Friday 2 March 2012

Monster fury over Nessie hoax claim

AN author has been branded a "green eyed monster" after describing the Nessie story as "the archetypal hoax of the 20th century" in a Canadian newspaper.
Writer Josh Bazell has created waves among Nessie lovers after penning articles in a Canadian paper saying the monster legend was made up as a scam to lure tourists to the area in the 1930s.
But outraged Gary Campbell, president of the Loch Ness Monster Fan Club, hit back at Bazell's monstrous claims, saying it is only because he is jealous that a Nessie rival in Canada does not share the same celebrity status.
In Canada's National Post, Bazell insisted the Nessie hoaxer was Alex Campbell, water bailiff for Loch Ness, and his motive was to save jobs following the stock market crash of 1929. He said the crash led to a fall in Loch Ness tourist numbers, to the point where it was announced the railway to Fort Augustus would be discontinued.
On August 27, 1930, an Inverness paper reported three unidentified anglers had spotted a fish so big it could be seen from 600 feet away. In the next issue, three anonymous letter writers also claimed to have seen the creature.
Bazell stated: "The author of the report and the three letters (all similarly worded) was Campbell."
In 1933, another anonymous newspaper article reported how a businessman and his wife witnessed a creature whose body resembled a "whale." Bazell said the writer was also Campbell.
Bazell added: "I would argue, however, that while Campbell does appear to have never sought to get rich off the monster, it would still be more than fair to call him a hoaxer."
But Nessie fan Gary Campbell dismissed Bazell's claims as "absolute nonsense".
He said: "We are totally outraged by this, and it is down to jealously that the Canadian monster, Ogopogo, is not nearly as well known as Nessie. He said it was a hoax to save jobs.
"However, there was no Loch Ness tourism industry back then so there were no jobs to save at that time."
Meanwhile, Loch Ness Marketing director Willie Cameron, said Alex Campbell had done a "bloody good job."
He said: "There's many a global corporation that could do with someone like Alex Campbell. We have one million visitors every year and have a phenomenon that is bigger than any global corporation, rivalling Coca Cola and Madonna."

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