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Sounds of Nessie, Update



May 22, 2000

Interview with Jan-Ove Sundberg, after analysis of the sounds he recorded at Loch Ness in early April, 2000.

by Lois Wickstrom

What kinds of sounds did your record in Loch Ness?

- Snortings, gruntings, odd sounds which no one can explain, neither us nor the scientists we consulted but some of them seem to think that what ever made them could be related to pinnipedia, i.e. the seal species.

Did you recognize any of them?

- We recorded a total of 49 sounds and some of them was in our sound library of European fishes, like eel, pike and brook char. One sound we heard could have been a catfish, but if it really was that´s a sensation because catfish need 22 C to breed and Loch Ness never get that warm even in the summer.

Originally, you said one of them reminded you of a sound from another lake that is home to another legendary monster. Did your computer program find that these sounds were similar? If so, in what ways?

- The one sound off Abriachan was very similar to the sound we recorded in Lake Seljordsvatnet, Norway, in August last year. It was very much the same snorting sound.

Are there distinctions in sound between mammals and reptiles?

- They are very different. Marine mammals have a deeper, stronger sound while most reptiles have a weaker one. However, crocodiles have strong sounds too but they are all in the tropics.

Did the snorting sound you think might be Nessie sound more like a mammal or a reptile?

- According to the scientists we consulted the snortings are more
mammal-like than reptile-like and many other features on Nessie (and others) also support the mammal theory; like the vertical undulations in the water, bubbles seen from time to time, surfacing in general, short walks on the beach, etc.

Since nobody has a recording of a lake monster singing into a microphone, do you ever expect to be able to make a definitive statement -- this sound is from a lake monster of a certain size? or this sound is from a mammal? or this sound is from a reptile?

- We have a new strategy that we are working on and which will be tested in Norway shortly and if it works out the way he hope, we will be able to say much more about what is making the sounds we got. (We did get) a confirmation that there are similar sounds in both Norway and Scotland.

What were you looking for?

- The similarity in sounds between the two countries.

Do you have any charts that illustrate similarities and differences
between the database recordings and the Loch Ness recordings?

- Yes, but we will publish them at our own website to begin with. We have not had time to do this yet because another expedition is coming up shortly.

How many points of similarity were there between the Loch Ness recordings and your other lake recordings? Can you put this in perspective? For example, how many points of similarity are there between a child and and adult human? How many points of similarity between a seal and a dolphin? A fish and a bird?

- All I can say is that both the team and the majority of the scientists we consulted thought there was a similarity between the two sounds and we can´t get any further until we have more sounds to analyze.

Do you intend to record sounds from other lakes that have legendary monsters?

- Yes, we´re going back to Loch Ness in October.

Will more recordings from lakes with legendary monsters help you form a better pattern of what to listen for?

- Sounds will only get us so far, that´s why we have developed a new strategy. In order to identify these animals you need a lot more than sounds but we´re working on it.

Are the people at some lakes easier to work with than others when you tell them you want to listen for monster sounds?

- People who live at these lakes are always willing to help out no matter what search methos we use, I guess they are as curious as us to find out what is really down there.

Will you be modifying your equipment for future sound-gathering adventures? What lakes do you intend to visit next?

- Lake Seljordsvatnet, Norway, is next in August. In mid-September we will search Lake Storsjön in Central Sweden and, as I said, in late October we will return to Loch Ness and try to pick up more sounds. NESSIE2000 Part II will also pave the way for a major international expedition at Loch Ness next year.