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Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Beast of Buckshaw. Hmmmmmmm

Oh I do like to take the mickey out of the daily newspapers, except (of course) when they pay us. Dr Dan Holdsworth wrote to me this morning with reference to this story from the UK Daily Mail. (and we haven't been paid ow't by them since 1998 so they are fair game).

Dan writes: "The picture looked familiar to me, and a quick search confirmed my doubts. This is EXACTLY the same photo as was taken on Dartmoor three years ago, of a Newfoundland dog called Troy, which at that time had been dubbed a monster, wild boar and various other things."

Well it certainly looks like it to me. In fact I would say it was almost a dead cert, although I suppose coincidences would happen, and I would be very interested to see some uncropped pictures which prove it is from a different event.

I seem to remember that when we put out this press release pointing out that despite a story in The Guardian the revelation that this was a picture of a dog was not a “Blow to Monster Watchers” the usual suspects launched a mild barrage of criticism in my direction accusing me over scepticism and ignoring the work of someone or other who had been researching the case. I can't remember the details, and don't care. However, it is amusing that these piccies of what appear to be a Dulux Dog have appeared again (as Dan said) in the very newspaper that outed the pics as being of a dog in the first place

Crikey, some people never learn. Now let's see who takes exception to this posting.


Retrieverman said...

I didn't know Newfoundlands looked so much like other creatures.

They look like black golden retrievers on steroids to me.

Dr Dan Holdsworth said...

Well, I've done what I should have done in the first place and had a bit more of a scout through the story the Daily Mail published, and the closer you look, the more it falls apart. The thing to do with these cases is to look for the first mention of the subject you're looking for.

On the Facebook social networking site there is a page dedicated to Buckshaw village which is open access. On October 24th 2009, a certain Shelley Levene posted a few lines of drivel to the effect that (s)he had seen something rooting through dustbins in the area in the last few weeks (i.e. the month of October 2009). This person also mentioned that there seemed to be something wrong with the soil on the estate which was making his home-grown vegetables deformed.

The latter observation I can believe; Buckshaw village is a brown-field housing development site, built where an ordnance factory used to stand.

The next comment is from a John Russell, who claimed to have taken a photo of the beast, and the photo section of this group does indeed have a photo; a copy of one of the 2007 images, though this image does not have the Manchester Evening News copyright logo in it.

So, from this I would say that some extremely junior reported has been trolling Facebook, looking for pretty much anything that might make a decent story, and has come up with this garbage. Said reporter has searched out more of the Beast photos, possibly buying them in from the Manchester Evening News, and has published the whole sorry mess.

Right about now, I reckon that junior hack ought to have been on the receiving end of a rant from the newspaper's editors, not least for buying in stock photos when they already had legit copies of the Beast of Buckshaw in their archives. I also reckon that two anonymous wags in Buckshaw are laughing their socks off at the Daily Mail right now.

Tiger said...

This is more than coincidence, it's blatant recycling of exactly the same image that appeared in the Dartmoor incident.

A quick search for online images turned up the Dartmoor pic for comparison, and ignoring the beast to examine the background reveals that precisely the same vegetation and terrain are in both images, right down to the number, placement and color of the plant stalks.