In my initial article considering the case of the “Bownessie” lake monster in detail, I concluded that I felt that the most likely cause for the various sightings of the monster was simple misidentification of fish, objects and other animals in the lake. After I published my article online I received feedback from one of the eyewitnesses, Linden Adams, who took the first photo that allegedly shows the monster in the lake. His feedback stated:
Firstly my photographs were exstensivley [sic] studied by professional forensic photographers including Canon UK. The size and distance of the object was calulated [sic] by forensic’s [sic] and in the presence of Dr Winfield so you have been mislead yourself. Please read statement signed by Dr Ian Winfield clearly stated he was happy with the size and distance. As for large Pike or Otter then may I suggest a trip to the sumit [sic] of Gummer’s Howe with a copy of my images to give you scale. You have failed to mention that Deer are known to swim the lake to find a richer feeding area, like so many publications on this subject it’s incomplete. It is however one of the better articles but can’t understand why you spoke to a strange man from CFZ and didn’t speak to Mark Carr forensic photographer.
I should point out that the reason I spoke to Jon Downes from the CFZ (the strange man who Adams mentions) and not Mark Carr was because I didn’t know Mark Carr was involved in the case at all. I am, after all, not psychic and unless people are completely transparent about their research or involvement in a case like this, it would be impossible to know all the facts. Especially as Dean Maynard refused to share his research with me, that may have brought up Mark Carr’s involvement.
I was interested to find out more about the statement from Ian Winfield, whom I had spoken to before, and so I contacted Ian and he agreed that he had indeed made a statement, as had Jon Downes it appeared. The statements were later forwarded onto me by Linden Adams and are as follows:
“I have viewed a series of photographs taken by Mr Linden Adams on the 5th February 2007. Having spoken at length to Mr Marc Carr of IE PHOTOGRAPHY of Hawlshead, I am satisfied that:
1. The images have not been tampered with in any way. The images in the photographs are exactly what Mr Adams saw.
2. Although the fact that the camera was not fixed to a tripod makes it impossible to be sure, the empirical evidence suggests that the object is moving fast enough to cause a bow wave.
3. There appears to be a solid object 12-15 feet in length that is leaving a wake of about thirty feet.
Having compared these images with well known images purporting to be those of cryptids, these images, especially – according to Mark Carr – when one considers the forensic evidence contained within the images in terms of time codes etc., these images provide better evidence for the existence of a large animal in the lake than – say – the famous 1963 Tim Dinsdale film taken at Loch Ness.
Logic suggests that the object in the picture is animate. It appears to be far too large to be any known mammal or bird, and therefore I would suggest that it is a huge fish of indeterminate species. This is in line with other evidence collected by the CFZ in recent years, and we are very excited with this latest piece of evidence” – Jonathan Downes
It was good to meet you in person this morning and to examine, in the presence of forensic photographer Mark Carr, your photographs taken at the south basin of Windermere on the morning of Monday 5 February 2007.
It is my understanding that Mark’s judgement is that the source of the observed disturbance of the water surface is a moving object, with several of the photographs showing both a part of the object itself (with the remainder being underwater) and a generated wake or other disturbance on the water surface.
As I have mentioned in earlier discussions, in my opinion identification of the object hinges on its size. This morning, Mark clarified this issue by informing me that his current best conservative estimate of the minimum length of the visible part of the object is approximately12 feet, which I convert to approximately 3.5 m.
On the basis of my 27 years experience as a professional freshwater fish ecologist, including leading research programmes on Windermere for the last 17 years and intermittent research on waterfowl, this size estimate means that I cannot explain the photographs by reference to any fish or other vertebrate species previously demonstrated to inhabit Windermere.
Best wishes, Ian J Winfield – BSc PhD MIFM CEnv
I also got in touch with Mark Carr, the forensic photographer in question because I’m always willing to consider all possibilities and I like to gather all the information I can about a case and the research conducted into it prior to my involvement.
Mark got back in touch to tell me that after examining the photos and explained:
I was asked to illicit if the image had been altered digitally and what it may be in terms of size etc. The series of images were not conclusive as to what the object was BUT based on my research and analysis I would say the photographs had not been altered electronically, the object appeared to be solid and in respect of length was at least 12-14 feet ( c4 m) though could possibly be longer. I have no expertise or ability from the quality of the images to determine what the object was.
I was also sent these two images by Linden Adams that were apparently used by Mark Carr to determine the size of the anomaly that Adams photographed.
Linden Adams promised to send me the full report from Mark Carr but this has yet to appear over a month later. However, in an extract from his photography blog:
As the photographs were taken on a professional Canon camera and shot in camera Raw format as appose to Jpeg it would be easy to get the images validated so I sent them off to Canon UK. A letter came back supporting the validation and future equipment support, next was a forensic report to uncover other information like size and location. Mark Carr an independent forensic photographer spent three days analysing the memory card and was ultimately satisfied that I had genuine images.
Here are a few extracts from his report,
ON a number of the images (particularly 48) there was a darker patch of pixels contained in the anomaly. It was not possible to resolve this any further (in part due to camera shake and in part due to the distance the anomaly was away from the camera). This effect could be due to their being a solid object. I would estimate this darker patch to be as much as 4m in length on shot 48.
In conclusion, based on the information I have been given and the checks I have so far been able to carry out I am satisfied of the following:
- The images I have seen have not been digitally modified or are the result of a camera or lens error.
- The position of the anomaly was around 2.8 to3 km away from the camera.
- The anomaly was approximately 150-200m off shore from the northern most boat house.
- The overall anomaly is at least 15m in length.
- The darker area observed is at least 4m
This is all very interesting and it’s good to see that such thorough investigation of the photos has been carried out, however without the originals, and without the full report from Mark Carr it is impossible to verify any of this information, which members of BARsoc are very keen to do.
The sharing of this research has also not swayed me away from my original conclusion that what has been reported on numerous occasions by eyewitnesses is most likely to be misidentification of fish, animals or other objects around the lake area.
The anomaly captured by Adams, for example, could easily be a bird coming in to land on the water and creating a wake behind it – thus causing such a large anomaly. Or perhaps even a log or stone emerging from beneath the water, causing the same effect – an effect that Ian Winfield told me on the phone could be the cause of many odd sightings in the lake.
I accept that there is a large oddity in a photograph taken by Linden Adams, and I accept that this has been verified as true and not tampered with. However, this does nothing to prove that the “Bownessie” sightings are some sort of strange creature living in the lake, which is unlikely for reasons pointed out in my initial article examining the case.
To suggest that this photo is proof of a lake monster in the lake is a leap of logic. It would be as easy to suggest that the oddity in the photograph taken by Linden Adams is an alien, but unless I have the proof to back up that statement I would be making wild speculations based on no evidence. The burden of proof, as always, lays with those making such claims, and no evidence has been provided.
I am, by all means, willing to accept that there could be some sort of creature in the lake, but all research I have done into this, suggests a much more mundane conclusion for what is being seen by people. If someone, such as Dean Maynard or Linden Adams can provide evidence that suggests otherwise – without making logical fallacies in the process of doing so, then I’m all ears.
A monster, an odd photo does not make…
With thanks to Mark Carr and Ian Winfield for their help.