Those who follow such things are probably already aware that two Georgia based “Bigfoot Hunters” are claiming to have the body of one of the creatures in their possession. They have been building suspense via YouTube postings and their website, www.bigfoottracker.com, for the past couple of months, claiming that the big disclosure was right around the corner, as soon as a few legal issues were resolved. As this post is being written the duo, police officer Matthew Whitton and former corrections officer Rick Dyer, who bill themselves as the world’s greatest trackers, are in Palo Alto, California, with Tom Biscardi preparing for a press conference to disclose their discovery, and possibly DNA evidence, to the media.
While some are being cautiously optimistic, most Bigfoot researchers are remaining skeptical, for various reasons. For instance Craig Woolheater, of the Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy, disclosed during a recent broadcast of the Squatchdetective internet radio program that the two principals attempted to become associated with his organization via a fictional third party, a “Dr. Paul Van Buren”, and claimed to be associated with the organization on their website when no such association existed. This has lead to some conjecture that the entire event is designed to poke fun of the Bigfoot community, a la the Penn and Teller hoax film. Dr. Jeff Meldrum has stated that their method of preserving the body, among other things, leads him to remain skeptical as well. A surgeon and a primate specialist who have examined the photos have told me that the supposed intestines lying on top of the “body” in the photo are too small to represent what they would expect to see even in the small intestines of a creature of this size. Others have noted the similarity of the creature’s face to a widely available Bigfoot costume. While the nares on the creature pictured are very similar to those seen in known primates, such as the gorilla, some eyewitnesses have stated that it does not resemble the creature they have seen. Finally there is the association with proven hoaxer Tom Biscardi, as well as inconsistencies in the story as presented via the Bigfoottracker.com website and YouTube videos and in the interview on the Squatchdetective program. For example, the duo have videos that show them involved in “Bigfoot research”, which led them to a hunter who shot this creature, but on the Squatchdetective program they claim to have not been involved in research prior to this discovery and to have stumbled across it while hiking. While they state on the program that the You Tube videos were intended to poke fun at Bigfoot researchers, they also say that the people featured in the videos are “real people” who contacted them via their tip-line. While this may simply be bad editing and/or lack of explanation on the part of the duo, it exemplifies their flippant treatment of the situation. They also claim that rigor mortis had set in when they found and transported the body out of the forest, however after about 72 hours rigor mortis releases, so the body should not have been rigid if the level of decomposition supposedly shown in the photos had time to occur. Their description of the creature as more human than ape-looking also contradicts the photo images, however they have insinuated in the Squatchdetective interview that the photo released may not be of the actual creature, reason for further skepticism from many.
While many in the Bigfoot community have taken an “I’m skeptical but I want them to prove me wrong” approach, hoping that will be enough to raise them above any fallout a hoax will have on the community, I will personally come out and say that I feel this is a hoax. There are too many elements that don’t fit, and the entire situation, from attempting to freeze the animal in a block of ice to the “sale of the body to an undisclosed millionaire” is way too reminiscent of the classic Minnesota Iceman situation.
But, I hope they prove me wrong.