Wednesday, March 31, 2010
DALE DRINNON: Amendment to Arthur Grant's original Nessie Sketch as reproduced in Costello's book `In Search of Lake Monsters`Peter Costello's book has been widely used as a source for material on lake monsters. He is the first to publish the original version of Arthur Grant's sketch for his sighting of the Loch Ness monster ashore at night in January 1934, Costello's Figure 10 on page 46. The figure differs from other, later drawings done by Grant and significantly because the rear end ends at one edge of the paper and does not appear to show a tail.
But in fact the tail is clearly shown on the drawing. Because Grant ran out of paper on the one end, he drew in the tail starting at the other side again, as a sort of wraparound image. The tail is clearly drawn underneath the front end of the monster.
I have attempted to correct the image somewhat in my version. Grant did seem to draw the blunt end of the tail turning up. I am not so certain he meant it as being in exact scale to the rest of the drawing, however.
(Source: Peter Costello, In Search of Lake Monsters, Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, NYC 1974)
Sunday, June 13, 2010
DALE DRINNON: Heuvelmans' vs Dinsdale's Longnecks
I have been asked to clarify my position on long-necked sea monsters because some readers have seen me speaking of long-necked sea lions while in other places I speak of a more Plesiosaurian-shaped Longnecked Sea-Serpent. The answer is that in checking the statistics of Heuvelmans' Longneck category I found evidence of two distinct subcategories, whereas on the other hand in checking Dinsdale's reconstruction of the Loch Ness Monster I found his model to be sound, and very much the same as Champ, Patagonian Plesiosaurs, and other such creatures world-wide. The Hoy-type long-necked sea lion is specified in two target areas of the world, the one around Scotland and Ireland, and the other around Tasmania, Southern Australia and New Zealand. In both areas stray may go into freshwater on occasion (Bunyips and Costello's Phucas) The larger Plesiosaur-shaped Longnecks are cosmopolitan and must have a good range of temperature tolerance exactly comparable to leatherback turtles. The larger section of Sea-serpent sightings in Heuvelmans' book which deal with the Longnecked creature (which basically also absorbs the Merhorse category, except that the Merhorse category also contains distinctive sets of mistaken observations averaged in with the rest of the reports: my original analysis did not take into consideration swimming moose offshore which now look to be common mistakes in Scandinavia, New England and the Northwest Coastal area) Dinsdale has reports which specify that it has a tail, and Sanderson's and Gould's reconstructions are close to Dinsdale's (and my own identikit reconstruction)
At the current time I am using the two parts of Heuvelmans' Linnean binomial term "Megalotaria longicollis" as provisional generic names for the two subgroupings, Megalotaria for the Hoy-type longnecked sea lions and Longicollis (Longneck) to name the larger creature that is repeated more often and world-wide. I had insisted that the name for the latter be "Megophias" after Oudemans' usage, but arguments with several others have convinced me that name was given in mistake and cannot be said to definitivly describe anything more than a series of indefinite and probably mistaken observations.
So herewith I include a comparison of the long-necked sea lion Megalotaria and the Plesiosaur-shaped Longicollis done as mockups of representative photos from the internet. The inset shows the Arthur Grant land sighting drawing from Tim Dinsdale's Loch Ness Monster. The two photos are to approximate scale to one another: the sea lion type is of a size comparable to a walrus but the Plesiosaur-shaped creature is said to grow to twice this indicated size, at least (the upper end of the size range is uncertain because so many of the largest-size estimates are clearly exaggerated. But 40-50 feet is commonly stated and 60 feet or more at sea)
Posted by Jon Downes at 4:23 AM 3 comments
Dr Dan Holdsworth said...All of these reports beg one simple question: How good are people at estimating the length of animals, both at sea and on land, from a distance?
My guess would be "Not very good", but I'd like to see some hard experimental data to back this crude assumption up. Do you know of any?
Dale Drinnon said...
On the contrary, I have indicated that the average-maximum of the sightings at sea in the Longneck type is something like 150% over the freshwater sightings which appear to be the same type, so the sightings may well be thought of as that much less accurate. And it gets worse from there because calculations of size and speed at sea are dependant on the estimation of distance. Heuvelmans indicates that some of the sightings esimate a size DOUBLE that 150% figure, and they estimate admittedly impossible rates of speed the creatures are swimming at--60 miles an hour or "Railroad speed". Which is entirly due to the witness' inability to judge the size, distance or speed of an unfamiliar object at sea.
Dale Drinnon said...
And actually, experiments of exactly the sort you suggest were conducted during the Loch Ness Investigations" Roy Mackal speaks of them in his book The Monsters of Loch Ness.
The results were that experienced observers had a fair idea of scale in familiar surroundings, but inexperienced observers were not so good at it. And estimating the speed of say a motorboat could lead to estimates that were wrong by a factor of five (object was actually travelling at 1/5 the speed estimated by the observer)
Sunday, April 04, 2010
DALE DRINNON: Some Corrections to the Witness Sketch directed by J. Mackintosh Bell of his sighting off the Island of Hoy, Orkneys, 1919
Original sketch, and as amended by Dale
The sighting by Bell is THE classical long-necked seal sighting. And as the drawing has usually been reproduced, it is very much misleading.
This account is arguably the most convincing for a seal with a long neck and took place off the Orkneys (Hoy) in 1919. The witness was on holiday in the Orkney Islands and helping some friends out on a fishing boat. His friends had seen the animal previously and had just commented about it when, right on cue, it appeared. A full account can be found in Heuvelmans, In The Wake of The Sea Serpents, pages 402-404. The animal was described as being about 20ft long and the sketches made by the witness appear to leave little doubt as to what sort of creature was seen.
The witness was lawyer Mr J. Mackintosh-Bell. On the morning of August 5th, from the deck of a cod-line fishing boat off Hoy he saw a monster with "a long neck as thick as an elephant's front leg, all rough looking like an elephant's hide." The head was like that of a dog, with small, black eyes.
There is a specific description of the animals neck as "thick" right off, a point that has escaped most commentators. An elephant's foreleg is something like 18 inches through. The length of the neck is therefore not much more than three times the diameter.
Some more estimated measurements also follow. Bell told Rupert Gould that the entire length of the creature when extended would be 18-20 feet long from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail flippers, the head and neck stuck up out of the water 5-6 feet and the body would be 4-5 feet across. The head was said to be the size of a retriever dog "say 6" long by 4" broad"
Which is complete poppycock. A retriever dog's head would never be that size unless it was only a puppy.
This only goes to show that the measurements were only hazy in Bell's mind. And there is much uncertainty in the outline of the creature in the drawing.
The drawing was not made by Bell himself but by his wife, under his direction. And people have made far too much out of that drawing.
In the case of the described measurements, the neck and tail flippers are about the same length. The length of the body is about twice that and about twice its width. The width of the body is very nearly the same as the length of the neck, and the head is more nearly 16 inches long than 6 inches (18 to 20 inches would be even better)
Re-calculating these dimensions and increasing the thickness of the neck to resemble an elephant's foreleg produces the second, revised drawing for the Mackintosh Bell sighting.
It is very likely the same sort of creature as the Isle of Man SS seen around 1928 by Michael Peer Groves and family, also in In The Wake of The Sea-Serpents, figure 106, p.434. It is also quite possibly behind several of the Irish (specifically the Irish) freshwater reports in In Search of Lake Monsters.
It would basically be a sea lion the size of a walrus and 12-13 feet long as an adult (subtracting the tail flippers from Bell's estimate) I include a photo mockup to indicate the scale in comparison with a walrus and a more ordinary sea lion.
Posted by Jon Downes at 1:50 PM 0 comments Labels: dale drinnon, sea monster
After this blog posting had been up some time, the following comment was added. Since the Blogger comment posting engine was malfunctioning that day, I am appending it to the original article.
Once again you are mistaken because you did not see the original report and you do not recognize the meaning of the language. 1) A "Periscope" ordinarily has a small turnover (a tight curve) at the head end, it is not a straight line from occiput to the torso. 2) J. Mackintosh Bell's comparison was NOT to a "Periscope," it was to a "Telegraph pole" sighting, neck held straight out.
That makes a very crucial difference in that when you have a neck held straight you actually can have a giraffe-like neck because you do not have that tight curve at the end. That tight curve at the end is the part I cannot seem to convey the importance of to you guys. It means that you cannot have a few very elongated vertebrae up at the head end of the neck, you need several smaller vertebrae so that you have enough joints to make the curve. And actually, the Mackintosh Bell sighting has several conflicting aspects in its reported dimensions of the neck, including some basic irreconcilable differences not only to the artwork but also towards each other. Nonetheless, his report states that the neck is no more than 4 or 5 times its diameter in length and the head is NOT turned at right angles to it but was looking up at about a 45 degree angle. So not only is the neck not in the same position as the "Periscope", the proportion is HALF the length of a Longneck's neck. BOTH the estimated size of the head and the thickness of the neck are stated in flatly internally-contradictory terms going by the information that Bell gave to Gould (I have a copy of the original publication).
And if you are going to keep on and on about this I shall cut you off. You not only had a warning, you had AGREED to stop from going on and on about this. I have also stated that unless you use your real name, I have no obligation to run your comments here anyway, this blog does not allow anonymous comments and that part is well posted. Besides you are showing every evidence of being insincere in your pledge to cease being disruptive, deceitful, underhanded and insulting. So either you shape up and start using your real name, and try to deal with these matters in a mature way rather than being a self-important brat about it, or you get no more postings through moderation here.