Thursday, 5 March 2015

Lachlan Stuart's Daughter Speaks



It is one of the most iconic pictures of the Loch Ness Monster. A photograph that demands a reaction, whether it be one of disbelief or one that salutes a continuing mystery.

The picture was taken on the morning of the 14th July 1951 by Lachlan Stuart and appeared in the Scottish Sunday Express the next day. Shot in the shallows of the southern shore, the picture has taken its place in monster history.

Now this picture has been discussed at length on this blog and you can find the chain of articles starting here. Since the first was written in July 2012, nothing has since come to light that would make me alter anything. Well, that was until the grandson of Lachlan Stuart made contact with me.

He informed me by email that his mother, was the daughter of Lachlan Stuart and wished to discuss the story with me. Naturally, as a Loch Ness Monster researcher, I was delighted to have the opportunity to speak to someone that was close to such a famous case. I have her name, but I will call her Mary in this article. So, I phoned Mary in early February and had a half hour conversation about her father and that famous photograph.

One half of me was expecting Mary to inform me that the whole thing was a hoax, but that proved not to be the case. I suppose the conversation was akin to the testimony of a character witness with details about the three main players in this story - Lachlan Stuart, Taylor Hay and Richard Frere.

Mary was about one year old when the photograph appeared. In fact, she appears sitting on her mother's lap in a family photograph that appeared in a Sunday Express feature on the picture. What she learnt was as a result of her later persistent requests for her parents to retell the tale of that day in 1951.


Lachlan Stuart interviewed for the 1958 documentary "Legend of the Loch"

Constance Whyte had sent Lachlan Stuart a complimentary copy of her book, "More Than A Legend" and Mary told me her father's oft retelling of the story was always a near verbatim retelling of the account in that book (which she still has).

For example, Mary confirmed that her mother told them that the picture was taken in the morning and the press had descended on the place by the afternoon. Those who claim the photo was taken in the evening take note.

The other person involved in the taking of the picture was Taylor Hay. One sceptical researcher has even implied that Hay may not have existed, but Mary remembers him over a period of twelve years as he lodged with the Stuarts, not only in the Whitefield cottage at Loch Ness, but also in other places that their forestry work would take them.

Within about a year of the taking of the photograph, the Stuarts and Hay had left to take up new residence in the west of Scotland. Taylor Hay eventually moved out when he married and in due time the Stuart family moved south to England.

Lachlan Stuart passed away in 1979 and Taylor Hay died afterwards. What exactly happened that day passed away with them as they were the only ones present on the beach. However, we have the words and views of those who survived them and this is where Mary comes in.

What was her view of her father in the context of that well known picture? In her opinion, Lachlan Stuart was "the most honest person she knew" and not a practical joker at all. This was why the accusation of Richard Frere came as a shock to not only her, but her mother and two brothers. This was not the father she had known and grown up with and they were left wondering why Frere had said such a thing.

Now, the Stuart family were part of a close community of forestry workers and their families. Her Mum was well informed as to names, places and situations as she talked with not only her husband and lodger (Hay), but also other wives. Did she know who Richard Frere was? She had never heard of him, came the answer from her daughter to me.


Richard Frere

When Frere strode up to Tony Harmsworth only days into the opening of his Loch Ness Monster exhibition in May 1980, it began Tony's descent into an eventual, total scepticism. Tony tells us later when he:

published the fact that the picture was faked in his "Loch Ness - The Monster" publication, he received a poison-pen letter from one of Lachlan Stuart's friends ... which shows how well the photographer conned his friends.  Recently his son called at the Loch Ness Centre and, surprisingly, he didn't know that his father had faked the picture either.  

It might have been wiser to take the denial of Lachlan's son as a counter balance against what Frere said rather than some kind of confirmation. I would be interested to see this poison pen letter that Tony received. Whether that would be allowed is another matter. Tony finishes with this interesting statement:

It must be understood, however, that if you are going to produce a convincing hoax you must tell no-one the truth.

But, Tony, he did allegedly tell someone. Well, that's what Frere claimed. I have picked apart Frere's claims in the aforementioned series of articles. But, Lachlan's daughter asked me why he waited until her father was dead before he accused him. Was he making sure there would be no comeback on his claims?

That sounded logical enough, but on further thought, I am not even sure that Frere was bothered whether Lachlan Stuart or Taylor Hay were dead or alive before he made his way to that exhibition nearly thirty five years ago. Indeed, I am not sure how easily he could have found out about them, given what Mary told me. In my opinion, this major exhibition centre opened and that was the only incentive he needed.

There are three options in assessing Frere's claim. Either he was accurate in what he claimed, he was lying or he misremembered the whole story. In the first regard, Frere's story has too many inconsistencies to be regarded as an accurate portrayal of events. Was he present at the so called hoaxing or did Lachlan Stuart confess to him weeks later? They both can't be true.

Moreover, Frere was looking for a horse for his timber business, and this is linked to his so called conversation with Lachlan Stuart. However, he only went into this business in 1953 and the Stuarts had left the area by then.

So, did Frere lie? It would be easy to fabricate a story in which he and Lachlan had a grudge, or there was some axe to grind. That would be simple to concoct, but very difficult to prove. In fact, there is no reason to suggest it, so I won't go down that path.


MEMORIES

So, did Richard Frere simply misremember some encounter back in 1951? The red flag for me was Frere's opening remark to Alistair Boyd in 1988, "I happen to remember clearly ...". Now, can someone remember something clearly after 37 years? I think that is generally not true.

I have looked at other events brought to light decades after they happened. I covered one only recently from 1909 or 1915 where the witness unveiled the story in 1951. There is a general agreement that memory of events will gradually fade over the years and that may accelerate as the brain enters old age. The minor details will go first and the grosser details will follow until the entire event disappears from the mind.

It is a bit like a footprint being impressed in mud. Over time, erosion from wind, rain, heat and other factors will gradually obliterate the footprint. There are two instances where this process can be mitigated. The first is to regularly rehearse the memory to re-impress the "footprint". So, in our case above, Mary's repeated requests for the retelling of the story from her parents kept the integrity of the memory of the event to a higher degree.

The other is the "impact" event which leaves a greater impression on the mind. Seeing the Loch Ness Monster counts as one of these, something startling or extraordinary that leaves a deeper impression on the memory. This is akin to our footprint being impressed with a huge weight upon it or in more durable material such as clay.

After 37 years, Richard Frere was not going to have a clear memory of a conversation made in 1951. I concede the two may have met in the course of forestry work at the time, they may have had a conversation about Lachlan Stuart's newly taken picture. Being a brief and one off encounter, Lachlan Stuart may not have bothered mentioning it to his wife, hence her lack of recall of Frere.

Lachlan Stuart may even have said that some had suggested he took a picture of hay bales whilst pointing to some nearby hay bales and tarpaulin. After 37 years, such a conversation could become a confession in the mind of someone who regarded the Loch Ness Monster as the worst example of the Highland commercialism he so loathed and fought against.

One clue to this is why he did not take this story to the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau when they had a high profile presence at the loch between 1962 and 1972. Frere had lived in Drumnadrochit since 1959, yet there is no record of him confiding a hoax with anyone. But, at that point, the conversation could have been less ambiguous or may have entered an ambiguous state regarding exact words used. Either way, the better recall of the conversation back then was not sufficient to provoke a visit to the LNIB.

Frere was also heavily involved with the author, Gavin Maxwell, and ran many of his corporate affairs till his death in 1969. Thereafter, he focused on writing Maxwell's biography, "Maxwell's Ghost". In my opinion, this busy part of his life helped to erode memories of this casual conversation even more.

CONCLUSION

Lachlan Stuart's daughter says allegations of a hoax are inconsistent with her father's character. Richard Frere's words are accepted because of his perceived character. Apparently, character witnesses do not count on the other side of the argument.

This is not, primarily, an assessment of the photograph taken in 1951, but rather the characters involved. People will have already made their minds up based on Frere's testimony, photographic analysis and attempted reproductions.

Based on my own years of assessing the Loch Ness Monster debate, witnesses of any sort are not perfect, photograph assessment is not always objective as made out and any famous picture can be reproduced given enough time and resources.

In that light, and as with other cases, I leave the individual reader to form their own judgement on the matter!

The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com
























89 comments:

  1. Surprised I am the first person to comment
    As always Roland an interesting read.However the following comes to mind
    1. Children will often (indeed usually do) defend their late parents reputation and that is entirely honourable
    2 Putting aside for one moment your other analyses re the practicality of a hoax there seems to be an inference that if Lachlan Stuart undertook a practical joke he must be regarded as dishonest. I must disagree with that, it remains equally possible that he undertook some leg pulling was surprised by the apparent sudden and I guess overwhelming interest of the Express(at that time a powerful newspaper and not the racist UKIP rag it now is) may have found it difficult to back down or admit to a hoax.He could have felt compelled to keep this from his loved ones for the rest of his days whilst remaining a good and decent man.
    3. That said the apparent immediate presence of the Express strikes me as an argument that he did not construct a Nessie from hay and tarpaulin, surely a thorough journalist entrusted with Lord Beaverbrooks' money would have searched the area?

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    1. It's interesting to hear the reassertion of the photo being taken in the morning, as was originally reported, and not later in the day. I can't see any problem with this. I have read about the theory of the photograph being taken later in the day but looking at the actual picture I see nothing to suggest any indication of when it was taken, be it AM or PM, so as far as I'm concerned Lachlan Stewart spoke the truth regarding the time he took the picture.

