'
The man, who wishes to keep his identity secret, had camped overnight about two miles from Fort Augustus, armed only with a Boots 110EF pocket camera.
'It was about 6:30 to 7am and I went to the Loch to brush my teeth and have a swill' he recalled. 'I soaked my face and looked up. I saw it and my immediate reaction was I must have water in my eyes. I rubbed them, looked again and though "Christ Almighty"'.
'There was about 6ft of a long neck and head and she was a blackish dark brown. She seemed to be looking right at me and I thought she was going to come to the shore. My camera was lying by the trees a few yards away and I made a dive for it.
I scrambled back. She was about 40 yards out, still looking in my direction. I was trembling an my heart was pounding but I managed to knock off four shots.
At one stage, she opened her mouth. I thought she was going to make breakfast of me. Then she tipped her head back and slid under. After five minutes, he said, the head appeared again about 200 yards away.
'I could see the shape of four or five humps. It was as if a miniature waterfall was cascading from the front hump. She swam slowly for 20 to 30 yards and then submerged. That was it. I picked up my stuff and I ran.'
The negatives have been examined at the RAF's photographic laboratory and by Kodak. Lieutenant Caroline Smith said: 'We would say the have not been tampered with or touched up.'
And Kodak scientist Roger Flint said 'It is a genuine photograph of something, though we have no comment about the image.'
Such is the account and at this stage there is no further information. The name of the photographer is unknown and the whereabouts of the other three pictures is not known either. I shall make some attempts to dig out what I can from the Daily Mail, etc.
The picture does look as if it was taken from Borlum Bay and the distant light up the loch suggests it was indeed early in the morning. The object may well have been forty yards out which may or may not be too deep for planting a fake. I hope on my next visit to Loch Ness to take some comparison photographs to get a better idea of the background. A zoom in of the object shows us a very Nessie like profile but what it could be is a matter of conjecture. A real animal or floating fake? Jack is dubious and thinks it has that "inflatable monster" look. I will remain neutral for now.
The camera used was a simple point and click affair retailed by the chain store Boots. It used a 110 film with a 26mm/f8 lens, fixed focus and exposure. The film advance was via a slider underneath and the flash range was 4-12ft. Not really the kind of camera for an elaborate hoax but it appears the object (whatever it is) is really present in the loch waters.
Checking the Nessie literature of the time, only Rip Hepple in his Nessletter makes mention of it and it looks like he too only had the newspaper clipping to go by as he takes a sceptical approach to it but doesn't really state why.
So it is a bit of a mystery who took it and what the other pictures showed. As I said, I will dig further but if anyone has further information, post a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org