Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Did James Gray photograph a car bumper?

 


Whenever close up pictures purporting to be of the Loch Ness Monster appear, the "too good to be true" tag is almost without exception immediately applied. That goes with the territory and of course some are too good to be true. The photographs taken  by James Gray on the 9th May 2001 are no exception. I covered this story in my book on Loch Ness Monster photographs, but I wanted to add something here which was not fully covered in the book.

A recent Facebook post has revived the idea that this was a picture of a car bumper slowly descending into the water. To be specific, a Morris Minor bumper. As it turns out, James Gray, who has now passed away, was indeed a classic car enthusiast and was a member of Morris Minor fan forum. You can see his car here and what a Morris Minor car bumper looks like.

The car bumper theory goes back to the beginning of this particular story and was first posited by Dick Raynor to Rip Hepple. However, it appears to be a semi-serious suggestion as Rip discounted it and Dick Raynor does not propose it as an explanation on his own website where he analyzes the photographs. This view of the pictures slips from view until Colin Veacock, a member of Steve Feltham's Facebook group, recently revived it (see link).

I don't think this theory holds and the object is not a Morris Minor bumper used as a hoax prop. One may argue it is another car bumper and given there are hundreds to choose from, you may feel confident that you will come across a perfect match. The reason I do not think that will work either involves Dick Raynor and some extrapolations.

In the aforementioned analysis by Dick, he attempts an estimate of the length of the object based upon some principles of photographic trigonometry using the camera angle, height above the water, the distance to the horizon and so on. James Gray had also supplied the specifications of the camera at the time of shooting which led Dick to estimate the vertical height of the object as 1.72 metres or 5 foot 8 inches - which was very close to Gray's estimate of 6 feet.

Assuming all of this to be accurate, some further calculations can be made. Since the object is inclined at an angle to the calculated vertical, a right angle triangle is roughly drawn below. A ruler is then employed to estimate the length of the horizontal line as 1.05 metres. A simple trig calculation gives a hypotenuse length of 2.01 metres. The object is yet even longer than that number as it is arcing. I could do a further calculation where the neck/arc forms part of a wider circle, the radius is estimated and hence the circumference. But I will leave that as an exercise for anyone so minded.



The next step is to assume this is a car bumper and the curious double "notch" visible about two thirds of the way down the object is the midpoint of the bumper. That being the case, this would imply another quarter of the bumper is underwater. Adding the missing quarter gives a total "bumper" length of 2.68 metres or just under 8 feet 10 inches. Now let us compare some bumper sizes.

In such a case, it is sufficient just to know the width of the vehicles and maybe add ten or twenty percent for the bumper ends. A Morris Minor is about five feet wide. A Volvo Estate is just over six feet wide and a DAF truck cab is about seven and a half feet. These example demonstrate sizes rather than whether such bumpers are suitable for such a supposed hoax.

The conclusion would be that if this was a bumper, it would have to be of an excessive length and certainly not one belonging to a car. Based on these numbers, any idea of a bumper should be excluded. In fact, no one I am aware of has offered an explanation as to what this was. Dick Raynor in his analysis could not find fault with the photograph and in fact had to resort to guilt by association because Gray knew Roy Johnston, who took another series of photographs a year later. James Gray explained to me before he died what that was all about.

But when you have decided a photograph is too good to be true, you are then obliged to look for solutions that remove the problem.


Comments can also be made at the Loch Ness Mystery Blog Facebook group.

The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com



41 comments:

  1. Not sure bout a car bumper but Mr Raynor did a cracking write up on this and the other dubious foto by Johnston! He put them to bed for me.

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    1. Have you read any counter-arguments?

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    2. No I haven't but If Mr Raynor is correct and time and places were not correct then its obvious the story is not right! Plus Gray and Johnston having a connection.. Come on?? So can I ask what part of the monster do u think this foto is of??

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    3. So it's 'if' your Raynor is correct then Roy. Have you considered that Raynor is probably wrong?
      You do know he's never ,ever going to acknowledge an unidentified creature in Loch Ness ?
      Your continuing cheerleading of this guy and a couple of others does nothing to advance the debate.
      Perhaps read "when monsters come ashore",by Roland and come back to us when you've Raynor's answers to children seeing a large creature.....which will it be?
      Ducks ,otters,other birds,or the kids are liars. Tell us.

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    4. Phoenix man.. My constant cheerleading of this guy??? I don't agree with everything he says as I've stated before lol I think it's u that will not change ur opinion on everything he says? Have u read his write up on it? And u still believe this foto is genuine? The mind boggles! OK what part of the monster is this?

