Monday, May 11, 2009

MESSIN' WITH SASQUATCH FANS

Posted By on Mon, May 11, 2009 at 10:49 AM

fc76/1242063509-bigfoot.jpgBigfoot enthusiasts live among us. They blend in well with their environments, raising families and holding down jobs and pursuing their dreams. Of course their dreams involve proving the existence of a 9-foot-tall North American wood ape, but otherwise they're a lot like the rest of us. You might even know one and not realize it. They're harmless, but they've learned the hard way to be wary of non-believing humans.

Over the weekend a few hundred Bigfoot fans gathered at Salt Fork State Park Lodge in Guernsey County, Ohio (about 115 miles south of Cleveland) for a conference. But the location was not remote enough to ensure their protection from human encroachment: Newspaper columnist Leigh Hart flew all the way from New freakin' Zealand to lay a trap:

The keynote speaker for the evening was supposed to be the director of the documentary series Monster Quest, so you can imagine the disappointment when he decided not to show up.

3a33/1242057834-hart_leigh.jpgI saw an opportunity, and volunteered to speak. I began by introducing myself as a director from New Zealand, then proceeded to educate the KFC-eating audience about the KFC-eating Waitakere Yeti. Borrowing from the American Indian "sasquatch" legend I told them that our native Maori had encountered the beast more than 400 years ago and affectionately called him Ngawa Whakata Cafe, which loosely translates into "large, hairy, coffee-coloured man". The fact that coffee had only been in the country for 150 years or so was a detail that didn't seem to bother them.

I told them that our beast was less shy than theirs and had been known to rape campers or trampers, the most documented case been that of Travis Collins who was raped by the beast, not once but three times over a four-year period.

They also believed that back in New Zealand I currently ran the largest faeces analysis machine in the world, giving me a standing ovation when I finally left the podium.

Cryptomundo.com broke the news of the prank on Sunday. "Needless to say," wrote cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, "in a year which has already experienced two books examining the nature of Bigfooters, this may be this year’s most demeaning Bigfoot conference article yet."

OK, it's kinda funny, and we've certainly been known to poke fun at people who can get a little wild-eyed and breathless over their fervent belief in unseen beings — ghost hunters, UFO chasers, Christian fundamentalists. But flying 8,000 miles to goof on people with an utterly harmless hobby? They don't bother anyone, they want nothing from the rest of the world but to be left alone to tromp through the woods with cameras and plaster casting kits. And yet this smug foreign asshole thought it would be hilarious to hold them up for ridicule one more time.

And maybe someone pointed out the gratuitous nastiness of his prank, because by Monday, Hart was backpedaling.

"Excuse the pun but we seem to have gotten off on the wrong foot," Hart wrote in a note to "the Bigfoot community." . "My intention was never to insult anybody personally while at the Bigfoot conference. I write a weekly column in New Zealand — it is not news or ever meant to be factual, rather humorous. I accept that many people may have not found this particularly funny but all I was doing was a slice of life piece ..."

He went on to claim that he hadn't insulted any actual conference attendees in his column, because "those mentioned were a ‘hybrid’, or pastiche of many people I have met over the years and conjured in my mind …" Or something. But Coleman was having none of it; he pointed out all the names and details that closely matched real Bigfooters. With real feelings. "Clearly," Coleman wrote, "his representations are extremely transparent, and his continued extension of this matter by not admitting the damaging nature of his characterizations is indefensible."

Yeah! As a commenter on the site noted, "Wow, this is the worst kind of cowardice."

You know you're a dick when geeks who believe in monsters seem cooler than you. — Frank Lewis

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