Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

Loch Ness Monster

with 2 comments




References to a creature in Loch Ness date back to St Columba’s biography in 565 AD, but the modern legends of ‘Nessie’ appeared in the press only during the 1930s with three photographs. The first photo, taken by Hugh Gray (a passer-by walking back from church) on November 12, 1933 was less famous than the surgeon’s photographs released a year later. Although only one of the pictures he took that day showed a blurred shape, it was enough for the believers. Skeptics, however, dismissed this above (above first) as a distorted image of a dog (perhaps Mr. Gray’s own) carrying a stick in its mouth as it swims through water. 

In the next year came the “Surgeon’s photographs”, the photos that started a million-dollar industry and befuddled many scientists for generations. Like Gray’s picture, these pictures taken by Colonel Robert Kenneth Wilson–who was a respected London surgeon–clearly showed the slender neck of a “sea-serpent” rising out of the Loch. Two pictures (second, third above) were taken on April 19, 1934. Two days later, when Wilson returned to London (he was visiting his mistress secretly in Scotland), he sent the photos to the Daily Mail, which published the picture. Decades of frenzied speculation, costly underwater searches, and a million dollar tourism industry soon followed. Circus impresario Bertram Mills offered £20,000 to anyone who could capture the monster for his circus. One scientist tried to explain the phenomenon through floating and surfacing logs. 

In 1994, a 90-year old Christian Spurling confessed involvement in a plot, that included the flamboyant moviemaker Marmaduke Wetherell and Colonel Wilson. It so happened that Hugh Gray’s photo caused a newspaper to hire Wetherell to track down the monster. Wetherell was humiliated when the supposed monster’s footprints he found were nothing but dried hippo footsteps, and asked his stepson to fashion a hoax monster out of plastic and toy submarine. 





Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

May 8, 2009 at 9:30 pm

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. […] sightings of cryptozoological creatures, but only three of them have achieved iconic status: the Doctor’s photograph of Loch Ness monster, Patterson Bigfoot, and Eric Shipton’s talltale about Abominable […]

  2. […] Homer is more interested in catching this Nessie like catfish General Sherman than going to a Christian marriage counseling class. As seen in The War of the Simpsons (Season 2, Episode 20). Original […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: