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Horror of Being Hoaxed – Part Two

Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 27th, 2006

In Part One, Kent Ballard of Indiana reveals he thinks he saw a "Bigfoot" on the road. Slowly he comes out to the Bigfoot community about his sighting. But now he’s received an anonymous letter left in his mailbox, telling him it was all a joke pulled on him. What does he do next? Kent gets his gun, thinks through his options, and therein is the rest of the story.

Bigfoot Suit

Hoaxes come in many sizes and shapes. Men inside of fur suits might end up killed by gun-toting outsdoorsmen, if they don’t watch out.

Part Two

by Kent Ballard

I called this man and simply asked him if the letter was true. It had pointed him out as the spotter who was hiding in the weeds with the hoaxer that night. He took a long deep breath and said, yes, it was true–and that if I wanted him to he would drive to my house and let me slug him right in the mouth. He would make no effort to defend himself. He said he deserved that, and had felt rotten for months for taking part in that escapade.

When I asked him how he had gotten involved, he said the hoaxer simply let on like it would be a good joke to pull. The man agreed that it would be funny and the hoaxer had assured him they would tell me the next day, letting me in on the joke. To his horror, weeks later the man discovered that I had not been told, had not been let in on the joke, and that this was something nearly pathological about "Mr. Know-It-All"…that it had not been a joke at all, but a one-man vendetta against me. By then he was afraid to tell me. He’d seen me show up that night with the Smith & Wesson and…well…didn’t know how safe it was to just drive over and tell me himself. He told me every detail, from whom the costume had been borrowed, the radio communication, the precise timing, the observations of my comings and goings, all of it. He said after a while it became evident to him that the hoaxer was no mere practical joker, but a disturbed and vicious man with serious issues. He quit going to the little community restaurant after having had words with the hoaxer on another subject, and the sum total of it all left them parting as enemies.

Well. How about that?

I let the word get out in the community that I finally knew the truth. By this time many of our friends had quit going to the small restaurant themselves as the hoaxer had ticked each of them off in one way or another. It seemed as if everyone was holding their breath to see what my reaction would be. This is a deeply rural area. Life is not the same here as in a more civilized setting. Bad things can happen to people, especially at night or when they’re all alone. There can be accidents, unexplained fires, all sorts of nasty things. To most folks, it wasn’t a question of if I would retaliate, it was merely one of when and how.

Within that week I got an email from the hoaxer’s wife. She glossed over the entire matter and said they were going to let me in on it and that no harm was meant. And it was sickeningly obvious that she had not composed the email, but had written it with him hanging over her shoulder.

I used to know a very scary man. When something would anger him, he did not react like most people. He didn’t get hot. He got cold–very, very cold. Nobody ever crossed that guy twice, and those who had made the mistake of doing it once had bad things happen to them. I decided to play it that way. I wrote back a very cold message saying that everything they had written was a lie, and never to lie to me again. It would not be wise to make a bad situation worse.

Then frantic emails followed. We only live about a mile and a half apart, yet they would not come here, not even call on the phone. I never answered any more emails from them. It was merely a coincidence, but at that time I had just bought a Benelli Nova, a military-police shotgun capable of holding extra rounds and super-Magnum shells. So I took it around to some neighbors’ houses and showed it off, as everyone out here owns weapons anyway and most men are interested in them. Just a little visit to show off my new toy and the folks kindly let me brag about it, admitting it was one hell of a gun.

Word came back of extra lights going up around the small restaurant, and of that family keeping close to home at night. They seemed a bit jittery to customers.

I was told by reliable folks that the hoaxer was awaiting with dread my retaliation. And God knows he deserved some. It is difficult to write in any manner which you would understand the harm and pain he caused me, and through me to my wife. But as time went by I realized that I was already driving him mad by doing absolutely nothing at all, and the tiny community came down universally on my side. He lost business over that. I never lifted a finger against him or his property. Even years later people who talked to him assured me that he was still waiting for some horror that would never come, at least not from me.

I have no intention of literally throwing myself in jail by doing something stupid. In the end, I found out that I actually had more friends than I ever thought, and people have spread the word about the hoaxer without my help at all. I took the high road, and it paid off handsomely. And not only in friendships, but in new contacts and new reports. Because during all of that time I genuinely believed I had nearly stopped to speak to a Bigfoot, I had gotten deeply into this odd hobby and became hooked. I was too busy researching, talking to frightened families, hiking in various forests, and doing my best to calm scared people down to pay any more attention to this loser.

Karma may be involved here. By being so frightened myself, then learning that we are actually dealing with a creature that will go far out if its way to avoid actually harming a human, I have the ability to talk to people and understand their fear, and to make them understand mine, and to help them come to the same realization that I have–Bigfoot represents no overt threat. You’d have to go out of your way to make one harm you. Sure, they’ll scare you senseless. That’s their stock in trade. But they don’t hurt people who don’t hurt them. Most often, they don’t hurt people who do hurt them, or try to.

Through an email group list, linked to the conference I attended, I wrote the members there and told the whole story of being hoaxed. I explained that I was telling the truth as I knew it, but that "truth" was entirely wrong. I asked them to forgive me, even though it wasn’t my fault, and asked the serious researchers to erase any videotapes they might have of me nervously babbling my odd tale at that meeting. Despite my best thoughts and intentions, there was not one word of truth in the whole talk I gave. I wrote that, sent it, and held my breath waiting for the firestorm that would no doubt land in my lap. To their credit, they had no hard feelings towards me, thanked me for telling them the story and updating it, and a handful even complimented me on the guts they knew it took to write that.

This entire affair turned out very strangely. I have never made any major discoveries or advancements in this field. I do my best to keep upwith what’s going on, where the activity is, and all that, but it just could be that in the end it will be the people themselves that will get my best efforts. Not a university, not a movie deal, not three-quarters of CBS’ "60 Minutes"–but just the people.

There are so many who are frightened deeply, so many who have had their world tuned upside down, so many whose understanding of reality has been shattered that the sheer volume of emotion is staggering. If we are an army, fighting our way through to the even
tual discovery of the truth behind these beings, then consider me a medic. When you’re afraid to sleep alone at night, or turn the light out, or moan every time your dog barks, you need me or some of the others who are like me. And I’m happy to do it. I can see the results after at time, and understand that I am making headway and helping the cause.

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. 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.


37 Responses to “Horror of Being Hoaxed – Part Two”

  1. twblack responds:

    It is only going to be a matter of time before a hoaxer gets himself shot and killed.

  2. Tegan responds:

    “I have never made any major discoveries or advancements in this field.”

    Actually, I would argue that helping calm people who have seen bigfoot, and helping them work through their fears, is a major accomplishment. So you were hoaxed, but I bet the folks you’ve helped since then are simply grateful that you were there to help them.

    In addition, you know exactly what it feels like both to have seen something you didn’t understand, and to realize that you were the butt of somebody’s sick joke. You can tackle all aspects of the issue. You have a unique perspective that few others can match.

    As for the hoaxer, yeah, he’s gonna get himself killed if he continues that way. Your best revenge on him was to do what you did. He’ll never stop looking over his shoulder for you, and he deserves every single second of terror.

  3. billkirbywofb responds:

    I think you have handled this very well. And the community has seen what kind of man this hoaxer is. At least you have gained some friends in the bigfoot field out of this. May I wish you have a real sighting one day with proof – be the best revenge in the world on this turkey.

  4. Ceroill responds:

    Kent, you are a good man, and a credit to your community. The hoaker is lucky in that regard, it could have wound up much differently. Obviously this petty man was not at all interested in ‘proving himself right’. If he had been, he would have revealed the hoax to you right away and made fun of you being ‘so easily fooled’. His whole enjoyment was the private gloating about how ‘stupid’ and ‘gullible’ you were. That’s how he boosts his own self image at the expense of others. It’s also why he couldn’t afford to let you know, especially after all that time. Close, rural communities usually don’t react well to that kind of casual cruelty, and he has become aware of that. Keep up your good work.

