Fakes & Hoaxes

With a story as persistent as that of The Loch Ness Monster there are those who will try to cash in for financial gain, celebrity or even revenge. Sometimes all of these reasons together.

Here are a few stories of admitted fakes and forgeries associated with the monster.



There have been several films, TV shows and commercials featuring the Loch Ness Monster made over the years. For one of these commercials, in the 1990s, saw a Nessie model towed by submarine past a local pub. The extras and invited locals knew this was a fake. But then a couple of buses of unsuspecting tourists turned up and began snapping photos!

Some of these props have even found their way to the bottom of the loch. One prop found itself used later to stage a completely different hoax.


A prop Nessie hump from a documentary was recycled to fake a Monster sighting photograph by local tour boat skipper George Edwards. He called the 2013 stunt, “a bit of fun.”


In the 1930s Monster fever was at its peak. In 1933, The Daily Mail hired a big game hunter with the fabulous name of Marmaduke Weatherall to find evidence the Loch Ness Monster existed. He promptly delivered and revealed “monster footprints” in December of 1933. But when scientists from the Museum of Natural History examined the prints, they declared they were those of a hippo. Weatherall had used a hippo foot umbrella stand (popular in those days) to make the tracks.


When people think of the Loch Ness Monster there is one photo that is iconic. That grainy image is known as “The Surgeon’s Photo” because it was supposedly snapped by surgeon Robert Wilson in 1934. For the next 60 years it was the classic monster photo used everywhere. However, in 1994 a man by the name of Christian Spurling made a deathbed confession. He had made the model used to fake the photo. Things got even more interesting. Spurling’s stepfather was the disgraced Marmaduke Weatherall who had concocted the whole plan to exact revenge for his earlier umbrella stand hoax. Robert Wilson was the front man because the fraudsters believed a surgeon would be taken seriously. It almost worked!

The Surgeon's Photograph, 1934

The Surgeon's Photograph, 1934