Sonoma Shakedown, Shakeup…

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on April 20th, 2006

As Loren has written here on Cryptomundo, it looks like the Sonoma footage from last fall was hoaxed by Penn & Teller for their Showtime program.

As Loren also mentioned here last year, Penn & Teller were trolling for unsuspecting crypto-dupes for their Showtime program.

It looks like they resorted to putting up a website with their hoaxed footage and then sent out emails to the various Bigfoot organizations to see if they could hook anybody.

"Mark Nelson" emailed the Texas Bigfoot Research Center to see if we were interested.

I’m not a professional like you guys, but I think I got something real exciting on tape. It was in California, not Texas. But I’ve put up a Web site. Can you give me your professional opinion?

Thanks, Mark

The site is still up, check it out at the above link. 

I watched the footage and shared it with the members of the group. General consensus was that it was hoaxed.

I wrote about it here on Cryptomundo, which created a firestorm of interest on the message boards. "Mr. Nelson’s" phone number was on the website, and he supposedly was barraged with calls. Several investigators tried to investigate the report, and felt the claims and the video were dubious.

But not the BFRO. They, or at least Matt Moneymaker, felt it was credible. It was prominently featured on their website, for quite some time on the opening page.

As soon as it was publicized yesterday that the Sonoma footage was going to be featured in Penn & Teller’s cryptozoology episode, the initial reaction by the BFRO was featured on their public use forum. Loren had the text of that missive in his post earlier today.

And then, as if by magic (no pun intended), all mentions of the Sonoma footage disappeared from the BFRO website. Pretty amazing, considering they were still standing behind it. At least, that’s the feeling I got from reading the text from their message board.

Regarding the stupid claim by Penn & Teller that they faked the Sonoma footage:

Their claim is false. They didn’t have anything to do with the footage. They are just trying to get a buzz going about their show. They are trying to trick people into tuning into the program. It’s a ploy, don’t fall for it.

They were trying desperately to license the Sonoma footage. Mark Nelson agreed that it wasn’t a good idea to let them have it. He would have OK’d it, and even encouraged it, if he would have been involved with them. He’s a real person, yet they say it was only a front on a web site.

Sounds like they were holding their position on the footage. Which begs the question, why remove it from the website if you are standing behind it?

A handy tool for occasions such as this is google. You see, you can access pages on any website that google has indexed using their google cache feature. There you can find that google has cached the Sonoma footage on the BFRO site, even though it has now been removed, as retrieved on Apr 17, 2006 23:59:07 GMT. And there are some pretty damn bold claims there.

Various people in the BFRO have seen sasquatches in the field and know what they look like. This looks like a real sasquatch.

We don’t think the figure in the Sonoma footage is a man in a costume. We would not be able to duplicate the anatomy of this figure, and we doubt anyone else can either.

The average person will look at this footage and dismiss it as a man in a dark costume who is pumping his arms in an exaggerated manner.

We see a skeletal anatomy that is not consistent with a human. For various reasons, the Sonoma figure would have to be a fairly simple costume. Yet a simple costume doesn’t change the limb ratios of a human, only its surface appearance.

It will be really interesting to see how this shakes out. Stay tuned to Cryptomundo for further details and developments on the Sonoma footage.

I am very sure that we will be discussing it next week after the show airs… 

About Craig Woolheater
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.

9 Responses to “Sonoma Shakedown, Shakeup…”

  1. Baron Von Doren responds:

    The Sonoma footage was not at all compelling or convincing, as Loren pointed out, but it seems the need to believe amongst many was so strong that it didn’t matter.

    The problem I have with some of the researchers out there is that they tend to accept every and any piece of footage, cast, hair, etc. as fact, rather than being skeptical. It should be a researcher’s job to carefully evaluate evidence to prove that Sasquatch exists, not just accept things outright. In reality, the BFRO left themselves open to ridicule here.

    I’m as fascinated as anyone by the subject. I’ve read everything there is to read out there. I’ve watched countless TV shows. I’ve talked to witnesses and collected newspaper clippings of our own Skunkape here in Florida/Alabama. I’m even making the 12 hour trek to hear Loren speak at The Bigfoot In Texas exhibit in June.

