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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The First Bigfoot Hoax Prosecution

It is interesting to see the changes that have occurred over the centuries as I research this phenomenon we call Bigfoot today. Of course, we have only known this creature as "Bigfoot" since the latter 1950's, but he has been skulking around the shadows of our imagination since time immemorial. Prior to that he was commonly known as Sasquatch by some. Other peoples have had different names, but the bottom line here is that  for centuries it was simply referred to as "the wild man of the woods."

Up until the latter part of the 1800's this creature was accepted as being a primitive human sort of being. Rudyard Kipling's "Jungle Book" began the name change when people started referring to him as a "Mowgli." Kipling's stories first ran in several newspapers as a serial column (1893-94), and Mowgli himself became a widely known character with the dissemination of these stories.

Mowgli, of course, as we all know was a fictional character that had supposedly been abandoned by his parent(s) in India, and was adopted and raised by a pack of wolves. The fascination we had with the wilderness areas of the world fueled the imagination of his readers, and the term became a somewhat popular term for any person that was considered wild, or lived outside of the norm.

Edgar Rice Burroughs further enticed the imagination with his stories of Tarzan, and his description of "ape men" was transferred onto these creatures. At the turn of the century, many fanciful tales of these creatures described them as being ape men, and so began the transformation of these sasquatch people into creatures that were now considered to be man-like apes. This unfortunate chain of events exacerbated any logical attempts to normalize these creatures into what they really were, and still are; wild men of the woods.

While they may have some characteristics in common with the gorillas of Africa, they certainly are not of a simian species. If they were, we would have little difficulty learning about them. Through the years, many have attempted to hoax the public by portraying men as wild men by exhibiting them in sideshows.

One of the most famous, Herbert Asbury, better known as "The Wild Man of Borneo" was a short-lived success. He was coated with tar and horse hair, placed in a cage and fed raw meat. His tenure only lasted a week as he became ill from being coated in such a fashion, and had to be admitted to a hospital. However, history treats us to a long list of sideshow attractions that featured these faux wild men.

Generally, people realized these were fake characters, but that did not stifle the success nor the numbers of these attractions. For the most part they were enjoyed by the willing shills who put down their nickels and dimes for admittance to the show. But occasionally, there was a rube or two that sincerely thought they were going to be entertained by a true wild man, ape man, or whatever they wished to call them

One case in particular comes to light in what may well be the worlds first hoax trial. This was reported on in some of the May, 1891 issues of the Deseret Evening News, out of Salt Lake City.

Follow along in the video as we share what well be the worlds first wild man, or Bigfoot hoax trial and learn the outcome. Believe it or not, this trial actually sets a precedence in law regarding these sorts of lawsuits, and why we don't see many of them occur even today.

The bottom line is that while these wild men, or Bigfoot today, may be displayed as an attraction, since there is no valid proof they exist, how can any reasonably intelligent person claim they were defrauded. In other words, one cannot hoax what does not exists. At any rate, enjoy the video, and don't forget to subscribe for more Bigfoot Tales.