Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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In between each episode of OTT, we now present OTTXtra. Here are the last three episodes:


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Unlike some of our competitors we are not going to try and blackmail you into donating by saying that we won't continue if you don't. That would just be vulgar, but our lives, and those of the animals which we look after, would be a damn sight easier if we receive more donations to our fighting fund. Donate via Paypal today...

Sunday, August 08, 2010

WEIRD WEEKEND 2010: The Latest News

* With only a few days left, the influx of people begins today. First due is Max who should be here at tea time today (clutching large amounts of cake for the kids tea party, and a cane toad for Corinna's belated birthday present). Richard arrives tomorrow, and Ronan on Wednesday. Then on thursday the floodgates open....

* Patrick Noble writes:

Morning Jon,

I have a few spare seats in my car travelling from Kent for the WW if you wanted to let people know through the blog. Travelling down Thursday, returning Monday. Will consider reasonable detours on route. I know it’s late notice and most people will have already made arrangements, but the offer is there nonetheless!

Hope you are keeping well, see you soon


With only a few days to go, if you haven't done so already, now might be a good time to buy your tickets to the best crypto-fortean event of the year....

Buy Your Tickets here

CFZ PEOPLE: Daniel Taylor, (brother of Emily and Jessica who are familiar faces on the blog) says goodbye to his cat Salem who died last week

MICHAEL NEWTON: Patty-Whacked, Part 2: Unusual Suspects

In the first installment of Patty-Whacked I examined claims that Hollywood makeup artist John Chambers created a Bigfoot costume for the Patterson film of October 1967—and a corollary allegation that Chambers protégé-associate Tom Burman starred as “the man in the ape suit.” No evidence supported either claim. Both Chambers and Burman denied any part in the filming. I also reported a specious claim that the film, while a hoax, was believed to be genuine by cameraman and chief promoter Roger Patterson—a proposition that defies all logic.

Despite fatal flaws in the Chambers-Burman legend of 1996-97, it survives and still enjoys a certain currency today. Meanwhile, assorted other “experts” have suggested alternative theories and named different suspects as “Patty”—the apparent female Sasquatch depicted in Patterson’s footage. In this installment we review the various solutions offered between 1998 and 2003, together with the media’s handling of each in turn.

BBC’s version of “Patty,” as aired in September 1998.

First up in the wake of the Chambers debacle was the British Broadcasting Corporation, tackling Sasquatch and other cryptids in six-part series called The X Creatures, airing on BBC 1 between 26 August and 30 September 1998. Patty’s half-hour segment, broadcast on 16 September, was titled 'Shooting Bigfoot.' 1 It included a bumbling “recreation” of the Patterson film, employing an actor clad in an ape suit covered with long reddish hair, which bore no resemblance to Patty beyond the fact that both figures possessed one head and four limbs.
More important than BBC’s shoddy special effects, however, was the network’s handling of Bob Gimlin. The show’s producers retrieved an interview Gimlin had granted in the early 1970s, then pared the lengthy transcript down to a single question. Asked whether the filming conceivably might have been hoaxed without his knowledge, Gimlin hesitated, then allowed that it was “possible” in theory. In 1998 the BBC’s narrator closed 'Shooting Bigfoot' with a flat—and false—assertion that Gimlin “now believes the film may be a hoax.”
2 In fact, Gimlin said nothing of the kind. Months after The X Creatures episode aired, in January 1999, Gimlin told another interviewer, “I was there. I saw it. The film is genuine. Anybody who says different is just trying to make a buck.”3

* * *

Next in line with an Sasquatch 'exposé' was Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Broadcasting Company, which aired a special programme titled World's Greatest Hoaxes: Secrets Finally Revealed on 28 December 1998. Chosen as spokesman for the programme’s Bigfoot segment—and prepared to brand the Patterson film an “elaborate hoax”—was Kal K. Korff, a figure nearly as controversial as Sasquatch itself.4

