Friday, August 22, 2008
ATLANTA, Georgia (Aug. 21) -- The two men who claimed to have found the carcass of Bigfoot have surfaced to say: Hey, it was just a joke.
Not everyone is laughing.
In an exclusive interview with CNN affiliate WSB, the two hoaxers -- car salesman Rick Dyer and now-fired police officer Matt Whitton -- said the whole situation began as a joke and then got out of hand.
"It's just a big hoax, a big joke," Dyer said.
"It's Bigfoot," Dyer explained. "Bigfoot doesn't exist."
Whitton chimed in: "All this was a big joke. It got into something way bigger than it was supposed to be."
At a news conference in California last week, the two men had stood by their claims that they had discovered Bigfoot's corpse and had it on ice. Scientific analysis would prove it, they said.
Now the two Georgia men admit that the hairy, icy blob was an Internet-purchased Sasquatch costume stuffed with possum roadkill and slaughterhouse leftovers.
Whitton and Dyer say that when they came up with the hoax, they had no idea it would become a media circus.
"It got legs and ran. It's crazy now," Dyer told WSB.
Co-hoaxer Whitton agrees: "It started off as some YouTube videos and a Web site. We're all about having fun."
"Fun" isn't exactly how Clayton County Police Chief Jeff Turner sees it. He has kicked Whitton off the police force.
"He lied on national TV," Turner says of Whitton, "so a defense attorney now could say, 'How do we know you're not lying now?' "
Whitton and Dyer had announced that they had found the body of a 7-foot-7-inch, 500-pound half-ape, half-human creature while hiking in the north Georgia mountains in June. They also said they had spotted about three similar living creatures.
Still unclear is how much money Whitton and Dyer got out of the hoax.
Steve Kulls, who maintains the SquatchDetective Web site and hosts a similarly named Internet radio program, first interviewed Dyer on July 28 for the radio program. On August 12, Kulls said, Dyer and Whitton "requested an undisclosed sum of money as an advance, expected from the marketing and promotion."
Two days later, after signing a receipt and counting the money, Dyer and Whitton showed the Searching for Bigfoot team the freezer containing what they claimed was the carcass: "Something appearing large, hairy and frozen in ice," Kulls wrote on the Web site.
It was, as many had suspected, an ape-like costume stuffed with entrails.
After the news conference last week, Dyer and Whitton disappeared from view. The truth came out over the weekend.
In a Web posting this week, Kulls wrote that "action is being instigated against the perpetrators."
The two hoaxers have hired attorney Steve Lister to represent them.
"There have been some threats made to them for both civil and criminal prosecution," Lister said.
The attorney says the Bigfoot incident "got out of hand."
Dyer, asked whether he ever thought that the hoopla had become more than just a joke, implied that everyone should have known it was a hoax.
"Well, we told 10 different stories," he said. "Everyone knew we were lying."
Posted by Jason Weber at 7:38 AM
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Melting ice uncovered a hoax this week, as the "Bigfoot" found in a Georgia woods turned out to be . . . a rubber Halloween costume.
Bigfoot hunters Matt Whitton and Rick Dyer had tossed their find in a freezer and frozen it in a solid chunk of ice - to preserve it, they said. The two men finally turned over the freezer and on Aug. 17, Bigfoot enthusiasts waited with bated breath as the apparent 7-foot-7 inch "body" slowly defrosted at an undisclosed location.
After hours of waiting, a dark patch of hair emerged. Steve Kulls, Executive Director of Squatchdetective.com, told Fox that he extracted a hair sample and burned it. It was apparently made of synthetic fibers and "melted into a ball uncharacteristic of hair," Kulls said. An hour later, the group's fears were confirmed when further melting revealed a rubber foot.
"It's heartwrenching," said Bob Schmalzbach, Vice President of Searching for Bigfoot, Inc., in an interview with Fox News. "We thought it was the answer to a mystery that's been going on for too long."
As today, the two Georgia men who perpetrated the hoax were nowhere to be found. According to the Web site of Searching for Bigfoot, Inc, the organization plans to pursue legal action against the men.
Whitton, a police officer Georgia's Clayton County, and Dyer, a former Georgia corrections officer, said they stumbled upon the beast while hiking in northern Georgia in June. They participated in a press conference Friday in Palo Alto to announce their find.
Today, Clayton County Police Chief Jeff Turner said he has not spoken to Whitton but processed paperwork to fire him.
