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Wallace Hoax Behind Bigfoot?



Wallace Scam Ensnares Hollywood Producers

Some folks in Hollywood apparently didn't get the memo, or didn't get it in time. Months after the Wallace family's bogus story about their deceased, veracity-challenged father, was thoroughly scientifically debunked by Dr. Jeff Meldrum at Idaho State University, and Canadian journalist John Green, a newly formed production company in Hollywood has announced plans to produce a "documentary" based on the discredited Wallace story (see article from the Hollywood Reporter, below).

Someone needs to send another memo to actor Judge Reinhold and producer Eric Geadelmann, before they make fools of themselves:

1) The Wallace story has been debunked, scientifically. It was a lie. The wooden track stompers shown to the media by the Wallace family do not match photos of the 1958 tracks they claim their father made. They are different foot shapes. See for yourself.

2) It is not physically possible to fake tracks with the shape, depth and stride of the Bluff Creek tracks, using any kind of wooden track stompers. Go ahead and try it sometime. Stompers large enough to produce the tracks cast in 1958 act like snowshoes in soft soil. They cannot create the heavy compression seen in the 1958 casts.

3) John Green has offered $100,000 dollars to anyone who can recreate the tracks the Wallaces claim their deceased father created. The Wallace family can't do it. One of the Wallace family members nearly killed himself trying to do it, as he was towed behind a pickup truck while wearing the wooden stompers, in front of media cameras.

4) The Wallace family waited for their father to die before propagating their bogus story, because Wallace himself would have been easily discredited upon cross examination by those who could prove he didn't know the key details about the tracks found by Jerry Crew.

5) Scientific luminaries such as Jane Goodall and George Schaller have recently become vocal advocates for the authenticity of the real evidence indicating the existence of these animals.

6) This is a very serious environmental issue. Television programs and films that mislead the public about it will eventually be viewed as something between distasteful and criminal exploitation of popular misconceptions, as more evidence and scientific support accumulates to show that the species exists, and is likely endangered.

Is this how you'd like to be remembered? If you have any moral fiber at all you'll think about this. Don't cop out by calling it entertainment. The ignorant attitudes you're encouraging will affect public policy in a lot of areas, policies that directly affect the habitats of this rare, important primate species.

From the Hollywood Reporter

Reinholds put their Bigfoot forward in venture
By Chris Gardner, Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Actor Judge Reinhold and his wife, Amy, have teamed with indie producer Eric Geadelmann to launch a feature film production company.

TLP Prods., which will maintain offices in Los Angeles and Nashville, has acquired two narrative fiction projects and started production on a documentary.

TLP has acquired the rights to the life story of Ray Wallace, a logger in the Pacific Northwest who is credited with creating the myth of Bigfoot by using a pair of 16-foot carved wooden feet and stomping around on the ground. He kept the legend going for more than 40 years by using photos, footprints and fake sightings before his family admitted the long-running hoax shortly after his death in November 2002.

The Reinholds, Geadelmann and manager-producer Gordon Gilbertson will produce the untitled Bigfoot-hoax project, with Judge Reinhold expected to take a supporting role in the film.

"Initially, this was just a funny headline in the New York Times, but the more we learned about Ray and the ingenious ways he captured people's imagination and manipulated mass media, we knew we had to tell his story," Judge Reinhold said. "It's Ray's young son's discovery that his father is Bigfoot, set against the mystery and enchantment of the Northwest woods."

TLP's other fiction film project is "One Stupid Thing," a black comedy penned by John Lavachielli about a New Jersey man who moves his family to the small town of Nyborg, Wyo., to protect them from impending terrorism. Justine Baddeley is producing in association with TLP. CAA is packaging both projects.

TLP has started production on the feature docu "Ghosts in the Hills" in Arkansas. The film tells the story of a white community at a historic crossroads because of the Ku Klux Klan.

Geadelmann also is a partner in Haynes/Geadelmann Pictures, an independent film production outfit that recently announced a multiple-project deal with Nicolas Cage and his Saturn Films.

Judge Reinhold was last seen on the big screen in last year's "Santa Clause 2." Upcoming film projects for the actor include "The Hollow" and "Crab Orchard."

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

 


BFRO Editorial on the Wallace Story: One Member's Perspective

The story was hot, and it was everywhere -- on TV, newspapers, and radios around the world -- in December 2002. It proclaimed that "the truth can finally be told about Big Foot". Virtually every major newspaper and broadcaster in the United States fell for it. A family had "finally come forward to reveal the truth". They claimed their deceased father had started the whole legend. It was all him. He was Bigfoot. They said they knew it, and they had the fake tracks to prove it.

