A hoax photograph of the Loch Ness Monster/Creative Comms
It has been the stuff of Scottish legend, spawning hoax photographs, unconfirmed sightings and worldwide fame.
But a new book claims the Loch Ness Monster was a PR stunt concocted to bring more tourism to the north east Scottish highlands.
In A Monstrous Commotion: The Mysteries Of Loch Ness, science historian Professor Gareth Williams suggests the monster was invented by DG Gerahty, who was recruited by several Scottish hotels to improve the area’s tourism following the Great Depression.
The book, out next month, says the evidence lies in a semi-autobiographical novel entitled Marise in which the narrator describes events leading up to the monster’s invention at a pub near Trafalgar Square.
Loch Ness in Scotland, where the monster is said to lurk/Sam Fentress via Creative Comms
“Over several pints of beer we became midwives of the reborn Loch Ness monster,” the narrator writes. “All we had to do was arrange for the monster to be sighted. This we did, and the story snowballed.
“Thousands went north to see it… It was, of course, pure hokum. It was invented for a fee of £150 by an ingenious publicly man employed by hotel keepers.”
It is even suggested Gerahty was inspired by a Canadian fictional lake monster called Ogopogo.
While sightings of the monster number more than a thousand today, Professor Williams suggests that the lack of views of ‘Nessie’ before 1930 lends weight to his argument that it was invented in the early years of that decade.
However, he is keen for readers to make up their own minds, writing: “My premise is that whatever I think is immaterial, and whatever conclusion the reader reaches has got to be based on them filtering through the information and working things out for themselves.”