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    2. I don't doubt the truthfulness of what the fmaily say about Lachlan Stuart. As for practical joking not equating to dishonesty. In this case, it would equate.

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    3. Pete,there's nothing at all to suggest an AM or PM setting. Some people think a photo is an objective piece of data which can only result in objective conclusions.

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    4. to clarify I am NOT doubting the truthfulness of the family.Presumably Roland you say that practical joking in this case would equal dishonesty due to the length of time the fiction was perpetrated and the (assumed) payment for the photo>

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    5. If it was a deception, yes. Note the still of Lachlan Stuart above where he gave an interview to the BBC. If this was just a joke, the correct tactic would be to step back and refuse further interviews perpetuating the story (as Wilson did with the Wetherell picture).

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    6. There was a payment for the photo, "Mary" says it was just shillings, less than an old pound.

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    7. Sorry Roland I am struggling a bit with what you say about the "correct tactic"The issue is did Mr Stuart act with dishonest intent ie to make some money.how he acted afterwards seems less important. I will post below in more detail how I think this ties up with Frere.As an aside am I to take to that your reference to how Wilson acted is an acceptance that that picture IS a hoax?

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    8. By tactic I mean, if you know have been dishonest, don't dig a deeper hole for yourself by consistently publicising it. Lachlan Stuart did not do this.

      Wilson, for his part in the Wetherell hoax, did exactly that by standing back from his part in the hoax.

      A side question here is why should we trust Spurling's account of making a model 60 years ago? Should that also be discarded as a memory defect?

      I would say, the visual recall of making a model is more likely to stay in your mind than the exact words of a conversation.

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  2. Back in the 70s I wrote to Tim Dinsdale a number of times. In one of my letters to him, I suggested (along with a drawing) that what people interpreted in the photo as humps were in fact, the ends of flippers.

    Tim agreed this might be a possibility and was 50/50 on my suggestion.

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    1. Interesting, what was Dinsdale' general take on the photo?

      BTW, the negative is long lost, but the original camera is still with the family somewhere. I woud love that as a piece of Loch Ness memorabilia!

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    2. So long ago now, can't recall (sorry) but he did say words to the effect that flippers might be a possibility due to the depth of water. I pointed out that the middle (whatever it was) seemed closer in the photo than on the left and right.

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  3. Another perplexing and confusing “Who done it”. I remember this famous classic photo from my boyhood indoctrination to the Loch Ness Mystery and had always regarded it as genuine right into adulthood. It was right up there with my beloved Surgeon's pic. So imagine my dismay that it to had fallen by the wayside of alleged hoaxed photos, I was devastated!

    I went back though all four previous articles in the series to reacquaint myself with the specifics and have come to the conclusion that Frere's story is too full of holes and inconsistencies to be believable, more so than Stuart's alleged claims of a prank. Frere saw the act, or he didn't, he heard the admission, or he didn't he was there on the pertinent date, or he wasn't. It makes one's head spin!

    I trust GB to have made a thorough, logical, honest and unbiased attempt to get the facts right (unbiased insofar as what the facts suggest). One reader is not surprised that a family member would vigorously defend her fathers honorable image and that also entered my mind, and who would fault her? But, I am of the mind that I have to go with what the facts show concerning the main players: Stuart and Frere. If I am to believe Stuart then yes, it does show the LNM, but of course I am biased in that regard. If pressed for an opinion as to the photo actually showing a live animal, I would have to relegate it to the pile of the inconclusive. Roy Mackal et al notwithstanding. But, that doesn't diminish my belief in something there.

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  4. An iconic photo, but unfortunately i could never take it seriously due to the middle hump. It's just too angular and (in my view) unnatural looking.

    I also think the whole thing is too close to shore, and therefore in fairly shallow water, so i was never quite sure what i was supposed to be looking at.

    Not sure about all the too-ing and fro-ing over Richard Frere's involvement. Maybe he saw the hoax being set up, maybe he didn't. I myself don't see that as being especially relevant to the price of fish.

    I also subscribe to the view that it's a bit unfair for anyone to label Mr Stuart a dishonest man. It was likely a bit of fun that quickly grew arms and legs. Who knows?

    Still a great image though.

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  5. One thing we can say about this photo: it shows a borderline parody of the old multi humped serpent depicted in times passed. People who support the MacNab depiction of LNM back shapes cannot support this image, and vice-versa.

    All great fun though!

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  6. The multi humps is certainly a feature of some reported sightings. In that sense, the photo does not diverge from the data set. I would be inclined myself no to regard it as a single animal.

    The shallowness of the waters is not some revelation of sceptical investigation, this was stated in the original report. Whyte herself makes the observation, apparently to no detriment.

    But on the subject of hoaxers, there is surprisingly few confessions from a field which is apparently a magnet for such people. In fact, Loch Ness more diligent than myself over the decades have scoured the landscape with very little to show for it.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but only the Surgeon's picture has any kind of confession attached to it. The theory that these things grow arms and legs and thus makes the perpetrators clam up has some merit, but for everything?

