Saturday, 1 October 2016

An Update on the Jon-Erik Beckjord Film

I received an email from researcher Kim Schlotmann, who has been looking into the mysterious film taken by paracryptozoologist Jon-Erik Beckjord (1939-2008). I say the film is mysterious in the sense that few have seen it let alone know much about it (though we have a couple of stills shown below). Kim provides some answers as I reproduce his words to me below. One other aspect of Beckjord that fascinates me as much as his film was his claim that Tim Dinsdale confessed to him in private that he also believed Nessie was a paranormal phenomenon and recounted the tale of how received a visit from ghouls and demons in his boat, Water Horse when moored off Foyers. Perhaps the resolution to that is for another day.

But enough of my words ....


I promised to tell you about my results in researching Jon-Erik Beckjord’s famous Nessie wormhole film. It took me a long and hard time investigating this. Cryptozoology nowadays has to struggle with some serious problems: Possible pieces of evidence (photos, film footages etc.) get lost forever (as, for example, the McRae film), bloggers and researchers often don’t even give detailed sources for their claims (that’s a huge problem: I have to investigate the origin of many cryptozoological claims by myself because the bloggers don’t tell their readers in which newspaper and in which issue of this newspaper they found a special sighting report – this madness has to stop!

If I had done that when I was studying at my university [I have a bachelor’s degree in Germanistics and Philosophy and a master’s degree in Philosophy], my professors would have kicked my ass out of the institution for not following the scientific rules. And one of the biggest problems: Unfortunately, many researchers refuse to cooperate and don’t even answer replies when they are politely asked for something. All of these negative aspects are very damaging for cryptozoology’s reputation and finally lead to the sad result that mainstream scientists insult this discipline as “pseudoscience”.

I can only appeal to all persons who are involved in this field – may they be laymen or professionals – that they cite sighting reports and other claims in a detailed and correct way.

Anyway, let’s talk about Beckjord’s film.

In their Book The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Unsolved Mysteries, authors Colin Wilson and Damon Wilson tell us the following (have bought this book at Amazon, but it’s not delivered yet, so I can’t cite the precise page):

„ […] many people agreed that it showed a white, shape-shifting thing that was not a reptile“.

Both authors describe the audience’s reaction when seeing a 16 mm film made by Jon-Erik Beckjord at the shores of Loch Ness in 1983. He allegedly presented this film at the end of the International Society of Cryptozoology conference in Edinburgh in 1987. I asked Dr. Karl Shuker and Professor Henry Bauer, both were not able to remember this film’s screening. However, the Wilsons’ book is not the only source mentioning such a film.

In his book Hidden Animals.  Field Guide to Satsquatch, Chupacabra, and Other Elusive Creatures, author Michael Newton cites Beckjord as follows: 

‘[Nessie] ‚is not a biological full time zoological animal but rather that it is a paranormal/supernatural/ wormhole-traversing being that will never be caught nor killed. And we have a film that shows it coming from a space-time wormhole, and going later back into it’ “ 

(Newton 2000, 91).

It is unclear if both these films – the film mentioned by the Wilsons’ on the one hand and the film mentioned by Michael Newton on the other hand – are one and the same, but I think so.

The idea that such a film would actually exist fascinated me, so I decided to investigate this film’s fate. I started with cryptozoologists who attended the 1987 International Society of Cryptozoology conference, but as I said above, they couldn’t remind if Beckjord really screened his film. I also tried to contact a woman named Christine “Chris” Pitts, who seemed to have been Beckjord’s fiancee. Again, this was a dead end (I contacted eight different women with the name Christine Pitts – I only got one more or less rude answer from one woman, the rest was not answering my letters. So the real Chris Pitts, it seems, was not among the women I wrote to). So what to do?

I wrote a letter to Beckjord’s sister Pamela Beckjord-Forbes. Direct hit! She responded and was so friendly to give me the e-mail contact details of a long-time research fellow of Beckjord, a woman with the name Dr. Molly Squire. So I asked Dr. Squire what happened to this famous Nessie wormhole footage. On July 31, 2016, she e-mailed me: 

The film is still being catalogued with the rest of Erik's cryptozoological materials.  I'll tell you he also made some still photos from the film. Forget the words shapeshift and wormhole. It's fuzzy looking when blown up like any normal photography is that is taken from shore to a distance in the water. But it still shows something long in the water moving with an apparent head. The object is nowhere near any boat nor does it show any connection to any boats wake even though that is  one skeptical argument given against the  likelihood of Erik having filmed a type of anomaly.

