Saturday 31 October 2015

Was Nessie invented by a publicist?

As part of the promotion for the upcoming book, A Monstrous Commotion, the Daily Mail runs an article on the author, Gareth Williams, and an interesting piece from his book. It concerns a Digby George Gerahty, who claimed to Henry Bauer before his death in 1981, that he was the inventor of the Loch Ness Monster via a series of planted monster stories back in 1933. You can read more in the Mail article.

The story is not unfamiliar to me, I just discounted it as one of the various competing theories promulgated as to what triggered the Loch Ness Monster story. The competing one is the influence of King Kong. The other is road works and blasting rousing the monster. One that also springs to mind is the Italian journalist, Francesco Gasparini, who in 1959 made similar claims:

Italian newsman Francesco Gasparini claimed in an article published in the Milan weekly magazine Visto that he had invented the Loch Ness Monster. His story was that in August 1933, while working in London as a UK correspondent for an Italian newspaper, he saw a two-line item in the Glasgow Herald about a "strange fish" caught in Loch Ness. Having nothing else to write about, he expanded on this, turning the fish into a monster, and soon "other papers began to print eyewitness accounts of the monster being sighted." Gasparini's claim was not taken very seriously. "The man is talking rot," one Scot was quoted as saying.

And then there is poor Alex Campbell, long time water bailiff of Loch Ness, who people such as arch sceptic, Ronald Binns, pins the blame on for inventing, embellishing and sustaining Nessie stories to catalyse the Kelpie legends into life.

Who's to blame? All, none or some? As Gareth says, he is not the one to judge, it is down to each of us to form our own opinion. I look forward with greater interest to the release of his book on November the 12th.

POSTSCRIPT: follow up article here

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