    I see no reason why a hoaxer coud not confess quietly to his family and no more is said - until the participants are deceased. I find it very strange that Lachlan Stuart would go 28 years without saying anything at all to his family.

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    1. Typo:

      "In fact, Loch Ness researchers more diligent than myself"

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  7. The reproduction of pictures in more recent years is also a bit of a canard. If I suggested a real photo of a large, unknown creature could be reproduced with enough time and resources, then what has been proven in terms of the hoax/misidentification/monster debate? Nothing really.

    If the Mona Lisa can be reproduced, just about anything can.

    Rather, these events are staged for the psychology of the visual impact. It's still a bit of a puzzle to me how Lachlan Stuart and Taylor Hay managed to hide the "props" from the press, family and fellow forestry workers that were in the area.

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  8. Good points are raised concerning the photo:

    Shallowness of the water to contain a large animal, unless it was really flat or slender.

    Sharp angularity of the third hump, making it look out of place or unnatural?

    Offset of the middle hump in relation to the other two, (optical illusion?) suggesting multiple creatures.

    Humps not conforming to other known configurations.

    Etc, etc, etc.

    I've heard all these arguments before in other sources e.g. literature and websites. Must say it's the first time I've heard the suggestion of flippers! Perhaps if we can get away form all the psychoanalyzing of the principles and stick to analyzing the pic itself, we can come to some middle ground and conclude that at best it is inconclusive. If there is any truth to what Stuart or Frere asserted, they took it with them in death and the same can be said of Taylor Hay, of course.

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    1. Oops!, meant to say “middle” hump, not third on second point. Sorry.

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    2. Have you checked the Hugh Rowland sighting in Dinsdale's book?

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    3. In regard to what Roland? Flippers, humps? And what edition? Been awhile since I've read any of Dindale's works, I might have forgotten. Don't have any of his books handy and will have to await a trip to the public library. You've piqued my curiosity.

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    4. A triangular hump. I'll check the book.

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    5. OK Roland, I think I found what you were referencing. In Dinsdales first book, he quotes Hugh Rowand (Rowland?) proprietor of Foyers Hotel as having a sighting of a triangular object speeding across the loch.

      It's interesting to note that Dinsdale once made a clay model of a Nessie, based on reported characteristics. The model shows a creature with three humps, the middle hump more triangular and larger than the other two, eerily reminiscent of the configuration shown in the Stuart photo. One can say that perhaps Dinsdale was influenced by the Stuart photo. But, Stuart could not have been influenced by the Dinsdale model, as the Stuart photo predates the model by ten years!

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  9. With an old camera this photo bin so clear cannot be that far away! Its in shallow water. Even as a 12 year old i thought this was a poor photo! I will go with the hay in bags sorry !

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  10. I remember reading on here a good while ago, that when American cryptozoologist Roy Mackal examined this photograph he suggested that the three humps in the water could possibly be three individual monsters...interesting theory perhaps?

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    1. Yes, three smaller creatures looks more likely than one. I would have thought somebody would have suggested by now that Lachlan Stuart caught three itinerant seals on camera! They have certainly suggested a similar explanation for Aldie Mackay's two hump sighting.

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    2. No need. It's 3 hay bales in tarpaulin. Not seals, not monsters, hay bales.

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    3. Well, that may or may not be the case. The main point of this article is not to prove or disprove what is in the photo, but rather the legitimacy of what witnesses claim.

      If Frere can be shown to be unreliable, why accept what he said?

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    4. Macnab lied when he gave Mackal a negative which he said was the original. So should we also dismiss Macnab's testimony?

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    5. Putting aside your claims about Macnab (please place that in the appropriate article), I am not claiming Frere lied.

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  11. Well this time tomorrow i will be in loch ness. Hmmm after a few tennents and a few whiskys i think i cud still produce a more convincing photo of nessie than this !!!!

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    1. Well, Jake. The sceptics here make it sound so easy and it was all a jolly jape back then.

      Easy to set up and then remove every scrap of hay from the shoreline. Apparently Lachlan Stuart just rolled the bales of hay and tarpaulin round the back of some bushes on the shoreline when done. Just too easy to evade journalists, family and any forestry worker.

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    2. Ok Sir, now I am somewhat confused. Perplexed even. For the last few years your blog has proclaimed that Loch Ness is a sparsely populated area with little observation taking place. This, we are told, is one of the reasons no one has filmed the beast clearly.

      Surely such an area would quite easily allow Lachlan Stuart to execute a prank like this, and remain undetected by media, forestry workers etc?

      Andrew

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    3. I was referring to after the event when the media got wind of the photo. I can hardly think of a reason for an Express journalist to be on the shore of Loch Ness at 6:30am.

