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Media Article # 511

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

[Notorious huckster Tom Biscardi seeks more publicity]

By Justin Norton
Houston Chronicle

SAN FRANCISCO The latest Bigfoot sighting in Northern California isn't deep in the woods or high on a mountain, but in a courthouse.

One of the leading searchers for the creature is suing the Great American Bigfoot Research Organization for breach of contract, claiming it never paid to use keepsakes he collected in his pursuits, including a plaster impression of what he describes as the hairy beast's actual big foot.

"You can't get this stuff anywhere," C. Thomas Biscardi said Wednesday by cell phone from Texas, where he says he has spotted a Bigfoot yet again. "It's worth thousands of thousands of dollars."

Biscardi claims the suburban San Francisco company agreed to pay him $215,000 but only made one initial payment. His attorney, Dennis Kazubowski, said the company hasn't replied to repeated requests to return the items.

The company didn't immediately return a call on Wednesday seeking comment.

Bigfoot, a hairy humanoid that supposedly stands up to 8 feet tall, has long vexed legions who have taken to the American wilds to look for what some claim might be evolution's missing link. Many others scoff at the very notion of its existence.

Generations of American children were reared on the legend, which spawned television shows, films and even tours. More than 2,550 sightings have been reported in North America in the past century, according to Christopher L. Murphy's 2004 book "Meet the Sasquatch," a title referring to the creature's American Indian name.

But hoaxes have also been a large part of the Bigfoot legend. California construction company owner Ray L. Wallace donned 16-inch wooden feet to create tracks in mud in 1958, and it led to a front-page story in a local paper that coined the term "Bigfoot."

In the suit filed in Marin County Superior Court, Biscardi asked for $185,000 plus interest and the return of his rare Bigfoot stash including original film reels, magazine articles, books and pictures. He's also asking the organization not to use his name or likeness on its Web site, which was still offering Biscardi-led expeditions Wednesday.

Kazubowski said the Bigfoot expert entered a licensing agreement with research organization executives Carole Rubin and Robert Shorey in 2005 to conduct Bigfoot expeditions and allow the organization to use his collection.

The lawsuit claims Biscardi "is publicly renowned for leading the research into whether the Bigfoot creature exists."

BFRO Commentary:

Journalists, beware!

Tom Biscardi is NOT one of the "leading bigfoot researchers", but rather a well-known scam artist on the American bigfoot scene. He seeks media attention, relentlessly, to futher his scams. He should receive no attention at all.

In the 1980's Biscardi was involved in the marketing of a collection of fake bigfoot footage made by in the infamous hoaxer Ivan Marx (see John Green's "The Apes Among Us").

Then in 2005 he orchestrated the infamous "Coast-to-Coast AM" radio show scam, regarding a supposed "captured bigfoot" in California. His claims about an imminent capture of a bigfoot in Northern California dominated the popular late night radio shows for several days, like an extended Orson Wells hoax. All the while he was claiming that he would soon show the captured bigfoot to the public via a $14 web-cam subscription. Lots of people, from coast to coast, signed up to see it, assuming that it must be true if it was being talked about on the radio. On the day of reckoning (after receiving an ultimatum from the talk show host) Biscardi claimed he was "hoodwinked" by his team, and there was no captured bigfoot afterall. When the radio host, George Noory, realized the whole story was a fraud on the part of Biscardi, he demanded that Biscardi refund all the money to those who signed up for the web cam service. No one knows if those people ever got their money back.

Biscardi made minor newspaper headlines again recently when he claimed to have a preserved "baby bigfoot hand" in a jar. The "hand" has been shown to several people, including reporters. It has no thumb, and the fingertips have been cut off. An experienced hunting guide recently examined the specimen in Wisconsin and said it is the paw of a bear, or possibly a mountain lion. The fingertips have been cut off to conceal the fact that they had claws.

The skeleton of a bear paw or mountain lion paw might be mistaken for the skeleton of a human hand, but for the lack of a thumb, and the presence of claws on the fingertips. Biscardi said that some people had paid as much as $1000 for a look at this "bigfoot hand".

In recent years Biscardi's media blitzing was apparently inspired by the BFRO. Shortly after the BFRO first announced the scheduling of open-invitation bigfoot expeditions in 2003, Biscardi and his sometimes partners created a business entity called the "Great American Bigfoot Research Organization" (GABRO) in order to capitalize on the apparent popularity of the BFRO expeditions. Biscardi, a former Las Vegas promoter, tried to license the knock-off expedition company (GABRO), but it now seems that he is having trouble getting paid for it.

Biscardi has, however, succeeded in getting more media attention this time around. The wire stories are once again (sadly), bundled with frame 352 of the Patterson-Gimlin footage , which is completely unassociated with Biscardi.

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