Nessie: The Sightings

Posted by: Nick Redfern on July 19th, 2012

Over at his Loch Ness Mystery blog, Glasgow Boy makes some good points about sightings of the Loch Ness Monster and the nature of how and when (or even if) witnesses actually report what they saw.

As GB notes: “…I am convinced the vast majority of sightings do not make it to the public media. Indeed, one researcher I correspond with suggests from his own contacts that dozens of sightings are plain ignored and discarded each year.”

And why might this be? GB has a few ideas:

“…The Dinsdales and Whytes are gone and have been replaced by a more sceptical set of investigators. This modern genre do not accept the idea of an exotic species in Loch Ness and so what is their motivation to collect claimed sightings of a monster let alone make them publicly available?”

This is a thought-provoking post that you can find in full right here.

Nick Redfern About Nick Redfern
Punk music fan, Tennents Super and Carlsberg Special Brew beer fan, horror film fan, chocolate fan, like to wear black clothes, like to stay up late. Work as a writer.


9 Responses to “Nessie: The Sightings”

  1. Clayton T Arney via Facebook responds:

    Long Live Nessie

  2. Jonathan Poulsen responds:

    I think all sightings should be acknowledged and rounded up. There’s no sense in discarding any (except the extremely obvious hoaxes), because all sightings of Nessie are alleged, and should be known as such.

  3. DWA responds:

    Not to round up and assess sightings is a scientific fail, pure and simple.

    “Eyewitness evidence is bad evidence” is simply a non-starter, blown away by over 3.5 million years of human evolution that has made us nature’s preeminent observers. Why is it that jurisprudence understands this, and science does not? All of science is basically eyewitness testimony, backed by advanced degrees and trust. Who does not understand this does not understand bedrock basics of biology, philosophy, psychology and science in general. Period.

    We know the sasquatch and the yeti are legitimate scientific endeavors. Why? The huge and consistent pile of evidence, of which eyewitness testimony is the primary component (although footprints are way up there; and the P/G film, nothing by itself, is extensively cross-corroborated by both). Serious scientists are either advocates or on the fence but urging more data, primarily because so many people keep seeing them, and enough of them are getting reported.

    My problem with Nessie? The extreme inconsistency of sighting reports. We can’t even come close to a consensus on what Nessie is. Because of the attention paid to evidence, primarily to sightings, we know that the sasquatch and yeti are so likely to be primates, and probably apes, that other alternatives, although conceivable, are justifiably on the shelf until we have either much more evidence supporting them, or a specimen.

    But too many have seen Nessie, for too long, not to at least catalogue and see if patterns start to emerge.

    Any scientist knows that. When he has his scientist hat on. Which, when it comes to crypto, far too few of them do.

  4. PhotoExpert responds:

    I agree with DWA. In fact, DWA has been an advocate for witness sightings for some time now. I believe out of all the members of Cryptomundo, DWA is the most outspoken about this. The boy is just repeating what DWA has said so often for such a long time.

    And DWA is right. Sightings are evidence! Why scientists exclude this evidence is beyond me. Sure, some eyewitnesses are just kooks. Some eyewitnesses have made a misidentification. But as DWA points out, what about the rest of those eyewitnesses? One can not discount each and every sighting.

    How right you are DWA, how right you are!

  5. corrick responds:

    DWA responds: July 20th, 2012 at 9:10 am
    “Eyewitness evidence is bad evidence” is simply a non-starter, blown away by over 3.5 million years of human evolution that has made us nature’s preeminent observers. Why is it that jurisprudence understands this, and science does not? All of science is basically eyewitness testimony, backed by advanced degrees and trust. Who does not understand this does not understand bedrock basics of biology, philosophy, psychology and science in general. Period.”
    Guess you are one of the ones who doesn’t understand the basic bedrocks. For many good reasons eyewitness testimony is the lowest level evidence considered relevant in scientific testing methodology. And it’s persistent weight in modern jurisprudence is an archaic remnant from the past.
    DWA, you always seem to make big claims, like this one.

    DWA responds:June 17th, 2012 at 10:20 pm
    “The evidence for the sasquatch is the same quality as that we have for the Chacoan peccary; the coelacanth; the saola; the kipunji. Only lots – lots – more of it.”

    I might reply:

    Except with the Chacoan peccary; the coelacanth; the saola and the kipunji we have ALL of the following…
    1. Living animals that have been closely examined by reputable zoologists.
    2. Accepted scientific DNA proof.
    3. Skeletal material that can be freely examined.
    4. Authenticated photographic evidence, both still and video.
    5. Rudimentary life histories as observed in real time by trained zoologists.

