for National Geographic News
As far as Bigfoot hoaxes go, it was short-lived one.
Only days after Georgia residents Matt Whitton and Rick Dyer told reporters at a press conference on Friday that they had a dead Bigfoot body, their evidence has been exposed as a rubber ape costume.
The deception was made public by the very company Whitton and Dyer teamed up with to announce their supposed find.
In a statement posted on the Web site of Searching for Bigfoot Inc., "Sasquatch Detective" Steve Kulls said he realized the Bigfoot "corpse" was a fake when the frozen body began to thaw—after the press conference had already taken place.
(See "Bigfoot Discovery Declared a Hoax" [August 18, 2008].)
Kulls wrote that he and a colleague plucked a few hairs from the defrosting body and burned them for analysis, but became suspicious when they "melted into a ball uncharacteristic of hair."
More ominous signs emerged as the ice encasing the body began to melt away.
"Within the next hour of thaw, a break appeared up near the feet area," Kulls wrote. "As the team and I began examining this area near the feet, I observed the foot, which looked unnatural, reached in and confirmed it was a rubber foot."
Kulls wrote that he immediately informed Searching for Bigfoot CEO Tom Biscardi about the discovery. Upon confrontation, Whitton and Dyer reportedly admitted to the hoax.
However, many elements of Kulls's account sharply contradict earlier statements made by Biscardi, who stood alongside Whitton and Dyer at the press conference in Palo Alto, California, last Friday.
At the conference, Biscardi said he had flown to Georgia and had actually seen, touched, and prodded the body and was satisfied it "was not a mask sewn on a bear hide."
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