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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The "Sasquatch” / Bigfoot Legend

After 80 years much of the Bigfoot evidence has been discovered to be a hoax, or due to misidentification, and much of it is just useless anecdotes. What’s needed is an actual specimen.

Gigantic footprints were discovered one spring in 1958 in a northern California logging camp near Bluff Creek, and by late summer and into the fall, a bulldozer driver, Jerry Crew began to find massive 16 inch tracks in the morning in the freshly leveled dirt around his machine. He cast the footprints in plaster and took them to a local paper which ran a story, giving rise to the term “Bigfoot” and sparking a flurry of worldwide interest.

The mystery was solved in 2002 when the family of Ray Wallace, the construction contractor who supervised workers at the foot print site, announced in Wallace’s obituary that he had hoaxed the prints. While there was a certain amount of denial by Bigfoot researchers, Wallace had a decades-long history of producing jokes and hoaxes. Ray had a friend carve him 16-inch-long feet that he could strap on and make prints with. So it can all be blamed on Ray Wallace: Bigfoot is a hoax that was launched in August 1958.

Patterson’s famous Bigfoot photo of a guy in an ape suit

Bluff Creek footage was also the site of the next Bigfoot sensation—actual footage of a lanky ape-man loping along a stream bed—the famous Patterson film.

In 2004, Greg Long published “The Making of Bigfoot: The Inside Story” which examined Roger Patterson’s character. Long discovered that there was no lack of witnesses—neighbors, friends, business associates and even Bigfoot researchers—who would describe Patterson as a shady character who engaged in check fraud and other scams and who couldn’t be trusted. Ironically the film he used at Bluff Creek was purchased with a bad check, and he was arrested for grand larceny for stealing the camera he used. Before the Bluff Creek footage was shot, Patterson made several low-budget Bigfoot films that showed he had plenty of experience creating fake Bigfoot-related footage. Long also claimed he uncovered the actual “man in the suit,” Bob Heironimus, who had acted in Patterson’s other Bigfoot films. Considering Patterson’s reputation it’s difficult to understand why Bigfoot researchers haven’t been more suspicious of the film.

Bob Heironimus claims to have been the figure depicted in the Patterson film, and his allegations are detailed in Long's book. Heironimus was a tall (6 ft), muscular Yakima, Washington native, age 26, when he says Patterson offered him $1,000 to wear an ape suit for a Bigfoot film.

Long uncovered testimony that he contends corroborates Heironimus's claims: Russ Bohannon, a longtime friend, says that Heironimus revealed the hoax privately in 1968 or 1969. Heironimus says he did not publicly discuss his role in the hoax because he hoped to be repaid eventually. In separate incidents, Bob Heironimus and Heironimus's relatives (mother Opal and nephew John Miller) claim to have seen an ape suit in Heironimus' car.

After 80 years much of the Bigfoot evidence has been discovered to be a hoax, or due to misidentification, and much of it is just useless anecdotes. What’s needed is an actual specimen. Until a specimen is produced the skeptics will continue to hold the field.

Researcher says bigfoot just a rubber gorilla suit
The Associated Press
ATLANTA August 20, 2008

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.

They claim their hoax was not for profit, but Atlanta residents Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer received $50,000 from a California Bigfoot tracker who now plans to sue to get the money back.

The two Georgia men’s tale of having found a Bigfoot carcass in the North Georgia woods really started to stink when California Bigfoot enthusiasts finally examined the body and found it was just a costume.

“There will be legal action” said Catherine Ortez, who works for Searching for Bigfoot, Inc. in in Menlo Park, Calif. The organization paid for rights to the men’s story and their find. “If this was a joke, it was very methodical and thought-out,” she said.

The Searching site was founded by Tom Biscardi, who authenticated and promoted the alleged Georgia Sasquatch. Biscardi, who did not return calls requesting comment, has his own credibility issues, according to a police officer in a nearby jurisdiction.

“He was involved in a similar hoax a few years back,” said Agent Dan Ryan with the Palo Alto (Calif.) Police Department.

Much of this info from the Skeptics Society: