An historian has lifted the lid on what he believes to be the true genesis of Nessie, the mythical beast said to inhabit the inscrutable waters of Loch Ness, after unearthing an obscure semi-autobiographical account from the 1950’s written by a man who claims to have earwigged on the entire scam.
Gareth Williams, science historian at the University of Bristol, makes the claim in his new book A Monstrous Commotion: The Mysteries of Loch Ness, after coming across a key passage in the novel Marise, by ‘Stephen Lister’, in the course of his research. In it the narrator claims to have chanced upon the entire scheme whilst supping a pint in Trafalgar Square, London.
In Lister’s tome the narrator states that the salty tale was dreamed up ‘during a conversation which took place in a London public house, under the shadow of a monument erected to the great Lord Nelson’. The book goes onto claim that “The Loch Ness Monster, was invented for a fee of £150 by an ingenious publicity man employed by hotel keepers.”
Prof. Williams goes on to further reveal that ‘Lister’ was actually a pen name of public relations consultant DG Gerahty, who claimed credit for the myth after being hired by a group of anxious hotel keepers to revive their trade amidst the downturn of the Great Depression.
Asked whether he personally believed in the myth Williams said: “… If you pinned me up against a wall and said, ‘What do you think?’, I’ve been back through all the evidence before 1930 and there’s bugger all there, basically.”
Gerahty claimed to have based his Scottish creation on a fabricated lake monster called Ogopogo, invented by a canny Canadian estate agent seeking to drive up property prices in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia.