|Loch Ness Monster, Nessie & Me by Tony Harmsworth is the first comprehensive Loch Ness
book for more than a decade. It exposes fakes, hoaxes and pseudoscience and
shows how the story grew from an interesting local story into the most famous
mystery of the twentieth century. Whether or not you believe in the mystery, how
that mystery grew from humble beginnings to world fame is a fascinating story in
its own right and this book explains all.
However, it contains more than just the monster. It is a GEOGRAPHY of Loch Ness; the BIOGRAPHY of the world's favourite monster and the AUTOBIOGRAPHY of the best known Loch Ness commentator.
A SUPERB READ FROM BEGINNING TO END! Click this link to hear the author reading the book.
1 – PREHISTORY
Interviewing Eye Witnesses
2 – FOLKLORE
The Absent-Minded Researcher
From School To Business
3 – INVERNESS TO LOCHEND
Protecting The President’s Son
From Inverness To Lochend
Exploring The Highlands
4 – CASTLES ALDOURIE TO URQUHART
Castles Aldourie To Urquhart
First Encounter With Dinsdale
5 – FROM URQUHART TO FORT AUGUSTUS
The Obsessed Mr Shine
Castle Urquhart To Fort Augustus
The Move To The Highlands
6 – COMPLETING THE CIRCUIT
Late Night Nessie Shows
Completing The Circuit
Conceiving The Exhibition
7 – NESSIE’S ORIGINS
Staging The Exhibition
8 – LAND SIGHTINGS & FOOTPRINTS
Land Sightings And Footprints
Discovering The Project
9 – THE NESSIE ICON
The Power of Dom Perignon
The Nessie Icon
10 – THE CLASSIC PHOTOGRAPHS
His Monster’s Voice
The Classic Photographs
Developing The Exhibition
11 – THE DINSDALE FILM
The Dinsdale Film
12 – SURFACE OBSERVATION VIGIL
The Media Monster
Surface Observation Vigil
Monster Centres At War
13 – AMERICAN SONAR INVESTIGATION
Vive La Difference
American Sonar Investigation
14 – MONSTERS EVERYWHERE
The Incredible Sinking Car
The Exodus From Genesis
15 – NESSIE’S COUSIN CENTRE STAGE
Nessie’s Cousin - Centre Stage
Missing The Bus
16 – 24 HOUR SONAR PATROLS
“Seeing” The Morar Monster
Twenty-Four Hour Sonar Patrols
Macbeth And The Benedictines
17 – 40 STRONG SONAR CONTACTS
Fanaticism And Violence
Forty Strong Sonar Contacts
Rescuing The Abbey
18 – CAUSES FOR ERRORS
The Wogan Show
Causes For Errors
19 – THE DAY I SAW NESSIE
The Day I Saw Nessie
Intrigue In The Cloisters
20 – OPERATION DEEPSCAN
Plumbing The Depths
No Peace For The Wicked
21 – THE CLUE IN THE FOOD CHAIN
Abbots, Popes And Priors
The Clue In The Food Chain
More Awards But No Money
22 – THE REAL NESSIE PLEASE STAND UP?
Will The Real Nessie Please Stand Up?
A Stroke Of Luck
EXTRACT FROM CHAPTER 8 - DISCOVERING THE PROJECT
All of this controversy was fascinating to live through, but it was in the very first few weeks of the exhibition that the real revelations came to me.
Having heard Richard Frere’s encounter with Lachlan Stuart faking his famous photograph, my belief began to waver. With the visit of the Loch Ness and Morar Expedition committee shortly after opening the centre it plunged into the depths and has been zigzagging ever since, although the extent of the peaks and troughs has been gradually calming since the millennium.
Adrian Shine, Project Leader and Ricky Gardiner, Chairman of the Project’s Evidence sub-committee arrived at my exhibition [in 1980], paid their 80p and took the tour.
Much of the evidence I had displayed was suspect, but there were one or two indicators that I might be an open-minded sort of person. These were my presenting the Mackal analysis of the MacNab photograph (to be dealt with soon) and the fact that I had not taken Dr Rines’ underwater photographs at face value but had tried to be objective in their presentation. Knowing that Dr Rines had opened the exhibition, my treatment of Rines’ material was something of a surprise to Adrian and impressed him sufficiently that he thought he may be able to “get to work on me”.
After their visit they mentioned, anonymously, to one of the staff that there was an expedition on the other side of the loch at a place called Ballachladaich. They knew that this information would find its way to me and they hoped I might make contact. Adrian was always an accomplished strategist and he wanted first contact to come from me. I only discovered all of this much later of course.
With some considerable curiosity I drove around the loch and turned into a field which led down to the lochside. There were a number of khaki tents and various vehicles and equipment strewn around in a sort of organised chaos.
