Friday 26 August 2011

The Daily Express and Nessie

Back in the 1930s a new sensational story hit the British headlines, a remote Scottish loch apparently was inhabited by a dinosaurian like creature and had been seen by dozens of witnesses.

Perhaps wishing to lift the great British reading public during those years of economic depression and an increasingly bleak outlook abroad, many a Fleet Street newspaper took up the story and ran with it until war was declared six years later.

The Daily Express was one such paper which covered events at Loch Ness as I found out last week as I perused their online digital archive at I paid up for a two day subscription and then went in pursuit of Nessie stories.

The archive was easy enough to use and a reasonable price in my opinion. Articles of interest could be saved at no extra cost as PDF files and the range covered 1900 up to this decade. What one is likely to find in these archives can often be hit and miss but it also gives one a chance to see the cultural impact of the Loch Ness Monster during those heady days.

The first thing I noticed as I keyed in suitable search terms was how the Express put the emphasis more on the human side of the story. Actual eyewitness reports were thin on the ground as were speculations about what these sightings could be. From that point of view, I suspect the newspaper's editor or owner took a sceptical line but nevertheless felt obliged to report on that aspect of the subject which interests people the most - other people.

The picture below from the 23rd December 1933 I found quite amusing as one of their reporters headed to Loch Ness to quiz locals and visitors about their opinions. Zoom in to read their opinions and see where you lie on this mini-spectrum of views.

Perhaps some things do not change. It seems the men were more skeptical than the women. The human side of things was very much reported at that time as any things unusual to do with Loch Ness made it into print. To that end, I note the ongoing trial of Aleister Crowley gained some traction when it transpired he had a house at Loch Ness. Also the discovery of a dead man in a cave by Loch Ness also excited some interest (though no one suggested the unfortunate person had been a victim of Nessie).

And, of course, advertisers could not resist the lure of Nessie as this advert from the 25th January, 1934 shows. The small print says:

"Even the mysterious monster might well be lured from his hiding place by a packet of Post Toasties!"

How Nessie could be seen to boost the sale of corned flakes slightly escapes me! Mind you, I am sure Post Toasties would be just as successful as fish and aphrodisiacs in trying to bait Nessie.

More items from the Daily Express in the days ahead.

Wednesday 24 August 2011


The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.
Proverbs 18:17

If I had to compose a mission statement for this blog it would probably go along the lines of "To reclaim the Loch Ness Monster". Because when it all boils down, there are essentially two competing theories to explain what people claim to see in Loch Ness. The first is that there is a large, unidentified creature (or creatures) in Loch Ness and the second is that all witnesses have either misidentified natural phenomema or have hoaxed their story. It's as simple as that and you take your position accordingly.

Since the 1980s and the publication of "The Loch Ness Mystery Solved" by Ronald Binns in 1984 and "The Loch Ness Monster: The Evidence" by Steuart Campbell in 1986, things began to turn more towards the "natural" theory as opposed to the "monster" theory. The excitement of the 1970s with the various pictures and expeditions was over and the vacuum was filled by a more skeptical line of enquiry.

This began to gain some extra impetus with the arrival of the likes of Richard Dawkins last decade and his polemic style against the general belief that he may call the "incredulous" or "unscientific". Though targetted at supernatural beliefs, Nessie also became fair game for the "logicians".

This is reflected in the stance of those who are willingly or unwillingly defined as experts on the subject by the media whenever a photograph, film or sighting is reported. They explain it away as something perfectly natural and that is the end of the subject.

So this website comes in to that general environment with several aims.
1. Demonstrate the inadequacies of the "natural" theory when examined against various cases.
2. Promote and discuss the "monster" theory where possible in its various aspects.
3. Keep up to date on the latest sightings and ideas.
4. Provide information on the historical aspects of the Loch Ness Monster going back to the genre of folklore.
5. Examine the cultural aspects of the whole phenomemon.

Now this does not mean that the aim of this website is to try and prove that every photograph, film and witness report is of a large unknown creature. Clearly, misidentification and hoax has played its part in the Loch Ness Monster story and it would be fanatical to pretend otherwise. It goes without saying that "evidence" such as the photographs of Frank Searle are hoaxes. I also accept that the 1975 Rines photographs are misidentification. I accept (with some reservation) that the Surgeon's Photograph is a hoax. That list is not exhaustive and regular readers of this blog will know that evidence that has been classed as hoax or misidentification has been challenged already here.

So, the evidence is there. It is a matter of challenging the assumptions and explanations proffered by skeptics and prove that there is more to this subject than mere waves, logs and otters.

The head shot of Nessie in the Gray photograph symbolises the clash of theories for me. It's a dead swan's arse, it's a trick of the light, it's a wave. Look more closely though and you will see a fish like head looking at you with its beady eye, mouth open in a laughing manner almost saying "Catch me if you can!" to all of us whichever side of the debate we are on.

