Thursday, August 21, 2008

Georgia Bigfoot Hoax: Rube Duped by Sophisticated Humor?

I'd probably be a little cautious about giving someone $50,000 for a Bigfoot carcass. Or for anything else.

But Bigfoot hunter Tom Biscardi and his Searching For Bigfoot, Inc., without first seeing what they were getting, paid that sum for a Sasquatch suit.

In a way, it's nice to know that there are still such naive, trusting people in the world. Searching For Bigfoot, Inc., willingly gave a couple of total strangers enough money to buy a house. Even though these strangers advertised that they'd go looking for leprechauns, dinosaurs, or Elvis for about $500 a pop.

One of the Georgia hoaxers said that anyone should have realized that they weren't serious: "Well, we told 10 different stories," he said. "Everyone knew we were lying." (CNN)

Except, apparently, Bigfoot hunter Tom Biscardi.

Cultural Differences and Bigfoot Seekers

Perhaps I shouldn't judge Tom Biscardi and the people at Searching for Bigfoot, Inc., too harshly. The organization is located in Menlo Park, California: near Palo Alto, at the south end of San Francisco Bay.


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Menlo Park is part of a built-up area stretching from San Francisco to San Jose.

In contrast, Clayton County, Georgia, is in the southern portion of Atlanta's metropolitan area.


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The suburbs of Atlanta are hardly 'the boonies,' at least by my standards. However, Clayton County says that it "...has a relaxed and neighborly feel like a small town, but with all the amenities of a major metropolitan area...."

Based on this description, and the demeanor of the two hoaxers, I suspect that I'd find the same level of intellectual rigor there, as I have become accustomed to here in central Minnesota.

It's possible that the staff of Searching For Bigfoot, Inc., are not sensitive to nuances in the sort of humor that seems to flourish in semi-rural areas. Bigfoot hunter Tom Biscardi and his associates may have been out of their depth, culturally speaking.

If I encountered people who offered to look for Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, Leprechauns, or Elvis, for a price, I believe that I would be amused: recognizing their enterprise as one that dealt with creatures of the mind: like Jackalope; or the Jackalope section of Wall Drug, in Wall, South Dakota.

But I wouldn't take them very seriously. And I can't see myself giving someone enough money to buy a house, for a 'Bigfoot carcass' that I'd never seen.

Seriously, Now

One of the Bigfoot hoaxers said, "...what's so bad about Bigfoot? Nobody got hurt...." I suppose it depends on what you mean by "hurt." Mr. Biscardi didn't get cut or bruised, so if "hurt" means strictly physical damage, nobody got hurt.

On the other hand, $50,000 is a lot of money, at least for someone like me. losing a wad like that would hurt a great deal, financially.

And then, there's the self-inflicted hurt that Mr. Biscardi suffered, by telling the nation that the rubber Bigfoot was the real thing - and that he had a photo to prove it. His reputation, at least outside the Bigfoot believer community, is not all that good right now.

As for the legal action that Bigfoot hunter Biscardi and his Searching For Bigfoot, Inc., are considering: In their position, I wouldn't want to keep reminding people that I bought a $50,000 Halloween costume. While under the impression that it was Bigfoot.

I'm not at all sure that I believe the 'it was a joke' explanation.

On the other hand, I think that Mr. Biscardi and company might consider chalking that fifty grand up to 'educational expenses.' Let's hope they learned something about Bigfoot, leprechauns, unicorns, and gullibility.

Finally, a Word About Gravitational Anomalies

Since there may be someone out there who is interested in physics, and has Mr. Biscardi's iron grip on plausibility, this may be useful.

The following places, and others like them, are a whole lot of fun. But, despite the side-show-style hype that's part of the entertainment, they're not 'real:' There's a pretty good explanation of the science and psychology behind 'mystery houses' at "Mystery Spots Explained" (SandlotScience.com).

(Finally, although it gets lumped in with "mystery houses," the "Winchester Mystery House" on the other hand, is what can happen when someone with a great deal of money, and time on their hands, gets quirky ideas about remodeling a house.)

Previous post about the Georgia Bigfoot Hoax: "Bigfoot in Georgia: Hoax, or Scientific Breakthrough? " (August 20, 2008)

Bigfoot Hoaxers in the news:
  • "Bigfoot hoaxers say it was just 'a big joke' "
    CNN (August 21, 2008)
    • "ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- The two men who claimed to have found the carcass of Bigfoot have surfaced to say: Hey, it was just a joke.
    • "Not everyone is laughing.
    • "In an exclusive interview with CNN affiliate WSB, the two hoaxers -- car salesman Rick Dyer and now-fired police officer Matt Whitton -- said the whole situation began as a joke and then got out of hand.
    • " 'It's just a big hoax, a big joke,' Dyer told WSB.
    • " 'It's Bigfoot,' Dyer explained. 'Bigfoot doesn't exist.'
    • "Whitton chimed in: 'All this was a big joke. It got into something way bigger than it was supposed to be.' "
  • "Bigfoot Hoaxers Resurface, Blame California Promoter"
    FOXNews (August 21, 2008)
    • "Bigfoot hoaxers Rick Dyer and Matthew Whitton are back in the limelight — and they're blaming Tom Biscardi, the California promoter who trotted them out for a nationally televised press conference last Friday.
    • "Back home in Georgia after their brief moment in the big time, Dyer and Whitton told two Atlanta TV stations Wednesday that the entire affair was a 'joke' that got out of hand.
    • " 'I just wanted to put out some good news,' Dyer told Joanna Massee of WGCL-TV. 'People are upset with the war and stuff — what's so bad about Bigfoot? Nobody got hurt.'

5 comments:

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Brigid said...

Hehehe.

A joke? Seriously? If so then this guy should be willing to give the money back. After all, he wasn't expecting anyone to take him seriously.

Search Engine Optimisation said...

i wont say this is sophisticated .

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Brigid,

Yeah. At $5, I'd be more willing to think the scam was a joke. Another four zeroes after the five, and it's not quite so funny.

As I said, I don't really buy the "joke" explanation.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Search Engine Optimisation,

I do see your point.

On the other hand, this obvious gag and/or scam went flying well over the head of Bigfoot hunter Tom Biscardi, from Menlo Park.

Perhaps "sophisticated" isn't the right word. Maybe "subtle," or "plausible?"

Any way this bizarre story is sliced: that fellow from the San Francisco Bay area got hoodwinked by a couple of young men from Georgia.

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