Jewish World Review Dec. 12, 2002 / 7 Teves, 5762
Bigfoot: Myth or monster?
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | The world of crank science was knocked for a loop recently when the family of Ray L. Wallace revealed, after his death at 84, that his discovery of giant footprints in 1958 had been a hoax.
"The reality is, Bigfoot just died," says Wallace' son, Michael. Surviving members of Wallace' family say that he and his brother Wilbur (really!) asked a friend to carve 16" wooden footprints and they then distributed fake prints liberally in areas where they might be found.
It was in August of 1958 that a bulldozer operator who worked for Ray Wallace's construction company first found the bizarre footprints at a remote job site. The story was soon a sensation in the Humboldt (Ca.) Times.
Thus began the "Bigfoot" phenomenon.
Wallace went on to cut an album of reputed Bigfoot sounds (as did William Shatner) and took pictures of Bigfeet in various natural settings.
In fact, Michael Wallace claims his mother admits to posing for photos in a Bigfoot costume. But then, whose mother has not worn a Bigfoot costume at one time or other?
The Wallace family also claims that the so-called Patterson film, the grainy 1968 footage of a large hairy man-like creature walking in the Northern California woods, was a fake. Presumably, given time, the Wallace clan will blow the whistle on Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Trickle Down Theory.
In truth, the Patterson film always did look a little fishy. For one thing, the beast did not look like he was accustomed to walking in the woods, he looked more like a giant ape walking down a sidewalk in Manhattan. And, if you looked really closely, there did appear to be a small "Dry Clean Only" label protruding from the animal's back.
Luckily, the only people who believe in Bigfoot are a handful of talk radio hosts and a smattering of college professors at places like Yakima State who collect "data" on Bigfoot "sightings" and smoke large amounts of medical marijuana for vague ailments.
The case to be made for a huge man-beast living in the woods of the Continental U.S. is a trifle thin. A Bigfoot has never been shot by a hunter -- even accidentally -- a Bigfoot has never been hit by a logging truck or run over by a train or found sleeping in someone's backyard.
If Bigfoot did exist it would have appeared at least once by now on "America's Wackiest Animal Videos" or "Blind Date." The Fox Network would have no doubt produced "Who Wants to Marry Bigfoot?"
Michael Wallace says his Dad started the whole thing as a joke but then he was afraid people would be mad at him when he admitted it was a hoax.
Apparently, Ray Wallace did not take into account the possibility that people would actually be dumb enough to buy his little joke.
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