All materials are at the China Flats, Willow Creek, California historical museum. All is being catalogued and plans are to scan all and have the archival materials available over the Internet for researchers to view online. It'll be at least a couple more years from what I guess. I'm  working on Erik's biography and may have a still image I can scan to send  you.  I'm writing this on a new phone. Came home from vacation and can't find my computer.

P.S. I am willing to swear that I've seen the loch Ness footage and it does appear Erik has something alive long and fast moving.

I then asked her what the exact technical details of this films were, i.e. when this film was shot, with which type of camera etc. Her following answer was quite confusing. Although the Loch Ness literature in its majority mentions that Beckjord was at Loch Ness in 1983, Mrs. Squire denied that date (e-mail from August 12, 2016): 

1. Not as early as 1983. 86 to fall 88. I say fall 88 instead of early spring 99 because of time Erik liked to go, August to September. And was probably 87 to 88 fall. I remember equipment shows in a couple of photos. Seem to remember he said can get finer details in black and white. I remember Nessie like object being in grainy black and white in enlargement. Will try to find photo.He kept journals by trip and date. They were turned over to the repository. Film is there also.

If the whole Nessie literature says that Beckjord was at the Loch in 1983, why does Dr. Squire says that this date is not true? However, the actual date is a minor problem. It might be that the many years since Beckjord’s Nessie adventure blurred her memories (No offence here, of course! Memories fading away is something that happens to all of us sooner or later). But the most important fact is that we now know what happened to one of the most legendary films in the history of LNM research.

I live here in Germany. I have no opportunity to travel to California and to verify if the information Dr. Squire gave me are true. So I cannot check the validity of her claims. But I would be glad if some of your U.S. based readers could go to the Willow Creek – China Flat Museum, 38949 CA-299, Willow Creek, CA 95573 and look if Beckjord’s whole cryptozoological legacy is there. I wrote to the museum’s staff, but unfortunately, they didn’t reply. Maybe some other researcher has more luck than I had in contacting the museum’s staff.

I’m working on a scientific article that deals with my investigation of this film’s fate and hope to get it published soon. When I’ve finished that, I’ll send you the article (but sadly, it will be in German, so you’ve been warned ;-) ).

Anyway, I hope I could make my contribution to solving this long-standing mystery.

The author can be contacted at


  1. Bizarre and fascinating. Don't quite know what to make of it, but it would be exciting if it lead somewhere.

  2. As I understand it, a wormhole produces a considerable distortion of light passing near it. If Nessie were in the habit of traversing such things, sightings and photos ought to show it.

    1. Even if a paranormal explanation was put to the fore, I fail to see what a worm hole (or "orm" hole?) has anything to do with it. Bizarre, as already commented.

  3. Knowing the history of EB I would seriously question anything he produced especially a film showing Nessie. This is a guy who mutually left the Air Force Academy in the 50s probably for misconduct. He harassed quite a few people for no reason and I'm one that is glad he's gone. His name will live in infamy.

    1. Was he ever found guilty of forgery or embellishment? Not discounting the man's poor conduct, but I feel that those are the more important issues in this case.

    2. Must admit I am only interested in seeing the film!

    3. I sort of agree with you there. I know a lot of folk take aim at one's beliefs and conduct in life,but at the end of it all if there is hard evidence (and who would ever know what that is), then there you have it. I have a strong recollection of a video from the early 90s that I thought would settle it all, from a tourist, of something large turning over in the water. But I can't find it anywhere. We are extremely short on video evidence, so anything would be a bonus. But preferably something that showed a Nessie.

  4. I always felt that the still from the video showed a boat to be honest.

  5. From the height of the video it looks like the same sort of V wake i see off boats.I just think it resembles that, not that im saying it is if course.

  6. I see. I wonder has anyone seen wakes generated by large animals for comparison? Can one tell the wake is generated from an outboard motor for example?

  7. I was at the 1987 conference, which I covered for Fortean Times. The Beckjord film was definitely not shown at it, nor was it announced or scheduled to be shown there.

  8. It always amazes me how there are these marvelous pieces of evidence that never see the light of day. I suppose it's the lure of the holy grail too. I think I'm from the 'I'll believe it when I see it' school.

  9. An update on the Beckjord material: