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Nessie

The first sighting of Nessie on land was made by Mr Spicer and his wife, on July 22nd 1933. They were driving down the road between Loch Ness side villages of Dores and Inverfarigaig. They saw a large cumbersome animal crossing the road ahead, which was some 20 yards from the water. They saw a long neck, forming a number of arches, thicker than a elephant's trunk and a huge lumbering body heading towards the Loch. It disappeared into the bushes out of sight. After this sighting interest grew on an international scale. Speculators offered huge prizes for the animal, dead or alive. A Circus owner, Bertram Mills promised 20,000 to any man who could bring the creature alive to his circus.

One of the first photographs to be taken of the monster was tacked by a British Aluminum Company worker, Mr Hugh Gray. It showed a creature creating a considerable disturbance on the surface of the lake. He only saw part of the animal which he estimated to be around 40 ft long, which included a thick rounded back and also a big tail.

On January 5th, 1934, a motorcyclist almost crashed with the creature as he was coming home from Inverness. It was around 1a.m. and was bright due to the moonlight. Mr Grant saw a large shape on the right side of the road. As he approached the object he saw a small head attached to a long neck. The animal saw Mr Grant and promptly crossed the road back down to the lake. Mr Grant, by this time, had jumped off his bike and followed the path it took to the lake, only to see the rippling water where the monster had entered.

An event on June, 1934 was considered to be important but was not widely publicized. It involved a girl from the Fort Augustus area who was employed as a maid in a large house close to abbey. It was about 6:30 a.m., the maid was looking out of a window down the Loch. She saw on the shore, ' one of the biggest animals she had seen in her life, ' at a range of about 200 yards. Her description was similar to those of others, giraffe like neck, small head, skin like an elephant and two very short fore legs or flippers. She watched it for around 20 mins when it re-entered the water and disappeared.

The Stewart Picture

In 1951 a new photograph appeared which to some confirmed the existence of the monster. On the 14th of July at around 6:30 a.m. Mr Lachlan Stewart, a woodcutter employed by the forestry commission, saw something large moving out on the Loch. With a friend he ran to the waters edge and there about 50 yards away they saw three humps, each about 5 ft long moving at fast speed. Mr Stewart ,who had picked up a small camera before leaving his house, took this photograph. Seconds later a small head and long neck appeared in front of the first hump then the monster turned out towards the center of the Loch and with a lot of splashing swam off and sinking head first 300 yards offshore, disappeared. Mr Stewart estimated the length of head and neck to be 6 ft, and then 15-20 ft behind the last hump he noticed a commotion in the water suggesting the movement of the tail.


The Grant Picture.

Another eyewitness account happened in October 1955, by Colonel Patrick Grant of Knockie Estate. He was traveling from Fort Augustus to Invermoriston and nearing Inchnacardoch Bay he saw a great commotion in the water between 100-200 yards from the road. He brought his car to a stop and could see a black object above the surface 10 or 15 ft long. In less than a minute the object suddenly started swimming eastwards, parallel with the shore and very near the surface though submerged. Moving at great speed it traveled 200-300 yards and disappeared completely.

1955 brought one of the most intriguing photograph ever taken. Peter A. Macnab from Aryshire was having having a holiday in the Highlands and was preparing to take a photograph of Urquhart Castle. His attention was drawn to his left where he saw an enormous dark animal with two humps.

The Underwater Picture.

The 1970's were a very busy time on Loch Ness for 'Nessie Hunters'. One of these hunters was Dr Robert Rines, who in 1970 used sonar on Loch Ness which provided more proof that large objects inhabit the Loch.Dr Rines, President of the Academy of Applied Science, Boston, Massechusetts, led a team which was to put their sonar equipment to such good use, that on the 20th of September that year it detected objects intruding into its beam at the same time as fish were seen to be disturbed. During the summer of 1972 Dr. Rines returned to the Loch bringing with them an Edgerton underwater stroboscopic camera and more sonar equipment. On August 8th a crew made up of Loch Ness Investigation Bureau and Academy members were operating this equipment from vessels in Urquhart Bay. In the early hours of that morning their Raytheon sonar detected in its sound beam the presence of large moving objects from which shoals of fish were taking evasive action. It tracked one object as it passed about 20ft from the underwater camera, which was at a depth of 45ft and was set to flash every 15 seconds.

The picture obtained, although indistinct due to the murkiness of the water, show the offside hind quarter, flipper and part of the tail of a large animal with a rough textured skin of a greeny-brown color. Experts estimated the flipper to be from 6 to 8 ft in length. American Smithsonian Institution, one of several top bodies approached for comment stated that the tail structure resembled the shape of the tail of newts. The New England Aquarium stated that the flipper-like structure certainly did not appear to resemble the structure of any known mammalian creature. The British Natural History Museum, while acknowledging that the photograph were genuine found that 'the sequence appears to show the passage of a large object'. The sonar chart which recorded the passage of the objects was subsequently analyzed by several independent experts, whose composite verdict found that there are large animals in Loch Ness which are at least 20 to 30ft long with 'several segments, body sections or projections such as humps'.

For the next few years their team had very little success which had a lot to do with malfunctions in the underwater camera rigs. In 1975 the biggest breakthrough for Dr. Rines and his team came when a set of close-up underwater photographs were taken which when released in December of that year caused a worldwide sensation. The pictures which show the head and body of one of the creatures in remarkable detail, were taken with the Edgerton strobe camera during the expedition the previous June. For several months the pictures were examined in secret in zoological centers in Britain, America, Canada and Europe. It was planned to release them in early December at a scientific symposium in Edinburgh to be attended by zoologists from all over the world under the chairmanship of the famous British naturalist and painter Sir Peter Scott. News of the pictures leaked out at the end of November, before the study of them was complete and caused such excitement that the sponsors of the symposium, who included the prestigious Royal Society, felt it would be impossible to conduct a proper scientific discussion in such an atmosphere.

Consequently the symposium, at which the whole Loch Ness controversy would have been debated at length and hopefully resolved, had to be canceled. In its place a meeting was held in the Grand Committee Room at the Houses of Parliament at the instigation of David James, the MP who had led the Investigation Bureau. Before a large audience of members of both houses of Government, scientists and journalists, the Academy team presented the results of their research, including the new underwater photographs, together with supporting statements from eminent zoologists who had been examining the material. Dr. George Zug, the Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians at the renowned Smithsonian Institution in Washington said in his personal statement : "I believe these data indicate the presence of large animals in Loch Ness, but are insufficient to identify them".




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