Saturday, 4 November 2017

Those 1975 Underwater Photos




Just before 7 o'clock on the evening of Friday 29 August 1975 the telephone at my home in Leeds rang. An American voice inquired: 'Mr Nick Witchell? Transatlantic call for you from the United States.' After a short pause Bob Rines came on the line to announce news that meant the search for the 'Monster' of Loch Ness was finally over. 'Nick,' his voice came clearly and steadily over the thousands of miles, 'we've got it, we've hit the jackpot. We have detailed close-up colour photographs of the head, neck and body of one of the animals.'

Thus spoke Robert Rines to Nicholas Witchell as found in Witchell's "The Loch Ness Story". It is what I would call the summit of Monster Fever or perhaps we could call it "Peak Nessie". It was back in 1975 when rumours began to appear on the TV and newspapers that ground breaking photographs of the Loch Ness Monster were about to be revealed to the world.

Nicholas Witchell had already published the first edition in hardback of his book the year before and this news made it easy for Penguin Books to go to paperback with a new and final chapter entitled "The Solution". Reading that postscript gives one the impression that this was the last cryptozoological book on the creature. The next one would be zoological. Clearly that never happened, so what went wrong?



I was a kid back then whose love of mysteries had naturally latched onto the big mystery that was only a few hours drive from my home in Glasgow. I was too young to remember the controversy and sensation caused by the 1972 Flipper photograph, but by the time Robert Rines and his Academy of Applied Science were hinting at better yet pictures, I had already jumped on the Nessie bandwagon with such lightweight books as Dinsdale's "The Story of the Loch Ness Monster".

By the time December came, the proposed symposium in Edinburgh was called off due to excessive media attention and the photographs were subsequently presented to the world at a meeting in the House of Commons, thanks to MP and LNIB co-founder, David James.

The photos merited such attention that even Dr. George Zug, Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians at the Smithsonian Institution averred: "I believe these data indicate the presence of large animals in Loch Ness, but are insufficient to identify them". It seemed that the Loch Ness Monster was about to enter a new paradigm. It did, but not in the way those monster hunters expected.

By that I mean, the deflation that resulted from the anti-climax led some to rethink their positions and, as the 1980s dawned upon us, they took an opposing side to what their friends and colleagues continued to hold to. Hence the term, "Peak Nessie".




Now you may have read subsequently that said sceptics have done this and that detailed analysis and risked having their arses bitten off by Nessie by diving into the depths of the loch to recover tree stumps to claim the glory on how these photographs ought to be regarded as non-monsters. Well, to mangle a quote from a well known film - "Sceptics? We don't need no steenkin' sceptics!", because even as a naive kid I knew there was something wrong with these photos if one had just a couple of Nessie books to hand.

That "gargoyle head" was the greatest offender. Going back to Witchell's book, this was his reaction to this photo in that darkened room 42 years ago:

I had stood up to move closer to the screen and remained there as Bob moved to the next slide. The picture that came on to the screen was, without doubt, and I make no apology for the continued use of superlatives, the most remarkable animal photograph ever taken. It was the head of the creature, in close-up detail from a range of only eight feet.

For a few seconds the shapes were a tangle; then it suddenly fitted together. The head occupied the left-hand section of the frame and was more or less in profile: the open mouth of the animal showed what appeared to be teeth inside it; a prominent, bony ridge ran down the centre of the face into a thick, hard-looking upper lip ...

When it was first published and interpreted as a head, I struggled to see anything resembling a head at all. It was certainly not the most remarkable animal photograph to me. When Sir Peter Scott produced a painting sympathetic to the idea, I figured it out, but realised it could not be correct. Why? Because I referred to the sightings database that was extant at that time. Tim Dinsdale had done a good analysis of the creature's morphology in his first book, "Loch Ness Monster".

What his (and other books) described as a head bore little or no resemblance to the gnarled, knobbly object that was called a "head" by Robert Rines. The challenge to the researcher was whether to go with one alleged picture of the creature or go with the sum total of knowledge gathered to that point in time. The choice was obvious to me - go with the flow and deduce that this object was not the head of the Loch Ness Monster.

In that light, it was a bit sad to read Nicholas Witchell's account of how he was led into a darkened room to gain an exclusive viewing of these photographs. No doubt, the atmosphere was electric as the "head" appeared and Witchell perceived horns on the object. To this he mused that Greta Finlay was right, ignoring the other problems with the picture.