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    5. And who is the ' others', I cheerlead???? Sorry but I say what I believe regardless of who says it. I agree with Mr Raynor on a few things but disagree on others.. Same with GB or Mr Feltham.. I have my own opinion! And yes I've read GB 's book and agree he puts some arguments to bed! Don't u think Gray and Johnstone having a connection is a bit suspicious???

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    6. I never said this photo is genuine.
      I've no idea what it is.
      Initially the connection between Gray and Johnston screamed "highly suspicious" but it's well explained in Roland's book. The photo apparently stands up in terms of location,with no manipulation.
      Have you any idea why Raynor doesn't respond to a man in his 80s who describes a fifteen feet creature back when he was a boy? Silence is golden when you know you can't push your 3 feet otters .Hmmm.
      Again,what does your Raynor think of young children who were witness to a large creature entering the loch many years ago and whose parents had to concede it wasn't their collective imagination. Otters or birds or deer?

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    7. It's the bumper part Roy. Okay, so if it is genuine, it doesn't have to be the head and neck. Maybe it's the tail, or maybe it's a tentacle of some exotic creature. Could be anything as far as I'm concerned. Yeah, the connection between Gray and Johnston sounds a little suspicious, but could be coincidence. The Johnston pics are very intriguing though. That's just what we all would expect a head and neck to look like. If that one is fake, that's some fakery!

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    8. Phoenix he is not my Raynor lol but he has pointed out a few untruths with the Johnson gray foto's!! And I agree his arguments on other foto's don't stack up.. But this piece is about the gray foto so I'm commenting on that! Load of nonsense this foto in my humble.. Cheers

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    9. It's not what the head and neck I wud expect to look like John no sorry.. Cheers far to thin

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    10. I am glad I contacted James Gray before he died to get his side of the story. It is not clear whether Dick Raynor put his "collusion" theory to Mr. Gray or just went ahead and published with no regard as to what the accused thought. He took on board what Gray told him about camera specifications, so there was a line of communication there. Yes, I think it is the neck.

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    11. All neck and no head then? Okay, let us assume that this is the LNM. There is a hint of something apart of a continuous neck, which we could construe as a head. Kind of puggish looking, like a snout. Not what I would expect after all the variety of descriptions ever offered by eyewitnesses, for example, horse, snake, or eel like etc. Some have even likened it to goat like. Another thing, what are those “notches”? Obviously the neck is rough in texture and knobby, the same as some accounts of the body. It would not follow then, that the neck would be smooth in that case. Having said all that, I still remain ambivalent about this photo, but one would have to admit that using a heavy bumper and the means to float it as the prop for a hoax, is going to extremes to say the least. And that, is my armchair expert opinion.

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    12. Raynor has an agenda..in my opinion. Probably sour grapes because he never got the nessie close encounter he wanted, nor a close up photo/ vid.

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    13. Lots of discrepancies though plus the two men connection! Although I avnt got a problem with the lay-by cus he didn't actually say he took it from there.. Looks like he stopped there and walked down! Im very familiar with that area as I go there each visit! I even canoed there in July from cabin Park and yes its a stunning view to take foto's from so cud see why sumone wud make the effort to climb down from lay-by and through the brambles to take shots! But the connection of these two men who took foto's 12 months apart surely arouses suspicion?? .. Cheers

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    14. "Lots of discrepancies" - explain the lots of discrepancies in the Gray photographs. You have deflected by moving onto the Johnson photos, we were talking about Gray. And banging on about Gray knowing Johnson means nothing. Peter O'Connor knew Tim Dinsdale back in 1960. They seperately took a film and photograph months apart. Does that mean they were in collusion?

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    15. John, by way of example, how do you interpret the account of Gregory Brussey?

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    16. Well, lets see. I think you are referring to Father Gregory Brussey of Fort Augustus Monastery. If I remember correctly, he said all he saw was a long neck, no mention of a head. This is in contrast to Alex Campbell's claim of seeing an agitated head swiveling around in response to a nearing trawler. But how far away were they to notice such detail? Or lack of in Brussey's account?

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    17. Haha u can't compare dinsdale and oconner lol. Dinsdale was a full time investigator.. Hunter.. He met loads of people who claimed a sighting.. Even as ridiculous as o'conners lol.. Hmmm wasn't Gray acting as Johnson agent???? Strange that Cheers

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    18. You speak with hindsight concerning Dinsdale and O'Connor. But back in May 1960, Dinsdale and O'Connor were unknown quantities who had both taken notable images of the monster. Dinsdale had probably been to the loch once in his life. There is no strangeness in Gray helping Johnston, no more than Dinsdale helping O'Connor by giving his photo positive coverage in his book. You are grasping at straws.

