Sunday, 5 April 2015

The Mysterious MacRae Film

In 1939, Winston Churchill described Russia as a “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”. When it comes to the MacRae film of the Loch Ness Monster, this seems an apt term for the riddle of a mysterious film of an enigmatic object.

If you stumbled across this article seeking information on the clan of MacRae or McRae or perhaps sought information on matters pertaining to history, genealogy, tartan and ancestry, you may well get some, but it comes with a tale of monsters, claims and counter claims.


ENTER TED HOLIDAY

But why should anyone be bothered about a film that has never seen the light of day? Why should it be a forum for debate? The answer lies in what it claims to offer – undisputed proof of the Loch Ness Monster. It was what Loch Ness author, F. W. Holiday, held up as the “most sensational wildlife film of all time”. If that was true, it would be a matter worth pursing and indeed a sizable number have pursued this Holy Grail of Loch Ness Monsterism with the zeal of medieval knights. But like the knights of old, the grail has not come to Camelot and various legends have perhaps grown to fill the void. 

Fifty years on, since this story first came to light, it would seem appropriate to review what has gone before us and what could lie beyond in the unwritten future. The players in this tale are varied, but all with the same intention of arriving at the truth of the matter.

The people that have contributed to what we know include Ted holiday, Mike Dash, Paul Harrison and Alan Wilkins. There will be others, but these are the ones we focus on today. I will add my own observations at the end, so I am more the editor rather than the creator of information for now.

We would not have known anything about the McRae film if it was not for Ted Holiday, maverick Nessie researcher of the 60s and 70s, who revealed the possibility of this game changing film in his 1968 book, “The Great Orm of Loch Ness”. In the chapter entitled, “Expedition '65”, Holiday tells us of his trip to Loch Ness in 1965 and an unexpected end to that particular expedition.


Ted Holiday

The evening before he left, he was informed of a man named Alastair Dallas, who had knowledge of not one but two extraordinary films. Armed with this information, Holiday stopped off on his way back to Wales, in the small Borders town of Kircudbright, where Mr. Dallas lived. Initially, he was not well received by Dallas who was surprised that he was in possession of such information. 

However, once Holiday had convinced him of his pro-monster credentials, he relented somewhat and told the story of the two films which had both been taken in the 1930s by a Doctor MacRae. The physician had retired to the shores of Loch Duich and was now deceased. But before his death he had captured two animals on two separate sequences of film.

The first was taken at Loch Ness, the other further west in Loch Duich. However, the claimed clarity and detail of the long necked animals in the films suggested they went way beyond anything yet achieved in terms of evidence for mysterious aquatic monsters. According to Holiday’s book, the film of the Loch Ness Monster is described thusly ("orm" is Holiday's name for the creature):

Mr. Dallas told me that this film runs for several minutes. Three humps, together with the neck and head, are clearly visible. The neck is held low over the water and seems to be writhing to and fro. During the sequence, a bird flies down and lands on a stone in the foreground, which helps to give scale to the picture.

The Orm's head appears to be bluntly conical in profile - rather like half a rugger ball, to quote Mr Dallas. On the crest of the head are two hornlike sense-organs. Starting between these, and running down the neck, is a bristly mane. Mr Dallas said that this mane reminded him of baleen; it is stiff yet flexible and the texture seemed to him fibrous rather than hairy. Slit-like eyes can be made out on the head but they are not very distinct.

Occasionally, the animal, rolls in the water and one of the forward flippers makes an appearance. It is thick and fleshy in section and seems to be capable of independent movement. The skin looks tough and leathery. Another interesting feature is the fact that the head seems to be in a state of continuous flux or movement, apparently due to the play of muscles under the skin.

The creature in Loch Duich is described in these terms:

The second film, which was also taken by Dr McRae, shows a creature lying in Loch Duich - a sea-loch on the Scottish west coast. The monster is lying against the shore and is writhing its neck over a bed of seaweed. It differs from the Loch Ness specimen in having a longer neck and a mane which looks tufted. A man appears in the picture during this sequence, probably in the background.

With both being shot at a range of about one hundred yards, the attraction of pursuing this matter further was not a difficult decision. However, Alastair Dallas brought the whole thing to a screeching halt with the claim that Doctor MacRae had decided to leave the films in an unnamed bank vault in a safety deposit box and put them under a legal trust until such time as the matter of the monster was taken more seriously.

One of the trustees was Dallas himself, the other was the late Colonel Sir Donald Cameron of Locheil and the third trustee he refused to name (presumably because he or she was still alive). It was only because the terms of the trust did not forbid a description of the film that allowed Dallas to relate the episode to Holiday. Beyond that, Dallas was not prepared to go further.


 Alastair Dallas

After leaving Scotland, Holiday followed up the matter with the present Donald Cameron of Locheil who denied any knowledge of the films. Further letters to Alastair Dallas went unanswered and Ted Holiday concluded he could take the matter no further.


SUBSEQUENT RESEARCH

Apart from a reference by Roy Mackal, it was not until the late 1990s that the matter was taken up again in the research of Mike Dash and Paul Harrison. By coincidence, they had both resolved to see if anything extra could be gleaned from this almost mythical tale of monsters. At this point, I defer to a talk given by Mike Dash to the Weird Weekend convention in 2008 where he laid out his findings and conclusions to the audience. You can find the talk here and I thank Mike and Paul for their permission to use material for this article.

The first question to answer was whether Dr. MacRae ever existed. Mike Dash is quite certain the answer to that question is “Yes”. Using Holiday’s statement about the doctor retiring to the shores of Loch Duich and armed with the Medical Register for that period, he was able to whittle down the various medical MacRaes to a Farquhar MacRae who lived in the village of Ratagan by the shore of Loch Duich. Using various sources, Mike pieced together a life of the man who it is claimed filmed the best evidence ever for the Loch Ness Monster.

  • 1855 Born at Lochalsh
  • 1884 Qualified as doctor Aberdeen
  • 1888 Employed as medical officer for mining company, Rio Tinto Zinc, in Spain
  • 1889 Lives on the Isle of Lewis and Harris with brother
  • 1892 Moves to Newgate, London,
  • 1896 Joins BMA
  • 1899 Lives in Belgravia, London
  • 1903 Spends one year at the Golden Square Throat Hospital
  • 1904 Returns to his London private practise
  • 1925 Retires and buys house in Ratagan and names it Selma (after Fingal's palace in Ossian)
  • 1948 Dies in Inverness aged 92

Further research by Mike revealed nothing in the wills of MacRae or Cameron of Locheil. However, he uncovered a photograph of Farquhar MacRae taken from Volume 7 of the Celtic Monthly published in 1899 which is shown below. Interestingly, Mike also found some wax cylinders from 1908 held by the British Sound Archive in which McRae sings some Gaelic folk songs!

Farquhar MacRae

So, it seems certain that the man existed as described by Alastair Dallas. But, he had died childless in 1948. Would it be possible to find any living relatives to ask awkward questions about the Loch Ness Monster? The answer was again “Yes” and this involved the parallel research of Paul Harrison who had placed adverts in papers asking for information on the film.

This led to the great-niece of Farquhar MacRae, but she refused to discuss the matter saying there was nothing to it. However, her daughter, Fiona MacRae was a bit more forthcoming in two letters to Paul in 1998.

Farquhar MacRae was born in Lochalsh, December 1855, he died in 1948 and is buried with his father in Kirkston of Lochalsh. He was unmarried. I have heard a story about photographs, not film, that he had taken of the Loch Ness Monster, but know nothing of their whereabouts.

Farquhar MacRae was a cousin of my husband's grandfather. As far as we remember, the film/photo story came to us from his uncle, who died some 30 years ago. I am sorry I can't tell you more. 

Since this letter is dated 1998, the story coming from a relative before he died some "30 years ago", places that before the publication of Holiday's book. At the same time, Mike Dash had constructed a family tree and contacted another relative, Jack MacRae, who lived nearby in Inverinate. He replied:

A rumour has appeared in the Inverness area that Dr F. made a film of the Loch Ness Monster, and that it was stored in a bank on his death. It's not known where he banked in his later years  - could be a London bank. Dr Mary makes light of the rumour, so I wouldn't worry much about it.

Dr. Mary was the mother of the aforementioned Fiona MacRae. Both are tantalising pieces of information, though one might try and argue that the Jack MacRae rumours were a result of Holiday's book rather than an independent source. These accounts might add some weight to the veracity of the story, but, ultimately, do not really take us much further forward.

However, another player enters the stage when Roy Mackal wrote his 1976 book, "The Monsters of Loch Ness". In discussing the MacRae film, he mentions the work of researcher, Alan Wilkins. This is a name which some readers may recall as he was credited with taking a somewhat grainy film of Nessie back in 1975. In fact, I still recall seeing the pictures as a teenager, having cut it out for my clippings collection.

Mackal informs us that Wilkins was told by Dallas that he disputed the account by Holiday and said there was no trust, only one film taken at Loch Duich and he did not know where this was. As a result of this confusion, Mackal declares the film "unacceptable as evidence".

Mike Dash pursued the matter further in the 1990s and added some detail when he spoke to Wilkins by phone. When Wilkins made contact with Dallas in 1974, unlike Holiday, he was refused an audience. According to Mike Dash, parley was eventually granted, but only through an intermediary whom Dallas knew, by the name of Tom Skinner.

Skinner relayed Dallas’ answers back to Wilkins and they painted a different picture to the one presented in Holiday’s book. According to this interview with Dallas, there was only one film and it had been taken at Loch Duich, and it was not as clear as originally claimed. The purported Loch Ness film was actually a sighting Dallas had himself of Nessie on land in September 1936. Dallas claimed that Holiday had completely twisted his original story.

Dallas provided a basic sketch to Wilkins of the creature he claimed to have seen half out of the water in the 1930s. He then later sent what he said was a contemporary sketch and is shown below. I have covered this report before and it is a rather strange creature with multiple dorsal fins, droopy ear like structures and a mouth apparently sucking on a rock. Mike Dash was quite convinced that this was indeed warped by Holiday and did a point by point comparison of the creature described in the Loch Ness film above with the Dallas drawing. We have no record of Holiday’s reply to this accusation, but like Holiday before him, Wilkins closed the case and moved on.


Alastair Dallas' Monster


Around this time, Mike Dash made contact with Alastair Dallas’ son and put again the questions to him that Holiday and Wilkins had done before. In a now familiar refrain, his son denied any  knowledge of any such film and suggested that his father had made up the whole thing and suggested there was nothing to see here and move on. He told them his father had a penchant for tall tales and this was likely one of those tales.

