Detective Simon Dinsdale Takes up His Father’s Quest at Loch Ness

Illustration from an edition of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Tim Dinsdale, an Indian-born Royal Air Force engineer, is one of the most famous researchers into the monster reputedly lurking in Loch Ness in the Scottish highlands. His son, Simon Dinsdale, will be continuing his father’s research, according to an article on Paranormal Utopia.

According to the article, the younger Dinsdale is now a retired police detective, says he’s seen the monster twice. However, he believes that hard evidence is needed to back up his claims.

Sadly, Paranormal Utopia doesn’t reference its source, and has no direct quotes from Dinsdale; I could find neither Simon Dinsdale nor the Dinsdale family online, and the only news hit I get is to an Indian source that times out. Until Simon D. puts out a press release or puts up a website, I don’t know where Paranormal Utopia is getting its info…in fact, it’s as murky as the waters of Loch Ness.

His father, Tim Dinsdale, is one of the small number of hardcore legends among monster hunters. In 1960, the elder Dinsdale shot what is probably the most widely discussed film footage of what might be a monster at Loch Ness, which was analyzed much over the years and often found by analysts to be, er, compelling.

At least as many critics found it debunkable, but no hoax has been revealed and no two sources agree on what the thing is — a fact made more difficult by the fact that, according to, the Dinsdale family seems to disdain the film’s use or distribution.

A reasonably good analysis of the film can be found at, where it is concluded that what Dinsdale saw was “an ordinary object” (ie, a small wooden boat). After having the film submitted to them, the RAF determined that it was neither beast nor boat, but an unknown inanimate object. Other viewers have claimed they see what looks like a plesiosaur, which is the most commonly mentioned candidate for a dinosaur that could have evolved into something like what people believe they’ve seen at Loch Ness.

Attempting to prove that what he had seen was, in fact, a cryptid, Dinsdale took part in more than 50 expeditions to Loch Ness during the remainder of his life (he died in 1987).

By the way, in case you don’t know, that iconic still image you’re probably used to seeing of the Loch Ness Monster is known as “The Surgeon’s Photo.” It was taken in 1933 and first brought Nessie to worldwide attention, though it was not the first image taken of Nessie. It was exposed as a hoax in 1994 when a man named Christian Spurling revealed before his death at age 90 that he had helped two conspirators, Colonel Robert Wilson and Spurling’s stepfather Maraduke Weatherell, to create the photo using a toy submarine and a fake sea serpent head.

Just to be clear, Dinsdale’s film is completely unconnected to the Surgeon’s Photo, but those are the two most widely discussed pieces of documentation cited in favor of a monster explanation of the Nessie phenomenon, making Dinsdale’s film the “best evidence.”

Dinsdale’s footage has never been exposed as a hoax, and is still considered by Nessie believers to be the best evidence extant. In fact, Cryptomundo calls its annual monster-hunter award the Dinsdale Memorial Award. I couldn’t find a copy of the entire Dinsdale film (which is about two minutes), but here’s what appears to be 13 practically useless seconds of it.

Tim Dinsdale wrote at least a half-dozen books on the subject, including The Leviathans, Monster Hunt, The Story of the Loch Ness Monster, Project Water Horse, and The Facts About Loch Ness and the Monster. In fact, so many of Dinsdale’s books have been released as “revised editions” and with different titles in different markets (the UK vs. North America, mostly) that it’s hard to tell just how many books he wrote.

For what it’s worth, I put a Google Alert out on Simon Dinsdale. If the intrepid detective slaps any pics of Nessie on Flickr…I’m there.

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