Saturday, December 21, 2013

Why Do Bigfoot Researchers Lie?

Tom Biscardi Bigofot Hoax
Tom Biscardi at a press conference in 2008
Both scientists and Bigfoot believers agree that many of the sightings are hoaxes or misidentified animals. Bigfoot sightings or footprints are often demonstrably hoaxes. On July 14, 2005, Tom Biscardi, a long-time Bigfoot enthusiast and CEO of Searching for Bigfoot Inc., appeared on the Coast to Coast AM paranormal radio show and announced that he was "98% sure that his group will be able to capture a Bigfoot which they have been tracking in the Happy Camp, California area." A month later, Biscardi announced on the same radio show that he had access to a captured Bigfoot and was arranging a pay-per-view event for people to see it. Biscardi appeared on Coast to Coast AM again a few days later to announce that there was no captive Bigfoot. Biscardi blamed an unnamed woman for misleading him and the show's audience for being gullible.

On July 9, 2008, Rick Dyer and Matthew Whitton posted a video to YouTube claiming that they had discovered the body of a dead Sasquatch in a forest in northern Georgia. Tom Biscardi was contacted to investigate. Dyer and Whitton received $50,000 from Searching for Bigfoot, Inc., as a good faith gesture. The story of the men's claims was covered by many major news networks, including BBC, CNN, ABC News, and Fox News. Soon after a press conference, the alleged Bigfoot body arrived in a block of ice in a freezer with the Searching for Bigfoot team. When the contents were thawed, it was discovered that the hair was not real, the head was hollow, and the feet were rubber. Dyer and Whitton subsequently admitted it was a hoax after being confronted by Steve Kulls, executive director of

The two accounts above are not the subject of this post; they only serve as an example of proven hoaxes that have made it into the media spotlight.

Do certain Bigfoot “researchers” do it simply for the attention? Are they attention whores? Or is it something much more deep-seeded? Could it be self-esteem issues? Sociopathic behavior? Or maybe even pathological lying? How about narcissism?

We all enjoy our 15 minutes of fame, however many researchers have a constant need to seek out and hold the attention of others. Many things can destroy trust and credibility between researchers. But one of the top ones is lying … especially when it is about evidence.

A disclaimer: I am NOT saying that all researchers knowingly lie. Often people are called liars and/or hoaxers simply because of misidentification. But those who do lie so thoroughly and often spoil it for those who do not.

So just what is a hoax? Plain and simple, it’s a lie. There are several types of lies that are conscious lies, i.e., those that Pinocchio knows are false. Number 1 being a lie of omission; telling the truth but not the whole truth in a way designed to mislead. A hypothetical example being: “This evidence was found in my researcher area while I was conducting research there” … not mentioning the fact that three other people were there and someone else discovered the evidence.

Another hypothetical example: Not directly answering a question when asked a direct question. Silence or redirecting the answer. Q: “How did you find this evidence?” A: “I have years of experience in the field and I have hours of audio captures, video footage and a number of photographs.”

The most damaging one is making up facts that are not true. “This is my evidence that I discovered.”

One of the more common examples is embellishing the truth in a way that misleads. “I have IR (or thermal) video of a Bigfoot in my research area” which mean they have an ambiguous blip on video that could be anything.

Then there is gaslighting; an attempt to erode the truth by denying the obvious … "No, that is a photo I took of Bigfoot. Is there something wrong with your vision?"

Then the worst lie of all is keeping a lie a secret. A hypothetical example being a researcher is on a continuing investigation and he has spent many hours on the investigation and has already announced some evidence or “facts” about the investigation. Suddenly it comes to his attention that some of the evidence he has already published is really not evidence but someone has pulled a fast one on him and the evidence has been staged. Instead of stopping the investigation and announcing that he has been fooled by someone, he continues with the investigation as if nothing has happened, thus perpetuating the hoax.

What causes this type of behavior in the Bigfoot community?

One of the more common things we see in the community is the boast, inventing or embellishing on one's deeds, which is meant to win the approval and admiration of one's peers. Grandiosity is frequent with certain researchers, such as boasts that one has empirical evidence or that they have had multiple Class A encounters, when it is simply not true.

It's hard to tell the difference between a conscious lie and a unconscious one. It is like two researchers are on an investigation one night. They arrived at the location at the same time. They sit around a fire together. Then they leave the area at same time. But afterwards, one researcher learns that the other researchers’ account of the evening is completely opposite, even though they sat around the same fire and saw and heard the same thing. One version is nowhere even close to the other.

Could this be an example of one researcher being a pathological liar? Some statements may start out as deliberate lies; over time, they become real (the old saying, "Tell a lie often enough and it becomes the truth"). Some statements may be exaggerations, such as a researcher claiming to hear wood knock when something stepped on a stick in the forest. Such researchers may judge others harshly and expect others to do the same about them. Lying serves to deflect disgrace when something might make them look bad, thereby maintaining whatever self-esteem they have on a temporary basis. This backfires on those who are found out. We all have things about ourselves we would prefer others not know. But we see the good and the bad and hope others do, too. With their black and white world and rejection sensitivity, these folks believe that anything "bad" would make others reject them.

Some researchers seem utterly sincere about their lies, but if confronted with facts to the contrary, will often just as sincerely reverse their story. Grandiose lies typify this form of researcher, whose deep need to win the constant approval of others impels him to present himself in the most favorable light. They are prone to exaggerate their abilities or accomplishments in order to seem more credible. Because they feel entitled to special treatment - for instance, believing that ordinary rules do not apply to them - they can be reckless in their lies.

Plainly put, this type of researcher is a narcissist. They expect to be recognized as superior and special, without superior accomplishments. They expect constant attention, admiration and positive reinforcement from others. They envy other researchers and believe others envy him. They are preoccupied with thoughts and fantasies of great success, enormous attractiveness, power, intelligence. Often you will see these researchers take advantage of others to achieve his own ends. And by doing so they have trouble maintaining relationships with other researchers. When called out on something, these narcissistic researchers are easily hurt, often voicing the hurt in an attempt to portray themselves as the victim. But does it change anything? No. Very soon they continue exaggerating special achievements and talents, making unsubstantiated claims about their “evidence.”

These researchers have such an elevated sense of self-worth that they value themselves as inherently better than others, when in reality they have a fragile self-esteem, cannot handle criticism, and will often try to compensate for this inner fragility by belittling or disparaging others in an attempt to validate their own self-worth. Comments and criticisms about others are vicious from this type of researcher, in an attempt to boost their own poor self-esteem. These guys will use various strategies to protect themselves at the expense of others. They tend to devalue, derogate and blame others, and they respond to negative feedback with anger, hostility, or guilt-trips.

Although these researcher are often ambitious, knowledgeable, and very capable, the inability to tolerate setbacks, disagreements or criticism, along with lack of empathy, make it difficult for such individuals to work cooperatively with others or to maintain long-term professional achievements. They are often jumping from one project to the next, never finishing any of them, in their quest for instant fame. Amplifying achievements to seek attention is an everyday occurrence. The short-term benefits are outweighed by long-term unsustainability which can, and often does, lead to exposure as a fraud.

Upon meeting this type of researcher it is difficult to spot this trait; they present themselves as knowledgeable (which they very often are), experienced and self-confident. But after being around one, it is pretty easy to notice that something is not right here. Often you will see ridiculous exaggerations and one-upping, and attempts to discredit other researchers. Whatever you do, this researcher can do it better. You will never top them in their own mind, because they have a concerted need to be better than everyone else. This also applies to being right. If you question a researcher like this, no matter how delicate and well-intentioned you might be, this will probably not be effective. It's threatening their fantasy of their research and themselves, so they would rather argue with you and bring out the sharp knives than admit that there's anything wrong with them. They have "constructed" a reality around themselves and their research. They don't value the truth, especially if they don't see it as hurting anyone. If you call them on a lie and they are backed into a corner, they will act very defensively and say ugly things (most likely but depends on personality), but they may eventually start to act like, "Well, what's the difference? You're making a big deal out of nothing!" (again, to refocus the conversation to your wrong-doing instead of theirs). Because these people don't value honesty, a lot of times they will not value loyalty. So watch what you tell them. They will not only tell their followers, but they will embellish to make you look worse. Their loyalty is fleeting. They will contradict what they say. This will become very clear over time. They usually aren't smart enough to keep track of so many lies (who would be?). This type of researcher will act very defensively when you question their statements. They believe what they say is true, when everyone else knows it isn't. They will fool you at first but once you get to know them and their type of research, no one believes anything they ever say. These researchers have been caught in lies repeatedly, but have never fessed up to the lies. This type of researcher can be best described as a legend in their own mind.

Here are things to ask yourself: How could this many things happen to one person? How is it he finds evidence EVERYTIME he goes into the field? Would you believe these stories if someone else told you?

Think back to the beginning: you had red flags and alarms going off in your head. Trust your instincts. It is very hard to tell when one is lying. Some people just are liars and lie to lie because they can and they don't care about getting caught and aware that you know they have lied. These people care not about lying, it's no big deal. It's like "ok, so what? I lied". The researcher who practices this, on the other hand, IS aware that they are lying BUT will go to extremes to make you believe that they are truthful. They appear to believe their own stories BUT in truth, they know their stories are lies. It is true that most of these researchers have an extremely low sense of self-worth and are continuously trying to make themselves feel better about themselves; they continually reinvent themselves. Although the purpose of the lie is not to hurt someone else, it is always about them.

Indicators: 1) Aggressive behavior after they realize you're questioning their claims. 2) Distraction techniques; feigning hurt when you catch them in lie, playing word games, trying to change the subject, or even trying to discredit you. After using the distraction technique, or rage attack, or sometimes both, they will pretend that nothing ever happened. They re-write history, so it never did happen in their minds. The first indication will be that you hear them tell different things to different people and nothing adds up, because they directly contradict each other! And you are able to prove it. If you can prove over and over again that things someone is telling you are outright false, then you have a pathological liar on your hands. With the Internet, it is now easier than ever to "fact-check" even the most mundane things. These researchers often lose track of the lies they tell different people and it will eventually catch up with them.

In a sense, these researchers are out of touch with reality. They are not mentally ill, like a psychotic; they are just unwilling to acknowledge truth that doesn't match their preferences. While a true researcher can weigh things rationally and draw fair conclusions, the narcissist researcher cannot. They lack the objectivity to live with reasonable insight because their need for self-exaltation does not allow them to accept that their perceptions might not be the ultimate truth. Their idealized view of their research blinds them as they try to make sense of the Bigfoot phenomenon, particularly the elements that might require adjustments in their research techniques (and they never want to make adjustments).

So they maintain the facade of the False Self: the perfect, superior self the researcher thinks she is or pretends to be. On a more conscious level, their lies are central to keeping the flow of attention going (adulation by others, which are like ambrosia to this type of researcher), satisfying the grandiose, entitled self, avoiding any thought of their status being not as high in reality as they think it should be, and minimizing the possibility of having to concern himself with your needs.

Nowhere is any of this more prevalent than in confirmation bias; where researchers have tendency to favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses. You will see this in researchers when they gather or remember information selectively. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs, such as Bigfoot. This researcher also tends to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position. This would also explain illusory correlation and attitude polarization. In illusory correlation, researchers will often perceive a relationship between to two variables when no such relationship exists. And when the researcher is presented with undeniable evidence, contrary to his belief, he will reject the evidence and believe even more strongly is his original hypotheses. From here, the researcher will seek out individuals who will support his theories.

So how can certain researchers consciously lie like this? They have no empathy. They require a supply of attention … “what's a little lie when your very survival, is at stake?” And besides, they think rules apply to other people; that they are above questioning. Under these circumstances, telling lies and perpetuating hoaxes are uncomplicated and effortless for them. Overall, their frank manipulation of others is part of who they are and cannot be changed. They might change their game from time to time, but in the end they will do and say whatever it takes to accomplish their goals.

And the sad part is, my estimation is that 85% of the Bigfoot community suffers from this. So if 100 people read this post, 85 will think it is directed at them.

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1 comment:

  1. The article makes a very good point, however, it missesthe main reason why these assholes are so successful: the plethora of people with absolutely no internal filter who want to believe.

    The recent rush of wanna-believers, mostly due to the popularity of Finding Bigfoot has created a ripe and fertile field for hoaxers to cultivate their fame. Rick Dyer is a very good example of this. Every reasonable person knows he is lying, but the wannabelievers who latch onto him will ignore the fact that he had consistently lied.