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No. 40: Jul-Aug 1985

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Nessie photos not retouched

Above, we reported the Skeptical Inquirer charge, by Razdan and Kielar, that the famous "flipper" photos taken at Loch Ness were retouched fraudently. This charge has now been answered by R.H. Rines, et al, of the Academy of Applied Science. It is true that the very convincing "flipper" photo is not one of the computer-enhanced photos provided by JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory). Rather it is a composite of the original negative and several JPL computer-enhanced negatives.

Negative compositing is another kind of enhancing; and it is considered perfectly proper and ethical since new information is not added. It works because a detail that is faint in one negative may show up better in another. No fraud was involved and the innuendos in the Skeptical Inquirer (also Discover) were uncalled for. Discover has refused to publish any rebuttal.

(Anonymous; "Retouching of Nessie Flipper Photo Claimed -- Denied," ISC Newsletter, 3:1, no. 4, Winter 1984.)

From Science Frontiers #40, JUL-AUG 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