Byrne: Marx/Biscardi Bigfoot Photo Hoax

Posted by: Loren Coleman on February 7th, 2007

Bigfoot Charging

Has anyone noticed that Tom Biscardi is still using the Ivan Marx film clips discredited by Peter Byrne in 1971?

Perhaps people have failed to even look at the frames from the 1970s’ films? Or read their history?

The notorious alleged 1970s Bigfoot trickster and Ivan Marx associate, who attempted to pull off the “send in your money and see the Bigfoot I’ve captured” trickery on Coast to Coast AM with George Noory, may be in a neighborhood near you. Old news, right?

Rapidly having departed Happy Valley, California, and disassociated from past associates in Las Vegas, Tom Biscardi has taken his show on the road. Old news, right?

But why have the media and local media especially, noticed what has happened on the Biscardi roadtrip in the last two years? Why haven’t the local media ignored what happened 30 years ago? Is the news that slow?

Was anyone listening when Happy Camper blogger Linda Martin noted who was coming to dinner? A supporter in 2005, Martin gave background insights into the team: “…the Great American Bigfoot Research Organization visited Happy Camp…The team included world-famous researcher Tom Biscardi, Joan Brandt, Peggy Marx, Lee Hickman, Tim McMillen and Rob Shorey. Peggy Marx is the widow of Ivan Marx, pre-eminent Bigfoot researcher of the 1950’s through the 1990’s….Tom Biscardi moved from New York to California to help Ivan and Peggy Marx look for Bigfoot soon after seeing the Patterson Bigfoot film in 1967….Biscardi and [Peggy] Marx founded the Great American Bigfoot Research Organization…The team includes an expert tracker, Lee Hickman, grandson of Ivan Marx. He is able to track anything through the woods within two weeks of the passing. He was trained by his famous grandfather in this and other Bigfoot research skills.”

Ivan Marx is now being recast as a “pre-eminent Bigfoot researcher of the 1950’s through the 1990’s”? Tom Biscardi as a “world-famous Bigfoot researcher”? Ask the people in Happy Camp if they are happy today. Ivan Marx has been written about in many books as an alleged hoaxer and prankster.

As Craig Woolheater noted last year here, Biscardi would go on to sue the Great American Bigfoot Research Organization, its president and vice president, for over $200,000. Biscardi said they owed him that 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.

Only $65,000. You know what most of us could do with that kind of money? Can you imagine? What were the contributors thinking?

It really is a shame that people who find Biscardi at their doorstep asking questions about Bigfoot don’t merely look at the past.

What did Peter Byrne say he discovered in 1971 (see below)? Perhaps people need to learn from history so they will not repeat it?

Bigfoot Showering

Byrne Marx Hoax

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

18 Responses to “Byrne: Marx/Biscardi Bigfoot Photo Hoax”

  1. fredfacker responds:

    A big problem with local media is the constant turnover of young reporters. Most small, local outlets can’t afford to pay much, so it’s hard to attract and retain talent. (My first reporting gig out of school for a fairly large weekly only paid a measly $20k a year.) A lot of the staff is usually recent graduates with no real idea of the history of the area or history of the paper, and they only stay for a year or two if that before moving on to larger outlets. This creates a lot of unintentional story recycling. Every other year or so you can see the same local establishments highlighted because to the new journalist, it is new. With the advent of the Internet and online archiving of old news stories it’s much easier to research what previous articles have been written on a topic, but I doubt most places have an electronic archive that dates back any further than 2000 (if even that far).

    Most of these writers weren’t even alive when Byrnes discredited this story. Heck, I bet half of them weren’t even alive in 1981.

  2. BugMO responds:

    One of the problems is the fact that most Americans have never heard of Tom Biscardi or any of the shameful things that he’s done. There are not that many Americans who have ever heard of Loren Coleman or Craig Woolheater before. So, it’s not the people who are mislead by Biscardi’s false clams at being the only Bigfoot researcher that is doing what he is doing i.e, going out and investigating Bigfoot sighting etc. These people go through a sometimes traumatic event (a Bigfoot sighting), and are sometimes desperate for any answers or an end to their traumatic event. The next thing they know a (self proclaimed conman) Bigfoot investigator just happens to show up at their doorstep, and to they their prayers have been answered. For as long as Tom Biscardi and people like him are around the search for Bigfoot and those who search for Bigfoot will forever be mocked and will not be taken seriously.

  3. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head Fred. Lots of talent ends up leaving newspaper work, not because they don’t love it, but because it just doesn’t pay the bills. Add to that the mass of conflicting info available on the internet, the tight deadlines, the general “silly-season” attitude toward any cryptozoological related story… and you end up with people accepting TB’s claims (or not believing in the first place and just quoting him on his ‘pre-eminent’ status) and a general recipe for disaster.

  4. joppa responds:

    I have started a who’s who of hoaxers (nice ring to that) that I spot check against when I read a report, blog note, post or article. I suggest that most researchers do likewise, so you don’t waste your time evaluating fantastic claims from known frauds. The fine fellows named above are at the top of my list.

    Having said this, I realize that even a blind hog finds an acorn now and then. So, I look at their claims and do the smell test. Usually the thing is pretty rank right off the bat.

  5. a_welch90 responds:

    These pictures are beyond fake-looking. Does Biscardi realize that he is nothing more than a laughingstock? Does he seriously think that people take him for what he claims to be? The man has a long and continuously growing list of fakes, phonies, and ugly hoaxes. I’m tired of him and others like him whose hoaxes wreck the credibility of real investigators like Loren and Craig.

  6. Raptorial responds:

    “World-famous”? He’s moreso world infamous.

  7. JJohnson1 responds:

    I remember Marx, and I really didn’t think anyone could be worse, but I underestimated Biscardi. He is a detriment to real researchers and appears to care less. My only hope is that he never crosses paths with a bigfoot population so they won’t be infested with Biscardi germs.

  8. skeptik responds:

    Not to be confused with Karl Marx.
    Is this media available on youtube or something? A good hoax could brighten this otherwise uneventful day at the office.

  9. mystery_man responds:

    It just furthers my thought that sensationalism sells. One of the posters here made a comment in another post that was something along the lines of “the way things are, it seems the more people hate you, the more high profile and famous you become.” This seems very true for me and sorry to the original poster for kind of quoting it. Everyone seems to loathe him, yet ironically this leads him to even more fame and fortune. Think about it. Hate him as we may, I don’t thing there are many people can resist taking a peek at every article that pops up here about him. I know I can’t. I am sure there are lots of people who will even pay for his stuff or watch his shows just out of sick curiosity. He has turned Bigfoot into a kind of circus side show and people cannot keep away from these things. It is one of the reasons tabloids sell so well even when some of the people reading them know its all a bunch of hogwash. He is not only tapping people’s need for mystery, but also into their irresistable curiosity. His dramatic ability to make people love to hate him has had a direct impact on his success and this to me is very unfortunate. Sometimes I almost think we need a character like this to keep us focused and give us a laugh, but the unfortunate thing is the negative attention this draws to Bigfoot research and the way it damages the credibility of legitimate researchers.

  10. catvmex responds:

    I’ve never seen bigfoot; however, based on the reports I’ve read here, I suspect he doesn’t resemble the characters shown in either picture.

    The first picture reminds me of that dog chracter in the Banana Splits cartoon show. (Blinkie I believe)

    I don’t know what to say about the 2nd picture.

  11. DWA responds:

    Chalk it all up to public ignorance.

    I think it’s pretty obvious how the sas stays where it is scientifically. Think about it. Has any other North American animal ever gotten this kind of treatment? The grizzly might have been considered impossible if Europeans had had no previous bear exposure before coming to this continent. Even so, the first news most Americans got of the griz – other than the trappers, explorers, hunters and others who encountered it firsthand – was from Lewis and Clark, who had among the chief of their responsibilities detached, SCIENTIFIC observation of the fauna along their route.

    For the sas it’s different. Long before the Patterson film, Bigfoot was a tabloid superstar. I count it as nothing short of incredible that my very first exposure to the sas was a remarkably even-handed article, published scant months after the Patterson film, in, of all places, National Wildlife Magazine, a zoologically conservative outlet if ever was. (No, I never saw “The Legend of Boggy Creek,” and I never plan to. I’ve always seen the sas as just another animal, and I think my first exposure was why.) But that article was a drop in a tabloid bucket. Unlike most primates, whose discovery gets written up in Nature and Science, the keystones of the sas search get the big play in Argosy and True-Life Real Adventure. Which aren’t strictly tabloids. But one gets the drift, doesn’t one?

    I think that as long as the National Enquirer and Tom Biscardi are on the case, the sasquatch is safe from science. Which, as we all know, won’t keep it safe for long. But may at least allow it to die out with some dignity. After all, Bigfoot doesn’t care what anyone says about him.

  12. Loren Coleman responds:

    DWA: “Long before the Patterson film, Bigfoot was a tabloid superstar.”

    Sorry, that’s incorrect. There is no historical evidence for that statement at all.

    During the nine year period of the modern era of Bigfoot, from the Crew footcast photo publication and the “naming” in 1958, to the time of the film in 1967, Bigfoot was not a “tabloid superstar.” Bigfoot was featured in popular mainstream magazine and books, such as Sanderson’s 1961 classic and those of others.

    Actually, Bigfoot only became a major subject for tabloids after the Patterson-Gimlin footage of October 20, 1967.

    Historically, the National Enquirer did not take on its current flavor until it moved from New York to Florida, in 1971. World Weekly News was not even created until 1979.

    The tabloidization of Bigfoot (through the pages of the Globe, Sun, National Enquirer, World Weekly News, and others) happened mostly in the 1970s, not the 1950s and early 1960s.

    A return to the more scientific-based and new-discovery-oriented view of the late fifties, as opposed to being a negative, would actually be great.

  13. DWA responds:

    Loren: I stand corrected.