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  12. Well stories get changed and mixed up over the years. Perhaps he put them on the back of the van who knows. But for me the truth is in the photo.... not far out and in the shallows.

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    1. Which is the point of this article, stories get changed and mixed up over the years.

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  13. Far from being a problem, the lack of depth of the water may be exactly what forces the animal to emerge here in this strange way (assuming it's a single individual). - Guam

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  14. You know, I was just thinking, that no matter what classic photo of a purported Nessie, all have come under scrutiny as being fraudulent for one reason or another. Submitted for your consideration.

    The Gray photo (1933): Swimming dog with stick in mouth.

    The Wilson photo (1934): A model, a diving bird or otter, an elephant's trunk ;-)

    The Adams photo (1934): Dolphin dorsal fin.

    The Stuart photo (1951): Bales of hay

    The MacNab photo (1955): A rolling wave caused by a boat, or doctored photo

    The Cockrell photo (1958): A floating stick, or log.

    The O'Connor photo (1960): Inflated polyethylene bag and wooden neck.


    So is it any wonder that the Stuart photo did not escape the same treatment? The validity of the Stuart photo in particular has been undermined, if one believes Frere, by an individual who seemingly had ulterior motives. I wonder what would have been, if Frere hadn't entered the picture, the means which some would give as to the deception. And yes, I know that the Surgeon's photo is widely accepted as a hoax, but what if Alastair Boyd hadn't exposed it as a hoax? I could have included the Shiels photo (1977), but I don't consider it a classic and mostly everybody, skeptics and believers alike accept it as a fake. Just an observation, while I sit around twiddling my thumbs and pondering the great mystery that is The Loch Ness Monster.

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    1. John, just as nature abhors a vacuum, so sceptics abhor a Nessie photograph.

      Therefore, it is no surprise that any photo will attract "alternative" explanations. They are to be expected.

      That does not invalidate them all. It is just that they range from garbage to good.

      If Frere had not said anything, we would probably still seen a similar explanation come forth.

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    2. I'm afraid that list just makes me think that if those are the classic photos, the photographic evidence isn't very good. Apart from individual problems with the pictures, if they all showed the same species it would have to be a very strange beast, don't you think?

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    3. That depends on the model monster you have in your mind to compare these photos against. Monster sceptics tend to pick the simplest monster possible in order to shoot down everything whilst monster advocates tend to overdo their model monster in order to accommodate almost every picture.

      The truth is more likely somewhere in between.

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    4. Geordie Sceptic10 March 2015 at 03:26

      To interject - the fact that all the "classic" photos are so different and all are so dubious should send out a clear message. We are seeing believers defending very contradictory images at the same time!

      I believe the truth is obvious: there is not one genuine photo, film or video of a Loch Ness Monster.

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    5. You're being illogical.

      Supposing there was only one image amongst all these that was a true picture of the Loch Ness Monster ... how could it be a contradictory image?

      Clearly fake images distort the entire database, that doesn't disprove anything.

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    6. Geordie Sceptic10 March 2015 at 04:23

      Ok here's my logic. I don't think any of the photos, films or videos look remotely authentic in terms of an undiscovered animal, hence I say there are no LNM images.

      Please explain the logic behind saying one of the images shows a LNM, without having the ability to say which of the images it is!

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    7. Two asides first.

      Why are you here? i thought you were done with this?

      Secondly, I hope none of you were decieved by GS's sleight of hand when he presented this straw man argument to influence the easily influenced. To wit, these photos are too alike, hence there is no LNM.

      I say this, because if there is a pro-Nessie researcher who thinks all these pictures depict the Loch Ness Monster, I would like to know who they are. Certainly, they would be in a minority if they do exist. So, whybother presenting such a specious argument? Was it to catch some out or does GS alway type before he thinks?

      But before you try and subtly shift the focus away from your weak arguments, tell me one thing.

      What model of "undiscovered animal" are you using as a template in your assesment of these pictures?

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    8. Geordie, if I had to pick one of the “classic” photos that would, in all probability be genuine and showing some kind of unknown animal, it would be the Gray photo, because in my estimation it is the one with the least amount of “garbage” attached to it. Besides, somehow I have a good feeling about that one, call it intuition or a gut feeling. Don't ask me to try to explain, because that would be fruitless and I would not get anywhere with you. We'll just have to agree to disagree.

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    9. Geordie Sceptic11 March 2015 at 04:22

      That's cool with me, John. As you know - I welcome all opinions, and think that the only way anything moves forward is if we're all allowed to bring our thoughts to the table.

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    10. There you go, we agree on something.

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    11. Geordie Sceptic13 March 2015 at 06:33

      There's another thing we agree on: that it would be absolutely awesome if large animals unknown to science were swimming in the depths of Loch Ness. I think, just like I did as a child, that such a scenario would be incredibly exciting.

