The first film of Scotland?s Loch Ness Monster was shown 65 years ago. Since then, the short newsreel clip of the 30 foot long creature has been missing.
Now the footage has been found and will be screened again. Janet McBain, curator of the Scottish Screen Archive, found the 16mm film dumped in an old rusty can among hundreds of film cans passed on to the organization by the former Scottish Film Council.
The film shows grainy black and white images of a dark blob moving slowly across gray water, looking ?almost black in color and very shiny.? When it was first shown as part of a newsreel in British movie theaters in 1936, it was hailed as final proof of the Loch Ness monster?s existence.
The short film was made on September 22, 1936 at Loch Ness by Glasgow filmmaker Malcolm Irvine for his Scottish Film Productions Company. McBain says, ?The existence of the film was well documented at the time but it disappeared without trace and most people thought that it had been destroyed and lost for ever.
?But when the company went out of business in the 1930s they donated all their old footage to the Scottish Film Council. The council, in turn, appears to have dumped it in an old store[house] along with about 20,000 other old cans of film and forgotten about them. The cans were eventually passed on to Scottish Screen Archive and we have gradually been working through the backlog, viewing, cataloguing and discovering exactly what is in each tin.?
Irvine spent three weeks with his crew at the loch before he got the footage he wanted. He says, ?We were so excited and elated when the monster appeared. What you see on the screen lasts less than a minute, but it seemed hours when we were making it. It definitely is something with two humps – that much is clear.?
Iain McMillan, another eyewitness who appears in the film says, ?We first saw its head and neck, then two humps one behind the other, and then something thrashing around behind from side to side, like a tail.?
When the film of the creature was shown to the Linnaean Society, an organization which classified animals, no one could identify it. Since 1936 there have been 27 more films of Nessie and hundreds of other officially recorded sightings.
The most common area for sightings is close to the ruins of Urquhart Castle at Drumnadrochit, which now attracts over 200,000 visitors a year. Fraser Cameron, who runs the Drumnadrochit Hotel says, ?I know a lot of very reliable people who have seen the monster, including a police chief who watched it for nearly an hour.
?The monster is the only industry we have in the area and it is growing. This summer there has been no drop off in the number of Americans and Europeans from all walks of life who have come hoping to see Nessie. We are even welcoming Russians in growing numbers and Croatian bus tours.?
Janet McBain says, ?The find is even more remarkable because about 15 years ago I talked to a very old woman who worked for Irvine and was with him the day the film was taken. She told me a remarkable story. Irvine had in fact first seen the monster for the first time three years previously but his camera jammed and he only had a few seconds of footage.?
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