Loch Ness Monster 80th Anniversary

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on November 18th, 2013

Last week we celebrated the 47th anniversary of the first Mothman sighting here on Cryptomundo, but we were remiss in mentioning the 80th anniversary of the first photo taken of the Loch Ness Monster.

The first known picture of Nessie was taken on 12 November 1933, by Hugh Gray who got the snap while walking along the loch after church.


The Daily Record took his picture and Mr. Gray gave the following account to the newspaper having been interviewed by Hugh Mackenzie (the future Provost of Inverness), Peter Munro representing Hugh Gray’s employers at the British Aluminium Company and a Daily Record staff member:

“Four Sundays ago after church I went for my usual walk near where the river enters the Loch. The Loch was like a mill pond and the sun shining brightly. An object of considerable dimensions rose out of the water not very far from where I was. I immediately got my camera ready and snapped the object which was two or three feet above the surface of the water. I did not see any head, for what I took to be the front parts were under the water, but there was considerable movement from what seemed to be the tail, the part furthest from me. The object only appeared for a few minutes then sank out of sight.”

Read more about the Hugh Gray Nessie photo here: The Hugh Gray Photograph Revisited.

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

11 Responses to “Loch Ness Monster 80th Anniversary”

  1. William responds:

    Isn’t this the photo that looks to many (including yours truly) like a picture snapped of a lab retrieving a stick? Wow, if this is the first photo of the purported Loch Ness Monster it sure leaves a lot to be desired.

  2. Craig Woolheater responds:


    Read more about the Hugh Gray Nessie photo here: The Hugh Gray Photograph Revisited.

    That very topic is discussed in detail there…

  3. hoodoorocket responds:

    @ William: While I don’t believe this is a lab in the water with a stick, the convoluted argument given in the article that Craig linked to doesn’t hold water for disproving the lab theory. The “invisible” or “missing” parts of the dog could easily be explained as appearing transparent due to motion during a long exposure. If it is a dog, the long exposure is showing a long smear of a dog with a brief exposure of the left side of its head and a denser exposure of its face head-on and then its right cheek.

    Again what is shown here is not a dog, but the article fails to disprove the dog theory with its argument.

    What is shown here is not a shape. That is, it not a frozen instant in time describing a recognizable object.

    It is a very long exposure showing the transmutation of an object through time and space. That is, while the camera shutter was open, an object was in motion. The resulting image is an object smeared across the frame recording the path of its travel. Areas of speed become transparent, areas of less motion become denser.

    My impression is of a small boat being propelled by oars over the coarse of two, possibly three, strokes. It is moving away from and to the left of the camera. It is changing its coarse during the exposure.

    There is a partial double image of the human with the oar, which some will choose to see as the hind leg or flipper. What would be seen as the front leg is simply the same oar socket further down the line in space and time.

    Like most crypto discussions online, what you see is determined by which version of a picture is before you. The burned in darker version of this shot really looks like a lab in the water. The one with less contrast and more tonal range looks much less like a dog.


  4. hoodoorocket responds:

    Looking at the photo again, one can trace the actions of the rower.

    At the very begining of the exposure the boat starts with its stern to the camera (nessie’s tail) A pull of the port oar propels the boat forward and to the right. A pull of the starboard oar pulls the boat to the left (recorded as the hind leg). There is actually a ripple ring in the water at one end of the stroke, and a bit of dark turbulence at the other end of the arc, each exactly the same distance from the oarlock. The third stroke is the port oar again, completing the serpentine path that is recorded, and the starboard orlock is again recorded this time as the front leg. You’ll notice no starboard oar turbulence recorded on either of the port strokes.

    There is no way to determine if this was originally staged as a hoax, or just a good story attached to an interesting exposure.

    Hmmm, glancing at it again, depending on the scale, there could be 6 to 9 strokes of an oar described here… but it’s still a boat with one or two people in it.

    Probably two people in the boat, each dark area represents a pause in motion. Those dark areas show the silhoette shadow of two occupants.

  5. hoodoorocket responds:

    Last comment, I promise. I feel the best image to refer to is the one named “Heron-Allen Image Low Res.JPG” in the article Craig linked to.

    I have been looking at it a different sizes.

    Definitely two guys in a small boat. Not only do they cast two silhouette shadows on the water at various points, they register as mass at around nessie’s front leg.

    I had the orientation wrong, the prow of the boat is traveling towards the camera, not the stern of the boat moving away from the camera.

    When you look at it at a small size you realize the repeated light spots are sunlight glistening off the oars that have just come out of the water.

  6. hoodoorocket responds:

    OK, OK, THIS is the last comment. Could be a single guy in the row boat. If there is a pause at the beginning of an oar stroke and at the end of an oar stroke, there could be a recorded pair of images of a single person for each stroke.

    Who’s got a rowboat and a manual camera capable of a 15 second exposure, lol?

    In any case this could make for a good visual aid when discussing string theory.

  7. Goodfoot responds:

    I don’t know how you can get a rowboat out of that. I can’t get anything out of it.

  8. springheeledjack responds:

    My Rorschach skills are pitiful…I’ve seen this image a hundred times and I can’t get any of the images people suppose it is without outlining. To me it looks like a hollowed out chicken carcass with one wing flopping.

    As much as I support the Nessie cause, I’ve never thought much of any of the pics over the decades. Some of the video wakes are interesting, but certainly nothing conclusive.

    Back to the topic at hand, it’s hard to believe this phenomena is 80 years old (happily, I have not been on the earth for all 80 of them, but plan to be for the next forty or more…you know, unless I have an untimely accident on some Scottish loch…)

  9. silverity responds:

    I see a fish like head to the right and its tail to the left. The body in the middle is indistincty due to motion blur. The reports at the time talked in this vein – no mention of labradors.

    The article states the case well enough against a dog interpretation. Incomplete face and in fact a third “eye” is visible if you follow the supposed two eyes. Also, no wash behind the dog pretty much puts this to bed (or the dog basket).

  10. johnp3907 responds:

    I like this theory:

  11. lukedog 1 responds:

    If you can’t see the dog, you shouldn’t look at any cryptid photos, you’re optically impaired.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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