Posted by: Loren Coleman on December 25th, 2007
A few years ago, the cry across the land was to have the head of a Sea-Serpent brought to Science.
I place the same kind of call out there regarding the alleged track cast of the footprint of the Loch Ness Monster collected in December 1933, some 74 years ago.
Of course, we all take it to heart that the footprints found on the shores of Loch Ness were fakes made by Marmaduke Wetherell. But within cryptozoology, we must be skeptical in all directions. How many times have I heard about a “hoax” claim, especially with tracks, which has as many holes in it as the story it is suppose to be explaining?
Marmaduke Wetherell’s expedition found evidence of the Loch Ness Monster on land.
The Daily Mail headline was “Loch Ness Monster Is A Fact, Not A Legend,” in the newspaper of December 21, 1933.
A succession of smaller headlines told the story: “Hunter’s Deduction from New Find. Tracks Only A Few Hours Old. Tests To Be Made.”
The cause of all the excitement was two footprints in soft mud on the south shore of the loch near Fort Augustus. Marmaduke Wetherell had found them less than 48 hours after landing on the beach by motor boat. The “spoor” he declared was “less than a few hours old.”
The animal was an amphibian: “A four fingered beast . . . and it has feet or pads about eight inches across . . . a very powerful soft-footed animal about 20 ft long.”
Plaster casts were taken of the footprints and sent to the Natural History Museum. All through Christmas and New Year in 1934, the world waited for the museum’s verdict.
On January 4, 1934, it came. The footprints were identical, both seemingly from the same foot, and apparently from a young hippo. It was most likely that the foot was, in fact, in use somewhere as an umbrella stand or an ashtray.
The offending source of the alleged footprint hoax was imagined to look something like the above antique elephant stand.
A baby hippo foot (above) made into an ashtray, measuring 9 & 1/2″ high by 9″ wide at the base, by 6″ wide at the top. It was recently offered on eBay for over $500 US.
But where is the 1933 cast today? Wetherell reported finding the fresh footprints of a large, four-toed animal. What if he really found something, and the brush-off was brought on by the usual establishment stance of overturning anything unusual?
Wetherell estimated the unknown animal had to be 20 feet long (apparently from the stride?). With great fanfare, we are told, Wetherell made plaster casts of the footprints and, just before Christmas, sent them off to the Natural History Museum in London for analysis.
History records that the museum zoologists announced that the footprints were those of a hippopotamus. We have all heard the story so many times. But have you seen the actual close-up photos of the tracks or the authentic cast? Where are the photos and casts today?
It is time to call for these items from Christmastime 1933 to re-surface.
Bring forth the track cast of Nessie, my dear British Natural History Museum officials. Let us all re-examine the evidence for this hoax, and I, for one, would like to obtain copies of the 1933 cast.
I am not a fool. I expect to see evidence of a hippo ashtray. But I’d like to see it with my own eyes instead of reading about what others said it was, yet again.
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.