The Ultimate Bigfoot Hoax Timeline: Historical Background (1958-2007)
Like a meandering stream through the swamplands of personalities and hoaxing, you will note a background theme in this chronology leading up to the events of 2008. You will even get a hint of the “amazing” horizon that was there, just ahead, beyond the frozen feet, frozen body, and dubious handprints.
I’m not certain “enjoy” is the correct word to use, but digest deeply these previous incidents, which are worth pondering, for you might be unaware of these precursors to the events of this summer.
1958 – August 27 – October 5 – “Bigfoot” name coined because of Bluff Creek, California, series of finds of probable authentic giant footprints by Jerry Crew at a Ray Wallace construction site. The local First Nations’ name “Oh-Mah” and the Canadian newspaper-created term for these creatures, “Sasquatch,” are almost immediately relegated to history by the media.
1958 – October 12 – Bigfoot sightings of a dubious nature by Wallace employees, Ray Kerr and Bob Breazle, occur near Bluff Creek, California.
1958 – November – Beginnings of finds of post-Jerry Crew Bluff Creek tracks appear to match Ray Wallace’s fake wooden feet revealed after Wallace dies in 2002.
1959 – November – End of first modern flap of Bigfoot footprint finds at Bluff Creek. (Most prints tend to match the Wallace fakes noted in 2000-2001, which Wallace reported in some old letters were first carved for him by hoaxer Rant Mullens.)
1960 – Ivan Marx is a member of the Pacific Northwest Expedition, sponsored by Tom Slick. Interactions with John Green, Bob Titmus, Rene Dahinden, and Peter Byrne. Several personality and lifelong conflicts seeded.
1967 – October 20 – Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin come upon and then film a “Bigfoot” at Bluff Creek, California, while taking b-roll footage for a proposed documentary film about hunting Bigfoot.
1967 – Ricky Traylor Chuck Dyer is born.
1967 – December – Tom Biscardi’s official biography claims the airing on “The Tonight Show” of the Patterson-Gimlin film inspired him. “I was watching John Carson in 1967, and I saw the first 8mm footage that Roger Patterson took of the Bluff Creek incident. I said to myself, ‘How the hell can we send a man to the moon, but we can’t find this creature’.” (Most Americans, btw, refer to the host of the program as “Johnny Carson,” and Biscardi’s continued reference to “John Carson” reads strangely.)
1968-1969 – Frank Hansen exhibits the “Minnesota Iceman,” allegedly a Bigfoot-type creature frozen in a block of ice.
1969 – Ivan Marx moves from Burney, California, to Bossburg, Washington State.
1969 – November 24 – A butcher names James Rhodes, near Bossburg, Washington’s dump, finds tracks of a “crippled” Bigfoot, not far from where Ivan Marx lives. Ivan Marx tells John Green who tells René Dahinden that he is hunting the “crippled” Bigfoot, and will capture it. Green, Dahinden, Bob Titmus and Peter Byrne descend on Bossburg. Many tracks are found. Other local Bigfooters, including Norm Davis and Jim Hopkins get caught up in the Bigfoot search at Bossburg.
Roger Patterson and Dennis Jensen show up to investigate, and Tom Page pumps money into the effort. Famed casts are taken that Grover Krantz, John Napier, and Jeff Meldrum use as primary evidence of Bigfoot. Local man Joe Metlow claims to have captured a Bigfoot and is holding it in a nearby mineshaft. He also says he has the foot of a Sasquatch in a freezer and is offered $50,000 for it, even though no one ever sees it.
1970 – According to the Redding Searchlight newspaper and other sources, Tom Biscardi’s mentor, Ivan Marx, from his base in Bossburg, Washington, says he will capture a Bigfoot in a year. (He never does.)
1970 – Matthew Gary Whitton is born.
1970-1971 – Ray Wallace attempts to sell his Bigfoot films.
1971 – Tom Biscardi creates Amazing Horizons, Inc. to distribute Ivan Marx’s films.
1971 – February – Ivan Marx is in Colville, Washington, hunting Bigfoot after tracks show up there. He says he is under contract and being paid by Peter Byrne’s National Wildlife Conservation Society. Marx tells the media he has 70 feet of film of a Bigfoot. Produces tracks and handprints.
1971 – March – Marx asks to be released from his contract with the National Wildlife Conservation Society. Peter Byrne discovers the site where Marx filmed.