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    19. The O'Connor pic. Yes that's another classic pic I am ambivalent about. Now that it's been brought up, I guess it's fair game to comment on. When I first saw it as a gullible kid, I fully accepted it as genuine, now I'm not so sure. Wasn't he a taxidermist and because of that, he had the skills to pull off a hoax by stuffing material to fabricate a Nessie body and neck? As far as Dinsdale putting his stamp of approval on it, you have to take into account that he was high and fully enthusiast about his own sighting/pic so it only helped to bolster his own claim to fame. So my main qualm about it is this, how could a Nessie, as skittish and camera shy as it is, allow itself to be approached and hold still for a closeup portrait? If that is the case, I think we would have had a mess of similar photos throughout the years. As an aside GB, maybe sly old Nessie knows about your trap cameras! LOL As an alternative to that theory, Dick Raynor wrote up a paper wherein he thinks it could have been staged with an overturned canoe!

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    20. OK, just a comment on the head/neck debate. Here's a link to a pic of how artists have depicted plesiosaurs over time. Note how the modern depiction (based on latest science) gets such a thick blubbery neck that the head almost disappears into it!
      (I'm NOT saying the LNM is def. a plesiosaur, but they're a good example).

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    21. https://nixillustration.com/science-illustration/2022/retro-vs-modern-06-plesiosaurus/

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    22. Yeah, that's very interesting Ken. Maybe I gotta stop putting too much emphasis on what eyewitnesses describe when it comes to a head. They all say different things! Also have to stop thinking in terms of a head held at right angles to a neck a la the Surgeon's photo. Tim Dinsdale had a second sighting and all he said he saw was a “pole”, that's it, no head. If there's anything related to a plesiosaur in the loch, as improbable as that may be, it's had millions of years to evolve. Aside from that I've also read that plesiosaurs couldn't hold their head above water. Who knows for sure and you can't believe everything experts say.

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    23. Oof, there is enough going on without splintering off onto the O'Connor photo. I think I wrote four articles on this and its detractors.

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    24. OK, nuff said from me. Write another article and we'll go at it again. :)

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  2. This is one of those photos that I just don't know what to make of. The problem I have with it is the lack of a clearly defined head to neck juncture. Whereas in the Johnston pic you can see a clearly delineated head, you don't see that in this pic. I'm leaning toward fake/hoax. The one who holds the key to this conundrum would be Gray's fishing friend, if he's still living.

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    1. He only saw the very end, I suspect at the time of the last photo.

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    2. Well what I meant is that he would know whether they planned the hoax, if that is what it is. A little bit of waterboarding would bring out the truth. :)

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    3. lol Alvarado! That's illegal! :)

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  3. I always thought this photo looks like the flipper of a Humpback whale or something similar. Is there a uncropped photo to show it was taken in Loch Ness?

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  4. Bumpers schmumpers, it's a monster of another kind,
    looks like John Holmes swimming on his back. I
    wonder if he ever visited Scotland.

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  5. So which foto.. gray or Johnson do u think is the loch ness monster? They are both totally different in appearance so they both can't be the monster surely ?? Cheers

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    1. Well if you ask me, that is quite a dilemma. Now I'm starting to doubt the Johnston pic. Will the real monster please stand up.

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    2. A valid point which I have ruminated on for some time and have already blogged one or two thoughts. It is worthy of an article on its own once I have solidified those ideas.

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    3. Yeah, well now that you have done the Gray one, do Johnston. I don't think you've done a detailed analysis on the Johnston one other than give passing comment here. Or have you?

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    4. OK, a search of the blog shows you did touch on the Johnston pics in past articles. I thought I remembered you had. I haven't read the coverage in your book. Will you be doing a more detailed analysis here? That should prove interesting. And don't tell me to buy the book!

      http://lochnessmystery.blogspot.com/2011/07/book-images.html

      http://lochnessmystery.blogspot.com/2018/09/a-question-on-roy-johnston-photos.html

      http://lochnessmystery.blogspot.com/2019/02/preview-of-book-photographs-of-loch.html

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    5. This is not my "official" James Gray photo analysis. That was done for my "Photographs" book which also includes the Johnston photos and other photos not covered on this blog. After all, why should you get evrything for free?

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    6. Alright, alright...maybe I'll buy the dang book! Capitalist! Shesh!

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