For just over a week I have attempted and failed to contact George Edwards who took the latest photo it is claimed shows the Loch Ness Monster. Clashing work schedules coupled with a busy season for Loch Ness boat tours means being able to chat just hasn’t happened so I haven’t been able to get answers to the questions I have about the photo from the man who took it. However, even without speaking to Edwards there are still problems I have with the photo.
“The best evidence”
Many who have commented on the photo have refered to it as the best evidence they’ve seen for the Loch Ness monster for decades. Steve Feltham, the only full time Loch Ness Monster researcher who lives on the shore of Loch Ness on the small beach at Dores is quoted as saying
“It is the best photograph I think I have ever seen… I think the images are fantastic – that’s the animal I have been looking for all this time,”
“I would say it doesn’t prove what Nessie is, but it does prove what Nessie isn’t, a sturgeon which is a fish that has been put forward as one of the main explanations as to what Nessie could be but this hasn’t got a serrated spine like the sturgeon.”
The problem with this is that if it doesn’t prove what Nessie is then what is it evidence of? How can this photo be proof of something when we don’t know what that thing actually is?
The photo shows an unidentified object in the water of Loch Ness a short distance away from the boat the photo is being taken from. To conclude that this is evidence for there being a Loch Ness monster is illogical because if there is a monster or unidentified animal causing strange sightings we don’t know what it is and don’t know it’s characteristics. Without knowing it’s characteristics it would (and is) impossible to comment upon what does count as evidence of the monster/creature existing, and what doesn’t.
There have been so many sightings of the Loch Ness Monster over the years and it is true that many of the eye-witness testimonies contain similar defining characteristics for the creature – a long neck, humps, a grey colour, large in size… but to suggest that these characteristics popping up time and time again in eyewitness testimony makes them true characteristics of the monster in residence in the Loch suggests that it is impossible for the eyewitnesses to have been mistaken about what they saw, or not primed to see a monster in the water that had characteristics reported by previous eyewitnesses. This is not so, and because of this, the photo cannot rationally be presented as evidence of a monster in the water.
In my initial attempt to get in touch with George Edwards I also got in touch with various other people I know who research Loch Ness sightings. I was surprised to learn from one contact that the photo being presented to the world media by George Edwards was being sold to tourists on a postcard – a postcard which had been on sale for months. In his interviews with various newspapers, George Edwards claimed he didn’t come forward with the photo straight away (after taking it in November 2011) because he was having it examined by “experts”. However the fact that the photo was being sold to tourists prior to him taking the photo to the press makes me doubt the sincerity of the delay in publishing it internationally.
The 1986 photo
In 1986 George Edwards took a different photo he claimed showed the Loch Ness Monster. Of the 1986 photo Dick Raynor says on his website
I remember him telling me at the time how hard it had been to drag the water filled tube out of the back of a van and down to the water before it was towed out into the loch!
One mans word is not evidence of a hoax, of course. However, with the 1986 photo the same problems arise when it comes to presenting the photo as evidence of X when it isn’t known if X exists or what the characteristics of X truly are. I truly believe that this photo is just another photo of something unidentified in the water that people are claiming is a monster when there is no supporting evidence for that conclusion. There is no logic to support the conclusion that it is a monster and just because something is unidentified doesn’t mean it is something unidentifiable.