by Mark Chorvinsky


Nessie has had her share of debunkers, including zoologist Dr. Maurice Burton, who initially believed in the existence of the monster until he gradually exhausted a series of theories. Two of the better-known Nessie skeptics are Steuart Campbell and Ronald Binns. The latter criticized some of the Nessie photos and films as well as much of the eyewitness evidence in his 1984 book The Loch Ness Mystery Solved. Some of the critics have made some very good points, such as their realization that the monster has no real history before 1930, the fact that hoaxes have been a key feature in the Loch Ness story since the beginning, and the significance of the monster's cultural aspect. However, the critics have done little either to dissuade the monster believers or to dampen the worldwide interest in the monster.

Nessie has had her share of proponents, who easily outnumber the debunkers. Lieutenant Commander Rupert T. Gould was instrumental in introducing Nessie to the world with his book The Case for the Sea Serpent in which he published 51 accounts of sightings of Nessie. Armed with his book, he tried to get an act of Parliament passed that would protect the monster, presaging the more recent attempts to legally protect unknown creatures believed to inhabit such bodies of water as Lake Champlain (Champ) and the Chesapeake Bay (Chessie). Constance Whyte, with her book More Than A Legend, was instrumental in reviving interest in the monster in the 1950s, after attention had been diverted from the creature during wartime years, when there had been very few sightings and people had their minds on other things, like survival. Tim Dinsdale kept the flame burning for many years, and many others have done their part in keeping Nessie in the public eye.

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