Those who wish to contact me on this subject can do so by email at


Various third party images and quotes are used under fair use legal guidelines. In other words, in such instances the permission of the copyright owner is not required. However, out of courtesy, the blog endeavours to attribute the image or quote the author with an appropriate reference. Any such lapses, please email me to sort out the attribution.

Where it is felt that permission of the copyright owner is required, we do so. However, note three circumstances where this is impractical:

1. The provenance of the work is not known.
2. The presumed author is known but there is no practical way to contact them.
3. The author has been contacted but has not replied in a reasonable time.

In those three circumstances, the blog uses the work anyway. If an owner of a copyrighted work feels fair use is not applicable then please contact me. Note I may ask you to prove you are the copyright owner!

Finally, the blog's policy on moderating comments can be found here.

Sunday 21 August 2011

Strange Blue Object Falls into Loch Ness?

The BBC are reporting a strange event at Loch Ness as a blue object falls near or into the Loch. Perhaps Nessie is an extraterrestrial? That would explain a few things or perhaps it has a perfectly natural explanation - unlike the many Nessie reports over the decades. I would not have thought weather balloons were blue - more likely highly reflective silver material.

Did the object sink into the loch? If that is the case, we can forget about any further headway in ascertaining what happened (unless someone is reported missing). For now, we watch this space for further details. Perhaps Steve Feltham who lives at the Dores beach at Loch Ness saw something?

On the subject of UFOs, they are not an unknown subject at Loch Ness. Frank Searle claimed to have photographed one over Loch Ness. I am surprised he didn't manage to catch Nessie in the same shot!

Another dubious event was Jan Sundberg's close encounter of the third kind at Foyers in the early 1970s.

Nessie hunter F. W. Holiday claimed to have seen a Man In Black near Urquhart Castle (see link) and finally I recall reading a UFO book in which a "contactee" claimed to have met an alien Nessie at Loch Ness and held a conversation with it!

And just to add a folklorish flavour, Kelpies were often associated with strange lights.

It all happens at Loch Ness!


Loch Ness search for mysterious balloon-like object

The emergency services undertook a night-time search of Loch Ness after reports a balloon-like object had fallen from the sky.

The police, coastguard, lifeboat and an RAF search and rescue helicopter scoured the area but found nothing.

The alarm was raised at 20:00 on Saturday after members of the public said they saw a blue object fall on the south of the Loch, near Dores.

Police thought it might have been a hang glider or microlight.

However, following a three-hour search the emergency services could find "nothing untoward".

Loch Ness RNLI crew member, Vivian Bailey, said: "Speed of arrival on scene was essential and we were able to link our search efforts with those of the Coastguard and RAF, something we practise regularly.

"We believe the reports were based on sightings causing genuine concern and we commend the actions of the members of the public that contacted the emergency services."

STV News adds some more information (LINK):

A mysterious flying object above Loch Ness sparked a large-scale search by emergency services.

Police, coastguard officers, a lifeboat crew and an RAF search and rescue helicopter scoured the around Dores, on the southern shore of the loch, following reports of an object falling from the sky at about 8pm on Saturday.

Northern Constabulary said the object was described as being "round, balloon-like in shape and blue in colour".

The search was carried out amid fears that a parachutist or hang-glider could have crash-landed in the remote area, but after three hours no trace of an aircraft or parachute could be found and the search was stood down.

One local resident, Denise Rooney, told STV's Facebook page she had noticed an object in the sky while having a barbecue in the hills above Dores.

She said: "I pointed out a white globe that I thought was a star initially but it moved across the sky. It was very far away. Could have been anything and it was on a steady path.

"I just remembered thinking I could see it but not hear it and it was an unusual flight path from that direction.

Rescue workers said the alarm was raised in good faith and commended members of the public who called out the emergency services.

Loch Ness RNLI crew member Martin Douglas said: "A member of the public reported seeing a hang glider or microlight descending into the loch.

"The RNLI lifeboat crew spoke to people on the shoreline who stated that they had seen a balloon-like object just above the tree line near Dores."

His colleague Vivian Bailey added: "Speed of arrival on scene was essential and we were able to link our search efforts with those of the Coastguard and RAF, something we practice regularly.

"We believe the reports were based on sightings causing genuine concern and we commend the actions of the members of the public that contacted the emergency services."

A police spokeswoman said: "Northern Constabulary and HM Coastguard responded to a report of an object falling from the sky on the south side of Loch Ness approximately two to five kilometres south-west of the village of Dores.

"The object was described as being round, balloon-like in shape and blue in colour.

"An extensive search was carried out by police, coastguard, Loch Ness lifeboat and RAF search and rescue helicopter 137, with nothing untoward being found."

Anyone with information relevant to the sighting is asked to contact Northern Constabulary on 01463 715555.