Monday, 13 April 2015

The James Currie Film

This post is probably more by way of a postscript to the previous article on the MacRae film. The James Currie film is another alleged movie of the Loch Ness Monster which has never been verified to exist. The source of the story is an article in the Aberdeen Evening Express dated the 18th September 1973 in which the reporter (Charles Fraser) tells readers of the attempts by a "leading monster hunter" (Roland Brown) to get this film released for analysis. The article is reproduced above with thanks to Mike Dash for the scan.

The article takes us back to 1938, when retired bank manager James Currie of London arrived at Loch Ness with his movie camera and a six inch telephoto lens, determined to capture the Loch Ness Monster on film. Setting up his camera at a point on the shore opposite Urquhart Castle, he kept vigil for eleven days until his luck was in as the monster put in the desired appearance.

The account tells us that a wake appeared at 300 yards which soon led to the creature surfacing with long neck, three humps and a triangular shaped head as it progressed along the loch. We are told Mr. Currie exposed up to three minutes of film of this greyish brown creature splashing about.

However, having gone to these lengths to obtain this vital piece of footage, James Currie decided to place the film in a bank vault in Great Portland Street, London, "until such time as the public takes such matters seriously". At the time of writing, the article states that Mr. Currie had been dead for over twenty years.

If this all sounds familiar, you would be right. The whole saga sounds like the McRae story, but using a different person. But could this be another separate, sensational film hiding from view? The idea of not one but two detailed films of the Loch Ness Monster being under lock and key strains even the credulity of the most sycophant Nessie fan.

Unlike the McRae film, we have no information on Currie's family or genealogy that could lead us to a death certificate or any other information. We now have a clear picture of who Dr. MacRae was, but Mr. Currie was a bank manager and that is it. My own perusal of the British Library news archives turned up no such person, though admittedly, a newspaper mention is no guarantee, even for a bank manager.

Unfortunately, the newspaper article raises more questions than it answers. The reporter states that all this was reported in "contemporary reports". However, a search of 1938 press clippings shows up nothing about this incident. The closest I could find was a sighting of three humps, long neck and tail by a party of tourists on the 11th July near Invermoriston Bay, miles away from the stated location of James Currie.

By 1975, the article had entered the consciousness of the monster hunting fraternity. In a MacRae film exchange between Alastair Dallas and Alan Wilkins, Dallas had been asked about this Currie film. He said he had no knowledge of Currie or his film.

Fraser also recounts the tale of the MacRae film, but his retelling of that tale is full of errors. The article claims MacRae came across the creature floating, as if asleep. He claims a scaly tail was visible. Furthermore, he states a boat is visible in the film, scaling the creature to 30 feet. Finally, he asserts that all the trustees of the film were now dead.

None of these so called facts are in the account Holiday relates in his book, "The Great Orm of Loch Ness". We can only assume Fraser embellished the story and hence his telling of the Currie story is under suspicion of exaggeration too.

However, the similarities between the Currie and MacRae films suggests there is more than mere coincidence at work. Consider these parallels in the two cases.

Both men filmed a long necked monster with three humps.
Both films run for several minutes.
Both describe the head as being conical in nature.
Both men decided to keep the film in a bank vault until the matter was taken more seriously.
Both men had died over twenty years ago (25 years ago in MacRae's case).

Paul Harrison, who was involved in the hunt for the MacRae film also made enquiries to the Aberdeen Evening Express regarding the article author, Charles Fraser. No one from that time had heard of him, which suggests he was a freelance writer not permanently employed at their offices.

Enquiries to seasoned Nessie researchers also turned up a blank as to the identity of the so called leading monster hunter, Roland Brown. I also did a search for the variant "Ronald Brown" which proved negative as well.

One could argue that the name "Roland Brown" was a false name to allow the real monster hunter to get on with his detective work anonymously. The same could be applied to the Currie story being a cover for the actual MacRae film, but again deflecting so that the likes of Alastair Dallas would be left alone. However, this strained interpretation still leaves us wondering why the real investigator did not eventually step forward with whatever he had found?

All in all, the indicators point towards this 1973 article being a fabrication. Why it was done is not clear, but if Mr. Charles Fraser is reading, perhaps he could tell us!

The author can be contacted at


  1. Geordie Sceptic13 April 2015 at 23:38

    One thing's for sure - the more impossible a film is to find, the more spectacular its contents are declared to be.

    Maybe this is all down to a form of "delayed shock and awe", whereby the creator of the film experiences no shock and awe at the time of the sighting, but then suffers from it later, causing the film to be irretrievably lost?

    1. Nightshift geordie?

    2. Geordie Sceptic14 April 2015 at 05:46

      No, we had to sack him. He got a bit drunk and left the templates on a bus! So we're actively recruiting now. Please send your CV to The Illuminati.

  2. It does have the ring of Lunchtime O Booze about it. Mr Fraser appears to have rehashed the McRae story mangled a few other bits and changed the respectable nature of the witness from Dr to bank manager a la Mcnab. Am I right in thinking that the Holliday book only became a paperback in 1973?Do we know the date of the newspaper article?

    1. Holiday's book came out in 1968.

    2. Oh well bang goes that theory.IF the book had been reissued and was being sent out for promotional purposes it might have provided journalistic stimulus.However what was the date of the article itself?

  3. There's a cover-up concerning better quality lake monster videos/ films. You will never see this film, the MacRae film, the one Adrian Shine has, and that Bodette Champ video from 10 years ago. Ivan T. Sanderson knew there was something fishy going on during a sea monster beaching in New Zealand in the 60's that no-one was allowed to get close to. Later on a "scientist" came through the barricade from the carcass with a hunk of whale blubber. The few pictures that made it out show anything but a whale.

    1. Geordie Sceptic14 April 2015 at 22:30

      Why on earth would there be a cover up over the discovery of a new species, if it really existed? Throughout history new species have been discovered, with no problems occurring. It's not as though people will suddenly be able to hunt and kill Nessie, is it? No one has been successful in any attempts so far. What could possibly be a reason for a cover up?

      Some people see conspiracies and cover ups everywhere.

    2. I think someone has successfully baited you, GS.

    3. Geordie Sceptic15 April 2015 at 01:10

      Maybe so, but we have seen this conspiracy nonsense put forward seriously in the past.

    4. Geordie Sceptic15 April 2015 at 05:32

      And the conspiracy theories have as much merit as "Shock and Awe"

    5. Who's doing the baiting now? I won't bite, that argument has been done. Further baitings will be deleted.

    6. The religion of evolution would be threatened if that blasted elasmosaurous in lochness is filmed.and interest shown in too much in the comments section.For this reason skeptics are paid and trained to control this possibility using the internet templates you see.

    7. What utter tripe. The discovery of the coelacanth was contrary to the understanding of the fossil record, but it was no challenge to evolutionary theory.

      Now why on earth would evolution need so much defending? What makes "the hidden powers" want us all to believe in evolution?

      Mental health issues dressed up as a crazy conspiracy theory.

      For your information, the owner of this blog does not believe the monster is an elasmosaurus either.

  4. Is it safe to come out? If there is another film out there, why do these dunderheads insist on withholding it “till the matter is taken seriously” So what if if some unscrupulous type tried to make money of of it. That could have been thwarted by imposing copyrights and threatening legal action. Is all that trouble worth finally exposing conclusive proof for the LNM? Another interesting what if tale that probably leads to nowhere. Sounds too much like a copy cat of the MacRae episode to be taken seriously! Another conundrum to add to the “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma” And, this from a sycophantic Nessie fan!

    1. Geordie Sceptic15 April 2015 at 08:16

      This is why I think it's all simply a hoax to get Nessie fans tearing their hair out wondering where the film is.

  5. The last piece of significant footage mentioned in newspaper article is credited to a “cameraman of the Loch Ness investigation Bureau in 1967”. This no doubt, or I assume, is in reference to the film taken by a young man by the name of Dick Raynor. Since Dick is still living and he himself has stated that he believes what he filmed was a group of Mergansers and is in the public domain, we can eliminate that as a mystery. Nothing to see here folks, move along!

