Italian journalist claims he invented “Nessie”

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An Italian journalist claims in the Milan illustrated weekly that he invented the Loch Ness monster in 1933. Signor Francesco Gasparini said that he was the London correspondent of a Milan newspaper at the time and amassed hundreds of British newspaper clippings.

They included two lines published in a Scottish newspaper about some Inverness fishermen who had seen a strange fish. “At the beginning of August 1933 my supply of news was even slower than usual,” he wrote. “I had the inspiration to get hold of the item about the strange fish. The idea of the monster had never dawned on me, but then I noted that the strange fish would not yield a long article, and I decided to promote the imaginary being to the rank of monster without further ado.” But the monster grew out of hand.

The next day, Signor Gasparini said, he was forced to invent eye-witness accounts, backed up by local colour gleaned from a geography book. By the time he began plotting the monster’s death or escape, long reports were appearing in other papers. “It had to live on. The British press grabbed my little monster and made a giant out of it.”

The legend grew. “Photographs” of the monster and magnificent drawings, based on eye-witness accounts were published widely. Affectionately called “Nessie”, it became a national institution. Signor Gasparini declared: “The monster of Loch Ness has never existed. I invented it. I admit it – but I am not sorry.”

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