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Nessie: A Circus Elephant?


herpguy
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Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but it was my understanding that that photo had already been debunked as being a toy submarine:

 

http://skepdic.com/nessie.html

 

In a story not nearly as fascinating or obscure as the Piltdown hoax, but at least on par with the faked fairy photos that gulled Arthur Conan Doyle, the most famous photo of Nessie as a relative of the long-extinct plesiosaurs was reported to have been faked. David Martin, a zoologist, and Alastair Boyd were members of a scientific project to find Nessie. They are credited by the London Sunday Telegraph [March, 12, 1994] as having dug up the story of the faked photo, which was staged using a toy submarine. Christian Spurling, who died in the fall of 1993, was said to have made a deathbed confession of his role in the prank. The fake photo was not taken by Wilson--his name was used to give the photo stature and integrity--but by Spurling's stepbrother, Ian Wetherell. Ian's father, Marmaduke ("Duke") Wetherell, had been hired by the London Daily Mail to find the monster. Wetherell was a filmmaker who described himself as a "big game hunter." What bigger game could there be than Nessie? Except that the big game was actually a small model of a sea serpent made of plastic wood attached to a 14-inch toy submarine! Actually, the game did get big as the little prank created such a huge fuss that the pranksters decided that the best thing for them to do would be to keep quiet.
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While elephants can and do swim across deep water often enough (whether fresh or marine they are quite good swimmers) and do sometimes take the pose described when they decide to snorkel, if you look closely the Surgeon's Photo (the Loch Ness Fake) really has several characteristics, mostly in regards to the "trunk" shape that eliminate the resemblence.

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isn't this the same bessie monster of lake erie.but whatever i don't think elephants swin in the middle of the lake (it is deep) it looks like it is drowning as cap'n said.

The two "monsters" are thousands of miles away from eachother, so they are not the same.

 

Also, as AzurePhoenix said, elephants do swim across very deep waters. In fact, it is said that a few hundred thousand years ago some Asian elephants swam across the Indian Ocean to the Indonesian island of Flores.

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Why do people quote the Skeptic's Dictionary as some sort of reputable source when it uses exactly the same sort of uncritical arguments that you find in psuedo-scientific garbage?

Christian Spurling, who died in the fall of 1993, was said to have made a deathbed confession of his role in the prank.

Hearsay.

Keep on looking! Of course, this is the same Smithsonian which, in the January 1996 issue of its monthly magazine, ran a highly uncritical article on dowsing. We have come to expect the disingenuous defense of open-mindedness from the tabloids as they exploit our love of mystery and wonder; but we thought the Smithsonian would take a higher road and present empirical studies instead of uncritical wishful thinking.

What's next? Bigfoot T-shirts as part of their annual membership drive?

Appeal to ridicule.

I'll leave it to the zoologists to calculate how many monsters are necessary to maintain the species over the years. One report I read claimed that a minimum population of ten creatures would be needed to sustain the population........With at least ten of these huge monsters swimming around in the lake at any given time,

Appeal to Authority and taking assumption as fact.

I can't deny that there are good economic reasons for keeping the Loch Ness monster myth alive. It's good for tourism. And there are all those "scientific" investigations to be paid for with government funds and private donations: full employment for cryptozoologists. Then, of course, there is all that film sold to photographers in search of The Big One.

Circumstantial Ad Hominem.

I had not come to Loch Ness to do any serious research into the monster. I'll confess that I didn't even bother to stop in Drumnadrochit to take in the Loch Ness Monster Exhibit, which, according to Fodor's guide book to Scotland, "presents the facts and the fakes.".....the lot was still full. I drove for miles looking for a place to turn around again, finally found one, and made a third pass with the same result.

Biased Sample. (Boy is he biased.:D )

They have come to the lakeside and they have been blessed with a visitation! They are truly special and their lives are now marked forever as unique. Best of all: they have a story to tell for the rest of their lives. In many ways they are like the young lady who declared that the highlight of her life was when she saw music icon Michael Jackson being whisked through a department store: "it was like seeing a UFO," she declared! I'll bet she'll be telling the story of her Michael Jackson sighting for years to come. Who knows to what epic proportions the young lady's tale might grow?

Appeal to Ridicule. (Again.:) ) Guilt by Association. (Again.:) ) Possible Appeal to Consequeces of a Belief.

 

All in all, a very condescending and patronizing article. Whether you are for or against the idea of Cryptids, this is not how to argue for your stance.

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Why do people quote the Skeptic's Dictionary as some sort of reputable source when it uses exactly the same sort of uncritical arguments that you find in psuedo-scientific garbage?

 

Well, as long as you understand that it's garbage...

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Nessie the elephant packed her trunk and said goodbye to the circus?

 

lol! i remember a tv show (or song, maybe it was opening credits) when i was a child that had that exact line, thanks for the fond reminder!

 

yeah and i am aware thats most likely where it comes from, still im going to aknowledge my love and apreciation of it.

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Well, as long as you understand that it's garbage...

I put anyone who argues that way into the pseudo category.

 

My take on Nessie and many other similar things is "Data Insufficient". Grainy photos and eyewitness accounts are not proof but they are evidence. (Ask any jury that's seen bank security video.:) ) The question is "Of what?"

 

To me, a grainy photo of what may be an animal in Loch Ness is evidence that a grainy photo was taken of something that may be an animal in Loch Ness. If someone wants me to believe it's one of a family of lake monsters then they'd better come up with much better evidence, but this is a far cry from suggesting that all the witnesses are somehow delusional in some way.

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I'd say a grainy photo submitted by some random guy with a strong motivation for faking it is a far cry from a grainy bank security video. Offering an alternative explanation that is far more plausible than the one being put forward is a valid tactic, and not merely ad hominem. It doesn't prove the alternative true, but it does effectively demonstrate how far the original claims are from being anything like proven.

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I never said the original claims were proven. I'm merely pointing out the difference between asking for more definite proof and dismissing the witnesses out of hand as delusional or hoaxers.

 

I remember years ago seeing some movie footage of the surface disturbances apparently caused by a submerged object travelling down the Loch. To me that doesn't prove Nessie, just that something moved underwater down the Loch. (Or that there was an underwater disturbance of some kind, be it animal, vegetable or mineral.:D )

 

At some point we leave the known causes behind and have to consider unknown causes. When we reach that point, the only reasonable tack to take is to allow for all possibilities and narrow them down as more data becomes available.

 

Perhaps I approach it from the investigative perspective. In the case of crime being committed, then all persons in the area are suspects, none are excluded. As more data (evidence) becomes available, then some suspects will be eliminated and some will become more likely to be the culprit.

 

Hence, a grainy photo of what may be Nessie or may be a log is not, to me, evidence either way. Calling it a log is just as baseless as calling it Nessie. I suppose in that respect I'm a true skeptic, I won't accept either the commonplace or extraordinary explanation without proof.:)

 

Cheers.

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