"Once he perpetrated a fraud, that goes into his credibility and integrity," Turner told the Associated Press. "He has violated the duty of a police officer."
Not everyone is upset about the news of the hoax.
The Bigfoot "body" is thought to be a $450 Sasquatch costume from online costume retailer TheHorrorDome.com. Owner Jerry Parrino declined to release any numbers, but said business has been good.
Posted by Jason Weber at 6:36 PM
Turns out Bigfoot was just a rubber suit.
Two researchers on a quest to prove the existence of Bigfoot say that the carcass encased in a block of ice — handed over to them for an undisclosed sum by two men who claimed to have found it — was slowly thawed out, and discovered to be a rubber gorilla outfit.
The revelation comes just days after a much ballyhooed news conference was held in California to proclaim that the remains of the creature found in the North Georgia mountains was the legendary man-ape.
Steve Kulls, executive director of squatchdetective.com and host of Squatchdetective Radio, says in a posting on a Web site run by Bigfoot researcher Tom Biscardi that as the "evidence" was thawed, the claim began to unravel as a giant hoax.
First, the hair sample was burned and "melted into a ball uncharacteristic of hair," Kulls said in the posting.
The thawing process was sped up and the exposed head was found to be "unusually hollow in one small section." An hour of thawing later and the feet were exposed — and they were found to be made of rubber.
Matt Whitton, an officer who has been on medical leave from the Clayton County Police Department, and Rick Dyer, a former Georgia corrections officer, announced the find in early July on YouTube videos and a Web site.
"Everyone who has talked down to us is going to eat their words," Whitton said at the time.
Phone calls to Whitton and Dyer went unreturned on Tuesday. But the voicemail recording for their Bigfoot Tip Line — which proclaims they search for leprechauns and the Loch Ness monster — has been updated and announcing they’re also in search of "big cats and dinosaurs. If you see any of those, give us a call."
On Tuesday, Clayton County Police Chief Jeff Turner said he has not spoken to Whitton but processed paperwork to fire him.
"Once he perpetrated a fraud, that goes into his credibility and integrity," Turner said. "He has violated the duty of a police officer."
Posted by Jason Weber at 6:29 PM
A pair of Georgia men faced more than a half-hour of skeptical questions from reporters Friday as they defended their claim that they stumbled upon the body of Bigfoot while hiking in a remote North Georgia forest.
The thawed body of a creature reputed to be Bigfoot reportedly weighs more than 500 pounds.
The thawed body of a creature reputed to be Bigfoot reportedly weighs more than 500 pounds.
Introduced by a publicist and beside a man who promoted what turned out to be a fake Bigfoot discovery in 1995, Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer repeatedly said that their claim is not a hoax and that scientific analysis will prove it.
"We were not looking for Bigfoot. ... We wouldn't know what we were doing if we did," said Whitton, a police officer on leave after being shot in the hand while making an arrest. "I didn't believe in Bigfoot at the time. ... But you've got to come to terms with it and realize you've got something special. And that's what it was."
The men say they were hiking in early June when they discovered the body of a 7-foot-7, 500-pound half-ape, half-human creature near a stream. They also claim to have spotted about three similar living creatures -- and showed reporters video stills of what they say is one of those creatures shadowing them through the woods. Video Watch report of scientist skeptical of Bigfoot claim »
The announcement, which the men first made on the Internet radio show "Squatch Detective" several weeks ago, has been greeted with healthy skepticism, even among some Bigfoot enthusiasts.
Scientists, including the head of North Georgia College and State University's biology department, have said it's unlikely a tribe of 7-foot-tall creatures would have avoided discovery in a region popular among hikers, hunters and vacationers.
* SciTech blog: Bigfoot's first press conference
* Body proves Bigfoot no myth, hunters say
Several Web sites have popped up questioning the claim and comparing a photo that the men say is the creature's body inside a freezer to a widely available Bigfoot costume.
On Friday, Whitton acknowledged creating a pair of videos posted on the Internet video site YouTube, one in which his brother poses as a scientist and another in which Whitton briefly seems to admit that the body is a fake.
"It seems that the stalkers have busted us in a hoax," he says in the video. But then adds, "we still have a corpse. We just wanted to give you something to do for the weekend."
At Friday's news conference, Whitton first said that no video existed in which he calls the discovery a hoax.