Two young men were working with a four metre yellow pontoon. Along the top was a fold of thicker rubber containing eyelets. Using rope through these, it was being lashed to wooden decking to construct some sort of floating platform. Nowhere could I see any giant telephoto cameras, telescopes or even pairs of binoculars. Could this really be a monster hunt?
I could see other young people assembling tents, constructing strange looking objects from timber and untangling and coiling masses of blue rope. One rather lovely young student wearing hot-pants was sewing a trawl net which was patently too small for catching Nessie. Obviously this expedition was different from its predecessors. It appeared to have a similarly multi-disciplined approach to Roy Mackal’s expeditions in the last years of the Loch Ness Phenomenon Investigation Bureau, but without any obvious accompanying monster-hunting paraphernalia.
A tall dark haired, heavily bearded individual walked up from the lochside to meet me. With him was a comparatively diminutive bald headed man with the air of a schoolteacher, which I later discovered he actually was. These were Adrian Shine and Ricky Gardiner.
After some pleasantries I was escorted into the largest of the tents, apparently the mess tent. I cannot remember the conversation exactly, but they were obviously feeling out my character and trying to decide if I was the sort of person with whom they could work ....
EXTRACT FROM CHAPTER 13 - AMERICAN SONAR INVESTIGATION
The Academy’s strap-line is, “Fueling the Spark of Genius” and it describes its membership in the following sentence: “The membership of the Academy consists primarily of entrepreneurs, inventors, industrial and intellectual property lawyers, businesspersons, educators and others concerned with innovation and furthering the service of technology and applied science. Individuals become members of the Academy through nomination by current members.”
They also used to say that they were encouraging a multi-disciplined approach to resolving problems. Loch Ness was one area they thought their varied approach might benefit.
There is no denying that they comprise a seriously talented group of individuals, some of whom will be mentioned within these pages. How serious they were in applying their science to Loch Ness, and how much it was just a tax deductible adventure will in the end analysis be something the reader may have to determine for him/herself.
In 1972 the expedition was a joint expedition with the Loch Ness Bureau. The plan was apparently to place underwater elapse-time cameras connected to strobe flash equipment in areas likely to be frequented by any large unknown animals in the loch. Urquhart Bay was a likely location and, in fact, something which is rather worrying to those of us who don’t want to mix our mysteries, Winifred Cary had actually dowsed the spot chosen as being a likely Nessie location.
The cameras would also be monitored by a sonar machine, mounted horizontally and stationary with a view to complementing any photographic results. It might also provide the required data to enable the development of later sonar-triggered cameras.
The results of the 1972 expedition cannot be described as anything other than spectacular. The sonar machine had apparently detected large animals approaching the cameras and photographs were obtained which, after enhancement, seemed to clearly show the flipper of a large unidentified animal.
In 1975 sonar-triggered cameras were brought to the loch and although these failed to operate properly, the same camera rig which had obtained the flipper pictures once again hit the jackpot, with one picture interpreted as being of the head of the monster, a shot of the body and neck of a plesiosaur-like animal, a silhouetted flipper photograph and yet another of a warty encrusted underbelly. Surely all of this evidence was proof of the existence of large unknown animals in the loch and Sir Peter Scott, founder of the Worldwide Fund for Nature gave a scientific name to the animal so that it could be protected by law.
With its long neck, gargoyle head, distinct diamond-shaped flipper and wondrous size, the name was well chosen – Nessiteras rhombopteryx. Of course, it didn’t take long for crossword fanatics to discover the anagram “monster hoax by Sir Peter S” and yet more controversy had been created.
At a symposium, the scientific community frowned. Secrecy had surrounded the 1975 photographs and when they were finally shown to the public there was the most enormous sigh of disappointment from the world at large.
I remember both sets of photographs being publicised and although I had been convinced by those from 1972, those from 1975 left me absolutely cold.
Working in Dr Rines’ office in Concord, New Hampshire in 1979, I had an enlargement of the gargoyle head picture to work on. I traced it, then tried to fill in the detail in pencil to see if that would give a clue as to what it might be – all to no avail. My impression was that it may have been an engine block, for that is what the locals often used as moorings. I could not see an animal in it at all, yet Dr Rines was absolutely convinced that this picture was part of a large animal.
As I studied at his desk, a vast blank canvas hung on the wall behind me and when he returned to take me back to his home later that day I asked what the canvas was supposed to depict. He said, with absolute confidence, “That is where we will hang the conclusive photograph when we get it.”
This meant he did not consider any of the pictures truly conclusive as at 1979.
What I intend to do now is to take each part of the evidence produced by the Academy and analyse it. From time to time this may be technical, but I have tried to keep it in layman’s terms, and to make it logical and understandable. It is all crucial to the explanation of the Loch Ness phenomenon. Skip it and your understanding of the subject will be the poorer .....