The Wallace family proudly exhibited some wooden track stompers to the press. They claimed these were used by their father, Ray Wallace, to create the legend of Bigfoot in the late 1950's. It was only a harmless prank, they explained, but it got out of hand and took on a life of its own, with the help of Ray.

Different members of the Wallace family told different versions of the story. Some claimed Ray only started the legend, then other people apparently faked other tracks in other areas. Various other Wallace family members claimed that Ray made all the tracks himself, anywhere and everywhere they appeared.

The media bought all of it. There was nothing the media wasn't going to believe.

Some Wallaces claimed Ray was behind the Patterson footage as well. Ray's widow said it wasn't her in that costume, and she didn't know anything about it. The rest of the Wallaces still wanted to credit Ray for the Patterson footage somehow. They could only say they were sure he had something to do with it.

Even after thousands of credible eyewitnesses had come forward over the years to report their sightings, and piles of scientifically valuable evidence had been collected, the media still continued to falsely claim there is no evidence for the existence of bigfoots. But ironically, when a rural family came forward with some far-fetched, inconsistent claims, about a man who was locally famous for being a wild story teller, and his son held up some carved wooden track stompers ... that was nothing short of unquestionable proof to the mass media, and so it was affirmed by Jay Leno of NBC, Aaron Brown of CNN, Shepard Smith of Fox News, The New York Times, etc., etc.

Many people were amazed and confused at the downright ignorance of the media. People knew that sightings, encounters and track finds extended far back into the American history. They also knew the only significance of the 1958 finds was that the term "Bigfoot" was first coined then, and that term eventually supplanted the hundreds of local names across the continent, such as the Boggy Creek Monster of Arkansas, the Skunk Ape of Florida, the Mountain Devils of Vermont, the Omah of Northern California, and the Wendigo of the Great Lakes region.

The only thing that began in 1958 was the familiar nickname most people came to remember, not the track finds, the sightings, or anything else related to this subject.

Bigfoot researchers knew more about the Wallace family's claims, because they had dealt with Ray since the 1960's:

  • Ray's fake tracks and stompers were on display, hanging on the walls of his roadside tourist shop for years. The Wallace family recently implied that Ray had kept them in hidden since the 1960's.

  • Ray himself never claimed to have created the original "Bigfoot" tracks. His family attributed it to him only after his death -- conveniently when he wasn't around to deny it, or to be cross-examined by the surviving people who had been to the site at the time. Even the locals, like Al Hodgson in Willow Creek, who knew Ray Wallace well in the 1950's, say he wasn't in that part of California when the first tracks were found. All Wallace did, according to Hodgson, was complain that the footprints were making his workers quit and driving his company out of business.

  • The family didn't realize that Ray's fake casts weren't even the same size and shape of the 1958 casts. The news media didn't want to complicate their hot story with that troublesome fact -- Wallace's fake casts and stompers do not match the "Bigfoot" casts. No one in the media bothered to look at the obvious discrepancies in the photos. In one photo a Wallace family member holds the stompers he claims Ray used to make the original "Bigfoot" tracks found by Gerry Crew. The other one is the famous photo showing Gerry Crew holding the large cast which inspired a local reporter to coin the term "Bigfoot". It didn't matter to the media that they are visiblly different foot shapes. The story was too hot to treat responsibly. And it was about a "myth", so it didn't require any of the usual fact checking.

 

The scariest 'Big Brother' anecodate from the Wallace media blitz: The New York Times story.

On January 3, 2003, the New York Times ran a front page story with the headline "Search for Bigfoot Outlives the Man Who Created Him". In the story reporter Timothy Egan painted the whole subject as one driven by foolish beliefs of people in the Northwest, and suggested there was no credible evidence.

Like many of the other misleading stories, it completely bought into the Wallace family claims. It credited Wallace as the one who created the whole legend, and perpetuated it over the years.

In one part of the story Egan writes, "Bigfoot defenders, including at least two scientists and a clinical psychologist who says he ran into the Big Guy two years ago in southern Oregon, are undeterred. They give Mr. Wallace credit for the hoax, which led to news stories around the world and began thousands of campfire debates. But, they say other evidence is too strong ..."

The three people Egan was referring to are Dr. Jeff Meldrum, Dr. Henner Fahrehbach, and Dr. Matthew Johnson.

Dr. Johnson told Timothy Egan squarely that he didn't know one way or the other about the Wallace family claims. He didn't give Wallace credit for any hoax whatsoever, and didn't know anything about him.

Dr. Fahrenbach told Egan right up front that he knew Wallace faked tracks in the past, but Fahrenbach made no comment about the 1958 tracks -- the "hoax" Egan refers to above. Egan didn't question Fahrenbach about his stance on that episode, and Fahrenbach says he certainly "did not give Wallace credit for that one." Fahrenbach was shocked to read Egan's article, wherein he found more than one statement falsely attributed to him.