Now Greta Finlay was right, but not because of this picture and Witchell's error here led one sceptic (who is rarely seen without his bunnet) to take the initiative by promoting his improbable ear-less deer theory. In fact, note that the Scott painting portrays three horns, a clear departure from the sightings database!




Moving onto the body picture, I must admit I was more impressed by that and held on a little longer to that one. That was despite the newspaper headlines that followed its publication. I remember one headline in particular that described this photo as "bagpipes in a snowstorm"! It was sarcastic, but apt given what we had.

However, the database began to exert its inevitable pressure as the inconsistencies began plain to see. For example, the young version of me noted the proposed neck was way too long for what is usually described by eyewitnesses. However, if the top portion of the "neck" was ignored (since there is a gap between it and the rest), it was more acceptable.

But the biggest problem was the fact that the object is virtually white. A cursory glance at the database tells you there are no albino monsters. They are uniformly described as grey and would have been pretty difficult to spot in the peat stained waters at the distance that was being suggested - even with flashlights. It all looked a busted flush to me - even as a schoolboy. Since that time, I have looked again at these pictures and tried to give them the benefit of the doubt, but the totality of eyewitnesses always shouted back a collective "No!".

But herein lies the problem, attempting underwater photography in 40 feet of water was always going to be an arduous task. Ignoring the real problems with just getting the setup to stay stable in that environment, the peat suspension is a killer for clear, unambiguous pictures. Take a look at the picture below which shows of the Rines expedition divers at that time. Opacity is clearly an issue even at that close distance.




So Peak Nessie arrived and we entered the downslope in the 1980s. The Academy of Applied Science had arrived with fanfare the following year having negotiated a deal with the New York Times to give them exclusive access to any new pictures. They took no new exciting pictures and indeed the whole thing faded into such obscurity that it is not clear when they finally called a halt to the whole thing.

Nicholas Witchell is more sanguine about his comments now. In fact, I think he doubts there is anything mysterious in Loch Ness. One wonders if investing so much reputational capital into those pictures delivered a blow from which he, and others, never recovered from?

Doubtless, forty years on, technology has improved to the point where a better setup may produce better optical results, but the way forward now seems to be with sonar imaging and the great leaps that have been made to the point where they are beginning to achieve near-optical quality.

However, the problem there is getting one of these creatures to come up close. Sonar attenuates as distance increases and so, as with any proof finding endeavour, proximity is everything. This was demonstrated with the recent find of the Nessie prop which sank in 1969. Repeated sonar scans of the loch failed to find this Nessie-sized object until a remotely controlled sonar submersible got close enough to resolve it sufficiently to identify it. Normal surface scans had rendered it as no more than an interesting protuberance on the loch bed.

Clearly, the loch is still big enough to hide a few secrets. Unfortunately, investment in finding unusual phenomena at Loch Ness is in inverse proportion to the degree of scepticism. In other words, the more the "experts" talk down a monster, the less likely it will be proven. Then again, perhaps that is the way they like it.


The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com






108 comments:

  1. Does anyone know what colour the divers are? The diver looks albino white also, but most divers i see wear dark clothing.

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  2. I must agree with GB, the head and body shots never looked much of anything.

    However Rines' flipper photo did look organic and real, I was impressed and excited, that is until they said the flipper's length was estimated at a stonking 6foot and later one noticed the difference between the enhanced version and the original looked so different one had to think computer skullduggery was more than likely.

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  3. Good new post GB, I don't see any mention of the 'flipper' photo? I believe it may have been enhanced when published in a national newspaper.

    Did Dr.RR defend the criticism of the debunkers pertaing to the photos?

    I believe the flipper photo nailed it.

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    1. The flipper photo? That's another story. I don't recall the 1975 pictures being enhanced. I forgot to add Witchell's book mentioned a third photo alleging it was the underbelly of the creature with parasites hanging off. That was a shot of the loch surface, not Nessie's belly. No surprise that one vanished from sight fairly quickly.

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    2. Did Rines ever elaborate on why he abandoned the Loch?

