For the past week or so, the internet has been abuzz with the rumor that a sasquatch corpse had been discovered by hunters in Georgia, and was being kept in a freezer. Alleged to be 7-foot-7-inches tall and 500 pounds, the hunters claimed to have stumbled across the body while hiking and that they had seen three others alive.
In a shocking turn of events, it turns out that the body in the freezer was nothing more than a large gorilla costume (why was this news again? when Russia is still in violation of its ceasefire agreement (and now they're stealing our Humvees!) and there is a Presidential race going on?). According to cnn.com, "The hoax wasdiscovered after an 'expedited melting process,' [Steve] Kulls [of Sasquatchdetective.com] wrote. 'A break appeared up near the feet area ... as the team and I began examining this area near the feet, I observed the foot which looked unnatural, reached in and confirmed it was a rubber foot.'"
Both men, one of them a Georgia police officer who will never be able to testify in court again, have admitted their deception, and have apparently incurred a lawsuit from pro-bigfoot advocates who believed their claim. Searching for Bigfoot, Inc. "is seeking justice for all the people who were deceived by this deception." That's right, all three people who didn't see through this incredibly transparent hoax think they have legal recourse for believing that someone had bigfoot frozen in their basement. And maybe they do. Perhaps any attorneys in the audience can shed light on that possibility.
The Common Man is, frankly, amused at the things men choose to believe, despite scant evidence. That aliens landed in New Mexico. That a creature lives in a Scotland loch. That President Bush and his administration plotted to blow up the World Trade Center to get oil (and flawlessly carried out that part of the plan and the ensuing coverup, but bungled when they tried an oil-grab in Iraq).
These kinds of beliefs, while fun and silly, seem to become so defining in a person's life. They seem to take over a man's existence and become an indelible part of his identity. And so often, it seems, these beliefs twist their holders, making them willing to believe that a gorilla suit in a freezer is a long-lost ancestor or that a bunch of boobs who can't rescue flood victims from rooftops is capable of the unspeakable. It makes them bitter and sad. And The Common Man, for all his wisdom, cannot understand how men can allow themselves to become subject to their own irrationality.
For another look at conspiracy theorists, and their seemingly amazing capacity for self-delusion and the lengths to which some will go to maintain their worldview, The Common Man recommends this episode of the wonderful NPR series, This American Life, which, among other things, discusses the London subway bombings of 2005.