84 years ago: Modern legend of 'Loch Ness Monster' is born

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The photograph was allegedly taken by Colonel Robert Kenneth Wilson, though it was later exposed as a hoax by one of the participants, Chris Spurling, who, on his deathbed, revealed that the pictures were staged.

DETROIT - Stories of the Loch Ness Monster have been around for more than a thousand years, but it was on May 2, 1933, that the legend spread into the modern world.

The Inverness Courier, a local newspaper in Scotland, published an account of a local couple who claimed to have seen "an enormous animal rolling and plunging on the surface."

The story immediately spread across Europe. A circus even offered a 20,000 pound reward for the capture of the monster.

The monster, named "Nessie," dates back to 500 A.D., with the earliest mention in a 7th-century biography of Saint Columbia, who introduced Christianity to Scotland.

After the story on May 2, several British newspapers sent reporters to cover the story from Loch Ness. Tourists flocked from all around to search, sitting in boats or on docks, hoping to catch a glimpse.

The first time the legend appeared in the New York Times was in December 1933, reading:

"Scots Will Protect Their Sea Serpent" "Orders Are Issued Not to Shoot or Trap Monster in Whisky Region" with the report beginning: "Official recognition has been given to a strange monster that is supposed to inhabit the waters of Loch Ness & which has become a standing joke among visitors to this part of Scotland, where the strongest whisky is distilled...."

The very famous 1934 photograph that seemed to show the monster's neck peaking out of the water was revealed to be a hoax in 1994.

Investigators have continued exploring Loch Ness for decades. Nothing conclusive has ever been found, although alleged sightings pop up from time to time.

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