1971 – April – Ray Pickens, 39, a bricklayer from Colville (the town next to Bossburg, Washington), tells the San Francisco Examiner, that he put down the tracks found in Colville and it was a hoax. “I made Bigfoot, Middlefoot, and Littlefoot,” Pickens says.
In this clip, Pickens tells why he left fake prints and demonstrates how he did it. Also, Marx’s fake footage is shared.
1972 – Spring – The activity in Bossburg and Colville is over and all the Bigfooters have gone home. Most non-academic hunters have doubts about the “evidence” produced from the events. Three academics (Krantz, Napier, Meldrum) do not.
John Green writes about this episode in Sasquatch: The Apes Among Us: “Whether there was a Sasquatch around Bossburg, I’m sure that I don’t know. It depends on whether Ivan [Marx] took over as producer before the curtain opened or half way through the third act. Whichever it was, he starred in the show from the first.”
1972 – Ivan Marx produces two films (that are now universally said to be alleged fakes). Marx sells one of the films to the “You Asked for It” television program for $25,000. Biscardi is involved in the background dealings, allegedly.
1973 – May – B/F Enterprises owner Tom Biscardi tells the Lancaster, California Ledger-Gazette that he “considers himself the greatest hunter of Bigfoot in the United States.” He has brought with him Ivan Marx to help him hunt Bigfoot. Biscardi says regarding the Antelope Valley Bigfoot events that “some are bound to be hoaxes [but] it appears that not all of the sightings have been hoaxes.” Biscardi informs the newspaper that he has a half-hour film on Sasquatch, and has been offered over $25,000 for it, but won’t sell it.
1973 – December – Saga Magazine gives 25-year-old Tom Biscardi his first national attention for his Bigfoot claims that Bigfoot would be captured any day. Biscardi tells the Saga reporter that he, Biscardi has “sunk so much money” into the search and that “we’re going to find him.” The writer notes that he and Biscardi are relaxing, sipping wine, “back in his luxurious San Jose, Calif., apartment, waiting for the latest word on any sightings from Ivan Marx and the other six members of the Alaskan expedition.”
1981 – May 11 – According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Biscardi said he saw a Bigfoot on April 12, 1981, on Mount Lassen that “was a male, 7-foot-4, some 450 pounds.” Biscardi told the reporter he was going to capture a Bigfoot. (Apparently he never does.)
1982 – June 10 – Forest Services employee Paul Freeman says he sees an 8 ft tall Bigfoot, but he is soon driven from his watershed patroller job because he appears to have hoaxed evidence.
1982 – Grover Krantz shows Paul Freeman a copy of the handcast that Ivan Marx claims is from a Bigfoot hand. Later this year, Freeman finds and casts “knuckleprints” he says are from a Bigfoot. Freeman also finds prints with “dermal ridges” that local forest services officials feel are hoaxes. Also Freeman later produces films, which are universally viewed as fakes.
1983 – Tom Biscardi is the executive director and associate producer of In the Shadow of Bigfoot, a self-proclaimed documentary that contains old Ivan Marx footage of apparently the same pointy-headed, pointy-eared alleged Bigfoot seen in the earlier Marx films. It also contains the infamous “Bigfoot in a snowstorm” scene that had many film reviewers and John Green laughing off their seats. Critics are unexcited by this film and note it was full of factual errors. Biscardi’s company, Amazing Horizons, Inc, distributes In the Shadow of Bigfoot. ["Good for entertainment value only," wrote Mike Quast in his long entry on Ivan Marx, with notes on Biscardi, in his book Big Footage: A History of Claims for the Sasquatch on Film (2000).]
1983 – 1999 – Tom Biscardi reportedly and allegedly works as a Las Vegas promoter and showman. Rumors circulate of deals allegedly going badly and co-producers’ complaints.
1986 – Paul Freeman finds a handprint he claims is from a Bigfoot, near the Mill Creek watershed, near Blue Mountains, Washington-Oregon border.
1993 – May – Freeman says he finds an imprint of a buttocks from a Bigfoot, he alleges, along Dry Creek, in the Blue Mountain area.
1995 – Blue Mountains, Washington, Wes Sumerlin, local Bigfoot hunter and friend of Paul Freeman, finds a Bigfoot handprint, as had Freeman and Marx.
1998 – March – Ray Wallace offers a million dollars to the first person who could bring him a baby Bigfoot.
1999 – Ivan Marx, 78, dies.
2001 – April 18 – René Dahinden, 69, dies in British Columbia.
