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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

LINDSAY SELBY: The Searle Photographs

Frank Searle allegedly took many photos of Nessie. I realised that not many people will have seen them as his first book was taken out of circulation because of allegations of plagiarism, and unless you are old enough to have visited his tent, you would not have had chance to view them.

I have a copy of the book in paperback. Nessie seven years in search of the monster by Frank Searle, 1976, pub. by Coronet books, London. Some of his photos (I counted 20 last time I visited him) are reproduced in the book and I have scanned them in for you to see. Frank died in 2005 in obscurity but for his time on the loch he was a bit of a star and TV crews came to see him and tourists flocked. I will not go into the stories here about him,(will save that for my book, perhaps), but sufficient to say he could be quite aggressive if you accused him of faking the photos.
He could be charming whilst you agreed with him but it was best not to disagree with him within earshot.
In saying that, I have a soft spot for Frank as he was a character and somehow seemed to fit in with what was going on at the loch at the time.
So here are some of the photos. See what you think.

7 comments:

Nodifer said...

My thinking on searle is much the same as yours. I also met him at his site in Lower foyers, and he was a boyhood hero! I still think his first photograph was genuine, albeit probably of a log, but with the publicity generated the temptation to obtain more by whatever means must have been immense.

Richard Freeman said...

Curde, childish fakes some of which used a painting of an apatasaurus from a popular kids book of the time. Searl did nothing but damage serious research and make the monster a joke in the eyes of the public.

Tabitca said...

Actually Richard a lot of people believed in the creature after meeting Frank and seeing the photos. You would be surprised by how popular he was especially with older people.In later years he went too far and produced too many photos etc. but in the early days he brought alot of people to the Loch and they listened to him. They saw the LNIB as a bit hippy and new age because the students had long hair.Frank however wanted to be the only monster hunter and that is when things went awry.

borky said...

The first thing that struck me about these pics is how close to the 'monster' Searle seems to've been when he took them - especially the ones which appear to be the same pose taken from different angles.

My initial, knee-jerk reaction, then, was the compliance of the 'monster' to the photographer's demands strains credulity.

But then I recalled various items of traditional shamanic lore about the likes of 'weather wizards' having the capacity to summon rain or winds and, even more applicable, 'beast masters', shamans who can summon prey for the tribal hunters.

This is at least as possible as the 'tulpa' option, and I suspect the photographer might well've taken a shine to the title FRANK SEARLE - Monster Whisperer.

superdiggy said...

Aren't these the photos that are purported to be an elephant bathing in the water? Many of them DO look like an elephant head and trunk?

Aaron W said...

Since childhood I've been a fan of nessie... untill recently. I was sure this issue would die once it was proven that at the time of many of the most famous Nessie photos there was a woman who owned an elephant on one end of the locke, and most of these photo's can be attributed to a swimming elephant. Take a look at any picture of a swimming elephant and it's beyond obvious.

Aaron T said...

Richard Freeman - I think you will find that Searle used the J.Arthur Dixon postcard of a Brontosaurus, #3 in a series of 8, ref PPH/22175.

Aaron W - "it was proven that at the time of many of the most famous Nessie photos there was a woman who owned an elephant on one end of the locke,"

References please! No-one else has heard of this.