  5. One Eyed Cat responds:

    Kent,

    You are one class act, and I agree with Tegan.

    By taking a very nasty negative and turning it into a major positive you have helped more than Mr Hoaxer has ever hurt.

  6. Mateo responds:

    This is a pretty one sided story. It makes the hoaxer out to be satan incarnate and I highly doubt that’s the case. He let a joke go on too long and is guilty of that. But this story paints him in a typical “thinks he’s smarter than everyone else skeptic” light.

  7. Ole Bub responds:

    Kent…

    Thank you…for sharing your story with those who read this blog….quien sabe…. maybe you saved some fool’s life…honesty is always the best policy…you are still a hero…JMHO

    Mateo…try not to make some wannabe’s day…JMHO

    seeing is believing…

    ole bub and the dawgs

  8. jjames2 responds:

    I actually kind of agree with Mateo on this one.

  9. Mateo responds:

    Not only that, but Kent’s description of the post-reveal events make it sound like he was doing more to scare the hoaxer that he admits.

    He goes into a couple of deviations from the story to talk about how “I used to know a very scary man” and how he was showing his new guns off to his neighbors. It sounds like there is more to the story that Kent readily admits.

  10. Stirling responds:

    Mateo, you sound like a person who has a vested interest in defending hoaxers.

    Hmmm. Why might that be?

  11. Berkastler responds:

    I think Mateo IS the hoaxer.

  12. jjames2 responds:

    Guys, why are you so quick to jump all over Mateo? Like I said, I can understand where he’s coming from. Kent told his story in, quite frankly, a very melodramatic fashion. Sure, the hoaxer probably went too far, but, at least to me, it seems like Kent over-reacted, as well.

  13. harleyb responds:

    Kent, you did what you thought was right. It ain’t even worth the case of doing something, what goes around comes around.

  14. Mateo responds:

    No, I’m not the hoaxer nor have I ever done a hoax on anyone. Though I do see the value of a hoax, I think this guy went on too long. Hoaxes are to embarrass the gullible, but they are also to teach a lesson. Going on to long removes the possible that anything will be learned, by observers even, and just create bitterness. However, Kent’s description of the hoaxer makes him out to be more villainous that I bet he actually is.

  15. Lee Pierce responds:

    I agree with Mateo. This is a one-sided story. I believe it is only a story. Show us some proof, Kent. You embellished your tale like you were an omniscient observer to the whole thing. Also, if the guy was such a jerk to begin with why did you call him a friend.
    I’m not a skeptic. I just need more to convince me.

  16. One Eyed Cat responds:

    Well I suppose you could deposition Mrs Ballard If you want another side of the story.

    “…It makes the hoaxer out to be satan incarnate…” I did not get that impression. More likw a total jerk sounding like quite a few human males I’ve had the displeasure of meeting over the years.

    I am getting the impression some around here are jealous somebody else beat them to a ‘good’ hoax.

  17. bfrwannab responds:

    I thought it was a great story. I’m sure a few chapters were left out though. The hoaxer wasn’t satan incarnate just a richard skull. :)
    Many of those in this world.
    I’m amazed by the mindset that a hoax is now considered good by some! I guess it will be until someone winds up dead. Then we can all laugh our *ss off! Hardy friggin harrrr.

  18. greywolf responds:

    The EX friend should consider himself lucky and I give Kent Ballard a high five for haveing the courage to tell his story and the temper control to not stick the new shot gun were the sun don’t shine on his EX friend. Hoaxers should be arrested as a public pain in the butt.

  19. jjames1 responds:

    One Eyed Cat: I don’t get that impression at all. For me personally, I just prefer to hear both sides of the story, especially when one side is presented in such an overly dramatic fashion. Is that asking too much?

