Bigfoot Encounters

Hoaxers' horror at Bolam beast
By Andy Lloyd , The Evening Chronicle (Newcastle)

February 3, 2003

Young hoaxers today revealed how they created a monster myth - only months before the real life Northumberland bigfoot reared its head.

Harriet Warman, 17, and Alex Dordoy, 18, hired a gorilla costume and roamed the pathways of Kielder Forest last summer as part of an arts project. So the pals, both sixth formers at Gosforth High School in Newcastle, were spooked when they discovered Northumberland does have its own Yeti legend.

Last month sceptical zoologists came up to disprove the sightings at Bolam Lake, near Belsay - but ended up claiming to have seen it themselves.

Harriet, from Gosforth, said: "We were amazed - it was really weird when we saw the news about the bigfoot, we followed it closely. "We visited Kielder Forest with the idea of a photography project. The place was so atmospheric a bigfoot myth seemed a great idea.

"We hired a gorilla costume from a fancy dress shop and took turns to dress up as bigfoot and take pictures. We spent three days there. It was boiling hot inside the costume and the forest was full of midges.

"The idea was to recreate some of the famous bigfoot photos from America with the animal walking away, as if a human and a monster had encountered each other and the person has grabbed their camera, snapped and hoped.

"We tried to capture that shaky, don't quite-know-what-it-is effect, but we also developed it as a story, from a police hunt for the beast to pictures of Bigfoot visiting a corner shop.

"No-one has taken a photo of this creature in Northumberland, but our photos show how easy it is to create a fake. "Lots of people in school are coming up and asking if we are behind this sighting, but I can say we weren't responsible for this one." Alex and Harriet were among dozens of young artists from the North East to devise arts projects through the Samling Visual Arts Foundation. Linda Russell, head of sixth form at Gosforth High School, said: "The project caused a real talking point in the school - the younger students loved it."

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