Reality and Sanity

June 1, 2007

Nessie is Back

Filed under: Junk Science Propaganda, The Printed Page — Paul @ 7:53 pm

And this time, we have film shot by an amateur

EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) – The Loch Ness monster is back – and there’s video. A man has captured what Nessie watchers say is possible footage of the supposed mythical creature beneath Scotland’s most mysterious lake.”I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this jet black thing, about 45 feet long, moving fairly fast in the water,” said Gordon Holmes, the 55-year-old a lab technician from Shipley, Yorkshire, who took the video Saturday.

Nessie watcher and marine biologist Adrian Shine viewed the video and hoped to properly analyze it in the coming months.

“I see myself as a skeptical interpreter of what happens in the loch, but I do keep an open mind about these things and there is no doubt this is some of the best footage I have seen,” said Shine, of the Loch Ness 2000 center in Drumnadrochit, on the shores of the lake.

Holmes said whatever it was moved at about 6 mph and kept a fairly straight course.

“My initial thought is it could be a very big eel, they have serpent-like features and they may explain all the sightings in Loch Ness over the years.”

Loch Ness is surrounded by myth. It’s the largest inland body of water in Britain, and at about 750 feet to the bottom, it’s even deeper than the North Sea.

“There are a number of possible explanations to the sightings in the loch. It could be some biological creature, it could just be the waves of the loch or it could some psychological phenomenon in as much as we see what we want to see,” Shine said.

I think the last statement is the truth.

Notice how the AP simply passes the story along, as if there isn’t any other side of the story, even running the famous Nessie photo without stating said photo is a well-known fake.

The entire notion that there is a creature living in Loch Ness is preposterous. Why?

I could tell you, but Bill Whittle at Eject! Eject! Eject! wrote a far better debunking than I could:

There is a lake in Scotland inhabited by a giant, long-necked creature, a plesiosaur that we thought went extinct fifty million years before man came down from the trees. This gigantic, air-breathing reptile inhabits the cold, dark, murky depths of Loch Ness.

Got it. Granting the premise…

What have we got? Some stories from eyewitnesses. Like the one by the British naturalist who took the most famous picture of the Monster, the famed “surgeon photo.” You’ve all seen it.

Only the son of the photographer has admitted that this single most compelling piece of evidence was a fake. He made a recreation of the model – it’s about the size of a large rubber ducky (and if you look at the picture again, you realize just how small and out of scale it looks relative to the waves).
Loch Ness Monster
Divers and automated remote cameras have scoured the Loch. There’s a picture of a fin – only the picture has been enhanced, rotated, and ‘dodged’ – the original shows an unremarkable — and tiny — bit of debris on the bottom. No sign of Nessie. What is much more damaging is that there is no sign of much of anything – especially fish. This ten-ton ancient dinosaur presumably does not order out for pizza. What the hell does it eat?

And this is most damning: plesiosaurs were air-breathing. Why is it that the best evidence for the Loch Ness Monster is a distant, grainy video of an ‘unexplained’ wake, shot in the far distance. This creature has to come up for air several times an hour. If we grant that there is a breeding population of aquatic dinosaurs surviving in Loch Ness, they should be sticking their heads out of the water like a giant whack-a-mole game, 24/7. If air-breathing dinosaurs really inhabited these lakes in Europe, and Africa and the US, then the best evidence would be the body hauled ashore by a shotgun-toting British Marine after Nessie ate a busload of tourists in full view of the world press.

Think about it. What if there really is an air-breathing dinosaur in this lake. How many HDTV recordings would there be in a single day. Fifty? A hundred?

Divers did find many sunken logs on the bottom of these peaty, dismal waters. Some of these will, on occasion, float to the surface as the gases from their decay increases their buoyancy. From a distance, they look like a dark, humped shape breaking the water. They eventually sink again.

So which is more likely? A log floats loose, maybe a boat wake propagates across a glassy lake for ten or twenty minutes? Or that a ten ton air-breathing dinosaur the size of a city bus, extinct for 50 million years, escapes detection in a fish-free lake scoured by dozens of cameras every day for the past fifty years?

I already was a skeptic, but Whittle’s analysis grounded in the scientific method and critical, clear logical thinking removed any doubt I had left. Too bad more people haven’t read his essays.

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