Skip to main content

Marmaduke Wetherell, The Loch Ness Monster, & Hoaxes

What does this guy have to do with
the Loch Ness Monster?

During the Nessie craze of 1933-1934, big game hunter Marmaduke Wetherell was hired by the Daily Mail to travel to the loch and look for the monster, and, if he could, catch it. Instead of actually looking for the monster, however, Wetherell did something else - he perpetrated hoaxes.


In December 1933, Wetherell claimed to have located something. Not the monster itself, but its tracks. The gigantic footprints were found on the shore of the loch and led into the water. The monster tracks, however, turned out to be nothing of the sort. When they were examined by the Natural History Museum, it turned out that they had been made with a dried hippo's foot! The foot itself had been used to make an ash tray. 
Wetherell (right) examining the "monster tracks"
 he found at Loch Ness

After the hoax was exposed, the Daily Mail made Wetherell look like a fool. He retreated from the public view - but his hoaxing at Loch Ness was not done.


The most famous photograph of the Loch Ness Monster is the "Surgeon's Photo" taken in 1934. But that photo does not show a monster at all. Thought to be the best evidence of the monster for nearly 60 years, it turned out to be a hoax.

Surgeon's Photograph

In April 1934, a highly respected British surgeon, Robert Wilson, came forward with a photograph he said he took of the Loch Ness Monster. He claimed he had taken the photo on April 19, when he spotted the monster while driving along the northern shore of the loch. After he came forward with the photo, he did not want his name associated with it, so it was called the "Surgeon's Photograph."

For years and years many people thought the Surgeon's Photo was the best evidence for the Loch Ness Monster. Skeptics said it was a hoax. This time, the skeptics turned out to be right.

In 1984, Stewart Campbell analyzed the photo and published an article in the British Journal of Photography. He concluded that the object in the photo could not be more than two or three feet in length. He thought it was probably a bird and the tail of a diving otter. He thought Wilson knew this when he took the picture. Campbell was right, but at the same time, he was wrong, too.

In 1994, Christian Spurling, just before his death at the age of 90, confessed that the Surgeon's Photo was a hoax. But wait, how did he know? The photo was taken by Robert Wilson, right? Nope. This is where Wetherell comes back onto the scene at Loch Ness.

Spurling was Wetherell's stepson, so when Wetherell decided to fake a photo of the monster after his humiliation because of the Loch Ness hippo tracks. Spurling remembered him saying "All right, we'll give them their monster."

Spurling made a small model of the monster's neck on a small toy submarine, took it to the loch, photographed it, and gave it to Robert Wilson to take to the press. In the original photo, you can see the shore on the opposite side of the loch and a tiny monster, but the one given to the press was cropped to make the monster seem bigger.
Un-cropped version of the Surgeon's Photo


So, the "Surgeon's Photo" is a hoax. Wetherell's "monster tracks" were hoaxes also. Despite that, you will see a lot about him if you read any old newspaper articles on the Loch Ness Monster. At the time, people really thought he found evidence of the monster on land. (People actually have reported seeing the monster on land. The sightings by George Spicer and his wife and Arthur Grant are two particularly well-known ones.) Nothing that Wetherell "found" at Loch Ness should be trusted. He is a hoaxer, and his hoaxes help the skeptics even more.

Despite these hoaxes, the legend of the Loch Ness Monster remains. There were many sightings during the time that he was at the loch, so his two hoaxes should not effect the credibility of them.

Wetherell was a hoaxer, but the LNM is real!


Popular posts from this blog

Mountain Monsters - Coming Back in 2018?

Destination America's Mountain Monsters was a huge hit when it premiered in 2013. It's had five seasons through last year.

Season 3 started a "Bigfoot Edition" and season 4 introduced a "rogue team." Last season focused entirely on this "rogue team" and ended with really no conclusion.

Over the past 2 Saturdays, some old season 2 episodes of Mountain Monsters have been playing in the evenings. Could this be a sign that the show might be back for another season this year, or does it have no meaning at all?

If the show does come back, where can they go? Last season made absolutely no sense at all and the whole thing was pretty stupid. If it does come back, I think they should go back to just monster hunting like they did in the first two seasons. Once they went to just "Bigfoot Edition" things went downhill quick.

Some Thoughts on Alaska Monsters: Bigfoot Edition

So far, two episodes of Alaska Monsters: Bigfoot Edition have aired. Here are some of my thoughts on the show.

First off, let's start with the team, the Midnight Sons. There are a few new members on the team this season. The old leader, Little Bear, is gone, and now Crusty (the guy with the bear claw in his beard) is leader of the team. Other members are: Dudley (new guy), the team "forensic expert," Todd, the "trap engineer," Bulldog (new guy), the "survival expert," Rhett, the "greenhorn" (rookie), and of course Face, the "veteran tracker."

Compared to the AIMS Team of Mountain Monsters, Crusty is Trapper, Todd is Willy, Rhett is Buck, Bulldog would probably be Huckleberry, Dudley would probably be Jeff, and Face would be Wild Bill.

I haven't seen the first episode, "Bigfoot of the Arctic Circle: Siberian Giant," but I did watch episode two, "Bigfoot of Denali: Wind Walker" last Saturday. I actually though…

Review - Invasion on Chestnut Ridge

Small Town Monsters' 5th film, Invasion on Chestnut Ridge, comes out soon. STM director Seth Breedlove let me check out an advance copy of the film to put up a review on here. Though I've been quite busy for about the last month and a half, I finally got a chance to check out the film, and these are my thoughts on it.

Invasion is about the strange happenings along the Chestnut Ridge in Pennsylvania. Local residents who have had strange encounters are interviewed, as well as researchers Stan Gordon and Eric Altman.  Along the ridge, witnesses have reported ghost lights, UFOs, Bigfoot, werewolves, thunderbirds, and many, many other odd things.

Many well known sightings happened in the early 1970s, when reports of UFOs and Bigfoot were very frequent. The strangest thing of all this was that sometimes the two would be seen at the same time, or shortly after on another. Some witnesses even saw a white colored Bigfoot that was holding a ball of light.

On another occasion, two Bigfo…