    1. Well, you wouldn't expect Dick to believe it was a monster!

    2. Geordie Sceptic16 April 2015 at 01:24

      As I understand it, the reason Dick doesn't believe it was a monster is because he subsequently saw the ducks producing the exact same effect, rather than because of some inherent scepticism. Dick comes across as an unbiased scientist rather than someone out to prove or disprove Nessie. Yes, his research has yielded many results which make uncomfortable reading for the diehard cryptozoologist, but that doesn't mean they were researched with a declared aim to disprove Nessie. Take a good look at Dick's site - have you really understood the depth and intelligence at work there? All of us should be extremely grateful for it.

      Don't forget, Dick could easily have said he saw a humped animal with the dapple of a cow at the time he shot his film. He could even have provided a drawing of such a thing and put it in a book. This would have boosted the film massively. But we should be extremely grateful that he did not embellish it at all. What you see is what you get - the plain, bare facts.

    3. Either you are a complete brown nose or you're bored and looking for another argument.

      I doubt Dick is a scientist and I doubt he is unbiased - none of us are!

      But feel free to shower him with your paeons of praise and offer up sacrifices to him!

    4. P.S. Dick's linkedin says he is an investigator. That is a term I would apply to anyone on both sides of this debate.

    5. Geordie Sceptic16 April 2015 at 01:49

      I am neither brown nosing, nor looking for an argument. I simply recognise intelligent analysis of Loch Ness "evidence" when I see it. I'd recommend that anyone with an interest in this subject spends a few hours going through Dick's site at

      You will find a wealth of information there.

    6. Geordie Sceptic16 April 2015 at 01:57

      I would politely call you a pro-Nessie publicist, Roland. Your mission statement declares that you intend to be biased in your approach.

    7. Too right, and I would describe Dick's site as an anti-Nessie site. There is nothing wrong with that, it allows readers to consult both and form their own opinions.

    8. Geordie Sceptic16 April 2015 at 02:08

      I don't see Dick's site as anti-Nessie, just anti-bullsht. He states that he is not out to prove nor disprove anything, just to investigate and see what is discovered. He trumps you immediately by making that declaration of a desire for balanced research.

    9. Your scepticism is blinding you ...

    10. Geordie Sceptic16 April 2015 at 04:31

      Ok I read your link, and all I see Dick doing is exposing hoaxes. Something you yourself should try more of, GB. How does the blind acceptance of hoaxed photos, or the willful misidentification of common objects in photos stack up in anyone's world, whether they believe in Nessie or not? The entire Nessie story is weakened by all the nonsense images we all know, not strengthened by them. Every time a casual observer sees someone vehemently arguing that photos like Lachlan Stuart's and Jonathan Bright's show Nessie their eyes must roll to the ceiling and they write off the whole subject as pure silliness.

      As for brown-nosing, you seem rather partial to posting up comments here which are from someone who thinks the sun shines out of you. You probably just view that person as a friend and supporter of your noble cause.

      I have no embarrassment about my admiration of the work of Adrian Shine and Dick Raynor, because they are the only people I see taking a scientific rather than wishful approach to Loch Ness.

    11. Still blinded, eh? You sound like a politician giving pat and misleading statements. If you don't have the balls to say it then I will.

      It wasn't Dick that exposed George Edwards, it was Steve Feltham. Dick's analysis of the photo was well off, he had made a wrong assumption, fed it into his equations and came out with a wrong answer. But no one would have been any the wiser unless Steve had come forward and we had a real hoax prop to evaluate Dick's predictions against.

      The natural response was how deep did these flawed answers run in cases he had analysed without a prop to compare his answers against?

      You trust him, I critique him.

      I said he should do as wide a range of estimates in his calculations to cater for all reasonable scenarios, not the one that suits his arguments. The world is an uncertain place as far as measurement is concerned, that is why a range of values should be given. I remember I had to do error bars estimates in my Physics lab reports, my tutor would have failed Dick's "report". Data uncertainty opens the door to selection bias.

