by Mark Chorvinsky


Nessie made a big splash in 1934 when another photograph of her was taken, this time by Colonel Robert Wilson, a London doctor. Labeled the "surgeon's picture" by the British press, Wilson's photo was rather clear and appeared to show a head and neck of a plesiosaur-like creature sticking out of the water. This photograph is often used to illustrate articles on the Loch Ness monster, and is probably the most often-published image of the monster. This photograph was recently exposed as a hoax using a small model.

The quality of the photographic evidence for the existence of the Loch Ness monster has varied considerably. While some remain mysterious, others, like those of noted hoaxers Frank Searle and Tony "Doc" Shiels, are either believed to be or known to be fraudulent, and yet they are continually reprinted as genuine photos of Nessie, and will probably never go away despite the serious critical material published concerning repeated hoaxes by their creators.

The motion picture and video evidence for the Loch Ness monster consists of over 25 sequences taken from 1933 to the present. Like the photographs, the motion pictures are inconclusive but at least one has been judged genuine by impartial experts: the famous footage taken by veteran Nessie hunter Tim Dinsdale. Dinsdale, an aeronautical engineer, saw the monster and shot a 16mm sequence of it that was submitted to the photoanalysis experts at the British Royal Air Force's Joint Aerial Reconnnaissance Intelligence Centre. They concluded that the part of the thing that was above the water on Dinsdale's film was approximately 12-16 feet wide and 5 feet high, could not have been a boat, and was an "animate object."

An entire book could be devoted to the Nessie photos, films and videos. So far, the only photographs that look at all "convincing" have turned out to be hoaxes. None of the films, including the most-highly regarded sequences, is conclusive or clearly shows a monster of any sort.

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