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    12. Consider this as to why not all photos said to be of the LNM look the same: At least twice a year, sometimes more, I have reason to dig a hole. If you happen to go past my property while I am digging a hole you may see me. At different times of year I will be dressed differently, and depending on conditions I will use different shovels. Sometimes I have help digging the hole, and depending on when in the process you see me I will appear very different; a creature with a head, two arms and two legs or a creature with a head, two arms and stubby lower appendages of varying size...

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  15. Bu Glasgow Boy, you don't seem to understand. Undiscovered animals emerging from water don't look anything like that! : ) - Guam

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    1. Heh, well some sceptics seem to know this "undiscovered" creature better than me!

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    2. Geordie Sceptic11 March 2015 at 00:20

      Witticisms aside, I made the logical assumption that such a hypothetical animal would - if it existed - look something like the largest body of eyewitness reports you believers so dearly cherish. Something with a hump, flippers and a long neck. Well would you believe it, doesn't that sound just like a plesiosaur?

      Anyway, I could easily go through each image to explain what is inherently wrong with it. I can also point out the obvious discrepancies between e.g. the neck/head of the Gray image and the Cockrell image, the back of the Macnab object and the back(s) of the Stuart objects etc. The list goes on. I know that attempts have been made to describe some kind of shapeshifting beast with extendable and retractable limbs and necks, humps that inflate and deflate, but come on guys, really.... ;-)

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    3. I don't think so. The "simple" explanations of sceptics often turn out to be more problematic on further examination. This is the result of years of preaching to the choir with no critical feedback.

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    4. "I made the logical assumption that such a hypothetical animal would - if it existed - look something like the largest body of eyewitness reports you believers so dearly cherish. Something with a hump, flippers and a long neck. Well would you believe it, doesn't that sound just like a plesiosaur?"

      Thanks for helping us out, logic is sorely needed here to bring some clarity to this issue. True, thanks to the law of excluded middle, something that looks like a hump is a hump, anything reminding one of flippers just can't help being flippers, and what can something like a long neck be, if not a long neck? In addition, even if that wasn't true, we are lucky that undiscovered animals that don't exist have a tendency to turn out to be plesiosaurs, so one can be excused for trying to be logical in sorting out the options, and conclude that since no picture portrays a plesiosaur -- and we all are very familiar with how plesiosaurs (or any undiscovered creature, for that matter) prefer to swim -- then there are no undiscovered animals in Loch Ness. Go on, I totally follow you.

      "Anyway, I could easily go through each image to explain what is inherently wrong with it."

      Yes, I agree that a very strong case can be made to the effect that undiscovered animals usually look remarkably different from what can be ascertained from considering these pictures in detail, especially if they don't even exist.

      "I know that attempts have been made to describe some kind of shapeshifting beast with extendable and retractable limbs and necks, humps that inflate and deflate, but come on guys, really..."

      True, it is a well-established fact of science that no undiscovered animal carries any of those somatic traits, so we are on safe ground here.

      - Guam

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    5. Geordie Sceptic11 March 2015 at 13:09

      Ok Guam, you're one of the fantasy cut and paste monster crew. I get it. Now, which of the many photos could really be a monster? Or by your logic, can we just include all of them, on the basis that we have the get out clause of saying the animal is unknown?

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    6. Hey maybe as the creature is =unknown= we can go all ted holiday guam. Assign supernatural traits, lol. Perhaps even say the creature knows not to surface when video cameras are around. It is =unknown= after all. Lol!!

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    7. "Ok Guam, you're one of the fantasy cut and paste monster crew. I get it."

      No, I am a big supporter of your logical thinking. I'm in your crew. Just trying to help you win this battle.

      "Now, which of the many photos could really be a monster? Or by your logic, can we just include all of them, on the basis that we have the get out clause of saying the animal is unknown?"

      No, of course. Logic demands that since we know that no undiscovered or unknown animal lives in Loch Ness, then none of the pictures can't be pictures of it. How can one capture in a photo something that isn't there? And I, too, find it ridiculous that anybody would call unknown something that is not known.

      - Guam

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    8. Geordie Sceptic12 March 2015 at 03:14

      I must admit it did seem very odd that such an intelligent writer would be a Nessie believer, but I thought you were just trying to rip my posts apart, paragraph by paragraph...

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    9. I think Guam is going way off course from my original point. That point being that sceptics choose a basic enough "unknown" animal that makes it easier to reject diverse photos. The discussion on such diversity I will leave to a future article.

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    10. Geordie Sceptic12 March 2015 at 15:50

      I think sarcasm gives Guam a big kick. Each to their own eh!

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    11. Gee... Geordie, I'm hurt! Are you implying that all us believers are illiterate boobs. And I thought we were friends now. :-(

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  16. Chasing Leviathan10 March 2015 at 15:08

    I don't think I have much to say here except to record my thanks to Mr Stuart's family for being kind enough to share their thoughts and recollections so many years later. Given the bear-pit debates on subjects like this so frequently become, I think that takes considerable courage. I for one am very grateful. Thank you.

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  17. I've always had a problem with this photo. The shape of the humps just seems to angular to me. I could only make sense of these shapes as depicting the backs of 3 animals moving either towards or away from the photographer, but Stuart claimed the animal moved across his line of vision from right to left. In other words, a side view. Dinsdale noted a similarity of these humps to the shape he filmed, but JARIC pointed out that Dindale's object was filmed moving away from him (in the hump sequence) whereas the object(s) in the Stuart photo were a side view.

    There is nothing in the photo that gives the impression of movement through the water as none of the objects are creating wakes. This, of course, is inconsistent with Stuart's story.

    Dick Raynor has demonstrated conclusively that the objects are in water that's close in to shore and only about knee deep.

    After the photo was taken it would be a small matter to hide the tarps and move the hay bales back to Stuart's croft.

    I think Mr. Stuart and Mr. Hay simply decided to have a leg-pull and perhaps make a few bucks off the Nessie legend, but the whole business snowballed.

    As for Mr. Frere, I don't know what to make of him. But in his photo he reminds me of Alistair Sim in A Christmas Carol. I can picture him blurting out "Nessie is a humbug!"

    Paddy

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    1. Actually, Dick Raynor did not prove the picture was taken in knee deep water. There are many points along the shore where you could get a similar backdrop but the water would be a different depth.

      In fact, in one of Dick's comparison pictures, the shoreline is visible in the bottom left whereas it is not in the Stuart picture which suggests Dick's hay bales were closer to shore!

      His investigation was biased towards producing a picture which confirmed their theory. Hardly scientific.

      You make the alleged clean up operation sound simple. What about all the hay falling off the bales and left on the beach/road? Dick said they couldn't move the hay bales and had to wait until they drained!

      How did Lachlan Stuart manage to do all this hay bale movement without his wife noticing a single thing?

      As for wakes, in the midst of choppy waters and the general poor quality of the image, I am not sure what we should be seeing in terms of wakes.

      Angular humps have been described by other witnesses, so this nothing unique.

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    2. Actually, I don' see any disparity in the multiple humps or single humps sightings. I recall some tales of witnesses saying they've seen the animal shapeshifting from single to multiple humps and undulations in progress.

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    3. Ok Roland, I was wrong about the knee deep bit. I had in mind the first couple of photos on Dick's site. And I too noticed the shore in those photos, and was initially puzzled by it, but, there's the other photo where Dick is standing next to his hay bale mock ups, with the Stuart photo superimposed so both photos are matched in terms of scale/alignment. Dick is standing in the spot where the left hump of the Stuart photo is and the water looks to be about thigh deep. In other words, shallow. And there's no shore visible in that photo. In that photo Dick would most likely have been standing a bit further out, but he'll have to confirm that. Still, the water was shallow and there was no shoreline visible.

      Choppy water or not, basic physics dictates that a sizable object moving through the water should still display some kind of wake. Especially since, If memory serves, Stuart said the object was fast moving. Given this, we should at least see a wake trailing off the left side of each hump, particularly the hump on the left side (the first hump according to Stuart). There is no trace whatsoever of any wakes, which strongly suggests stationary objects.

      Stuart and Hay were forestry workers. In other words, rugged outdoorsmen paid for physical labor, men accustomed to working with their hands and backs. Dragging three water logged hay bales a short distance to shore (especially if they used the tarps to drag them) letting the bales drain/dry out, then dragging the dried out - and lighter - bales/tarps into the brush would hardly be physically challenging for such men. These guys weren't metrosexuals.

      There appears to be a bright spot in the upper right of the photo, which is apparently sun glare. But if the photo was taken at around 6:30 in the morning why would the sun be in a westernly orientation?

      On a personal note Roland I read your book about a month ago and thoroughly enjoyed it !

      Paddy

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    4. Thanks for the book compliment, a positive review on amazon would do nicely!

      I see the non-shore picture, but the shoreline picture makes me suspect this was also cutting it fine when they cropped the picture. I also note Steuart Campbell's analysis of the picture put the objects out further.

      If you reread the account, the object was not reported as consistently moving at a fast speed. It was also stated as changing direction (I read three times). Which phase of movement was captured on the picture? You tell me. I will consult the original Express articles again for further information.

      As for the "sun" in the picture. I am surprised this argument is still kept alive. I took a shot at noon that shows glare as well, but it is nothing more than a cloud refelcting sunlight. The fact that this is not even acknowledged as a possible explanation says a lot.

