Wednesday, 22 January 2014

A Photograph of the Loch Ness Monster?

Trawling around the Internet as I do for Nessie information, I came across this photograph on a website compilation of holiday snaps. The owner of the picture had been to Scotland and elsewhere in Europe from the USA and had decided to put up a montage of her experiences. However, one of the pictures shows something a bit more than normal.




Here is a zoom in on the object of interest. It would appear the the picture was taken on the 15th July 2006 but the camera time is set at 0421. The location is given as a point off the Clansman Harbour at the north end of the loch but closer to the opposite shore, so the photographer was probably on a cruise boat (see map below).





Now I have tried several times to contact the owner of this photograph (who I believe is called Nancy) but without success and this basically leaves me in a bit of no-man's land. The reason I say that is because if I did establish contact the day after this article posted, several replies may be forthcoming. 

For example, the owner may say "It's a Photoshop job, I was just fooling around.". In that case, there is not much more to say and we move on.

Or she may say that is a genuine picture and we can take it from there.

Or she may come up with some other reply such as "The cruise boat had a Nessie sticker on the window for tourist Nessie snaps."

Of course, it may be the photographer is unable or unwilling to make contact.

But despite these unknowns, perhaps this is an opportunity to explore an area of Loch Ness Monster images that provokes debate. I am referring to digital images of the creatures and the argument over whether they are digitally manipulated images.

Of course, manipulated images of the Loch Ness Monster go hand in hand with the mystery itself. The 1977 Shiels picture is perhaps the best example, but the MacNab picture from 1955 has also been put under the scrutiny of sceptical enquirers.  However, such alleged images form a small part of the overall set of images. Others have been accused of being staged props or misidentification, the rest are genuine images of the creature.

PHOTOSHOPPING

Now one question levelled by sceptics today is why the clarity of the classic black and white pictures is not repeated today with superior cameras. However, when a photograph such as this turns up, it is automatically dismissed as a fake. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. The "too good to be true" syndrome kicks in almost by instinct.

Now it may not have escaped your attention that the lake cryptid world has no lack of digitally faked images. A search for images of "loch ness monster" on google will throw up a good number of such "photoshopped" images (to quote the vernacular for such images). How can you distinguish the real from the fake? For me, this photograph is the catalyst to explore this more modern aspect of cryptid forensics more closely.

At the "lowest" level of analysis, the aforementioned snap judgements are oft to the fore. A picture appears on a cryptid website and not long after we get the photoshopping comments. People will look at such images and get a "feel" for whether it looks right or not. Of course, this involves a mixture of objective and subjective assessments, but we need something that eliminates the subjective.

At this point, I would have to point out that there are two types of photoshopped images, those that are intended to deceive and those that are intended as an obvious joke. The latter are not that difficult to spot. Those that intend to deceive put a bit more effort into their creation.

IMAGE ANALYSIS

One website I consulted gave five rules for detecting a Photoshop event:

1. "Software" metadata in image file is "Photoshop"
2. Image is compressed to JPEG file by Photoshop (which has some unique pattern)
3. Image is compressed to JPEG file twice (which has some other unique pattern)
4. Part of image has been cloned from another part of it
5. Image color or brightness is deemed abnormal which should be manipulated

I can't say I will exhaustively apply all these principles today - I am no expert on digital manipulation - but the need to "ramp up" on this aspect of Loch Ness Monster investigation has become more apparent to me.

On the first point of the metadata, this is part of the Exif (Exchangeable image file format) data that makes up JPEG, TIF and WAV image files. This data contains information on the circumstances of the image such as camera make and model, date and time, exposure time and focal length. Since the data does not actually describe the image, it is called metadata. You can see this for yourself on a Windows system by right clicking on a picture file and selecting "Properties".

However, on trying some images, finding the clue of subterfuge via the metadata was not as clean cut as one may think. One website that seems to be popular in looking for anomalies is imageedited.com.  This will run some basic tests on an uploaded image file and hazard a guess as to whether the image has been changed. 

