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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Say It's Not True...Biscardi's At It Again!

I almost killed my laptop with spilled coffee when I read this article this morning. Is Tom Biscardi setting people up for another version of a Bigfoot hoax? away!:

Startups are famous for setting big, hairy goals. Carmine “Tom” Biscardi wants to catch Sasquatch—and is planning an initial public offering to fund the hunt.

Mr. Biscardi and his partners hope to raise as much as $3 million by selling stock in Bigfoot Project Investments. They plan to spend the money making movies and selling DVDs, but are also budgeting $113,805 a year for expeditions to find the beast. Among the company’s goals, according to its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission: “capture the creature known as Bigfoot.”

Investment advisers caution that this IPO may not be for everyone. For starters, it involves DVDs, a dying technology, said Kathy Boyle, president at Chapin Hill Advisors. Then there is the Sasquatch issue. She reckons only true believers would be interested in such a speculative venture.

“This would be the kind of thing where if you believed in Bigfoot, or you thought there really was a Bigfoot and you actually had some money to burn and wanted to play with this, then go for it,” Ms. Boyle said. A lot of ifs.

It turns out the IPO doesn’t have many fans in the Bigfoot community, either. Purists are chafing at what they see as the crass commercialization of a serious pursuit.

Mr. Biscardi, who has trumpeted a number of Bigfoot sightings and captures that didn’t pan out, is a controversial figure among Bigfoot enthusiasts. In 2008, he held a news conference in Palo Alto, Calif., to detail his examination of what he said was the carcass of a male Bigfoot that checked in at 7 feet 7 inches tall and weighed more than 500 pounds. The Bigfoot, found by two men in Georgia, turned out to be a rubber gorilla costume stuffed with animal parts and outfitted with a set of teeth that may have been bovine in origin.

Asked about the incident, Mr. Biscardi said he had been deceived. But that hasn’t quieted skeptics in the community like Kathy Strain, who said she is astonished the Georgia debacle didn’t put an end to Mr. Biscardi’s pursuit of Bigfoot.

“It just makes it a big joke,” she said.

Ms. Strain has been fascinated with Bigfoot since she was a girl in California and mistook the 1972 documentary style film called “The Legend of Boggy Creek” as real. Now a 46-year-old U.S. Forest Service worker, she wants to bring the rigors of science to Bigfooting.

Mr. Biscardi is well aware of his many detractors and says it comes with the territory of being such a high-profile member of the Bigfoot community.

“When you’re king of the mountain, everybody’s trying to knock you down,” he said.

None of this is the concern of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which explicitly doesn’t worry about things like whether there is in fact a Sasquatch when it vets IPOs.

The SEC said it doesn’t comment on specific companies and filings. But in a 2013 investor bulletin, the agency said its staff “does not evaluate the merits of any IPO or determine whether an investment is appropriate for any investor.” Instead, its efforts are focused on making sure the companies comply with SEC disclosure requirements and accounting rules.

Mr. Biscardi is pursuing the IPO under the 2012 Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act. The JOBS Act is aimed at easing the flow of capital into startups and small businesses and has been used by companies including Twitter Inc. and Potbelly Sandwich Works. The law loosens stock-selling rules for “emerging growth” firms, essentially any venture with less than $1 billion in annual gross revenue.

Bigfoot Project easily qualifies. So far, the company has minimal sales and assets of $6,342, including less than $650 in cash as of the end of October.

The company filed for the IPO in February 2013, amended the proposed offering two months later to designate itself an “emerging growth” company and expects to start trading early this year, according to Mr. Biscardi.

The SEC’s questions have been routine, he says, mostly to clear up language, “dot the I’s and cross the T’s.”

Mr. Biscardi claims big footprints in the Bigfoot world. He takes credit for bringing the topic to mainstream America and boasts that he is the on-call expert for reporters who need commentary after sightings of the creature.

He travels around the country in a trailer adorned with images of Bigfoot and has been cited dozens of times in publications over the years, with wire reports of his exploits picked up as far away as Azerbaijan. The reports describe him as a Bigfoot booster, a Bigfoot explorer, a filmmaker, purveyor of Bigfoot-related goods and CEO of Searching for Bigfoot, a company that his IPO filings say was the predecessor company of Bigfoot Project Investments.

In a 2007 interview with the Washington Post following the discovery of a purported Sasquatch foot in a Spotsylvania County landfill in Virginia, he claims seven “up close and personal” encounters with the beast. The Georgia incident garnered the most attention, but more recent coverage focuses on the BBC show “Shooting Bigfoot: America’s Monster Hunters” featuring Mr. Biscardi as the self-styled “leading expert,” according to the SEC filings.

Some Bigfooters are appalled.

William Jevning, 56, says he first came face-to-face with a Bigfoot when he was a teenager and has been researching the topic ever since. He has written three books, co-hosts a Bigfoot-focused podcast, which also serves as a forum for those who say they have had encounters to share their stories, and says his main goal is to keep Sasquatch on the up and up.

Mr. Jevning said he and his radio-show partners have also drawn interest from investors to help expand their platform. He wouldn’t be specific, but he says the number of Bigfoot believers is growing.

“We put a real no-nonsense approach to it, and people are really responding,” Mr. Jevning said.

William Barnes, 55, says he had his life-changing Bigfoot experience after a sighting 17 years ago in Nevada County, Calif. He kept quiet about the encounter and spent more than a decade secretly investigating the subject in an effort to determine why researchers haven’t been able to document the creature’s existence on film.

Six years ago, he had a flash: Why not deploy an airborne camera in known hot spots? Now, he is trying to raise about $400,000 through a crowdfunding effort for a drone that would scour the woods. He calls it the Falcon Project and has teamed up with Idaho State University and Prof. Jeffrey Meldrum to carry it out.

Dr. Meldrum has spent his career trying to make the study of Bigfoot a subject of credible scientific debate, focusing on debunking the idea that humans are the only upright, bipedal primates.

The professor has collected a virtual library of casts of footprints believed to have been left by Sasquatch, some discovered through his own fieldwork. Dr. Meldrum also runs, through the university, an online forum for scholarly papers about relict hominoids including Bigfoot and its variations around the world.

“My conviction stands firmly upon evidence that I have examined,” Dr. Meldrum said. “It’s not a question of whether I believe Bigfoot exists or not.” - WSJ

NOTE: this stunt may be 'the straw that broke the camel's back' for Bigfoot research. It's all about the money for some of these jokers...Lon

The Making of Bigfoot: The Inside Story

Sasquatch For Sale: Death, DNA and Duplicity

Abominable Science!: Origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and Other Famous Cryptids

Monsters Myths and Me: And now my eyes are open

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