Tuesday, 21 September 2021

A Poacher's Frightening Encounter

 


Intrepid Aussie cryptozoologist, Paul Cropper, recently sent me some old clippings he had and this one certainly raised an eyebrow. It is a letter anonymously sent to the Scottish paper, The Sunday Post, dated 12th August 1979. Based on the letter, the actual incident is dated to about 30th July 1979. The clipping can be read above, but here is the text of the encounter below.


A Poacher's Frightening Encounter At Loch Ness

On Wednesday, a remarkable letter reached The Sunday Post. It came from an Edinburgh man who could not give his name, as he admits to being a salmon poacher for 25 years. Two weeks ago he was driving north with a friend to poach the River Conon near Bonar Bridge. At about 1:30am, they were on the A82 by the side of Loch Ness near Drumnadrochit. They pulled in at the side of the loch where, using infrared night-glasses, they confirmed salmon were jumping. The Edinburgh man got into his wetsuit and took his fishing net from the boot of his car.

The net, 100 metres long by 30-feet deep was brand new. While his mate held one end on the shore, he swam out into the loch with the other end. then began to pull the net round to a circle to trap the salmon. At that moment the net started to move up the loch of its own accord! Then he felt something brush against the side of his legs. As he became tangled in the net, he reached down to try to free himself - and felt his his hand touch a rough, horny skin! By this time, he was being dragged up the loch at a fantastic rate. His mate was also in the water, jerked off the shore by the lurch, as whatever they'd caught suddenly swam away.

Then the net snagged on a rock at the side of the loch. As it did so, the creature burst through the net, threshed the water to foam, and was gone. The poacher got out of the water as fast as he could, shaking with fear. The two men waited till dawn broke, then went back to recover the net. They found a hole in it, 20 foot long by 15 feet deep. A half-inch, lead-cored rope was burst in two places.

Eleven salmon were still caught in the net - enough to pay for the trip. "What I've written," he says "is absolutely true. I can assure you there is a creature in the loch - and there is no way I am ever going back, even in daylight".

So runs the tale and clearly, it is up to the reader whether to believe it or not as there is no corroboration of any kind. One can understand the person wishing to remain anonymous though. The precise location of the incident can only be inferred but points to near the mouth of either the River Enrick or Coiltie which empty into Urquhart Bay beside the village of Drumnadrochit. It may be that they parked near the castle grounds and scrambled downhill with their net or perhaps walked through the woods covering the bay. Either way, their net was not sufficient for the task that night.

What happened next goes one or more levels beyond what eyewitnesses normally experience. Something large brushes past you under the water, you feel rough, horny skin with your hand and the net pulls away threatening to drag you into the deeps of the dark loch. Finally, the shredded net is revealed the next morning. It sounds like something from one of those fictional Nessie movies!

The net used was likely a gill net which catches fish by their gills. Such a net may stop salmon, but it is unlikely to pose any problems to a four tonne, thirty foot carnivore with a decent set of teeth moving at speed. It would seem this monster was busy feeding on the salmon making their way to or from the bay and did not take kindly to someone else sharing. If this story is true, this man had a lucky escape.



This account has two features I had only heard of once before in other accounts. It was some months back that one could not find an account of anyone ever claiming to have touched the Loch Ness Monster. A second hand account dating back to 1922 came in to us last November which I published here. This is our first first hand account and describes a skin consistent with the rough appearance described by those close enough to see such detail.

It is also to be noted that only one story suggestive of a monster being snared in fish nets at the loch had been found prior to this and that was a story from Sandy Gray dating back to 1893 which is in this article. It is not clear if that was a first or second hand account. In that instance, the entire net was hauled out into the depths, never to be found again. Like this account, nothing large was clearly visible.

No one has ever claimed to been dragged into the loch by the monster. Clearly it is a unique account and if it is true, it is no surprise the fellow felt compelled to tell someone about it. Perhaps somewhere in Edinburgh today, in a shed or in an attic lies an old net, only used once because there is a gaping hole in it. One would be very interested to see such an item which may be located only miles from my own house.

But perhaps there is some corroboration of a sort. I checked the sightings database for anything happening at that time. The date was around 30th July 1979. As it turns out, Alistair Boyd, noted Nessie Hunter, had his only sighting of the beast on the same day in the same area of Urquhart Bay, either hours before or after this incident. His was a 20 foot long black hump, was it the same creature (below)?



