August 11, 2006 --
RAPID CITY -- Of course they'd deny it.
The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology doesn't have the body of Bigfoot, the school announced in a press release Wednesday.
Breanna Bishop, SDSMT's public information coordinator, issued the unusual press announcement Wednesday morning. The release was sent after an Internet site "reported" that the body of one of the mythological creatures was on campus after it had been shot near Slim Buttes last week.
"According to a report appearing on a number of blogs, Bigfoot was shot and killed Tuesday, Aug. 1, on the Pine Ridge Reservation," the release states. "After a smudging ceremony, the body was allegedly transported to a School of Mines laboratory for studies."
The body was supposedly seen and given a ceremonial treatment by three Lakota elders, including Wilmer Mesteth and Oliver Red Cloud.
"Tell them it's a bunch of baloney," Mesteth said Wednesday in a telephone interview. "I think someone is playing a practical joke."
He said he was starting to get phone calls from people who had heard the report. He said Red Cloud is an amputee who does not travel and could not have gone to the site of the Bigfoot shooting.
Bigfoot, which is referred to as "Chiye-tanka" or "The Big Man" is in some books about Native American culture and spirituality.
SDSMT chose to play the story as a joke.
"Despite receiving nearly $14 million in research and development funding in the 2006 fiscal year and having a wide array of cutting-edge research initiatives, the School of Mines has no facilities dedicated to Bigfoot or other cryptozoology research," the release stated.
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