Bownessie Photo Explained?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 8th, 2011


Has the latest well-publicized photograph (above) of Lake Windermere’s Bownessie or Bowness Monster been solved?


Is it to be explained by an old tried and true but tired tale of misidentification?


Bownessie Photographers: Sarah Harrington and Tom Pickles.

Was what was captured photographically only a row of split tires (or “tyres” in the UK)? (See below.)

Compare to:

Last week a family found something by the lake which casts suspicions on the existence of the beast – a large tyre cut open which when floating on water looks rather like the four-humped creature.

‘We were walking in the area where the picture was taken and suddenly saw this tyre cut open lying on the footpath. I thought, “This looks like the creature,” ’ said John Phillips, 46, who was at Windermere for the half-term break with wife Liz and their three daughters.

Mr Phillips, of Solihull, West Midlands, threw the tyre into the water and said he was stunned by the resemblance to the photo.

‘If you looked at this tyre floating from a distance, it did look a Nessie-like creature,’ he said.

‘But in the original picture there was a wave of water behind the creature, which suggested it was moving at speed. I think it was being pulled with a rope by a person or a boat. I don’t want to ruin anyone’s fun, but maybe this tyre is the Bowness Monster.’Daily Mail

Ah, so misidentification, yes, with a hint of human intervention. That equals hoax.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

10 Responses to “Bownessie Photo Explained?”

  1. Mïk responds:

    Isn’t this the first step in obfuscating the sighting? I don’t know what the Boweness Monster is, but a split tire dragged by a boat would need a level of secrecy that doesn’t exist in the natural world. SOME BODY would talk, or there is no sense to the prank. This kind of thing, especially when published by a newspaper (giving it undeserved authority), just confuses the issue. It could be a sturgeon, only they don’t live there, but it COULD be.

  2. Kopite responds:

    I don’t know what the Bowness image is but to me the cut up tyres seem to have far more curvature and space between the humps and seem to be less triangular. Could be an optical illusion though I guess.

    Or maybe somebody had a ‘bright idea’ after seeing the Bowness photo to muddy the waters (so to speak) by then cutting up tyres and leaving them lying around so that somebody would conveniently find it?

  3. springheeledjack responds:

    IF the tires were indeed the culprit, then there had to be a human agent behind it, because from the photo, there was a wake, showing that it was moving…so yeah, hoax.

    If it wasn’t the tires and we are looking at something…well again it could be all kinds of things. I’d rule out otters because the humps are too close together–they look like one piece of something (tires??:)?). And that picture doesn’t look akin to any other animals.

    If it really was bownessie, then it has a long back fin that is humped, and it would be quite large…and considering that is all we can see, personally I’m in favor of the idea that this is a hoax.

    Again, pictures are always so obscure its always impossible to get too many details to make a decision based solely on a photo–one way or another–you know, unless, like we get an on land photo in color from 15 feet away and have multiple witnesses and photos and foot prints and tissue samples and an interview with the creature…

    This pic looks just odd enough, that along with the tire find, I’m guessing it’s a hoax…unless you think BowNessie was towing the tires underwater just to have some fun with us…

  4. scaryeyes responds:

    Mik – I’m not sure it would require the level of secrecy you’re imagining. Such a prank could easily be pulled off by only two people. All you need is access to a boat – of any kind, a small inflatable would do, easily hirable, or plenty of people own them – someone to steer it, and someone to take the photo. Alternatively, the tyres could be being towed from shore.

  5. MattBille responds:

    It is likely a hoax, but certainly an original one – I never heard of doing this kind of thing with a cut-up tire.

  6. sasquatch responds:

    They should examine the tire to see if it has any holes in it that would have been used to hook it to a rope or wire-which could have been pulled from a boat or a person on the opposite bank or a little island…even attaching an anchor and letting the currents do their thing would work…

  7. Mïk responds:

    # scaryeyes responds: March 8th, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Mik – I’m not sure it would require the level of secrecy you’re imagining. Such a prank could easily be pulled off by only two people. All you need is access to a boat – of any kind, a small inflatable would do, easily hirable, or plenty of people own them – someone to steer it, and someone to take the photo. Alternatively, the tyres could be being towed from shore.

    -But, scaryeyes, why would anyone do that? So they can sit in the ‘Man’s Club’ and giggle about it? It makes no sense. The couple who took the picture don’t strike me as the sort to pull childish stunts.

  8. Sharmz responds:

    No, the tyres got stuck on top of a large fish 😉

  9. Blackie responds:

    From somebody that grew up in that area, nothing bigger than a Pike lives in that lake unfortunately.

  10. Old Philosopher responds:

    I’m a late comer to this ‘game’, but found it through another link.

    All I can say at this point is that the original photo was NOT taken at water level (e.g., from a kayak). This is obvious when you look at the definition (perspective) between the subject, and the island in the background.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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