Korff’s profile on the Skeptical Inquirer website describes him as president and CEO of 'TotalResearch, a company dedicated to studying universal mysteries and concerns,' adding that he 'is a former senior systems analyst at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on the ‘Star Wars’ program and is a recognized expert and pioneer in computer-based multimedia systems who helped develop Apple Computer’s revolutionary HyperCard software—the ancestor to the Internet software Browser.'5

Korff’s own website, labelled CriticalThinkers.org, describes him in greater detail as 'an internationally known, critically acclaimed Analyst, Author, Broadcaster, Columnist, Computer Systems Architect, Editor, Graphic Artist, Humanitarian Worker, Intelligence Analyst, Investigative Journalist, IT Specialist, Lecturer, Media Personality, Photo Editor, Senior Systems Analyst, Apple, Windows and Linux Software Developer, Teacher, WEB Architect, [and] Content Management System Designer. The President and CEO of CriticalThinkers.org, Kal is also a Counterterrorism Analyst, Advisor and Specialist, a Kidon Unit Commander [N.B.: The Israeli Mossad’s covert assassination branch; kidon is “bayonet” in Hebrew] who fights against anti-Semitism and Islamofascist extremism. Kal holds the rank of Colonel in an Israeli-founded civilian entity. The author of nearly 50 non-fiction books, [and] over 10,000 articles, since 1975 Kal has lectured to more than 300,000 people worldwide.' 6

An impressive résumé, indeed—and one that is frequently challenged on various points by Korff’s critics. While most of the claims are unverifiable, I note in passing that Korff’s current Skeptical Inquirer profile lists him as the author of two books, not 'nearly 50,' and my searches online—at Book Finder, various branches of Amazon.com, etc.—raised the total to three. His own website, accessed on 13 July 2010, revealed the same three titles and no more.7 The same site’s list of Korff-authored articles named two out of the rumoured 10,000-plus.8 He may indeed have published more; we simply cannot say.

Korff’s online critics—ranging from reserved to rabid—accuse him of much more than mere puffery. In December 2006, one Paul Kimball wrote that 'On his website, Korff claims, among many, many other things, to have been ‘a key, expert witness in the O.J. Simpson murder trial CIVIL lawsuit.’'9 [Emphasis in the original.] That claim does not appear on Korff’s website today, but as Kimball demonstrates, it is—or would have been—demonstrably false.

Another critic—this one carefully anonymous—allegedly researched Korff’s claim of employment at California’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, verifying that Korff indeed worked there, while quoting several purported (unnamed) colleagues who deny Korff’s link to “Star Wars” and relegate him to “remedial system support,” heaping on gratuitous insults.10 How Mr. X obtained that information, if he did, remains a mystery.
Such wrangling is only pertinent in light of Korff’s own mission statement for CriticalThinkers.org. There, he writes:

As you can see from the content published here, which is updated dynamically as world events unfold, this Web site is dedicated to exposing the TRUTH about many diverse and sometimes controversial subjects, it presents some very hard facts.

The greatest thing about facts, is that they ARE REALITY—anyone can independently verify them, should they wish to do so.

The PROBLEM is, MOST people just don’t bother to verify the information they either claim or “think” they know, for no valid nor logical reason.

Since they don’t do so, when REAL truth finally hits them, or they are forced to finally face facts, too often people resist it.

People often get “upset” over what is REALLY REALITY, and in an act of denial some play the immoral game of “attack the messenger” while ignoring the message or the facts which are being communicated.
Remember, just because one may not “like” certain facts, this does NOT give us the right to reject them.
Facts, should NEVER be ignored—regardless of who states them, or what one “thinks” or feels about the person or source stating, sharing or proving them.

When listening to FACTS and considering them, logic should reign supreme, not emotions nor personal biases and desires.

Facts are INVIOLATE, they are (rightfully and thankfully) INDEPENDENT of anyone's “opinions.”11 [All emphasis in the original.]