2001 – Court records show an auto finance company won a default judgment against Rick Dyer this year, for more than $15,000, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC).
2002 – February 14 – Grover Krantz, 70, dies at his Port Angeles, Washington home.
2002 – June – Rick Dyer quits the U. S. Army (AJC).
2002 – Matthew Whitton is hired by the Clayton County, Georgia, Police Department.
2002 – November 26 – Ray Wallace, 84, dies at a Centralia, Washington, nursing home. His family tells the media, “Bigfoot has died.” They produce wooden carved feet that match a few of the prints found in the Bigfoot database from around Bluff Creek and the nearby area from 1958 through the 1960s.
2003 – April 2 – Paul Freeman, 59, dies at Airway Heights, near Spokane, Washington.
2004 – January – Rick Dyer is discharged by the U. S. Army (AJC).
2004 – January 4 – Biscardi reappears and issues press releases stating he is trying to obtain over a million dollars from corporate sponsors to conduct a Bigfoot expedition. “The timing of this current expedition was prompted by the recent sighting and news reports of an ‘albino’ Bigfoot. Biscardi has seen and has a photo of a baby Bigfoot with white fur….The photo was taken by tracker, Peggy Marx,” noted their press release. Later Biscardi says his expedition is going to be a pay-as-you-go trek (like the BFRO ones taking place in 2003). Biscardi’s group names (e.g. “American Bigfoot Expedition”) then morphed into the GABFRO (Great American Bigfoot Research Organization).
2004 – A child-support complaint is filed by Rick Dyer’s ex-wife (AJC).
2004 – According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Rick Dyer begins working as a state corrections officer.
2005 – April 16 – Ferry operator Bobby Clarke allegedly videotaped a Nelson River, Manitoba Sasquatch and then sold the first rights to broadcast, for reportedly “six figures,” to Fox TV’s “A Current Affair”. It screens on May 4, 2005.
2005 – April 19 – Ivan Marx’s grandchildren, the Hickmans, and Tom Biscardi claim to have seen a Bigfoot near Burney, California. Unfortunately, Biscardi told the media, he “left his tranquilizer gun and his wire-mesh grenade launcher at home.”
2005 – April 27 – Jill Miller’s Bigfoot watching project is announced, having the innovation of Miller being live on-site for six weeks and having a real-time video feed from her campsite’s satellite uplink, 24 hours a day.
2005 – June 29 – A new Biscardi press release appears, saying that an “Imminent Capture Anticipated” (sic) of Bigfoot. The release gave helpful contact information that the “findings and materials forthcoming from this investigation will also be offered for commercial sale and distribution. Organizations interested in acquiring the rights for projects such as publishing, television, film, merchandising, lectures and exhibits” based on Biscardi’s expeditions “could contact his p.r. firm.” Appears to be a copycat of the BFRO expeditions.
2005 – July 2 – Jill Miller’s “Waiting for Bigfoot” project begins sending live feeds out from waitingforbigfoot.com. Miller’s videos are placed on the Internet for free viewing.
2005 – July – In another obvious copycat move, Biscardi says he is going to have a pay-for-view live feed from his “expedition” site, 24/7, for $19.95 per week, or a $59.95 “pass.” A site, findingbigfoot.com, is created for Biscardi’s “streaming video.” Biscardi “leads” an expedition to find Bigfoot at Happy Camp, in the Klamath River Valley, in northern California. The seemingly sure-fire plan was to shoot Bigfoot with a stun gun, keep him in a zoo for 90 days so a medical team could study him, and then release him back into the wild.
2005 – August 19 – Biscardi follows up on an earlier promise to capture a Bigfoot during an appearance on Coast to Coast AM, by announcing to George Noory on this Friday show that, according to Biscardi, his team (although Biscardi hadn’t seen it), had in captivity for over a week, a 17 year old, male, over 400 pounds, 8 foot tall Bigfoot. He gets people to pay money for the chance to view photos and live feeds of the images of the Bigfoot. Biscardi’s exact words were that “we have a Bigfoot” in captivity.
2005 – August 22 – George Noory plays back earlier statements of Biscardi’s showing that Noory had not “misheard” Biscardi when he claimed the Bigfoot was 800 pounds. Parts of Biscardi’s story begin to crumble.
2005 – August 23 – In what would be coined the “I-was-hoodwinked account” (by Roger Knights, a Bigfoot forum comment maker), Tom Biscardi appears on Coast-to-Coast AM, during the evening and says he was “hoodwinked.” He now says he was misled by an acquaintance of his colleague, Peggy Marx. The acquaintance, who lives in Stagecoach, Nevada, had told them of an injured Bigfoot that was being cared for by two veterinarians. As the details of her story began to unravel, Biscardi said he eventually concluded that her reports were false.
Biscardi’s story got more fantastic the longer he talked, saying an Indian shot an injured Nevada reservation Bigfoot with arrows, that after the male was captured, a female was also taken into captivity, and that one of the vets treating it or them, “kidnapped” it or them. Reportedly, this “kidnapped” Bigfoot is right now being kept in one of two warehouses in Clearlake, California, just down the road from a grocery store. Biscardi said it was a story from a woman in Stagecoach, Nevada. He never had a video, never saw the Bigfoot, and there probably never was a Bigfoot. He kept using the word “hoodwinked.”
At a couple points, Biscardi seemed like he was trying to blame Coast to Coast and its listeners as the source of the hoax, that a listener of the program was behind this hoodwinking. Noory launched into him about this, noting Biscardi can’t blame the listeners for what Biscardi said about having a Bigfoot. After all, Biscardi is the one who came on the program and said what he said. Noory mildly pushed back at Biscardi for attempting to shift the responsibility to others.
The callers confront Biscardi with his marketing, that if they’d signed up to his website on Friday, with the current reduced rates ($19.95/week or $59.00/pass), they would be able to see the images cheaper than the increased rate he was going to charge after the new footage of the captive Bigfoot was posted. Biscardi was virtually speechless towards the end of the program, after several callers in a row appropriately challenge Biscardi’s actions. The callers demand their money back, say Biscardi had duped them, and one frankly notes that “this is fraud, dude.” Another calls it all an “Abominable Snow Job.”
2006 – According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, some time this year, Rick Dyer loses his job as a state corrections officer.
2006 – June 13 – Tom Biscardi announces that he possesses what he says is a “Bigfoot hand.” Photos and additional information pertaining to the hand were later released. Although bearing a superficial resemblance to a primate hand, the supposed Sasquatch hand associated with Don Monroe and Tom Biscardi, ostensibly obtained from the Butte, Montana, police department in 2002, appears, via x-rays, to match the paw of an American black bear (Ursus americanus).
2006 – July – A customer won a default judgment against Rick Dyer in Clayton Magistrate Court after claiming Dyer sold him a “broken” 1984 Chevrolet Corvette for $3,800 (AJC).
2006 – July – According to the San Jose Mercury News, C. Thomas Biscardi, a Redwood City man who bills himself as a “World Renowned Bigfoot Researcher,” sued the Great American Bigfoot Research Organization, its president and vice president. The group was established reportedly in 2005, “to track, study and learn about the Bigfoot creatures that are believed to inhabit North America.”
Biscardi, who claims to have been in the Bigfoot business for 33 years, says he was supposed to be paid $250,000 to “lend his experience, knowledge and reputation,” to conduct “Bigfoot expeditions,” and to provide the group with use of his library — which consists of things such as plaster footprint casts, films, photos and sound recordings.
The group, the lawsuit claims, paid him only $65,000 and won’t give back his stuff. Dennis Kazubowski, the San Jose lawyer representing Biscardi, said he’d been negotiating with the attorney for the defendants, North Bay residents Carole Rubin and Robert Shorey, for the return of Biscardi’s library, but then “the attorney quit because he wasn’t getting paid.”
The two founders of the Great American Bigfoot Organization are listed as Tom Biscardi Peggy Marx. The “top notch management” of the organization is listed as Tim McMillen, Secretary; Robert Shorey, VP of Operations; Ruby Rubin, CFO; and Elbert Yee. Jim McMillen is also listed as one of the three trackers for the org, the other two being Lee and Jimmy Hickman, grandsons of Ivan Marx. Mr. McMillen is also listed as being on the board of directors, along with Dick Fletcher and Charles E. Pintard. The official supporter, and also the publicity agent, is Robert Barrows.
2006 – August – Ray Crowe writes that his Bigfoot-oriented The Track Record would be publishing again, as Tom Biscardi was going to pay for it. Ray Crowe says on August 17th: “Tom is now my best friend.”
2007 – July – Tom Biscardi quits paying for The Track Record to be published. The publication soon folds.
2007 – Biscardi’s “Searching for Bigfoot, Inc.” hires people across the country and gets his photo taken with many of his employees and local media.
To be continued…
Copyright 2008 – Loren Coleman