On this day, we celebrate the 96th birthday of Elizabeth II, the Queen of the United Kingdom. Additionally, we remember another piece of news that broke in Great Britain on this day in 1934 when the future Queen was just eight years old. Citizens of the monarchy awoke that morning to the Daily Mail’s front-page headline LONDON SURGEON’S PHOTO OF THE MONSTER and the referenced picture.
Robert Kenneth Wilson was a highly respected physician. Due to his credibility, the release of his photo added credence to Scottish folklore of a creature inhabiting the Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. The earliest report of a monster in the Loch Ness area was included in the Life of St. Columba, a biography written in the sixth century about the life of the Irish monk nearly a century after his death. That writing tells how a swimming man was mauled by a water beast and dragged underwater. Columba sent a follower into the water to assist in the rescue attempt. When the beast approached the new swimmer, Columba made the sign of the cross and said, “Go no further,” and the monster fled.
Dr. Wilson’s 1934 release of the photo, now famously called “The Surgeon’s Photograph,” helped perpetuate the Scottish myth of the great sea monster that today remains a culturally widespread phenomenon: Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster. However, decades later, it was revealed that the photograph was simply an elaborate hoax to dupe the Daily Mail. The depicted “monster” was a 14-inch toy submarine with a 12-inch high grafted plastic wood neck attached.
History is filled with hoaxes. So, it should be no surprise that the first report of an empty tomb on Easter morning was dismissed as a ruse. The women’s report to the disciples on finding Jesus absent from the gravesite was ruled idle chatter. However, later that evening, in the room where the disciples hid, came overwhelming affirmation when Jesus physically appeared before them. It was no hoax.
Hear the true story of the post-resurrection appearance of Jesus before his disciples and his subsequent encounter with the Apostle Thomas. This is no “Big Fish” tale. We share this message on the Second Sunday of Easter, April 24, at our 8:00 AM, 10:15 AM, and 6:00 PM worship services.
Rev. Marc Herbst
Church of the Good Shepherd – Lutheran
99 Central Park Road, Plainview, NY 11803