Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 28th, 2009
For those that think the skeptical, humorous, and dismissive approach to the Loch Ness Monster is only a part of the landscape of the last few years, take a look at this recently published “flashback” news item from 50 years ago.
It is interesting, as per the modern examples of debunking, this one too is tied to the ego attention-seeking desired by the person doing the claiming.
IRISH TIMES ODDITIES: A look at some articles which have appeared in The Irish Times in the past, by Allen Foster
An Italian journalist claims in the Milan illustrated weekly that he invented the Loch Ness monster in 1933. Signor Francesco Gasparini said that he was the London correspondent of a Milan newspaper at the time and amassed hundreds of British newspaper clippings. They included two lines published in a Scottish newspaper about some Inverness fishermen who had seen a strange fish.
“At the beginning of August 1933 my supply of news was even slower than usual,” he wrote. “I had the inspiration to get hold of the item about the strange fish. The idea of the monster had never dawned on me, but then I noted that the strange fish would not yield a long article, and I decided to promote the imaginary being to the rank of monster without further ado.”
But the monster grew out of hand. The next day, Signor Gasparini said, he was forced to invent eye-witness accounts, backed up by local colour gleaned from a geography book. By the time he began plotting the monster’s death or escape, long reports were appearing in other papers.
“It had to live on. The British press grabbed my little monster and made a giant out of it.”
The legend grew.
“Photographs” of the monster and magnificent drawings, based on eye-witness accounts were published widely.
Affectionately called “Nessie”, it became a national institution.
Signor Gasparini declared: “The monster of Loch Ness has never existed. I invented it. I admit it – but I am not sorry.”
March 23rd, 1959
Unfortunately for Signor Gasparini’s fable, the reality is the Kelpies have been mentioned in tales for centuries around Loch Ness. Finally, an account in the lochside newspaper, the Northern Chronicle on August 27, 1930, was the first to make a modern mention of a “monster” in the Scottish lake.
Then, it was the breakthrough news item about the “Monster” in Loch Ness seen by Mr. and Mrs. John Mackay on April 14, 1933, which was the first to run in a series of articles in the Inverness Courier in May of 1933, that did the trick.
After doing extensively research on the matter, I detailed, in my and Patrick Huyghe’s field guide, the history of the first media accounts in “The Nessie Story” (pages 18-22).
I concluded the early overview by noting: “One month and 20 eyewitness sightings later, the story had become an international sensation. And a year later, the creature would be dubbed ‘Nessie.’”
So even by June 1933, the world was well aware of the “Loch Ness Monster,” long before Signor Gasparini supposedly wrote his few words about a “strange fish” in Loch Ness in August of 1933!