It is with deep regret that I have to report that my friend and loch researcher Ivor Newby has died. He was just about the most genial and friendly of all of the loch researchers it has been my pleasure to know.
I was invited to the launch of Monstrous Commotion at Waterstone’s in Inverness last night. I’d had a chance to read it prior to the launch. Not impressed. Will read it again and then do a review. It is available from Waterstone’s locally and also from Amazon price £20.
On first speed-read, it’s biggest plus is that the author has cited all of the references to the early sightings and on into the seventies. The references, indices, bibliography etc. took up what must be close to 30% of the book. Anyone studying the subject seriously might find it useful, but his repeatedly going into depth about exaggerated sightings and reports which, for anyone who knows the subject, have no credibility whatsoever, was the most annoying aspect of it and I found that extremely tiresome. This was the very reason why I didn’t include all of these irrelevant sightings in my own book. However, now they are all referenced, perhaps we can let them die a natural death.
The author’s exhausting and repeated references were so brilliantly comprehensive I think his next project should be an in depth publication on how to write an academic book. I learned nothing new from the first read although it did confirm many obvious opinions I and others have had over the years.
His conclusion was so timid he didn’t want to express it in the book or at the launch, but reading between the lines, he thinks the whole thing was dreamt up in a London pub to boost tourism, but this just demonstrates that academics really have no idea about how difficult it is to market a region. If, and it is a HUGE “if” anyone did invent the monster we can only credit Alex Campbell with that achievement, but even his efforts to promote the beast cannot fully explain its origins.
Anyway, I’ll come back with a longer review after the second read. Unfortunately I found it dreadfully boring the first time around so not looking forward to the second read.
Disappointed. I was hoping Adrian Shine would eventually cover the early period of the monster’s history himself, and I am sure it would be in a more engaging manner. It is a shame it has perhaps been pre-empted in such a boring tome.
Tony Harmsworth, 13th November 2015
Link: You can buy my book on this link if you don’t have it already.
LuLu are giving 29% off my print books until midnight on 2nd March. Go to the following link to see the selection and use NOLEAP as the promotional code when checking out. It only applies to print books, not the eBooks. Loch Ness Understood is the latest version of my Loch Ness book.
Here we have the Deppe-Armstead photograph.
Wendell Armstead describes: “My mom and I were on a tour bus heading toward Urchart Castle when mom just took a picture of the scenery, and when we got it developed never noticed it, but I was going through my pictures and just noticed it.”
In a second email he said, “When Mom and I were in Inverness Scotland, we were doing a tour of Loch Ness, on a tour bus going along the shore towards like Drummadrocit or Urchart Castle and mom was trying to get a picture out the window of the bus, but the trees were in her way, so I was looking for a opening in the trees as she held her camera to her face, and I said ‘now mom’, and this is the photo we got. Anyone who wants to laugh, go ahead, but tell me it aint nessy.”
Wendell Armstead sent the photograph to me as he wanted a second opinion. It is not possible to show a full size image on this blog, but I have selected a section of the image and show it full size on the right.
When looking at the full frame (top left image) there is a mark between the two trees. This mark does not appear on Elma Deppe’s original. It must have been introduced by me accidentally in Photoshop when I was reducing the image size.
Wendell sent the picture to a number of his friends and relations and my email address happened to be copied in. I like one of his friend’s comments, “Oh Wendell, that’s just your reflection off the glass. I can see the resemblance though.” Actually look carefully and you can see two people reflected in the glass. Not many people get the monster to pose with them for a photograph!
I am afraid that Elma actually photographed a boat and although it doesn’t have a lot of shape at that range this is almost certainly the answer. By “almost certainly” I mean 99.9999999999999999999999999%,
This analysis is supported by the fact that they did not see the monster at the time, despite looking through the trees for sometime trying to get the picture. This is only to be expected because why should you remember the small cabin cruiser half way across the loch?
We live overlooking the loch and so see the same effect many times when there is mist on the loch. I looked back through my files, but couldn’t find a good example in my own pictures because normally, if there is a boat I will actually not take a picture. On one occasion I did and it can be seen on the left.
What you are seeing here is the Loch Ness Project research vessel ‘Deepscan’ making a traverse of the loch beneath our house. Obviously it is far closer to the shore than the Deppe-Armstead object so you can see more detail of the boat itself. If, however, you reduce the size of the frame of this picture progressively, you eventually have an almost identical image to that Elma photographed.
The key to this picture is that it was an everyday object and that is why it did not seem remarkable at the time it was photographed. When the picture had been developed it was suddenly an unidentifiable object emerging from the mist. If it had been taken at any other loch it would have been ignored. Because it was taken at Loch Ness … it must be Nessie.
Sorry, Wendell, but thanks to images like yours it helps commentators like myself build up a better knowledge of the causes of mistakes. That is a very important part of the learning process.
The picture is copyright 2011 Elma Deppe and must not be reproduced without permission. Anyone wishing to obtain a copy can reply to this article and I’ll put them directly in touch with Wendell.
The moral to this story is that the next time you are at Loch Ness, Wendell, you should take an Inverness Day Tours exclusive tour. We’d have stopped to let you get the very best of images, without reflections in the windows. LOL. See Inverness Day Tours