Sunday, 15 July 2018

No, Dr Burton!

For your interest, I publish yet another article on the Loch Ness Monster from decades past. This one was published in May 1962 by The Scots Magazine and the author was no less than Alex Campbell, water bailiff at Loch Ness, multiple witness to the creature and an expert on the lore of the monster.

The title is a pointed reply to the writings of the monster's first major sceptic, Maurice Burton. He had just published the first sceptical book on the subject entitled "The Elusive Monster" and was active in pushing his views in various publications. It was Burton's predilection for vegetable mats that particularly drew Campbell's objections and to which he relates his own experience.

Campbell covers other topics such as pre-1933 reports which later made their way into Nicholas Witchell's 1974 "The Loch Ness Story". Giant eels also get a mention as well as a night time sighting from 1938. I am not sure if Campbell wrote any other magazine articles, if so let me know.

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The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com








19 comments:

  1. Once again we have cause to ponder the absurdity of a sceptical “expert” telling people who saw Nessie with their own eyes that they didn’t! No sceptic can ever take an eyewitness’s experience away from them, however hard they try.

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  2. Excellent article, delivered with some great dry wit. These are priceless and I'm glad they're being preserved.

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  3. Hopefully this article will kill the vegetable mat theory once and for all...great stuff!

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  4. Amen to all these comments. Once again, was Burton being eocnomical with the truth in his unproven claims?

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  5. As I understand it, Mr. Campbell saw the monster more than one time. His most famous sighting was of a long necked creature which was nervously twitching it's head to and fro as a trawler approached, apparently aware of the boat, then swiftly diving, no doubt frightened. As a man who had lived at Loch Ness all his life and familiar with it's flora and fauna, it's hard to imagine that he would have mistaken a vegetable mat for a live creature! Show me a vegetable mat that can morph into a head/neck combination and be so animated do that! LOL!

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    1. I think you are more likely to see Nessie than a vegetable mat on Loch Ness.

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  6. Witchell lazily repeats much of the material in that article in his original book as fact. I wonder, in the tradition of Woodward and Bernstein, if Witchell researched these tales or found other, independant sources to substantiate Campbell's evidence.
    Campbell breezily dismisses outright the idea of weed-mats in Loch Ness then goes on to describe in detail a weed-mat that he observed in pre-war Loch Ness for over month, very odd.

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    1. Campbell dismisses veg mats because the only one he ever saw did not even form in Loch Ness and was created in unusual circumstances - contrary to the mechanisms Burton described.

      I am not sure of the word "lazily" unless you are implying Campbell was an unreliable source. Without having Witchell to hand, I cannot establish how he went about checking sources.

      However, he does use material from Gould's visit in 1933 in which he interviewed some pre-1933 witnesses. Also, Campbell reported on the pre-world war I MacGruer land sighting in 1933, Witchell followed this up by interviewing the sisters involved in that incident forty years later.

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    2. To clarify, Gould "interviewed some pre-1933 witnesses".

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  7. Just started reading this, and I already have an issue with Campbell - he claims that the first newspaper report of the monster's appearance came from his pen in 1933? There are plenty of newspaper reports prior to 1933, though I have read the claim that all/most of these were from AC anyway. A very intriguing main character in the mystery...

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    1. If one accepts that the Mackay report of the 2nd May 1933 kick started the Nessie era, then he is correct in what he says.

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  8. Funny enuf i found this book under my bed the other day after losing it months ago half way thru reading it! I do like to add a sceptical view to my big collection..it all helps! Ive got to say ive bin to loch ness regulary now for past 15 years and spent thousands of hours on the loch and have never seen a vegetable mat on the ness! So for me its a big no no......i wil read the other half though weekend just in case it throws up sum new info for me ! Cheers Roy

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  9. Not sure about " plenty of newspaper reports " pre 1933.

    Although the Inverness Courier letter about a beastie mloesting some Loch Ness anglers in 1930 has AC's sticky fingers all over it.

    AC is much more than just a wide eyed bystander in the whole saga, he was a vital cog in the machinery that pushed Nessie to world fame.

    He was [ as my local newspaper used to called a deceased local worthy ] a kenspeckle figure.

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    1. He was the water bailiff so he would have been the key person to report such matters. Mr Campbell’s actions make sense in the light of his job but I think sceptics ignore that fact and say his actions are those of a dishonest peddler of Loch Ness sensationalism. I’d hate to have you chaps in the jury if I ever found myself in court!

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  10. After reading various pieces about Burton, this and others in Ted Holiday's first book on the subject, I get the impression that Burton was deliberately witholding and distorting information. I can't work out the reason given that he was a previous believer, but his attempts at dissuasion were wide ranging. I think he knew there was an unknown creature, but wanted to stop the rest of us knowing. Ted Holiday had correspondence with him regarding the Taylor film, and refused Holiday access to the film when he wanted to show it to the LNIB. This seemed to be the aspect that killed the deal for Burton, as the suggestion was that he would show it to Holiday but only if he knew what Holiday's purpose was.
    All of this information suggests to me that there was a firm motive for witholding evidence. To Burton, if he could 'discover' Nessie, he may have been the most famous man on the planet, let alone the most famous zoologist. Why did he not follow this course? Was he warned off, or was he protecting something? Did something frighten him? His abrupt about turn, his religious zeal in debunking something he must certainly have believed in (given that he possessed the Taylor film), and the absolute nonsense of his shaped to fit theories suggests to me much more was going on. Under the surface, so to speak!

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    1. I don't think there is anything unusual in Burton's turning, I think he lost his job at the Natural History Museum over this and he took it out on the LNM.

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    2. Pardon me, I'm not as well versed in this subject as yourself. Why would he have had cause to take it out on the LNIB? Even if there is animosity between two parties, it seems strange to me why Burton didn't chase some glory of his own instead of becoming remembered as a ridiculous negative energy drain.

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  11. I think burtons book is very deceiving to be honest! I mean if sumone who has never bin to lochh ness reads it they will think that these vegi mats are common on the loch which isnt the case!! Im not saying burton set out to deceive but wer he got his info from is a strange one! I think he shud of investigated these mats a bit more before writing so much on them!! Cheers

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