      Was it because those pics didn't get the reception he hoped for? I've always found it curious that someone so convinced by the existence of these creatures - and with the means to do something about it - would simply walk away and not keep trying,

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    3. It all went quiet after 1976, a lack of solid results and a recession in the 1980s probably put pay to further expeditions.

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    4. RR went to Africa looking for Mokele Mbembe...

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  4. I remember the how exciting these pictures were at the time coming only a few years after the 'flipper' pictures it seemed that Robert Rines was so close to solving the identity of the creatures in the loch .Although at the time the 'gargoyle head' was a bit suspect to me but i thought the 'long neck & body' picture was truly astonishing & to me a boy of 12 was proof enough of its existence, oh well many many years have passed but the heady days of the early-mid 70's really was what stirred up my enthusiasm in the mystery & its one that has never gone away. Thanks Roland for this recap,it brings back great memories ...

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    1. And memories for me too as a Nessie beginner.

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    2. My memory had erroneously placed the flipper pics and the later head and body pics as the same event! Time.

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  5. Although he constantly claimed to be engaged in pure science, I often think Rines was guilty of that most unscientific of things - making his data fit his theory.

    He wanted to see plesiosaurs. The gargoyle head didn't look in any way an animate object unless you really stretched your imagination.

    The whole body shot was also inverted to make it look more plesiosaur like, when the light source shows it was really upside down. I also think Rines knew the object was much smaller and closer to the camera but chose to omit that detail as it didn't fit his theory.

    He did the same with his 'Nessie carcass' shot a couple of decades later. There's a full raw shot showing the ROV in part which shows the 'carcass' is really small and likely a bit of plant debris.

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    1. Sceptics give Rines a roasting, I do think he genuinely believed he had Nessie shots .. overbelieved.

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    2. I do to. But in his 'overbelieving' I think he chose to ignore some glaring data, and deliberately so.

      He's a big part of the Nessie story, and I'd probably still regard him as a net contributor. That said, I did lose a bit of respect for him with his 'Nessie is dead' nonsense a while back. It seemed he hadn't learned the lessons of before. His theory was based purely on the fact he couldn't find the LNM during a short trip after being away from the Loch for many years. Therefore it must now be dead. And oh look - here's something vaguely plesiosaur shaped lying in the silt. Case closed.

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    3. I have mixed feelings. Maybe he had genuine belief in the animals but he wasn't entirely honest with the public. The whole even showed how Britain at that time was largely in awe of America (a situation which has drastically changed in recent years). The highbrow sounding 'Academy of Applied Sciences' came over with all their technical equipment to capture evidence and solve the mystery. When they reported their astonishing results the British public mostly sat up and took notice. It seemed so exciting. But ultimately it turned out to be nothing more than another mistake. It was just dressed up in more technology than the other mistakes so it got more coverage and interest.

      I learned long ago to not fall into the common trap of thinking that the debunking of a significant photo or film weakens the overall case for these animals. It doesn't, it merely weakens the case for those specific photos and films. Two very different things.

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    4. RP is correct about the object being very close to the camera; that is why we have an albino Nessie, GB. Any color object too close the flash - especially in a dark setting - will cause the object to wash out; see the left portion of the object in the O'Connor photo for another example of this effect...

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    5. rp is not correct at all and is ignoring all the rines trigonometry and sonar data.
      i humbly suggest that you and rp at least read the technical details and mathematics of the camera and object plus strobe light because it all was calibrated and it is generally known how far.away and how big was the object on the 1975 ecpedition.
      Remember condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance.

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    6. more rot.
      i have a still of that carcass and its no plant debris.it's an animal with many details that looks like a reptile with fin like feet.eye sockets,jaw,mouth,spine, the works!
      Looks like a plesiasaurus and,again,is not so small.

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  6. I wudnt say it was albino GB! If it was a creature then it could be the underside of it and lots of dark creatures have a paler underside ie crocodiles and turtles.. along with the light beam it could make it look more paler! The top and sides look darker to me! And there is acually a paler underside mentioned in the data base as ive seen a couple of neck reports saying the underside was a pale colur. The diver is close to the lens so in my humble the object jn question is a bit larger than the 3-5ft that has bin branded about. I agree on the other two pics ive always felt they wer nonsense as far as the tullinmunstrem is concerned ! Cheers ;-) ......Roy

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    1. If it was underside (and yes a pale underside is reported by eywitnesses) I would expect the surface above to be visible.

