Thursday 19 July 2012

The Collecting of Loch Ness Monster Sightings

I am not long back from my holiday and have some things to post but I thought a quick look at the year so far is in order.

As of the current date, there is only one claimed sighting from April which we covered here. Some put this down to a boat merely doing a circular turn but my own investigations suggest this is not a good explanation as I shall post later. My PC is actually not powering up properly just now, so certain posts have to be held back until that is resolved.

One sighting may not seem much but I am convinced the vast majority of sightings do not make it to the public media. Indeed, one researcher I correspond with suggests from his own contacts that dozens of sightings are plain ignored and discarded each year. That this should happen in the current environment is no surprise.

In the past, witnesses would relate their experiences in several ways.

1. Local and roving monster hunters such as the Dinsdales and Whytes would investigate and publish sightings.

2. There was also the more "official" approach with larger organised groups and this is in particular reference to the now defunct Loch Ness Investigation Bureau. This group would be approached by witnesses at their HQ at Achnahannet and they would fill in sighting reports. These would then be analysed and summarised in their annual report and made generally available to researchers. 

3. In other cases, witnesses would go straight to local newspapers such as the Inverness Courier or more national papers if they thought they had evidence of a more substantial nature.

It was also the case that these groups would approach witnesses on a "tip off" if the witness was reticent or slow to come forward.

But what is the situation now? The Dinsdales and Whytes are gone and have been replaced by a more sceptical set of investigators. This modern genre do not accept the idea of an exotic species in Loch Ness and so what is their motivation to collect claimed sightings of a monster let alone make them publicly available?

There are the two exhibition centres in Drumnadrochit and so one may presume that witnesses may approach the people there but I have no idea how that scenario has panned out over the years. However, if the witnesses take in the sceptically-oriented multimedia displays at the Loch Ness Centre, they may not be so motivated afterwards!

Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems likely that if the witness goes to a sceptical representative, their story is unlikely to go much further after the representative has decided it was a deer, log, otter or birds.

In fact, options 1 and 2 above now seem forlorn hopes and it is down to witnesses to approach the local media who still like to run these stories for human interest (after all, Nessie stories still attract readers).

To this we can add the increased reticence of witnesses to speak up in an environment where they may be regarded as fools. I will admit the Loch Ness Monster has always had plenty of doubters in society as a whole but today witnesses do not have the firewall of a publicly recognised figure such as Tim Dinsdale to stand by them and back them up.

Such is the modern environment that Loch Ness Monster witnesses find themselves in. The majority of sightings never go public but undoubtedly they are there.