Friday, October 18, 2013

Big Hairy Monsters

Karen: Our recent review of Incredible Hulk #162 with the Wendigo brought up some discussion of childhood fears of the legendary Bigfoot. The 70s seemed to be the heyday of the 'big hairy monster,' whether it was Bigfoot or his relatives -the Momo, Foulke Monster, Monster of Boggy Creek, Florida Skunk Ape, etc. I know growing up in California I was mesmerized by what seemed like weekly news items of unfortunate backpackers or hikers running into the big hairy weirdo up in the mountains. Of course, he's still popular today, with inane programs like "Finding Bigfoot" and others flooding cable TV. There's something fascinating and powerful about the Bigfoot legend that keeps it going. So let's hear it, any memories, stories, thoughts you want to share about it.


Edo Bosnar said...

As I've said here before, I remember the whole Bigfoot/Sasquatch phenomenon quite well. I grew up in Oregon, and just like in California, the whole was really hyped up, with frequent sightings and occasional (amateur) expeditions being organized to find the big guy, or at least incontrovertible evidence that he existed - with little success, obviiously.
And man, I vividly recall that clip you posted. When I first saw that on TV, it scared the daylights out of me. Didn't help that where my family lived (a pretty rural area about halfway between Portland and the state capital, Salem) had a small forest across the road. Every time dusk fell, I kept seeing giant hairy bipeds roaming around in there (the Bigfoot episode of Six Million Dollar Man had the same effect on me). Anyway, I'm now pretty embarrassed to admit that all this (plus the Patterson–Gimlin film) had me believing in Bigfoot well into my teens. I even wrote a report on him for my HS biology class.

Rip Jagger said...

Love Bigfoot! Don't believe in it, but I love the endless quest for something outside the norm which motivates people to search ceaselessly. The charisma of the Bigfoot is undeniable, the absolute charm of how folks approach the myth with such aplomb is endearing.

But that said, the chances that solid evidence has not been found for a creature of this size in the United States is ludicrous. I grew up in and around some of the hotspot areas in the Eastern U.S. for Bigfoot, and found not a thing nor heard of anyone else who did. It's a fun thing to imagine, but like alien abduction nothing to think of as fact.

Shows like "Finding Bigfoot" are entertaining because of the predictable way the search and the evidence gets revealed. The nightly searches are ludicrously brief and involve so much novelty and scatterbrained "logic" that they have little hope of success assuming success was even possible.

You don't have to be the woods long to find queer sounds and peculiar noises, so that evidence seems scant to me and almost by definition unreliable. The physical evidence never ever seems to prove out, and why there has been no DNA evidence this deep into the era of that scientific approach is the nail in the coffin of the concept.

It's romantic hoorah, but not real. I'll still watch and have a good time though. Giant prehistoric wildmen in the woods, what's not to like?

Rip Off

Anonymous said...

"Mysterious Monsters" with Peter Graves -- ahhh; now that's a pure slice of awesome cheese!!

david_b said...

Oh, like most who grew up then, who DIDN'T love BF, ol' Lochie, UFOs, and all the Von Daniken stuff...???

Great programs, while most took EXTREME liberties in logic, bibical references, and fake film techniques, it was highly entertaining for the 12yr old in all of us.

I'm just relieved Elvis is still with us, secluded in France somewhere.., last I heard.

Seriously, the SMDM episodes with Bigfoot were probably the best of the entire series. Great action, mixed with some cool, chewy sci-fi explanations, what was there not to love..?

Karen said...

Edo, I had much the same experience as you. I believed in old BF as a kid, but common sense as well as earning a degree in biology pretty much persuaded me that his existence is highly unlikely. Now though, I find myself quite enchanted with the folklore and cottage industries that have grown up around the whole legend. i enjoyed driving through northern California and seeing the homemade Bigfoot crafts people would hock, or places named after the beast -"Bigfoot Diner" and so on.

I also still love those hilarious old pseudo-documentaries like "Mysterious Monsters." I have to admit, that particular clip I posted still gets me a bit worked up! Yes, it's just a guy in a suit, but the whole low-budget quality of it makes it feel so much more real. I recall seeing this, and "Legend of Boggy Creek," and a couple of other films -I know some of them were "Sun Classics"! - at the theater as a kid. They scared the crap out of me.

I also devoured any books on Bigfoot I could get. I had books by Ivan Sanderson, John Green, Peter Byrnes -the fact I can still remember so many names attests to how into it I was. I wanted to believe. Maybe part of me still does. But I think we're better off -and Lord knows Bigfoot is better off - being a thing of myth rather than a real creature. I hope he roams around in our imaginations, as a figure just on the edge of our peripheral vision, forever.

Anonymous said...

Bionic Bigfoot scared the BEJESUS out of me as a kid. . .

Doug said...

You guys are ruining this Bigfoot thing for me like Santa Claus!

Oh wait -- I hope I didn't say too much...

But has everyone seen the current events concerning the Yeti?


J.A. Morris said...

I was obsessed with bigfoot & co. for most of the 70s. I REALLY wanted to believe. I was a big fan of the movie 'Sasquatch:The Legend Of Bigfoot'. It's been called "the 'Citizen Kane' of bigfoot movies!".

And another favorite was 'Manbeast! Myth or Monster', which took a "serious scientific" approach to the creatures' existence.

And I'll probably break down & get the 'Six Million Dollar Man' dvds that contain the bigfoot episodes eventually.

Humanbelly said...

Am I remembering that the ultra-low, pseudo-"documentary" Bigfoot feature film (which we saw at the crumbling old theater in neighboring Dowagiac, MI), came out about the same time as that clap-trappy, hyper-serious, psuedo-"documentary" feature film, IN SEARCH OF ANCIENT ASTRONAUTS? (I think that was the title.) Based loosely on "Chariots of the Gods", yes? And I, of course, bought into just about ALL of that foolishness in my late adolescence/early teen years. Pretty much every lake had its legendary serpent monster; pretty much every rural community had a goat-man or moth-man or chicken-man; UFOs were parked in every swamp; every abandoned house was haunted; etc, etc, etc. Atlantis was practically a historically proven fact; the Loch Ness Monster was completely real & "documented"; dinosaurs (sauropods, in fact! Extinct before the late Cretaceous, even!) had been spotted and captured in deepest, darkest Africa. Lordy, we'd believe ANYTHING if it seemed exotic and creepy enough-!


Edo Bosnar said...

Karen, I read some of those very same books for that report I mentioned. And as for Bigfoot (or the Yeti, etc.) being better of not existing - I most emphatically second that sentiment...

Karen said...

Yes, HB, and the beauty of it back then was there were no ubiquitous camera phones, so the lack of pictures was no barrier against belief! Today, when someone says they saw "something," one immediately has to ask, "Where is the photographic evidence?"

Teresa said...

My family were avid campers. Our favorite spot was pre-badaboom Mt. St Helens. The mountain was only (as the crow flies) 20 miles away from where we lived. Post badaboom, camping was less accessible and declined.
Sometimes the extended family went camping together.
Our uncle loved to tease my brothers and I about Bigfoot... Right before we went to bed. Sensors were fully deployed all night long. We usually took turns at watch.

If you do a lot of camping, you have to get used to certain things. Hearing things in the woods you can't pinpoint. Hidden animals watch you and you feel like you are being watched. I just assume they are deer or rabbits. Except for that one time.

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