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Posted on Wednesday, February 13 - 2008

" Copyright © The Boston GlobeIn 1972, Robert Rines was at a tea party at a home overlooking Loch Ness in Scotland when his host, Scottish air force officer Basil Cary, saw something moving in the water below. Everyone rushed to the porch and, for a few fleeting minutes, watched what appe..."

Nessie: Loch Ness monster

Copyright © The Boston Globe

In 1972, Robert Rines was at a tea party at a home overlooking Loch Ness in Scotland when his host, Scottish air force officer Basil Cary, saw something moving in the water below. Everyone rushed to the porch and, for a few fleeting minutes, watched what appeared to be a large hump with the texture of an elephant move back and forth across the water.When the hump submerged, Rines's wife told him that he needed to find the animal again, no matter how long it took. This summer, like nearly every summer since then, Rines is going back to look for the fabled Loch Ness monster. He's 85 now. The rest of the tea party is gone. And he thinks "Nessie" is gone,too.Rines believes there were at least two Nessies alive in the murky depths of Loch Ness in the '70s, when he took a series of underwater photographs that are perhaps the best physical evidence yet to support the existence of a large unidentified animal.

But Rines's sonar hasn't picked up any of the large moving objects since the mid-1980s, and eyewitness accounts have dropped off significantly. So now, he's chasing skeletons, or at least spots on a sonar map that he hopes will turn out to be a great beast's remains. As he unfurls a sonar map of the loch and lays it out on a conference table in the "Nessie Room" of his apartment in the Harbor Towers, Rines points to 100 suspicious spots. He checked out five last year, before he had a stroke. His recovery is going well and he's ready to go back and look at the rest. But he says it's his lastchance. He's out of ideas. "And I'm running out of age, too," he says. Rines is probably the most accomplished person to try to prove to the scientific community that Nessie is - or was - real. Several rooms in his apartment are stuffed with videotapes, binders, photos, and honors from his various careers as a patent attorney, physicist, inventor, MIT professor, Broadway composer, law-school founder, and World War II veteran. Rines points out that his Nessie expeditions haven't just been about searching "for a needle in a mountain of hay stacks"; the dark waters and extreme depths of Loch Ness have provided a great testing ground for many new technologies. "When you get a bunch of people together who are searching for an elusive goal, the minds come together and you end up discovering a whole bunch of other things," said Alex Slocum, a mechanicaleng......


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