And there our tale of sensational films of mysterious monsters grinds to a halt. What are we to make of it all? Is it an artist’s fantasy from the Borders, unwittingly aided by an over-zealous monster hunter? 

Indeed, as Mike Dash points out, the idea of a trust with no obvious beneficiary seems ill conceived. Nor is it likely to be a vehicle which could legally carry on in perpetuity. All the supposed trustees must be dead now, so where is the film now? Does it lie languishing in a bank vault, outlasting its protectors? In fact, how could it lie in a vault if no one is paying the annual fees for such a service? Moreover, the presence of a trust presupposes a solicitor, so what was their duty should all the trustees die?

A FURTHER PUZZLE

During the course of Mike's research, he stumbled upon a further conundrum. Farquhar MacRae succeeded a Farquhar Matheson as President of the Gael Society of London. So what, you may ask? As it turns out, Matheson had a famous sighting of a sea serpent back in 1893 in the Kyle of Lochalsh near Loch Duich. In fact, the Farquhars were both ENT doctors, both from the same distant parish and both are buried in the same cemetery in nearby Glenelg!

Is it just coincidence that two Farquhars who were sequential Gaelic Society Presidents also had experiences of sea serpents? Mike Dash thinks this synchronicity might mean something, but can't  come to a compelling conclusion. A contemporary drawing of Matheson's sighting is shown below.


Farquhar Matheson's Monster

The conclusion of the researchers is that there is nothing or little of substance to the Loch Ness story, though there is still held out the hope of some kind of film or photograph of something in Loch Duich, though not as sensational as first made out. Indeed, to recall the Grail metaphor in the context of an Indiana Jones film, this Holy Grail may yet turn out to be no more than an unappealing cup.

Then again, it may not.

FURTHER THOUGHTS

Gathering everything together, this is a case which has always proved an entertaining diversion for me as I speculated where that McRae film may or may not be. Back in the 1960s, researchers would have been more focused on the various hi-tech experiments at the loch and would have been confident that their work would render a 30 year old film surplus to requirements. With the failures of the 1960s and 70s, researchers took a fresh look at the legendary film.

I did some digging around myself, albeit aware that the aforementioned researchers had already done a lot of the digging for the Nessie community. The first thing is the alleged twisting of the story by Holiday. To recap, Dallas told Wilkins (via Skinner) that Holiday had screwed up and confused his own sighting with a presumed film taken at Loch Ness by MacRae.

Now since we are told by Dallas' own son that he was prone to telling tall tales, one wonders whether Dallas is the one screwing things up? Reading Holiday's account, it is clear that he mentions not only the two films, but also the Dallas sighting. So it seems Holiday did distinguish between the three events without any conflation. Indeed, it is hard to imagine how Holiday could confuse the story that much.

Mike Dash compares the Dallas sighting with the Holiday description of the Loch Ness film and thinks there are parallels which suggest conflation of stories. I am not so convinced by that. Indeed, one could argue that the description of the Loch Duich creature correlates more with Dallas' own sighting. Note how the Duich creature is described as lying on the shore, just like the Dallas land sighting. It could be argued that Holiday was confusing this rather than the other.

But, if Dallas was a tall tale teller, why trust him ahead of Holiday? On the other hand, if Dallas was lying, how did he manage to connect himself with a doctor from a remote hamlet who was forty years his senior? Form your own opinion on who might be the one who is exaggerating.


THE ABBEY CONNECTION

The other point of interest is that it was not Dallas that told Holiday about the films, but an unnamed individual at Loch Ness. Indeed, Holiday states that this person told him there were not one but two films. This would appear to be independent confirmation of the films, but Holiday does not say who this person was. However, there is a clue in the text which points to Fort Augustus Abbey.

We are told in Holiday's book that he and Dallas discussed a sighting by a Prior of the Abbey who was a friend of MacRae. Why would they focus on this obscure sighting? What was the catalyst for this minor topic?  I suspect it was because someone at the Abbey was involved in the story of the MacRae mystery. I am only aware of one Abbey Prior who claimed a sighting of the monster and that was Sir David Oswald Hunter-Blair who was in charge of the Abbey until 1917 but returned there on other occasions.


Sir Oswald Hunter-Blair

This abbot connection was not lost on Mike Dash, who wondered if such a person was the third, unnamed trustee. But since Hunter-Blair died in 1939, Mike concentrated on later abbots of the monastery.  I myself am more focused on Hunter-Blair who was one of the Monster’s supporters during the 1930s; which is probably no surprise if he claimed to have seen it.

However, Hunter-Blair was long dead before Holiday's tip off in 1965. Who could the informant have been? One could draw up a list of suspects, but my money is on Fr. Aloysius Carruth, a Brother at Fort Augustus Abbey best known for his popular booklet, "Loch Ness and its Monster".



Fr. Aloysius Carruth



Carruth's Booket

One possible link here is an article by Dick Raynor on this film which says of Carruth:

The last I heard of him was that he was engaged in missionary work in southern Africa. Significantly, perhaps, the Dallas family received a letter from a Catholic mission in southern Africa asking if the McRae film could be used to raise funds for their work.

Did Carruth get wind of the MacRae film via some direct or indirect information from Hunter-Blair? The two men could have overlapped as Carruth's booklet first came out in 1939, so a conversation may have happened before Hunter-Blair died. A search of Carruth's booklet reveals nothing about the film and does not even mention Hunter-Blair's sighting. Ultimately, we won't know anything more without some new revelation.