When I ran this photograph through it, the decision as to whether image editing had occurred was "Probably" though it did not list any image editing software as a culprit. Is this a decisive conclusion? I do not think so. When I ran another of the owner's photographs from Loch Ness which was no more than an ordinary snap of the castle, it gave the same result!

It seemed apparent to me that both images had undergone some changes in preparation for web site hosting. One possible explanation being the downsizing of the image to a smaller size. I also wondered if an editing software program could be masked by running it through a subsequent, less suspicious program?

MORE DETAILED ANALYSIS

Seeking to take this further, I came upon the website fotoforensics.com. On top of the metadata analysis I just mentioned, two further tools are employed to ascertain the originality of a photographic image. The first is called Error Level Analysis ("ELA" hereafter). This works on the principle that a JPEG image should uniformly and roughly have the same level of data compression (JPEG is a process which compresses the original image to a smaller file size but usually with the loss of information). Any differences in compression rate in an image is suggestive of digital modification.

The website allows you to upload a file for ELA conversion which outputs an image. The guidelines given for that new image are summarised as follows:

Edges. Similar edges should have similar brightness in the ELA result. All high-contrast edges should look similar to each other, and all low-contrast edges should look similar. With an original photo, low-contrast edges should be almost as bright as high-contrast edges. 

Textures. Similar textures should have similar coloring under ELA. Areas with more surface detail, such as a close-up of a basketball, will likely have a higher ELA result that a smooth surface.

Surfaces. Regardless of the actual color of the surface, all flat surfaces should have about the same coloring under ELA.

With that in mind, I looked around for some faked Nessie pictures to analyze. In each pair, the first picture is the original and the one below is the ELA image. The first one presents an immediate problem as this white Nessie has an ELA which is higher (i.e. more complex) than the sky of a similar hue. 


The next picture is taken from Claudio Diaz's Lake Monster Facebook page. Claudio has produced various Photoshop reproductions and these provide an interesting comparison (indeed, Claudio's opinion on this matter is solicited). Here we see that the brightness of the edges around the "monster" are not consistent with other low/high contrast edges indicating a problem.



Another image from the Lake Monsters Facebook page shows a more indistinct hump image nestling within the reflection of Urquhart Castle. This fuzziness is mirrored in the indistinct lack of edge in the ELA image. A harder image to judge, but perhaps others have an opinion.




Now I bring in the same process for the main photograph of our interest. The result is that, unlike the other pictures, the object here is barely visible in the ELA image. Is this significant and is it an indication of no digital manipulation? Perhaps, but there is no foolproof technique here and it would have helped to have the original and larger image.


JPEG QUALITY

The second analysis tool is JPEG Quality. Each time an image file is opened in a graphics editor and resaved, there is a potential loss of image quality (this depends on the quality level selected). The loss of quality can be estimated and compared to other images. 

Using our fotoforensics tool, the JPEG quality is estimated to be 85%. When another of the Loch Ness holiday snaps from the owner was put through this filter, its quality level was also estimated to be 85%. This suggests both images went through the same sequence of events. If the Nessie photo had gone through an extra level of processing to add the "monster", then it would be possible for it to have a lower JPEG quality.

CONCLUSIONS

So, some conclusions may be reached, but I suspect an expert digital manipulator could produce an image which only experts could judge at the pixel level. Since the owner of the photograph has not replied to my requests, the jury has to remain out on this one.

But certainly, judging it purely as an image (independent of its source), it is a good one. You can see the precise detail that the object possesses as one observes the glint of the sun reflecting off the head and to a lesser extent off the humps. There is also the reflection of the neck on the water. Moreover, the image has packed more detail into a smaller area than the other images we compared here.

On the opposite side of the coin, the second hump to the left of the main hump looks out of place. What could that mean? Also, the zoomed in pixellated area to the left of the neck reflection looks a bit strange, but how valid is an image judgement when individual pixels are resolved?

So, I am bit new to this and would welcome comments from others who may have more experience of image analysis. I would also like to know when sceptics regard a photo as no longer "too good to be true" and not "photoshopped".
 






