Tuesday, 27 September 2011
The Loch Ness Monster - early sightings
The first sighting to hit the headlines was that of John McKay just weeks after the road was finished. He reported seeing “an enormous animal rolling and plunging on the surface”. There have been photographs in abundance, most famously one taken by Dr Robert Wilson in 1934 that became known as the Surgeon’s Photo as he at first preferred to remain anonymous though he gave his profession to reporters in an attempt to show that he was a reliable witness. The Surgeon’s Photograph showed a small head held atop a longish neck with a large, but indistinct body just below the surface. The photo caused a sensation, but later analysis revealed that the object was rather smaller than it at first appeared. There have been other photos, but most are rather indistinct and could be explained away by sceptics as uprooted trees drifting in the wind.
Nevertheless sightings have continued to be made. In 1952 Nessie was accused of having claimed her first known human victim. On 29 September John Cobb attempted to break the world water speed record in his speedboat Crusader on Loch Ness. The loch was easily long enough to allow the boat to accelerate and slow down again either side of the measured mile course. All that was needed was a dead calm day, and 29 September was one such. Unfortunately the speedboat hit a patch of ripples on the loch as it reached maximum speed and broke up, killing Cobb instantly. Later analysis of the film showed that the ripples were a low wake, as if caused by a small boat - but no boat had been present on the loch. It has been surmised that the wake was caused by Nessie swimming past submerged, but close to the surface.
In April 1960 a holiday maker, Tim Dinsdale, spotted just this sort of a wake created by a submerged object. Whipping out his movie camera, Dinsdale shot several seconds of film that clearly showed a wake being created, then dying away as whatever caused it dived down below the surface. Subsequent analysis proved that some submerged object moving at around 6 knots had caused the wake. The hidden object was estimated to have had a width of about 5 feet.