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    2. Why would expect the surface above to be visible Roland?

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    3. Based on the assumption that any creature would be swimming with its underside facing down. Therefore to see the underside, one would have to be looking upwards.

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    4. Well yes but it would all depend on how deep it was. Would the surface be visible?

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    5. Yes, check image above which shows the underside of boat.

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    6. But was the camera at the same angle when that shot was taken ? There is a few suggestions it was moving about in the water.

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    7. I doubt it was at the same angle. Note that if this was a 20ft creature, it must have been a long way off and we know the peat suspension won't allow such clarity.

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    8. Maybe a smaller one? The trouble with nessie is that everyone thinks its 20ft plus, there might very well be some that size of course, but there will be smaller ones also.

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    9. eyewitnesses have described a 20- 30 foot "back" on some encounters.Robert Badger ran into a 6 foot thick cylinder beast from a few feet distance underwater.
      of course species have different sizes.

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    10. there are areas of lochness which are much clearer than supposed.Several videos are on you tube and that strobe system was designed for a murky enviorment.

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  7. I'm no stranger to pareidolia, and I'm reasonably well acquianted with different and bizarre forms in the animal kingdom, but I'm struggling to see any sign of a face - profile, mouth, teeth, bony ridge - in that photo. Heck, I have trouble seeing a face in Peter Scott's artistic impression...

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    1. I think Peter Scott was one of many many people who fell for Rines' lawyer-style sales patter.

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  8. I never liked the so-called gargoyle head shot, but in fairness to Robert Rines, it doesn't take a great stretch of the imagination to see a rough-hewn crocodilian head. And it was George Zug of the Smithsonian who stated that the object possessed 'bilateral symmetry' indicative of a living thing (although a recent Nessie book makes it seem that it was Rines who came up with the bilateral symmetry, which was disingenuous on the author's part). Lastly, because some Nessie head sightings described stalks or tubes on the head, and the object has some horn-like features, that connection was made. Rines and others thought the LNM were plesiosaurs (as did I back in those days), so when they capture an image of an object that looks crocodilian (some plesiosaur skulls are similar to those of crocodiles), has stalks on top consistent with some eyewitness reports, and has the Smithsonian Institution's curator of reptiles & amphibians seeing bilateral symmetry indicative of a living thing in the object, I think we can cut Rines some slack.
    For the record, I still find the alleged neck-body shot intriquing. I submit that no one can look at that image and not see a plesiosauroid shape. I'm not sure what the object actually is, but I have a hard time accepting that it's the same log as in the head shot. It just looks so different.

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    1. As a child I completely accepted the body and neck photo, but I don't know how a sizable object like that (maybe the size of an Indian elephant or larger?) could be illuminated under the poor viewing conditions of Loch Ness, at the distance necessary. If the object is 'larger than a shark but smaller than a whale' then it is a reasonable distance from the camera to be fully in frame, and it just doesn't seem as if visibility would permit such a photo. Without knowing the camera set up it's impossible to know exactly how far away the object was, but I could certainly hazard a guess.

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    2. But Martin, if the object is a (dare I say it) plesiosaur, then it is not fully in frame. Put another way we are only seeing about half of the creature.

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  9. Well said Paddy. The trouble with the set of events here i think is that there is so many different versions. We are told the camera was suspended in 40 ft of water then it is suggested it was rolling around on the loch bed in shallower water, then we are told the photo is a distance away from the camera only then to be told its a lot closer. The same goes for the AAS team saying these photo's are taken as the sonar triggered off, only then to be told this is false.What is Joe Bloggs supposed to believe? Does any one know if the sonar did actually pick up a large contact which resulted in these photographs?

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  10. Bob rines mite of made a few mistakes but he doesnt deserve the flak he got! He was a massive part of the mystery and brought some clever people across the pond with him along with some remarkable equipment! And of course he had a genuine sighting to kick it all off! I think Rines was a bit overenthuisiastic but a great guy. My mate in the highlands knew him personally and said he was a great chap and defo believed in nessie x cheers....... Roy

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  11. Another very interesting article. Roland you say the head/neck shot makes it look white, I do not agree. It looks pale - very similar to the diver in Rhines' comparative shot. So it can be assumed that the strobing effect of the flash causes objects to look paler. In my opinion this is the only photo that captures an image of what eye witnesses were seeing with any clarity or detail. Whether it is the Loch Ness Monster is entirely up for debate, but if there's a better piece of photographic evidence I've not seen it. Given your defence of other photos of what I'd consider much poorer quality I'm surprised that you cast this aside so easily. Nic Witchell stayed very involved in the hunt for at least another 15 years after these photos came out so I doubt it was his endorsement of these pics that killed his interest. The lack of further strong scientific evidence probably did that.

