Is it a Hoax?

Posted on 05/18/2010
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The Loch Ness Monster

The Loch Ness Monster really needs no introduction. It is one of the most famous cryptids in the world and there is controversial evidence of sightings dating back to the 7th century, but Nessie’s popularity didn’t really take off until the early 1930s after George Spicer and his wife saw “a most extraordinary form of animal” and an extraordinary photo was published.

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The Hoax

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The centerpiece of evidence for 60 years was the so-called surgeon’s photo of the Loch Ness Monster. The photo was a triumph to the believers in Nessie as all other photographic evidence, including evidence submitted today, is usually just humps or disturbances in the water that can be chalked up to natural occurrences, but the surgeon’s photo shows Nessie in all her glory. She’s proudly raising her head out of the water revealing her plesiosaur-like body structure. However, in 1994 a man by the name of Christian Spurling claimed that the photo was a hoax. He says that him and his father-in-law, Marmaduke Wetherall, created the famous image of Nessie using a toy submarine and plastic wood. Then in order to give the photograph more credibility they had a gynecologist (Robert Kenneth Wilson) submit the photo to the Daily Mail newspaper. The reason for this hoax was the group wanted to get revenge on the Daily Mail newspaper for trashing Wetherall, a former employee at the paper, in a previous issue. After knowing this story, a quick visual examination of the uncropped surgeon’s photo reveals that Nessie does appear to be more similar to a rubber ducky than a monster.

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Is it Really A Hoax?

There is other evidence of Nessie out there. There are eyewitness claims and other photos and videos of strange occurrences in the loch. Unfortunately, most of the photos and videos are simply not conclusive enough to definitively show that there is a dinosaur-like beast in the loch. There are also large-scale searches of Loch Ness conducted every few years; most notable is one that the BBC conducted in 2003. They did a massive search of the loch using 600 separate sonar beams and satellite tracking systems. Despite that the majority of the scientists involved had a confirmation biased toward Nessie existing, the search still came up with nothing. I do not want to ignore all the eyewitness accounts of Nessie and some of the videos and photos are very compelling, but it is simply not enough. Considering mass sightings did not start occurring until after the publication of the surgeon’s photo, the only logical conclusion is that the sightings are a result of hysteria over the photo and wishful thinking. So until something more conclusive comes our way the Loch Ness Monster is regulated to modern folklore.

Bigfoot

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If any cryptid could rival the popularity of the Loch Ness monster it is Bigfoot. Almost every culture has its version of this mythical great ape. Whether it is the Yeren in China, The Yeti of Bhutan, or the Bigfoot of North America people all over the world claim to see large, bipedal prime apes. What separates this from most other cryptid cases is that there is not a lack of evidence to support this thing’s existence. The problem is that the evidence is rarely considered reliable due to the large amount of hoaxes that out weigh potentially viable evidence.

The Hoax

The most famous of all Bigfoot evidence is the Patterson and Gimlin film. The footage was supposedly shot while Patterson and Gimlin were out in the woods of northern California filming a Bigfoot documentary when they suddenly ran into old Sasquatch taking a casual stroll through an opening in the forest. The film is surrounded with controversy and several people have come forward and said it was a hoax, including American Werewolf in London director John Landis who claims that John Chambers, an FX artists, had assisted with the film. Patterson and Gimlin themselves have always said if it was a hoax then they too were fooled, but there are so many others who claim to know that it was indeed a hoax that it is hard to not give this idea credibility.

Along with John Chambers, Phillip Morris was also supposedly attached to this hoax project. He claims that he made the costume that is in the film. Bob Heironimus also claims to be the star of the film. He says he was paid $1000 to wear the ape suite. Several of Heronimus’ family members also claim to have seen him in possession of the suite a few days before the filming took place. To counter these hoax allegations: it is important to note many experts in the field of film-making and biology have examined the footage and said that it appears to be authentic. Bigfoot also seems to leave tracks everywhere. The footprints are usually much larger than that of a normal man. Cryptozoologists often treasure these footprints as physical evidence of his existence, but many people have stepped forward and claimed that they had created the footprints as a prank. Most famous would be Ray Wallace. After Wallace passed away his son revealed that his father was in possession of a giant prosthetic foot on a stick that he presumably used to make fake Bigfoot tracks all throughout California.

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There are also much more recent hoaxes. As recently as 2008 two men posted a Youtube video of what they claimed to be the body of a deceased Bigfoot. The remains were investigated and analyzed and discovered to be nothing more than fake hair and rubber.

Is it Really A Hoax?

If there is anything that this legendary creature has on its side it is history. Native Americans had many legends pertaining to large ape-like creatures despite having no knowledge of apes, as there are none indigenous to North America (other than humans). Some form of this legend also exists in almost every culture across the whole world, but history cannot trump science. But Bigfoot may have some science on its side. On a recent episode of Destination Truth, on the SciFi channel, the investigating team found a hair sample while investigating sightings of a Yeti in the Himalayas. DNA analysis of this hair sample revealed that it came from an unknown prime ape. Also, in the jungles of Indonesia, large footprints have been discovered in areas where a prankster would have had to foolishly risk getting mauled by wild animals or getting lost in the jungle to fake the prints. I also find it important to note that just this year (2010) a new species of giant lizard was discovered in the Philippines. The lizards can grow up to 6ft. long and we have been missing them all this time. While I realize that I may be guilty of the logical fallacy of comparing apples to oranges, I do believe that the discovery of a large species like this drives home the point that the possibility of a new type of prime ape living undetected isn’t out of the realm of possibility. It seems, though, that Bigfoot’s home probably isn’t in North America (considering our huge population density), but the possibility of a new species of great ape living in the isolated jungles of Indonesia or hiding in the mountains of the Himalayas does not seem all that unbelievable to me. Is it a hoax? My answer is that it should definitely not be treated as one.

Author: JONATHAN KAULAY Copyrighted © paranormalhaze.com
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