It's no surprise that the world gets taken in by hoaxers and con men. They're really good at what they do and most of us are bored enough to believe anything as long as it takes our mind off the cubicle for a while.
And even when the hoaxers get accused of fakery, we may still take their side. After all, those negative doubting types try to shoot down everything! Who cares what they say! What is harder to explain, though, is the times when the perpetrators of a hoax come out themselves and confess to the fakery... and people still go right on believing.
But as this Cracked Classic shows, the thing about mysteries is that, before you go around talking about how no one has figured them out, you should make sure that that "long lost answer" is buried under more than five seconds worth of Googling. -Cracked.
5The Surgeon's Photograph of the Loch Ness Monster
This famous picture, which shows what looks like the head of a prehistoric creature emerging from the waves of Scotland's Loch Ness, was allegedly snapped by gynecologist Robert Wilson in 1934. It soon became known as the "surgeon's photograph," because searching for "gynecologist's photograph" on Google Images will absolutely not result in finding this picture.
Before Dr. Vagina's famous photo, the Loch Ness Monster had been limited to a few legends and scattered local sightings, which presumably accompanied spottings of highland prostitutes and grain alcohol. After the surgeon's photo, however, the creature gained worldwide attention, despite the fact that Wilson himself denied the Loch Ness Monster even existed and insisted he had just taken a picture of some animal he didn't recognize.
"Ooh, an animal I don't recognize! Good thing I don't believe in monsters or I would be shitting all over myself right now."
Monster sightings and photographs continued unabated in the area for the next 60 years until 1994, when a man named Christian Spurling finally confessed to the hoax. Spurling explained that his father-in-law Marmaduke Wetherall had staged the picture using a fake monster head attached to an 18-inch long toy submarine.
The whole ridiculous plan was an attempt to get back at his employer, a newspaper called the Daily Mail that had ridiculed him in a recent issue. Wetherall had Dr. Wilson submit the picture to give it more "respectability."
The original uncropped image, which is clearly a prehistoric beast and not a duck or a bathtub toy.
So that's the end of the Loch Ness Monster, right?
Not even close. Die-hard cryptozoologists immediately dismissed Spurling's hoax confession, insisting the resources that he described being used to make the fake monster didn't exist in 1934 (fake monster heads would apparently not be invented until much later).
To this day, the Loch Ness Monster industry is thriving, and every few years there's a new, expensive expedition setting out to find it. There was a 2003 BBC special that employed satellites and 600 separate sonar beams to try to track down the beast once and for all.
So Why Do They Still Believe?
The fact that there are "cryptozoologists" in the world (that is, people who specialize in tracking legendary creatures to prove they're real) should tell you. There are people who have staked their reputations on the creature being real and depend on the income from books asserting such. It's not so easy for somebody in that position to give in to the "wooden head glued to a toy submarine" theory.
Latest photograph of the monster.
If there were only some way to walk away from the theory and save face at the same time... oh, wait. Some Loch Ness Monster experts say the creature has probably now died. Due to global warming.
We should also point out that Loch Ness is located in an area where the other main attractions involve grim industrial sprawl and a dish made of ground sheep's heart, so they're going to promote the hell out of any mythical creature they can get their hands on. Scotland would probably be claiming Highlander as a true story if they thought they could get away with it.