Friday 28 February 2020

Inverness Courier adds Nessie section

The venerable Inverness Courier has started its own Loch Ness Monster section. I noticed the click through icon above a few days ago and it takes you to their latest articles on the monster (such as the recent eDNA experiments) and it goes back further. It would be nice if they could add even older articles for a good historical line on the monster and its varied crew of followers.

It would seem that interest in the monster is creating enough clicks to merit its own section on their website. It's good to see that Nessie continues to generate a following despite the attempts of critics to bury her forever. Well, some do. Others don't for reasons that have nothing to do with cryptozoology.

Regulars fans of the monster will know that the Courier led the way in reporting on the monster when it first surfaced anew in the 1930s beginning with that famous "Strange spectacle on Loch Ness" from May 2nd 1933 penned by then anonymous correspondent, Alex Campbell. It was a pity they weren't so upfront in earlier decades going back to the 19th century, but the world was looking for a good monster story during the Depression years and there was a creature in a remote Highland loch that just fitted the bill.

The Courier published a 200th anniversary book recently by Jim Miller which I have. The Nessie part is brief, but it is interesting to have a history of the area going back to 1817. I don't know where you can buy this - a brief search of some online book stores had none in stock.

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Monday 24 February 2020

1990 Article by Jon Erik Beckjord

I was alerted to this article by Scott Mardis, who runs the Zombie Plesiosaur Society Facebook group. He had uploaded the Fate magazine for May 1990 which has an article by Jon Erik Beckjord, famous for his Bigfoot and Nessie research back in those days, but who died in 2008. I think I would be right in referring to Jon as a paracryptozoologist who did not hold to zoological cryptids, but another category called zooforms or entities which look like animals but are not flesh and blood. 

It is not a view I subscribe to, it may solve a lot of so called issues such as food stocks, lack of sonar and photographic hits, but for me it is a sledgehammer solution to a cryptid nut. Nevertheless, it was a view I held to in my youth and we do like to give a platform to other pro-cryptid views here. So, I scanned the text into this article from the pdf file to spare you the multitude of Fate adverts about fortune telling, magic crystals and how to be the next Merlin. That text follows below.


By Jon Erik Beckjord

The names run off the tongue, with similarities between some of them. Could it be that the creatures also are similar? I would suggest that the answer is yes, and for many reasons. I am fortunate to have a huge number of photos, drawings and descriptions of these creatures. Since not everyone knows these names, let me explain that Nessie inhabits Loch Ness and is the best-known lake monster. Chessie hails from the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland, and Tessie is found in Lake Tahoe, on the California/Nevada line. Mokele M'bembe guards small (three miles long) Lac Telle in the Republic of the Congo, (a place that will eat up an investigator's money), Ogopogo wiggles around Lake Okanagan in British Columbia, and Champ is the queen of Lake Champlain, which crosses NY, Vermont and Canada. All are alleged lake monsters, all have differences, and all have some similarity. For a detailed background of each, see the bibliography in the book by Henry Bauer, The Enigma of Loch Ness. 


What then, are these differences and similarities? Nessie has been sighted and filmed in many shapes, but most often in two basic forms: a plesiosaur shape and a snake shape. Chessie seems to be mostly a serpentine shape, according to Mike Frizzell, of the Enigma Project in Reisterstown, MD. Tessie is rarely seen, and was filmed just once in a roll of film that the local chamber of commerce, who owns the film, will not allow to be viewed, lest it scare away tourists. In the film and descriptions by witnesses, it is also a long object that never shows a head, flipper or fin. Ogopogo has been described mostly as a serpentine shape, recently with a fluked tail by one witness; with no tail flukes by most others.

Occasionally a humped back is reported. Champ is mostly seen as a serpentine object, like a telephone pole that moves, except with undulations. Two visual aids, however, show something else. The Mansi photo shows a humped back with a long neck and a head, and the Hall video shows a hump with a neck as well. Yet, a number of photos taken by Ms. Kelly Williams shows another serpentine telephone pole. Mokele M'bembe is special and will be discussed below. Although some of the descriptions and photos of the same (or different) creatures are similar or identical, some are wildly different. A researcher must ask, "How can we reconcile all these differences?" 


If we stick to the old idea that these creatures are animals, we are caught in a dead end, for no animal, or animals, could account for all these variations that seem at times incompatible. It is simply too much to expect that a basilosaurus (an ancient whale), a plesiosaur, a giant snake and a monster worm could all exist side by side in these different lakes. Michael Meurger has written a book called Monsters of Canadian Lakes, and in it he points out that different lakes have different-looking lake monsters, and other lakes have several different kinds of lake monsters.

It is hard enough to accept one basic monster without having to accept the idea of several different kinds, all co-existing in different lakes. As a solution, I offer a new version of an older idea about Nessie and those of like ilk. Ted Holiday (see his book The Goblin Universe) and others in the past have suggested that Nessie may have come from, and gone back to, some other dimension, and may not be a normal animal at all. This concept is very difficult to prove and is beyond our current scientific ability to test. Most researchers feel that Holiday's ideas are too far out.

However, if we rephrase these ideas into a more testable hypothesis, the results may explain both the similarities of Nessie, Chessie, etc., as well as the differences. At the same time, it may bring about a re-focus on the lake phenomenon problem. The zoological path has proven to be a dead end. Let us look at Nessie, Chessie, etc., as an energy phenomena that can change to solid matter for short periods of time - perhaps even energy phenomena that has either guidance or intelligence, or an ability to react to the expectations and/or knowledge of their observers. An energy form might take the shape of a moving energized streak in the water. If it is able to feed off the expectations of its observers, it could take a more definite form as it moves along.

Perhaps in lakes where there are no viewers the phenomenon might not take any form at all. A good example is Lake Tahoe and Tessie. Few people expect a lake monster to appear in high and remote Lake Tahoe. Few lake monster experts visit there. Thus, the phenomenon asserts itself as a long, narrow body with no head and no tail. Perhaps if researchers were to live there, future sightings might feature a head, hump and tail. Miss Alexandria David-Ned, a French scholar and traveler, has written in her book, Magic and Mystery of Tibet, of the idea of forming "tulpoids" or creatures made from mental constructs, "mind creatures." If it is true that the mind can form physical or semi-physical beings, then maybe the lake monsters are given much of their form from the thoughts, conscious or otherwise, of the observers. 


I was at Loch Ness in 1983, the 50th anniversary of Loch Ness research, trying to use robot video to catch the image of Nessie. Our results were marginal with this technique. One day while waiting for a TV program to air about our efforts, I observed a series of rings being formed in the water about mile away. Fish do this, but these rings caught my attention because they were being formed in a straight line, one ring after another, some ten feet apart. I watched with ten power binoculars, and saw, I thought, two small, straw-shaped objects, less than two inches long, surfacing to form each ring, then submerging. I waited, tried to film them with a telephoto lens, and watched some more. At one point I thought I saw a pink body, perhaps six feet long, almost surface, and then submerge. It had neither fins, head nor tail that I could see. The body slightly reminded me of a Florida manatee. The film did not turn out, and I resolved to watch for this again the next time the water was calm. Later, on one of the last days spent at the Loch, we had gotten up early from a caravan at Achnahannet, some miles away from the Clansman Hotel where the first ring-sightings had occurred.

At 8 A.M., I noticed the same sort of rings forming, this time going toward Fort Augustus to our right. I pulled out a movie camera and proceeded to shoot the rings as they formed, perhaps at three mph, going down the Loch in the calm water. As I filmed with three people watching, I wondered if it would surface. I had to stop twice to wind the film, and as the film ran out, the rings subsided and petered out. I thought nothing much would come of the film, and paid little attention to it until I returned to the U.S. However, after a number of viewings, it gradually became apparent that more than a series of rings had been filmed. What appeared at first to be a mere water disturbance became a progression of form on the water rather than in it.

The white rings expanded to form a long streak. The streak undulated, like a pair of linked inchworms, and these in turn became a comet-like form, taking on a shape similar to a Concorde jet, on the calm, blue water. To my surprise, enlargements showed a gray rounded face, sometimes with two horns mounted above, looking at the four of us around the camera. To do this, the thing had to crank its head over at a 90 degree angle, looking sideways and up, while still moving forward. Dr. Maccabee agrees that there is a triangular nose, and other views see a set of eyes, and a mouth with some heavy duty teeth - like a set of short walrus tusks - mounted aiming downward. The face image has little contrast, which is typical of energy phenomena of a less controversial type, such as moving mist, or windstorm. Overall, it seems a cross between a cat, an otter and a walrus.

It was found to measure ten feet, so otters are out, cats are out, and there are no ten-foot white walruses in Loch Ness. Los Angeles zoologists agree that it is nothing known to them. Each frame of the film shows a changed form and a changed face. Further in the film the object changes again to a linear water disturbance, a frothy line on the surface. After I had wound the camera, the object changed again and continued to change. The last head to appear is the most bizarre, and the hardest to accept. In six frames, up comes a white blob, unformed, and in under one second the head took on definite features. It looks like a man's head, bald, with two tufts of hair, somewhat rectangular, rounded in shape, with wide open eyes, a nose and mouth. In two more seconds, it has gone down under the water, and at that point the film stops, needing to be wound again. The last sequence shows just an occasional ring in the water, then nothing. The water is calm, as if nothing had happened.

Dr. Maccabee agrees that the object moves, and is probably animate, and that it looked at us. Zoologists at the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History agree that the film shows no known animal or fish. Other zoologists discount even a school of small fish. Operation Deepscan, a sonar effort at Loch Ness in October 1987, discovered that schools of bait fish do exist, but at least 50 feet down and not on the surface. Thus, the object seems to be the Loch Ness phenomenon, or Nessie. My point in this analysis is to show that it may be possible that our own thoughts affected the image that the pheomenon radiated to our camera. As it progressed to our right, it may have grown in substance due to input from our collective thoughts about what Nessie should be like. As it got beyond range, it subsided to nothing. It starts as almost nothing, grows to a ten-foot object, becomes a series of appearing and disappearing heads, then subsides to nothing—something like a bell curve in intensity.

Of note might be that the John Cobb Memorial was one mile away, and Cobb, a racer, died in a jet boat in 1952 at that spot. Cobb was bald, and had thin hair on the sides of his face. Perhaps Nessie, Tessie, Chessie and the others have been affected by the preconceptions, or lack of same, of lakeside viewers. The very strongest images with the most detail - heads, humps, tails, tails with spikes and backs with triangular stegosaurus-type projections - are found in Loch Ness, which draws a very literate and educated group of visitors. Nobody expects a Tessie, nor a Chessie, so their images are less complex. Champ has almost as much press as Nessie, and thus its image is often complex. Ogopogo is felt by many people to be so far from Loch Ness that any similarity is remote, so its image, fed from the minds of visitors, is more Chessie-like, i.e., telephone-pole style. 


Mokele M'bembe is the dollar drainer of the African continent. Herman Regusters, who saw the creature in 1981, has made a hump-and-neck type drawing that brings to mind Nessie. Zoo director Marcellin Agagna has done the same. Colonel E. Mossedzedi of the Congo army has drawn a very worm-like rendering of M.M., based on his own sighting of the creature. It looks more like a large worm or snake than like any brontosaurus, or even plesiosaur. In the '70s, explorer James Powell asked natives about the creature and showed them photos of animals like hippos and elephants, with other photos of re-creations of prehistoric animals mixed in. Invariably, the natives picked either the brontosaurus or the plesiosaur. These images may have reinforced a tulpoid Mokele M'bembe's shape. Where the earliest pygmies and other local natives got their mental images from, we do not know.

In any case, there are more reports of MM being of the plesiosaur form than the snake form, and thus it tends to be different from the northern hemisphere lake monsters. The mechanics of its mental-energy feeding process, however, appear to be the same, with the same result. Mokele M'bembe seems to be more in the lake monster mold than the dinosaur mold, and it is most often encountered in the water, over its head - not the usual habitat for a brontosaurus. There do exist stories of sea serpents in the southern hemisphere, and while these are not lake monsters, I will throw in a brief account of a sea serpent seen by a hotel manager from Mamatanai, New Ireland, Papua New Guinea, while I was there in 1983, debunking stories of natives eating mermaids. It seems that twice in the '70s this manager, an Englishman, had encountered a 50 foot serpent, lying underwater on the sea bottom in a lagoon near Ramat Bay. He described it as looking like Chessie: a large, snake-like thing, and he avoided disturbing it lest it decide to eat him for lunch. Ramat Bay was where many of the alleged mermaids were seen, which later were proven to be dugongs, a relative of the manatee. 


Perhaps the same energy phenomenon is in all the lakes of the world, and it reflects to viewers what their background, racial memories, education, and expectations send to the phenomenon. The more sophisticated the viewers, the more likely the image received is equally sophisticated. However, this may not be completely true in all instances. The images seen are too varied to be of mere animals, and a better theory, which physics can someday test, is a theory of intelligent energy, reflecting our own thoughts and images to us. I propose that Nessie, Chessie, Tessie, Ogopogo and Champ are all the same phenomenon. So too is Mokele M'bembe, but with some regional and perhaps foreigner-influenced input that results in it seeming to be of the hump and neck type. If the alleged lake monsters are viewed as being unknown energy phenomena, all the apparent contradictions fall away and the path is cleared for physics to make sense of something where zoology could not. 


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