Today’s Google Doodle, which contains this amusing animation, commemorates the 81st anniversary of a photograph (see below) that was long taken to be “proof” of the Loch Ness Monster. First the animation:
As the Torygraph notes:
The release of the images coincides with the anniversary of the publication of the renowed “Surgeon’s Photograph” of the Loch Ness Monster, in the Daily Mail, on April 21 1934 – a photo that was revealed to be a fake by The Sunday Telegraph in 1975.
Here’s that famous photo, which I’m sure you’ve all seen:
Time magazine explains the ruse:
Eighty-one years ago, Colonel Robert Wilson snapped a grainy photograph of what appeared to be a prehistoric sea creature raising its head out of the depths of Scotland’s Loch Ness — inspiring the legend of one of earth’s most infamous monsters, Nessie. On Tuesday, Google honored the anniversary of that celebrated photo with an animated Google Doodle.
Wilson said he took the shot of the Loch Ness Monster, printed in the Daily Mail in 1934, when he was driving across the northern shore and noticed something in the water. But Wilson himself never claimed the photo as proof of a monster and disassociated his name from the picture by calling it the “surgeon’s photo.”
In 1994, then 93-year-old Christian Spurling confessed that he had built the neck and attached it to a toy submarine. The toy was then photographed by a big-game hunter named Marmaduke Wetherell to spite the Daily Mail for a perceived injustice from a previous Loch Ness Monster search.
The Torygraph’s article reports that Google spent a week in the Loch Ness area, photographing it with Google Streetview, including a camera attached to a boat (you can see all the Streetview images here):
And, sure enough, they turned up an image that Nessiephiles will take as evidence for the monster (photos by Google):
And an enlargement:
There’s no wake, and that’s a strange profile for bits of a plesiosaur sticking out of the water! At any rate, Wikipedia has a good article on the long and fruitless search for Nessie, and the many hoaxes and false sightings.
Resident writer Greg Mayer teaches a course on pseudoscience and cryptozoology, and I expect he might have something to add.