96 comments:

  1. Anonymous, thanks for the info on the photographer, hopefully this will lead somewhere.

    How did you trace her?

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  2. The picture definitely looks tampered with. The water round Nessie looks smudged and less sharp than the rest of the water and Nessie herself looks less sharp, it doesn't look like motion blur which wouldn't be uniform over the object. It actually looks like an inexperienced retouchers (or a kids) attempt at compositing. As previously demonstrated by Dick Raynor (on another picture), with water like this there would be no shadow from the head and neck as can be seen here.

    To be fair the ELA does very much suggest that its not been tampered with, but there are various ways round that. If this was a retouched print that had been photographed, or even a picture photographed off a computer screen, it would appear as an unaltered jpg image.

    It looks more like a tribute to Frank Searle's post card series.

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    1. Les, I did comment on that area, so that is a negative. But what I would like here is a more objective tool which makes our fallible, subjective judgements less important. These can't be totally eliminated when the provenance of a picture is unknown, but the less the better.

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  3. bodge from suffolk23 January 2014 at 11:53

    The zoomed in version does have a bit of 'frank searle' about it..but i must say its very interesting. My thoughts would be that its fake as surely we would have heard more about the photo if not ??The second hump does indeed look as though it may even belong to a seperate creature as there seems to be a very slight 'something' a bit further on from the hump to the rear , possibly small head or something just submerging/surfacing ?? mother & baby nessie !!! would be good to get in contact with the person in question .

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    1. I guess so, also others would have surely seen it, but this is all guesswork without the photographer giving their story.

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  4. I have discovered our photographer is an artist and has taught computer generated art. Cough!

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    1. Well, maybe, but I would like to hear if straight "from the horse's mouth".

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  5. Burton Caruthers24 January 2014 at 06:57

    Is there ever a point where a obvious fake is seen for what it is? Is there also a point where trying to use all the analytical mumbo jumbo to push unreality into reality for one's agenda is seen for what it is - damaging to the credibility and actual search for the Loch Ness Monster, whether it exists or not? These are the head-scratching moments for me.

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    1. Really - I love and appreciate the effort and enthusiasm GB puts into this subject, but in some instances I just have to say "really"?

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    2. Well. no one was saying it was the real deal, to me it was an opportunity to try out some of the analysis tools. Still no reply from the photograph's owner.

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  6. Hello,yes,I think I know where this model comes from,I had made a mistake in Steve Feltham Interactive Facebook Page as regards the Taylor's film...this toy was quite famous...Congratulations,this is a beautiful page,full of information and serious analysis.I sometimes use photoshop to show how something may look like in a certain lake,and this is of course photoshop.
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=629486047086530&set=p.629486047086530&type=1&theater

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    1. Claudio, I am glad I asked for your input in the article. Looks like the matter is solved.

      I wonder if there is a better picture of this toy on the Web? I would still like to know what process the owner used and, yes, the search goes on for that tool which can weed such pictures out!

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  7. Burton Caruthers - fear not! You are not alone in spotting obvious fakes. Some of us do not wish to spoil the fun of the credulous, while continuing our studies of the unusual. There are new things to be learned in time.

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  8. I don't know the source of these photographs,I will try to look for the page,I have forgotten about it,I think it was a sort of project or something like that.Here you have 5 photographs.
    https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=630339357001199&id=537100722991730

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    1. Hmmm, so it may not be a digital manipulation after all?

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  9. Shame we know GB would at some point be endlessly arguing that this is proof of Nessie if Claudio hadn't posted. And it yet again shows how modern technology has pretty much eliminated any possibility of vague and indeterminate photos like Gray's and Stuart's being created and argued over ad infinitum.
    The photos we know we'd have (if Nessie existed) in the modern age of high definition photography simply never materialise, because the clarity makes it easy for us to recognise when something doesn't look right.
    So all we have left now is a handful of blurry old black and white snaps, dead witnesses and events so lost in the mists of time that pretty much anything can be argued and people will just take the side they like the sound of.

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    1. Presumption on your part about me claiming this would be a Nessie photograph. If you think there is no more to this than Gray, Stuart and "dead witnesses" then you best leave now or do your homework.

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  10. Ok show me even one clear and credible modern photo or video with live outspoken witnesses and I'll accept your superior knowledge.

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    1. No, you won't.

      I'll address the topic of "where are the modern pictures" which is a sceptical canard in an article coming up!

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    2. I eagerly await your article. I suspect it will include various "explanations" such as the size of the loch compared to the number of people watching with cameras; the unwillingness of people to say they have a photo because they fear ridicule; the Loch Ness "hoodoo", and maybe something about Nessie being scared by digital technology. ;-) All of which amount to nothing more than flimsy excuses.

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    3. You pre-judge, but remember - one man's reasoning is another man's excuses.

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    4. This guy wouldn't believe proof if the Loch Ness Monster crapped on his smug head. He's an obvious shit stirrer and trouble maker.

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    5. Nice comment. Let's face it - no LNM is going to defecate on anyone's head. Your comment reminds me of yet another thing against the LNM, and that is no waste products ever found, either in the loch or on my smug head.

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    6. Care to explain how one would find a turd or 2 in a 24 mile long loch?

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    7. Well, I don't think some sceptics critique their own arguments. That's why we are here. :)

      Being an aquatic creature, excrement would be expelled as slurry. Just like sharks and dolphins. It just gets mixed in the water and disappears. Simples!

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    8. I guess that it's not just peat particles that stain the waters after all. I'd better remember that next time I rinse my face in the loch. :-)

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    9. Yup, the loch is full of ... Nessie DNA!

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    10. Some people are too busy being angry to recognise an obvious joke. Pete, you haven't changed since the Nessie chat room in the 90s!
      The burden of proof lies with you believers, and you've not managed to come up with anything which could convince the public. Am I a trouble maker for making these comments, or am I just making you face an uncomfortable truth?

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    11. Neither really, I just love a good healthy debate and I certainly don't recognise any anger. Your tone of humour has also been recognised and as for chat rooms in the 90's, I'm afraid I don't know anything about them, not having participated myself. We are here to agree or disagree after all.

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    12. I have argued repeatedly that in an age of immediate video access (i.e. almost every modern phone comes equipped with a camera), we rarely see motion picture of purported Nessies; and at best, we end of with ambiguous cell phone photos when it takes only a moment to select VIDEO MODE -- but we all know that shooting video of a floating object would settle the matter fairly quickly. Roland has argued unconvincingly against this point, but never at length. I eagerly await his upcoming article/rebuttal.

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    13. Erik is back! I also eagerly await my upcoming article.

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    14. And I eagerly await our upcoming debate. :)

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    15. And the most interesting point is that pretty much everyone now has a camera phone to hand as ekm says, which means that for every 10 people who see a giant hump or neck, 9 of those would be able to photograph or video it within seconds. Yet... nothing.

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    16. Your logic is faulty for it assumes the same conditions for every person. That is not the real world.

      Over what timespan have there been 10 head-neck sightings of the creature?

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    17. Pretty much everyone has had a camera phone for about 5 years, and I thought LNM reported sightings average at 10 a year, so that's maybe 40 sightings with a camera in hand or pocket. When you say "it assumes the same conditions for everyone", well if it's clear enough for a person to view it and be sure they're not seeing a natural phenomenon, then it should be clear enough to get something on their camera phone worth looking at.
      ok a question for you GB. How many more years without any good clear video footage will it take for you to start doubting? I'm asking that politely - I want to know if you have a "no clear evidence" threshold, after which you'll begin to think there might be nothing unusual there? Thoughts?

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    18. Most people have camera phones. You've argued that because you don't, then that proves that the argument is fallacious, but I don't buy it.

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    19. I do have a camera phone, just prefer to use a real camera.

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    20. That's a long term average, you don't see that number nowadays.

      Are you trying to make me type out my article now?

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    21. I just think believers want things both ways. On the one hand they argue that too many people have had clear unambiguous sitings for there to be no Nessie, yet on the other hand argue that the lack of any unambiguous photos or videos is down to the rarity of sightings, lack of cameras to hand, lack of clarity etc. It really doesn't work both ways. We either have a beast with footage, or no beast.

