By Daniel Silliman
Evidence that the dead body of a Bigfoot was found in Georgia will be unveiled in a California hotel Friday, according to a Clayton County Police officer, his friend, and a controversial, full-time Bigfoot searcher.
The three claim they will show photographs and the results of DNA testing. They describe the evidence -- purportedly proving the existence of the legendary man-ape -- as "shocking" and "undeniable."
"We have proof now. It's all here," said Tom Biscardi, a California man, who has partnered with Matt Whitton, a Clayton County police officer, and Rick Dyer, a former corrections officer, in promoting claims of the discovery.
Whitton and Dyer say they found the seven-foot-seven, 550-pound corpse in north Georgia. The two men announced the discovery in early July in online videos, on YouTube, proclaiming themselves "the best Bigfoot trackers," and advertising their web site, www.bigfoottrackers.com. The men said they were going to lead an expedition to look for Bigfoot in September, and were selling tickets for $499.
Biscardi, who has been a full time, professional Bigfoot hunter for three or four years, joined Whitton and Dyer in early August, and has orchestrated press releases, pulling in national media attention. Biscardi released a picture and announced the press conference earlier this week.
The picture supposedly shows the Bigfoot corpse crammed into a chest freezer. The accompanying announcement describes the alleged creature as seven-foot-seven, weighing more than 500 pounds, with flat, 16-inch, human-like feet and a lot of reddish hair. Biscardi, who runs www.searchingforbigfoot.com, claims the discovery has left him euphoric.
"I saw the body," he told the Clayton News Daily, Thursday. "I touched the body. It was all there."
Others are skeptical, speculating the "creature" is a hoax.
"What I've seen so far is not compelling in the least, and I think the pictures cast grave doubts on their claim. It just looks like a costume with some fake guts thrown on top for effect," said Jeffrey Meldrum, a Bigfoot researcher who is also an Idaho State University professor of anatomy and anthropology. He made those comments in an interview with Scientific American.
An anonymous letter was sent to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on July 23, and leaked to the Clayton News Daily, claiming the creature is actually "the remains of a small gorilla or chimpanzee that may have undergone some taxidermy treatment." A Fish & Wildlife spokesman, Tom McKenzie, said officers were not taking the allegations seriously, however, and weren't going to investigate anything having to do with Bigfoot.
Dyer, talking to Biscardi on Biscardi's Internet-boradcast radio show, dismissed the criticism and everyone esle who has been involved in looking for the legendary animal. "We believe 99 percent of the Bigfoot world is lunatics," he said. "That's what our videos are about. We just wanted to turn things around and make fun of the Bigfoot world, and how crazy they are."
He insisted though -- both on the radio show and to the Clayton News Daily -- that the claimed creature is real, and not a hoax meant to embarrass "the Bigfoot world."
Whitton, who is currently on medical leave from the Clayton Police Department, where he has served for six years, said the people calling the creature a hoax are just jealous.
"A lot of these people in the Bigfoot world," he said, "are just huge frauds, and the thing about it is, when we come out with the Bigfoot, and evidence of a true Bigfoot, all the fraud things they've been saying, and what they put out there as gospel, is no longer true."
The evidence will supposedly be unveiled on Friday. Meldrum, however, isn't sure how the DNA test will prove anything. He said a DNA test would, at best, yield a gene sequence that doesn't match any known primates. He also criticized the "carnival atmosphere" surrounding the two Clayton County men and Biscardi, a man who has attracted the "carny" comparison before. He has been called a huckster, a Las Vegas promoter and a scam artist since he started seeking media attention in 2004.
Loren Coleman, the author of a book about Bigfoot, who has closely followed the story of what he's skeptically calling the "Georgia Gorilla," wrote that there's some "notorious history" with Biscardi. In 2004, he was trying to raise $1.5 million in sponsorships for an expedition, according to the San Francisco Business Times. In 2005, Biscardi went on "Coast to Coast A.M.," a paranormal radio show, and claimed to have a live Bigfoot in captivity. Evidence was promised, but never delivered, and Biscardi claimed he had been hoaxed.
Coleman attacked Biscardi, at the time, but is now saying, on his blog, www.cryptomundo.com, "there is no reason that exactly the opposite kind of people that everyone wished would find Bigfoot, have tripped across one in the woods."
Whitton and Dyer also promised to tell the full story of how they found the corpse. The story they have told has changed three times: In the early videos, the animal was shot by a publicity-shy former felon, and the two men tracked it into the woods. In a second story, they were on a Bigfoot search, looking for a "family of Bigfoot" they claim to have seen in the North Georgia mountains. In a third version, they were just hiking and found it. "We guesstimate it was two days old," Dyer said. "There were a couple of open wounds."
The press conference is scheduled to be held from noon to 1 p.m., West Coast time, at the Cabana Hotel in Palo Alto, Calif. Biscardi said a transcript of the press conference will be available on his web site.
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