Now that former FBI official W. Mark Felt has garnered worldwide acclaim and the promise of riches for his family after “coming out” as Deep Throat, four other real people behind modern day mysteries are following suit to claim their fair share of attention and loot.
Caretaker of Jimmy Hoffa’s body
“Back in 1975, my brother Rico was a general assignments goon for the Mob,” says Canoli paterfamilias Lester Canoli. “Late on the night of July 30, 1975, Rico drives up in this big pukin’ maroon Mercury, gets out, and asks me if we’re still getting our new backyard pool installed. I says yeah, they just dug the hole for it, what about it? He then asks how I’d like to have the cost of the pool taken care of in return for a little favor.”
“To make a long story short, Rico says he wants to bury something in the hole, and if I look the other way and make sure the pool guys don’t dig it up, he’ll pay me $10,000 cash on the spot. We shake on it, and he and some goon interns get a big sack out of the trunk and bury it, right under where our aqua-action slide is now.”
“Rico came down with cancer about 10 years later, and on his deathbed he lets me in on the secret that it was Jimmy Hoffa’s body buried in the deep end of our pool. I’ve kept quiet for 20 years, but my grandkids are getting ready to go into college, and they won’t be able to unless I come up with some big dough fast. Plus, I want to meet that Katie Couric dame on TV, so the wife and I are coming clean. We’re charging $2 million for full broadcast rights, including the right to dig up the body on national TV. Any less than that and you can just forget about it.”
The man behind “Bigfoot”
“I was born in 1946, one of the first baby boomers. I was a normal baby, but when I was about 3 years old I started growing like a weed. By junior high I was 6 feet tall, and by high school I had reached my present height of 7’ 3”. The basketball coaches all slobbered when they saw me coming, but I didn’t want the attention. I felt like a hideous freak, and hid myself away.”
“In my anger over my grotesque height, I decided to get back at society. I went to a costume shop in Portland and had them make me a big gorilla suit -- told them it was for a costume party. About 1965, when I was able to drive, I started traveling around the Pacific Northwest, tramping around the woods and scaring hikers. It was fun.”
“I eventually made some big shoes with the soles like ape feet, and I’d get a kick out of finding wet mud and making tracks. It was so cool when people started calling me ‘Bigfoot,’ and talking about some ancient Indian legends. I cracked up over that. The best, though, was when that Patterson guy got me on film walking around. I’ve seen myself on TV I don’t know how many times since then, and those idiots think it’s some real monster on the screen. Sheesh.”
“I’ve had my fun alright, but I’m tired of wandering around the woods for days in that hot suit, hoping some nut will spot me. Plus, I’m 59 and in bad health. The doc says I need treatment for gigantism, and my job as a freelance light bulb changer doesn’t carry health insurance. I want $5 million for my story. If you want to buy the suit for a museum or such, that’s $1 million extra.”
Chevy Chase, Maryland
Assistant in Rosemary Woods’ famous tape erasure
“In the summer of 1973 I was working as a typist down the hall from Rosemary Woods in the White House. We weren’t close friends, mind you, but we got along well and sometimes ate lunch together. Anyway, one morning she called me in and said she had a problem, could I help? When I said sure, she said there was a conversation on a tape that the President asked her to erase because it would cause him some bad problems with Congress and the press. I told her I'd help in any way I could. I still was loyal to Nixon, then."
"To make sure we were erasing exactly what the President wanted, Rosemary sat me down and played me the tape. My lands, what a shock! Nixon was madder than a hornet, just yelling at Bob (Haldeman) all about how he (Nixon) wanted the Watergate stuff ended, covered up, and he didn't care what they had to do or who they had to do it to. He was sure steamed! Then, toward the end, he started kind of raving, just talking to himself, almost, about how he would drop a few nuclear bombs on the North Vietnamese, and get someone to put alum in Sam Ervin's food so he'd talk even funnier in those televised Senate hearings."
"The amount of tape the President wanted erased was a lot -- 18 1/2 minutes -- and neither Rosemary nor I were experienced with tape recorders, at least not the erasing part. First we just pressed 'record,' but you could still hear part of the conversation in the background when it was through. So we did it again and again, and each time it got less audible. We brought in some of my husband's magnets from his shop and rubbed them over the tape by hand, and I even went over all 18 1/2 minutes myself with a little magnetic pen from one of my grandson's toys where you form metal shavings into beards or hair on a little cartoon face. After two days of hard work, Rosemary and I were done."
"I realize now what I did was wrong, but I've taken my own path to redemption and moved out of the country where law enforcement can't bother me. To allow me to repent of my rash act in a climate and in a style I enjoy, I'm asking for $2 million for publication rights, and $1 million for the rights to a little Kodak photo of Rosemary holding a pair of big magnets over a tape player that I took on the sly. Send all inquiries in care of my box in Switzerland."
Staff Sgt. Harold Mortensen (ret.)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Building supervisor, Hangar 18
"I was working as building supervisor for Hangar 18 at Roswell Army Air Force Base in the summer of 1947. At that time, they didn't store much in there -- a few broken-down old P-51s from the war, and piles of spare parts. Most of it was empty."
"I got a call the night of July 2 -- woke me up out of bed -- saying get down to the hangar fast, and don't say nuthin'. I rushed down, and man, what a scene! A bunch of our guys were haulin' in what looked like the wreck of the goldarndest plane I ever saw -- all glowing and slimy like. There were a few hospital cars there, too, and that was the really incredible part. Out comes these creatures with big heads and eyes and real thin arms and legs, and they's kind of a puke green color, breathin' about twice a second."
"Turns out these were aliens from another solar system -- never can remember which one -- and they decided to keep them shut up in Hangar 18 so the public wouldn't go crazy, like they did for Orson Welles back in '38. The Air Force spit out a bunch of bunk about a weather balloon or something, and things died down except for the UFO kooks who kept the pressure on."
"Three of the aliens survived, and in my job as hangar supervisor I got to know them all quite well. Zygntvx-17 was the leader -- he made a great cup of Joe and was the finest chess player I'd ever seen. Could do some sort of whistling thing with his gobbler that would make you swear it was a coyote howling. Kngsteg-32 was the baby of the group. He hated being cooped up, but eventually he took to oil painting in a big way. It was just a bunch of blobs on canvas, but he loved it. Just for fun, we took a few of his paintings and entered them in some hoity-toity modern art show in Taos -- they earned top dollar, and kept us in beer for quite awhile. But Xctylgg-5 was my favorite of the aliens. She was a charmer, let me tell you. I'll never look at a starry night or a green stalk of celery again without thinking of her."
"I'm retired now on Air Force pay, and Social Security just said they're about to dock my benefits. If that happens, mister, I'll lose the mobile home here in Fort Lauderdale, so I need money quick. I'm asking $8 million for my personal story, which includes photos I've taken of each alien, as well as a chunk of the spaceship I smuggled out in my lunch box. It's still as slimy and glowing as the day it touched down. And I've still got a few of Kngsteg-32's paintings. They'll run you $500,000 a pop."