Murphy’s Law – In search of Bigfoot

Joel Murphy

Humboldt County, California, 1958 – bulldozer operator Jerry Crew finds extremely large footprints around his rig. The Humboldt Times, in a front page story about the discovery, coins the term “Bigfoot.”

Bluff Creek, California, 1967 – amateur documentary filmmaker Roger Patterson releases grainy footage of what appears to be a Bigfoot.

Palo Alto, California, 2008 – police officer Matthew Whitton and car salesman Rick Dyer hold a press conference claiming that they have the frozen remains of a Bigfoot they found in the Georgia mountains.

Three separate Bigfoot sighting coming out of California, each new account offering more evidence than its predecessors. All three stories made headlines and captured imaginations across the country ( even carried the press conference held by Whitton and Dyer). And all three stories ultimately turned out to be hoaxes.

In 2002, when Ray L. Wallace died, his family revealed that he had been behind the original footprint hoax in 1958. Wallace had a friend carve 16-inch-long feet that he and his brother Wilbur used to create the footprints as a joke. According to his family, once the story began to spread, Wallace was too afraid to admit he was the one behind it.

In 2004, Bob Heironimus admitted that he donned a Bigfoot costume for Patterson’s famous 1967 footage. Paranormal investigator Greg Long tracked down Heironimus and interviewed him about the hoax for his book The Making of Bigfoot.

This week reports began to surface that Whitton and Dyer’s frozen Bigfoot was actually just a rubber costume encased in ice. The two sold their “discovery” to Rick Biscardi, a Californian Bigfoot hunter, who asked “Sasquatch detective” Steve Kulls to examine the body. It didn’t take the detective long to figure out that the Bigfoot was nothing more than a Halloween costume (you can’t get anything by those Sasquatch detectives).

Kulls immediately became suspicious when he noticed that the Sasquatch’s head was “mostly firm, but unusually hollow in one small section.” Soon after that, Kulls determined that the creature’s foot was made of rubber.

Since their hoax unraveled, Whitton and Dyer have been M.I.A.

On Tuesday, the Clayton County police chief announced that he had fired Whitton because of the hoax. The police chief also had some harsh words for his former employee.

“He’s disgraced himself, he’s an embarrassment to the Clayton County Police Department, his credibility and integrity as an officer is gone, and I have no use for him,” said Police Chief Jeffrey Turner.

It seems Whitton and Dyer had hoped to sell Bigfoot “expeditions” for $499 a pop and, according to their tip line, they were also looking for evidence of leprechauns, the Loch Ness monster, big cats and dinosaurs. It’s unlikely that they will have many takers now that they have been exposed as frauds, but something tells me Dyer’s day job probably isn’t in jeopardy since car salesman don’t exactly need a lot of credibility or integrity.

While these three hoaxes make it seem like the existence of Bigfoot is highly unlikely, even the world-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall isn’t ready to rule out the possibility that Bigfoot exists (probably because she realizes that a film like Jane Goodall Meets Bigfoot has potential to be way more exciting than the Dian Fossey biopic Gorillas in the Mist).

“She’s spoken to people whom she respects who say they have seen one of these hominids,” said Goodall’s aide Nona Gandelman. “And to many other people she respects who have heard strange calls they thought were made by Bigfoot. As a scientist, she has a very open mind about this and has yet to close the door on the possibility.”

So, the question remains – if someone as well-respected as Jane Goodall isn’t ruling out the possibility of Bigfoots (or is it Bigfeet?) existing, then why hasn’t anyone been able to gather any actual proof? We are chopping down forests left and right, you would think someone other than Eddie Murphy (“Hey Sanchez, Goonie Goo Goo”) would have come across a Bigfoot by now (or possibly hit one with their car, a la Harry and the Hendersons).

So why can’t we find Bigfoot?

My guess is because he doesn’t want to be found. My guess is that deep down, underneath the gruff exterior and layers of hair, Bigfoot is a sensitive guy who isn’t up to the public scrutiny. He is most likely uncomfortable with his celebrity status and wishes instead to live a life of seclusion – like a hairier J.D. Salinger.

Bigfoot doesn’t want to be chained up and shown off to crowds like King Kong. He doesn’t want to be the victim of pickup truck gags and shaving cream pranks like in those Jack Link’s Beef Jerkey Messin’ With Sasquatch commercials. Perhaps the poor guy is even a little self-conscious about his body odor after Anchorman compared the foul-scented Sex Panther cologne to the smell of his penis.

So I think we should call off the search for Bigfoot. Let’s keep guys like Whitton and Dyer off of his trail. Perhaps, if we all just leave him alone for a little while, when he is ready, Bigfoot will emerge from seclusion and will be ready to be seen by the world.

And, if he needs a place to stay once he’s ready to move to the big city, he can always crash on my couch. That way, I can invite Jane Goodall over and pitch them both on my Jane Goodall Meets Bigfoot screenplay.

Random Thought of the Week:
HoboTrashcan will celebrate its three-year anniversary on August 23. The traditional three-year anniversary gift is leather, so I’m planning on getting everyone assless chaps.

Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him at

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