We all want to finally see Nessie, but these people may have gone too far… Travel Channel names the top six most scandalous hoaxes of all time created in the search of finding the elusive Loch Ness monster.
- Hippopotamus Hunting
In 1933, Marmaduke Wetherell, a big-game hunter, was hired by the Daily Mail to find the Loch Ness monster. Wetherell claimed he found large footprints on the shore that were 20 feet long and belonged to Nessie. After zoologists from the Natural History Museum inspected the finding, it was established the tracks were identical to an ashtray with a hippopotamus leg as its base. Many believe Wetherell created the tracks in desperation.
- The Surgeon Photograph
This notorious photograph of the Loch Ness monster was taken in 1934 by a doctor named Robert Wilson and published in the Daily Mail. For decades, the photo was viewed as an authentic form of evidence. In 1994, Christian Spurling, the stepson of Marmaduke Wetherell, admitted on his deathbed that he created a small model of the Loch Ness monster’s neck and placed it on a toy submarine at the request of his stepfather. Spurling revealed that Wilson was in on the hoax. He was chosen because his reputation as a doctor made him seem like a trustworthy source. The irony continues, as it was also revealed Wilson took the photo with his mistress present at the scene. However, there is new, compelling information, presented by world-famous cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, suggesting the claim the Surgeon’s Photo is a hoax was itself a complete con – and an act of revenge contrived by the family of a dishonored Nessie Hunter!
- The Tucker-Museum Conspiracy
Dr. Denys Tucker, the chief scientist of the British Museum of Natural History, was fired due to his passion for Nessie. He claimed he saw the Loch Ness monster in 1959, and devoted his research to proving its existence. Tucker was fired a year later for “offensive conduct toward staff,” but he believed it was a conspiracy to keep his Loch Ness research under wraps. A seven-year legal battle then ensued, and in 2015, new evidence resurfaced after his death proving that museum staff were not questioned as witnesses, even though Tucker was initially fired for his conduct toward fellow staff. Was Tucker part of a monstrous conspiracy?
- Nessie and Nazis
The Loch Ness monster was used as propaganda during World War II, with fake controversy over Nessie spewing from both the Allies and the Axis. German High Command ordered bombs dropped into Loch Ness, hoping the death of Nessie would hurt British morale. The Italian magazine Popolo D’Italia reported that the creature was killed in a direct hit in a German bomb raid in 1940. On the other hand, British authorities would tell British prisoners of war that the Loch Ness monster was in good health to keep their spirits up throughout the war.
- April Fools to the Extreme
In 1972, on April Fool’s Day, eight British scientists from the Flamingo Park Zoo were on a mission to find the Loch Ness monster in partnership with the Loch Ness Phenomena Bureau. Reports of a large hump in the water surfaced during their stay, and the news that Nessie was found spread around the world. The scientists were thrilled and took the monster to England to identify the creature, but Scottish authorities raided Flamingo Park Zoo and brought the creature to the Scottish zoologist Michael Rushton. Rushton identified the creature as a frozen bull elephant seal. The next day, John Shields, a member of the Flamingo Park team, admitted he took the already dead seal from another zoo, shaved its whiskers, padded its cheeks with stones, froze the animal for a week, dumped it into Loch Ness and phoned in a tip, all in an effort to prank his colleagues.
- Botched Bales of Hay
This famous photograph was taken in 1951, by Forestry Commission employee Lachlan Stuart. It was accepted as real evidence for over 20 years, until researchers from the Loch Ness Project visited the exact part of the shore where the photo was taken. Researchers realized the angle of the photograph skewed the perceptual depth of the water, and in reality, the humps were in extremely shallow water. The humps turned out to be three bales of hay, covered in black tarp, placed in the water by Stuart.
Finally, Not a Hoax: The 2019 Loch Ness eDNA Test
New scientific evidence is being uncovered, and we’re all dying to know if Nessie is real. Travel Channel’s “Loch Ness Monster: New Evidence,” premiering on September 15 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT, will reveal the results of the first-ever Loch Ness eDNA test. Who’s ready to learn the truth? Is there Nessie DNA in Loch Ness?