Did King Kong inspire the myth of the Loch Ness monster?

This early 'photograph' of the Loch Ness monster was the subject of intense debate.
This early 'photograph' of the Loch Ness monster was the subject of intense debate.

They are the 20th Century's most monstrous icons and have sparked fear and fascination from the Highlands to Hollywood.

But now it has been claimed that King Kong gave birth to the myth of the Loch Ness monster.

New research from America's Columbia University suggests the sightings in northern Scotland were triggered by the release of the 1933 classic, which, along with the giant rampaging gorilla, also featured a long-necked, hump-backed lake creature.

Author Daniel Loxton says the first reported sighting of a 'plesiosaur-like dinosaur' in the Loch was made by Londoner George Spicer in August 1933 - when King Kong was playing to packed cinemas in the UK.

Mr Loxton said: "Previous witnesses had reported splashes or humps in the water, but Spicer reported a close-up view of a long-necked creature that could have been lifted right off King Kong's Skull Island.

"Indeed, I believe that is what happened.

His yarn gave rise to many other sightings, making the "plesiosaur" a favourite explanation for Nessie throughout the 20th Century."

The following year, a photograph of the Loch Ness monster caused a global sensation.

The shadowy picture became the definitive image of Nessie until the 1990s, when it was proved it had been created by attaching a cut-out dinosaur head to a toy submarine.

Marine biologist Adrian Shine, who has studied the Loch for more than 40 years, backed Mr Loxton's theory.

He said: "I believe that King Kong was the main influence behind the Jurassic Park hypothesis at Loch Ness. Before Spicer's sighting there were no long-neck reports at all."

- Daily Mail

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