Was Bigfoot really gunned down in Texas?
He's released several photos, and a YouTube video of folks reacting to a sneak peek. But he's holding back on fuller disclosure, he says, until a Feb. 9 news conference presenting results of scientific studies by a Washington State university. Later: A national tour.
"I have the whole body. I have scientific evidence. I have DNA sequencing. ... I have everything you want," he told "Wake Up!" an Australian TV show.
Tonight, The $10 Million Bigfoot Bounty debuts on Spike TV, offering a colossal reward for catching the gigantic creature.
"I have been trying to contact 'em, and no one is returning my calls," Dyer told Esquire. "... They can send whoever they need here to test what we have. I just want my check. ... I want my $10 million!"
Although the hominid-cide took place Sept. 6, 2012, in woods in San Antonio, time was needed for testing, and to wait for nondisclosure agreements to expire, Dyer said.
It's either history in the making, or history in the faking.
Dyer says he's trying to redeem himself for a 2008 hoax with an ersatz Sasquatch killed in Georgia that "resembled a gorilla — or maybe an old sheepskin rug — lying twisted in a freezer," according to the New York Times.
That stunt alienated many Bigfoot believers, a few of whom said, off the record, profess to also disliking Dyer for having a nasty side.
"Talking [bleep] again! I wouldn't expect nothing different! Jealousy is a bitch! #[bleep]" reads a tweet on the Twitter page of Dyer's Team Tracker (@bigfoottracker) addressed to Matt Moneymaker (@MattMoneymaker 1), team leader on Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot.
Moneymaker's tweet was almost noncommittal, except for the phrase, "Dyer's latest hoax."
Other doubters include legend-debunking website Snopes.com and Idaho State anthropology professor Jeff Meldrum, a renowned collector of casts of Sasquatch footprints.
"The thing has clearly been fabricated to depict a specimen that has been dissected. It smacks of images of alien autopsy," Meldrum told the Christian Science Monitor.
Another Bigfoot believer, Loren Coleman of CryptoZooNews.com, writes that Dyer "is laughing all the way to the bank. If you read the fine print, you know that this individual is taking his bogus story and his bogus body on the road, charging folks who are interested in Bigfoot to come take a peek."
Dyer's kill was supposedly filmed by British documentarian Morgan Matthews, but viewers were disappointed that his movie, Shooting Bigfoot, showed no clear footage of a corpse.
Matthews has also failed to confirm seeing Dyer kill a Sasquatch, telling one interviewer: "There is something extreme at the end of the film that may or may not have been a close encounter."
May or may not? Unless he's teasing some future project, Matthews' words and work seem out of sync with Dyer's account.
Matthews failed to respond to several requests for an interview.
Nevertheless, some say Dyer seems to have the real deal.
"I'm persuaded that it's true, at this point," said Christopher Noel, author of Sasquatch Rising 2013 and How Sasquatch Matters. Last week, two of his friends "had a chance to inspect the taxonomied specimen directly, and pored over it for hours, and concluded, although they're not scientists, that it's real."
"I can now confirm with 100% accuracy that Rick Dyer does indeed have a taxidermied Bigfoot," blogs California writer Robert Lindsay. "I say this because this news has been independently confirmed for me by a number of extremely credible people in Bigfootery who investigated it themselves and then reported back to me."
Commenting on his own post, Lindsay adds: "Several of the biggest names in the biz all contacted me independently and told me it is true, as insane as it sounds. They all hate Dyer and none of them ever believed him."
Understand, Noel said, that the photos released so far are misleading. Video released in the fall of 2012 supposedly shows a Bigfoot outside Dyer's tent (see video) on the day of the killing. That creature looks different from the dead Bigfoot probably because it's a different creature, he said. The tent scene happened in the morning, the deadly encounter well after sunset later that day.
In a still photo of Dyer laying next to a big shaggy body, the creature's face seems to have more prominent features than in a closeup of just the creature. Understand, Noel said, that the one with Dyer was shot after the specimen underwent medical examination and taxonomy, the closeup before.
"Keep in the mind the taxonomic specimen has no bones, no muscles left ... it's just a hide," Noel said.
Nor is it strange to hear of a Bigfoot in Texas, he said. Thousands of people have claimed to have seen large, strange, hairy bipeds in wilderness areas in almost every corner of the United States and Canada, and in 2009, a lengthy 911 call described such a large creature not far from where Dyer allegedly shot one.
"This big thing was 75 feet away from me, smells awful, devoured a whole deer carcass and then took off and like screamed, screeched and took off across the street," the woman clearly states on a YouTube version. "... I know you guys are going to say I'm crazy, but I'm dead serious."
In 2008, Noel himself shot some infrared video in East Texas that he interprets as showing a Sasquatch hiding behind the tree. Bigfoot may even visited the freelance editor's property in North Vermont.
But despite videos, castings of footprints, reports from 40 or more states, and prime-time shows like Finding Bigfoot, most Americans have yet to see truly undeniable evidence. Like a skeleton. Or a body.
Dyer says his corpse was nearly 8 feet tall and weighed more than 700 pounds.
DNA testing on more than 100 hair and tissue samples show that Bigfoot is a close kin to human beings, according to Melba Ketchum of DNA Diagnostics, a Texas-based lab. After her findings were criticized, she alleged that others were suppressing the truth.
Only 29 percent of the public believes the creatures probably or definitely exist, according to a 2012 poll by Angus Reid Global.
Noel argues that Bigfoot is a highly intelligent species that is "deeply and anciently programmed" to keep its distance from humans and hide evidence of its existence.
While he backs Ketchum's DNA work – "I've seen not a single shred of evidence that her data are not sound" – he's no fan of shows that make questionable efforts to look for Bigfoot.
Finding Bigfoot apparently thinks noisy activities – everything from wood knocks to howls to loud music to riding around on ATVs – might somehow lure a highly furtive creature.
The $10 Million Bigfoot Bounty is "an idiotic, sensationalist vehicle" that will be rendered "moot with the release of the San Antonio specimen," Noel says.
"If you do not believe my claim, that is just fine, and this should all come out soon at any rate," writes Lindsay. "I can also report that ... a more professional team has been assembled for the presentation to the public because Rick Dyer is pretty much the antithesis of professionalism. So the presentation is in a sense being taken out of Rick's hands by the adults in the room, thank God."
"For better or for worse, the name Rick Dyer will go down in history for all time," Lindsay adds.
Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or firstname.lastname@example.org.