We must keep those lofty principles in mind as we examine Korff’s treatment of the Patterson film from 1998 onward. On World's Greatest Hoaxes, Korff told his audience, “There’s no doubt in my mind that the Patterson film is a hoax. It is a human being in a fur suit.” To name the culprit, Fox enlisted one Clyde Reinke, described as a rancher, businessman, and sometime “personal and administrative manager” of American National Enterprises—a film production/distribution company based in Salt Lake City, Utah.12

In its day, ANE produced low-budget films that were long on stock footage and short on plot, including such forgettable features as Mysteries from Beyond Earth (1975) and Are We Alone in the Universe? (1978), both touting the probability of alien contact with humans. It also distributed the horror film Piranha in 1972.13 One ANE participant—who described the firm as his “family’s film business”—was Ronald Olson, a self-styled Sasquatch hunter who derived his inspiration from Roger Patterson. As Olson told a reporter in 1973, “I don’t think I was even near the point of believing in it until I saw Patterson’s footage. Not until I had seen the film and had worked with him for a while did I start coming to the point of thinking in my own mind that there was really something out there.” Four years later, Olson wrote and produced his own crypto- mockumentary—Sasquatch: The Legend of Bigfoot—depicting the fictional adventures of seven intrepid monster hunters.14
But I digress.

Poster for Ron Olson’s Bigfoot mockumentary—curiously, neither produced nor directed by ANE.

On Fox, in December 1998, ANE manager Clyde Reinke identified Patterson’s “man in the ape suit” as one Jerry Romney, an insurance agent formerly affiliated with the film company. Furthermore, Reinke claimed, Patterson himself had been a full-time salaried ANE employee, who faked the film at ANE’s request and thereby made “millions” of dollars for the company. Fox interviewed Romney, who flatly contradicted Reinke and denied any role in the Patterson film. Stuck with that embarrassing development, Fox aired footage of Romney walking (in 1998), while narrator Lance Henrickson—himself the star of two Bigfoot horror films, Sasquatch and Sasquatch Mountain—remarked on the “similarity” between Romney’s stride and Patty’s, from 1967.15
Canadian researcher John Green set the story straight in 1999, declaring that Patterson had no affiliation with ANE until 1971, a few months before his death, when the firm bought limited rights to his footage for inclusion in future productions. “There is certainly a hoax involved here,” said Green, “but not the one claimed by Fox. They are the ones who were hoaxed.”16

* * *

Round three in the Patterson-bashing marathon was frankly bizarre. In mid-January 1999, working from computer enhancements of Patterson’s footage prepared by Canadian researcher Christopher Murphy, Washington resident Cliff Crook proclaimed that he had found a metal buckle of some kind dangling from Patty’s fur—proof positive that the film must be a hoax. “When the guy in the suit turned to look at the camera, it probably snapped loose and dangled from the fur,” Crook said. “It’s a hoax. Why would Bigfoot be wearing a belt buckle?”17

Why, indeed?

Crook’s claim rated an article in the conservative news magazine U.S. News & World Report, whose editors were moved to chortle: “A shy and reclusive man-beast darts from a remote clearing in the Northern California woods and slips into the forest. But wait—what’s that glittering at the creature’s waist? A belt buckle? A bottle opener? Is it really Bigfoot, the legendary giant of the north woods, or just a guy in a monkey suit?”18 Skeptical Inquirer also found the tale newsworthy, repeating it as late as spring 2002.19

Before evaluating his claim and its impact, it behooves us to take a closer look at Cliff Crook. Crook’s Bigfoot Central website, online since 1980, proclaims him 'America’s first Bigfoot Case Investigator, starting with a May 1956 encounter that became the birth of the Bigfoot Case.' Crook labels his website 'North America’s Official Bigfoot Case Database Headquarters,' while adding the proviso that 'We no longer extend Bigfoot report investigation services outside of Western Washington or beyond the perimeters of Klallam County.' Finally, Crook adds that he inspired the character of Bigfoot researcher Wallace Wrightwood, portrayed by Don Ameche in the 1987 film Harry and the Hendersons. Beyond that, Crook says, he 'was also technical advisor and sets supplier' for said movie.20

Concerning that film, Crook’s claims are debatable. Critics suggest that Dr Wrightwood was in fact a composite character, incorporating qualities borrowed from famed Bigfooters Peter Byrne, John Green, and Grover Krantz. As for Crook’s role on the movie set, suffice it to say that his name appears nowhere in the exhaustive credits listed on the Internet Movie Database.21

Crook’s problems do not end with film credits, however. Through the years, he has suffered storms of criticism—or 'vicious lies,' in his terms—from other members of the Sasquatch research community. Bigfoot Central declares that '99% of the malicious slanders posted against Cliff Crook and other long dedicated Bigfoot case investigators, is [sic] the work of one individual,” whom he identifies as rival Matt Moneymaker, founder of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization.22 And in fact, while some of the strongest criticism directed at Crook—for allegedly faking Bigfoot tracks, photos, etc.—does come from the BFRO, challenges to Crook’s 'discoveries' have also been voiced by Loren Coleman, Dr Jeff Meldrum and others. 23

The strangest part of the 'belt buckle' yarn is Christopher Murphy’s involvement. According to online reporter Joseph Rose, “Murphy began questioning the film’s validity after discovering an aberration in the footage while helping his son with a class project in 1995. Using a computer, he zoomed in tighter and tighter on the frames, finding what appears to be a glimmering ornate latch in the shape of a bottle opener.” Murphy then allegedly told Rose that “there’s something out of place” in the film, adding, “I have now sent my material to an expert in the [photo-enhancing] field.”24 Cliff Crook spoke for Murphy when he told U.S. News & World Report, “We think when the guy in the suit turned to look at the camera, it snapped loose and dangled from the fur.”25

Whatever his qualms in January 1999, Murphy must have overcome them by July 2004, when he published Meet the Sasquatch, a collection of Bigfoot photographs analysed in detail, sans any reference to dangling buckles. In April 2005 Murphy went on to publish The Bigfoot Film Controversy. The bulk of that volume—71 percent of its text—is a verbatim reprint of Roger Patterson’s self-published book from 1966, Do Abominable Snowmen of America Really Exist? The remainder is a zealous defense of the Patterson film, with critiques of its detractors—except for Cliff Crook, who passes entirely unmentioned. 26

The bottom line: most viewers of the film see nothing that resembles a buckle, bottle opener, or any other metallic object, regardless of enhancement or magnification. Crook continues to stand by his claim.
* * *

Before the ripples caused by Crook’s 'revelation' had time to subside, fresh conspiracy allegations surfaced at Zillah, in Washington’s Yakima County. There, in January 1999, lawyer Barry Woodward announced that an unnamed client had dressed in Sasquatch-drag for Patterson’s film. According to the Yakima Herald-Republic, 'Woodward described the man only as a fifty-eight-year-old lifelong resident of the Yakima Valley who approached him a few months ago after a network news program called questioning authenticity of the 1967 film. The man wanted help negotiating a deal for rights to his story...as well as to explore any legal issues he might face as a result of his involvement in the hoax.' 27

Attorney Woodward also delivered a statement from a Yakima policeman, who subjected the anonymous actor to a polygraph examination and pronounced him truthful. Five days later, Woodward told the Herald Republic, “We’re just sort of waiting for the dust to settle. We anticipate that we will be telling the full story to somebody rather quickly.” In fact, another six years ekapsed before the self-styled Patty-player spoke again and was identified at last. His story belongs to this article’s final segment, but its fleeting debut is significant for the Herald-Republic’s first mention of one Greg Long, a Washington writer and “paranormal researcher” engaged in writing a book on the Patterson film. Years in advance of final publication, Long branded Patterson a hoaxer. “It’s all circumstantial evidence,” he said. “But the circumstantial evidence is very convincing.”28

* * *
While Long laboured over his exposé, long years in the making, yet another story surfaced to 'prove' the Patterson footage a fraud. Notorious Sasquatch hoaxer Raymond Wallace died in Centralia, Washington, on 26 November 2002, and his family rushed to cash in on his passing, declaring him the inventor of Bigfoot and telling any reporter who’d listen that “Bigfoot just died.”29 The family sold film rights to his story for an undisclosed amount, to actor Judge Reinhold and his wife, but the movie was never produced.30 Meanwhile, the story spun out of control and took on a life of its own.

In the initial version, son Michael Wallace told the SeattleTimes that “his father called the Patterson film ‘a fake’ and said he had nothing to do with it. But he said his mother admitted she had been photographed in a Bigfoot suit.” In the same article, Mark Chorvinsky—first to report the dubious claim that John Chambers made a Sasquatch suit for Patterson—declared that Michael Wallas “said his mother admitted she had been photographed in a Bigfoot suit.”31

Two days later, the Vancouver Sun put a rather different twist on those claims, stating: “The most famous evidence for Bigfoot’s existence, the so-called Patterson film...was another of Wallace’s fakes, the family said—he told Patterson where to go to spot the creature and knew who had been inside the suit.” Nephew David Wallace was quoted as telling the Sun, “He did it for the joke and then was afraid to tell anyone because they’d be so mad at him.”32

Wallace’s garbled story crossed the Atlantic on 7 December 2002, as The Scotsman told its readers: 'Mr. Wallace later persuaded his wife to dress up in a monkey suit for ‘Bigfoot’ photographs, and he told Roger Patterson, a rodeo rider, to set up his camera to film the famous footage, shot in 1967, which supposedly showed the creature walking up the hillside.'33 On the same day, London’s Evening Telegram reported that the Patterson film 'was another of Mr. Wallace’s fakes.' 34

By 2004 anthropologist David Daegling felt obliged to tell his readers that Ray Wallace “had a degree of involvement” in Patterson’s film, which made the whole project suspect. 35 Four years later, Internet blogger Peter Ruble declared: “In a 1982 interview with a researcher, Wallace allegedly claimed that he acted as director of the Bigfoot film in Bluff Creak, CA. According to [Mark] Chorvinsky, Wallace knew the identity of the man in the suit but insisted on taking it to his grave and would only say he was a Yakima American Indian.”36 The transcript of that interview remains as elusive as Sasquatch.

In fact, the only documented link between Roger Patterson and Ray Wallace was provided by Patterson himself, a full year before he caught Patty on film. His self-published book on Bigfoot mentions Wallace several times, in connection with the Sasquatch tracks found—or hoaxed—at Bluff Creek, California, in 1958. Sometime prior to the book’s publication in 1966, Patterson visited Wallace at home in Toledo, Washington, where Wallace had settled in 1961. They discussed the Bluff Creek incident, and Patterson moved on. There is no reference to a second meeting, as claimed by Wikipedia’s anonymous chronicler of the Patterson film. Any other claims of contact or collaboration between the two men is pure speculation. 37

And in fact, for those who buy the hoax claim covered in the last installment of this article, the Wallace plot itself must be a fraud. The two accounts cannot be reconciled.

As of 2003, thirty-six years after Patty’s film debut, five separate conspiracy theories had clashed and cancelled out one another, all without providing a shred of evidence that the footage was faked—by Patterson, or anyone else. A sixth “final solution” to the mystery was waiting in the wings, and as we’ll see, it managed to present more contradictions than the other five combined.