Furthermore, we also learn from Rip Hepple's Nessletter No.36 from October 1979 of another sighting the next day by a Mrs. Clark and Mrs. MacLeod who saw a large snake like head from the same point at Temple Pier, moving into the bay. It seems one of the creatures was minded to stay in this area for the dates of 30th to 31st July 1979. 

Forty three years on, there is probably not much more to add to this story. The persons involved may still be alive but probably still unwilling to come out into the open. We live in hope. Either way, thanks to Paul Cropper for this fascinating story.


The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com



62 comments:

  1. Great story and fun reading but yet again no supporting evidence. When bait is set or cameras lowered into the Loch nothing happens yet another fantastic sighting without any proof. How long was Dr Rines camera rig and sonar set up operating in Urqhart Bay and all he ever got was murky inconclusive photos? Then one night two nameless mystery men experience something that is terrifying yet incredible.

    Too bad Nessie did not take a leg off as a snack because the bite wound would at least be something to analyze.

    Rines and Mrs Carey both reported jumping salmon in Nessie sightings, please tell me salmon have been used as bait or somebody thought of monitoring the areas where salmon frequent in the Loch at some point?

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    1. Jordan, 90 odd percent of reports have no supporting evidence, that is the nature of eyewitness reports unless you take a photo or film. In this case, photos or films was out of the question.

      Rines got murky photos because he put the cameras in murky water to put it bluntly. You did prompt a thought as to whether the AAS camera rigs were in operation in August 1979. I am not sure if they were or not, but they were not placed in the shallows of the rivers for obvious reasons. Given the area of the bay, it was literally a shot in the dark as to whether a creature would pass in the narrow range of the cameras.

      Salmon runs were a major reasons the underwater cameras were placed where they were and bait has been used by the LNIB with negative results. I am curious whether anything grabbed the bait as other fish would have easily taken the bait as well, how did they tell what took it?

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    2. Big problem is that both the Dimsdale and Rhine evidence has been pretty much now discounted?

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    3. Discounted? Depends who you ask.

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    4. True, just seems that they though no longer can be regarded as being "conclusive proof!"

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    5. "Conclusive proof" has always been a relative term in the Loch Ness debate.

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    6. How many Nessies would there have to be to be viable, and could they be coming in and out of the river from the sea?

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    7. Dinsdale's film has not been discounted, debunked, or dismissed as evidence. It is not a boat...

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  2. A tactile encounter with rough, horny skin. How to reconcile that with witness sightings of smooth, glistening skin? (Different parts of the beast?)

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    1. Glistening refers to the water on the back reflecting, which would happen on most surfaces. Rough surfaces would also look smooth at most distances. Apart from that, take you choice. Age, gender, season or even those extending humps could wrinkle the skin when deflated.

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    2. Is that how giant Eels feel?

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    3. If it was an eel he would have gotten the shock of his life. But all kidding aside, not all eels are electrc. Electric eels are not really true eels, rather a species known as knifefish and more related to the catfish. Don't know what variety is in the loch, true or faux eel.

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    4. Think that there are both Conger and Pacific eels in loch ness?

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    5. No, neither. Going back to the smooth eel skin thought. Of course, I say this poacher's story does not feel like eel skin, but that is confined to what a 3-8ft eel feels like. One was extrapolating to a 30ft eel, but that is no more than an assumption. If such a beast existed, the skin texture may change. All speculation.

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    6. I took the term "glistening" from John MacLean's sighting.

      This from the blog of January 4, 2015: ". . . like that of a horse when wet and glistening." As well: "The skin was for all the world like a horse that's been well-groomed and polished . . ."

      While it sounds the exact opposite of rough and horny, I wouldn't argue against Roland's further explanations, which make sense.

      The poacher's tale doesn't negate or diminish MacLean's, which I take more seriously than most. It's just interesting to hear other insights and angles on the subject.

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    7. By "rough horny skin" I take it to mean a sort of warty, lumpy texture? My first thought was that rules out eel and seal, but it's true if something grew to that size then who knows...

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    8. Ron, it could well be that the creature has variable smoothness/roughness across its body. For example, the blue whale has rougher skin under its jaws. I think it is folded for expansion when they swallow the large amount of krill/water (I refer people back to the expanded hump argument for Nessie). No doubt there are other examples.

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  3. That poacher was lucky that it was only the monster's skin that was horny!