      The other you conveniently ignore is testability. Many sceptical theories abound, but few are testable. What is the use of a theory that cannot be scientifically tested? It is simply not good enough to say so-and-so saw a log without a means to test that theory.

      You trust the sceptics, I critique them.

      I could go on, but people should read the link I gave to get a better idea of the problem of cherry picking the data without a proper scientific approach to uncertainty.

      To use Lachlan Stuart as an example, you seem to regard it as blasphemy to take on Dick's arguments. I have pointed out the problems with his analyses. You give the impression that there is NEVER a problem with Dick's analyses and NEVER will be!

      Don't bother replying, the heat has ratcheted up too much. You have had your say and I have had mine, End of discussion.

    12. Out of interest GB what did Dick think george edwards is photo was before the hoax was finally revealed????

    13. I don't think he explicitly said anything.

    14. Well i was in Loch ness at the time of the photo release. I spoke to a few experienced loch ness'ers and the general guess was that it was debris or wood brought in by the bad weather. So it goes to show they can be wrong. And if it wasnt for the sharp eyed friend of a friend of steve feltenham who recognised the hump that the friend still had left over from the chanel 5 nessie hoax most people would still be thinking that it was just debris and wouldnt have it it could be something else....if u see wat i mean :)

    15. You raise an important point. The photo was dismissed with the usual excuses and these would have been accepted as explanations even though they had not been put to the test.

      When the prop came to light, their lazy logic and reasoning was blown out the water. In a perverse way, we have a lot to thank George Edwards for. He inadvertantly showed up the flaws in the sceptical procedures.

      Yes it was a hoax, but you can't be right for the wrong reasons.

    16. Geordie Sceptic17 April 2015 at 07:12

      If you'd asked me I wouldn't have called it debris, but it was blatantly not a monster.

    17. Well, that's strange because National Geographic designed the prop with the intention of making it look like a monster.

    18. Geordie Sceptic17 April 2015 at 07:50

      Maybe it's because I think outside the box and realise that today's cameras automatically can take lots of shots without the need to wind on. Therefore any monster would, if photographed at all, be photographed multiple times until it was fully submerged.

      Hence blatantly not a monster.

    19. quite right GB..and the original monster 'lucy' cost about 90 grand to make to make sure it did indeed look like a monster. The whole point of the programme !

    20. There was a point to that programme?

      I'm still trying to work out what they were trying to achieve.

    21. GS has declared the rules on monster evidence - we now need multiple photos. I guess that rules out a lot of mobile phones - after all that hoo-haa about their universality.

      Last time I looked, my touristy camera didn't have that feature, I'll bet also that it is so rarely used a feature that many don't know how to turn it on and they wouldn't bother trying to find out when they have a clear view of a shot.

      Think tourist, not sceptic.

    22. Geordie Sceptic17 April 2015 at 09:05

      Are you seriously saying you have a camera or camera phone which makes you wait a significant time between photos? What model is that, GB?

    23. Is George Edwards a tourist?

    24. Anlther example was maurice burtons otter tail for the surgeons photo. Im sure he convinced a few that thats what it was he was wrong. again, its just opinions

    25. Excuse me, you said: "today's cameras automatically can take lots of shots without the need to wind on".

      Stick to the line of argumentation, please.

    26. Geordie Sceptic17 April 2015 at 13:33

      And yes, they can! You can press, take a photo, and immediately press and take another photo, and so on, without having to wind anything on. That's what digital cameras and camera phones do.

      Why are you confused by this, GB?

      Incidentally, if a sceptic misidentifies something, that doesn't convert it into a monster.

    27. The confusion is "So what?".

      Let's say a monster surfaces for two minutes. How many pictures could you take with an old wind on camera or a modern digital camera? The answer is the digital will take more, but you will also take multiples with the old camera. What is the gain here? You're making mountains out of molehills (again).

      Morover, your obsession with multiple pictures is framed against well known hoaxers who also submitted multiple pictures! Wilson, Searle and Sheils for starters. Again, so what?

      You are also overstating your case, we do get multiple pictures of alleged monster pictures, but we only tend to see the best one published in the media.

      The trouble with sceptics misidentfying anything is they rarely admit they got it wrong.

    28. Let's get this straight. Returning to GS's original submission. George Edwards sees what would be absolutely groundbreaking if real. It's a chance in a lifetime to finally get the infamous Loch Ness Monster on a digital camera. So Mr Edwards points, he takes a single photo, then he turns his camera off. He knows that a dozen photos would be far better, and would show movement of the object, as well as increase the chances of at least one clear shot, but no. Just the one photo will do, then camera switched off.

      GS is right this time. George Edwards would have produced a sequence of images until the hump submerged.

    29. Nothing is "this straight" in this area. Some tourists will take single snaps, some will take multiple but we only ever get to see one. Some will only manage to take one before a submergence.

      You can't be dogmatic on anything which involves people.

    30. Yet you seem happy to describe shock and awe. Your dogma about human behaviour Glasgow Boy?

    31. Yet another sceptic trying to catch me out. I find it a bit boring and repetitive answering these ill informed posts, but here we go again.

      Nowhere do I state that this is a dogma, it doesn't affect all people to the same degree - else nobody would ever photograph the creature. Just like we shouldn't be dogmatic about how many photos a tourist should take. It varies between people.


    32. What's all the hubbub about the Edwards pic, he himself admitted it was hoax to promote interest and hype-up tourism. There are no multiple pics because it was a prop and props are not animate, Edwards knew that, simple as that. Seems like some skeptics are even skeptical of hoaxes, wanting to critique a hoaxed photo and how it should be done! Me thinks they doth protest too much. Do we really need multiple pics if one sharp, no doubt about it pic should one day materialize? Do skeptics now make one more requirement to the set of criteria for authenticity by requiring multiple shots? Ahh... but sometimes it's just nice to sit back and enjoy the show....

    33. Geordie Sceptic19 April 2015 at 08:35

      You've hit the nail on the head, John. This is how I knew it was a fake prop - only a single photo was taken.

      Anyone, and I really do mean anyone, knows that a real object moving through the water would be photographed several times. A single snap is always the big giveaway that the object wasn't moving. I appreciate your post, as you back up what I say.

    34. Erm, you're being dogmatic again. You "knew" it was a fake because only one photo was taken? How do you know Edwards did not take three or four snaps? You don't, do you?

      You're just talking nonsense again. Everyone "knows" a moving object would be photographed several times? How do you "know" this? Can you prove it for all times and places? Of course you can't, therefore you can't "know" it.

      You can "believe" it, but you can't "know" it.

    35. Geordie Sceptic19 April 2015 at 11:40

      I have read that there were no other photos, no sequence. Is that incorrect information? If so, I wonder why they do not appear anywhere.

      Yes, I wholeheartedly believe that people - if they took one photo of what they believed to be a monster - would keep pressing the shutter button until the object was out of sight. I have seen people with cameras faced with really interesting sights at sporting events and elsewhere, and providing they are not invading someone's privacy, they always take multiple photos. It is the modern way, because there is no film wastage. SD cards enable a person to take loads of photos and download the ones worth keeping. Then they can clear the SD card as necessary. It is simply human nature that many photos would be taken by a person faced with a monster, if that person managed to get one photo. This is logical, based on observation of humans, and it's common sense.

      So, if we're talking about what we "believe" and what we "know", will you admit here that you do not KNOW that there is a Loch Ness Monster, and you only BELIEVE that some eyewitnesses were not mistaken and did not lie?

    36. Well you know, now that I think about it there may have been more than one pic, but from a different aspect. I think at the time it was big news, I looked at images on Google and maybe saw the same pic, but from a different angle. I just saw an article from the The Scotsman online in which he is quoted as saying “There is no doubt at all the pictures are fake,” pictures in plural, whatever he may have meant by that. But that's neither here nor there as it is a proven and admitted hoax. Ah, but you are a sly dog trying to turn my comment to your advantage! Nice try.