The most egregious false attribution came from Egan's interview with Dr. Meldrum. During Egan's phone interview, Meldrum similarly did not "give Mr. Wallace credit for the hoax". But, unlike the others, Meldrum did have something to say about it. He explained to Egan how he could prove that Wallace didn't have anything to do with the 1958 "Bigfoot" tracks. Egan asked Meldrum detailed questions about how he could demonstrate it. Meldrum explained himself in detail.

Regardless of whether Egan accepted Meldrum's analysis, Egan clearly got the message that Meldrum did not give Wallace "credit for the hoax". Meldrum did say he had some likely fake casts from that region which could have been made by Wallace, but those were clearly distinguished from the specific track finds Egan was asking about.

Of the two PhD's and the one clinical psychologist who were interviewed by Egan for this New York Times story, all of them say that Egan falsely attributed statements to them. Of those three people, only one had any comments about the 1958 track finds, and those comments were exactly the opposite of what Egan attributed to all three of them. Egan's cross-examination of Meldrum over the phone during their interview makes it certain that Egan knew Meldrum did not give Wallace credit for the tracks in question, yet this is what Egan wrote, for the front page of the New York Times, January 3, 2003.

If a politician, celebrity or prominent businessman had done something like this, it would have been a major scandal ... and would have been vigorously investigated by the New York Times.


    Wireless Flash for Monday, December 9, 2002

    PORTLAND, Maine (Wireless Flash) -- Reports that Bigfoot is dead may be greatly exaggerated. Although the mainstream press is touting the recent death of Sasquatch prankster Ray Wallace as "the death of Bigfoot," cryptozoologist Loren Coleman says the legend is alive and well. Coleman says Wallace is called "the father of Bigfoot" because he made his claims in 1958, around the time the term, "Bigfoot," first appeared. However, there were numerous Sasquatch sightings between 1850 and the early 1900s and native Americans have been depicting the hairy creature on totem poles for 500 years. Coleman says there's more than enough evidence proving that the Bigfoot legend is something that existed long before Wallace's pranks and not simply his hoax. In fact, he says folks who assume Bigfoot sightings will disappear now that Wallace is dead may end up putting their big foot in their mouth.


BFRO Commentary

While the so-called "news" of Ray Wallace's involvement in bigfoot/ sasquatch hoaxing activities has been extensively covered by all the media outlets in the days following his death, few in the bigfoot research community have ever taken any of his exhibits seriously. Wallace's fondness for pranks, his manufactured photos, and his fanciful tales had long since convinced Curators in the BFRO and other competent bigfoot researchers that he could not be taken seriously. Wallace loved attention and he went to great efforts to keep "his name in the limelight of the Bigfoot mystery," as stated in an obituary written by Loren Coleman.

Wallace's obviously hoaxed materials stand in marked contrast with evidence collected throughout the continent in the last few decades, including the Skookum Cast. Expert analysis of some of this evidence is presented in the "Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science" documentary. Assertions regarding Wallace's role in planting evidence over a wide area obviously beg the question of why none of the more compelling evidence, for which he was supposedly responsible, was in his possession. For example, where are the fake feet used to leave prints containing dermal ridge impressions? For that matter, where are the feet that match the cast made by Jerry Crew?

Ray Wallace never claimed to be responsible for the bigfoot phenomenon while he was alive, when experts could have easily debunked him as a liar. The contention that one man could be responsible for centuries of sightings and hundreds of footprints (not to mention unidentifiable hair and other forms of physical evidence) found in widely separate wilderness settings is patently absurd. Even more outlandish connections have been made between the Patterson/Gimlin film (consistently, and incorrectly, described as "grainy") and Wallace (e.g., a recent San Francisco Chronicle article). Has no one stopped to wonder why the earliest "suit" filmed by Patterson and Gimlin was so much superior to the clearly bogus models shown in the Wallace images?

It's natural for people to seek explanations for the unknown. The BFRO stands at the forefront of efforts to legitimize scientific evaluations of purported evidence in support of the existence of the bipedal primate known as the sasquatch or bigfoot. Without question, a few charlatans have periodically impeded these efforts, but the identification of hoaxers is a part of the research effort. Reality exists beyond the ridiculous; the BFRO seeks to accurately represent the reality of the bigfoot phenomenon.


Other significant achievements claimed by Ray Wallace, as collected over the years by journalist and author, John Green:

"Big Foot used to be very tame, as I have seen him almost every morning on the way to work..I would sit in my pickup and toss apples out of the window to him. He never did catch an apple but he sure tried. Then as he ate the apples I would have my movie camera clipping off more footage of him..I have talked to several movie companies about selling my movies which would last for three hours. The best offer I've had so far is $250,000."