But after speaking to Tom Biscardi, the self-described "Real Bigfoot Hunter" who has been searching for the creature of legend since 1971, he said the video was made "to have a little fun with it" and was originally intended to throw off the "psychos" who had stalked him and his family since the men first made their claim. iReport.com: Have you seen 'Bigfoot'?
The two also promoted a Web site registered to Whitton on June 16 and said they plan to write a book about their experience.
Friday's news conference was held in Palo Alto, California, near the home of Biscardi. About 100 reporters and onlookers attended the event, in a hotel banquet room, including a man who shouted questions while wearing a gorilla suit.
Dyer and Whitton said they were carrying a video camera during their hike to film wildlife.
They said they handed the body over to Biscardi, who is keeping it at an undisclosed location until a team of scientists can examine it.
One of the two photographs the men gave to reporters Friday showed what appears to be the creature's mouth, an effort to disprove allegations that what's in the photo is a costume.
"I want to get to the bottom of it," Biscardi said. "I'll tell you what I've seen and what I've touched and what I've felt, what I've prodded was not a mask sewed onto a bear hide, OK?"
Biscardi acknowledged that he promoted a fake Bigfoot discovery in 1995, saying the woman who claimed to have the body convinced his staff members before he visited her and discovered that she was mentally ill.
Alleged Bigfoot sightings have surfaced from time to time for years, dating to at least the 1800s. The most famous was the so-called Patterson film from 1967, which is purported to show a tall, furry, apelike creature walking along, at one point looking over its shoulder at the videographer.
Most scientists who have studied the film say there's no way to authenticate it, and many say the creature appears to be a man in a costume
Posted by Jason Weber at 6:27 PM
Saturday, August 16, 2008
PALO ALTO, California (Aug. 15) - Bigfoot remains as elusive as ever.
Results from tests on genetic material from alleged remains of one of the mythical half-ape and half-human creatures, made public at a news conference on Friday held after the claimed discovery swept the Internet, failed to prove its existence.
Bigfoot Legend Lives On
Tom Biscardi, head of a group called Searching for Bigfoot, backs the claims of two men who say they discovered remains from Bigfoot. At a press conference in Palo Alto, Calif., Friday he holds a photo that he says shows the mouth of Bigfoot.
Its spread was fueled by a photograph of a hairy heap, bearing a close resemblance to a shaggy full-body gorilla costume, stuffed into a container resembling a refrigerator.
One of the two samples of DNA said to prove the existence of the Bigfoot came from a human and the other was 96 percent from an opossum, according to Curt Nelson, a scientist at the University of Minnesota who performed the DNA analysis.
Bigfoot creatures are said to live in the forests of the U.S. Pacific Northwest. An opossum is a marsupial about the size of a house cat.
Results of the DNA tests were revealed in an e-mail from Nelson and distributed at the Palo Alto, California, news conference held by Tom Biscardi, host of a weekly online radio show about the Bigfoot.
Also present were Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer, the two who say they discovered the Bigfoot corpse while hiking in the woods of northern Georgia. They also are co-owners of a company that offers Bigfoot merchandise.
Despite the dubious photo and the commercial interests of the alleged discoverers, the Bigfoot claim drew interest from Australia to Europe and even The New York Times.
Biscardi said the DNA samples may not have been taken correctly and may have been contaminated, and that he would proceed with an autopsy of the alleged Bigfoot remains, currently in a freezer at an undisclosed location.
Posted by Jason Weber at 11:23 AM
Two Georgia men claim to have found in the northern woods of that state something that has been often reported but never proven to exist: a Bigfoot.
They say they have a body, photos of the body, and DNA evidence — some or all of which will be revealed this Friday, Aug. 15, at a press conference in Palo Alto, Calif.
If the group does have a Bigfoot carcass (and if they actually show the body, instead merely displaying photographs of a supposed body), then perhaps scientists will take note. Still, it's not clear how, exactly, the group will prove that what they have is a Bigfoot. Because there is no comparison specimen, there is no DNA analysis that can definitively identify Bigfoot tissue.
Posted by Jason Weber at 9:51 AM
Friday, August 15, 2008
The creature was found by Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer (residents of Georgia) in the woods in northern Georgia. (The exact location is being kept secret to protect the creatures.)
Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer will be flying in from Georgia to be at the press conference. Also present at the press conference will be Tom Biscardi, CEO of Searching for Bigfoot, Inc.
Whitton is a Clayton County, Georgia, police officer, who is currently on administrative leave after being wounded in the course of duty pursuing an alleged felon.
Posted by Jason Weber at 9:20 PM