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    22. Yes, but you need to contrast what the human eye sees compared to a crappy mobile phone camera. They do not record the same way.

      Good, proximate sightings are rare and believe me, any photo of something at 100-200m will STILL be panned and dismissed by sceptics. So you can't win with that lot either! They want the pound of flesh, so comments about wanting good photos is insincere in my opinion.

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    23. Evidence trumps untrained eyewitness testimony every time.

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    24. I'm someone who has transitioned from being on the fence to a complete nonbeliever. I would be absolutely ecstatic if Nessie really existed. Which adult who played with dinosaur models as a child is not intrigued by the possibility of Nessie? I love mysteries as much as anyone, that's why I'm here!
      A film on or in LN which strongly suggests an unknown animal would be utterly amazing, I'd love it! But I've still never seen one. There isn't one. I don't need a corpse, I just need one good photo sequence (yes, it would be a sequence of repeated shutter presses) or one good video. It's the minimum anyone can expect if you want them to believe a large unknown animal inhabits the loch. I'm not being unreasonable, I'm being a normal, intelligent adult who requires proof to back up all the claimed sightings.

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    25. Define "evidence" and define "untrained".

      You also seem to distinguish between "evidence" and "untrained eyewitness testimony". Untrained is a function of how clearly the object in question is visible. Can you define that function?

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    26. "I'm someone who has transitioned from being on the fence to a complete nonbeliever."

      Well, we do have sequences such as the James Gray and Roy Johnson photos taken last decade - but again these are disputed on circumstantial evidence (not the photos themselves).

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    27. I just looked up the James Gray and Roy Johnston photos. Hilarious, especially Johnston's! If that skinny snake thing is supposed to be attached to a vast humped body, then (assuming it's a neck and tiny head) it must be having to catch food all day to support itself. Also, if you think nessie isn't an air breather - which seems to be the current thinking to explain the rare surfacings - then I can only assume you propose a tiny headed animal with a long neck attached to a big bulky body featuring gills on the body for underwater breathing? Or maybe some other cut and paste mish mash of animal parts? Gills on that tiny head wouldn't transport enough oxygen to a large body.
      I love all of this Nessie stuff cos it shows how far people are prepared to bend logic to back up their beliefs.

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    28. "Untrained eyewitness testimony" is the taking the word (honest? liar? could go either way!) of someone who knows very little about how deceptive Loch Ness can be, and assumes a standing wave is a giant monster. In other words, a person who doesn't know what they're looking at, sees something strange, and assumes that because it's Loch Ness, then it must be a monster.

      I don't need to define "evidence."

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    29. Yup, well, you're obviously not following what I have been thinking about heads and necks.

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    30. ekm, you do need to define evidence. If it means a piece of a body, no point in talking about eyewitness evidence, just leave that to others.

      How "untrained" do some witnesses have to be if they seem something at a 100 yards (as attested to by witnesses in the past)? Are you just going to go down the knee jerk hoaxer path?

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    31. I've read your page on retractable necks, and it seems to be a theory based on a couple of very old reports; furthermore it doesn't seem clear whether it's even a theory you subscribe to. And even if the neck of this imaginary creature were to extend and retract, the points above remain valid. A tiny head and skinny neck mean a bulky body receives only tiny meals. Feeding would have to be very regular. It also means the animal would be an air breather or if not would have gills on the bulky body, not the pin head. The thought of a hump like the boat in Dinsdale's film having a snake attached like the thing in Johnston's photos has me really chuckling.
      As an aside (but sort of related), I have a copy of The Dragon and the Disc. I started reading it once but had to stop after a few pages because it was just random garbled nonsense, like some kind of hippy's hallucinogenic dream. Back in those days a lot of very strange stuff made it into print.

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    32. You only accept "new" reports?

      It's a theory in the making, but yes the gills would have to be further down. However,water breather do not necessarily need gills to get oxygen.

      Well, D&D is a book of its time.

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    33. A water breather with flippers so well designed that they can propel the Dinsdale hump 10mph (according to yourself), yet the animal can suddenly climb out of the water and support its weight on these flippers, presumably by converting them into legs and feet. And also switch its breathing mechanism to suit walking across roads, possibly holding a sheep in that tiny mouth. Seriously, break all the "evidence" down and so many bits contradict eachother.

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    34. I think you are indulging in straw men arguments such as flippers going at 10mph are useless on land. How do other amphibious water breathers manage to get on and off land? Nature is full of them - even eels travel across land!

      I am not sure the creature needs its flippers to be the primary form of locomotion on land, though they would play a part. I mean, how do seals move on land? You are trying to make the impossible out of the possible.

      As for sheep in tiny mouths, I don't doubt it could be done (wherever the mouth is). So, seriously, I don't think ou are htinking this through properly and are just blunderbussing excuses.

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    35. Have you seen a seal or sea lion heaving itself around at the water's edge? Think one could climb hills and catch sheep? And a bulkier animal with flippers would be even slower and less able to climb anything.

      Please let me know about any large amphibious animals which show it's possible to be 10ft+, spend 99% of your life underwater, then actually go on land to hunt. Another question - do you genuinely think that neck in the surgeon's photo (or indeed the preposterous one in the Johnston photos) could carry a sheep?

      Come on Rowland, it doesn't all stack up. You simply have to drop something from the eyewitness accounts. When I spoke to Steve Feltham a few years ago even he said "Tales of sheep being carried into the loch don't help the cause."

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    36. ev·i·dence
      noun

      1. that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.

      2. something that makes plain or clear; an indication or sign.

      3. Law. data presented to a court or jury in proof of the facts in issue and which may include the testimony of witnesses, records, documents, or objects.

      verb (used with object), ev·i·denced, ev·i·denc·ing.

      4. to make evident or clear; show clearly; manifest.

      5. to support by evidence.

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    37. Still waiting for you to publish my earlier reply. Quite simply, the reports of sightings do not add up to anything remotely logical or possible.

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    38. You're overdoing it on the sheep front. No one is suggesting the Loch Ness Monster carries sheep around in its mouth! And no one is seriously suggesting it climbs hills either! Straw men arguments.

      Land excursions are extremely rare which (in my opinion) demonstrates the LNM is not that comfortable on land. Why it would come ashore is left to conjecture.

      Steller's Sea Cow? Only 30 foot long.

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    39. It grates somewhat that every time I point out gaping holes and big contradictions in the eyewitness testimony you refer to straw man arguments. The entire pro-Nessie camp survives on eyewitness reports, so let's take a closer look. If reports seem credible but they contradict eachother, then that should tell you something about the reliability of eyewitness testimony.
      Not straw man arguments, but genuine challenges to your theories.

      Delete
    40. Here's one for "Anonymous" going on and on about sheep in Nessie's mouth:

      http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=380835271962&ssPageName=ADME:B:SS:GB:1120

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    41. Very good GB, just don't use 10,000 words explaining how it's photographic evidence of a sheep-stealing monster ;-)

      Interestingly, land sighting reports have all but vanished in recent times, but were seemingly fairly regular in the 1930s. I wonder why. Perhaps it could be that the early sightings were mistakes, and based on the excitement the myth was generating at the time?

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    42. The last one was 2009. After the 1933-34 spike they now average one every 6 years. Exceedingly rare events.

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    43. "It grates somewhat that every time I point out gaping holes and big contradictions in the eyewitness testimony you refer to straw man arguments. The entire pro-Nessie camp survives on eyewitness reports, so let's take a closer look. If reports seem credible but they contradict eachother, then that should tell you something about the reliability of eyewitness testimony.
      Not straw man arguments, but genuine challenges to your theories. "

      That is because they are straw men arguments! The contradictions tell me nothing that threatens the monster theory. I freely admit that a proportion of sightings are lies or misidentification. Therefore, these "accounts" are going to contaminate the database with non-existent feature descriptions.

