Behind the Illinois Bigfoot Flap

Posted by: Loren Coleman on February 15th, 2006

Am I surprised to hear there is news of Bigfoot reports coming out of Illinois? Of course not. Illinois was my stomping grounds from 1947-1975, and the area has a long history of encounters. What is surprising is who has shown up to use a relatively recent sighting to get more media attention. Tom Biscardi is back.

The notorious 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. Beware.

Rapidly having departed Happy Valley, California, and disassociated from past associates in Las Vegas, Tom Biscardi has taken his show on the road. Now comes spotty news releases that there has been a “Bigfoot encounter in Illinois” where Biscardi supposedly is hot on the trail to investigate.

Don’t be bothered by the details that the “encounter” took place not exactly recently, or that Biscardi has traveled all the way from California with “equipment” to track the creature. No, Biscardi is there and truth and justice may be the result of this investigation, we are told. Will we soon be hearing again about his website, for pay-per-views?

Intriguingly, media accounts actually said this Illinois Bigfoot encounter took place anywhere from “last fall,” according to the Bloomington Pantagragh to “a year ago,” as noted by a news report on WHOI, in Illinois.

This is all beginning to sound so familiar. Biscardi is quoted as saying that the area near Funks Grove, Illinois can “support two of the creatures” he says “would weigh around 350 pounds each.”

Yes, a serious sighting may have happened in Illinois, but unfortunately, an innocent eyewitness has been swept up in Biscardi’s messing around in the Midwest. As the Peoria Journal-Star notes:

The Bigfoot search team was drawn to the area this week by a phone call last summer from Bloomington resident Chris Vielhak. Vielhak said he saw a large black creature he thought at first was a bear run behind his 1990 Mustang as he drove slowly down State Route 66. After he felt a slap to the side of his car, Vielhak said he was startled and sped away to discover five large claw marks on the trunk. Vielhak called Biscardi after doing some research on the Internet.

“It kept bugging me and fascinated me about what hit my car, and it ticked me off because paint jobs cost money,” Vielhak, 31, told another reporter.

Former International Society of Cryptozoology board member and zoologist at Illinois State University Angelo Capparella said the eyewitness heard strange noises and claimed they were able to get the creature to interact with them in some way. Capparella found this unusual behavior for what is assumed to be shy Bigfoot, and he told the media this raised some questoins about the sighting.

The bottomline seems to be that this is merely developing into another publicity opportunity for Biscardi. If you aren’t convinced that Biscardi is trying to remake himself into some version of a melodramatic tragic American Bigfoot Hunter Superhero, just listen to the words he’s feeding to the media.

Here’s Biscardi talking to ABC News in Illinois: “I’ve been ridiculed, but the proof is in the pudding, Jack, and that’s the reason why myself and my team are out here now investigating across this great United States of America.”

Or read what Biscardi had to say to the Peoria Journal-Star: “Nobody in the field is doing this like us. They’re not in the firing trenches, not braving the temperatures.”

You be the judge.

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.

14 Responses to “Behind the Illinois Bigfoot Flap”

  1. aaha responds:

    Tom is a huckster and stages grand ballyhoos that are akin to the ones that were delivered outside 19th century sideshows. I wonder if he is charging two thousand dollars a piece for a faery hunt like the guy out west is?

  2. J. responds:

    “Nobody in the field is doing this like us.”

    That’s actually not a bad thing, but a good thing, Tom.

  3. darkworx responds:

    Bigfoot is bored over this already

  4. darkworx responds:

    When is Bigfoot going to get his own reality TV show? Like Survivor Bigfoot or America’s next top Bigfoot or American Bigfoot or Bigfoot factor?

  5. MCCLURE1257702 responds:

    We all have to remeber TOM BISCARDI’S lies on 2 shows 1 COAST 2 COAST AM, THE X-ZONE on both shows he was caught in a lie. So my question is as well as others are “WHAT IS HE UP TO?, WHAT IS HIS MOTIVE?”. Are we in for another lie are more people going to put up there money as they did in AUGUST 2005 time will tell “STAY TUNED FOLKS IT’S GOING TO BE WILD”.

  6. J. responds:

    dark: I think Bigfoot is still too, how do you say, “freaked out,” over the MythBusters show to come out of hiding and do a reality show.

  7. iftheshoefits responds:

    Well! Well! Well! As we say here in the south “Speak of the Devil”.

  8. shovethenos responds:

    Has the Mythbusters bigfoot show aired?

    It was obvious from the trailers that they weren’t going to do it right, but I wanted to see it anyway.

  9. J. responds:

    According to the episode list for MythBusters, there isn’t a Bigfoot ep. There might be in the future, but I think the Bigfoot commercial for is just a promo for MB’s. I’m not so sure Bigfoot is a myth they could bust anyway. It’s that whole proving a negative thing.

  10. aaha responds:

    Another great Biscardisms is: “Excuses are tools of incompetence to build monuments of nothing….”

    Tom is full of excuses and full of…..

  11. Sam Farris responds:

    350 pound creature. Claw marks. Could it have been a bear?

  12. Loren Coleman responds:

    Yes, it could be a black bear, but reportedly Ursus americanus is extirpated from the state, although they occasionally wander in from neighboring states.


    The Bloomington newspaper is reporting that “Tom Vielhak, 58, of Bloomington, said he and his 30-year-old son, Chris, said they saw an unidentified animal about six times from June to October.” There apparently were two. One was running like a “football player.” It was reported to be 7 feet tall; another one was said to be 9 feet tall.

  13. kwhited responds:

    I’m not suprised of a reported bigfoot sightings in IL. There have been reported sightings here before and many more unreported. More bigfoot than bear. I can not recall any bear sightings this far down state. I did not know of Biscardi until his interview on WHOI. You could tell what kind of researcher he is. He makes it hard for people who do not believe to take the research seriously.

  14. cryptohunter65 responds:

    I want to thank Loren for pointing this out to people. It could serve our field well to start exposing those who hoax and use lies to advance their personal agenda. Silence causes the public to think that we support these people. Respected researchers like Loren are the obvious choice to point out that these people are not considered part of serious research. We are going to have to debunk our own if we ever hope to be taken seriously.

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