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    1. The strobe may indeed confer an unnatural brightness, but not at the distance proposed for this to be a Loch Ness Monster.

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    2. But what is the distance Roland?

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    3. It's a shame no one with an unbiased, unblinkered approach hasn't spent time analysing the head, neck body photo. I've seen one attempt, but that was by a person who shall remain nameless, who doesn't take an objective scientific approach to his work.

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    4. Distance? Comparing the diver photo to the body photo, the diver occupies 80% of the height of the frame and the body occupies 50%.

      Next we see about 4.5 feet of the diver visible and let us assume 15 feet for the "body".

      Using the rule that an object's apparent size reduces in proportion to its distance, if the 15ft object was the same distance from the camera as the diver, it would occupy a theoretical 267% of the frame height.

      Since it only occupies 50%, it must be 267/50 time further away or 5.33 times further away.

      So, if we assume the diver was, say 6ft from the camera, that places our "body" 32 feet away, which I would say is too opaque for any distinct image.

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    5. The word ASSUME is very important here Roland. I think too many people have assumed on these photograph's and thats why we have so many different views and opinions. I have seen the views and opinions of Harmsworth Raynor and co in these photo's but sorry when it comes to the opinons of the type of men Rines had working with him or the opinions of someone who drives a boat around loch ness or someone who made a balls up of operation deepscan then i know who's opinions i will take notice of. For me too many average men playing with the big boys should not be taken too much notice of but sadly they were. And i noticed the chancers only starting knocking Rines after his passing so be couldnt answer back. He was in a different class to that lot at the loch nowdays.

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    6. Well, I am not going to strut around like certain blowhard sceptics who think they are always right. So, you could be right, I could be right on this one. I am not going to be dogmatic about it.

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    7. Thanks for the answers. I have to be honest, I'm pretty sceptical about the LNM in general these days and Rhines' photos are largely discredited... but the head and neck photo always gives me tiny goosebumps when I think 'what if?' I find deep, dark water hypnotic at the best of times so it's an interesting image even without the possible inclusion of an graceful looking apex predator that was last generally accepted to thrive in the mesozoic period. In the summer I stood on the old pier on the banks of the Loch where the of railway used to run to. I find thr instant darkness and steep sides of the Loch scary and beautiful at the same time and I still hope to see something...

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  12. Great article. I remember the first time I saw the 'head' photo, I was about 9 years old. Thought it was the real LNM then! But yeah... definitely something on the bottom of the lake.

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  13. I dont see how you can say this Roland because nobody seems to know the exaxct distance or angle on this photograph.Highly skilled people working on this project at the time thought it was a creature so thats good enough for me.

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  14. I take it your saying the gargoyle head tree stump is lying on the loch bed? if so then why is it closer to the camera than the body shot is if thats another tree stump? And looking at the body photograph is it just me or does the water seem lighter and brighter towards the top right? could this mean the surface is not too far away?

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    1. I am saying the totality of eyewitness reports does not match what is being suggested for this image.

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    2. It matches a lot of reports though Roland.

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    3. I would be here all day Roland. Come on, why is Nessie described as a long necked dinosaur? because of all the described sightings.

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    4. The gnarled, knobbly "gargoyle" head is what I had in mind as regards consistency with the eyewitness database.

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    5. Sorry Roland i thought you meant the body shot.

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    6. I've not seen even one eyewitness description which matches the gargoyle head photo. You could make a case for the 'horns' but not the rest of it! Like Roland says, it's all gnarled and knobbly which matches no description I'm aware of.

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    7. Gezza - I think the "lighter and brighter to the top right" would be the flash. If the photos do align with sonar sightings, at least one of the sets ('72/'75) of photos were taken at night. There is (if I recall correctly) an account of people in one of the two boats used seeing the sonar trace and rowing over to the boat at night.