    37. Edwards claimed he had multiple pictures. Once Steve Feltham exposed him, those became irrelevant.

      Despite having witnesses who explicitly state they were distracted from taking pictures by the unusual sight before them, you just decide to ignore them. That's logical.

      Besides, we do have various multiple pictures cases. I think you're just exaggerating the so called problem.

      You don't "know", you "believe". I no more "know" there is a Loch Ness Monster than you "know" there is none. I believe there is a Loch Ness Monster (whatever species that may turn out to be), you believe there is none.

      We hold things in varying degrees of conviction. That's life.

    38. The Luckless Monster20 April 2015 at 08:59

      I have a Canon S410 digital camera. I can't snap pic after pic with it without pause. After each picture, the camera delivers the image to the screen, and is frozen in that mode for several seconds, before it hands control back to me for the next snap. Once it does, the focus is slow for the next picture, again slowing the whole process down.

      An electrically-wound cheap film camera I had was much faster than the digital. With each press of the shutter button, the film was auto-wound electrically and the camera was immediately ready for the next shot.

      The Canon needs probably at least five seconds between shots, and that might be rushing it and not taking a few seconds to focus. It might need 8 to 10 seconds between shots. A moving creature then sometimes would only allow for one picture.

      I don't know if I can change the settings on it so that it doesn't laboriously deliver each picture to the viewing screen and freeze after each shot, one by one. The way it operates now, it's much slower than the old film camera.

    39. The Canon 410 is a ten year old camera that was considered very sluggish even on its release date. You are probably one of the last people in the world to still own such a slow camera.

    40. You're going to get a range of performances and not every person is going to always want the latest fastest model.

      Either way, the multiple picture question is not really important for film vs digital.

    41. Geordie Sceptic21 April 2015 at 23:06

      Every camera phone allows a rapid sequence of photos to be taken, and of course video.

      I asked a few friends if any of them own a digital camera. The answer was yes from all of them. I then asked if their digital cameras allowed them to take another photo instantly after the previous one. Everyone said yes. No one I know has a camera which enforces a wait between photos.

      I believe that for several years nearly everyone who has visited Loch Ness has been armed with a device to capture images in rapid succession.

    42. Yes, but its irrelevant. People could have taken multiple pictures with the old film cameras.

    43. Geordie Sceptic22 April 2015 at 09:18

      Old cameras had to be wound on between shots, causing at least a slight delay.

      I'm actually surprised you're not grabbing onto this one, GB - "Only one photo might have been taken because of fumbling when winding on" or something like that? I would have thought such a concept would be right up your street!

    44. No, because I am less dogmatic than you.

  6. so apparently no such 'Roland Brown' and the repeated use of "he is said to have ..." with no mention of who specifically he is "said to have" told this to (or they are all deceased?) doesn't inspire much confidence. This part of the Nessie story almost branches off into 'Treasure Map' territory. When Nessie can't be sighted, the search for the next best thing - a purported conclusive film - naturally comes into play to keep 'her' alive during slow times. I have to say, the same thing has gone on (and is again, right now with certain 'photographic slides'), concering the infamous Roswell crashed flying saucer. Let me say again I sincerely enjoy these tidbits of LNM history and the research involved.

  7. I agree with Geordie about Dick. And i would personally rather hear off someone who is honest and straight and not out to proove or disproove nessie. But his film at the time was worthy of him thinking it was something and he said Jaric's asssesment of possible size was intresting. it was only after he saw the megansers acting in the way they did that he thought this is what he filmed. so then it comes down to personal opinion. I still think the film is intersting and not sure megansers would leave such a long visible wash and move in that way. But again.....thats only my opinion :)

  8. There's no doubt these missing film rumours make for great stories, and i'm sure we'd all love them to be true, but it's all just a bit jackanory to me.

    Too much of it just does't make a whole lot of sense. Surely even the most ardent Nessie believer can smell the tallness in these tales?

  9. Turned out nice again I see.

    The stupidest thing is the notion of concealing a brilliant Nessie film until the public take the subject seriously. Every man and his dog knows that the only thing which could make the public take it seriously would be a publicly available good film. Not a film concealed from the public eye in a bank vault. Absurd story this one.