There was a time when “seeing the Loch Ness monster” meant standing on the shore of the loch or sailing a boat across it in order to witness whatever it was that looked like the mythical cryptid. In 2021, the official sightings log had 16 entries – only two less that the record in 2019 – but only six of them were onsite witnesses … the rest were from people watching the 24/7 online Nessie cam from wherever they live. While there is still much discrimination in the world today, there doesn’t appear to be any against Loch Ness believers. However, according to newly-released documents, there was a time not that long ago when one could be fired for stating a belief in the mythical Loch Ness monster. Interestingly, this was also a time when Queen Elizabeth II showed an open fascination with the same monster. Yes … the 1960s were definitely a strange time.
"The trustees wish it to be known that they do not approve of the spending of official time or official leave on the so-called Loch Ness Phenomenon. If, as a result of the activities of members of the staff, the museum is involved in undesirable publicity, [the trustees] will be gravely displeased."
According to documents made public by The Daily Mail, in 1960, Dr. Denys Tucker, a leading zoologist, was fired as director of Britain’s Natural History Museum for defying the trustees and professing his belief in the nation’s most famous cryptid in an article in New Scientist magazine – suggesting the creature was actually a plesiosaur still hanging around 70 million years after most other scientists believed the dinosaur went extinct. At the time, the reasons given for Tucker’s dismissal were “continued, vexatious, insubordinate and generally offensive conduct towards the museum's director and other senior staff.” However, the recent documents state that Tucker tried to get museum funding for a scientific expedition to search for specimens of the monster -- a request that led to his dismissal … and more.
“They refused me leave to lecture on the subject. Since I was sacked, they have banned me from the library. I had an international reputation as a zoologist. Now I'm like a struck off lawyer.”
Some things never change – Tucker's solution was to sue the leader of the trustees, then-Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Fisher, to be reinstated. He later went public with his own eyewitness story, but died in 2009 never having won his case nor clear his name.
Perhaps he should have asked the queen for help. The Daily Express dug up another 1960s Nessie story last week about Sir Peter Scott, a conservationist and founder of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), who was tasked with investigating the existence of the Loch Ness monster. He was hoping to find the creature and name it for the queen, but when he notified the Queen's private secretary of his intention, he received this response:
"(It would be a) great day in the zoological world if it can be proved that a hitherto unknown animal exists. Her Majesty has seen your letter and was very interested in its contents, and I hope that you will keep us in touch with the progress of your investigations."
Yes, Queen Elizabeth II has been interested in the monster, although not enough to give it her name. Needless to say, Scott never found the creature he named Nessiteras rhombopteryx. That hasn’t stopped a sizeable chuck of humanity from looking for it. Gary Campbell, the keeper of the Official Loch Ness Sightings Register, said this of the 18 spotted in 2021:
“Sightings are getting more credible. The old girl is still alive and kicking.”
She’s just not kicking anyone out of their jobs anymore.