Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 29th, 2009
An apparently hastily written article making the rounds has the following for it’s apex choice of the “Top 10 hoaxes of all time.”
The Surgeon’s Photo of the Loch Ness Monster
Ancient Scottish legends spoke of a giant sea monster that lived in the waters of Loch Ness. In 1934, Colonel Robert Wilson, a highly respectable British surgeon, said that he noticed something moving in the water and took a picture of it. The resulting image showed the slender neck of a serpent rising out of the Loch. The photo came to be known simply as “The Surgeon’s Photo” and for decades it was considered to be the best evidence of the monster.
It wasn’t until 1994, when Christian Spurling, before his death at the age of 90, confessed his involvement in a plot, that included Wetherell and Colonel Wilson, to create the famous photo. Apparently Wetherell’s motive was revenge, since he was humiliated years earlier when the supposed monster’s footprints he found were nothing but dried hippo’s footsteps.
“Sea monster”? But it is in a freshwater lake.
“Slender neck of a serpent”? Dr. Maurice Burton long ago compared it to the neck of a bird or the tail of an otter, more than any serpentine creature. Personally, the Cryptomundo vote has to be otter, right mates? Come on “top ten” writers.
“Before his death…, [Spurling] confessed his involvement in a plot”? The truth of the matter is that everything we all do is “before our death.”
The reality is that Christian Spurling’s media-applauded “deathbed confession” is a hoax itself. The guy was telling his fable about “the photo” (even though there are two images – #2 shown above) two years before he died.
Besides, the hidden fact that London gynecologist Robert Kenneth Wilson was at Loch Ness with his mistress has as much to do with the “secretive” nature of these photos as does any spiteful fantasies that Christian Spurling dreamed up about them.
That this is first on the top 10 list of hoaxes speaks more to the uncritical nature of the hack modern mass media than it does about any truthful examination of the proof of a hoax concerning the so-called “Surgeon’s Photo,” really, (which should always be noted as the “Surgeon’s Photos,” btw).
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.