Update Friday, 8/15, 8:05 p.m. ET: Bigfoot Turns Out to Be an Opossum (the story below remains as originally written).
Two Georgia men claim to have found in the northern woods of that state something that has been often reported but never proven to exist: a Bigfoot.
They say they have a body, photos of the body, and DNA evidence — some or all of which will be revealed this Friday, Aug. 15, at a press conference in Palo Alto, Calif.
If the group does have a Bigfoot carcass (and if they actually show the body, instead merely displaying photographs of a supposed body), then perhaps scientists will take note. Still, it's not clear how, exactly, the group will prove that what they have is a Bigfoot. Because there is no comparison specimen, there is no DNA analysis that can definitively identify Bigfoot tissue.
Readers may recall the much-hyped press conference held on May 30, where a man claimed he would provide "definitive proof" of alien visitation. His "proof" turned out to be a short fuzzy video clip of what he said was an alien head outside his window trying to ogle his teen daughters. Needless to say, top scientists were not awestruck by his evidence.
This is not the first time a Bigfoot body has been claimed to have been found. A man named Tom Biscardi, founder of something called the Great American Bigfoot Research Organization, once claimed he had captured a Bigfoot. On Aug. 19, 2005, Biscardi appeared on the radio show "Coast to Coast with George Noory." Biscardi claimed his group had captured a Bigfoot a week earlier, a male beast that weighed over 400 pounds and stood 8-feet tall. He said he would be presenting photos of it several days later. It turned out to be a hoax.
Interestingly, Biscardi is also involved in the new Bigfoot body discovery.
Speaking on behalf of the Georgia men this week, Biscardi said, "Extensive scientific studies will be done on the body by a team of scientists including a molecular biologist, an anthropologist, a paleontologist and other scientists over the next few months at an undisclosed location" under armed guard.
If it all sounds very cloak-and-dagger, it is. Unnamed experts? Undisclosed location? Sounds more like "The X-Files" than real science.
In 2005, Biscardi promoted a pay-per-view cable TV show in which he offered viewers the chance to see a Bigfoot captured on live television for only $59.95. That never happened, but Biscardi did recently direct and produce a film called "Bigfoot Lives."
Surely the publicity from this press conference might boost his film's sales…
Bigfoot researcher Loren Coleman, while stopping short of authenticating the claims, wrote on the Web site Cryptomundo.com, "I feel, in all honesty, this, indeed, may be the real deal, and I say this carefully after reviewing information that has been shared privately with me."
So has a Bigfoot finally been found, after all these years? Or is this just the latest hoax to embarrass Bigfoot believers and bring further ridicule to a field sorely in need of science?
Apparently we will see.
Benjamin Radford is managing editor of the Skeptical Inquirer science magazine. He has investigated Bigfoot, lake monsters, and other mysterious creatures for over a decade. His latest book is "Lake Monster Mysteries: Investigating the World's Most Elusive Creatures." This and other books can be found on his website.