"We're All Mad Here…."
A comment appeared on the Internet recently concerning Victorian steam boats and the Loch Ness Monster. It is not the first the first time it has appeared, and I think I ought to address from my side of the Nessie debate.
The argument runs that steam ship tourism was popular on Loch Ness during the time of Queen Victoria, so why do we not hear of any sightings from these passengers in the archives of books and newspapers? The argument is a corollary of the general argument that Nessie was just a 1930s fiction inadvertently created by fevered tourists whilst aided and abetted by a story-hungry media.Now, we do have stories of people seeing the monster from 19th century steamers. We have the accounts of Roderick Matheson and Alexander MacDonald but since these were brought to light post-1933, sceptics dismiss them as lies and exaggerations.
But the argument, like most sceptical arguments, looks plausible on a cursory examination. However, when it is more closely scrutinised, it does not look probable. The word “plausible” is qualitative, but “probable” is more quantitative. We need some numbers here and the problem revolves around observers and sightings…