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    44. When every photograph contradicts the rest, and eyewitness reports contradict one another, we end up with an improbable animal without any defining characteristics save a "hump."

      Despite his fevered defense of the non-evidence, very little of which is complimentary, Roland has yet to put his writings in context and offer his hypothesis. What IS The Loch Ness Monstet, assuming these many "proofs" are what he believes them to be...? It's no secret that he was once a supporter of Holiday's Goblin Universe theory, which, insane as it may be, is the only way to reconcile these many "proofs."

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    45. Perhaps that is because the only thing believers have - eyewitness testimony - is inherently flimsy? Therefore whenever we point out the contradictions we cannot help but use so called straw man arguments.

      On the point of debating style, I note that you quite frequently refer to sceptics as the "show me the body" camp, as though we are in some way being unreasonable by requesting biological evidence to back up quite extraordinary claims of a lake monster. Well yes, I do require something rather better than a few grainy (and contradictory) snaps plus eyewitness reports (again contradictory) in order to believe in a monster in the loch. And frankly so should you.

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    46. Really? So why are eyewitness accounts allowed in courts of law if they are "inherently flimsy"? The point which you miss is that eyewitness accounts are allowable and it is down to the lawyers in courts to put them to the test. Your label of "flimsy" is just your opinion. The equivalent of prosecution lawyers in this field who dismiss everything as wakes, birds, etc would be "laughed out of court".

      You contradict yourself, not all are grainy and I have given my opinion why accounts/pictures contradict each other. If you do not acknowledge these things, then you are the one not engaging in deabte but probably trolling.

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    47. Firstly, I am not trolling. I have a genuine interest in this subject, having made trips to the loch, and acquired a fairly large collection of books on the subject, including a mint first edition of Mackal's book.
      Secondly, I know that eyewitness testimony is admissible as evidence in a court of law. However, that evidence would be discarded if 1) it contained vastly contradictory details, or 2) it described actions or objects not known to science.

      Following your legal theme, let's imagine an ID parade of monsters and LNM witnesses being asked to point to the beast they saw. Which would they choose - the one with multiple snakelike coils with gaps between coils and water, or the single deep humped one? The one with rough brown skin or the one with smooth black skin? The one with the large horse's head with shaggy mane, or the one with no discernible head at the end of the neck? Giant eyes or no eyes? The one with flippers or the one capable of walking across the road?
      You see, none of these reports together would stand up in court at all.

      And science, specifically biology, does not progress on eyewitness reports, it progresses on specimen analysis. That is the only conceivable approach.

      Once again, I am not a troll, I am a person who is very interested in the LNM phenomenon, and I will strip down every argument for and against the "monster" into its component parts. It's the only sensible approach Roland.

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    48. The point continues to be missed.

      The argument is NOT that eyewitness testimony is worthless -- the argument is that these eyewitness offer no visual corroboration when camera phones Reside is nearly every pocket. Where are the 1080p videos? If I can manage to grab my phone in time to capture my son taking his first unannounced steps, where is the footage of the Loch Ness monster?

      I don't understand why this line of thought is so difficult to follow, unless it is being willfully misconstrued.

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    49. Come on, Roland, out with it: what do you hypothesize Nessie is? Enough with the articles on eighty-year-old photographs, it's time to put your cards on the table and offer a theory that supports your defense of these contradictory pieces of evidence. Ignoring the question doesn't make it go away.

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    50. I put a lot of effort into replying to this, but you've declined to upload it.

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    51. You've got it wrong, anyone will admit that a proportion of your "line up" will be hoaxes, misidentifications plus people like me will readily admit genuine sightings are not 100% accurate. Your demands for the perfect line up are unreasonable.

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    52. ekm, just take a breather and wait for my article. And I will decide when it publishes - not you!

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    53. I think the Loch Ness Monster is an unclassified, new species. It is a primary water breather and rarely comes to the surface. It has amphibious properties as well but land excursions are even rarer.

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    54. "I put a lot of effort into replying to this, but you've declined to upload it."

      And I had been putting some effort into preparing for my talk which I did last night.