  20. Loren Coleman responds:

    Needless to say, this comment section or even a guest blog devoted to the “other side of the story” from the hoaxer is open and available to the hoaxer.

    In the meantime, let us not project onto the hoaxer any reasonable motives for why he did what he did, nor criticize Kent Ballard for not being fairer to the hoaxer. This is one man’s story, one he did not need to tell, to try to share his feelings on how it felt. Period.

  21. mbryant responds:

    It was a mean and stupid joke. The hoaxer sounds like a psychopath/sociopath to me. Anger arises out of fear; the greater the fear, the greater the rage. For that reason I think carrying weapons in your car, within reach, is a very bad idea most of the time. It seems to me that what happened to Kent created posttraumatic stress that he is still attempting to work out. I wish him well.

  22. Ole Bub responds:

    Good morning Bloggers….

    Kent’s story illustrates how influential a sighting can be…for me it was “life changing”…you will never look at the outdoors the same way…real or otherwise….JMHO

    It also shows the angst and emotion that accompany’s a sighting….for me it was a wonderous event….however for some it may be more than you asked for…JMHO

    No one benefits from a hoax…one day the last laugh will be on sasquatch…

    seeing is believing…

    ole bub and the dawgs

  23. herpjitsu responds:

    It sounds like a good hoax/prank to me. The bad part was the guys over-reaction to it. Some people take things too seriously, learn to take a joke.Wanting to go back for blood because some creature walked across the road is what is insane to me.

    Whatever you feel about the hoax and this story…it is a great example that: You can’t always believe what you see! Your mind and your senses are not fail-safe instruments.

  24. rayrich responds:

    Well said Ole Bub it is a life changing experience. Exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Something that stays with you forever.

  25. planettom responds:

    That is quite a story. I enjoyed it, thank you!

  26. Dark-Obsessor responds:

    Interesting…

  27. Lee Pierce responds:

    This is a good discussion. I have believed in Bigfoot for over 40 years. I haven’t had an encounter but I still believe. I do have a problem with stories like Kent’s. If it is true, it’s just a practical joke. It’s not like the jerk was trying to fool the world, just a gullible friend.

    Loren, is there a way we can get in touch with Kent?

  28. Lee Pierce responds:

    Loren, do you take this story at face value?

  29. Porkchop responds:

    I didn’t think the first half of the story was particularly well constructed, my first thought was he needed an editor. Kent seemed to be speaking from the hoaxer’s POV rather than his own. I’m saying he’s not a good story teller, NOT speaking to the veracity of the story, I’ll take that on face value. With some work, this is a good story.

    so I skipped ahead to the talkback without reading… and I have to say, I’m keeping my original opinion, and that 23. herpjitsu has said the smartest thing I’ve heard all day.

  30. Mnynames responds:

    This guys has the guts to spill his soul out to you and all you can say is “Can’t you take a joke?”

    Hmmmm, maybe you’re right. Maybe hoaxes do have value. I recommend one for everybody that doubts this man. Let’s see if you act as courageously.

  31. Nightbird responds:

    It never ceases to amaze me how cold hearted people can be, and I’m not just talking about the hoaxer here. All of these posters saying “he over reacted” and “can’t he take a joke?” and “he told the story with such melodrama” and last but not least “it is only his side of the story”… What the hell? Where did these peoples morals go to?

    Since when is attacking the person of a cruel joke a good thing? Since when do we care so much about the opinion of the person commiting such a cruel act on somebody else? Melodramatic? Sure, maybe if you have no emotions, or cannot express feelings of fright, disgust and anger. I also live in a very rural area of forest, and let me tell you right now, all you city guys who are coming down on Kent for not “taking a joke” and “over reacting” need to come out here and drive down these lonely and pitch black roads late at night, and then see some thing walk across the road in front of you, and try not to steer your vehicle into a tree to avoid it and possibly kill yourself. This man, and his wife through him, were deeply frightened by this event, and all you can do is attack him? Try living in the country, with no street lights at night and pitch black all around you, and then tell me you wouldn’t be frightened after seeing this thing one night, and then thinking it was real because the cruel person who did this decided not to tell you for almost a year. What kind of morals do you people have?

