April 20, 2006

There was about a year-long stretch when I was in elementary school where I was quite enthusiastic about reading up on UFOs, the Loch Ness monster, ghosts and spirits, and other unexplained mysteries. My school library had a series of books on these topics, and I went through them one after another.

By far, my favorite topic was Bigfoot. I went on to read other books that I could find. Of course, this was before Al Gore invented the Internet, so library books were about my only option. I knew about all of the highly-publicized sightings, and I had seen pictures of that grainy video that the Bigfoot nuts still site to this day.

It was several years ago that a co-worker of mine clued me in to the fact that the (mainly UFO) cooks had their own radio public forum, and that it was broadcast all over the country, if only you have the tolerance for sleep deprivation to get up and listen to them.

Bigfoot, from the famous Patterson Video

When I first started listening, it was always hosted by a guy named Art Bell. Art's dementia (presumably -- I don't actually do any research before writing these posts) sent him into a state of semi-retirement, and the show is usually hosted by another man, whose name I don't know. Back in Art's day, it was such a low-budget production that they encouraged callers to dial the phone number and let the line ring and ring and ring, so that they wouldn't have phone company charges for time spent on hold.

One morning earlier this week, I left for work a bit before 5:00 AM. I tuned to the local talk radio station, knowing that the UFO nuts would still be calling into the middle-of-the-night show. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the topic that morning was Bigfoot.

The "expert" talking to the host was tracking an individual Bigfoot. (Apparently there are also families of them -- a fact that I've either forgotten, or a fact that wasn't known during my 70's era research.) To be honest, he wasn't very interesting, and I didn't learn anything new. But he did get me thinking about my elementary school interest.

I googled "Bigfoot grainy video" (okay, maybe I do about 30 seconds of research per post), and I found that the old footage that I remembered is known as the "Patterson video" and that the Bigfoot enthusiasts are known as "cryptozoologits." And there are a bunch of these nuts out there. Perhaps I'll start reading up on Bigfoot again.

I put a self-imposed end to my young fanaticism after a nightmare, which I can still picture. I was playing alone in my home's finished basement when I looked up and saw Bigfoot staring at me through the little window at the top of the basement wall. When he saw me notice him, he punched through the glass to try to get in after me. I started running up the basement stairs, waking up before making it to the top.

Scary shit.