Hoax revealed at last!

POSTED 1 APR 2004
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Proof at last that bigfoot hailed from the Northwest!

A crackerjack Yankee fan, bigfoot preferred cold suds and pretzels.

He may not have a scientific name, but bigfoot liked to talk issues as much as the next humanoid.

polaroid of big foot walking away through woodsRemember the 1967 home-movie classic showing the abominable snowman traipsing through the forest? Sasquatch, AKA bigfoot, was supposedly a huge, humanoid hunk that gallivanted through the woods -- imagine a hairy hybrid of Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Bigfoot caught in his natural habitat, in a photo leaked to the press April Fool's day, 2004.

One of the most durable legends of the Northwest, bigfoot just would not go away, despite the fact that nobody could prove its existence.

April Fool's! Turns out that the neo-Neanderthal in the flick was actually Bob Heironimus, a Pepsi bottler from Washington state who donned a gorilla suit and loped through the forest for a good purpose: He got paid for it.

polaroid pic of bigfoot at Mt. Rushmore That, at least, is the word from The Making of Bigfoot, a 2004 book by Greg Long. Long has tracked the gorilla-suit merchant who sold the gorilla suit to filmmaker Roger Patterson. Although Patterson died in 1972, his movie lived to become the "best evidence" for bigfoot.

Now, Heironimus has recanted, saying his conscience finally got the better of him. "It's time people knew it was a hoax," he told the Washington Post (see "Reliable Source" in the bibliography). "It's time to let this thing go. I've been burdened with this for 36 years, seeing the film clip on TV numerous times. Somebody's making lots of money off this, except for me. But that's not the issue -- the issue is that it's time to finally let people know the truth."

Proof. Positive?
polaroid of July 20, 1969 polaroid of bigfoot on moon with Aldrin Sounds like an honest confession to us. But not to some of the legions of bigfoot fanciers. When your best evidence for a mysterious creature dives into the dumpster of history, you might want to suspend your belief. But bigfoot is a durable legend. Even famed primate researcher Jane Goodall would not admit that bigfoot is a hoax, or close the door on the possibility that unknown humanoids are not afoot somewhere. In remarks issued through a representative just after Heironimus's historic revelation, Goodall alluded to the quantity of first-person evidence for a variety of potential close relatives:

Duende, a resident of Belize.

The "wildman" of China. small green bigfoot

Batutut, a four-foot-tall "ghost" of Borneo.

A small, stinky, ape-like man of Mato Grosso State, Brazil.

polaroid: bigfoot enters StarbucksLogically speaking, Goodall's good on this point: Science cannot prove a negative. It's impossible to prove that bigfoot or its many relatives around the world are pure fiction. And just because Heironimus debunked the best evidence, that does not disprove other evidence.

But years of empty-handed searches for bigfoot and his ilk makes their existence more and more dubious. And that's true even though the searchers have concocted the high-falutin' "scientific discipline" of "cryptozoology." In their websites, you can find some awful convincing evidence of strange critters. Take the sludge creature, a "strange thing found somewhere i (sic) cant (sic) remember."

Although nobody has dragged the best proof - a bigfoot carcass -- out of the woods, plenty of people have seen footprints. (Is bigfoot hunter-proof?) polaroid of 'bigfoot' at yankee stadium

As the many people who have taken bigfoot seriously try to confront the unveiling of a 36-year April Fool's joke, we Why Filers want to know. Why do some people want to believe the unbelievable? Why lend credence to a humanoid creature that has eluded cameras, rifles, and scientists for more than a century?

Bigfoot may have started as a legend, but it's been fueled by coverage on TV magazine shows over the past two decades, says Glenn Sparks, a professor of communication at Purdue University. "When you have a credible communications medium like TV, that people generally believe when it handles news, and you have these stories presented over and over, in a semi-news format, that conveys a powerful credibility."

polaroid: bigfoot mimics statue on the steps of the capitol Oddly, he says, that remains true even if the televised evidence is severely wanting. "The very fact that TV is treating these stories in a way that suggests that they might be believed creates a willingness to at least consider the plausibility of the story."

In other words, we'll cover the story. What me worry if it's true or false?

Should you believe?
But Sasquatch is older than the television tabloids. Indeed, Sparks, who studies how media cover the paranormal, says the growing reach of science has sparked a reaction among people who want to shield some parts of life from science. "I believe there's a kind of anti-science movement out there... In an age of technology, certain people may have a need to react against what they see as scientific determinism. The more science progresses, discovers, the more people want to try to hang on. ... There's some kind of deeply seated need to have something that's unexplainable." polaroid: bigfoot seated at the State of the Union address

So The Why Files started out searching for gullibility, and ended up talking about credulity.

Was bigfoot a political animal?

Whatever. In the meantime, we need to get ourselves over to Big Saul's Big-and-Tall Shop. We hear they got some mighty hairy customers in the fitting room!

And then it's over to Loch Ness for a quick dip with Nessie...

-- David Tenenbaumlittle bigfoot

Bibliography
The Reliable Source, Richard Leiby, The Washington Post, Mar. 7, 2004.

Bigfoot FAQ

Crypto photo gallery.

 

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