Sunday, 1 July 2018

A Loch Ness Monster Article from 1967




I have an old copy of the Readers Digest dated February 1967 in my possession which carries an article on the search for the Loch Ness Monster entitled "Closing In on the Loch Ness Monster" authored by a David Scott. The article is actually based on an earlier article dated November 1966 from the journal "Popular Science" of whom David Scott was the European Editor.

You can find that original article here, and it is interesting to see an article on the creature embedded amongst other features on space exploration, car technology, practical devices and electronics. Back then the Loch Ness Monster had more respect amongst scientific thinkers, partly driven by such items as the Dinsdale film, the O'Connor photograph and the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau.

The JARIC report on the Dinsdale film had been published earlier in 1966 and this seems to have also added grist to the mill as people began to focus more on the mystery of Loch Ness.  The optimistic title of the article laid out the various tactics and technologies that were in use and hoped to be used in what was seen as the final and definitive search for the monster.

To be more precise, it was the first and inconclusive search for the monster. Sure, we had people scanning the loch in the early 1930s and there was the brief Mountain Expedition, but nobody had seriously undertaken any kind of search as advocated by the likes of Donald Munro in the 1930s.

Then came the Whyte book, "More Than A Legend", the Dinsdale film and things began to gather pace with the formation of the Loch Ness Phenomena Investigation Bureau in 1962. They had been at the loch for four years when David Scott visited them, but still no film or photograph of any substance had been produced.

The article images follow below and you can click on them for enlarged views, but what of that oft used phrase connected with the LNIB that the more the loch was watched, the less the monster was seen? Yes, people outside of the LNIB continued to see the creature, but nothing came within range for the LNIB. This is seen as a disproof of the monster's existence or is it?

I say that because despite this being one of the biggest undertakings of the hunt, there is surprisingly little written in retrospect about the operations of the LNIB that allows one to evaluate the sum of the parts. We have various members of the organisation still alive and around today, but nobody has seen fit to write a detailed history of the organisation - warts and all.

Rip Hepple would occasionally refer to the workings of the group in his Nessletters, others incidentally referred to its operations such as Ted Holiday in his book, "The Great Orm of Loch Ness", so what we do have are some annual reports published by the Bureau which were sent to members far and wide. Someday we'll get greater clarity on the "eyes on the loch" in those days, in the meantime, enjoy an article from more optimistic times.










The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com




11 comments:

  1. I love old articles like this. Thanks for the link to the original piece too; that is (of course) even better...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Very interesting article, with a very different tone to today's reports. I'm not sure when the ridicule set in, perhaps some of it was always there. I remember reports from the 1980s, with a tongue in cheek, how much did you have to drink?, air. Funny, I've never hallucinated from having a few drinks, or even more than that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There was ridicule right from the start. The only difference now is that it's been over 80 years without scientifically verifiable proof. In the 60s and 70s they really thought they were close. Now no-one really thinks a discovery is close and without new approaches or extensive funding it'll never happen.

      Delete
  3. The rot set in the 1980s when many people realised that the mystery of unknown large creatures living in a small body of water was as unsolved a mystery as it had been in 1933 so it became a subject of derision, a number of debunking books and a the alleged Wilson hoax photo revelation didn't help.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Now that I think, there was a report of a ship captain from before the modern Nessie era, who refused to come out on deck to see a 'sea serpent' when this was clearly communicated to him from the crew. Presumably he would have had to make a report, and possibly his mental fitness would have been called into question. But I think the scepticism has gotten much worse, and sadly the tone of this article belongs to better days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The sceptical tone has got worse but I think that is more a symptom of society today in general.

      Delete
    2. People who can think outside an accepted norm are troublesome.

      Delete
  5. Yes, they really did think the mystery would be solved when the LNPIB turned up from 1962. The original aim of taking conclusive footage of the creature looks to have been a literal long shot with hindsight. Holiday's real life accounts of the various expeditions suggests it was not as easy as they initially thought. I don't know when the camera stations began to wind down, but the alternate methods employed such as hydrophones and bait bags looked even less likely to produce proof and the lack of funds to do anything else was always a problem. I mean did the LNIB even have decent sonar equipment?

    Don't worry though, Ronald Binns turned up in 1983 with his "devastating", "unanswerable", "game changing" book rightly titled "The Loch Ness Mystery SOLVED" proving beyond doubt that hyperboles and dodgy arguments definitely existed and we had the proof!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Fantastic article in Reader's Digest. If only that enquiring tone didn't largely die out to be replaced by widespread scepticism a few years later. We might have had more answers to this mystery by now.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Well maybe scepticism is a default setting for society, that's a good thing IMO, or else we'd all be Religious robots, it's good to ask questions and be sceptical of unproven claims.
    It's still a reasonable question for a sceptic to enquire in the years following Dinsdale's film why the LNIB years provided absolutely nil evidence of a large unknown animal in Loch Ness. One can talk about bad luck, poor weather, midges or the curse of Loch Ness, but it's a sobering thought that out of thousands of surface watching hours with professional optical gear , nothing was put forward as convincing proof.
    Pointing that out is not does not make one a sceptic, just a realist.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well the work of the LNIB would be something I would love to analyze. Their watch logs I presume are archived somewhere though I have no idea of their accessibility for researchers. One may be able to quantify the number of hours watched over those summer months but the quality of those hours will be harder to guage - weather conditions may be noted but Holiday talks about the temptation to turn on the radio, go and make a cuppa or chat to someone. Do anything of these and you're not really watching the loch.

      Once the initial excitement is over, surface watching is a boring, demotivating experience. I know, I have done it myself. So I ask how accurate is your statement "thousands of surface watching hours with professional optical gear"?

      Delete