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    5. Two observations on previous posts: As far as the depth and/or distance from shore of the objects - since it is close to shore as opposed to in the middle of the lake wouldn't whether it was high or low tide affect the depth and the apparent distance from shore? And as far as stray bits of hay around the location of the sighting - that would only be relevant if you were looking for evidence or proof of hay bales being used as humps. I don't know who/when the first mention of a hay bale hoax was made, but at the time they wanted a story and LS was willing to talk...

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  18. Well the tennents and whisky was flowing by the loch side last night..people say if i drink too much whisky i will see nessie.....sadly i didnt!!!! :))) early days though lol

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    1. Your emoticon looks like it's still drunk :-) Just don't go swimming “ the loch never gives up its dead”

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  19. Met up with Dick Raynor today. He took us to the exact area were this photograph was taken! Went to the area where lachlan claimed he first saw the object before racing down to take a photo,then we went down to the area of the loch.it was good to be shown this as its one of the oldest and famous photos. Would liked to have spent more time but we had some bets on the big races so we got back to watch lol a nice 10-1 winner has ensured a few more top malts tonight :))) great when someone like Dick takes time out to meet people like me who have a big interest in the mystery. Bug thanks to him. Pity we couldnt have stopped longer!! Have to say the story behind Lachlan's photo is rather confusing ! Off down the loch again for some nessie spotting before it gets dark lol :)))

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    1. Well, sounds like you had an interesting day, Jake, but I wouldn't use the word "exact" when it comes to placing these events. No one knows where Lachlan Stuart was standing when he took his picture.

      Plenty of candidate spots, but no one knows which one.

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    2. Geordie Sceptic11 March 2015 at 16:05

      My money is on a spot where hay bales partially extrude from the water.:-)

      It's my intention to meet two people involved in the Loch Ness story - Dick Raynor and Adrian Shine. The top two brains by a big margin.

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    3. Hmmm, I think I know where your not so unbiased loyalities lie. Don't worship them too much when you meet, it could become embarrassing.

      What if a similar picture was produced but required buoys because hay bales would sink? Would it be high on your list of preferences?

      You do of course realise that the hay bales used are a lot smaller than the stated size of the 1951 humps? This necessitates them being closer to shore and hence in shallower water to cover the same are on the print.

      This is not a problem to the sceptic, since they would just discard this part of the testimony. Easy job this.

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    4. Geordie Sceptic12 March 2015 at 04:39

      Do you think the picture shows three monsters, Roland?

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    5. I am more inclined to that than one, but have made no firm decision. I don't think the creature is as close to the shore as made out, so there is more room for body depth.

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  20. One more question on reproducing photos.

    If a scientist was collecting data to plot a graph but he only accepted the data points which fitted his desired curve, would you accept this as a valid experiment?

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  21. I saw them both yesterday funny enuf geordie. I saw Adrian later on in a pub in fort augustus. He was in company so didnt get to speak to him. Last thing he would have wanted was a daft drunk moithering him ha ha . Would of rounded the day off nicely if i had Of spoken though. Good thing about Dick and Adrian is they have time to talk to anyone. Even a humble lad like me lol :)

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    1. Geordie Sceptic12 March 2015 at 09:22

      I actually think you're an astute, clever bloke. You just seem to enjoy the booze a lot :-)

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  22. In the photograph that is shown in this article the waves at the bottom seem to be almost breaking.There is white water showing on the crests which suggests to me that they are near the shoreline.Other photographs are cropped more tightly and these waves do not show.In Witchell's Loch Ness Story the distance of the creature is given as about 50 yards offshore.Jack

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  23. ekm, your comment on Lachlan Stuart's family is not welcome here.




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    1. ekm, wny don't you try and post a comment which doesn't feel the need to take a dig at someone else?

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    2. It's hard to know what I posted (or for anyone else to judge my tone) when you're withholding my comments and only allowing your reactions to be visible.

      I said that family is typically biased toward their own. You consider that a "dig"?

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  24. After more reaserch on this photo ive just read that tony harmsworth claims Frere told him he was there when lachlan did the hoax. But frere then claimed lachlan told him about it. If this is true then i cant believe mr frere's claim!!! This story has so many twists !!

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  25. strange how mr frere kept it quiet for so long and strange how his story changed. Makes me wonder if he actually rumbled lachlan stuarts hoax. Maybe he found the bales or overheard a conversarion!! If Lachlan still denied it then he cudnt tell the world could he? so that would make sense why he left it till he had passed away. Perhaps he knew lachlan had used bales of hay but cudnt get him to admit it. Therefore he wanted the world to know it was a hoax cus he felt it was wrong. Hence the confusion of what frere told people. Makes sense to me !!!

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  26. Have to say, as hoaxes go i think it would've been a relatively easy one to pull off.

    I'm too young to speak with authority, but i can't imagine forestry workers wandering the Foyers road with haybales and/or tarpaulin would've been that out of place in the 50s.

    We don't know that nobody else saw them. We only know that it's only Frere who documented seeing them.

    Still a great image though.

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