Saturday 13 September 2014

Two Forthcoming Lectures on the Loch Ness Monster

I would like to publicise two talks on Nessie which are coming over the next two months. 

The first is part of the Scottish Paranormal Festival which runs in Stirling, Scotland from the 30th October to the 2nd of November. The talk is by our old associate Jonathan Bright who took that controversial picture of what may be the Loch Ness Monster which was analysed on this blog. My own take is that this is the creature. Other have differed and think it is a wave, but I beg to differ.

Jonathan will be giving his views on how the Loch Ness Monster could be viewed as a paranormal phenomenon as well as looking back at his photo and some other items. The talk is at 10am on the 31st October and you can find further details here. Click through to the other talks at the Festival, you may find other things of interest to you.

The second talk is on the 11th November at 7:30pm in which Charles Paxton gives the Edinburgh Fortean Society an update on his statistical analysis of Loch Ness Monster reports. Charles has been working on a project to perform an in-depth analysis of all the monster reports he could find going back to centuries past.

I have had access to this database and it is quite comprehensive and Charles has some results to share from it (though not all of them). I suspect there may be something for both the pro- and anti-monster groups, but we shall see. Charles hopes to publish some more detailed papers in the months ahead. Check out the website of the EFS for updates.

I hope to be at both meetings, so it would be nice to meet up with any regulars (even sceptical ones!) who make it to these events.

Tuesday 9 September 2014

The Scots, The English and Nessie

So, in nine days the voters of Scotland decide whether to stay in or opt out of the United Kingdom. The main arguments will revolve around currency, tax, oil and so on. It is not likely that Nessie will figure in the debate, which is no surprise but it should be remembered that the Loch Ness Monster is a top attraction in one of Scotland's major economic sectors - tourism.

Whether tourism will decline or rise as a result of independence is unknowable. But the whole debate made me look at who's who in the Loch Ness Mystery. As it turns out, the leading sceptics of the notion of a monster are all English. They are Adrian Shine, Tony Harmsworth and Dick Raynor (pictured below).

Though it has to be said that Tony on at least one occasion has tried to pass himself off as a Scotsman (below). Now, all this English Scepticism, is this a conspiracy against Scotland's Nessie? After all, they don't have any lake monsters in England. Why should Scotland have one if they don't? It's just not fair!

Conspiracy? I would say probably not (though I am now bracing myself for some fruity comments).

But if Scotland does gain independence, will Tony have to dust off that kilt for continual wear? Will Adrian have to dye his impressive beard a ginger colour? Will Dick have to stand in front of the mirror practising his Och Aye The Noos in as guttural tones as he can muster? I would say probably not.

Then again, perhaps all three will be fleeing across the border the day after independence is announced? I would say probably not. But it is all not doom and gloom. After all, our own Steve Feltham is English too and a believer in Nessie. He can be an honorary Scot anytime.

But to be fair, you don't have to be English to be a sceptic. Nessie has had her most able defenders from south of Hadrian's Wall. The roll of honour includes Rupert T. Gould, Tim Dinsdale, Ted Holiday, Alastair Boyd, Paul Harrison and Richard Carter (though one can never be quite certain of every birth country).

So, with there being ten Englishmen for every Scotsman, it is no surprise they have invaded Loch Ness. But where are the Nessie loving Scotsmen? Who has stepped up to the plate for home grown research and hunting in times past?

Well, there was dear old Alex Campbell who stood up for the monster many a time. As a result of this, he has become the especial target of the sceptics. But that is another article in its own right. Constance Whyte, who wrote "More Than A Legend" is an uncertainty. I don't know if she was a Scot. The aforementioned Alastair Boyd has a Scottish sounding name, who knows?

All in all, a meagre harvest as Scots have stood back and let the English dismantle their monster. Come on, lads! We can do better than that. Will independence send the English sceptics homewards tae think again and spawn a new generation of Scottish monster hunters? I would say probably not, but who knows.

And should any English sceptic take this article seriously? I would say probably not. After all, they don't take anything else this blog says seriously.