    On the technicality about tabloids, but not on my main point. Which – and maybe I need to restate it – is that the sasquatch wasn’t getting serious scientific review (by the mainstream of science) even during that nine-year window. The topic has always been fodder for “popular mainstream magazines and books” (as, of course, separated – carefully – from the scientific mainstream). But I don’t think folks would argue with me that almost all of that popular discussion has tended to sensationalize the animal, and to create a “public image of Bigfoot” that actually seems to me at odds with the animal that lots of people seem to be seeing.

    What I think would be great would be if the mainstream media started adopting the tone: something is behind the durability of this phenomenon. And only serious scientific sleuthing will bring it to light.

    For those of us who haven’t seen one, of course. 😉

  14. Loren Coleman responds:

    Popular magazines in the 1950s and 1960s were, in many ways, doing what the internet and even some pre-scientific journal venues, such as Scientific American, do today. Those magazines served as an avenue to discuss the possibilities of new discoveries and adventures.

    Argosy and True were friendly but not overly sensationalized publications (as many people assume) for Sanderson’s articles. During those extremely conservative times he was able to write and get scientific papers on unknown hominoids only published in Genus, for example, an Italian science journal.

    Anthropologist Carleton Coon, who was able to marginally include Yeti and Bigfoot in his anthropology books, found himself only carefully saying what he felt was the reality of hominology in, for instance, popular natural history magazine’s review of Sanderson’s book. Osman-Hill was published an item on Ceylon’s unknown hominids, remember, in a science journal. There are other examples, but you get my point.

    Sanderson’s Saturday Evening Post articles on cryptids in 1947 and 1948 were rather typical of what some low-key mainstream locations were being employed.

    Indeed, DWA’s citing of his first experience reading an article, in National Wildlife Magazine, demonstrates what I have found, the tabloid approach is more recent.

    Also, during the 1970s, you had some journals in America, such as one edited by Roderick Sprague (which he would republish as anthropological monographs of the University of Idaho) and even Current Anthropology, serving as platforms for discussions on Sasquatch.

    More people are interested today, so you see more widespread treatments in a variety of locations – from the tabloids to the scientific journals.

    There were articles in scientific, academic, and folklore journals on Yetis and other cryptid hominoids in the 1950s and 1960s, then on Bigfoot in similar journals, starting in the 1960s.

    These things come in cycles.

  15. DWA responds:

    Thanks for the info, Loren.

    Just speculating, there may be something going on with the sasquatch that wasn’t possble before the days of mass media, and which may have really caught fire with the advent of the Internet: a large and growing number of the general public, gathering information on their own time and without consulting anyone else, getting way ahead of the scientific community in acknowledging the possibility of the animal. At least to appearances that seems to be what’s going on.

    Scientists have much to plead. Ignorance of the evidence may be the case with many. Lack of time and funding is probably increasingly the excuse for many more. As things-in-the-woods noted on another thread, the desire to latch onto a field that is likely to bear fruit without ridicule is undoubtedly a powerful motivation for scientists who would like someone ELSE to run the gantlet of finding the sasquatch. (It’s an encouraging sign of the times that Jeff Meldrum hasn’t lost his tenure yet; and maybe before that that Grover Krantz didn’t.)

    Maybe scientists won’t unite voices to push for a true search for the critter before mainstream media stop using the sasquatch as an easy way to get laughs and Dabble In The Paranormal, and start talking about an intriguing search in which the momentum hasn’t reached critical mass yet.

    Or maybe there’s a better way to say it: maybe people don’t report sightings because of what may be a totally erroneous perception of what the public thinks about the sasquatch. Instead of a community, everyone who’s seen one, or who thinks they exist, is an island.

    And maybe the media could change that.

  16. crypto_randz responds:

    Tom Biscardi, is still tracking bigfoot when will this guy quit, this guy has failed so many times to produce his claims on bigfoot.

  17. alanborky responds:

    I quite like the cute pixie ears Biscardi’s ‘Bigfoot’ has, which seem to match the ones I’m sure I can see on Patterson’s ‘Patty’.

    Saying that, as far as I’m concerned Biscardi’s ‘Bigfoot’ is phoney. It’s admittedly better than most, if not all the other attempts known to me, and a fair bit of time, thought and effort seems to’ve been put into it, but considering the execrable standard of the other hoaxes that’s not admitting much.

    But to me, Biscard’s ‘Bigfoot’ is highly useful for just how precisely it underlines the authenticity of Patterson’s ‘Patty’.

    Patty’s fur is distributed over her body – and responds very characteristically to her movements – exactly like real fur, whereas Biscardi’s ‘critter’ is covered in something strongly resembling velvet or perhaps suede.

    Also, everything about Patty’s body implies towering power and monumental mass, particularly her prominent and highly responsively rippling muscle distribution, whereas Biscardi’s effort, to me, not only disports itself exactly like any ordinary human bloke in a monkey suit, but in precisely those places where we’d expect at least a hint of muscular action, we see instead clear and obvious cloth folds, particularly the gloved hands and the all too apparent ‘flares’ in the shower pic.

  18. Cprahl responds:

    Keep talking about this don’t let other people get swindled like Coast to Coast allowed their Listeners to be hoaxed by Biscardii; this guy is slimy; why Noory ever let him on his show knowing about his past,,you got me…

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