LOCH NESS MONSTER HOAX PHOTO
(Investigator #36, 1994 May)
The most convincing evidence of the Lock Ness monster, a photo taken in
1934, shows a long neck above the water and the back of the body barely
breaking the surface.
The U.K. Mail under the title "Mock Ness Monster" reported, "But now it is claimed, it was all a monstrous hoax..."
The reporter, John Woodcock, writes:
The creature in the
film is said to be nothing more than a 1ft high plastic model, painted
grey. It was powered not by a pair of huge flippers, but by a clockwork
toy submarine bought for a few shillings from Woolworth's.
The 1934 picture became known as the Surgeon's
Photograph, because it was attributed to Colonel Robert Wilson, a
Harley Street gynaecologist who claimed to have recorded 'something in
the water' on April 19 that year. Now it is alleged he was part of a
plot to perpetuate the myth of the monster which began as a joke but
spun rapidly out of control.
One of the pranksters, Christian Spurling — who died
last November aged 90 — allegedly confessed the whole thing to Loch
Ness researchers David Martin and Alastair Boyd.
Christian was the stepson of the man at the centre of
the hoax, Marmaduke Weatherell — who also recruited his son Ian, and
insurance broker Maurice Chambers.
Weatherell wanted revenge after being ridiculed over
footprints of the 'monster' he had found on the beach at Loch Ness the
previous year. They turned out to have been made by a dried hippo foot
— perhaps part of an umbrella stand.
Christian, an expert modelmaker, said that in January 1933 his stepfather asked him: 'Can you make me a monster?'
The creature was created in eight days and underwent
sea trials on a pond before being taken to Loch Ness to be
photographed. Four snaps were then given to Colonel Wilson, who already
had his story prepared.
The picture — first published in the Daily Mail
— caused a sensation. But the pranksters were so overwhelmed by the
deluge of publicity that they decided not to divulge the truth.
Today, all those involved are dead, but the legacy of
what they unwittingly created lives on. The Nessie legend attracts
thousands of visitors a year to the 23-mile long, 750ft deep loch plus
a steady stream of researchers...
(U.K. Mail, Monday 14 March to Sunday 20 March, p. 4)