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Media Article # 371

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Bob Bigfoot?

Baltimore City Paper On-line

Bob Hieronimus is big into Bigfoot. As host and founder of 21st Century Radio, a sort of fringe-topic talk show heard evenings onWCBM-AM680, Dr. Bob has interviewed a bevy ofBigfoot researchers and believers about the legendary hairy humanoid (aka Sasquatch,Yeti, and the Nose's fave, Skunk Ape). But even out there Bob is bowled over by the latest Bigfoot scuttlebutt. Allegations have surfaced that have some thinking that the diminutive radioman--size 8 1/2 shoes and all--is Bigfoot. Or, more specifically, that he spoofed being a Sasquatch for some pivotal film footage. Indeed, the Reliable Source column in the March 7 Washington Post says Bob Heironimus "donned a gorilla costume and appeared in the famous grainy film clip that helped fuel the Bigfoot craze in 1967." The fake fur flap has since bounced all over the Internet. Confused? Well, careful readers shouldn't be. The Post's Bob Heironimus is a retired Pepsi bottler from Yakima, Wash., and not to be mistaken with the Baltimore-based on-air Skunk Ape aficionado, Bob Hieronimus. But spellings be damned, our Bob says he's gotten "umpteen phone calls" about the Bigfoot brouhaha. E-mails have poured in, too.

"Some people right away say, 'It's impossible because you're only 5-foot-five," a chuckling Hieronimus says.

But i-before-e Bob takes Bigfoot--and the Bigfoot footage--seriously, branding Yakima Bob's confessions "bullshit."

"This is just to make money--to sell a book," Hieronimus says. "And Fox [television] will push it."

(As it turns out, the details of Heironimus' alleged faux film work are revealed in the recently released tome The Making of Bigfoot byGreg Long--a writer/researcher Hieronimus brands "not too reliable.")

Chances are, if you've seen any TV show on Bigfoot, you've seen the clip in question. Known to cryptozoologists as the "Patterson Footage" (after Roger Patterson, who captured it at Bluff Creek, Calif.), it shows a female Bigfoot (or, some dude in a fur suit) power-walking into the woods--at one point looking over her (its? his?) shoulder at the camera. Patterson died in 1972, but associate Bob Gimlin, who was present when Betty Bigfoot did her stroll, patently denies the hoax claims. As does Hieronimus, who feels the 60 seconds of 16-mm film couldn't possibly be some schmuck in a monkey outfit. "You can see the muscle structure within the body of this creature," he says. "It's not a suit or a hairy costume."

Of course, when you're dealing with outside-the-box topics--from Bigfoot to the Loch Ness Monster to Mothman--this sort of controversy is par for the course. (An earlier effort to pooh-pooh the Patterson film said the hairy girl in question was really a getup designed by the costumer for the Planet of the Apes films.) And over the years, Bob Hie. has learned that his surname, which he's seen "spelled 13 different" ways, is no stranger to weirdness.

"There are at least three other Bob Hieronimi, and all of them do some peculiar things--like myself," he says. "One fella was running around taking underwear off of clotheslines in the general Maryland area."

No word on whether there's any footage of that Hieronimus at work.

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