Melting ice uncovered a hoax this week, as the "Bigfoot" found in a Georgia woods turned out to be . . . a rubber Halloween costume.

Bigfoot hunters Matt Whitton and Rick Dyer had tossed their find in a freezer and frozen it in a solid chunk of ice - to preserve it, they said. The two men finally turned over the freezer and on August 17, Bigfoot enthusiasts waited with bated breath as the apparent body slowly defrosted.

After hours of waiting, a dark patch of hair emerged. Steve Kulls, Executive Director of Squatchdetective.com, told Fox that he extracted a hair sample and burned it. It was apparently made of synthetic fibers and "melted into a ball uncharacteristic of hair," Kulls said. An hour later, the group's fears were confirmed when further melting revealed a rubber foot.

"It's heartwrenching," said Bob Schmalzbach, Vice President of Searching for Bigfoot, Inc, in an interview with Fox News. "We thought it was the answer to a mystery that's been going on for too long."

As of Tuesday, the two Georgia men who perpetrated the hoax were nowhere to be found. According to the Web site of Searching for Bigfoot, Inc, the organization plans to pursue legal action against the men.

Not everyone is upset about the news of the hoax. The Bigfoot "body" is thought to be a $450 Sasquatch costume from online costume retailer TheHorrorDome.com. Owner Jerry Parrino declined to release any numbers, but said business has been good.

"Sales of our Sasquatch costume have gone up," he said.


Contact Shelby Martin at smartin@mercurynews.com or (408) 920-5427.