AN INTERESTING SIGHTING

As to the Hunter-Blair's sighting, this is mentioned in Constance Whyte’s “More than a Legend” published in 1957. However, on checking the two sources stated, I don't think the sighting she refers to was actually witnessed by him. That he did see something is clearly stated in his own book "A Last Medley of Memories" published in 1936. We even read that he recounted this sighting to Pope Pius XI during an audience.

But despite consulting his works and even making further enquiries to his great-great-nephew, nothing more could be gleaned concerning this sighting. For a man who was quick to promote the monster, he was fairly cagey about his own sighting - just one sentence in the whole scanned literature. I had speculated whether Hunter-Blair was present at the MacRae filming, but we won't know from his own briefest of accounts.

But is it possible that the MacRae sighting is already on the record? A look at the four hundred sightings between 1933 and 1936 for descriptions of a beast that rolled like the MacRae one proved to be very rare. I found only one candidate which described a hump, long neck and rolling motion. It is a little known sighting from 15th July 1934 witnessed by a Mrs Biddle from a Fort Augustus hotel who saw the creature moving near the Abbey Boathouse. This is the extract from the Scotsman dated 17th July while the corresponding Inverness Courier article places the sighting at 9am near the Abbey boat house.




The only other report which mentions the creature rolling several times is mentioned in the Inverness Courier dated 14th November 1933, but this was at noon and no neck was observed. Two other reports (6th March 1934 and 21st August 1935) mention a single roll and no neck. Comparing the Biddle with the MacRae description from Holiday, the two sightings are similar, though the Biddle one is more lacking in detail. One striking similarity is how Mrs Biddle describes the creature as resembling a huge slug while Dallas (in Holiday's book) said it reminded him of a worm.

Remember also that Holiday quoted Dallas as saying there were two horn like projections on the head, which reminds us of a similar configuration on your typical slug. I don't say this because the Loch Ness Monster is a giant slug, but because the appearance of it reminded the witness of such an animal.

If MacRae did indeed film the Loch Ness Monster, Was it possible that Mrs Biddle was witness to it from another vantage point further away? If MacRae was beside the Abbey boathouse with his friend, Hunter-Blair, he was in a superb position to see and film the monster.


CONCLUSIONS

It would be easy to dismiss all this based on the erratic testimony of Alastair Dallas. But Holiday claimed someone else knew about the films and some of MacRae's living relatives seemed to independently confirm this. Something is out there, but what is not entirely clear.

There are other avenues which as yet remain unexplored, those will be left for another time. As you can see, there is a network of people and possibilities, but, alas, none leads anyone to a roll of film. However, there seems to be enough testimony to some kind of image being taken that keeps the MacRae door slightly ajar.

If there is still a film out there, my own guess is that with the death of the last trustee, it is no longer under a trust, but has moved into the ownership of person or persons unknown. Given the connection with Hunter-Blair, that could be a religious organisation, but who knows?

The sticking point is why MacRae would withhold the publishing of such sensational material. One might think the stated reason of waiting until the subject of the monster was taken more seriously is a self-defeating tactic as such a film would surely make people take the subject more seriously. It seems that M'Rae took this matter personally, though, as the mention of "Scottish persons of repute" being treated like mental defectives, may have involved people he held in regard (such as Hunter-Blair).

But the second stated reason was the distasteful expectation that those who scoffed at the monster, would then rush to profit from it, if the film was released. This is an understandable revulsion, but it is one which could permanently keep such a film from examination.

Ultimately, the scientific establishment still requires a live or dead specimen and nothing is going to change that. Indeed, such a film will not persuade as many now as it would back then, especially in this age of CGI accusations. But, if there is a film, let those who stand together with Farquhar MacRae on this subject view it and let them put forward the case for unveiling it.


The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com




93 comments:

  1. Geordie Sceptic6 April 2015 at 02:21

    Ok so the absence of any Nessie footage means that we have to resort to an article about a man who spoke to another man who said he saw some good footage, but that footage is locked away somewhere.

    This is of no value as "evidence" whatsoever I'm afraid.

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    1. You're pointing out the obvious. No one is saying it is evidence. It's an investigation interesting enough to write an article on.

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    2. Geordie Sceptic6 April 2015 at 02:42

      Ok fair point, it was quite an interesting article. I wonder if the films even existed at all, or was it just another 30s doctor's hoax....

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    3. No, GS, it isn't proof of anything -- but that's what makes this such a fantastic "urban legend." It's a a Holy Grail story: the Missing Proof, locked secretly away in a bank vault, guarded by a mysterious trust. It's pure X FILES.

      I once wrote an article on this story but can't seem to locate it. It's been my favorite LNM annecdote since first reading about it in Mackal's book as an eight year-old. I thought about that bank vault quite a bit.

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  2. On the subject of the alleged animal rolling, which aquatic creatures are knwon to show this behaviour?

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    1. Geordie Sceptic6 April 2015 at 04:17

      Dunno, but as it's all so theoretical and several steps removed, is it even worth pondering?

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    2. Other sightings specify this behaviour (albeit a small number).

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    3. The rolling or turning described brings to mind the Hugh Gray photo, which I believe is an animal disporting itself in such a manner. The blurring and spray effects being the inability of the “slow lens” of the camera of that era to capture and freeze detail.

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  3. Great article, GB. Have been very intrigued by this tale ever since I read about it a couple of years back. When you mention Nessie's motion of movement as 'Rolling' do you mean undulation? similar to that of a worm or caterpillar. I've read a few accounts where witnesses have observed unknown creatures where they have been moving in a odd 'wormy' sort of way, to quote the Irish woman who saw a Lough Monster back in the 30s,40s.

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    1. Thanks, Jimmy. By rolling, I mean rotating around a line that goes from the monster's head right through to the tip of its tail.

      Whales do the motion, I think. Crocodiles do it when attacking prey.

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  4. So this Holiday who believed in this really clear LNM film is the same Holiday who became convinced that some kind of hoodoo prevented the LNM from being filmed?

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    1. That wasn't me.

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    2. (Apology accepted, though.)

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    3. Ah, the dangers of posting anonymously.

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    4. Yeah: the wrong guy gets blamed,

      (And in this case, the "wrong guy" has never posted anonymously, and has in fact argued that the anonymous system allows for unnecessary drama -- like, for example, this.)

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  5. Great article. I believe the films exist, but have been vaulted away to protect the identity of the animals in Loch Ness. Sometimes I think that man's attempt to protect endangered species axctually leads to their demise.

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    1. Interesting theory. I hope they've made copies before the originals deteriorate.

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    2. Geordie Sceptic6 April 2015 at 09:22

      On what evidence do you believe the films exist? I don't see any good evidence either way. They may or may not exist. If they do exist, they may or may not show something interesting. It's all pure speculation.

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    3. That's the whole point of locating any possible films in existence, to see exactly what they may show. They may or may not exist and may or may not show anything conclusive,The people in the story may or may not be telling the truth. After some 75 + years nothing may ever come of it, but it's worth the effort.

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    4. In this guy's opinion, searching for the footage is more interesting (and exciting!) than searching for the Loch Ness Monster. The two go hand in hand, though.

      So, with that said: given that you (John) said it was worth the effort to look (and I agree), I ask where you'd theoretically begin looking -- especially given Dick's hypothesis that the film, if found, might still exist in a viewable state?

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    5. I'll leave the detective work up to qualified researchers as I am just a simple reader with a simple opinion. If Dick Raynor feels that any found film might still be in a viewable state, then it's worth the effort.

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    6. It's not rocket science to copy a film ...

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    7. Geordie Sceptic7 April 2015 at 10:11

      It appears to me that if it existed it would have been found by now, with all the effort that's gone into the search.

      Remind you of anything?

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    8. ......provided the film hasn't rotted to the point where restoration is cost-prohibitive.

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    9. Let's be fair: how much effort has actually gone into locating the film canisters?

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    10. You must mean physically prohibitive, because I can't imagine cost being a factor in any attempt to restore game changing footage as cost prohibitive. Especially if interested parties have deep pockets.

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    11. It's like looking for a needle in a haystack.

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    12. Well, the hope is this article may generate a response from a MacRae, though my feeling is that this alleged film is out the hands of any MacRae now.

      I have a couple of things I could follow up on, but they are hopeful rather than solid. What we need is the equivalent of the tip off Holiday got that summer evening in 1965.

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    13. John: The cost of restoring a film of that age varies depending on it's state; but what makes you think "deep pockets" would easily be found? This is supposed film footage of The Loch Ness Monster -- not an alternate camera angle of, say, JFK's assassination.

      Best case scenario: a documentary filmmaker or TV journalist (already having knowledge or immediate access to those with a knowledge of restoration) do a story on the MacRae film(s), track them down, and make their unveiling the climax of the piece.

      But if a Nessie researcher discovers them and goes online saying, "I found definitive proof! Who has deep pockets for me to reach into to restore this Nessie footage? I only need a few hundred thousand dollars/pounds!" then the silence might be filled only with mocking.

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  6. Great post GB keep up the good work, good read.

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  7. very enjoyable as always, your investigation of the 'back stories' is more interesting than the subject itself (for me). One line relating to this particular story caught my attention in a humorous way: "Something is out there, but what is not entirely clear."

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  8. Great article on one of my favorite Loch Ness "legends." My favorite part of the story, though, is the plot hole right at the beginning:

    "The evening before he left, he was informed of a man named Alastair Dallas, who had knowledge of not one but two extraordinary films."

    Holiday never names this individual -- in fact, he seems to intentionally shuffle this plot point off to one side. One has to wonder why that is. He was clearly protecting someone's identity -- but how did this individual come to learn of the films and their existence? It's, to me, the most curious aspect of the tale!

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    1. We're in the realms of speculation with this, ekm. My money is on Carruth who may have picked up something from Hunter-Blair before he died. The other monster hunting monk was Cyril Dieckhoff, but he died in 1950.

      It just seems strange that when Holiday met Dallas, the talk turned to a long dead Prior and his obscure sighting.

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  9. Yikes -- my phone cut off the second half of this article. It seems the unnamed source WAS addressed!

    Good show in that.

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  10. Curiously, another MacRae from that area claimed a sea serpent sighting back in 1872.

    http://cryptozoo-oscity.blogspot.co.uk/2010/02/sea-serpent-sighting-reported-in.html

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    1. The amount of precise detail in the 1872 report is remarkable. The clear description of humps, of the length of humps and length between them, the estimates of overall length, are all impressive. And this all over 60 years before the 1933 ruckus.

      Sceptic extremists would have you believe that eyewitnesses are a bunch of wilting, fainting hallucinators, who have to be fanned and splashed and patted back to consciousness after a claimed sighting. None of course could be correct, they aver. Eyewitnesses are suffering from a form of hysteria, extremists claim.

      Sceptic extremists rejecting all reports as hallucinations, misIDs, and hoaxes, is actual hysteria. It's unreasonable and defies common sense to auto-reject all reports.

      The reports combine to form a mountain of circumstantial evidence, especially those such as this from 1872. We should take note of such dedication to detail as shown in this report.

      That site also has a post about Loch Fyne here:

      http://cryptozoo-oscity.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/loch-fyne-monster.html

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    2. Fair enough: so then why are these cool-as-a-cucumber eyewitnesses getting a free pass on photographs because of "shock and awe"?

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    3. Geordie Sceptic11 April 2015 at 01:54

      I don't believe people are "wilting, fainting", in fact I have never been a supporter of GB's shock and awe thing.

      I believe mistakes at LN are easily made. Some other reports are hoaxes.

      For me, the total lack of convincing images in more than 80 years of research means I simply must be correct. There is no Loch Ness Monster. Hard to stomach, I know.

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  11. BBC news, vaults/secure contents have been stolen. I think it might be going a bit too far for the film GB

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    1. I can imagine that if the film does exist, it has ended up in a stack of old canisters with no one the wiser as to its significance - until someone one day runs it and shouts "What the ... !"

      To re-use the Indiana Jones metaphor, the Ark ended up in a box ...

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  12. Michael Alberty7 April 2015 at 18:01

    Great work on this. I can't wait to see what more you turn up on that other lost bit of celluloid, the G. E. Taylor film!

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    1. Taylor? At least we know that definitely exists (or did)!

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    2. One can see the difficulty. If one cannot find films from the 1930s which have been seen (Taylor, Fraser), how much more difficult a film that is deliberately kept from public view?

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  13. Hmm, perhaps the film will now turn up on the black market. :)

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-32215206

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    Replies
    1. Let's hope some moronic, greedy jewel thief doesn't discard or destroy it, not realizing what the contents are!

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  14. I suppose if the film existed as described, there are at least three scenarios.

    1. The film is lost through neglect or wilful destruction.
    2. The film exists but a new generation of owners are ignorant of its contents.
    3. The film exists, its owners know its contents but do not wish to make this public.

    Given what we know about the alleged trust, option 1 would seem a breach of that trust. Option 2 is enitrely possible to me while option 3 seems implausible 80 years on.

    Why would anyone withhold the film unless we begin to go down the dark alleys of conspiracy?

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    Replies
    1. Geordie Sceptic8 April 2015 at 06:22

      4. The owners have seen the film and realise it was a lot of fuss about nothing.

      Just a thought.

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    2. That was anticipated, hence the phrase "as described".

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    3. 5. The owners realized there was nothing to it and should have come forward stating as such, but didn't .

      Another thought.

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    4. Geordie Sceptic8 April 2015 at 10:26

      John you have to realise that in the UK most adults see the LNM as a laughable, trivial subject (why do you think I post incognito?), so if the film exists and it's more of the same usual nonsense, then there's every chance that the owners see no reason to put it on YouTube or contact Sky News.. or write a book called The Man Who..."

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    5. Why do you have to post "incognito" if you are displaying yourself as a dyed in the wool sceptic?

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    6. Or could it be that you don't want to be embarrassed by the realization that there is a Loch Ness Monster? Then you can slink back into the darkness without ever unmasking! :-)

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    7. Well, John. Reread the supposed remark of MacRae that he didn't want the sceptics to see the film lest they turn round and profit from it.

      Wouldn't bother me to stick it to them with such a film!

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    8. Well, yeah that would make sense from that point of view The logic that irks me is the need to withhold it till people took the matter seriously. This whole matter could have been settled then and there. And yes, it would give me pleasure in rubbing it in skeptics noses also!

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    9. Isn't that sort of like withholding scripture from tribal civilizations so they won't get to benefit.....?

      While I (theoretically) understand MacRae's desire to "stick it to The Man," isn't it rather petty to deny the world an exciting new species because you don't want anyone to make money from it's existence? Big Business will ALWAYS find a way to make money -- just check out the tourism board. ;)

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    10. Geordie Sceptic9 April 2015 at 03:17

      These are all very fanciful speculations. Probably exactly the desired effect of the creator of this bank vault footage story. You're all allowing yourselves to get drawn in by a big fat nothing.

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    11. Geordie Sceptic9 April 2015 at 03:22

      GB I remain incognito because the subject is embarrassing to be associated with from either side, unless it relates to your occupation, as in the cases of Adrian and Dick. If people who I know found out I have an interest in this subject they would think I'd lost my marbles, whether I'm a sceptic or not.

      Delete
    12. Still trying to kill off this conversation?

      You appear to suggest Dallas just made the whole thing up. So why didn't he just kill it off when he spoke to Wilkins/Skinner?

      Who tipped off Holiday about Dallas? Are you suggesting Dallas planted someone at Loch Ness to entice Holiday to his home?

      Why would Dallas select a retired doctor, 40 years his senior who lived in a remote house nowhere near Loch Ness?

      Why does at least one MacRae relative mention a family tradition about a film/photos?