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    55. Was it recorded? Any chance of a YouTube upload?

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    56. "Your demands for the perfect line up are unreasonable."

      If you look at the above conversation, you will see that you stated eyewitness testimony is admissible evidence in a court of law. I agreed, but the point of my post was to illustrate that the vastly contradictory Nessie eyewitness testimony would not be valid in any court of law.
      You may have your explanations for the discrepancies, but you cannot deny that all the different descriptions are a hindrance to your case. If people had been reporting the same features without digression for 80 years I am certain you would be using that to back your case.

      I wonder which features you'll decide to discard. Certainly since the publishing of the faked surgeon's photo the wild descriptions got a bit reigned in towards a plesiosaur shape. Even 40 years later the artist who painted over Rhines' blurred image seemed to have a plesiosaur in mind when he created that flipper and fobbed it off as "computer enhancement".

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    57. If no one had seen lions before, would you discard any testimony because one witness saw a small one (cub), a large one (female) and one with a mane?

      Again, you are indulging in straw men arguments and I seriously wonder if you have had a good look at the sightings database? The greatest distribution of descriptions mainly concern what is dubbed the head and neck. The great majority of sightings are just humps and have less variability. But you knew that, I presume?

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    58. Of course I know the descriptions over the years. A hump is just a hump and so the main variances will be size and number. The neck and head is more complex, and unsurprisingly there have been much wider variations. Certainly much wider than for a single species like the lion.

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    59. Size is not an issue - things grow. Number? You have to make a decision whether there are multiple animals are involved. Not an easy task and of course there are misidentifications and real reports that are not 100% accurate.

      Your job on the other hand is easy - all misidentifications and hoaxes.

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    60. I actually think your job is easier - there are so many people who *want* to believe.

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    61. .. but even more who don't want to believe ....

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    62. I would love to believe but I don't.

      Bet you've never heard of anyone who doesn't want to believe, but the evidence has persuaded them they have to.

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    63. Probably because I haven't actively looked for such a person plus its a pretty subjective area deciding if someone does or doesn't want to believe in something.

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  11. After all the other comments my input is probably moot, but here it is anyway. At first sight it would seem to show all the classic form characteristics of a Nessie i. e. long neck, small head and hump. However, like the Shiels pic, to me anyway, it just doesn't look right, and I dont get the '"feel" that it is genuine and I slip into the "to good to be true" ravine. If it was truly a real pic and the person who took it was acting in good faith, honest and sincere he or she would have come forward declaring as such. The tired old excuse of the fear of ridicule just doesn't cut it in these modern times. Maybe in the 1930s when the phenomenom first came to public attention, but not after 80 years. As an aside comment on the second hump, if the pic were genuine, I would offer an interpretation of the tail turned off to the side. In total, it has fake writtien all over it.

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  12. Why did the photographer, or anyone else on the cruise, not spot the "monster" and report it at the time?

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  13. Jimmy, got your note, might be one for another post.

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  14. Can someone explain the 2000 photo from near urqhuart castle with video to go with it. Best evidence for nessie. But the doubters ignore it. Strange that

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    1. Is that the John Gillies video? Interesting, yes.

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  15. GB have you seen the video ' is this nessie ' ?? The one on youtube when someone films urquhart castle and there is something in the background?? Early 2000 ish ?? Thoughts please?

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    1. I've seen that video. It's an odd one. At some points it really looks like a long necked beast, at other points it looks like a standing wave rolling over itself. Have to say as a non-believer I find it intriguing but ultimately suspect it's just an interesting standing wave.

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  16. No not the john gillies one. Diffrent one.

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  17. Here is the Gillies one, from your helpful non-believer friend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrvmlEOuP78&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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  18. Sorry folks its not the Gillies one .look on youtube and type is this nessie.

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  19. That's exactly what I linked to above. Originally "anonymous", now identified as John Gillies. It is one and the same video. Jake if you still disagree please post the URL here.

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  20. Ok i cant get tge url up but it must be the same one then. If its a Gillies one then we cant take it seriously then lol never mind

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