17/06/2005. Contributed by Jessica Martin
When New York Times best-selling author Steve Alten set out to write a novel about Loch Ness's famous inhabitant, he never realized he'd be caught in a battle between angry scientists and the Scottish government.
The Loch, Alten's latest thriller, is about one man's hunt to find the Loch Ness Monster. Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman calls The Loch, "the best work of fiction since 'King Kong' and 'The Lost World.'"
Alten spent years researching "The Loch," separating science from myth.
Then just a few weeks before he was due to turn in the manuscript, he was contacted by Forensics Investigator William McDonald, who had been researching Loch Ness since 1993. McDonald convinced the author he knew exactly what the creature was, but lacked funding to return to Loch Ness to investigate recent rare land sightings. A deal was struck to fund McDonald's trip in return for the exclusive on his research. McDonald came back with enough evidence to convince Alten to delay publication of The Loch for two months to re-edit the story.
But it was a discovery in March 2005 that may have blown the lid off the entire mystery, making The Loch more non-fiction than fiction.
Two American students on spring break in the U.K., and their local boat tour operator, were shocked to discover a half-eaten deer carcass and a shed tooth from its attacker, lodged in the animal's ribcage. Photos and video footage can be found at http://www.LochNessTooth.com.
Unfortunately, a water bailiff confiscated the tooth and now the Highland Government refuses to cooperate in expediting its return.
Outraged members of the scientific community were convinced enough to raise a $100,000 reward for the tooth's return.
And the author? "I can't imagine this being a hoax, but I don't think the Highland Council will release the evidence. If tourists really knew what this creature was, they'd never take a boat ride on Loch Ness again."
Stephen Hunt's novels - USA