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  15. I was talking about the other photo.

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    1. The other photo obviously has the look of a classic plesiosaur. My problem was that I could see two different views of a "plesiosaur" in the picture. One was like a full plan view body shot with one flipper visible to the right and a kind of stump tail at the bottom.

      The second was a kind of "front of plesiosaur" only view so you see the neck, thorax and front two "flippers". This requires the "plesiosaur" to be looking upwards.

      Which one do you subscribe to?

      It is easier to say this is more conformant to the eyewitness database (albinos aside) as so few actually see a full body Nessie to corroborate it. Land sightings would be more amenable to such a thing.

      I would add that the nearest we have to a light coloured Nessie is the Cameron-MacGruer land sighting.

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  16. Here's one: the 1963 head-neck sighting by two fishermen at close quarters. One of them described the head as "wide and very ugly."

    About a year ago I ordered a dvd of a movie that I was rather fond of in my childhood. The movie is Gorgo, which I will assume the majority on here are familiar with. When I watched the film there's a scene where Gorgo rises head first up out of the water. As I watched I thought that Gorgo's head reminded me of something, then it dawned on me what it was - the AAS gargoyle head! So know I think of the gargoyle head as Gorgoyle!

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    1. The gargoyle head photo reminds me of the Jonathan Bright photo taken from a boat.

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    2. http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-KBLCRUUdXn4/UoxRfEgMngI/AAAAAAAAumo/1gmvhzEQQBw/s1600/gorgo19.jpg

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  17. Yes the head, neck, body photo at first glance seems to precisely fit the eyewitness descriptions. But then you look at it more critically and even if the object is 20ft long it has some features which don't make sense if we're hoping for a plesiosaur type animal. Classic case of people seeing what they're wanting to see and ignoring what doesn't fit that picture. Exciting times though.

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  18. Im not saying it is a plesiosaur of course, it could be anything. But if a plesiosaur did move across the line of fire in hazy peat stained waters would it show up picture percect? I think not.

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    1. Agree it wouldn't, but it also wouldn't have the issues present in the Rines photo. I'm sure you've seen the main concern of the photo (regardless of object size) discussed elsewhere.

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    2. The chances of it being a 20ft creature fully in frame, in waters with very low visibility, illuminated by a large flash are virtually zero. The open water between the object and the camera would contain a reasonable amount of suspended solids, which would reflect the flash, much in the same way as a car's headlights reflects fog. For this body and neck photo to be genuine, the water would need to be quite clear, which it isn't.

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    3. camera was seperated away from the strobe so minimal backscatter.
      lochness is not so opaque as you seem to believe.
      Read the data on the second expedition.The size was accuratly estimated on trigonometry from the camera,the lights,and the animal and the sonar readings.
      ( damage control)

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  19. Yes i have but i disagree on it.

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    1. Which bit do you disagree with and why, Gezza?

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  20. The 20 foot size estimate is for the object's total length (based on the idea that the object is a plesiosaur. And the estimate was 20-30 feet as I recall). That being the case, the estimated length of the object in the photo would be 10-15 feet, since, if this is a plesiosaur, we are only seeing about half of the creature in frame.
    That said, the photo is simply too unclear and ambiguous to be accepted as incontrovertible evidence for the LNM.

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  21. It could be a small one because they will be all sizes in a breeding group. Its a shame Bob Rines isnt around to answer the local experts at loch ness who scoff at these photo's. Saying that they only scoffed after his passing. They didnt have the courage or clout to take on a man clearly in a different class to these puppets.

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    1. Well, he never addressed the fact that the 'fin' photo had been so heavily modified as to constitute an art piece. He let it run on. He of all people knew that they were selling a false product, which probably destroyed the creature as a subject for serious research, to this day. I think Dr Rines shaped the pieces to fit his reality rather than use cold, objective science. Like the head and body shot that really can't be a creature. He knew all this. Maybe the monster here was Rines' ego.

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    2. Why cant it be a creature Martin ?

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    3. It can't be a 20ft creature in those peaty waters. As for the 'head', I have no idea what it is. It's quite ambiguous. There's no one more than me would love this to be true, but unfortunately I know enough about photography (although I don't photograph under water) to know the 'body' shot simply can't be both large and in peaty water.

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    4. But you didnt answer the question Martin,why cant it?

