On 21 April 1934, the Daily Mail published the Surgeon’s Photograph—the best-known image of the legendary Loch Ness Monster. It was later revealed to be a hoax, and I know we’re all shocked to hear that something that later turned out to be complete BS was first published the Daily Mail.
The photo was allegedly taken by Dr Robert Wilson, a London gynaecologist, who refused to have his name associated with it (hence the name, Surgeon’s Photograph). It attracted plenty of attention, but by 1975 people were widely claiming it was fake, though nobody was quite sure what the thing was. Some said it was an elephant, others an otter or diving bird. The truth is, it was a toy submarine bought at Woolworths with a fake head and neck attached. The whole thing was actually a revenge plot against the Daily Mail by Christian Spurling, the son-in-law of a big-game hunter and disgruntled employee named Marmaduke Wetherell. Wetherell and Spurling (a sculptor), along with two other men faked up the picture and then asked Wilson to offer them to the DM. Or so the story goes. If this is a revenge plot, it’s a very slow reveal, since it was a good 30 years before the DM’s scoop was dismissed. I’m pretty sure they sold a lot of papers in the meantime.