Tuesday 6 July 2010

How did I become a cryptozoology person?

Some one asked me my story the other day i.e. how I became interested in Loch Ness and cryptozoology, so here it is.
I think I was about 10 when I first became interested in Loch Ness and the creature. .My father used to take one or more of the Sunday papers and in one there was an article on Tim Dinsdale and the Loch Ness Monster. Knowing how I loved dinosaurs he pointed it out to me. Father and I had a discussion about it but came to no conclusions.  I forgot about it for a while  but on my birthday Father took me into town to the book shop and said I could chose a book I wanted. I was torn between Tim Dinsdale’s Loch Ness Monster and a story about an air hostess. I ended up with both because Father wanted to read the Loch Ness one too .In 1969 I was invited by a school friend ‘s family to go with them on holiday. All I knew was I was going to Scotland. You can imagine my excitement when we took a trip to Loch Ness .School friend’s mother had relatives who lived around the Loch. Her father took us to the loch side to see people on large cameras watching the loch.I was very shy but my  friend was very forward and asked all the questions. I have to say she was more interested in the male students, older men and all that.I got a chance to look through the camera lens and watched a man putting hydrophones into barrels to go into the loch to record sounds. Dan Scott Taylor was there with his submarine and I got to look inside. I was fascinated. That was it I was hooked. When I got back to school I drove the school librarian mad requesting books about Loch Ness. I kept in touch with Dan on and off over the years until his death. We always said we would meet up again at Loch Ness when he returned with new sub but sadly it was not to be. Ever since 1969 I have tried to go up there at least once a year but missed a couple of years when my daughter was very young and  when she was taking GCSEs..I took a job in the area for nearly 2 years ,the job was crappy, but it meant I could visit the Loch. Due to ill health my last visit was 2006. I always worked and financed my trips that way. I took daughter with me a couple of times, the first time she was about 3 and we stayed with friends. She still remembers standing by the Loch.  Daughter and I tried to count up all the times I went to the Loch but couldn’t decide on a figure so at least 30 times I would say.(not including the two years I lived there). That first visit to the Loch  made me want to learn more and that is why I went back to university after my daughter was born. I did a lot of studying of eye witness testimony and how we fool ourselves that our memories are real when they aren’t always. I also studied predator prey relationships which impacts on evolution and research methods and on the method used can impact on the results.. I then went on to teach about the same to undergraduates for 20 years. I met some amazing people who I shall never forget and I have since met more amazing people because of my hobby and I somehow have ended up being part of the cryptozoological family. I don’t regret any of it.
P.S. If anyone wants to post a comment to say how they got interested in cryptozoology, I would love to hear it.

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