1 “The X Creatures,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_X_Creatures.
2 “Shooting Bigfoot, The X Creatures, BBC 1, 16 September 1998.
3 Loren Coleman, Bigfoot! (New York: Paraview, 2003), p. 106.
4 Ibid., p. 101.
5 “Kal K. Korff,” Skeptical Inquirer, http://www.csicop.org/author/kalkkorff.
6 “WHO and WHAT is Kal Korff?” http://www.kalkorff.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=52&Itemid=88.
7 “Kal Korff’s Books-Videos,” http://www.kalkorff.com/index.php?option=com_wrapper&view=wrapper&Itemid=82.
8 “Kal Korff’s Articles,” http://www.kalkorff.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=70&Itemid=81.
9 Paul Kimball, “Kal Korff and Glass Houses” The Other Side of Truth, http://redstarfilms.blogspot.com/2006/12/kal-korff-and-glass-houses.html.
10 “Kal Did Work At LLNL,” Kult of Kal Korff, http://kultofkal.blogspot.com/2009/03/kal-did-work-at-llnl.html.
11 “About Us,” CriticalThinkers.org, http://www.kalkorff.com.
12 “The Patterson Film: A Discussion by Daniel Perez,”Bigfoot Encounters, http://www.bigfootencounters.com/articles/forteantimes05.htm.
13 “American National Enterprises,” Internet Movie Database, http://www.imdb.com/company/co0080674.
14 Doug Bates, “The man who chases Bigfoot,” The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR), October 21, 1973; “Ronald D. Olson,” IMDB, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2309390.
15 Coleman, pp. 102-3; “The Patterson Film: A Discussion by Daniel Perez.”
16 Coleman, p. 104.
17 Joseph Rose, “Sasquatch: Man in a Monkey Suit?” Wired News (19 January 1999), http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/1999/01/17398.
18 Lynn Rosellini, “Not so big after all,” U.S. News & World Report 126 (25 January 1999): 61.
19 Ben Radford, “Bigfoot at 50,” Skeptical Inquirer 26 (March/April 2002), http://www.csicop.org/si/show/bigfoot_at_50_evaluating_a_half-century_of_bigfoot_evidence.
20 Bigfoot Central, http://www.angelfire.com/biz/bigfootcentral and http://www.angelfire.com/biz/bigfootcentral/cliff.html.
21 “Harry and the Hendersons," IMDB, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093148/trivia and http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093148/fullcredits#cast.
22 Bigfoot Central, http://www.angelfire.com/biz/bigfootcentral and http://www.angelfire.com/biz/bigfootcentral/moneymakers.html.
23 Matt Moneymaker, “Hoaxer Cliff Crook promoting Phony Photo, again,” BFRO (30 January 2010), http://www.bfro.net/REF/hoax.asp; Loren Coleman, “First Bigfoot Investigator Was Crook?” Cryptomundo (27 January 2010), http://www.cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo-news/crook2010; Mike Archbold, “‘America’s first Bigfoot investigator’ finds new footprints,” The News Tribune (Tacoma, WA), 27 January 2010.
24 Rose.
25 Rosellini.
26 Christopher Murphy, Meet the Sasquatch, Blaine, WA: Hancock House, 2004; Roger Patterson and Christopher Murphy, The Bigfoot Film Controversy. Blaine, WA: Hancock House, 2005.
27 David Wasson, “Bigfoot unzipped--man claims it was him in a suit.” Herald-Republic (Yakima, WA) 30 January 1999.
28 David Wasson, “Bigfoot believers say film no hoax,” Herald-Republic, 4 February 1999.
29 Bob Young, “Lovable trickster created a monster with Bigfoot hoax,” Seattle Times, 5 December 2002.
30 “Wallace Scam Ensnares Hollywood Producers,” BFRO, http://www.bfro.net/news/Wallace.asp#producers.
31 Young.
32 “Footprints big but 42-year Bigfoot hoax even larger,” Vancouver Sun, 7 December 2002.
33 Quoted by Loren Coleman, “How Wallace Was Blamed For the Patterson Bigfoot Film,” Cryptomundo, http://www.cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo-news/elna-as-bf.
34 Oliver Poole, “That’s not Bigfoot, that’s my wife,” Evening Telegram, 7 December 2002.
35 David Daegling, Bigfoot Exposed: An Anthropologist Examines America’s Enduring Legend (Lanham, MD: Altamira Press, 2004), p. 117.
36 Peter Ruble, “The Bigfoot Hoax—Was Ray Wallace of Tacoma the Official Mastermind?” (5 September 2008), http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/984258/the_bigfoot_hoax_was_ray_wallace_of.html.
37 Patterson, Do Abominable Snowmen of America Really Exist?, p. 73; “Patterson-Gimlin film,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patterson-Gimlin_film.