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    5. I suppose it can be a small creature close to the camera, yes.

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    6. It can be a 35 foot creature in those "peaty" waters and im also a photographer with several magazines to my credit.
      And its evident that this is a large animal.Add sonar and the camera triangulation( trigonpmetry and its self evident.
      wheres geordie?

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  22. Bob Rines first sighting intrigues me. I would be eager to hear more about that from the three other eyewitnesses that claimed to see a 20ft back of an animal in Qurqhart bay. What I find strange is how can a man so intelligent and accomplished believe that Nessie was clearly in his underwater photographs ?? Those pics are interesting but nothing clear enough to claim it was the monster.

    * everybody as a child believed these photographs to be the monster, now as adults few can say they see Nessie.

    Yet again I find myself believing one day yet skeptical the next. Roland bring us the photo or evidence we need to believe again !!

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    1. I noted another photo I had forgotten about posted on ZPS which shows an eel in one of the shots. It comes out as brilliant white in the shot, so perhaps the albino nessie view is less pertinent. The Rines team placed the eel at 20ft and based on this put the body shot at 25ft away and the visible portion at 7.5 feet long.

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    2. GB, where could one find the eel photo?

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    3. Not sure, I will post a follow up article this weekend with it.

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    4. Actually, it may be in the Mackal book.

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    5. I'm very interested. It's obviously the best attempt at calibration that we have.

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    6. The eel photo in question is found in Appendix C of Mackal's book...

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  23. Was the large sonar trace recorded at the time of the underwater Rines pics during the 1972 or 1975 search of Loch Ness ? This you guys will have seen already in several books.

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  24. Jack, sonar traces were recorded at the time of both the '72 and '75 photo episodes - but - there was no connection or link between the sonar unit and the camera/strobe array. In other words, the sonar contacts did not trigger the camera to start taking pictures. The camera was pre-set to automatically take a picture every so many seconds (I think it was 45 seconds, but I may be wrong on that point).
    In '75 the AAS had an improved photo/strobe array, but also used the array that took the '72 shots as a backup. During the '75 photo episodes the main array only got images of silt stirred up; it was the backup array that photographed the objects.

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  25. Martin, Rines and Charles Wycoff (the AAS photography expert who was tops in his field) did address the touch-up accusations. Wycoff wrote a detailed rebuttle to Discover magazine - who refused to print it! If I remember correctly it was eventually published in the now defunct Journal Of Cryptozoology. Rines said that the touch-up photos were the work of graphic arts departments of books/magazines that published the photos, over which he had no control. But the two engineers who made the touch-up accusations said they got a print featuring the touched-up versions of the flipper photos from Rines!

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    1. Thanks for that paddy, I didn't know that. Although to be honest, the account is as murky as the water he was trying to photograph....

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  26. Cheers Paddy for the info! Does anyone know where to find video of Rines presenting his findings to the House of Commons ?

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  27. I dont know much about sonar or strobe lights but i dont dismiss the photo of the body and neck so quickly.nobody seems to know for sure how deep the camera actually was or where it was.lots of guesswork. My view is if its a photo of debris on the bottom them why wasnt it caught in other photos cus what i can gather it took a lot of picures so why only the one? I agree that the Academy were great for the mystery and as a child i found their trips to the loch and the vast tools they brought very magical.saying that i find listening to friends in loch ness who have lived there all their life then seeing something they cant explain....just as magical. .....Roy

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    1. nonsense,they know.the mit/rines team had accurate technology and measurments with sonar.the two different camera,sidescan sonar and strobe systems were at 2 different depths.
      where do you get your conjecture from?
      Not the articles on this project.

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    2. I think that answer to his question was the NONSENSE. He made good points that apart from the AAS nobody else knows about the depths or position of the cameras and rigs. In other words he is right, a lot of guess work.

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    3. Dont think he understod what i was saying !

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    4. The reason we have photos of debris on the bottom of the Loch is because the cameras were not where Rines and company thought they were. Instead of being suspended in water they were on the bottom...