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  4. I wonder if there were any letters to the Mirror after the incident. So odd that such a spectacular story wouldn't show up in other papers.

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  5. I seem to remember a report in the past about a Toad like creature with a rough skin. I have searched your blog Roland but I can't find the account.

    Maybe Boleskine House is Toad Hall:)

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    1. There was the diver that reported seeing a large frog?

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    2. There was a report from 1880 from a diver named Duncan macDonald of a “very odd looking beastie ... like a huge frog” which is reported in Rolands book The Water Horses of Loch Ness,and in this blog arcticle.

      https://lochnessmystery.blogspot.com/search?q=robert+badger

      A huge eel-like creature is also mentioned in this arcticle, which may be of interest to you.

      Regarding the Toad I can't remember any details except that people had a bit of fun with it in the comments section of the blog.

      Elephants, Camels, Frogs and Toads sounds like a right Wiches Brew, or something Aleister Crowley might have conjured up.

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    3. Just wonder so many seem to be against Giant eels, as checks off many boxes, rarely needs to surface, long lived, can grow very large, and are known to be in the loch!

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    4. I presume by "known to be in the loch" you are referring to eyewitness reports that describe eel like creatures. The problem there is others describe an eel that looks like it swallowed an elephant!

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    5. Now you done it GB! Now you got him going on about Giant eels again. Yes jesusFan, eels are known to be in the loch, small garden variety ones. A giant eel would check off many boxes, so would a giant seal, but that is unlikely also!

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    6. Both of them though far more likely then a prehistoric survivor though!

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  6. As soon as I read '1979' and 'infrared night glasses', I smelled a rat.
    Did a quick scan on the subject mind you. I got immediately suspicious as to how some poacher in 1979 got his hands on some generation I, perhaps genII, military gear. Probably not of good resolution and probably annoyingly bulky as well. Don't think the tech was commercially available and if so, most likely prohibitively expensive..... that'd be A LOT of poached salmon to sell, lol.
    Unless he was in the military and nicked a pair on his way out the door, heh.
    Maybe someone here can provide better details than my article skimmings.

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    1. In From Russian With Love ( 1962)
      James bond uses infrared spotting scope.

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    2. Right. Military had some form of infrared vision since the 50's and I think the Germans had some kinda night vision in WWII however crude they all were.
      My point being the commercial availability to the general public of such a device that wasn't unwieldy and/or prohibitively expensive.
      Also, James Bond films are movie fiction. This scope he used could've been simply been the book author's or screen writers re-imagining of the tech at that time.... like star treks tricorders or communicators for example. One of the features of Bond films was all those fictional gadgets he used, heh.

      Jon


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    3. And Omega Man charleton heston infrared rifle and glasses.

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    4. Perhaps it was just ordinary binoculars with a camera infrared filter attached?

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  7. That was me, Jon btw. Keep forgetting to add, heh

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  8. The comments section is an appropriate place to inform others that Erik Kristopher Myers died last week. Sadly, it appears to be suicide.

    Older readers will know him as the commenter "ekm" who for years as a sceptic posted on this blog challenging all and sundry. Things got heated, yes, but he wasn't stupid and had a keen mind. The last time I saw him mention me on facebook, it was not complimentary, but that didn't bother me. Leaving behind a wife and young kid outweighs all that trivia.

    Rest In Peace, Erik.


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    1. That is terrible news. I and Erik had a go around here a few years back and he was never aggressively hostile with me nor I with him. It saddens me to hear of his demise. He seemed a sensible fellow and I am left wondering what could have driven him to that extreme. My heartfelt condolences to his family. RIP Erik.

      Erik was the subject of an article by GB in a favorable light 9 years ago. You can read it here:

      http://lochnessmystery.blogspot.com/2012/10/a-personal-hunt-for-mokele-mbembe.html

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    2. I had a few go-rounds with EKM as well; he was very strong about his opinions. He and I shared a few other interests as well - music and John Waters in particular. Kind of shocked to hear it my by sucide as he seemed extremely devouted to his son...

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  9. Very interesting photo taken by drone near the banks of Loch Ness off something that resembles the image that discovery Loch Ness documentary did to the negative of Dinsdale's 1960 film. It showed a hump, and what looked like a slender body with 2 fins and a tail behind the hump.The drone image shows similarities, to that image. Eoin O Faodhagain.

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    1. Yes I have already contacted the video owner.

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    2. The consensus is fake, unfortunately. I will type something up so others are aware.

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    3. Fake and too good to be true? Why do people do this! So annoying and frustrating. There ought to be a law against this. In my perfect world they would be lined up against a wall and shot. :)

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    4. I was impressed by it initially, but that began to wear off when I began to chat to the guy and discuss it with others. Erik Myers would no doubt have loved this one.

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    5. Saw the story and my first thought was someone having a chuckle by transferring the Loch Morar/Morag story to Loch Ness. Apparently so.

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    6. You mean the Sydney Wignall footage from Morar? I did think that 1980 film must look a bit like this fake, which whetted the appetite to keep looking for it as that is certainly not cgi.

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    7. Maybe somewhere he's having a good laugh at our expense! LOL

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    8. Roland, yes, the Wignall footage. Loch Morar's water is clearer than Loch Ness(?), so that footage must be exceptional. I'm reading your postings on Facebook and am glad you're on the case so quickly.

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    9. Well I think there was an attempt by Roland to pin this down with no success a couple of years ago. It was shown once on UK TV by the BBC or ITN and disappeared, never to be seen again.

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  10. Unfortunately it's a bit more than "the consensus" that it's fake, the evidence proves that it must be fake.
    James Kitwood did some comparisons of two identical frames from the full youtube video,
    The first image is from the brief clip about 1.40 in, the second clip is the exact same frame but from the later longer clip that is causing all this excitement.
    I would say that it is nie on impossible for them not to be the same clip, I don't believe that a drone would be able to capture the exact same image at two different times, even the wave pattern matches up.
    Only difference is that in the second image Nessie has been added. That cannot happen naturally, something cannot be in one version of an image and not another copy of the same image without something happening to one version in post production.
    Therefore, no matter how much the creature matches many peoples wishes as to what Nessie looks like, there is no way that it can be genuine unfortunately.
    If he had not used a small piece of the overall drone shot in the earlier part of his youtube video then we would not be able to conclude any of this, and a lot of hot theories would have been aired.
    I do suspect that he will own up pretty quickly though.

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    1. This is a tough crowd to please, and that's a good thing. Keeps this junk to a minimum.

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    2. I'm really easy to please, just show me some genuinely intriguing new evidence and I will be over the moon every time.

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    3. What do you consider to be the very best proof of nessie existing?

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    4. Ronald Mackenzies game changing sonar contact from 20th September last year, and all the other sonar contacts associated with it over the past 2 summers.

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    5. I see it as either a extremely large eels, or very unusually seal, what about you?

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    1. LOL Yeah, False alarm...again. I was all excited by this "New" evidence too and then the bottom dropped out. Is that fakery on YouTube? Maybe GB will have something to say about it in an article.

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  12. The poacher's account is unembellished and has a ring of truth to it. I'd love to know how many sightings are unreported, or low key and forgotten.

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  13. my son says he saw a hump in uqhuart bay very briefly in early June. I was with him but missed it. He said the skin looked like the surface of a table tennis bat if you can picture what i mean.

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  14. This account was mentioned in a recent issue of Fortean Times, maybe how it came to attention? Anyway, upon further consideration I have even more problems with this account now than I did before. The size of the net in particular is an issue, besides it mixture measurements - 100 meters by 30 feet is a rather huge net, yet are to believe that the poacher was able to control this net while swimming.
    I've done some seining in my youth, and the procedure is not unlike what the poacher descibes: one person stands on the shore holding one end of the net, while the other person takes their out out into the water, holding it vertically. You walk in an a arc back to the shore, and check out what is in the net.
    These nets around 20 feet by 3, maybe 4 feet. Now maybe salmon poachers have different gear, but seining was hard enough as it is; tiny net, no swimming. Any salmon poachers out there, please correct me if I'm wrong...

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    1. 100 metres sounds strange when other three refs are in feet - methinks the newspaper guy meant 100 feet.

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    2. That is still a massive net. The idea is that you have some control over it - keeping it vertical, no slack, move quickl - so that you a rigid collecting tool; otherwise fish would just swim out.
      How this is done with a net 30 feet deep? You would not even be able to fully open until you were in water at least that deep. And how does one hold edges that are 30 feet apart vertical and tight whilst swimming?

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  15. Lead core bottom rope..floating top rope
    Btw, look up Omega Man movie poster,and youll see the infrared spotlight and scope atrapped to a rifle..this is in 1970s.

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