So I was watching this old programme on National Geographic. It opened with a picture showing a man standing beside the strung-up carcass of what appeared to be a gigantic wild boar. It was claimed the beast had measured twelve feet long and weighed a thousand pounds. He’d been dubbed “Hogzilla”.
The first thing that occurred to THIS observer was that if Hoggy really WAS twelve feet long, the guy standing beside it must have stood over eight feet tall himself. And the second thing was that these days, any putz with a computer and some high-end software could have digitally composited the photo in half an hour.
The same things occurred to the boys from Nat Geo.
Then there was the eyewitness report… “Well, ah wuz takin’ an early mornin’ walk an’ thur ‘e wuz. Jeez, ah sez, lookit’ size o’ that ol’ boy. So ah got ma betsy…”
We’ve all heard it before… “Well ah wuz dravin’ mah pickup, an’ sudd’nly thur wuz this brart lart an’ next thing ah knows ah wuz strapped ter this heah table an’ these l’il fellers wuz fiddlin’ with mah daingly bitz…”
These blokes owned a huntin’/shootin’/fishin’ ranch. They claimed the carcass wuz… sorry, WAS buried on their land. They took us and the Nat Geo guys out to a rough patch of ground, which had a hummock topped with rocks, upon which was a crude wooden cross, bearing the legend; “Hogzilla – 12ft – 1000 lbs – June, 2004.”
Okay, says N.G., can we dig it up? So I’m waiting for these good ‘ol boys to insist Hoggy should be allowed to R.I.P., when bugger me, they say – “Sure.”
After much digging, it begins to look like there’s nothing there – so now I’m waiting for them to say, “Well I’ll be hornswoggled – some varmint done purloined him” (is my Hillbilly ANYTHING like right? I’m thinking Yosemite Sam) when suddenly – PAY-DIRT!
First, some hair – and it LOOKED like wild boar hair. A while later and the shape of a carcass could plainly be seen – but with no head. Uh-oh. But it turned out the boys hadn’t wanted to put all their eggs in one grave, so had interred the head elsewhere.
And sure enough, at another location a sack was dug up containing the partially decomposed head – with two ENORMOUS tusks. At this point, out came the N.G. tape-measure – eight feet.
The next step was to ship the whole thing to the lab and let modern science do what had NOT been possible at Piltdown. And a few genetic tests later, the conclusion was that Hogzilla was indeed one beast – about 80% wild boar and 20% domestic.
In other words – Hogzilla was REAL!!!
Okay, the dimensions had been topped up a little, but that’s traditional – ask any carney. But even at eight feet and seven hundred and fifty-odd pounds, Hogzilla was still around FOUR TIMES the size of a normal wild boar. When alive, he would have been a TERRIFYING sight.
The explanation given was that pigs’ll eat ANYTHING – and the good ol’ boys had been feeding the fish in their lake with high-protein fish food – they had a World record fish stuffed and mounted in their lodge that was twice the size of the average specimen. And it was theorised Hoggy had helped himself to some of this feed.
But even so, it was still a fantastic story. I mean, it had begun with all the classic signs of a SCAM – but then turned out to be GENUINE. Forget Bigfoot – this was the real deal. If you go down to the woods today…