Forget the Loch Ness Monster. For now it seems that Nessie has a rival lurking in the deep of Lough Foyle. Or so gullible people around the world appear to think.
And though the 'sighting' of a hulking heavyweight near Londonderry started off as a joke that even Martin McGuinness joined in, it looks as if many monster enthusiasts are still falling for the ruse hook, line and sinker.
The hoax was devised seven years ago by film students in Derry who had a whale of a time with their wind-up... which I perpetuated.
The students had been approached to help promote a special City of Culture event called The Return of Colmcille, a spectacular dreamt up by Frank Cottrell Boyce, who was behind the opening ceremony at the London Olympics in 2012.
Frank's story drew inspiration from Colmcille's reputed battle with the Loch Ness Monster in 565AD, and a huge model of the beast was built to sail up the Foyle for a 'rematch' with him.
Thousands of people watched the show, which was the finale of Derry's year as UK City of Culture.
To whet people's appetites for the event the students had constructed their own hump-backed monster, which they filmed bobbing around in the water and they then put a short clip on YouTube.
They hoped some people would take the bait and were surprised by the number of susceptible souls they reeled in.
Their shaky footage was watched over 40,000 times in a week and it was even picked up by an American website called Right This Minute, in which presenters debated whether or not the monster was real, with one woman saying she thought it was actually a duck-billed platypus.
The students' next move was to produce a longer video version of the nonsense and they recruited me to front up a spoof investigation they launched on the internet under the title of 'On the look-out with Ivan Little'.
My part in the jape was simple - to add a bit of credibility to what I thought was an incredible tale that the monster had either been living in the Foyle for centuries, or that it was maybe Nessie relocating from Scotland to Ireland.
The students reckoned my time as a television reporter for UTV might just fool viewers into believing the yarn.
And, my goodness, did it succeed.
For even now barely a month goes by that I don't receive a communication from America, the UK or Japan asking me about the Lough Foyle Monster.
Most of the emails have been from TV companies, some of whom have been offering substantial sums of money for me to contribute to programmes about the leviathan from Londonderry, the Derry demon, the freak from the Foyle, call it what you will.
The story is now featured extensively in the book The Monsters Of Loch Ness (The History And The Mystery) by Malcolm Robinson, who examines sightings of other creatures in Irish waters.
He wrote that the students' footage was visually impressive and that my video diary was "excellent", but he also flagged up the possibility that the whole thing was a hoax.
He raised a number of issues about the film, particularly the unruffled demeanour of the students who shot it.
But others had no reservations and I've had to let everyone who's contacted me know they've been pranked and take them back to the genesis of the Foyle fakery.
After the producers contacted me I went to Derry to record tongue-in-cheek pieces to camera and lay down the voiceover for the video. I talked on camera to the students who claimed to have seen the monster as they supposedly made a film on fishing in the Foyle.
Conor Burns told me the monster was one of the greatest things he'd ever seen in his life and added that he was shaking with fear and excitement as it passed by.
Matthew Lynch said he was more curious than panicked by what he saw.
At one point the producers filmed me with a pair of binoculars as I 'searched' for the monster, which for me put the tin hat on the sham because I was looking away from Lough Foyle.
What I didn't realise was the lengths to which the students would go to make the video even more believable in the next days and weeks.
Their big coup was to get the late Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness on board, so to speak.
And he played his part to perfection. He said he was aware of reports of a creature in Lough Foyle and added that the Department of Agriculture had also been told of similar sightings.
He said he had spoken to his Minister of Agriculture, who spoke of concerns for the preservation of salmon and sea trout stocks in Lough Foyle.
Mr McGuinness said he was going to raise the issue with First Minister Peter Robinson.
It all sounded like hokum, but the producers even created an ancient book with ancient words and ancient fonts, which purported to show that a monster had been seen in Lough Foyle as long ago as the time of the Siege of Derry in 1689.
Even scientists got in on the act to lend gravitas to the laughable possibility that Nessie was commuting between Scotland and Ireland.
And the production team did some vox pops with Scottish people, who rejected the notion that the Lough Foyle Monster was actually their very own Loch Ness Monster on tour.
However, if anything screamed 'hoax' about the video it was the appearance of a Derry man the producers called Robert Johnston, who was said to devote huge amounts of his spare time looking for the Lough Foyle Monster.
Armed with a ridiculously tiny camera and dressed in equally outlandish clothing, he said he spent five or six nights a week on the banks of the lough in the hope that he might get a picture of the elusive beast.
But he said, quite unconvincingly, he was delighted for the students who had beaten him in the race to get the first images of the creature.
However, Captain Bill McCann from the city's port said while he'd heard rumours about the gargantuan visitor to the Foyle, he pooh-poohed the idea that it could have gone undetected by radar, marine technology and CCTV.
Well-known Presbyterian minister the Rev David Latimer countered: "Let's just not rule it out too quickly. We wouldn't want a knee-jerk because it might just be true. The monster might exist.
"We need a bit more time just to explore the possibilities of where this monster might be."
However, among the thousands of people who watched the eight-and-a-half minute video online, there were many sceptics.
They pointed out that the film of the monster on Lough Foyle appeared to have been shot at Howth Head, about 130 miles from Derry.
They also said closer inspection revealed that the monster seemed to have wires attached from it to another boat, which looked as if it was dragging it along.
And some posters put great stock in the fact that one of the students who produced the video was called Conor MELARKEY, but that was his real name.
However, the last word went to Martin McGuinness.
He said with a straight face: "We are not sure what this creature is or where it has come from and what its intentions are.
"It's very important that we try to establish as much information as we possibly can about it due to the fact that there are, on occasions, poachers illegally poaching on the Foyle for salmon and trout.
"I think there would be a very real danger that some of these poachers could get devoured."
As yet, no devouring of poachers has been reported...