For the two or three people who were fortunate enough to miss this:
Back in July, two young men from Georgia announced via YouTube, their website (bigfoottracker.com), and their local newspaper (The Clayton Times Daily) that they had found the corpse of a full-grown male Bigfoot in the woods and stuffed it into a deep freeze. They affectionately referred to the critter as RICKMAT. Matthew Whitton and Ricky Dyer just happened to already run a business that takes dupes into the woods to see Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) for themselves, and they claimed to be the best in the business. Do we really have to discuss the odds on that one? ‘Cause I’d rather not waste any more time on this. It’s disturbing enough to me that Bigfoot tours are apparently a cottage industry.
Anyway, the guys’ story seemed a little more solid than, say, the tales of sexual encounters with Bigfoot, because both men had law enforcement backgrounds. Dyer was a sheriff’s deputy. This fact, combined with the fact that they operated a business which would obviously suffer from a hoax, gave a patina of plausibility to the notion that – after decades of completely fruitless searching – someone just happened to trip over a Bigfoot body before it could decompose beyond recognition. It didn’t hurt that the Grand Poobah of cryptozoology, Loren Coleman, commented on his Crytomundo website, “I feel, in all honesty, this, indeed, may be the real deal, and I say this carefully after reviewing information that has been shared privately with me.”
Needless to say, any cryptozoologist in the world would have been delighted to help verify this find with scientific testing. But Whitton and Dyer wouldn’t release any photos or samples. Then, earlier this month, they sold the body and the exclusive rights to its story for “thousands of dollars” to another “Bigfoot hunter” known as Tom Biscardi. Biscardi convened a press conference in California, at which he released tantalizing details and a single low-quality photo of the body wedged into a freezer, and announced that he and the Georgia boys soon would be launching an expedition to capture a live Bigfoot. In the meantime, he had assembled a team of scientists to study and authenticate the body.
It took Biscardi’s scientific team all of five minutes to learn that the critter was really a gorilla costume stuffed with some animal parts to lend it an authentic aroma. He promptly appeared on several news shows to expose the hoax, threaten a lawsuit, and promote his own Bigfoot-tracking outfit (Searching for Bigfoot, Inc.).
But the story isn’t that straightforward. The world of bigfoot hunters is apparently a Byzantine one. The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization(BFRO) claims that Biscardi is a Bigfoot hoaxer himself. And BigfootTracker.com luridly boasts that Whitton, Dyer, and Biscardi are “the best hoaxers in the world”. (You can buy their Bigfoot for President T-shirts or hire them to “bust any hoax!!”). Whether these accusations are valid or just signs of rivalry among professionals in the burgeoning business of Bigfoot-hunting, I don’t know.
And, as with this entire subject, I couldn’t possibly care less.
Update: The BFRO was right on. According to Cryptomundo, in 2005 Tom Biscardi announced that he had a live Bigfoot in captivity, and charged people to subscribe to a live video feed of it. He was forced to admit he had been swindled.
I find it interesting that Coleman is now claiming he knew it all along – that the Bigfoot was a gorilla suit, that Biscardi was up to his usual tricks, etc. This, despite the fact that he suggested the Bigfoot be called The Georgia Gorilla until such time as a proper scientific name could be assigned to it. Sheesh. Just admit you were momentarily conned, man. Happens to the best of us. It’s what you learn from it that matters.