The 21st April is an important date in the history of Nessie ‘the Loch Ness Monster’. It was the date that the Daily Mail published a photograph claiming to prove the existence of the monster.
Although a legend of a monster dates back to as early as the Dark ages, the real story does not begin until the years between the first and second world wars. In 1933, a big game hunter, Marmaduke Wetherell, had claimed to find footprints on the shore, although a later examination by an expert from the Natural History Museum said that they were probably created by the Hippopotamus foot (possible part of an umbrella stand or an ashtray). It appears Wetherell had been conned and the Daily Mail, which had headlined the story, was embarrassed and sought pubically to ridicule Wetherell. He quietly planned his revenge. He had a model made from plastic wood over the conning tower of a toy submarine he’d purchased. The neck, estimated by some from the photograph to be over three feet high, actually measured between 8 and 12 inches! Wetherell and his son, Ian, took it to Loch Ness and photographed it. Then so as not to arouse the suspicion of the Daily Mail, the photos were offered to them by an intermediary. The story caused a sensation, although some questioned it at the time.
It was not until 60 years later that Ian Wetherell admitted that it was a fake and how it had been done. Even so, some still believe that it is a true picture and that for some reason he was persuaded to confess to a hoax that never happened.