August 18, 2008
Bigfoot Hoax Causes a Stir on YouTube
By DAMIEN HENDERSON
For bigfoot hunters forced to contend with scraps of blurry photos and hotly disputed sightings of the mighty beast, yesterday marked an epochal moment.The body of a seven-foot, ape-like creature recovered from woodlands in northern Georgia, a south-eastern US state, was, its captors claimed, final proof of the existence of the elusive Sasquatch, the mythical creature which holds a similar status to the Loch Ness monster in Scotland.
Although details of the story were quickly unravelling prior to a press conference last night at which the results of "extensive scientific studies", photos and DNA testing of the corpse were to be unveiled before the world's press, the finding sparked a flurry of interest among bigfoot enthusiasts.
Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer, who coincidentally run a bigfoot website, had earlier posted a video on YouTube, complete with lingering shots of, well, something covered by black bin bags, in which Dr Paul Van Buren, a primate expert, confirmed the scientific validity of the find.
They were later forced to admit that Mr Van Buren was, in fact, Matthew Whitton's brother, Martin, though they still maintained: "We have the (bigfoot) body."
In a second YouTube video in which he admitted the hoax, Mr Whitton angrily lashes out at "all you critics who have been calling my house, calling my mom and calling my work", accusing his detractors of having "nothing to do at the weekend".
But while scientific debate over the existence of bigfoot - a creature apparently connected to the Nepalese yeti - may not have gained terrifically, the episode shone a fascinating light on some of the creatures who spend time hunting around in internet chat forums in search of him.
Bill Hicks, the late American comedian, used to ponder why aliens used to always kidnap people from Texas. Were he around, he would probably be considering a visit to northern Georgia to understand why its citizens are such natural bigfoot hunters.
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