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Hephaestus



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Join date : 2013-03-18

PostSubject: To Catch A Monster   Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:21 am



Some of you may know that Jeremy Wade's successful TV series "River Monsters" has its season finale coming up and the Loch Ness Monster is the subject of the very last episode. It is fitting that on this 80th anniversary of the modern era of Nessie, Jeremy should select the greatest of all water monsters as his closing theme.

I don't know where the episode production has reached, but if he did succeed in catching the Loch Ness Monster, it will be pretty difficult to keep that under wraps until it airs on May 27th. In fact, eighty years of monster hunting suggests it will be a bit of a stretch to expect Jeremy to land the ultimate River Monster. I believe I know what type of animal he will suggest as an identity for the creature but there is no point in spoiling it for the rest of you and doubtless I will review the episode after it airs.

But the topic here is catching the Loch Ness Monster and that is a real arena for speculation and the final proof that science demands.

Ever since this beast became news in 1933, various attempts have been made to capture it. The first attempts were pretty much of the angling variety as a big hook and a big piece of bait were seen as the obvious way to capture a large water beast. We read this from the Inverness Courier of the 30th May 1933, a mere four weeks after the Mackay sighting which sparked the modern Nessie era:

Loch Ness Monster - an attempt to catch the monster was made at Foyers. A sealed barrel to which was attached 60 yards of strong wire with strong hooks baited with dogfish & skate was put out on the loch. The attempt was unsuccessful ...

After this, there was not much improvement in the technique, though the circus owner, Bertram Mills, was confident enough to erect a cage in anticipation of a capture carrying a £20,000 reward which was never claimed. It seemed people were content to concentrate on the gathering of more indirect evidence via film and photography.

It wasn't until after the Dinsdale film, that forces began to gather and organise in the form of the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau and various other expeditions. A few groups would claim to come armed to the teeth and take out the monster with machine guns and explosives, but others would attempt a more thoughtful approach.

However, it has to be said that talk about capturing the creature remained mainly talk rather than action. Roy Mackal had his biopsy dart which it could be argued would "capture" a piece of the monster but this idea did not take off when its host submarine, the Viperfish, never really got going. One or two smaller conical nets were employed which were 6ft high by 5ft across which barely qualified as monster traps and again nothing was captured. It has to be said though that bigger nets were planned but the Bureau was disbanded in 1972 before any such project got off the ground.

But the Big Kahuna of monster traps was finally employed in 1984. It was the brainchild of the Vladivar Vodka company who saw this as a nice bit of publicity with the Loch Ness Project involved in the deployment of a 60ft by 20ft tube made of fibreglass and plastic. It was lowered into 30 metres of water for a month off the Horseshoe Scree with a suitable amount of fish bait inside.

As you may have guessed, nothing was captured again and it is a matter of debate whether it could have held a 30ft-40ft monster thrashing about inside it. Nevertheless, a trashed cage being lifted out of the loch would have generated no small amount of excitement itself. (You can read more about the Vladivar net and the LNIB attempts at this link).

So the short history of Nessie traps comes to an end. In total, it seems a meagre harvest of attempts to acquire the ultimate proof that scientists demand. In fact, it seems that future attempts would be strangled by red tape and conservation concerns. Fears of harming the local wildlife, introducing foreign species and obstructing the loch as part of the Caledonian canal waterway all but guarantee that there is little prospect of employing these techniques. It also seems that dredging the loch bottom for Nessie carcasses is a non-starter as the sediment at the bottom is regarded as a valuable store of natural history via core samples.

So it seems we have a paradox here. Scientists want a live or dead specimen to confirm the creature's existence but scientists don't want to do that in case of environmental damage! Now you know how to reply when they again demand proof.

more -- http://lochnessmystery.blogspot.com/2013/03/to-catch-monster.html
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