Posted by: Craig Woolheater on April 7th, 2014
rokfogo – Dr. Gregory L. Reece on Science Fiction, Comic Books, Flying Saucers, Forteana, Religon and Philosophy
Bigfoot hunter Rick Dyer has twice claimed to be in possession of the remains of Bigfoot. The first time the creature in the freezer was revealed to be a Bigfoot costume stuffed with the viscera of more common animals.
Most recently, Dyer and his companions have been touring the country with what he has claimed is a taxidermy Sasquatch, nicknamed “Hank”. Dyer’s story is that Hank was killed near San Antonio, Texas where he had been living peacefully among the homeless. Over the weekend, however, Dyer confessed that Hank is also a gaff.
(The details of the hoax can now be readily found online, from the story of the creature’s creation in the workshop of Chris Russel, to the inside story of how Dyer’s hoax was discovered from within. The initial confession from Dyer was originally posted on Facebook but has since been removed. Fortunately, most of that confession has been reposted on other sites, such as whofortedblog.com.)
This most recent revelation of hoaxing comes as no surprise to those who have been following Dyer’s career. Once a hoaxer, always a hoaxer, I suppose. And Dyer, more so than other Bigfooters associated with hoaxes has never shied away from letting the truth out every now and then, seeming to understand that his confessions of deception have little impact on the credulity of his targets. For example, Dyer was quoted in the Huffington Post in February as saying:
“Bigfoottracker.com is back for one reason only: To convert people who believe in Bigfoot to Bigfoot haters. We are tired of seeing people give their money away for something that’s not real. There’s no more evidence for Bigfoot than the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny. And that’s what people have to get through their heads. I have taken people out to hunt for Bigfoot, and all the time I was thinking in my head, ‘Why would someone pay to go out to hunt for something that does not exist?’ But people do. It’s really easy to trick people. People that believe in Bigfoot are not idiots — they’re just really naive and they’re missing something in their lives, so they want to believe in something that they know deep down inside, it does not exist.”
This confession puts the hoax in a nobler context than one might initially suppose. Dyer claimed that his motivation for hoaxing is not just to separate the gullible from their money, but to teach them a lesson, to expose the ridiculousness of their belief. The hoax was, in this reading, a form of Socratic irony, meant to expose the ignorance of the Bigfoot community, to teach a lesson, and to reveal the real nature of the business of Bigfoot. Of course, in Dyer’s Facebook confession, this didactic irony is not so much on display. There is talk of money and of personal grievances, but nothing quite so lofty as teaching the ignorant a lesson.
In a telephone interview with Dyer, he seemed to walk the same line between the lofty and the base. He began our conversation by pronouncing “Call me a mythmaker! We need hoaxing to keep (the Bigfoot myth) alive. Hoaxing is great. I am a hoaxer. Proud to be a hoaxer.” He also freely confessed that financial gain and fame are never far from his mind, however, noting that “There is money to be had” and calling himself “an attention junkie.” “There is no bad publicity” he said.
Noting that he only began planning for the Hank hoax in October of 2013, he confessed shock that he was able to generate so much attention so quickly. Even with his well-known record of hoaxing, people still fell for his ruse.
Dyer claimed that at one point, following his initial “Bigfoot in a freezer” hoax, he “tried to go straight”. ”Everyone knows me as a hoaxer,” he said, “but every place I went to, I was a hit.” His hoaxing was quickly forgotten by the people who want to believe. Furthermore, he notes, he soon came to realize that even the “reputable” Bigfoot hunters were as guilty as he was. He claimed that he was “shocked and disappointed” when he learned that some well-known Bigfoot hunters were not beyond planting fake Bigfoot tracks for the press to find. Their hoaxing, Dyer claimed, was ignored by the Bigfoot community just because they are “well-liked”. According to Dyer, it was the gullibility of the Bigfoot community, combined with his growing knowledge that everyone hoaxes, that soon led him back to his old ways.
Dyer indicated that there are two types of people in the Bigfoot community, those who are naïve and want desperately to believe and those who know better and hoax and lie in order to make money or to get attention. Most Bigfoot hunters, he claimed, belong in the latter. “Bigfoot hunters are full of shit,” he said.
I must confess that I find Dyer’s meta-honesty refreshing. He is a liar, but he is honest about it.
He claims the hoaxing mantle brazenly and seems to believe that, beyond the obvious cash incentives, there are good reasons to hoax. Hoaxing not only lines his pockets, it exposes the gullibility of his marks, the Bigfoot believers who hold onto their faith without evidence or reason. Hoaxing is also necessary, and this point came out clearly in my conversation with him, if the myth of Bigfoot is going to stay with us. “Where would Bigfoot be without the Patterson-Gimlin film?” he asked, referring to the classic film of Bigfoot shot in 1967 which purportedly shows a female Bigfoot walking along a dry creek bed in northern California.
Dyer is on to something. Without the Patterson-Gimlin hoax, and there is every reason to believe that it is a hoax, Bigfoot would have never entered the popular imagination. Without countless hoaxed footprints, hoaxed photographs, hoaxed hair samples, there would be no Bigfoot. In that sense Dyer is right. He, and others like him, are mythmakers. Without Bigfoot hoaxers, the world would be a poorer place, less interesting, less mysterious, less fun. There would be no Bigfoot. Though I am bothered that some people are tricked out of their money, my inclination is to say “Too bad! You deserved it! Next time don’t be so foolish! Let that be a lesson to you!”
Dyer, for his part, said that he has “turned over a new leaf” and that there is “no point in lying about anything, right now.”
When I asked him if he really believes in Bigfoot, he didn’t miss a beat. While Hank may be a fake, Dyer claims to have a video that shows the actual killing of a real creature outside of San Antonio.
“I do believe in Bigfoot,” he said, “because I believe that what I killed was a Bigfoot.”
Gregory Reece attended one of Tom Biscardi’s Paris, TX Bigfoot expeditions way back when…
The account of Greg’s Biscardi expedition was detailed in his book: Weird Science and Bizarre Beliefs: Mysterious Creatures, Lost Worlds and Amazing Inventions.
Greg’s followup book featured more creature tales: Creatures of the Night: In Search of Ghosts, Vampires, Werewolves and Demons.
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.