      Your sceptical bias is clouding your judgement. No one is saying this is proof of the LNM as no one in the field has seen it. But there is enough clues to merit keeping the case open.



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    13. Plenty of sceptical people are quite happy to name themselves, like EKM. You're exagerrating the so called stigma.

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    14. Geordie Sceptic9 April 2015 at 04:01

      GB, the more muddled and elaborate a tale sounds, the more people are likely to reach your conclusion, i.e. that there's something to it.

      As far as we are concerned, the film doesn't exist, because we haven't seen anything. Yes, I'm afraid I think the likeliest reason for this story is yet another hoax in the long list of Loch Ness hoaxes.

      I'm not trying to kill any conversation, I just want people to think about whether a hoaxer from the dim and distant past is getting them excited about nothing.

      EKM's choice is his own. His profession is arts-based I believe, so he no doubt feels more free than I do to be associated with cryptozoology. I would prefer not to remain anonymous if I felt I had a choice.

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    15. Quoting: "John you have to realise that in the UK most adults see the LNM as a laughable, trivial subject (why do you think I post incognito?)"

      It's a generic sceptic tactic to claim knowledge of majority opinion. It's standard, out of the play book. You would have to know the private thoughts of most British adults in order to know what they think of this topic.

      If "laughable" is the majority mainstream opinion, and one has aligned himself supposedly safely with this majority opinion, there is no reason to post incognito. A supposed majority-opinion anti-LNM-topic poster will have the support of "most aduults" in the UK, leaving no reason to conceal identity.

      Posting incognito then perhaps reveals that such a commenter is aware or fears that most adults do not find the topic laughable.

      Quote: "If people who I know found out I have an interest in this subject they would think I'd lost my marbles, whether I'm a sceptic or not."

      That's nonsensical. Regular sarcastic insults of the topic and of people interested in it, hardly demonstrate an interest in the topic. If most adults find all this laughable, then most adults would support the sarcastic attacks on the subject and those interested in it.

      Quote: "You're all allowing yourselves to get drawn in by a big fat nothing." This claims knowledge that the film does not exist. Claiming to possess an all-knowing all-seeing abilitiy is, laughably, another terribly typical sceptic tactic, again tumbling straight out of the play book. They seem incapable of self-generated, original thought.

      Delete
    16. Geordie Sceptic9 April 2015 at 14:09

      Yeah, whatever you say, Ed :-)

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    17. One wonders whether GS conducted his own straw poll to arrive at his conclusion about the status of the LNM in the UK. Even so, does the majority opinion negate the existence of something. As if not believing in the LNM, they simply wish it away into oblivion. Is the UK the world? What about the rest of us?

      GS's assertion is that we haven't seen the film, therefore it doesn't exist. Maybe it hasn't been seen because it hasn't been found or regrettably might be lost forever, therefore it doesn't exist in his world. What does occupation or profession have to do with whether one is a believer or a skeptic?

      GS's desire not to remain anonymous, if he had a choice sounds as if he is being held hostage, under duress and under threat to remain anonymous. This all makes no matter, he may remain anonymous, posting with his giving name makes him no less a skeptic.

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    18. Eddie here claims to be able to read Geordie's mind but says Geordie thinks he can read minds!

      Geordie's position seems reasonable to me. He doesn't want to be associated with a subject most see as a joke. Whether he's posting for or against the subject he's definitely showing interest in it. Can't understand why that's not obvious to Eddie!!

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    19. Kudos Ed, I think you have penetrated the mind of GS quite nicely!

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    20. This is one thread that could grow legs and get nasty, so civil tongues please.

      To be fair to GS, the majority don't believe in the LNM, but when asked such as question, they normally assume you're talking abot a plesiosaur. If the other alternatives such as large eels or some strange new species of mega-fish were put to the people, the subject would be more favourbaly received.

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    21. Geordie Sceptic10 April 2015 at 01:17

      Responding to "Ed Walser" more fully. Firstly, you are posting incognito yourself. Ed Walser is a fake name, as is the one you used a few weeks ago. I think you called yourself Guam that time. Why not post under your real name? And yes, I do know who you are.

      Yes, in the UK, this subject really is considered to be a complete joke by most adults. I have my Loch Ness books with the spines to the back in my bookcase because I would be embarrassed for any visitor to think I had an interest. That is the truth of the matter - if I brought up the concept of a monster swimming in a lake at my work place, people's jaws would drop. And if they knew I was researching and posting on forums, even from a sceptical stance, it would make me look completely ridiculous and damage my credibility. I appreciate that you think you have a special, almost psychic, insight into my world and my motives for remaining incognito, but sadly you are displaying a false impression of the "all-knowing, all-seeing ability" you accuse me of. Yes - Nessie really is viewed as a wacky, fringe subject by millions. It's hard to imagine how you haven't noticed that. Believers and sceptics are all part of it.

      As for the film, yes we are dealing with a big fat nothing. I see no examples of it on YouTube, but maybe I've used the wrong search term?

      GB, this thread should not (yet again) turn towards the subject of me and my motives, but you've allowed the person above to write a long post against me (yet again), so I am requesting this right to reply. Then hopefully we can move on.

      Delete
    22. Everyone has had their say, no more replies will be allowed on this sub-topic.

      Delete
    23. Actually: my name was brought into this, and I didn't get MY say....!

