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The 2008 Dead Bigfoot Hoax from Georgia

by Matthew Moneymaker




The Georgia Hoax was the biggest bigfoot story of 2008. The story was followed by a few thousand newspapers around the world, including every newspaper in the English speaking world.

The hoax started in Georgia and then went big-time when a veteran media hoaxer got involved. The media attention reached its peak in August of 2008 shortly before the scam was revealed.


The Original Motivation for the Georgia Body Hoax


The YouTube Videos by the Georgia Boys

The BFRO Debunks the Hoax and Identifies the Costume

Subsequent Confusion with Legitimate Researchers

A New Form of Punishment

The Rap Sheet on Carmine (Tom) Biscardi

$50,000 for the Georgia Boys

The Impact on Legitimate Bigfoot Research





The Original Motivation for the Hoax


The original motivation for the Georgia Body hoax was the attempt by sheriff deputy Matt Whitton, and used car salesman Rick Dyer, to offer expeditions like the BFRO. Bigfoot expeditions looked like a great business to them, because the BFRO's expedition often sell out months in advance. They saw an opportunity to attract the people who didn't sign up for the BFRO's trips in time.

This same motivation was shared by the infamous hoaxer Carmine (Tom) Biscardi. Years before this hoax Biscardi had started a company called the "Great American Bigfoot Field Research Organization" (GABFRO) in a blatant attempt to confuse people who had heard about BFRO expeditions. Biscardi, a former Las Vegas promoter, eventually changed the name of his business entity to "Searching for Bigfoot, Inc."

Even with a relentless publicity campaign to advertise his expeditions, no one signed up. As his money started to run out he became increasingly desperate for media attention. He saw the potential in the Georgia body story for a lot of free publicity, so he jumped in to advise and partner with the Georgia boys. With the help of tantalizing press releases television he managed to bring nation-wide TV coverage to his bizarre, self-promoting press conference in Palo Alto. This press conference fulfilled the fantasy he had for decades -- a live press conference wherein he could command the attention (momentarily) of all major news media networks, and thereby proclaim himself to be "the real bigfoot hunter" ... It was both madness, and a scam.




The YouTube Videos by the Georgia Boys


In the process of trying to draw attention to their phony expedition business, the Georgia boys noticed that some incredulous critics suddenly became extremely polite, and even helpful, when the boys began claiming that they had in their possession the body of a dead bigfoot. That particular lie struck a curious chord in many people, as if the boys claimed to have had a vision of the Virgin Mary. Like a vision of the Virgin Mary, the claim of having the body of a dead bigfoot touched a nerve in many people -- a superstitious nerve that makes them both fearful and hopeful at the same time. The Georgia boys saw this happening so they began promoting the "dead bigfoot" lie with full force, and even more ludicrous videos on YouTube.

The fact that Whitton was a sheriff deputy is ultimately what made the hoax go as far as it did. Most people, including those in the media, assumed that a sheriff deputy would not put his reputation and career on the line by promoting a hoax that was bound to unravel in disgrace. It didn't make sense, so the Georgia boys were given the benefit of the doubt by the world media.

When Biscardi stepped into the picture he convinced the two Georiga boys that there was a way for everyone involved to make a lot of money quickly. He convinced them that they had nothing to worry about, and they would all make out like bandits before the hoax finally unravelled. The Georgia Boys took the matter as far as they did because they knew hoaxes are was not illegal, if the claims were only made to the news media and the boys never made a false report to local authorities.

The two Georgia boys did make a few thousand dollars from the hoax, but deputy Whitton lost his career in disgrace. His partner and motivator, Rick Dyer, lost nothing in the process because he had no career to lose in the first place. He was living hand-to-mouth as a self-employed used car dealer. Biscardi hoped to make a windfall before the hoax unravelled, but it appears now that he made very little from the hoax and is now destitute.



The BFRO Debunks the Hoax and Identifies the Costume Used

The BFRO had been tracking the antics of the Georgia boys several weeks prior to the press conference. We tried to warn everyone via our public discussion forum of the impending hoax a full week prior to the press conference, after it was learned that the Georgia boys joined forces with veteran hoaxer Biscardi.

Based on his past tactics we knew that Biscardi would shoot for maximum publicity, and would come up with a scheme to make a windfall of money from the intense curiousity on the Internet generated by the media publicity.

As the BFRO first announced, two days prior to the press conference, the "body" was a widely available Halloween costume stuffed into a large cooler, and filled with rotting animal entrails.


Confusion with Legitimate Bigfoot Researchers

At this stage everyone in the bigfoot research community would like nothing more than to wisk this hoax into the dust bin of history. Unfortunately we have to keep this page available and prominent a while. Because, unfortunately, many people who heard about the hoax were only listening with half an ear, or heard distorted details from other people.

In several instances people mistakenly assumed the BFRO was "the group that said they had a dead bigfoot" ... rather than the ones who debunked it.

In one example, a misinformed person assumed that the man who held the press conference (the self-described "real bigfoot hunter") must be "that professor from Idaho".

No, wrong guy, and wrong organization. It's a shame that we have to straighten that out with people, because it means we will be straightenning it out for a long time into the future.

The self-described "real bigfoot hunter" was the notorious charlatan and scam-artist Carmine (Tom) Biscardi, a former Las Vegas promoter.



Crafty conman Carmine Biscardi on Fox News giving Megan Kelly a detailed description of the body he claimed to have examined in Georgia (MP4 file).

