Hayley is a Ghost

Revisiting Bownessie

Posted on: June 18, 2011

In my initial article considering the case of the “Bownessie” lake monster in detail, I concluded that I felt that the most likely cause for the various sightings of the monster was simple misidentification of fish, objects and other animals in the lake.

After I published my article online I received feedback from one of the eyewitnesses, Linden Adams, who took the first photo that allegedly shows the monster in the lake. His feedback stated:

Firstly my photographs were exstensivley [sic] studied by professional forensic photographers including Canon UK. The size and distance of the object was calulated [sic] by forensic’s [sic] and in the presence of Dr Winfield so you have been mislead yourself. Please read statement signed by Dr Ian Winfield clearly stated he was happy with the size and distance. As for large Pike or Otter then may I suggest a trip to the sumit [sic] of Gummer’s Howe with a copy of my images to give you scale. You have failed to mention that Deer are known to swim the lake to find a richer feeding area, like so many publications on this subject it’s incomplete. It is however one of the better articles but can’t understand why you spoke to a strange man from CFZ and didn’t speak to Mark Carr forensic photographer.

Credit: Linden Adams

For more photos click here (and scroll down to the bottom of the page)

I should point out that the reason I spoke to Jon Downes from the CFZ (the strange man who Adams mentions) and not Mark Carr was because I didn’t know Mark Carr was involved in the case at all. I am, after all, not psychic and unless people are completely transparent about their research or involvement in a case like this, it would be impossible to know all the facts. Especially as Dean Maynard refused to share his research with me, that may have brought up Mark Carr’s involvement.

I was interested to find out more about the statement from Ian Winfield, whom I had spoken to before, and so I contacted Ian and he agreed that he had indeed made a statement, as had Jon Downes it appeared. The statements were later forwarded onto me by Linden Adams and are as follows:

“I have viewed a series of photographs taken by Mr Linden Adams on the 5th February 2007. Having spoken at length to Mr Marc Carr of IE PHOTOGRAPHY of Hawlshead, I am satisfied that:

1. The images have not been tampered with in any way. The images in the photographs are exactly what Mr Adams saw.

2. Although the fact that the camera was not fixed to a tripod makes it impossible to be sure, the empirical evidence suggests that the object is moving fast enough to cause a bow wave.

3. There appears to be a solid object 12-15 feet in length that is leaving a wake of about thirty feet.

Having compared these images with well known images purporting to be those of cryptids, these images, especially – according to Mark Carr – when one considers the forensic evidence contained within the images in terms of time codes etc., these images provide better evidence for the existence of a large animal in the lake than – say – the famous 1963 Tim Dinsdale film taken at Loch Ness.

Logic suggests that the object in the picture is animate. It appears to be far too large to be any known mammal or bird, and therefore I would suggest that it is a huge fish of indeterminate species. This is in line with other evidence collected by the CFZ in recent years, and we are very excited with this latest piece of evidence” – Jonathan Downes


Hi Linden

It was good to meet you in person this morning and to examine, in the presence of forensic photographer Mark Carr, your photographs taken at the south basin of Windermere on the morning of Monday 5 February 2007.

It is my understanding that Mark’s judgement is that the source of the observed disturbance of the water surface is a moving object, with several of the photographs showing both a part of the object itself (with the remainder being underwater) and a generated wake or other disturbance on the water surface.

As I have mentioned in earlier discussions, in my opinion identification of the object hinges on its size. This morning, Mark clarified this issue by informing me that his current best conservative estimate of the minimum length of the visible part of the object is approximately12 feet, which I convert to approximately 3.5 m.

On the basis of my 27 years experience as a professional freshwater fish ecologist, including leading research programmes on Windermere for the last 17 years and intermittent research on waterfowl, this size estimate means that I cannot explain the photographs by reference to any fish or other vertebrate species previously demonstrated to inhabit Windermere.
Best wishes, Ian J Winfield –  BSc PhD MIFM CEnv

I also got in touch with Mark Carr, the forensic photographer in question because I’m always willing to consider all possibilities and I like to gather all the information I can about a case and the research conducted into it prior to my involvement.

Mark got back in touch to tell me that after examining the photos and explained:

I was asked to illicit if the image had been altered digitally and what it may be in terms of size etc.  The series of images were not conclusive as to what the object was BUT based on my research and analysis I would say the photographs had not been altered electronically, the object appeared to be solid and   in respect of length was at least 12-14 feet ( c4 m) though could possibly be longer. I have no expertise or ability from the quality of the images to determine what the object was.

I was also sent these two images by Linden Adams that were apparently used by Mark Carr to determine the size of the anomaly that Adams photographed.

Linden Adams promised to send me the full report from Mark Carr but this has yet to appear over a month later. However, in an extract from his photography blog:

As the photographs were taken on a professional Canon camera and shot in camera Raw format as appose to Jpeg it would be easy to get the images validated so I sent them off to Canon UK. A letter came back supporting the validation and future equipment support, next was a forensic report to uncover other information like size and location. Mark Carr an independent forensic photographer spent three days analysing the memory card and was ultimately satisfied that I had genuine images.

Here are a few extracts from his report,

 ON a number of the images (particularly 48) there was a darker patch of pixels contained in the anomaly. It was not possible to resolve this any further (in part due to camera shake and in part due to the distance the anomaly was away from the camera). This effect could be due to their being a solid object. I would estimate this darker patch to be as much as 4m in length on shot 48.

In conclusion, based on the information I have been given and the checks I have so far been able to carry out I am satisfied of the following:

  1. The images I have seen have not been digitally modified or are the result of a camera or lens error.
  2. The position of the anomaly was around 2.8 to3 km away from the camera.
  3. The anomaly was approximately 150-200m off shore from the northern most boat house.
  4. The overall anomaly is at least 15m in length.
  5. The darker area observed is at least 4m

This is all very interesting and it’s good to see that such thorough investigation of the photos has been carried out, however without the originals, and without the full report from Mark Carr it is impossible to verify any of this information, which members of BARsoc are very keen to do.

The sharing of this research has also not swayed me away from my original conclusion that what has been reported on numerous occasions by eyewitnesses is most likely to be misidentification of fish, animals or other objects around the lake area.

The anomaly captured by Adams, for example, could easily be a bird coming in to land on the water and creating a wake behind it – thus causing such a large anomaly. Or perhaps even a log or stone emerging from beneath the water, causing the same effect – an effect that Ian Winfield told me on the phone could be the cause of many odd sightings in the lake.

I accept that there is a large oddity in a photograph taken by Linden Adams, and I accept that this has been verified as true and not tampered with. However, this does nothing to prove that the “Bownessie” sightings are some sort of strange creature living in the lake, which is unlikely for reasons pointed out in my initial article examining the case.

To suggest that this photo is proof of a lake monster in the lake is a leap of logic. It would be as easy to suggest that the oddity in the photograph taken by Linden Adams is an alien, but unless I have the proof to back up that statement I would be making wild speculations based on no evidence. The burden of proof, as always, lays with those making such claims, and no evidence has been provided.

I am, by all means, willing to accept that there could be some sort of creature in the lake, but all research I have done into this, suggests a much more mundane conclusion for what is being seen by people. If someone, such as Dean Maynard or Linden Adams can provide evidence that suggests otherwise – without making logical fallacies in the process of doing so, then I’m all ears.

A monster, an odd photo does not make…

With thanks to Mark Carr and Ian Winfield for their help. 


15 Responses to "Revisiting Bownessie"

As open minded as you claim to be, how have you come to this conclusion with a cardboard constructed investigation?

Personally, i find remote evaluations – the likes of which you, Hayley, are conducting on this particular case – just as unreliable, and frankly just as embarrassing as eye witness testimonies. Reviewing a case such as this from a home computer with the help of emails from “experts” that were also obviously remote, and not present at the incident and location is quite clearly flawed in a magnitude of ways. You cannot construct an investigation based on conjecture and flimsy opinions. Have you conducted an on-site investigation? Have you consulted local marine organizations to conclude that there are species of marine wildlife that can cause this type of oddity? Have you been in touch with ornithological societies or experts that were able to tell you what species or birds live in that vicinity? How about environmental concerns, have you investigated that avenue? Weather phenomena? Just as you suggested:

“It would be as easy to suggest that the oddity in the photograph taken by Linden Adams is an alien, but unless I have the proof to back up that statement I would be making wild speculations based on no evidence.”

In this instance you are making suggestive claims that what they witnessed was a bird landing, a log or a stone rising to the surface, but for many people reading this you’ve not actually presented enough evidence through research yourself to come to such a result. Consulting a man via the phone is hardly an investigation.

As you have failed to mention any of these I would suggest that you haven’t investigated every avenue completely. With respect, all of these subjects need to be investigated right through to the letter if you are to come to a result valuable enough to be listened too. At the risk of being patronising (which is something I don’t wish to be) It takes a great deal more time and effort, and a hell of a lot more research than you have conducted than to simply put it down to fish, birds, a boat wake, or a floating tire.

I agree that to conclude that what they had witnessed is a lake monster is a serious leap of logic, of course it is, but with respect so are many of your suggestions. Perusing a number of online photographs, and obtaining opinions and suggestions via the internet falls incredibly short of proper investigation. As a result, without proper investigation, the conclusion(s) that you have come to border on similar boundaries as the eyewitnesses themselves. In short: you are confirming your own bias without a proper investigation conducted, and without a proper investigation your examination of this incident is just as valueless as those trying to prove that it was a monster swimming in the lake .

John, had you read my initial article you would know that I have indeed contacted local marine organisations and that I have colleagues who are indeed conducting on site research.
I have also stated that I believe it to be something such as a fish, animal or item being misidentified – I cannot speculate which as I have no means of doing so.

I also have not stated that this is my final conclusion, I intend to continue looking into this case, so please don’t accuse me of conducting flimsy research.

Hayley, firstly i would suggest that you should in future keep your ‘beliefs’closed. It’s quite unfair for you to half-heartedly suggest what the phenomena might be before the investigation comes to a satisfactory result. Also, if your colleges are conducting on-site research (which I assume is on going?), and as a result have yet to come across any evidence why are you already suggesting reasons for the phenomenon? This suggests you are reasonably closed minded as opposed to open minded, surely because you are already finding non-paranormal, explainable results for an incidence as of yet inconclusive?

I’m quite surprised that you aren’t yourself conducting on-site research and yet making accusations of what this apparent oddity might be. It’s of my opinion that it’s unfair for you to be already coming to results not backed up by relevant evidence; you an I both know that without reliable proof – ether way – it could be just as much a lake monster as it could be a bird landing (if you are going to be open-minded of course). Occums Razor is useful, but not always a concrete method to begin with.

Always be open to debate, and don’t suggest baseless suggestions without a conclusive investigation.

No, I wont keep my “beliefs closed”. May I politely suggest that if you don’t like reading my opinions and what I have to say, you avoid visiting my blog?
I AM open to debate, it’s how skepticism works and it’s why I’ve taken on board everything people like Linden Adams have said and suggested.

How can you be open to debate and yet politely suggest for me to avoid your blog? That statement seems just as unbalanced as your entire investigation into this case. If you were open to debate you would be freely debating with me; yet you are taking my own opinions about your investigation rather bizarrely as offensive. I’m not trying to be rude at all; I’m simply suggesting that relying on conjecture to prematurely come to early accusations is simply not investigation. An investigation has only a few stages:

– Planning
– Establishing facts
– Evaluating
– Reporting

At no stage in a valuable investigation should you be using conjecture, it simply doesn’t have a place in an examination. To write these blog articles and in doing so issuing conjectural opinions greatly undermines the opinions of the eyewitnesses, the opinions of your colleges and undermines the investigation as a whole. I reiterate: it’s unfair for you to be conveying your opinions so openly and so seemingly opposed to the eyewitnesses without proof of your own. Even though there is more likely to be an explainable reason for the phenomenon than it to be a lake monster, you argument is just as flawed as there.

In future, if you are truly open to debate please debate and don’t take constructive criticism as something person and offensive.

John Snow, this article was clearly an update on a previous blog post. I found it to be thought-provoking and informative and followed up all the links that were so diligently provided so that I could think about it for myself a bit. Just like I do with all good articles.

You are criticising this post as if it was intended as a conclusive statement at the end of an investigation. Hayley at no point claims this – her only conclusion is followed by the words “most likely” and I for one completely concur with her thoughts.

How can you seriously put a sentence like this in the internet?:

“Hayley, firstly i would suggest that you should in future keep your ‘beliefs’closed. It’s quite unfair for you to half-heartedly suggest what the phenomena might be before the investigation comes to a satisfactory result.”

As if the investigators themselves are the only ones who are allowed to express their beliefs.

Your line of criticism adds nothing to my experience of this blog post except to make me aware that there are too many people around who like the sound of their own opinions so much that they make up their own reasons for spouting them. Read the article again and this time take note of all the points where Hayley says things like “Most likely” and “I am open to any evidence” then come back and apologise for being such a boring, patronising, whining clown.

(Hayley, please accept this 3rd post as the proper one. My word processor is rubbish. Thank you.)

This coming from a person adding their own ’clownish’ ‘opinion’ to the mix of all the other ‘opinions’ on this blog post? I find it incredibly humorous and also alarming that people like yourself have no other option other than to find non-existent offence in other peoples comments and ‘opinions’ and therefore feel the need to resort to name calling and belligerence whenever their methods are questioned. If Hayley is indeed genuine in her comments about being open to debate (which I find no reason for her to not be) then these sort of comments should be welcome with open arms, and openly debated without tactless idiots like you throwing around weightless and pointless names as if it will defend Hayley sufficiently. Unfortunately all you’ve done is gone a long way to make her look ridiculous, and yourself incredibly childish. It is people like you that make skeptics like us look like pretentious morons who can’t act without stupidity.

Whatever the reason for your utter nonsense let me say this: at no point did I say Hayley and her investigative team had come to a total conclusion. In fact all I was suggesting is that coming to premature opinions and idly placing them willy-nilly online without proof is just as bad as the testimonies of the eyewitnesses.

And by the way, you call me patronising, whiney and boring and yet splashed across your twitter feeds viewable via the RI web page is nothing BUT Hayley whining and moaning and so I find your comments utterly hypocritical.

Incidentally, all pointless personal comments aside, I believe Hayley is right in her opinion of what the phenomena is I just don’t think she has any basis yet in suggesting what it could be even as an opinion. I think the opinions of the eyewitnesses should yet be considered and respected and not simply discarded idly. If we as skeptics can’t make correct, fair comments to one another how on earth do we expect those listening to us from another point of view to be fair with us also?

PS: Thank you for posting the correct post, Hayley.

OK well I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings. You just seem to attach a great deal more weight your your own opinions than to anyone else’s.

I am perplexed that you actually say that Hayley has no basis even to express an opinion on what the phenomenon might be! People can utter whatever opinion they like, of course! It only becomes non-skeptical when people assert their opinion as a fact, and Hayley does not do this.

I think your criticism is misplaced – fair comment?

In fairness to Hayley, I also think she is correct.

She is correctly assigning the burden of proof. Even though she may, in some sense be detached from the phenomena being discussed and may be reliant on correspondance from academic experts, she does not have to ‘prove’ what the phenomena is in order to question the assertation that it is a previously unknown species of animal or cryptid. Analogous to this, a light in the sky may be an unidentified flying object, but it is just that. Unidentified. To claim it is a spacecraft built by an extraterrestrial civilization that has travelled safetly from a distant part of the universe to our planet is another thing entirely, and requires a vast deal more proof. I’ve experienced people who have invested a huge amount of time and energy in the ideal that UFOs are alien spacecraft, and who react badly to any questioning of this ideal, accusing me of being ‘narrow-minded’ and ‘cynical’. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have a strong amateur interest in astronomy, and believe me, I would be incredibly excited to see a real piece of extraterrestrial technology, if such exists. But I would need substantial proof. It is bad reasoning to ask ME to ‘PROVE’ (?) that the fuzzy blob in some photograph ISN’T a spacecraft. It just goes down a path that leads nowhere.

Likewise, Hayley doesn’t need to ‘prove’ anything, irritating or vexing as that may be to someone who is very interested and excited by the possibility that maybe there is some animal previously unknown to science in that lake. And maybe there is some new species. Perhaps the jury is out on that. But it makes perfect sense for Hayley to examine a photograph and question an interpretation that has been given to her if there does not seem to be enough evidence to back it up. She does not have to travel to the lake and carry out an experiment to prove anything or find evidence that the object is NOT a cryptid. That leads to several logical fallacies. She is the skeptical questioner, and the person making a substantive claim, i.e. that a dark patch on a photograph is a dramatic zoological discovery, must be the one to give her proof.

Thank you, Cian for a great response; a response worth the trouble. However, I still believe that to both imply and to infer both parties must have reasonable proof equally. For example: Loch Ness has many researchers dedicated to solving the mystery of the lake. Eyewitnesses believe what they see is a monster in the lake; probably through misidentification, paradolia etc. As skeptical researchers we can surmise as to the logical reasons behind the phenomena, but without our own proof; our own evidence we cannot simply disregard the simple fact that we are doing the same as the eyewitness, and that’s jumping to a forgone conclusion.

If we jump to a sceptical, rational conclusion all that we are doing is jumping onto a pedestal and asking the eyewitness for evidence, but I believe that in order to make a case ‘against’ the testimonies the investigator needs just as much proof as the eyewitness. Look at a court of law of example; you cannot simply guess that the suspect is a criminal and is guilty without proper evidence, nor can you imply he’s innocent without the same process. This HAS to be implemented into an investigation otherwise the investigation is simply conjecture, and sometimes even contrived.

I have provided research in my initial article that supports the notion that a large monster or unidentified creature is not in the lake, John. You are shifting the goal posts!

Hi Hayley

Could you please give me a call, so that I can add weight to your research ASAP.


My skype name is hayleymarie87 feel free to add me

[…] can read my initial article about my research here and a follow up article here. Research is still ongoing and I really hope that at some stage in the […]

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Hayley is a ghost

Hayley Stevens is an advocate for science-based research into seemingly paranormal experiences and occurrences. With a background in the pseudo-scientific research into ghosts, Hayley offers a unique insight into the strange world of ghost hunting through her experience.

She describes herself as 'a ghost hunter who doesn't hunt for ghosts' and this is her personal blog where she writes about ghosts, people, and other interesting things. Read more here.

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