    In short, I want to believe that Bigfoot is out there somewhere, but until that definitive piece of evidence shows up, such as a body or live creature, I have to remain cautiously skeptical.

  2. Alton Higgins responds:


    Not to pick a nit, but you state, “General consensus was that it was hoaxed.” I don’t think that’s quite strong enough. It’s probably better in this situation, considering the circumstances, to flat out say that no one who you contacted in the TBRC considered the video to be legit.

    The prominence of the BFRO is such that Penn and Teller’s expose´could well cast all individuals and groups involved with the study of the bigfoot phenomenon as a bunch of gullible ignoramuses. I hope that’s not the case, and I hope that this TV program doesn’t serve to diminish the impact of the “Bigfoot in Texas?” exhibit in San Antonio.

  3. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    the link to the website does not work

  4. Craig Woolheater responds:

    The link has been corrected.

  5. Ole Bub responds:

    Good evening Alton….how about lunch at Chilleno’s in Bricktown on me….TBRC has my email…

    seeing is knowing….

    ole bub and the Sheba dawg

  6. Loren Coleman responds:

    For a full copy of the release being used by the production company doing the interviews for the Penn & Teller program, please click here.

    Interestingly, you will note that Penn & Teller’s release says they would have “the right to edit for any purpose whatsoever (including, without limitation, an informative, instructional, humorous or satirical effect) delete, dub and/or fictionalize the Footage.” Now that’s quite a license to fake whatever they want from anything one might say during their interviews. Yikes, I wonder if they interviewed Matt Moneymaker and he knows what he got himself into? Being on Penn & Teller is more than about getting publicity, that’s for sure. It is being held up to public ridicule.

  7. Mnynames responds:

    It may not be much fun in the short term, but being skeptical, particularly towards the more persuasive evidence, pays off in the long-run. Just look at that recent bigfoot video, where the first part was vague enough to look somewhat convincing…until the second part showed up, and all that funny business with the video being taken down and back up went on. There will always be some people who will use evidence selectively, either pro or con, and some that believe that every guy in a monkey suit must be Bigfoot. I am reminded of the researcher who stated that if the hairs he found were not from an unknown animal (A Chupacabra in this case), he’d quit, convinced that it was whatever he was told it was. When they turned out to be from a dog, he immediately said he’d keep researching until the truth was uncovered. I don’t think he’s wrong to keep looking, but he was a fool for putting his credibility at stake.

    As for Penn and Teller, considering I’d never even heard of their show, perhaps they need all the publicity they can get…

  8. abmqa responds:

    Being a long time fan of Penn & Teller. I have watched a few episodes of P&T BS!! I found the show amusing at times, but was really struck how they tend to spin the subject matter to favor their BS viewpoint to the extreme. For example, the episode about UFO’s, they interviewed the most retarded UFO “buff” they could find using their brand of sarcastic and mean spirited wit. The result of which made a mockery of any serious UFO investigation efforts to date. I for one felt disgusted by their overt attempt to totally dismiss any UFO events as BS based on the silly person the chose to interview.
    As a result of viewing that episode i vowed not to waste my time to watch another.
    BTW Penn Gillette has an afternoon radio talk show on in the D.C. region where continues to debunk all that does not fit in his view of things.
    Penn, give your BS a break already!!!

  9. jayman responds:

    This points out the important distinction between skepticism and debunkery. Skeptics look at evidence, evaluate it, and come to likely conclusions – a preponderence of evidence kind of thing. Debunkers form their conclusions first, usually based on a priori assumptions that certain things are “impossible” and any seeming evidence need not be seriously considered. Also, ad hominem arguments, ridicule, and personal attacks are typical of debunkers, not true skeptics.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

|Top | Content|

Connect with Cryptomundo

Cryptomundo FaceBook Cryptomundo Twitter Cryptomundo Instagram Cryptomundo Pinterest


Creatureplica Fouke Monster Sybilla Irwin


|Top | FarBar|

Attention: This is the end of the usable page!
The images below are preloaded standbys only.
This is helpful to those with slower Internet connections.