There was much excitement about a news conference that claimed there was a frozen Bigfoot carcass which would prove the reality the fabled man-ape. It became the topic of the day in many places, and caused much Internet enthusiasm. What followed was disillusioning.
The tumult had been brought on by a press release, which followed up an announcement on Steve Kulls's Internet radio show Squatch Detective. It had been issued on August 12, 2008 and announced a "BIGFOOT BODY FOUND" and further indicated that "DNA evidence and photo evidence of the creature [would] be presented in a press conference on Friday, August 15th from 12 Noon to 1:00pm at the Cabana Hotel—Palo Alto at 4920 El Camino Real in Palo Alto, California, 94306." This conference was only open to the press. In the press release, the body was described as being seven feet seven inches tall, to weigh more than 500 pounds, and to be "part human and part ape-like." Further descriptions were included, but the location of the find was kept secret, supposedly to protect others of the rare species.
Tom Biscardi, the CEO of Searching for Bigfoot, Inc. (and claimed "Real Bigfoot Hunter"), was scheduled to attend the press conference. On Squatch Detective, Dyer had said that Biscardi was the only person that Matt Whitton and Rick Dyer, the possessors of the thing, wanted to verify the body.
Biscardi's doings had long been featured in the media. The December 1973 Saga magazine reported on his initial search for Bigfoot in 1973. A web-cam service in 2005, which planned to show a Bigfoot in captivity, was never activated.
But methods of publicity were different in 2008. Both Whitton and Dyer had earlier posted about their alleged find — claimed to have been discovered in the mountains of North Georgia — on their own website and on YouTube in June and July 2008.
Upon the issuance of the August 12 press release, Loren Coleman posted it with considerable excitement on his website Cryptomundo. Responses posted on the site varied from enthusiasm to more skeptical takes on the situation. One "Proriter" posted on August 12 that he had noticed that the distributor of the press release, RM Barrows, Inc., was an "interesting choice" since Barrows was a sculptor and a former TV production assistant in Hollywood. Others discussed the participation of Tom Biscardi, and what it meant to the situation.
The press conference took place and confusing DNA results were mentioned, resulting in skeptical reactions from some well-known people in the field.
In an online article at WSBTV.com, Jeffrey Meldrum, a professor at Idaho State University and a researcher of Bigfoot, stated that he found the photos exhibited at the Palo Alto news conference unconvincing, and told Scientific American that it resembled a costume. He also found Biscardi not credible.
In the same article, Matt Moneymaker, of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, described the subject of the photography as "a Halloween costume in a box." Loren Coleman exhibited skepticism, considering the probability of the hoax at 99 percent.
Steve Kulls, host of Squatchdetective Radio and its associated website squatchdetective.com, posted on Tom Biscardi's website that the "evidence" for which they paid Whitton and Dyer — who provided them an alleged Bigfoot in a block of ice – was spurious. This realization had come when tests were done. On August 16, before the ice-encased thing was fully uncovered, Kulls had tried burning its hair. This melted into a ball. When the melting was accelerated, the head was soon found to be "unusually hollow." When the feet too were exposed, it became evident that the lower extremities were constructed of rubber. Thus not long after the tantalizing buildup, came the letdown, that the "creature" was actually a rubber suit filled with slaughterhouse byproducts and roadkill.
The two men who had provided the ape suit on ice, Whitton (an officer of the Clayton County Police Department) and Dyer (once a Georgia corrections officer), had been bragging before the revelations. Whitton had said that those who had belittled them would have “to eat their words.”
That did not happen.
After the revelation of the fake, Coleman compiled a timeline on the development of the hoax, entitled "Ultimate GA Bigfoot Hoax Timeline: 2008" (which continued from a 1958-2007 timeline also compiled by Coleman). It informatively connected the activities of some of the major players, particularly the interplay of Biscardi, Whitton, Dyer, and Kulls — and included the early Clayton county Daily News and Atlanta coverage. At this point, Coleman termed his earlier August 12 posting as one of "skeptical optimism."
The timeline was particularly effective at charting at how the hoax played out in the media, and some of the financial deals involved.
Consequences followed. Whitton had been on medical leave. His police chief, Jeff Turner, worked on paperwork to terminate Whitton's employment because of the integrity issues involved. Since Whitton had lied to the international media, any defense lawyer could in the future question his truthfulness in court.
On August 19, telephone calls to Whitton and Dyer were not returned by them. Their voicemail spiel — which told of their search for the Loch Ness Monster and leprechauns — had been updated to also include their search for dinosaurs and big cats.
CNN affiliate WSB ran video about Whitton and Dyer talking about how their fun "...got legs and ran." They claimed it was all a joke that got out of control.
Biscardi's Searching for Bigfoot, Inc. website, in an August 19 posting, claimed to be "seeking justice for themselves and for all the people who were deceived by this deception."
Whitton and Dyer, however, used their notoriety in media pursuits. Their website bigfoottracker.com asked: "DO YOU KNOW OF A HAUNTED HOUSE, HOTEL, OR ANY KIND OF HOAX? IT TAKES HOAXERS TO BUST A HOAX!" This tied into their YouTube show "Hoax Busters."
The Bigfoot brouhaha may not have proven the existence of the man-ape, but instead of a public hungry for its manifestation.
— Douglas Chapman
CNN.com, http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/08/19/bigfoot.hoax/index.html, 8/19/08
WSBTV.com, http://www.wsbtv.com/print/17197939/detail.html, 8/15/08
USA Today, http://www.usatoday.com/news/topstories/2008-08-19-2373725042_x.htm, 8/20/08
Cryptomundo, Ultimate GA Bigfoot Hoax Timeline: 2008, http://www.cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo-news/hoax-tl-08/
Cryptomundo, Tom Biscardi: 35 Years Ago (Reprint from Saga Magazine December 1973): http://www.cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo-news/biscardi-35
Tom Biscardi — Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Biscardi
YouTube — BIGFOOT found in Georgia — PICTURES OF DEAD BODY Yeti Sasquatch, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdLZl7l9PVQ
YouTube — Bigfoot Hoaxers reveal 'Joke,' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhXHZa3GLHg&feature=related