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By: Kent Brown

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Could it be?  Are we living in the midst of a Bigfoot renaissance?  Recent events and an ever-changing popular culture suggest that we are.  America is once again fascinated with the potential of giant, hairy bipeds living among us.  Apparently, the time is now for a “Harry and the Hendersons” sequel.  Publicity stunt artist Tom Biscardi probably wants to write the script.  More on him later.  This Bigfoot Renaissance, ladies and gentlemen, is popular culture at its finest!  As representatives of the first decade in the twenty-first century, our thirst for knowledge hasn’t run dry – we’ve just seemingly run out of discoveries, as a culture, to be really thirsty for.  Where do we turn from our recliners and love seats? The days of Lewis and Clark are long gone. We’ve been to space.  We make bombs.  Big ones that blow a whole lot of things up.  Submarines.  Stealth aircraft.  Super highways.  And most importantly: the internet.  We know everything we want about any variety of topics through the world - wide web.  The woods, my friends, are still a source of mystery, especially for lazy boy, reality television obsessed cultures like ours.  There are still areas in North America that are, for the most part, largely undiscovered by man.  The forests still offer hope for adventure seekers – believers that humans have not discovered everything and that there are still, in fact, mysteries that have not been solved.  Enter Sasquatch.

Once again, the hearts and minds of popular culture have embraced this huge, hairy, bi-pedal creature that roams the dense forests of planet earth.  Yes, Bigfoot, or Sasquatch, or Yeti, is back – and not just in the beef jerky commercials or episodes on the Discovery Channel.  The media has recently opened its doors once again to entertain the theory that large primates, other than human beings, inhabit the remote areas of North America.  Bigfoot has leaped from the cover of tabloid newspapers to CNN, Fox, and every other major media outlet.

The modern day fascination with the Bigfoot phenomenon began with the famous video footage recorded in 1967 by rodeo clown Roger Patterson and his pal Bob Gimlin.  After the video was released, a flurry of sightings, casts, and hoaxers like Ray Wallace, emerged as did the “Legend of Boggy Creek”, “Bigfoot and Wild boy”, and television specials hosted by Leonard Nimoy and Peter Graves.  Fascination with the Bigfoot story eventually waned, until a brief re-emergence with the popular film “Harry and the Hendersons”.  Bigfoot then seemed to venture back to the underground, relegated to B-movies and second rate documentaries – as well as being adopted by tabloid newspapers alongside the Loch Ness monster and alien abductions.  The appearance of Bigfoot in these tabloid publications threatened the cryptid’s mainstream popularity among media pundits for good.  But alas!  The creature has crept back into mainstream fascination.  Television shows began to emerge on cable networks from Discovery to the History Channel in the past year.  People began to re-examine the evidence and take a closer look at what, for many years, was seen as tabloid fodder.  A new cast of characters emerged from the Bigfoot community – people with real credentials like Dr. Jeff Meldrum, Jimmy Chilcutt, and Jane Goodall were coming out on the record, supporting the claim that Bigfoot may actually be roaming the forests of North America and beyond.  And then came the body.

Why have the media moguls suddenly decided to spotlight the Bigfoot phenomenon along side the Beijing Olympics and the Presidential race?  Unfortunately, the answer is somewhat disappointing.  Two individuals in north Georgia, (the state, not the embattled country), recently announced to the world that they happened to stumble upon the remains of a Bigfoot while hiking near the Appalachian Mountains.  One of these two men was a deputy sheriff in Clayton County, which gave their story a shred of credibility to innocent bystanders.  The two Georgia boys then brought in the self-proclaimed “Bigfoot hunter” Tom Biscardi to legitimize their claim.  Biscardi has been a well known figure within the Bigfoot community for many years.  He has been at the center of hoaxes and Bigfoot profiteering for as long as he has been “the Bigfoot hunter”.  As soon as his name appeared with the two gentlemen from Georgia, the Bigfoot community collectively sighed, rolled their eyes, and figured this mess would not draw very much attention.  Surely those in the media would realize that Biscardi is, and has been for years – someone who has repeatedly been involved with scams and hoaxes over the course of his Bigfoot career.  Well, the Bigfoot believers were wrong.  The mainstream media was once again fooled.  For about a full week in August, Tom Biscardi and his new southern-fried friends were on Fox News, CNN, and headlining Yahoo and Google searches on the internet.  The final result for all of this attention?  What those in the Bigfoot community knew all along: these chaps were lying, the body was a costume plus road kill remains.  The deputy sheriff lost his job, Biscardi claims he was “hoodwinked”, and all of those involved are now facing hefty lawsuits for their effort.

During the Protestant revival in the United States in the 19th century, religion was big business.  Off-shoots of Protestantism were everywhere among the newly formed states.  From the Mormons, to Jehovah’s witnesses, to Seventh Day Adventists – everyone seemed to be having personal conversations with God, and profiting off new interpretations of the Bible.  New prophets were trolling the frontier countryside, adding converts by the hour, and the news media of the day ate this budding form of evangelism up.  Fast-forward to the twenty-first century.  Sure, some are still profiting off new religions and interpretations from Scientology to New Age Eastern enlightenment, but off-shoot religions are old news.  Bigfoot has usurped the likes of L. Ron Hubbard to grab major headlines, as well as weekly programming on the History Channel.  The newest development with Biscardi and his friends is merely a modern day example of a group of charlatans attempting to take advantage of Bigfoot’s newfound popularity and make money off of anyone who believes or wants to believe.

On a personal note, I feel that I must include in this article the fact that I am personally invested in the Bigfoot Renaissance, not for any media or publicity reasons, but because I have been fascinated with the subject for many years.  I am a firm believer that Bigfoot does exist and I have been on an expedition with the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, ironically enough, in the mountains of north Georgia.  Whenever events such as this one occur, my e-mail inbox suddenly becomes filled with messages from everyone I know – “Did you hear?  The body of Bigfoot was found!”  Former arm-chair skeptics became immediately enthralled with the possibility of Bigfoot’s existence.  Enthusiasm for Bigfoot, and interest in Bigfoot research, hit an all-time high.  At first, I was a bit annoyed, knowing that anything involving Tom Biscardi was surely a hoax, and began the daunting task of responding to my friends and colleagues that this supposed body discovery was a scam and encouraged them not to pay any attention to it.  I directed people to the BFRO’s website,, which gives a detailed history of Biscardi and his pranks.  Then, I started feeling remorse.  There was, indeed, mainstream excitement about Bigfoot again.  People who didn’t care before, or gave it little thought, were genuinely excited about the possibility.

Unfortunately, mass excitement was peaked by a publicity stunt artist from Vegas and two guys from Georgia who were out to make a quick buck.  I refuse, however, to give Biscardi and the Dukes of Clayton County all of the credit in the mainstream media’s recent interest in Bigfoot.  Biscardi, for all of his faults, was at least smart enough to have his finger on a pulse that has been progressively gaining momentum within the last two years.  Hopefully his hoax will not damage Bigfoot enthusiasm.  I don’t think it will.  The tell-tell sign of a significant social movement, renaissance or revival within a culture is the attempt by people to take advantage, prosper, and profit off that movement – be it religion or Bigfoot.  The hoax, my friends, did not the renaissance create.  My guess is that we have not heard the last of our hairy woodland friend.  This is just a new twist in an ever-changing culture’s relationship with the hairy biped.  Stay thirsty for Bigfoot.  The search is far from over. 




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