Natural History Museum zoologist HAS BEEN fired for believing in Loch Ness monster, recently released documents reveal
- Dr Denys Tucker lost his job at the Natural History Museum for believing in the Loch Ness monster
- His career came to an abrupt end at age 39 when he was fired for alleged insubordination
- Dismissal due to belief in the creature rather than concerns about professional behavior
The sacking of a leading zoologist from one of Britain’s most prestigious museums has remained a mystery for decades.
But recently released documents reveal that Dr Denys Tucker lost his job at the Natural History Museum due to his belief in the existence of the Loch Ness Monster.
Dr Tucker began his academic career after serving in World War II as a pilot, joining the museum in 1949 as Scientific Officer in the Department of Zoology. He rose through the ranks and became a Senior Science Officer in 1957.
However, when Dr Tucker was 39, his career came to an abrupt end. In 1960 he was fired for alleged insubordination, which stunned his colleagues and sparked decades of speculation about his beliefs about Loch Ness.
Newly uncovered documents from the museum’s board reinforce the idea that his dismissal was due to his belief in the creature rather than concerns about his professional behavior.
Ridiculed: Newly released documents reveal Dr Denys Tucker (pictured) lost his job at the Natural History Museum due to his belief in the Loch Ness Monster
The ignominy of the dismissal meant that he never again worked at a senior academic position. Months before its release, he wrote in New Scientist magazine that he believed the supposed monster – then the subject of thousands of alleged sightings – must have been a plesiosaur, a reptile that is said to have been extinct for 70 million years.
Board documents have now revealed the level of paranoia among senior museum officials who feared potential damage to reputation if seen to take the monster’s existence seriously.
A memo to staff from the board in 1959 warned: “Trustees want it to be known that they do not approve of spending official time or official time off on the so-called Loch Ness phenomenon. ” The note added: “If, as a result of the activities of staff members, the museum is involved in unwanted advertising, [the trustees] will be seriously unhappy.
False: staging of Nessie’s 1934 photo
The official reason for Dr Tucker’s dismissal was “continuous, vexatious, insubordinate and generally offensive behavior towards the museum director and other senior officials.”
The documents also reveal that Dr Tucker attempted to secure funding from the Royal Society for a science project, but failed to secure an interview.
In a newspaper clipping from the time, kept in the museum’s archives, he is quoted as saying: “I entrusted the project to the Natural History Museum. The museum sends expeditions to collect specimens. But they didn’t like the idea of a Loch Ness expedition at all.
“They refused me permission to give a lecture on the subject. Since I was fired, they have banned me from the library. I had an international reputation as a zoologist. Now I’m like a barred lawyer.
He then embarked on an unsuccessful legal battle against the museum to be reinstated, which included the launch of legal action against the head of the Trustees, then Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Fisher.
Faced with ridicule from leading scientists, Dr Tucker even claimed to have seen the monster.
Dr Tucker died in France in 2009, unrepentant in his belief in his existence.