The Museum of Hoaxes
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Hoaxes Throughout History
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Bigfoot Hoaxes
As early as the 1830s European settlers reported seeing a large, hairy biped roaming the Pacific northwest. Even before that Native-American legends told of a "Sasquatch" (meaning a "hairy giant") that lived in the region. However, no concrete evidence exists to suggest such an animal exists -- "concrete" here meaning tangible physical proof such as a body, or body part.

If a Bigfoot species did exist, it would seem likely that at some point one of them would die and leave a skeleton, or get run over by a car. But that apparently has never happened. What we have instead is a mountain of anecdotal evidence: eyewitness accounts, blurry photos, recordings of strange noises, and footprints. The problem with this anecdotal evidence is that much of it could have been faked. Even the most ardent Bigfoot believers admit that some of it was. Whatever wasn't deliberately faked might be chalked up to wishful thinking.
Hoaxes (and suspected hoaxes) associated with Bigfoot
The Battle of Ape Canyon (1924)
A group of miners claimed that gorilla-like creatures (which they called "mountain devils") attacked them in the woods near Mt. St. Helens. The miners retreated into a log cabin, but their attackers threw rocks down onto them throughout the night. The story was reported widely. However, a local game warden declared the story was "bunk." A search party found no evidence of any gorillas or devils. The rocks may have been the work of teenagers at a nearby YMCA summer camp who had a tradition of throwing stones down the hill. Decades later, one of the miners, Fred Beck, wrote an account of the incident titled I Fought the Apemen of Mt. St. Helens. [wikipedia]
Abducted by Sasquatch (1957)
In 1957, with interest in Sasquatches growing on account of the Yeti crazi, a former logger, Albert Ostman, came forward with a strange story about how he had been abducted by a Sasquatch back in 1924. Ostman claimed that he had been on a prospecting holiday in Toba Inlet (British Columbia) when a Sasquatch carried him off and forced him to live with its family. Apparently the Sasquatch wanted to use Ostman for breeding purposes. After six days Ostman escaped. Ostman's story stretches credibility, and the fact that he supposedly waited 33 years before telling it makes it even harder to believe. Even some prominent Bigfoot adherents dismiss his story as a tall tale.
The Birth of Bigfoot (1958)
While working on a rural road construction project near Bluff Creek, California, tractor-operator Jerry Crew found a series of massive footprints in the mud. Due to the size of the prints, the media began referring to the creature that created them as "Bigfoot." The name stuck and soon became the most widely used term for North America's legendary ape-man. However, it was suspected that Crew's prank-loving boss, Ray Wallace, created the prints by strapping carved wooden feet to his boots and stomping around in the mud. Wallace's family confirmed this after his death in 2002. more details…
The Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot Film (1967)
Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin emerged from California's Six Rivers National Forest in Oct. 1967 with footage of what appeared to be a female Bigfoot. To this day, their short film remains the most famous evidence of Bigfoot's existence. But skeptics immediately suspected a hoax. Scientists noted the creature's anatomy was oddly mismatched (top half ape, bottom half human), as if it were a man in a suit. Other critics pointed out the remarkable coincidence that Patterson had been planning to make a film about Bigfoot, and then right away found a Bigfoot. There's also evidence he had bought and modified a Bigfoot suit before shooting this footage. more details…
The Minnesota Iceman (1968)
Showman Frank Hansen claimed to have a bigfoot-like creature frozen in a block of ice. He was exhibiting it at carnivals throughout the Midwest. In 1968 the creature came to the attention of the cryptozoologists Ivan Sanderson and Bernard Heuvelmans, who became convinced the creature was real. Sanderson tried to get scientists interested in the "iceman," and for a brief time the Smithsonian Institution expressed interest in acquiring it. But as pressure mounted on Hansen to let scientists examine the creature, he claimed that the original creature was gone and what was now in the ice was just a replica. It has since become clear the creature was a fake all along.
Bride of Bigfoot (1976)
When 23-year-old Cherie Darvell went missing while searching for Bigfoot in the forests of Humboldt County, police launched a massive search for her, at a cost of $11,613. A few days later, Darvell showed up screaming outside a Bluff Creek resort, claiming she had been abducted by a Bigfoot. She said the creature had scooped her up and carried her off, but that it had abandoned her unharmed during the night, after which she had wandered through the woods for several days. Sheriff Gene Cox dismissed her claim as a hoax, noting that she didn't appear to have spent any time in the wilderness. Her clothes were clean and she smelled of perfume. more details…