A New Form of Punishment

An interesting consequence of this hoax was the creation of a new form of public punishment/humiliation for those who use the Internet (and particularly YouTube) to promote fraud schemes -- the permanent documentation of the scam on YouTube.

A very clever person saved and re-posted on YouTube the very same videos they used to promote their scam, which they tried to removed from YouTube prior to their big press conference.

These YouTube videos will haunt the Georgia boys and Biscardi for the rest of their lives. It will prevent them from obtaining positions of trust and responsibility in the future. More importantly, it will prevent them from perpetrating more hoax-scams.



The Rap Sheet on Carmine (Tom) Biscardi

When the Georgia boys first received some press attention in Georgia, the press attention attracted the notorious Carmine (Tom) Biscardi. Biscardi had been pushing hoaxed bigfoot evidence for several years. He seemed to pop up wherever the bigfoot subject was getting local press attention -- a sort of Reverend Al Sharpton of the bigfoot world. But unlike Sharpton, who has become a respectable defender of minority rights, Biscardi's ploys had won him the well-deserved reputation among the bigfoot research community as a charlatan, a parasite, a hoaxer, and a scam artist.

Biscardi didn't start the Georgia hoax, but instead latched onto to it once it got traction in the media in Georgia. Biscardi's plot was to hype the "discovery" as legitimate, then collect money in various ways as the world grew eager to get a look at the specimen ... then later claim he was "hoodwinked" about the body so as redirect blame away from himself.

This was the second time Biscardi orchestrated this type of hoax. This first time was on a nationally syndicated radio talk show -- Coast to Coast AM with George Noory.

The element that made this hoax attractive for Biscardi was that one of the Georgia boys, Matthew Whitton, was a sheriff deputy. Biscardi knew the law enforcement factor would help the story appear more believable to the media, for a little while at least. That was all Biscardi needed.

On Friday, August 15, 2008, Biscardi held a hyped press conference in Palo Alto, California, after assuring the press that he would "shock the world" with his evidence. He introduced the Georgia boys, who told an implausible story about how they found the body, but they didn't show the body at the press conference. Instead Biscardi showed some fake photos, and some DNA results which essentially proved that they did not have a bigfoot corpse ...

Click here to see the entire bizarre press conference. It is 43 minutes of lies from a professional liar.

After Biscardi was publicly busted and humiliated in 2005 for a different version of a bigfoot body hoax, he claimed he was "hoodwinked" by some bad people who had deceived him (all the while he was raking in money from a phony pay-per-view "surveillance" project).

Roll forward to 2008. After the Georgia Body hoax unravlled prematurely, Biscardi claimed he was "hoodwinked" ... again ... He subsequently claimed that he was going to take legal action against the Georgia Boys ... in an attempt to distract legal action against himself, by prosecutors, for fraud.



At the height of the Internet storm of curiosity, Biscardi was charging $2 (on SearchingForBigfoot.com) to see the photos of the fake body. Millions of people around the world wanted to see the photos. Biscardi hoped to rake in a tidy sum. No one knows how much, if anything, Biscardi raked in this way.


$50,000 for the Georgia Boys

After the body was revealed to be a fake to the mass media, some newspapers reported that Biscardi was swindled out of $50,000 by the Georgia Boys. That is incorrect. Biscardi persuaded a man in Indiana to front $50,000 to the Georgia Boys in exhange for the "body". Biscardi promised to pay the man back in 90 days. But once it became clear that the body was fake, Biscardi urged the man to sue the Georgia guys in order to get his money back.


The Impact on Legitimate Bigfoot Research

Consider a historical parallel -- the "Alien Autopsy Video" Hoax.

In the 1990's an unscrupulous television producer perpetrated a television hoax with a video of a phony autopsy of a phony alien body. The video was touted by a particular television network as a potentially authentic piece of video footage. The same video producer and television network later revealed their own hoax in a subsequent program. This televised hoax got high ratings, and they all cashed in, but it wasn't illegal.

Everyone talked about this hoax for a while. Many people were very willing to throw the baby out with the bath water. But the rational reality remained: The Alien Autopsy Video Hoax had no bearing whatsoever on the question of whether extraterrestrial life exists ... Though many people were heard to say, in the weeks and months following the hoax, "See, I told ya' that UFO stuff was all just a bunch of BS ... "

People don't generally say that nowadays. They only chuckle about that program, if they can remember it at all ...

This will be the historical fate of the Georgia Body Hoax and the unscrupulous Carmine Biscardi. In time people will merely look back and chuckle about it, if they remember it at all. They will continue to hear about sightings of sasquatches/bigfoots from various credible witnesses. Over the course of time, society will come to accept and embrace their existence, whether or not a corpse is ever collected.


There are many aspects to bigfoots that humans should emulate to some extent. There is nothing to suggest that famines, epidemics or wars occur among bigfoots, because they do not overpopulate. Even in those areas where their numbers could dramatically expand, given the quantity of food resources available to them, their numbers are still very low. They do not exist in large numbers anywhere, even by ape standards. They range widely, but not densely. They've never become a nuisance to humans, or human livestock. And unlike gorillas and chimps they do not live in large enough groups to make them easy to hunt by humans. Their impact on the land is so subtle that it takes a trained eye to even notice it. There are many other good reasons to study their behavior, and diet, and lifestyle.

Humans will benefit from these apes in ways that most people do not appreciate at present.

 



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