By Tim Binnall
A tantalizing piece of drone footage that sparked worldwide headlines over the weekend because it appears to show the Loch Ness Monster has been called into question by a Nessie expert who has been hunting for the creature for decades. The intriguing video was shot last month by canoeist Richard Mavor as he participating in a charity event at the famed Scottish site. After uploading a vlog about the experience to YouTube, one of his viewers noticed something unusual in the water that seems to resemble the iconic creature said to lurk in Loch Ness. The discovery came to light a few days ago, sparking a slew of news stories around the world and, now, some considerable skepticism from the Nessie hunting community.
Specifically, Steve Feltham, who has famously held watch at the site for the last 30 years in the hopes of catching a glimpse of Nessie, offered a blunt and confident assessment of the video to a British media outlet. "Hoax. No question about it," he declared, "I have spent many hours as a passenger in a microlite flying low over the loch, trying to spot a silhouette in the dark waters, and things just do not show up that clearly." Beyond his own personal experience, Feltham put forward a rather compelling technical argument for why he believes that the drone footage is a well-crafted fake.
He explained that Mavor "had actually duplicated a few frames of the shot to use elsewhere in his travelog video, giving us a perfect 'before and after' shot" and, as one may have surmised, the Nessie only appears in one instance wherein the footage was used, which Feltham rightly indicated was "impossible." Online sleuths were also able to track down an image that matched the 'submerged creature' seen in the drone footage, leading to the conclusion that the canoeist "had overlaid some film of this Nessie image onto his drone shot sequence." An explanation of how this was done can be seen in the video above by the channel Parabreakdown. Likely having seen all manner of hoaxed videos over the years, Feltham seemed to be have a grounded perspective on the whole affair.
"If Mavor had not used the same short clip at the beginning of his video," the Nessie researcher observed, "he may have enjoyed a little more time in the spotlight as the man who filmed Nessie whilst on a weekend canoeing trip." However, it would seem that the small oversight likely led to the canoeist's story unraveling in what Feltham said was probably "a proper slap yourself on the forehead moment for him." Regardless of that miscue, the Nessie researcher said that the case would have likely been solved eventually as "investigators into this mystery are pretty efficient when they get the scent of a hoaxer." While the canoeist has yet to respond to the assertion that the video is fake, Feltham mused that "I would expect a confession along the lines of, 'Fair cop, it was just for a laugh, it was for charity, etc.', any time soon."