    Ray Wallace letter to the Klam-ity Kourier, Oct. 1, 1969

"The first day we went out in search of the Mt. St. Helens apes we saw five different-sized tracks..the first day out from our camp we saw where five of the giant-sized apes had crossed a small creek, the water was still muddy in their tracks..We found the ape cave. I sent my pack crew out after a hundred pounds of plaster of Paris and I made some of the nicest casts of those Mt. St. Helens apes tracks that I have ever saw..I don't think I could ever find the ape cave that my guide showed me where the Mt. St. Helens Apes have stayed for possibly several thousand years."

    Ray Wallace letter to John Green, Feb. 6, 1967

"Please send me your correct address..I want to send you a picture of one of the male Mt. St. Helens apes that the loggers took this spring as they were feeding apples to an old pair of BFs and the female was carrying a baby, but she never came close enough for them to get a good picture, they got some close up pictures of this 9 foot tall male, I just borrowed the negatives..I want to send all of the BF researchers a picture."

    Ray Wallace, letter to John Green, Dec. 2, 1984 (John Green sent the address but never received any pictures)

"I sent you a tape of the songs about Big Foot plus some of his high-pitched screams, I would like for you to set up a meeting with scientists from all over the world to listen to those screams.Our government thinks these Big Foots are being let out of flying saucers. In 1975 I was interviewed by some government officials for 4 hours.. This government official said to me 'Mr. Wallace we think these big foots are being let out of flying saucers' .. This Bob, I don't dare mention his name I don't think, anyway he got up out of his chair and came over to me and shook his fore finger in my face..I say why don't you tell the public that instead of lying to them and saying there are no such things as flying saucers. Bob called me several times after that meeting and he has retired now but he still sends me reports of flying saucers that are being seen all over the world..The last thing Bob said our government are really worried about what those flying saucers are here for. I said its nothing to worry about and its just the full filment of the Bible as it says there will be all types of objects in the skies in the last days."

    Ray Wallace, letter to John Green, Oct. 20, 1989

"I just want to inform you Big Foot hunters that Big Footed creatures are people, they speak a language. I could tell you more about the Sasquatch or Bigfoot than anyone else, I told Roger Patterson where to go in California to see Big Foots. I made ten thousand feet of movies of the Big Foots before I told Roger Patterson where to go..I logged the Bluff Creek area for ten years and the whole crew has seen as many as 13 of the Big Foot people at one time..I could take you to a cave in Northern California where the Big Foots live in a very rich gold mine cave.Did you know that Tom Slick bought Big Foot skeletons for many years and turned them over to the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.? legs bones four inches diameter, two and a half feet long between the ankle and knee.I have talked to the Big Foots many times..they didn't understand me and I didn't understand them, but their brown eyes told the story that they are very sad because the bear hunters are killing all their people."

    Ray Wallace, letter to Dennis Gates, May 24, 1978

"Some of you Big Foot readers probably wonder how I got the Big Foot scream on tape...in 1958 before the bear hunters got to chasing Big Foot with their hounds and made him so wild, I used to see one of the Big Foots almost every morning, eating elderberries along the road..I have seen Big Foot several hundred times..I didn't ever tell anyone about seeing those large, hairy type creatures as I was having a hard enough time keeping men on the job..Most of the men would quit the first time they saw those huge shaped human bare foot tracks. Then I would; have to start looking for a new crew.I lost $40,000 on that road job..After having two of the Big Foots captured and getting loose, I have always said not to underestimate the great strength of old Big Foot."

    Ray Wallace, letter to the Klam-ity Kourier, March 25, 1970

"Back in 1947 when I had my logging crew on a free moose hunting trip to Canada near Vanderhoof, B.C. we saw a family of six Sasquatches and they were as interested in us as we were in them.I have seen the Big Foots in Northern California and around Mt. Hood in Oregon and around Mt. St. Helens and they all look alike so I know that Big Foot and Sasquatches are all brothers or sisters..the largest BF I have ever seen at least four feet acrossed the chest and very large arms and carrying a large round rock in each hand. I have a movie of one throwing a rock and killing a deer."

    Ray Wallace, letter to the University of British Columbia, Jan. 26, 1981

"Everyone says who has heard Big Foots screams in northern California, before all the Big Foots were killed and hauled down the Klamath River in a tug boat and out into the ocean 12 miles to where was a small ship anchored in international waters and frozen into a block of ice and then transported to Hong Kong and sold, so now there aren't any more left in northern California. or is there if they are being let out of flying saucers."

    Ray Wallace, letter to John Green, April 15, 1979


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