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Lair of the Beasts: An Underground Hoax

The Faked Fiend

By Nick Redfern     October 22, 2011

 

Beyond any shadow of doubt, one of the ever-present problems that those of us who investigate sightings and reports of strange creatures and monstrous beasts have to deal with is the issue of hoaxing.
 
Now, don’t get me wrong. Of the vast majority of all the people I have interviewed who claim to have seen such bizarre animals, I’m absolutely convinced they were earnest, honest and sincere in the way they related their experiences.
 
But, there’s always someone who wants to try and pull a fast one. Certainly, and I don’t deny this, I have been the recipient of a number of stories (in some cases, downright sagas!) that completely fell apart upon deep analysis.
 
One such memorable example occurred around late 1997 or early 1998 (I forget the exact date now), when I received in the mail a rather striking photograph, alleging to show a strange, diminutive man-beast – complete with his very own diminutive sword, no less – posing, in dramatic style, in some dark and dank cave.
 
And, yes, that is the photo above.
 
Not only that: the picture was accompanied by an entertaining story of how the photographer claimed to have taken the picture of the “wild man,” as it was described to me, in a “secret subterranean empire” somewhere under the Scotland Highlands a year or so earlier.
 
The mysterious story-teller claimed that an entire “tribe” of such entities lived deep under certain parts of Scotland – and at a whole range of other locations in the British Isles, too. In other words, the many and varied cave systems of Britain were infested by, and crawling with, dwarfish, savage man-monsters.
 
Worse still: the mini beast-men lived and feasted on us – the Human Race. The existence of the monsters, I was assured in knowing tones, explained where all the people who go missing every year actually end up – in the bellies of the cave-beasts!
 
And there was more: the British Government knew exactly what was going on. But, unable to control the growing threat, it had elected to hide the shocking truth from the public, for fear of society panicking and fear-driven anarchy breaking out on the streets.
 
Well, of course, this was a great story. In fact, it was an excellent story! It also turned out to be a completely bogus story.
 
It took me hardly any time at all to discover that the “wild man” was, in fact, a model, created and put on display in a certain, famous cave system in England. In other words, it’s meant to be nothing more than a bit of sword and sorcery-style fun for the many tourists who explore the old caves on a regular basis.
 
What fascinated me most of all was the sheer detail that had gone into the person’s story. It rambled on a bit, but it was also written in a definitive style of which H.P. Lovecraft himself would have been proud. The writer had clearly spent some time thinking up the tale and spinning his or her claims.
 
But to what end? There was no attempt to try and convince me I should publish the story. The writer did not ask for money, publicity or fame. They didn’t even include a return-address or a name. So, what’s my point?
 
Well, it’s this: hoaxers do what they do for a whole range of reasons, and some of those same reasons are very obscure and hard to fathom. And this is precisely why many tales of the type I have described above continue to thrive – because there seems to be no logical reason for the hoax. Therefore, in the minds of some investigators, if there’s no apparent purpose or motivation behind the hoax, then the case may very well be genuine. This is a pitfall that many a researcher has fallen into over the years.
 
I have come to learn, however, that just because there may not be any apparent reason why someone might want to hoax us it doesn’t mean they’re not doing precisely that. And the story of the Scottish cave monster is a classic example.
 
The human mind is a complex, weird thing – and sometimes it does weird and complex things, such as weaving a story just like that above! Why? Maybe just for the sheer hell of it, who knows?
 
And if you too are ever on the receiving end of this particular photo and its accompanying letter, just enjoy it for what it is: an entertaining piece of hokum, coupled with the written ravings of someone with - apparently - a good imagination, but probably way too much times on their hands, and nothing else!
 
Nick Redfern is the author of many books, including the recently published Space Girl Dead on Spaghetti Junction.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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karas1 10/22/2011 6:47:08 PM

Back when I was in 6th grade I had a science teacher to whom I took a dislike.  I started a rumor that his first name was Audrey.  I'm not sure quite why, other than I wanted to embarass him and I thought that if everybody thought he had a girly first name he would be embarassed.  Hey, I was in 6th grade and it seemed reasonable at the time.

It's a kind of cultural vandalism.  Someone who has no particurlar standing or importance wants to make his mark on society and generating an urban myth seems like a good way to do that.  Even if nobody else knows that he is the author of this legend, HE will know and that will be enough.

It's not THAT farfetched a notion.  You tackled the chupacabre legend a while back and releated how one woman in Peurto Rico reported the sighting of a monster in her back yard.  It was actually a description of a monster who had appeared in a movie.  Perhaps the woman had a nightmare or had been using recreational pharmacuticals and genuinely thought she had seen the thing.  But the legend of the chupacabre took off and is now a genuine part of our culture, celebrated in movies and literature.  Ask anybody if they have heard of the chupacabre and you will get a description of the creature.  No two descriptions may match, but everybody knows about them.

The Loch Ness Monster was popularized by two guys who took a photo of a fake monster head coming out of the water.

Humans have been telling stories, spreading rumors and sharing gossip from the beginning.  It's part of who we are.

 

InnerSanctum 10/23/2011 7:33:01 AM

I'm actually as baffled by this as I am by people sending out computer viruses and writing on toliet walls.  I'd have to say, karas, I think you have hit upon a nice tag line for such action...culturual vandalism. 

What interests me is that some people tell a story to a point that they actually believe it.  How many times have we heard the stories of someone's sister being in the operating room when "such and such" actor, local celebrity, etc. had an embarrassing item extracted?  And, that person swears by it.  

I have to agree that there must be some sort of level of pleasure derived from the noteriety that such a claim could create.   

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