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Rory Stewart claims Loch Ness Monster has been ‘proven to be a hoax’

By Scott Maclennan

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The Rest Is Politics Alistair Campbell and Rory Stewart joust over Nessie's existence.
The Rest Is Politics Alistair Campbell and Rory Stewart joust over Nessie's existence.

The UK’s most popular political podcast touched on an issue of decisive importance – whether Nessie is or is not real – as Alistair Campbell and Rory Stewart locked horns over the issue.

The debate appears to have been sparked by what was called the biggest hunt for the Loch Ness Monster in more than 50 years last weekend which did not turn up any decisive evidence.

Mr Campbell remarked that Nessie is good for business by attracting visitors, saying: "Scottish tourism is doing really really really well out of this myth.

"Loch Ness is a very beautiful loch but boy oh boy you would not get the visitor numbers. It was a hoax photograph of the 1930s, of what looks fainly like a dinosaur sort of floating through the water."

Mr Stewart seemed disappointed that no evidence was found as he held out hope that maybe it was real.

He said: “It's very sad that it has been proven to be a hoax because I, and many people like me, were convinced that maybe it was the last surviving dinosaur – plesiosaurus... does that ring a bell with you?"

Mr Campbell was not having any of that and responded: "Why are you spoiling the fun, you might as well have just announced that Santa Claus is dead.

“When you say it's been proven – it's not been proven! How do you prove a negative? You can say it hasn't been found this weekend but you can't say it's not there!"

The Inverness Courier and Nessie

A report in The Inverness Courier from 1933 may have kicked off the whole modern obsession with Nessie after a report of a citing one Friday.

The report stated: “Loch Ness has for centuries been credited with being the home of a fearsome looking monster” adding that this “legendary creature” has “always been regarded as a myth, if not a joke.

“Now, however, comes news that the beast has been seen once more…”

The next year, the Daily Mail published the hoax photo by London gynaecologist Robert Kenneth Wilson purporting to be Nessie sticking her head above the water and the whole thing kicked off.

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