Online, Bigfoot Gets a New Lease on Life

August 15, 2008 02:22 PM
by Liz Colville
A pair of bigfoot enthusiasts holding a press conference Friday afternoon about their alleged discovery have gained a following online, as have some other fantastic creatures.

Bigfoot Thrives Online

On a Web site with several broken links, including sought-after pictures of the bigfoot itself, Searching for Bigfoot, Inc. has garnered much attention, using video, pictures and a daily radio show to make its case. Proprietors Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer also own a bigfoot touring company, Bigfoot Global LLC, and the Web site

Along with Tom Biscardi, CEO of Searching for Bigfoot, Inc., the pair is holding a press conference in Palo Alto, Calif., on Friday afternoon, August 15, to discuss the body they believe to be the remains of a bigfoot standing seven feet, seven inches tall. In the tradition of species classification, Dyer and Whitton have used their own names in naming the creature “Rickmat.” The pair’s Web site contains “vital statistics” about the discovery.

Searching for Bigfoot, Inc., whose Web site “crash[ed] under bandwidth pressures” following the announcement, is just one example of how unidentified object and creature enthusiasts are finding a more welcoming venue for their beliefs and explorations on the Web. No matter how unbelievable these ventures seem to the mainstream media, some are still being given the spotlight, as blogs shift closer to the mainstream and have the ability to quickly find and disseminate information. Arguably, the obscurer the story is, the better.

But with online attention comes plenty of debunking. LiveScience is one of many sites to root out Tom Biscardi, the CEO of the company, as the creator of a previous bigfoot “hoax.” LiveScience also notes that the bigfoot press conference is following a string of bizarre summer sightings, including the “Montauk Monster” mystery in New York’s Long Island and the revival of an alleged 2003 backyard alien visitation complete with a mock viral video and plenty of other joking video responses.

The original alien visitation clip was presented at a conference May 30 in Colorado, where several paranormal enthusiasts were trying to get an Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission onto the state’s ballot.

Opinion & Analysis: Falling for Viral Hype

Dyer and Whitton’s perseverance may be reason enough to believe their claim, writes CNET’s Chris Matyszczyk: “these are men who have dedicated themselves to the pursuit of this 7 feet, 7 inches tall, 500 pound menace. I mean, this thing is taller than Yao Ming. It is ten Yao Mings across. At least. When you make such a vast entity your life’s pursuit, then your wish will often be granted.”

But Matyszczyk’s peer at CNET, Caroline McCarthy, notes that the bigfoot was implausibly found in the state of Georgia, not the Pacific Northwest, which is the widely acknowledged home environment of the bigfoot. “What the heck was this one doing in Georgia?” McCarthy asks. “Searching for decent barbecue?”
Jeffrey Meldrum, an expert interviewed about the Georgia bigfoot in Scientific American, shared his skepticism, while noting that the general “evidence” of bigfoot that exists “fully justifies the investigation and the pursuit of this question.” Meldrum himself has written a book about the bigfoot and is a professor of anatomy and anthropology. “I’ve had interactions with Tom Biscardi in the past, and based on that history, I would say that anything he is involved in is suspect. The fact that the two Georgian men turned to him and not anyone with scientific credentials is very questionable.”

Related Topics: The Montauk Monster; ‘alien’ in Denver; chupacabra

A beached carcass in Montauk, Long Island, was photographed in July, sending a flurry of blog entries and videos across the Web. Wildlife expert Jeff Corwin told Fox News that he believed the animal to be a decomposing dog; it does not have a beak, as many have claimed, but was simply exposing its teeth as its skin and muscles decomposed. Corwin also noted that the photograph made it impossible to tell the size of the creature.

In 2003, Denver resident Stan Romanek captured an “alien” peering through his window one night, and this year a mock version of the video, created to show how easy it would be to fake, was widely circulated on the Web, as were several amusing mocks of the mock. The mock video shows a large alien peering into the window for several seconds before veering out of sight. The story was originally covered by several major media sources and was revived online after a conference was held in Colorado in May intending to promote a state-run organization to help research paranormal activities.
“It’s so amazing that anyone would believe that video is a real space alien,” said Bryan Bonner, who helped produce the mock video. “And it’s so frustrating to see that they want to use city time and tax dollars on this.”
In July 2007, after more than two dozen of her chickens had been mysteriously killed over the course of a couple of years, Phylis Canion found the carcass of a strange, doglike animal on her Texas ranch. Her neighbors found two more. Canion believed the creature was a mythical bloodsucker called the chupacabra. “I’ve seen a lot of nasty stuff. I’ve never seen anything like this,” she told the Associated Press. But while Canion sold chupacabra T-shirts, local veterinarian Travis Schaar said the fanged animal was probably just an unusual breed of dog.

Reference: Bigfoot press conference


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