The State Journal-Register March 16, 1994 via The Associated Press Researchers say famed '
The State Journal-Register
March 16, 1994
via The Associated Press
Researchers say famed 'Nessie' photo a hoax
LONDON -- The purported Loch Ness monster pictured in a
famous 1934 photo was just a toy submarine fitted with a
fake sea-serpent head, two Loch Ness researchers say.
Researchers Alastair Boyd and David Martin claim one of
the conspirators in the hoax told them about it just before
he died in November at the age of 90, The Sunday Telegraph
The photograph, depicting a sea beast with a hump back
and long neck, was attributed to Robert Wilson, an eminent
London gynecologist. He said he took it April 19, 1934,
after his companion saw a commotion in the water and
shouted: "My God, it's the monster!"
The London weekly newspaper said Boyd and Martin
learned that Wilson was part of a hoax hatched by his friend
Marmaduke Wetherell, a filmmaker and self-styled big game
hunter hired by the Daily Mail in 1933 to hunt Nessie.
Wetherell's son Ian and stepson Christian Spurling were also
in on it.
Boyd and Martin said Spurling, a skilled model maker
and the last surviving conspirator, told them he build the
model for the 1934 photograph at Wetherell's request, the
Spurling created a "monster" 1 foot high and 18 inches
long, it said. The keel of a toy submarine was fitted with
lead to make the model ride steady in the water. The fake
Nessie was taken to Loch Ness in Scotland to be photographed
in authentic surroundings.
The Daily Mail ran the photo as a world exclusive,
arousing huge public interest.
Some researchers used the picture to back claims that
Nessie is descended from plesiosaurs, large reptiles with
small heads and long necks that died out 65 million years
The hoax has not dealt a fatal blow to those who seek
the truth behind the Loch Ness legend -- or those who profit
from the world's curiosity.
"It's a breakthrough" in the scientific research, said
David Cotton, chief general manager of the Loch Ness Center
at Drumnadrochit, which welcomes tourists to an exhibition
on research and theories about the "monster."
"This head has always been a wild card to us...It was
the only sighting of its sort and always caused us enormous
problems," he said Tuesday. "Our resident biologists have
never been happy about this."
It did not fit in with the majority of reliable
sightings, Cotton said. And because the photo was taken so
long ago on a film plate rather than a modern roll of film,
it could not be subjected to ultraviolet tests or computer
enhancement, he added.
Well, at least this one gives a bit more info than the Reuters article,
and makes it clear that Loch Ness researchers, not a newspaper reporter,
were given the confession.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank