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Bigfoot and Elvis are laughing at us

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By James Roberts

For as long as I can remember, I've been fascinated by cryptozoology - the study of and search for animals yet to be classified. Things like the yeti, the Loch Ness monster and the abominable snowman grabbed my attention at a young age and have managed to hold me in their grip ever since.

Naturally, I was drawn into the story of two north Georgia men who said they had inarguable proof of the ever-elusive Bigfoot. They had a body stuffed in their deep freezer.

Sketchy at best, but these guys had an air of credibility. One, Matt Whitton, is a police officer and the other, Rick Dyer, is a former corrections officer. Though he is on medical leave from the police force, Whitton certainly wouldn't perpetrate a hoax, I thought. It would easily cost him his job.

Well, Whitton was fired on Aug. 19, five days after he and Dyer threw a press conference in California to unveil a couple of poorly shot photos.

Needless to say, the whole thing was a hoax.

Tom Biscardi, a self-described Bigfoot tracker and head of Searching For Bigfoot, paid the men thousands of dollars for the alleged Bigfoot body, which was encased in a chunk of ice when his researchers began thawing it out. And once it was thawed, it was discovered to be a rubber suit filled with animal parts.

The press conference was heavily covered, with the story getting play in Time Magazine, USA Today, CNN and Fox News. Much of the coverage was tongue-in-cheek and rightfully so.

The hoax began to come to light in the days following the press conference. Steve Kulls, head of Squatchdetective.com and host of Squatchdetective Radio [yes, apparently there is such a thing] posted details of the hoax on the Searching for Bigfoot Web site.

In his post, Kulls said Biscardi received the Bigfoot corpsicle the day after the press conference. Allowing the ice to melt naturally, to avoid decomposition, the body wasn't accessible until the next day when a tuft of hair protruded from the ice.

Red flags were immediately raised when the hair melted when exposed to flame. Heaters were set up and the thawing process was fast tracked.

Within short order, the researchers found themselves staring down at a Halloween costume.

Biscardi hasn't disclosed how much he paid for the faux Bigfoot, but it's rumored to be in the neighborhood of $50,000. Meanwhile, the two Georgians skipped town.

Yet another "definitive" piece of evidence exposed as a hoax. I can't help but feel that somewhere, Bigfoot, chupacabra, mothman, D.B. Cooper and Elvis are on a conference call with Nessie and Champ and they are laughing their butts off.