Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Moron Report #17: Bigfoot and Ghosts

I will never understand how people can be this stupid. I understand the hucksters, the liars, and con artists. There is an obvious motivation for them, but for everyday people to be suckered in by this....

Bigfoot claim a fake, ex-enthusiast says

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- The Bigfoot in the freezer is made of rubber, a Web posting asserted Tuesday.

The initial promoter of two hikers' claim that they found the body of Bigfoot in Georgia said he has determined that the discovery was a hoax.

The body turned out to be rubber, and the two men who claimed that they found it, Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer, have admitted that it was a costume, said a posting Tuesday on the Web sites of Searching for Bigfoot Inc. and Squatchdetective.

The posting purportedly was written by Steve Kulls, who maintains the Squatchdetective Web site and hosts a similarly named Internet radio program, where the find was announced weeks ago.

In addition, Stanford University anthropologist Richard Klein said Monday that he was not aware he had been identified as participating in the project and would not be involved in any effort to examine the purported Bigfoot carcass.

Whitton and Dyer announced last week 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 said they put the carcass in a freezer and had spotted about three similar living creatures.

"We were not looking for Bigfoot," Whitton, a Clayton County, Georgia, police officer, said Friday during a news conference. "We wouldn't know what we were doing if we did."

He and Dyer insisted that scientific analysis would bear out their claim.

The hoax was discovered after an "expedited melting process," Kulls wrote. "A break appeared up near the feet area ... as the team and I began examining this area near the feet, I observed the foot which looked unnatural, reached in and confirmed it was a rubber foot."

Kulls said he contacted Tom Biscardi, the self-described "Real Bigfoot Hunter" who has been searching since 1971 for the creature of legend and appeared alongside Whitton and Dyer at the news conference.

"Later that day, Tom Biscardi informed us that both Matthew Whitton and Ricky Dyer admitted it was a costume," the posting said.

Whitton and Dyer reportedly agreed to sign a promissory note and an admission of the hoax and meet with Biscardi at their hotel on Sunday. But when Biscardi went to the hotel, the two had left, Kulls wrote.

"At this time, action is being instigated against the perpetrators," the posting said, adding that the motives behind the claims were unknown. Do you believe in Bigfoot?

The posting said Biscardi's organization, Searching for Bigfoot Inc., "is seeking justice for themselves and for all the people who were deceived by this deception."

Kulls did not immediately return a call to the Squatchdetective contact number. A woman answering the phone at Searching for Bigfoot Inc. said Biscardi had been ill and said she was not sure when he would be returning calls.

A number listed as belonging to Matthew Whitton was disconnected as of Tuesday. Efforts to locate a phone number for Dyer on Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Dyer and Whitton failed to show up Monday for a scheduled appearance on CNN's "American Morning."

Kulls said that at the time he first interviewed Dyer on July 28 for the radio program, he suspected the duo's motive was financial. On August 12, he said, the two "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 body: "something appearing large, hairy and frozen in ice," Kulls wrote.

Dyer, he said, insisted on holding the news conference and told Biscardi he would not release the body unless the briefing was held Friday.

On Sunday, the research team was able to extract some hair and burn it. The hair sample "melted into a ball uncharacteristic of hair," Kulls wrote.

Biscardi then gave the group permission to expedite the melting process, and the rubber foot was discovered, Kulls wrote.

Meanwhile, Klein, the Stanford professor, said Monday that he was "sorry that my name and Stanford's name have been brought into this."

Klein's name was mentioned Friday as one of four scientists, two of them Russian, who would analyze the corpse. Klein said he was unaware that Biscardi had identified him.

He said he had been contacted by Biscardi in the past and responded to a request to examine bones that were identified as coming from a deer.

"He seems like a nice enough guy," Klein said, "but I can't imagine why anyone would devote their lives to proving the existence [of Bigfoot]. Anything has a remote chance of being true, but there is virtually no prospect of this animal being real."

It is not just the bigfoot craze, either. Just look at the spate of ghost "reality shows" on tv. I understand it is cheaper than hiring actors, writers, sets, and support crew, which is the reason why reality tv exists, but they could just as easily have shows on something real. I also have no doubt that this is a response to a market demand for these kinds of programs (as well as the owners of these haunted houses looking for tourist dollars), but why? Why would anyone believe in this nonsense?

Yes, I might sound mean to these believers, but in all seriousness, if one sincerely believes in ghosts then you believe a human being has something like a soul, one that transmits after they die, and a soul that apparently wants to communicate with the living after death. Never mind the concept of the afterlife. It is the non-physical world that I have a problem with. Notice that in these shows, they have never actually encountered a visible ghost. It is always a bucket, chair, table, shadow, or some other prop. How can anyone not get the hint?

To all of the ghosts believers, I will say this. I remain a good agnostic, like all social scientists. I am willing to believe. Just tell your apparition, floating phantasm, or poltergeist to come over to my house and visit yours truly. In fact, on the off chance your imagination, I mean your ghost, is reading this, I challenge it to visit me.

For the record, I have been making this challenge since childhood and I have yet to encounter a single spirit. In fact, in high school, we used to take our dates to a local cemetery (usually, to scare our dates [everyone has a local cemetery that is supposed to be haunted or frequented by devil worshipers]), and in all that time not one Casper (friendly or otherwise) has appeared (no devil worshipers, either). I even played with a Ouija board after watching The Exorcist. Nothing. So, dear believers, bring up your dead uncle or aunt. They are all more than welcome to stop by my place anytime they want, right alongside Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the tooth fairy.

Wait, believers, I see it.

There it is.

There it is.



David Gerard said...

But how could anyone have ever doubted those guys?

TA said... Heinlein, Geist, and countless others, have said, "Never underestimate the stupidity of the general public."

movie buff said...

i'm still trying to figure out if "Sasquatch" is Bigfoot's name, or if that's the name of his species