The Inverness Courier Inverness | Scotland| | July 13, 1999
Loch event draws monster hunters
Monster hunters from all over the world gathered on the banks of Loch Ness at the weekend for the first conference of its kind aimed at finding a new way forward in the search for Nessie.
One of the highlights at “Loch Ness 1999: an International Cryptozoology Symposium” in Drumnadrochit was a talk by Ian Cameron, a retired detective supertindent from Inverness, who told the 40 delegates about his 50-minute sighting of unknown 30ft creature in the loch in June 1965.
Mr. Cameron, the last surviving witness to the longest reported sighting, finished his speech by emphasising that he did not want to convert or convince anyone that Nessie existed, but wanted to tell the facts of what happened to him.
Leading US Bigfoot hunter Loren Coleman called Loch Ness the “epicentre of cryptozoology”, which is the study of hidden animals.
Coleman, who launched his new book “Cryptozoology A to Z”, said: “I have travelled to many areas on the globe that have stories of creatures like Nessie, but nowhere has the same atmosphere as Loch Ness.”
Professor Henry Bauer of Virginia State University explained that trail and error is a necessary part of trying to work out what animals like Nessie really are. “Scientists tend to ignore the area that people find the most interesting, so it remains up to the amateurs to do the necessary groundwork,” he said.
The whole weekend was hailed a success by Kathy Campbell of the conference organisers, the Inverness-based Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club.
“We were delighted by the large turnout and the international flavour that was created over the weekend
“Nothing like this has been held at Loch Ness and we hope to hold follow-up events in the future years,” she said.
The Press and Journal Aberdeen | Scotland | July 12, 1999
Expert suggests Nessie could be species of seal
Experts who gathered on the shores of Loch Ness at the weekend admitted science will play little part in fresh bids to detect the legendary monster.
They even suggested it could turn out to be a new kind of long-necked seal.
A group of 30 cryptozoologists from Japan, Belgium and the US attended the two-day conference in Drumnadrochit Hotel organised by the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club.
Professor Henry Bauer, of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, insisted scientists had to be more open-minded about Nessie but he admitted cryptozoology was not an exact science.
He said: “This is not like carrying out experiments in science, which has been seen as a professional activity. If you are doing science you have got to produce results.
“But we do not know how to produce these results about Nessie as science is about having things ready to be solved and I do not think Nessie is ready to be solved yet; you need a stroke of luck.
“People take science to be a great authority in our day and age and I do not believe that is always the case; science has been greatly oversold in that respect and that is a shame.
“We must not forget that when what we call science began it was just people drawing and making notes of what they saw. The issue of Nessie is the same.”
US author Loren Colman, who has previously written a volume called Bigfoot and chose the seminar for the launch of his new book on cryptozoology, said: “I have said it before but I think Loch Ness is the epicentre of cryptozoology in the world, so even though you have all the jokes about Loch Ness and other things, several scientists have been interested enough to be here over the weekend to see what is going on in this loch.
“Nobody will pay any attention to us until such time as we get a body or a sample of DNA. We must not forget that over the next 20 years there are expected to be 47 new types of aquatic mammals found.
“There have been various sightings which have been found to have been seals in the loch and this may be a long-necked seal unique to Loch Ness.
“That is less exciting than having a monster but it may be more realistic.”
In a separate move, Inverness-based Gary Campbell, founder of the Loch Ness Monster Fan Club, who organised the seminar, said there have been two sightings of the monster over the past week and another one earlier in the year when an American tourist described what he said was a creature which rested on a beach on the south side of the loch between Dores and Foyers.
Herald and Review | Decatur, Illinois | July 10, 1999
Loch Ness Monster lures ex-Decaturite
Coleman will be keynote speaker at Scotland conference on ‘beast’
By Tony Reid
H&R Staff Writer
DECATUR — A monster hunter raised in Central Illinois is off in pursuit of the most famous creature of all — the Loch Ness Monster.
Loren Coleman first became fascinated with the Scottish legend while he was a boy growing up 4,000 miles away in Decatur, eagerly devouring stories of the mysterious beast lurking in the 1,000-foot-deep loch.
“The Loch Ness Monster is one of the big three for cryptozoologists,” said Coleman, 51. “The other two are Yeti and our own Big Foot.”
Cryptozoology is the study of “hidden animals” rumored to exist but for which there is no hard evidence. Coleman will cruise the loch’s murky waters to “experience the unique atmosphere of the place,” but doesn’t expect he will actually bump into “Nessie,” the Scottish pet name for the monster.
What he is looking forward to most is the chance to swap notes and compare stories with other monster hunters from all over the world. Today, Coleman will be the keynote speaker at a conference in the Drumnadrochit Hotel on the loch shore.
“This is the first conference of Loch Ness Monster researchers since 1987,” said Coleman, a MacArthur High School graduate. “In the last 12 years the monster has been seen and photographed by several credible witnesses.”
Coleman, who now teaches documentary film at the University of Southern Maine and sociology at St. Joseph’s College in Portland, believes it is only a matter of time before solid evidence of the monster’s existence emerges.
“The PBS program ‘Nova’ were there last year and they got a sonar reading of a large animal underneath the water moving very rapidly,” said Coleman. “No scientist could explain it.”
Professor Terry Matthews, 57, chairman of the biology department at Millikin University, says every scientist must keep an open mind. “But the likelihood of a Loch Ness Monster is very, very small,” he said.
The professor torpedoes Nessie by pointing out that, as Scottish monster sightings date back 1,000 years, there would have to be a breeding population living in the loch. He said predictions might call for 50 or 100 creatures to keep the species alive. “Even 10 would be a lot of monsters,” he adds. “So why don’t we see them all the time?”
The professor also says studies indicate there isn’t enough food in the loch to sustain monster appetites and wonders why, if they do exist, we haven’t found a body or bones?
His arguments, however, can’t sink the enthusiasm of cryptozoologists, who will be snapping up copies of Coleman’s new book, “Cryptozoology A-Z”, which debuts at the Scottish conference.
The book chronicles all the world’s fabled beasts and Decatur gets several mentions — our countryside is said to be prowled by panther-sized big cats and “Napes,” a chimpanzee-like ape. Eye on the Internet
Want to spot the Loch Ness Monster without leaving your armchair? Go to www.lochness.scotland.net for a 24-hour video camera view of the loch.