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Creatures, Myths & Legends

Was the Loch Ness Monster a PR stunt ?

By T.K. Randall
November 1, 2015 · Comment icon 33 comments

A model of the monster that sits outside the Loch Ness Exhibition Center. Image Credit: Immanuel Giel
A new book claims that the legendary lake monster was an invention designed to boost Scottish tourism.
One of the world's best known lake monster legends, the Loch Ness Monster attracts thousands of visitors every year who flock to the region in the hope of catching a glimpse of the elusive creature.

Now however science historian Professor Gareth Williams has put forward the idea that the modern Loch Ness Monster phenomenon may have begun as little more than a PR stunt orchestrated by local hotels to increase tourism following the Great Depression.

In his book In A Monstrous Commotion: The Mysteries Of Loch Ness, Professor Williams maintains that the evidence for this lies in the semi-autobiographical novel Marise which describes the series of events leading up to the Loch Ness Monster's invention at a pub in Trafalgar Square.
"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," the book's narrator wrote.

Williams maintains that this would explain why there were few sightings of the monster prior to the 1930s and has even suggested that it was inspired by Canada's own lake monster Ogopogo.

"My premise is that whatever I think is immaterial," he wrote.

"Whatever conclusion the reader reaches has got to be based on them filtering through the information and working things out for themselves."

Source: Yahoo! News | Comments (33)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #24 Posted by Horta 8 years ago
I like nessie. Obviously doesn't exist but, still a good story. Though I like mythical creatures in general (in a "what was that!?" while sitting around the campfire sort of way).
Comment icon #25 Posted by Urisk 8 years ago
My mind tends towards the same train of thought that Podo's going by. Scotland's rife with tales of kelpies and each uisges and, let's face it; a whole host of water monsters. Loch Ness just seemed to be the one that got lucky; tourism-wise.
Comment icon #26 Posted by CJ1983 8 years ago
If it was, it worked out great.
Comment icon #27 Posted by docyabut2 8 years ago
Was Nessie just the invention of a boozy London pub lunch by hoteliers keen to drum up custom for Scottish hotels? yes by two silly guys
Comment icon #28 Posted by ChaosRose 8 years ago
Well, we know the most famous photos were all hoaxes, so yeah. But people love a sea monster. And we're really great at seeing things we believe in. Who's to say I wouldn't see her if I visited the Loch?
Comment icon #29 Posted by Codenwarra 8 years ago
I would not be surprised if this was so, but the suggestion might have been based on occasional reports going back into the early Christian era that the blokes in the pub might have been aware of. That said, my great grandfather Alexander McMillan (1858 - 1920) on my mother's mother's side came from Drumnadrochit, which overlooks the Loch and is now a tourist centre. There was no hint of the monster story from my grandmother to whom I was close.
Comment icon #30 Posted by tyrant lizard 8 years ago
It is a bit like a self fulfilling prophecy. If someone sees a splash down their local pond they wouldn't think twice about it. Someone sees a splash in Loch Ness maybe they do that weird memory trick where they remember it different than it was or embelish a little bit or whatever. That Loch has a history! it could have been a fish, but it could have been Nessie. Take that recent footage in the Thames. By looking at it over and over you can make a realistic judgement on what it was. Without a camera and with just that one split second glimpse, who knows what would go through your head standin... [More]
Comment icon #31 Posted by PersonFromPorlock 8 years ago
Regarding the '1500 years of sightings' business: the past only exists as part of the present, so it's as vulnerable to being fiddled with as anything else.
Comment icon #32 Posted by Farmer77 8 years ago
The waterhorse stories in the region go back centuries so it wouldnt be much of a reach to imagine someone capitalizing on that I suppose.
Comment icon #33 Posted by Podo 8 years ago
Well, once a legend starts, it can become rather wild. It could have been invented by someone thousands of years ago, with modern PR spins and hoaxers running the show in the interim. Hoaxing and crying for attention are not new human traits. I think there are likely many people who truly believe that they have seen the Loch Ness Monster, but that doesn't mean that they did.

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