      My say is short and to the point: I'm not any more afraid to publicly attach my name to the subject of The Lord of the Rings than to The Loch Ness Monster -- both of which I'm hopelessly in love with. Comic books, too. We all have our interests. I don't know what GS does for a living, but I feel bad that his employers are such Grandmas that he isn't allowed to be interested in a topic he clearly doesn't take seriously.

      As for me: I just so happen to be shooting my next film, which is a documentary about a fellow who is trying to prove a recently-discovered ("lost!") video of a refugee from the Goblin Universe before going public with it. So not only is the MacRae story one of my favorites, but this article is very timely for me.

      A fascination in fringe topics isn't a bad thing at all! :)

      Delete
    24. Yes, on second thought, I'm inclined to agree with you on that GB. We just can't get away from the Plesiosaur archetype.

      As an aside GB, I know you use your best judgment to be fair, and would like to give the receiver of abuse the right to respond and defend, but in the future, comments that are clearly inflammatory in nature, and likely to incite the natives, maybe should not be posted. It would sure save “some of us” a whole mess of grief. Sometimes you need to save us from ourselves!

      Delete
  15. 6. Nessie used psychic powers ("evasion," as Holiday put it) to ensure the film would remain locked away forever.

    These supernatural/conspiracy theories are my absolute favorite part of the Nessie lore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Clearly not. Nessie would have prevented the film being taken in the first place.

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    2. Not according to Holiday!

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  16. I heard about this story some years back, did not know about a second film though somewhere else, sort of spoiled the story somewhat. It would be nice to think it is being stored somewhere and only a few lucky people are aware.

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  17. Update: picture of Alastair Dallas added to article. I omitted that Mike Dash stated that he could find no last will and testament for Dallas, unlike MacRae.

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  18. Great article GB. Though personally i doubt these films exist. But on to the taylor film menfioned....have u or anyone u know seen it ???

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    Replies
    1. I have the material for an article, but I always seem to write another article before it!

      Adams, O'Connor, Taylor, Cockrell, etc, etc, so much stuff, so little time.

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    2. Don't worry GB, We'll be here waiting! I am keen on the O'Connor story.

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    3. Geordie Sceptic10 April 2015 at 14:25

      Hi, has anyone noticed what "John Ayzapric" sounds like if you say it out loud? A google search would also indicate that this is not a real name.

      Is someone making a comment about "John A"?

      Delete
    4. Now you say it, yes. Some people obviously lead sheltered lives.

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    5. Wow! What a revelation! Now that you mention it, yes, I am being called a prick! Very clever I must say! It kind of seemed strange and odd the this “false person” would seem to be in agreement and sympathizing with me on earlier posts. Almost toady in a way. I don't know whether to be hurt or embarrassed. And I see that his comment in agreement with me on future articles has mysteriously disappeared, or was it my imagination that I had seen it earlier? A false comment from a false person, a nobody, a nonentity. Must not have much of a life. I pity the fool! That's OK though, I'm having a good laugh over it, as all the rest of you should. Geordie, are you sure it wasn't you posting incognito? ;-)

      PS Leave it up to you to figure it out!

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    6. Geordie Sceptic11 April 2015 at 00:38

      Credit should go to a fellow sceptic extremist who noticed it and pointed it out to me.

      None of this nonsense distracts from what is a fine article here, GB

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    7. Geordie Sceptic11 April 2015 at 09:21

      As I keep saying - the only posts by me have my name to them. I do not post either under other names, nor anonymously. What would be the point anyway, I'm already incognito.

      Delete
    8. Geordie Sceptic11 April 2015 at 09:24

      By the way, it's not much fun being called either a prick or a sceptic extremist by anonymous posters. At least GB seems bothered by the unpleasant comments directed at you

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    9. Excuse the delay, just go to Loch Ness for a one nighter!

      Yes, John. I will keep closer attention to names as well as content now. Though I suspect that immature tactic will disappear for now.

      I'll wager this person still needs to be dressed by their Mom...

      Delete
    10. Yes, I understand Geordie, and I appreciate your sentiments and GB's concern. Nobody should use four letter words directed to anyone on this forum, no matter what our differences may be. I'll get over it. Life's too short. I'm still finding it amusing as to how it was snuck in. :-)

      Delete
  19. No place to hide!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17224846

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  20. Geordie Sceptic9 April 2015 at 07:34

    I'm sure the banks could make an exception for game-changing films of dinosaurs frollicking in lakes.

    By the way, GB, I thought you and I were mates now?

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  21. I look forward to the Adams...taylor..cockrell stories. cant say the same for the oconner one though !! Lol

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  22. Geordie said,

    "Responding to "Ed Walser" more fully. Firstly, you are posting incognito yourself. Ed Walser is a fake name, as is the one you used a few weeks ago. I think you called yourself Guam that time. Why not post under your real name? And yes, I do know who you are."

    No, I am Guam. Nobody has posted using my name so far, nor have I posted under any other name than Guam.

    - Guam

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  23. Geordie Sceptic12 April 2015 at 23:10

    This conversation prompted me to set my Loch Ness books in order of writing quality on the book shelf last night. In first place is the Witchell book, then Stuart Campbell's, then Mackal's..... and so on downwards. In last place it was a toss up between a tourist pamphlet and The Enigma of Loch Ness.

    So for now, my Loch Ness books have the spines facing outwards!

    ReplyDelete