The BIGFOOT Craze
During the 1970s a hairy, “man-ape” like creature had the world frozen in fear. The beast was referred to as Bigfoot and/or Sasquatch. Bigfoot was by no means a new discovery during that time. Stories of folklore had been floating around the world for centuries and sightings of the monster had been reported from time to time.
It wasn’t until the early 1900s that it began circulating throughout the United States. By the time the 1960s was coming to an end, movies and documentaries began surfacing about Bigfoot. At the time, there was no internet to research and/or verify some of the frightening stories that were being told. As you know, each time a story is told, it runs the risk of embellishment from storyteller to storyteller. We were all at the mercy of our fear.
People who had reported a sighting of the creature described him similarly. Of course, for some reason, although no one had yet made any personal contact, Bigfoot was assumed to be male. He was also described as being about 7 feet tall, weighing between 300 – 500 pounds. He walked upright and had dark hair covering his entire body with an ape-like face.
Newspaper articles began being published with disturbing headlines and pictures. Just the sight of the Bigfoot’s footprint was enough to shake up the country. Pictures surfaced supporting evidence that he had been nesting or bedding down in remote places. Then, pictures of Bigfoot himself started appearing. Most of the pictures of Bigfoot were taken from a distance and were of poor quality. The voice of reason told us that this was a hoax, but we just couldn’t take the chance.
People started keeping a closer eye on their kids and pets when they were outside. If ever a strange noise was heard in the night, Bigfoot was the first thing that came to mind. To make things worse, even well thought of and respected members of the community had reported seeing him. For that reason alone, it must have been true! I remember laying in my bed on summer nights with the window open; just knowing that he was coming for me.
Of course, when The Legend of Boggy Creek movies came out beginning in 1972. That added fuel to the fire. Our worst nightmares had been validated; or at the very least, not eased. The movie prayed on our ignorance and fears. It claimed to be a true story of the beast who was roaming the woods and creeks of Fouke, Arkansas. Bigfoot eventually gained worldwide fame by being known for menacing farmers, hunters and average citizens minding their own business. One account given by a farmer was that his 200-pound hog had been carried off. Another account showed a man relieving himself in the bathroom of his house at the time he fell victim. We were not safe anywhere!
Eventually, the Bigfoot craze settled down and we were able to breathe a little easier. That doesn’t mean that the sightings have stopped. Yes… they are still being reported today. According to folklore, Bigfoot is still roaming the woods of southern Arkansas. That being said, I don’t think I ever shook the creepy feeling I felt about the whole thing until Harry and the Hendersons came out in the late 1980s.
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