Tim Dinsdale Loch Ness Monster Film
23rd April 1960

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Tim Dinsdale (b. 1924 - d. 1987) was an aeronautical engineer and believer in the Loch Ness monster. In 1960 he took a trip to Loch Ness, armed with his camera and determined to prove that Nessie was real. For four frustrating days, his vigil proved fruitless, but on the fifth and final day of his expedition he was startled to see what he described as an 'enormous creature' surface while he ate his breakfast on the shore near Foys. Snatching up his cine camera, he drove frantically down to the loch side and shot around a minute of film of an object travelling across the opposite side.

The resulting footage - grainy, black and white and shot at some considerable distance - has become a touchstone for believers and sceptics of the Loch Ness Monster's existence alike.



In it, an apparently stationary object is seen to suddenly begin moving away from the observer, before turning to the left, apparently submerging and then resurfacing. In Dinsdale's account, the object had a mahogany coloured patch on its flank.

Dinsdale himself is considered to have been - even by sceptics - to have been an honest witness. That he himself believed he had filmed the monster is beyond doubt and he was willing to submit his film to JARIC (the RAF's Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre) in an effort to substantiate his claim and try to identify whatever he had captured on the footage.

The JARIC analysis famously concluded that the object was "probably animate", i.e. alive. At least in part this conclusion was drawn from an exercise in which a fishing boat of common size was sent out to retrace roughly the route taken by the object in the film. The difference in appearance, size and the lack of propwash visible in the film seems to have convinced many that Dinsdale can't have filmed a similar boat, and therefore that the object must have been an unknown creature of considerable size.

Over recent years, this analysis has increasingly come under renewed scrutiny.  'Enhanced' stills from the film have been produced which seem to show the object in a new light - a boat with not merely a figure sat at the stern, but even a license plate at the bow. While compelling, it must be remembered that playing with images on a computer can as easily introduce visual artefacts as it can identify them. By these accounts, the apparent 'submerging' of the object is actually an illusion caused as the boat enters a band of shadow.

Like much of the evidence purporting to show mysterious creatures, the Dinsdale film falls some way short of being undeniably convincing, while remaining sufficiently intriguing to create continuing arguments over 60 years since it was shot. Dinsdale himself would return to the Loch on over 50 expeditions - often alone - in the vain hope of capturing something more conclusive. That he never claimed to have done so again is testimony to his humble honesty and personal dedication.

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Author: Ian Freud   |  Last updated: 16th September 2013 | © Weird Island 2010-2019
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Tim Dinsdale Loch Ness Monster Film: location

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Loch Ness Monster

Arthur C Clarke's Mysterious World (1980) including an interview with Dinsdale in which he recounts his sighting and film