    Again, it never ceases to amaze me how cruel some people can be, and in my book, if you defend somebody doing such a cruel thing to someone else, you obviously have probably done something similar yourselves to someone, and believe it is no big deal.

    Kent, I salute you sir, and I wish only the best for you and yours, and thank you for sharing your story with us. Please ignore those with no sense of what is right and wrong, luckily, they are outnumbered.

  32. jjames1 responds:

    Nightbird, you just went off the deep end there.

    My comments about the hoax were not meant to be “cruel,” as you say, nor do my comments indicate a lack of morals. While I’m somewhat sympathetic to someone who’s scared by such a hoax, I stand by my opinion that showing a gun around in an attempt to threaten the hoaxer was carrying things too far. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and all that…

    And, for the record, I’m not a “city guy,” either. While I now live in Santa Monica, California, I grew up in a place called Hog Mountain, Georgia, and my family is from Ellijay, Georgia, the area that inspired the novel/film DELIVERANCE. Just because someone doesn’t agree with you does not mean that they come from a completely different background than you.

  33. Lee Pierce responds:

    Speaking of overreacting, a couple members of our group seem to be taking offense at some of our opinions. Chill, pardners. We’re just discussing a story here, that’s all.

    Can’t we all just get along.

  34. megalodon responds:

    First of all, thanks to Kent Ballard for having the courage to tell this fascinating story which doesn’t always portray him in the most flattering way. This was one of the most interesting stories I’ve read on Cryptomundo. I appreciate your honesty, Kent!

    Also, thanks to Loren for saying in your post, in an eloquent manner, what Ii was trying to figure out how to say in my own crude way.

    Mr Ballard really seems to have struck a nerve with some of our members by critcizing a hoaxer. Why defend a hoaxer? I have little sympathy for these practical jokers, or pranksters, or frauds or whatever you choose to call them.

    One of the great values of this blog is the wonderful detective work that Craig and Loren have done in exposing frauds like Tom Biscardi and the people at OurBigfoot.com and the rash of silly alleged bigfoot photos we’ve seen lately.

    Keep up the good work Cryptomundo!

  35. Mnynames responds:

    I wholeheartedly concur…

  36. shadowwalker responds:

    WOW, this is the first time I have ever read about someone having a traumatic experience over someone hoaxing about a creature that yet, there is no hard scientific proof.

  37. NW USA Traveler responds:

    Eloquently stated Nightbird! The hoaxer is reaping his reward for treating a brother with cruelty. And I am sure that what “comes around” hasn’t finished “coming around” for him. He will reap his bitter reward until he has learned his lesson to the very bottom of his soul.

    Well done Kent! The quality of your character shines through in every action you chose. Class act.

    Since when is Kent required to tell his story from the hoaxer’s perspective, sympathetically? Ridiculous.

    I worked as a Physical Scientist for Department of Interior agencies for 11 years before resigning from my position. The enormous gulf between the current state of science and what is reported to the public through the media and other official sources is enormous. Just as we are finding out now about Biological/Chemical/Radioactive weapons testing carried out on U.S. citizens a generation ago (due to de-classification of DOD research documentation), we will find out today’s secrets in 50 or 100 years. With cutting edge science only now leaking through to the public from films such as: “What the bleep!? Down the rabbit hole”, the average person is getting a small look into the vast world of science that was closed off from everyone except for top managers at Bell and Sandia labs, and their scientists. What is actually known about these things that inhabit the fringes of known “reality” probably won’t be disclosed to us in our lifetimes. I say “probably” because it is getting harder and harder for “official” sources to keep things hidden away and dark.

    Courageous individuals with integrity like Kent are a big reason why!



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