It's the ultimate summer Friday news story: CNN Webcasting a press conference hosted by the men who claim they nabbed a dead body of the legendary creature known as Bigfoot.
Bigfoot hunter Tom Biscardi held the press conference in Palo Alto, Calif., in conjunction with Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer, the two men from Georgia who claim that they found the corpse while hiking. Biscardi wouldn't actually show the body, saying that he had invited Fox News reporter Megan Kelly to show it on-air and that a number of scientists would be performing an autopsy on Monday.
"Starting Monday I should have assembled some fine scientists that will do the autopsy to find the origin and death of this creature, and at that point in time we will make it known and hopefully we'll get somebody to come in and film it," Biscardi said to listeners, "to show it to the world as it's being done. I want to get to the bottom of it."
That didn't do too much to appease the skeptical audience of the press conference, who were on the verge of heckling.
On the Web it was equally chaotic. Twitter users went nuts, with Twitter Search (formerly Summize) bringing up dozens of posts per minute from users who were watching the press conference online or expressing their opinions within the site's 140-character limit. Third-party analytics site Twitscoop showed a barrage of Twitters that included the word "Bigfoot," and determined the word to be the hottest term on the microblogging site at the time.
People have been Googling it, too. The search query "Bigfoot press conference" hit the top three on Google Trends.
"R.I.P. Harry. The Hendersons will miss you," one Twitter user said jokingly in reference to the '80s comedy Harry and the Hendersons, about a family that adopts a Bigfoot. Others were more skeptical, given the dubious nature of the photos. "That Bigfoot in the box looks so totally fakey, like a bad Halloween costume," another Twitter user said.
But most of the Twitter observers tuned into the press conference seemed to take the whole thing as entertainment. "I'm actually fearful to enter these Bigfoot infested woods in Georgia!" one exclaimed. "He's a Bigfoot dressed up as a Bigfoot, playing another Bigfoot," one wrote in a nod to a line spoken by Robert Downey Jr. in the just-released satire flick Tropic Thunder.
Most Twitterers didn't seem to believe the contents of the conference, probably because there were enough gray areas in the press conference to paint the walls of my office a nice foggy hue. Biscardi denied that he'd participated in a money-scheming Bigfoot hoax in 2005, saying that he'd been duped by a deranged woman who claimed she had two "Bigfeet" in captivity; he claimed he refunded those who'd charged to see a Webcast of the creatures when he realized it was fake. And Whitton shrugged off a series of goofy YouTube videos, most of them now pulled from the video-sharing site, in which he and Dyer reportedly claimed the Bigfoot was a fake and featured Whitton's brother dressed up as a scientist analyzing it.
"We just decided to have a little fun with it," Whitton said. When asked why he didn't call authorities when they claimed to have found the body in early June, he answered, "I didn't see any need to at the time. It seemed like it would create a frenzy."
"I want to protect the species," Whitton continued. "Everyone would be up there hunting for Bigfoot and disturbing the habitat."
Plus, the Associated Press reported that Whitton and Dyer's story had changed, and in the press conference Whitton claimed that he and Dyer hadn't actually been veteran Bigfoot hunters as reported earlier. When they found the creature, they considered the idea of doing guided tours of Bigfoot country, but that was as far as they said they went.
"I didn't believe in Bigfoot at the time," Whitton said.
And if Twitter is to be believed, the Internet still doesn't.