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    5. Cheers Hopkarma! Im not saying the camera didnt touch the bottom im just trying to get sum answers.Its just there is so many different opinions on this its hard to work it out.in my humble the cameras would of bin moving about through the night so we would have bottom shots and mid water shots. I just dont think the image in question looks to be lying in silt... but i might be wrong...and why only one photo out of hundreds if its a stationary object.Im not saying its not im just sort of not 100% convinced so its still in my ' maybe' pile lol if u see what i mean. .....cheers Roy

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    6. Hi Roy...A) the camera was moving. Not constantly, but as the boat drifted. These photos were taken not in minutes but over the course of hours. The boat drifts a bit, kicks up some silt - very evident in some shots - then settles down. B) some of the light is coming from the other camera rig, so it all depends on where the camera is in relation to that rig as to what we the flash will actually let us see. I loved the "body" photo for years, until I realized the image is flipped to make the subject look like a classic lake monster. The lighting tells a different tale...

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  28. If I remember correctly Dick Raynor was assisting the AAS, so he would have knowledge of camera locations/depths.

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    1. He should then yes paddy, but i keep reading people saying the camera was rolling around on the loch floor but nobody knows this for sure, and if it was, nobody knows how far or which direction or how many times it did. I dont think readers should take guesswork as facts.

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    2. The measurements certainly suggest it was dragging on the bottom. The Rines photos are all baloney I'm afraid.

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    3. What measurements Will ?

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    4. That is only your opinion Will.

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    5. Here is an explanation, minus the diagram, from another site: "The old Edgerton elapse-time camera and strobe had been brought along on the 1975 expedition as an "old faithful" back-up. It was mounted 40 feet beneath a boat which, as can be seen from the diagram, was moored in 80 feet of water. Anything photographed by this unit, therefore, must be in mid-water...The answer, of course, is actually plain for all to see. Look at the diagram again. What happens if the wind blows from the right? The boat swings around on its mooring and the cameras move up to a hundred and fifty feet closer to shore depending on the slack in the mooring line. Loch Ness shelves very steeply and the cameras would be rolling around on the bottom."

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  29. Article in the Express today saying that this year has the highest recorded number of sightings this century with 8. 1996 held the previous annual record with 17. Given the rarity of sightings and even less decent surface photos the only photographic/film evidence likely to 100% prove the monster's existence is that of the underwater variety. Is anyone carrying this out still? Are there live underwater web cameras? Or movement activated cameras? The traditional methods of searching have failed. The method that came closest to solving the mystery is no longer used in an age when we've mastered that technology. Maybe I've been watching too much Blue Planet II but it seems like the only way to go.

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    1. The quantity of sightings may be up, but the quality is down on previous decades. The long decline in salmon/eel/trout biomass has something to do with that.

      I am sure underwater tech is worth another go if the mistakes of the past are eradicated. The problem is who will do it?

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    2. Maby Badger will give it a go?

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  30. Henry Bauer has said that the Flipper photos produced be JPL were composites superimposing several computer enhancements in order to optimize edge sharpness as well as contrast.This was described by Charles Wyckoff as a recognized and proper procedure.

    He say's there was no retouching done by JPL.

    I think Underwater tech is worth another go.

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  31. Imaging sonar technology is rapidly advancing. Eventually, it will get to the point where a sonar contact will generate a decent image of a contact's general shape.

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  32. If you turn the 'head' photo left through 90 degrees you will see the stump as it actually looked on the Loch floor.Always reserved judgement on the other photo as it seemed quite a coincidence that this object should mirror so closely the classic identikit of long neck,barrel body and appendages/flippers.If this photo had been released in isolation maybe we would be having a different debate, as it is, it is damned by association.

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    1. Rhines' earlier fakery is, in my opinion, the biggest argument against this as evidence. Otherwise it's quite an astonishing photo.

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  33. What fakery Kyle? An object was genuinely photographed in Loch Ness. It was indistinct, but the JPL computer enhancement clarified the image. A legitimate procedure. Both the AAS photographic expert, Charles Wykoff, and the technician who performed the enhancement, Alan Gillespie, stated the basic flipper shape could be detected in the enhancement. It was further clarified by combining various enhancements, again a legitimate procedure according to Wykoff and JPL. The problem is the touched up versions where the outer edges of the object are clearly defined. Rines denied responsibility for those and Wykoff stated that no touched up flipper photos originated from the AAS.
    You can call into question whether the objects in the photos are actually flippers of an aquatic animal, but it's neither right nor fair to accuse Rines of fakery.

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