Today In History: First Modern Loch Ness Monster Sighting
Today in 1933, the first modern sighting of the Loch Ness Monster occurred, launching a public craze over the monster that has lasted well into the 21st century. It was not the first recorded sighting of a strange creature in the lake – local myths extend about 1,500 years prior to the 1933 sighting. But it was a story carried in the Inverness Courier that brought the myth to the attention of the world.
The Courier reported that a couple who lived near Loch Ness saw “an enormous animal rolling and plunging on the surface.” The creature was given the “monster” moniker by the Courier‘s editor. Newspapers from across the United Kingdom dogpiled on the story. The pubic was frenzied in its curiosity about the alleged creature, and the craze was stoked by a circus offering 20,000 pounds for the beast’s capture.
The Daily Mail hired a big game hunter named Marmaduke Wetherell to catch the Loch Ness Monster. He came up emptyhanded, except for a likely fabricated claim that he’d found enormous footprints along the lake’s shoreline. “MONSTER OF LOCH NESS IS NOT A LEGEND BUT A FACT,” declared a triumphal Mail headline.
There has never been evidence collected that validates the Monster’s existence. There are a few spurious photographs and video snippets, though the most famous of them , the “surgeon’s photograph,” was proved a hoax.
The Monster has been the subject of countless expeditions to find it, as well as dozens of films and television programs. The debate rages on today. Loch Ness is also still a very popular tourist destination, thanks to the persistent popularity of the Monster.