    Bigfoot/Sasquatch/”Squatch” has none of these. Just…
    1. Eyewitness testimonies
    2. Early American and native American folklore.
    2. Inconclusive photographic and video evidence.
    3. No testible physical evidence.
    4. Zero paleontological evidence for bi-pedal hominids in the New World before man.
    5. A long history of frauds, fakes and hoaxes

    DWA, wish, write and rant as much as you want, but until there is physical testable evidence presented and confirmed, bigfoot is merely a myth.

  6. DWA responds:

    corrick: nope, got the basics down tight.

    So has every scientist who has paid proper attention to the sasquatch evidence.

    (Show me an example that says I’m wrong. You won’t. You can’t.)

    Period.

    Failure to consider eyewitness testimony leaves you with nothing, when you are proven wrong, but egg all over your face.

    PhotoExpert and me? We know. His user name tells you why.

    Me?

    I just pay attention, that’s all.

  7. DWA responds:

    I feel compelled to add that all you folks so skeptical on the sasquatch need to feed your bulletins to Jeff Meldrum and John Bindernagel. They might need to pay urgent attention!

    Until they are interested, however, I am not.

    See, I go with credentials and demonstrated attention to the evidence. Which is lacking in anyone who pays no attention to eyewitness testimony.

    (Jurisprudence’s attention to eyewitness testimony isn’t “an archaic remnant from the past.” It’s, um, common sense, gang.)

  8. DWA responds:

    Oh yeah.

    “The species was well known to the native people, but it took a while for scientists to rediscover its existence.” Nope, that’s not the sasquatch or yeti. Sounds just like it, though, right? (That’s the Chacoan peccary.)

    Dumb scientists! Ignoring eyewitnesses.

    “more than 20 years later, there is still no reported sighting of [that critter] in the wild by a scientist.” Well, obviously the sasquatch, or maybe Nessie, right? Um, nope. That’s the saola, an animal for which scientists have been intently searching, in a teeny area of Vietnam and Laos, for all that time. No one thinks it’s extinct. Same for the kouprey, an animal that also inhabits a pretty teeny area, and is on average quite a bit bigger than a sasquatch.

    In other words, a ton more people see a sasquatch in a year – see Nessie, in fact – than have seen a saola in 20. Oh, they’re all crazy. Another bulletin for Meldrum and Bindernagel! Quick, like a bunny!

    Fishermen were catching coelacanth for decades. But no one was paying attention.

    I pay attention to people that do.

  9. DWA responds:

    I can’t help it. This is a target-rich environment.

    “Except with the Chacoan peccary; the coelacanth; the saola and the kipunji we have ALL of the following…”

    [short form: scientists actually following up on far less evidence than we now have for the sasquatch]

    PEOPLE! Evidence does not equal proof! It must be followed up to obtain proof! I don’t have to say that a million times. Do I?

    “Bigfoot/Sasquatch/”Squatch” has none of these. Just…

    1. Eyewitness testimonies

    (many; by people who are all describing the same thing. You are NOT going to tell me they’re dreaming implanted alien dreams; or comparing notes; or all suffering the same disease. And logic dictates that a variety of random causes do NOT produce consistent, abundant evidence.)

    2. Early American and native American folklore.

    (English translation of this dismissal: Injuns are Childlike Pagan Wogs, and untrustworthy. Got it. Must be the hooch, eh? They describe the sasquatch in precisely the same terms they do the animals we have confirmed; and they insist there is a REASON for that.)

    2. Inconclusive photographic and video evidence.

    (English translation: not proof. Yet. PEOPLE! etc.)

    3. No testible physical evidence.

    (PLENTY of testable physical evidence. Jeff Meldrum has a published paper on it. He, Bindernagel and Krantz discourse upon it, at length. Not to mention that eyewitness testimony of consistency and frequency poses a testable hypothesis: this animal can be found, here, if you, um, look.)

    4. Zero paleontological evidence for bi-pedal hominids in the New World before man.

    (Paleontologists are constantly making bets how many more dinosaurs we will find. I know you get my point. And what we “know” about man, um, got changed while I was typing this sentence. It is acknowledged that we have evidence for five percent – or less – of the primates that have existed on earth.)

    5. A long history of frauds, fakes and hoaxes

    (Which, if one is conversant with the evidence, says less about the sasquatch than two kids in a zebra costume says about the zebra. In a word: irrelevant.)

    One more thing.

    “until there is physical testable evidence presented and confirmed, bigfoot is merely a myth.”

    In a word: not scientific, and flat wrong. Let me restate for you:

    Until all the testable physical evidence, and the huge, consistent body of eyewitness testimony, are FOLLOWED UP, the sasquatch isn’t ANYTHING yet, but something the nature of which remains to be ascertained.

    Education. Critical. Read up before pronouncing. I have said what one needs to read here, numerous times. Until that happens, you know less about this than I do about paleooncology.

    And I made that up, to give you an idea how much that is.




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