Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Alarms and Diversions





James Thurber was a noted author and playwright from the first half of last century who, amongst other noted works, was the author of "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty". In the 1964 edition of his anthology, "Alarms and Diversions", he devotes one chapter to the Loch Ness Monster entitled "There's Something Out There!". 

This was after what he calls a two year search for the monster, which certainly involved a trip to Loch Ness and trawling through the Daily Mail archives, though what else he got up to in that time is not certain. Thurber devotes 15 pages to the monster as he recounts his own experiences and gives us a potted history of the creature and its pursuers for your interest from page 60 onwards.

Thurber's book is typical of many books out there, which though not a book devoted to the subject, will divert from the normal news and events of their world to talk about the monster. I have a few in mind, perhaps I will get round to putting them out there.

 I have a PDF copy of the book which can be accessed here.

The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com


21 comments:

  1. I used to own that book! Thurber was one of my favourite authors. But I'm ashamed to say I didn't remember the Loch Ness chapter until now. And of course I've lost the book.

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    1. Definitely so! Imagine a huge animal briefly surfacing in the water but only for a moment and the sudden magnitude of realizing it is the Loch Ness monster. Few people would react quickly enough to snap a clear photograph. Tim Dinsdale had to practice drills on his camera gear for that very instant.

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  2. Great find & interesting read shame only a brief mention of his visit to the loch .

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  3. I note the clear reference to shock and awe resulting in clear photos not being captured. This is clearly a strong factor at Loch Ness, and one which the sceptics try to rubbish without success.

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    1. I think people who are familiar with their personal camera that they have used over years may not fumble and panic if close to any LNM. People would get too excited or freeze if Nessie was within a close distance. Many would forget about holding a camera at the shock.
      One would literally have to train to react to such a thing, it would always be unexpected. You may have 2-7 seconds, longer if fortunate. The camera battery would always have to be charged and a backup camera would be wise. These days it's cell phone video or pics most likely captured a Nessie image which may take a moment longer to set up.

      Every second counts when trying capture Nessie on film and fumbling a camera would occur to those without disciplined camera training.

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    2. I wholeheartedly agree, Jack.

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  4. If Nessie surfaced near to me I'm sure there would be some shock and awe involved. That could explain the fuzziness of, for instance, the Hugh Gray photo.

    If it surfaced at a greater distance I think my first reaction would be "What's that?"* Not necessarily shock and awe. I think the more likely cause of poor photos in that case is just the very limited focal length of phone cameras and, in the past, most amateur film cameras.

    * I have had such an experience. Arriving at a lay-by I saw something at a distance of maybe half a km which I couldn't at first identify. Then I thought it was a seal, showing only its head. Then I thought "that looks too big for a seal". Then I started feeling around for my camera. Next time I looked it was gone. The point is that though I was getting quite excited there was no shock and awe involved.

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    1. This shows that there are in fact (at least) two reasons good photos may not be captured. First reason is shock and awe, second reason is dithering and confusion. The first reason is more likely when close to the animals, the second reason when further away.

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    2. Last year or maybe it was 2017 a woman snapped a picture of a large disturbance in Loch Ness just beside Urquhart castle if I remember correctly. Apparently she claims a huge hump had just submerged seconds before her photograph. This lady reported her sighting but all she photographed was big surface ripples and slight foam.

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    3. Further evidence of the shock and awe effect, solidly backed up by the post-hump disturbance video. I remember watching this one and feeling so bad for the tourists that they only just missed videoing one of these legendary beasts.

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  5. 84 years of shock and awe since '33 is not a believable set of circumstances. Humans are weird but were not completely useless or ineffectual. We used to take down Mammoths nae bother at all. If they creature wasn't purported to be an occasional surface dweller, let alone one that supposedly comes onto land (ie it lived at the bottom of the loch) then maybe I would look more favourably on the photographic record or the shock and awe theory. As it stands the photos we have based around the eye witness reported behaviour of the creature is slightly problematic.

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  6. Certainly the shock aspect must be acknowledged when Nessie presents herself to camera fumbling tourists, however it doesn't explain the poor number of photographic items taken by experienced nessie hunters of which there have been many over the decades.
    A cynic [ not me, natch ] might say it's strange that Nessie has a habit of displaying herself to hapless sightseers with naff cameraphones but rarely to dedicated wildlife photographers with a Canon and a 400mm lens.

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    1. always planting doubt.
      n3ssie or nessies or other animals show when they want..
      it is impossible to capture them w a good lense and tripod,because you don't know when they will appear.
      nessie is a fact

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  7. I doubt there are many dedicated wildlife photographers with top of the range canon and good lenses that go regulary to loch ness.

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  8. You would think that the best fotos would be on a gud camera! Ive seen hundreds of fotos from loch ness and the best one ive seen was actually taken on a mobile phone!!

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  9. Dedicated wildlife photographers with expensive equipment are likely to get distracted by local known fauna and flora rather than staying dedicated to capturing the main prize on camera.

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  10. Im just wondering if there are any fotos that dont make their way into the public eye!! As i mentioned ..one of best fotos ive seen was taken on a mobile fone but has never bin shown to the public..probably cus the lad who took it was a huge skeptic lol i wonder if there are others.wud be a real shame if there are! Anyway belated festive wishes to all who contribute in here..watever ur beliefs..hope u all had a nice xmas....ROY

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  11. This photograph sounds intriguing Roy, what does it show? and have you got it?

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  12. Sadly no..i did have it on an old phone which broke not long after i had it! Its taken from a high point just after Dores ..showed a long wash and a cylinder shaped object at the front! From the distance it was i guessed the object was a decent size! I got it off a mate in loch ness who's mate took it after bin flagged down driving past by an old couple who wer watching it! I kicked myself i never saved it!!! ..Roy

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    1. This is further proof of what many of us have been saying for years: The photos and videos in the public domain are just the tip of the iceberg of what's really been captured.

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  13. Thanks Roland - an interesting read. Also as a frequent visitor to your site please accept my thanks for all your posts this year - good luck hunting in '18!

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