The search is on for a Bigfoot in New Hampshire

  • Tom Biscardi points to what he says is a photo of a Bigfoot from a research expedition he participated in the 1970s. NICK REID /Monitor staff

  • The Searching for Bigfoot team prepares to leave to observe a bait site overnight in Deering on Wednesday, July 13, 2016. NICK REID /—Monitor staff

  • T.J. Biscardi (left), Jim Snell and Timmy McMillen walk through Scott Luca’s Deering backyard, in front of a Bigfoot statue which is used for target practice Wednesday. NICK REID /—Monitor staff

  • T.J. Biscardi (front) looks for a place to mount a glow stick that he hopes will attract a Bigfoot in the Deering woods. Jim Snell places a pinwheel in the tree behind him. NICK REID /—Monitor staff

  • T.J. Biscardi (left) and Timmy McMillen place glow sticks around a Bigfoot bait site. The colorful, chemical light sources are supposed to attract the mythical creature’s attention. NICK REID /—Monitor staff

  • T.J. Biscardi stands in front of a table of gear used in Bigfoot hunting. Among the items are night-vision goggles, thermal imaging scopes, glow sticks, pinwheels and trail cameras. NICK REID /Monitor staff

  • Scott Luca of Deering stands in front of the Searching for Bigfoot team’s trailer on Wednesday, July 13, 2016. He invited the crew from California onto his property, where he believes at least one Bigfoot roams. NICK REID /—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 7/16/2016 12:10:03 AM

A team of Bigfoot enthusiasts, which has previously been involved in notorious hoaxes, is skulking in the New Hampshire woods, where residents say they’ve spotted the mythical creature.

The California-based outfit, called Searching for Bigfoot, met with a Deering man Wednesday who said he believes at least one Bigfoot roams his 100 acres. Scott Luca’s brother, Jim, said he came face-to-face there with a 7-foot-tall, brownish-grey creature with hands hanging below its knees in 2014.

That and other curious happenings brought the Searching for Bigfoot team to New Hampshire this week, between stops in Arizona and Rhode Island on a cross-country expedition. In each place, the group baits a spot in the woods using peanut butter and sardines, then lies in wait under the cover of night, monitoring the area using trail cameras, night-vision goggles, thermal imaging scopes and high-powered weaponry.

The team is led by Tom Biscardi, a big-talking enthusiast who calls himself “the real Bigfoot hunter” and says he’s seen seven Bigfoots since he began his pursuit in the early 1970s.

Biscardi’s claims, however, have made him the subject of some controversy in the past. In 2008, he briefly caught the attention of the world when he announced he had definitive evidence proving the existence of Bigfoot: a corpse he bought for $50,000 that would undermine all the naysaying scientists.

As it turned out, he didn’t have a corpse at all. It was a rubber Bigfoot costume filled with the guts of various animals.

In another example, Biscardi, 68, promoted a paid video streaming service and claimed he’d soon distribute images of a captured Bigfoot in Nevada. To the dismay of the national radio audience that was following along, nothing materialized.

Both times, Biscardi said he was the victim of a hoax. When he bought the supposed body, it was frozen in ice, and he didn’t know it was fake until it thawed out, he said, after he announced it to the world. In the Nevada episode, his team gave him bad information, he said.

Nevertheless, he’s not backing down. The Searching for Bigfoot team is touring the country and filming a documentary about its work to capture Bigfoot.

Deering sightings

Scott Luca is the team’s local contact. He said he was 12 years old when he first saw a group of four Bigfoots in a farm field in Bradford. They’d ripped the head off a mean, 3,000-pound bull that lived on the farm, he said, and walked away calmly after his father threatened them with a gun.

But that interaction is perhaps less remarkable than what he says happened on his rural property in Deering. After seeing unusually large footprints on his land about five years ago, he said, he left a pizza box with three slices on a stump in his woods, thinking the only creature with the dexterity to open it cleanly would be a Bigfoot.

When he returned to check on it two days later, it appeared at first undisturbed.

“It was folded, just like I had folded it,” he said, but inside, “there was three pizza-shaped rocks. . . . They left me three rocks, like, ‘We like this.’ ”

Biscardi added: “They left him an offering.”

After that, on Christmas Day in 2014, Luca’s brother, Jim, went to investigate why the barn animals were behaving strangely. As he approached, he said he heard a “low, gutteral growl” and then came upon a Bigfoot that darted away into the woods.

He said he believes his brother’s property is part of a migratory path for the creatures.

“This has to be a main runway for ‘em, and they’re coming up because there’s food, there’s little animals, rabbits, ducks, chickens,” he said.

Baiting the beast

Jim Snell of Washington was armed with an unusual combination of items as the Searching for Bigfoot crew set out to establish three bait sites in Luca’s woods at dusk on Wednesday.

Holstered on his right hip was his firearm, a Ruger GP 100 revolver. Twirling in the humid breeze at his left hip were two pinwheels, the colorful children’s toys.

The pinwheels, along with chemically lighted glow sticks, are used as lures to attract the Bigfoot. The team reasons that Bigfoots are curious creatures who are likely to be intrigued by the glow in the night.

Then there’s the bait: peanut butter and sardines. These are supposed to be pungent treats that a Bigfoot may detect and stop in front of a camera to eat. T.J. Biscardi, who is Tom’s son, spread a dollop of peanut butter on top of the jar and then closed the lid. He hoped to return to find it unscrewed and eaten, a sign that something with thumbs came along.

“Only twice have I ever seen that happen. . . . Either a hobo was living out in the woods somewhere in the mountains, or a Bigfoot did it,” he said.

‘I only care about one thing’

Tom Biscardi, formerly a Las Vegas promoter, said he owns millions of dollars in real estate and doesn’t need the money that he expects will come from a kill or capture of Bigfoot.

Why, then, did he decide to go public with Searching for Bigfoot’s parent company, Bigfoot Project Investments, inviting in as much as $3 million from shareholders? He says he wanted to share the success with believers, friends and family.

Of that investment, the team intends to spend as much as $113,000 a year on “expedition projects,” according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last year. Revenue may come in the future from the films and DVDs he produces.

Biscardi, however, said he’s singularly focused

“I only care about one thing,” he said. “The thing I care about is bringing one of these things back, attaching it to the hood of my rig and going up and down Times Square to prove to the world
. . . I did it.”

Ready for action

With the stage set, the team left the bait spot and waited until 11 p.m. to return under the cover of night, when the nocturnal creatures are supposed to roam. They traveled quietly off-trail in single file by the light of headlamps worn by the leader and sweeper.

Upon reaching site, the five fanned out around the perimeter and laid in wait, keeping a watchful eye through night-vision goggles. But over the next two hours, nothing stirred, and the group called it quits.

Luca said they might have scared the animals away when they were firing guns recreationally in the yard earlier.

But there’s always more to explore. Standing outside Luca’s home about 1 a.m., the team began thinking about its next step. Biscardi was intrigued when he heard that Luca’s children knew of some caves on a nearby mountain.

That could be, he thought, the perfect home for a Bigfoot.

(Nick Reid can be reached at 369-3325, or on Twitter at @NickBReid.)

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