Loch Ness monster expert to reveal findings
2013-04-08 0:00

By Alistair Munro | Scotsman.com



An expert delving deep into the history of Nessie spotters is to reveal his findings on the 80th anniversary of the first modern-day sighting.

Dr Charles Paxton, a statistical ecologist from St Andrews University, is working on the first catalogue of all known sightings of the Loch Ness monster in modern times.

The researcher will present his findings at a conference this weekend, organised as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

The special event organised by the St Andrews academic marks the 80thanniversary of the first official sighting of Nessie.

It was in April 1933 that Drumnadrochit hotel manageress Aldie Mackay reported “something resembling a whale” while on the road from Inverness.

Dr Paxton, a research fellow at the University’s Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling, is interested in how science handles anomalistic and low frequency data.

He will analyse all reported sightings for consistencies or patterns that could be explained by natural phenomena.

He said, “I am carrying out a statistical analysis of Loch Ness monster accounts since 1933, specifically looking for clusters in terms of what is reported. In some cases there are multiple witnesses, or witnesses giving multiple accounts of the same event, which allow us to test eyewitness consistency.”

There have been more than 1000 recorded sightings of ‘Nessie’ and Dr Paxton has so far sifted through over 800 of these cases.

Although he wryly notes more than a few hotel proprietors among the typical spotters, Dr Paxton says that ‘everyone’ sees Nessie, from ordinary locals to clergymen.

He said: “Everyone sees Nessie from aristocrats and celebrities such as Gavin Maxwell and Compton Mackenzie to ordinary folk and children.

[...]

Read the full article at: scotsman.com




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