big but 42-year Bigfoot hoax even larger
Fake turns out to be photographer's wife dressed in hairy ape suit with
giant feet stuck to the bottom
Most of the pictures of bigfoot, a giant ape-like creature supposed to
live in the dense forests of the American northwest, are in reality a
hoaxer's wife dressed in a gorilla suit, the man's relatives revealed
For decades until his death last month Ray Wallace awed America with pictures
of footprints, recordings and photographs of the creature, but his family
admitted it had all been an elaborate practical joke.
To the horror of thousands of Bigfoot believers Dale Lee Wallace, the
hoaxer's nephew, said: "He did it for the joke and then was afraid
to tell anyone because they'd be so mad at him."
The first "evidence" for Bigfoot, a series of huge footprints,
was found by Jerry Crew, a worker at Wallace's construction company in
were in fact created by his boss with wooden carved feet to "freak
him out," but the local newspaper, the Humboldt Times in Eureka,
Calif. ran a front-page story on the prints the next day and coined the
The tale was taken up by newspapers across the country and the public,
fascinated at the time by tales of the Himalayan yeti, eagerly embraced
the notion of a homegrown version.
Wallace continued with the prank for years, producing photographs of Bigfoot
eating elk and frogs. These, it emerged Friday, were in fact members of
his family usually his wife, dressed in a hairy ape suit
with giant feet stuck to the bottom.
The most famous evidence for Bigfoot's existence, the
so-called Pattersonfilm, a grainy, cinefilm image of an erect ape-like
creature, was taken by Roger Patterson, a rodeo rider, in 1967.
It was another of Wallace's fakes, the family said he told Patterson
where to go to spot the creature and knew who had been inside the suit.
The family decided to finally reveal the truth after Wallace, 84, died
from heart failure and a reporter for the Seattle Times approached them
to ask about the rumors he had made it all up.
The news is a serious setback for the Bigfoot industry spawned by the
legend. Dozens of books have been written, guides offer tours to search
for sightings, and there is an International Bigfoot Society in Hillsboro,
The Daily Telegraph
Photos added for
comparison from the files of Rene Dahinden, exclusive rights
to use photographs from
Rene Dahinden, Richmond, B.C., 1999
Editorial comment in Bobbie Short's Bigfoot_Newsletter_Online #74
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