Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bigfoot Hoax Goes Tragically Wrong

When asked about the prevalence of bigfoot sightings, a famous skeptic once commented that there were probably just more people running around in monkey suits than is generally realized. Whether or not this is the entire explanation for the bigfoot phenomenon remains to be seen, but there certainly are hoaxers out there. In 2008, two hunters from Georgia claimed to have killed a bigfoot and presented photos of its frozen body to the media - before it was discovered that the "body" was in fact a Halloween costume encased in ice. Unfortunately, some of these hoaxes end badly. Recently a Montana man was killed while trying to hoax a bigfoot sighting by walking on a busy stretch of highway wearing a costume.

The Montana Highway Patrol reported that Randy Lee Tenley of Kalispell was pronounced dead at the scene on U.S. Highway 93 south of Kalispell after being hit by two cars consecutively.

Tenley was wearing a military-style ghillie suit, which is a type of camouflage that resembles vegetation or foliage. Police interviewed Tenley's friends to determine why he would be wearing a full-length dark ghillie suit in the right-hand lane of the highway at night, and were apparently told of Tenley's nocturnal Bigfoot-inspired mischief.

Trooper Jim Schneider, interviewed by the Daily Inter, said that Tenley "was trying to make people think he was Sasquatch so people would call in a Sasquatch sighting. You can't make it up. I haven't seen or heard anything like this before. Obviously, his suit made it difficult for people to see him."

Hoaxing a bigfoot sighting is dangerous. Even if the threat doesn't come from cars, there are hunters out there who might just take a shot if they see a convincing-enough display. It also is unclear what these hoaxers hope to gain. The hunters from Georgia were initially given $50,000 by a bigfoot-hunting organization but had to return the money once their ruse was uncovered. Even Roger Patterson, who took the most famous alleged footage of the creature, didn't come close to breaking even on his bigfoot expeditions. On top of that, he must have spent a lot more to create the footage if his film was in fact a hoax as some experts have claimed.

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Hypnovatos said...

Go figure, a suit designed to make the wearer invisible was hard to see by drivers at night who regularly run into the back ends of SUVs and drive right by blindingly bright red lights :p
Lesson, know your audience, choose the right tools.

Scott Stenwick said...

Yeah, at night a camouflage suit strikes me as a pretty poor bigfoot costume. I'm sure that since it was dark in color and kind of shaggy it looked like it might be functional during the day, but when the sun goes down if you're wearing it you just disappear.

I also would think that if you were going to try and make this work you might want to stick to walking next to the highway rather than in one of the lanes of traffic. It'll take longer for somebody to notice you and call it in, but the safety tradeoffs are well worth it.