Zoologist, media consultant, and science writer, Dr Karl Shuker is also one of the best known cryptozoologists in the world. He is the author of such seminal works as Mystery Cats of the World (1989), The Lost Ark: New and Rediscovered Animals of the 20th Century (1993; greatly expanded in 2012 as The Encyclopaedia of New and Rediscovered Animals), Dragons: A Natural History (1995), In Search of Prehistoric Survivors (1995), The Unexplained (1996), From Flying Toads To Snakes With Wings (1997), Mysteries of Planet Earth (1999), The Hidden Powers of Animals (2001), The Beasts That Hide From Man (2003), Extraordinary Animals Revisited (2007), Dr Shuker's Casebook (2008), Karl Shuker's Alien Zoo: From the Pages of Fortean Times (2010), Cats of Magic, Mythology, and Mystery (2012), Mirabilis: A Carnival of Cryptozoology and Unnatural History (2013), Dragons in Zoology, Cryptozoology, and Culture (2013), The Menagerie of Marvels (2014), A Manifestation of Monsters (2015), Here's Nessie! (2016), and what is widely considered to be his cryptozoological magnum opus, Still In Search Of Prehistoric Survivors (2016) - plus, very excitingly, his first two long-awaited, much-requested ShukerNature blog books (2019, 2020).

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Tuesday 30 July 2013


The first Nessie book that I ever read was this one, by Tim Dinsdale, purchased for me as a child by my mother

Back in 1986, veteran Loch Ness monster researcher Tim Dinsdale (1924-1987) had corresponded with me in relation to a very different but equally intriguing water monster that formed the basis of my first major cryptozoological investigation – Gambo, the Gambian sea serpent. Consequently, when I attended the International Society of Cryptozoology's two-day symposium held at the Royal Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh on 25-26 July 1987, Day 1 of which was devoted to Nessie and at which Tim was one of the speakers (click here to read my reporting of this symposium), I lost no time in introducing myself to him so that I could thank him directly for his kind interest and encouragement in my own fledgling cryptozoological researches.

Artistic representation of the Gambian sea serpent (William Rebsamen)

In response, Tim gave me a copy of a most interesting Nessie sighting that an eyewitness had recently sent to him. He didn't provide me with the eyewitness's name, because he no doubt intended to publish an exclusive report of it in some future publication. Tragically, however, only a few months after the ISC symposium, on 14 December 1987 Tim suffered a fatal heart attack.

Recently, I came upon the copy of this sighting that Tim had given me all those years ago, and as I am unsure whether it was ever made public, I am now doing so, by including here on ShukerNature the sketches of what the eyewitness claimed to have seen (click image to enlarge it), together with the sparse details concerning it that I have on file, in case this may be of benefit to other Nessie researchers.

The sheet given to me on 25 July 1987 by Tim Dinsdale containing two sketches by a Nessie eyewitness

The eyewitness observed a typical 'periscope' shape projecting up through the water surface, yielding an outline reminiscent of the object in the controversial Surgeon's Photo. He/she also saw a very long hump visible above the water surface, approximately 25-30 ft in length and approximately 1.5 ft high, with what looked like distinct backward-pointing serrations running along the posterior portion of its upper surface.

If anyone has any further knowledge concerning this Nessie sighting, I'd be delighted to receive details here on ShukerNature.

Tim Dinsdale (Tim Dinsdale)



  1. Karl I came across this. a witness account from the same year:
    wonder if it is the same person?
    I think 1987 was the year of operation deepscan. wonder if that stirred things up?

  2. Thanks for the info, which is certainly an intriguing report, but it doesn't really match the one that I posted above, especially re that strange serrated-back hump. Also, the one that you refer to happened in late summer 1987, whereas Tim Dinsdale gave me the sketch at the symposium on 25 July, which was only mid-summer 1987, and he had already possessed the sketch himself for a time, so that sighting was obviously much earlier than the one referred to by you. Nevertheless, it's all very interesting! All the best, Karl

  3. Wow Karl that isn't the cover of the first Nessie book you ever read.

    That's a time machine.

    And it's taken me straight back to 1972 when it was the first Nessie book I ever bought along with its Target coedition the first UFO book I ever bought.


    Even as I write I'm thirteen again wearing my gold flairs my beloved incandescently bright penny round collared blood red shirt and my much adored green claret and ox blood brown platform shoes with the three inch white soles [it's amazin' what y'can get away with wearin' when y'grammar school's too embarassed t'pull y'up over the dress code because y'too poor]!


    I forgive you everything Karl EVERYTHING.

    ...even the fact I've just noticed your surname bears a peculiar similarity to the supernatural entity known as a shuck.

    Well they do say a chap's name affects his career.

  4. Hi Alan, The fact of my surname bearing a similarity to the shuck actually forms the basis of a much earlier ShukerNature blog post of mine, which you can read here: http://karlshuker.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/whats-in-name.html

  5. Having just read the "split personality" Nessie post (from the same month as this post) with its reproduction of a frame of the film of the swimming elephant, I'm thinking the 'periscope' in this sketch looks remarkably like that elephant's trunk. Only the tip is a little fuller, but not so much as to entirely hide the raised 'finger'.

    I was going to add that I have no explanation for the curved and finned back, but then I remembered my visit to a small French hydroelectric plant. Although small for such a plant, the turbulence in the outflow channel was tremendous! As I looked down at it from above, shapes would arise in the water and disappear again. One such shape grabbed my attention: Bulging clear above the foam, it looked exactly like the back of a hippopotamus! I don't know what currents or upwellings might occur in Loch Ness.