I had no idea that one could buy birthday cakes for one's dog, but one can, and we bought one for Biggles here

This appaling level of anthropormorphism shown in this video will do nothing for my reputation as a serious scientist.



If there is any subject guaranteed to get Richard Freeman's goat it is foxhunting. Last week whilst Richard was here indulging in pre-weirdweekendery the news broke that a gang of `urban foxhunters` had posted a video of themselves beating a fox to death in a park in Hackney onto YouTube. The result from Richard and indeed the media in general was predictably horrified. I began to smell a rat when a spokesman from the group said that the fox had been dosed up with a sedative called Xanax so that it did not suffer. Not only was that a ridiculous thing to say, but Xanax - a benzodiazepine - is not available through the NHS and, although a well known drug in the US, is hardly heard of here.

Well, it all turned out to be a massively succesful hoax, which, according to the director: "We wanted to create something that would be so ridiculous that in any other area it would be immediately dismissed as a spoof, but that news outlets desperate to continue the media narrative against foxes would leap on without any thought as to its authenticity."


TONY LUCAS WRITES: This arrived today. Why the hell don't I live in Wellington Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Wellington, NZ - Te Papa educator Emma Best and interested children check out the massive squid which was washed up on the Wellington coastline. A spokesman from Te Papa said it was thought the squid had been attacked before washing up on the beach.

The squid is estimated to be about 4m long. Onlookers examine the remains of the squid. Crowds surround the squid at Houghton Bay.

Department of Conservation staff have removed the creature's beak so experts can use it to determine the age of the squid. The massive squid was found by residents at Houghton Bay on Wellington's south coast and experts from Te Papa have estimated it could be up to 4m long. The remains have now been washed out to sea.

Te Papa communications manager Jane Kieg said the creature was in bad shape as it had been attacked and had suffered further damage from being washed up on the beach.

Department of Conservation Wellington area manager Rob Stone initially identified the squid as a colossal squid - the largest type. But Ms Kieg said it was a giant squid. She said colossal squid have short tentacles with swivel hooks and massive fins. But the Wellington beast has long tentacles with teethed suckers and small fins.

Giant squid can grow up to 13 metres in length. Department of Conservation staff had removed the creature's beak and experts at Te Papa would measure it in order to determine the age of the creature.

Ms Kieg said it was however a "fantastic" opportunity to see a giant squid. Te Papa had one of its educators at the beach, explaining the giant squid to people. Because the area is a marine reserve, the remains were left on the beach but were washed backed out to sea about 3pm. Victoria University marine biology student and Island Bay resident Jeannine Fischer said she was in a laboratory this morning when she heard about the squid having washed up on the beach, so went down for a look.

''As far as I know it is very rare. I've never heard of such a big squid washing up so close to Wellington.''

Ms Fischer said the squid, which was white, with pink and white tentacles, was sitting in a stormwater channel.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1968 Gillian Anderson was born. Anderson is best known for having played Agent Dana Scully in The X-Files.

And now, the news:

Deadly scorpion found in Wearside cupboard (via Da...
Man f-eel-ing blue after op
Radioactive Boars Rampaging Through Germany
Croc-zilla: First picture of the 22ft-long monster...
Daily Telegraph (Sydney) (07.08.10)
Animal rights group joins investigation of dog sho...
Urban fox hunt video was hoax aimed at the media, ...

Usually at this point in YNT I make a (not very good) joke or link to something on youtube or elsewhere vaguely related to a news story’s subject but today I won’t because I want to highlight what idiots Chris Atkins and Johnny Howorth are.

If one is anti-fox-hunting there are many ways you can make your point. However fake footage really isn’t the way to do it. As cryptozoologists all know, whenever a fake photo or video of a cryptid appears or is unmasked in the press this is painted as the evidence that all sightings and evidence of a cryptid are therefore fake no matter how compelling other evidence may be. Now, if people produce evidence of animal abuse during a fox hunt many will suspect it of being fake like the urban fox hunt film. On top of that there are some very stupid people out there who will probably try to repeat what they saw in the video for the ‘giddy thrill’ of being a ‘rebel.’