Bigfoot Crosses Highway (1977)
On the morning of May 15, 1977, a busload of people watched a Bigfoot cross Highway 7 east of Vancouver. But a few days later a trio of young men confessed that the Bigfoot was their work. It had taken them weeks to prepare, since they had fashioned resin-cast Sasquatch feet to make convincing footprints. They also planted a phony witness on the bus to see the Bigfoot first and get the other passengers excited. Strangely, the people on the bus described seeing a 7-foot Bigfoot with a strong smell. But 24-year-old Ken Ticehurst, who wore the gorilla suit, was only 5-foot-11 and weighed 165 pounds.
Bigfoot captured in Pennsylvania (1985)
Residents of Enola, Pa. reported seeing a "hairy creature" in the woods of nearby East Pennsboro Township. One man described the creature as being hairy, 6 ½-feet tall and with arms that extended below the knees. The report created an air of panic in the town. Residents locked their windows and many took up weapons. But the panic settled after police identified 24-year-old Craig A. Brashear as the creature. He had bought an ape-suit and mask with fangs then stood in an area where his furry body would be illuminated by headlights. He did so, the police chief said, in order to "stir up more activity, to make it seem like there was a creature out there."
Bigfoot in a Freezer (2008)
Rick Dyer and Matthew Whitton claimed they had stumbled upon the dead body of a Bigfoot while hiking in the Georgia woods. The creature was large, measuring 7 feet 7 inches tall and weighing over 500 pounds. Nevertheless, they managed to haul it out of the woods and store it in a freezer. Their claim was met with widespread skepticism, even from Bigfoot believers, but during a press conference in Palo Alto they indignantly stood by their story. However, when the body in the freezer was finally examined, it turned out to be a halloween costume with roadkill remains dumped on top of it. [Bigfoot Encounters]
Bigfoot Run Over (Aug 2012)
On the night of Sunday, August 26, 2012, 44-year-old Randy Lee Tenley stepped out onto U.S. Highway 93, just south of Kalispell, Montana, wearing a "Ghillie" suit (the kind used by snipers for camouflage). He was promptly hit by a car in the southbound lane, and then was hit again by a second car. Tenley died from his injuries. His friends told the Highway Patrol that he was wearing the suit in order to "incite a sighting of Bigfoot, to make people think they had seen a Sasquatch." It's not known if this was Tenley's first attempt at a Bigfoot hoax. However, dispatchers said they had received no recent reports of Bigfoot sightings. [nbcmontana.com]
Melba Ketchum’s Sasquatch DNA Project (Nov 2012)
Melba Ketchum, owner of a Texas veterinary laboratory, announced on Nov 24, 2012 that, after a 5-year study of purported Sasquatch tissue samples, she had determined that Sasquatch was a human hybrid species that arose approximately 15,000 years ago. But when the article with her data appeared 3 months later, it was underwhelming. Her article appeared in the Denovo Journal of Science which, it turned out, was owned by Ketchum. In fact, her article was the one and only paper ever published by the journal. Skeptics noted that it appeared Ketchum had simply analyzed contaminated samples of human DNA. [Skeptical Briefs]
Hank (2014)
Rick Dyer (the same Rick Dyer responsible for the 2008 Bigfoot in a Freezer Hoax) announced he had killed an 8-foot Bigfoot in Texas. He called it Hank. After declaring that a university had DNA-tested the creature and found it to be an unknown species, Dyer took the body of the creature on tour in early 2014, charging people to see it. But after a few months his tour encountered problems, and he posted a rambling confession on Facebook, revealing that Hank's body was a prop made of latex, foam, and camel hair.
Hoax Archive Categories
Hoaxes Throughout History
Middle AgesEarly Modern1700s1800-1840s1850-1890s
1900s1910s1920s1930s1940s1950s1960s1970s1980s1990s21st Century2014

All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.