Thursday, August 21, 2008

Al Capone's Vault/Tom Biscardi's Bigfoot

Does anyone else remember Geraldo Rivera and Al Capone’s lost vault? In 1986, a recently-fired reporter named Geraldo Rivera hosted a 2-hour special showing the opening of a previously-undiscovered vault believed to have been sealed and forgotten by Al Capone.

It was broadcast live on April 21, 1986. This greatly-hyped special was practically promising dead bodies, great riches or some other titillating discovery would be made. So extensive was the hype that there a medical examiner present in case they found bodies and the Internal Revenue Service was there to collect any money Al Capone may have sealed up and forgotten.

The vault was finally opened amid much fanfare and hushed speculation to reveal absolutely nothing of worth – just debris and bottles. The term “Al Capone’s vault” has since become slang for a heavily-expected event with disappointing results.

It is my opinion that we can now add another name to this illustrious list of one: Tom Biscardi’s Bigfoot.

After a week of shameless promoting and huckstering by Tom Biscardi, Palo Alto, CA., became the scene of an out-of-control press conference. The purpose of this "news" (and I use the term loosely!) conference was to determine whether Tom Biscardi (owner of had actually bought a genuine Bigfoot in a freezer as promised or the proverbial “pig in a poke.”

Steve Kulls, a self-described “Sasquatch detective” was sent by Biscardi to Muncie, IN, to check out the specimen. After all, Biscardi had just paid $50,000 to so-called Sasquatch hunters and Georgia residents Matthew Whitton (a police officer with Georgia, GA police force) and Rick Dyer (a former security guard) and wanted to keep an eye on his investment.

Kulls gives a statement on detailing what he found at the dethawing and subsequent examination of the body.

"I extracted some [hair] from the alleged corpse and examined it and had some concerns," Kulls writes. "We burned said sample and said hair sample melted into a ball uncharacteristic of hair." He immediately called Biscardi in California to report his concerns.

Biscardi told Kulls to hasten the thawing.

Within one hour, a portion of the head had become free of the ice and thawed enough for examination. Kulls states, “I was able to feel that it seemed mostly firm; but, unusually hollow in one small section. This was yet another ominous sign."

Oh Dear!! This is not looking good for the Sasquatch Hunter.

Then came the discovery that removed all doubt from everyone’s mind and made Tom Biscardi $50,000 poorer.

"Within the next hour of thaw, a break appeared up near the feet area. .. I observed the foot which looked unnatural, reached in and confirmed it was a rubber foot,” Kulls reports.

Biscardi states that he now feared he had been hoodwinked. He allegedly called Whitton and Dyer in their California hotel room. Apparently, they admitted it was a hoax and agreed to sign a promissory note at 8:00 am. PST at the hotel.

However, when Biscardi arrived (**surprise**), they were nowhere to be found.

"At this time action is being instigated against the perpetrators of this fraud," Kulls writes on Biscardi's website. "On behalf of myself I can say with certainty Matthew Whitton and Ricky Dyer [are] not the best Bigfoot trackers in the world!" (Really?), a website devoted to mysterious, mythical beasts is run by Loren Coleman. Coleman told this about Biscardi: "he's a huckster, a circus ringmaster. It's all about money with him. It probably didn't matter to him whether it was real or not."

Coleman speculates, "They probably started out small, as a way to promote their Bigfoot tracking business; and, got in way over their heads. These are not very intelligent individuals."

Coleman goes on to further speculate, "in a way, both sides may have been trying to out-con each other."

A Bigfoot group that refused to believe any of Biscardi’s hype, The Bigfoot Field Research Organization, wants everyone connected with the hoax (Biscardi, Dyer, Kulls, and Whitten) arrested.

But what of Whitton? Isn’t he an actively-employed police officer? What of his involvement with this hoax?

When confronted with this question, Clayton County, GA., Chief-of-Police Jeffrey Turner had this to say, “You mean ex-officer Whitton?”

"As soon as we saw it was a hoax, I filed the paperwork to terminate his employment," he went on to say before concluding with, "once he perpetrated a fraud that goes into his credibility and integrity. He has violated the duty of a police officer."

Turner confirms that he hasn’t heard from Whitton yet; and, admits that he can’t understand why he did it.

In the meantime, the woman who answered the phone at Biscardi’s Searching for Bigfoot office located in Menlo Park, CA., claims he is away sick and would return calls when recovered.

And so the debate continues....

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