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Bigfoot's Body


A photograph of the alleged body of a Bigfoot, lying in a large freezer. The body is covered in dark brown fur and has been wedged inside the freezer as it is too large to lie straight.

In 2023, I doubt there are many people who don't know about the legendary cryptid known as Bigfoot, but just in case there are, here is a quick primer.


Bigfoot, or Sasquatch, is a humanoid cryptid said to roam the forests of North America, particularly in the Pacific Northwest. It is most commonly described as a large, muscular ape-like or hairy human-like creature. It stands on two legs and is usually said to be between 6-9 feet (1.8-2.7m) tall, and described as being covered in dark brown or dark reddish hair. Its feet are also said to be uncommonly large, hence the name "Bigfoot" - sightings and casts alleged to be of the creature's feet have claimed to be as much as 24 inches long and eight inches wide. Stories of mysterious, hair-covered creatures have existed in Native American stories and legends for centuries before the contemporary reports that make up the modern story of Bigfoot emerged.


Some believe Bigfoot to be a type of hominid previously thought to be extinct; a so-called "Missing Link" between man and Neanderthal; or an undocumented species of primate are the most common theories for the cryptid's origins. A few believe them to be connected to UFOs and aliens, or that they are from another dimension, or are part of a government cover-up. Those more skeptical claim that Bigfoot sightings are in fact misidentified bears standing on two legs, or are outright hoaxes.


(At some point I'll do a much more comprehensive write-up on Bigfoot, but this will do for now.)


Every now and then, people will come forward with what they claim to be physical evidence of Bigfoot. Usually, this takes the form of a plaster cast of a very large foot; occasionally it's a clump of hair. In 2008, however, two men came forward with a claim that rocked the cryptozoology world - they claimed to have discovered the body of a dead Bigfoot.


The two men who were claiming to have made this momentous discovery were Rick Dyer and Matt Whitton. Dyer was a former corrections officer and Whitton was a police officer who was, at that time, on administrative leave after being shot in the wrist by a robbery suspect. The two men said that they had been out hiking somewhere in the Georgia woods (they refused to give the exact location to protect the other Bigfoot - Bigfeet? - that they claimed were still living in the area) when they had come across the body of a "half-human, half-ape" creature lying by a stream. According to the two men, the creature was:

  • 7 feet 7 inches tall

  • over 500lbs (227kg) in weight

  • male

  • it had reddish hair and blackish-grey eyes

  • it had two arms, two legs, five fingers on each hand, and five toes on each foot

  • its feet were flat and similar to human feet

  • its footprint was 16 3/4 inches long and 5 3/4 inches wide at the heel

  • its hands, from the palm to the tip of the middle finger, were 11 3/4 inches long and 6 1/4 inches wide

  • the teeth were more human-like than ape-like


An alleged photograph of Bigfoot taken with a trail camera in 2007. It shows a blurry shape apparently bending over in front of a tree, in black and white.

The two men also claimed that, as they were examining the body and later carrying it away with them, several similar creatures watched them silently. Whitton said:

I recognised it was unusual right away. The first thing that pops into your head is that it's Bigfoot.

The two men brought the body back with them, then put it in a freezer for two months until announcing their discovery with a website, press conference, (blurry) photographs, and a promise of DNA proof to finally confirm the existence of Bigfoot once and for all. They even got a "veteran Bigfoot hunter", Tim Biscardi, to partner with them for their press conferences and announcements. Biscardi is a cryptozoologist who describes himself as the "Real Bigfoot Hunter". Dyer and Whitton said that they had specifically sought Biscardi out because "You type in "Bigfoot" and that's the name that comes up," according to Dyer.


But Biscardi's involvement in this find made some people instantly suspicious. Biscardi's mentor in the Bigfoot world was Ivan Marx, a well-known Bigfoot hoaxer of the 1960s and 70s. In 2005 Biscardi said on Coast to Coast AM that he was "98% sure" he would be able to capture a live Bigfoot near Happy Camp, California. One month later he was back to announce that he had access to a live, captured Bigfoot, and for just $14 people could access video footage via webcam. Then, at the very last minute, Biscardi claimed that he had been "hoodwinked" and that the "captured Bigfoot" didn't really exist.


This time it was different though. Of this newly-found Bigfoot corpse - which had been named "RICKMAT" after the two men who found it - Biscardi stated:

I got to tell you, it was a euphoric experience for me. What I seen [sic], what I touched... Was not a mask sewn onto a body.

This enthusiasm was not shared by others. Matt Moneymaker, president and founder of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organisation, said of the find: "Discovery? It's a hoax. It's a Halloween costume in a box." Professor Jeff Meldrum, who teaches anatomy and anthropology at Idaho State University and is also considered to be a leading Sasquatch researcher, felt that there were a number of "red flags" in the case, the biggest of which was Biscardi's involvement: "He does not carry a reputation of credibility."


The three men promised the moon, so to speak, with regard to RICKMAT - including the promise of a DNA analysis and a documentary showing the scientific study of the creature that would be performed by a team of scientists, including two "Russian hominid scientists". But by August 19, everything had fallen apart. According to Biscardi, he had asked another Bigfoot enthusiast, Steve Kulls - executive director of Squatchdetective.com - to investigate the body, and it didn't take Kulls long at all to discover that "RICKMAT" was not the find of the century, but in actuality just a large monkey costume stuffed in a freezer. (I know, it's a terrible and unexpected shock.) Biscardi, who only a few days earlier had been singing Dyer and Whitton's praises and talking about the almost-spiritual feelings he had experienced just touching the creature, now said that the two had "deceived him" and that he hadn't even seen the body. The hair was fake; the head was hollow; the feet were rubber; and the DNA was possum.


A photo of Rick Dyer posing with the "corpse" of another Bigfoot he claimed to have in 2008. Dyer is lying opposite the body of a very large, hair-covered humanoid in a tarpaulin; the "Bigfoot" is easily two-three times the size of Dyer.. (This also turned out to be fake)

Of Dyer, Whitton, and Biscardi, only Whitton suffered any real consequences for the hoax - he was fired from his job as a police officer. "His behaviour is unbecoming of that of a police officer," said Police Chief Jeffrey Turner. Biscardi is still the CEO and founder of BIGFOOT Projects Investments Inc, which filed for an IPO in 2013. And Dyer...


In January 2014, Rick Dyer reappeared to tell the world that he had shot and killed a Bigfoot in September 2012, just outside San Antonio, Texas. This time, Dyer assured everyone, "Hank" (the name he gave to this dead Bigfoot) was "the real deal", he had DNA and he was going to go on tour with Hank to show everyone. He did, at least, do the tour, and received $60,000 from it.


Surprising absolutely no one, however, Dyer later admitted that this was also a hoax in March 2014. He had paid Chris Russel of "Twisted Toybox" to make the fake Bigfoot corpse, but only because he was afraid that people would steal the "real" corpse (because he totally did shoot a Bigfoot dead, you have to believe him). He still wouldn't - or couldn't - produce the real thing, though.


Honestly, the thing that amazes me the most is that people were willing, again and again, to believe and even give money to proven hoaxers and conmen, apparently on little more than hope that sure this time they were finally going to be proven right.


Oh, and RICKMAT? As of 2016, he was on display at the Bell County Historical Museum in Middlesboro, Kentucky.


A photo of "RICKMAT", the fake Bigfoot used in the 2008 attempted hoax by Rick Dyer and Matt Whitton. It is a very large, and clearly fake, gorilla costume.

Sources:


Bigfoot (Wikipedia)

"Press Release" (Rickmat Official Website, via Wayback Machine)

Tom Biscardi (Wikipedia)



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