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No. 38: Mar-Apr 1985

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Bad Year For Water Monsters

R. Razdan and A. Kielar describe in a recent issue of the Skeptical Inquirer the results of their 1983 experiments at Lock Ness with a sonar tracking array. Here are their conclusions:

"We have shown that continuous sonar monitoring for seven weeks to a depth of 33 meters in an area where many previous sonar contacts had been reported showed no evidence of anything larger than a 1-meter fish. The circumstances under which previous expeditions had obtained sonar and photographic evidence in support of the existence of the Loch Ness monster could not withstand scrutiny. The evidence itself revealed discrepancies. This is especially true of the Academy's flipper photographs, the published versions of which differ from the original computer-enhanced photographs. Careless deployment of equipment and over-zealous interpretation of the data account for much of the so-called scientific evidence. While it is not possible to prove definitely that the monster does not exist, the evidence so far advanced strongly suggests that the Loch Ness monster is nothing more than a long-lived and extremely entertaining legend."

The "Academy" mentioned above is the Academy of Applied Science. This article reproduced both the original JPL computer-enhanced photo of the famed flipper and the photo that was widely published. The "retouching" seems extensive.

(Razdan, Rikki, and Kielar, Alan; "Sonar and Photographic Searches for the Loch Ness Monster: A Reassessment," Skeptical Inquirer, 9:147, 1984.)

Reference. Some sea serpents may be mammals. These are cataloged in Chapter BMU in our Biological Anomalies: Mam mals II. A description of this book may be found here.

From Science Frontiers #38, MAR-APR 1985. 1985-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987