Stomping in Memphis – Memphis Magazine

I’m in third grade with Bigfoot.

He scared a kitten to death. He lifted two 100-pound pigs over the barbed wire and carried them away from the creek. He threatened three teenage girls during the night, clumsily in the twilight outside the trailer. He attacked Bobby White, broke the bathroom window and wriggled inside while Bobby sat on the toilet.

You can’t think of yourself as a “Bigfoot” if you don’t know these are key scenes from the 1972 documentary, legend of swamp creek.

That’s where I’m with Bigfoot. As the film’s narrator puts it, “It scared me then; it scared me now.”

I grew up in a small town in Tennessee and a good friend grew up on twigs around that town. One night, my mother drove me to his house for the night. The house sits hunched at the foot of a rocky hill, in a clump of tall pines, dense and dark even in the daytime. Planted near the carpentry is a huge old satellite dish, faded and stained by time. In my 3rd grade mind, it all looked friendly during the day. In the dark, to the same third-grade mind, it would turn into a hellish night scene, somewhere–death everywhere.

After eating pizza and making trays on the floor, my partner and I sat in front of his big TV. He fiddled with the satellite buttons on the control box. Through a baffling static blizzard, he stops in a swamp scene with strange music. The film is old, with soft focus and an orange-brown color, like a photo from Grandma’s scrapbook. To my surprise, he yelled with joy and stopped in the swamp. I don’t know how to use the control box. So, my dreams of watching some R-rated, non-mom-approved alien blaster game are shattered.

If this movie burned Bigfoot into my brain, then the experience somehow burned Bigfoot deeper into my psyche. The creatures in the movie are obviously fake. But the fear was real, a visceral, physical fear I had never experienced before.

swamp creek Invited me to the small town of Fork, Arkansas, “a beautiful place until the sun goes down.” As the movie came out, I didn’t know what to expect. I’m not even sure I knew what Bigfoot was at the time. But the first time I saw “The Monster,” I had beads of sweat on my upper lip, and that piece of pizza purred in my bowels. The fork monster screamed through the woods, stole chickens, and hobbled ominously across swampy creeks. When they sent poor Bobby White (shocked after his toilet Bigfoot attack) to Texarkana Hospital, the creature burned into my brain. When I woke up that morning, I was afraid of something I didn’t even know existed.

As the credits rolled, my friend casually opened his front door, motioned for me to go over, and said he wanted to show me something outside. Bigfoot lives outside, I knew it at the time. I walked out the door thinking we were going to have some creepy fun together. No. Instead, he pushed me over the threshold, closed the door behind me, locked the door, and turned off the porch light.

I knocked on the door and threw third grade swear words at my friend. But once I was settled, I retreated to the door, took a deep breath, and looked at the stars, so bright that they were so far out of our town.

cricket. That’s fine. Wildlife quiets down when this creature is nearby. The movie says so. The smell of pine trees. That’s fine too. This creature smells like skunk, trash, and wet dog.

Still, my knees stumble, like Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow. I cried as emotion and fear boiled over my hot face and burned my eyes. Wipe those off. Put your hand in front of me: nothing. I didn’t pee in my pajamas, so…what is that? ! I whimpered at the sound of a large branch breaking somewhere in the woods. I bit my lip.

I turned around, knocked on the doorknob, and heard my friend laughing behind the door. Something bumped into something, and then… a shadow galloped by in the pitch-black darkness? I started knocking on the door again, this time with a long, hoarse cry, much like a creature in a movie. Bigfoot stomped at me, and I’m sure my head was going to…

The door swung open, and I rushed over and fell to the floor, but took one last glance at the darkness that shrank as the door closed. The porch light was on. No Bigfoot. Shame and relief washed over me in the same way. I checked and I still haven’t peed my pajamas. At least rate me.

If this movie burned Bigfoot into my brain, then the experience somehow burned Bigfoot deeper into my psyche. The creatures in the movie are obviously fake. But the fear was real, a visceral, physical fear I had never experienced before.

As it turns out, I wanted more.

In the weeks following my experience, Bigfoot dominated my search for our small library card catalog. After reading all the Bigfoot (and Sasquatch, Yeti, and Yoy) books, I turned to the Loch Ness Monster, Mothman, Werewolf, Ghosts, Psychics, UFOs, and more.

I didn’t know the topic was called “paranormal” until I heard showrunner Robert Stark use the term in a 1990s TV series unsolved puzzle. but I know the supernatural is not scooby doo(I mean, remember Stark’s trench coat? That guy was telling the truth.) Real people around the world witnessed things and described generations the same way. Unless the whole thing—everything paranormal—is an international hoax with millions of followers, the real thing is happening. This mystery was my hook; it still is.

Later, I dabbled in more adult mysteries, mostly from the CIA’s very real MK Ultra project to the conspiracy theories that I don’t know what the Kennedy assassination was. But I always come back to Bigfoot. Bigfoot is deadly, quite simply, a killer monster in the woods. That third grader’s fear of the original idiot always haunts me. I found out later that it bothered many others as well.

Memphis Bigfoot Festival is born

When people see me wearing a Memphis Bigfoot T-shirt, I get two questions. It’s actually the same question with two meanings: “Is that true?”

Mrs: Big feet?

them: festival.

Mrs: Yes.

them: And Bigfoot? Around Memphis?

Mrs: not much. (There’s another longer answer. But I don’t want to bore anyone on the checkout line at Target.)

When this happened, I still can’t believe I started something so strange, and I can’t believe it started back in 2017.

The Patterson-Gimlin movies are the undisputed best Bigfoot video evidence. You’ve seen it, even if you’re not “Bigfoot.” It is brown and grainy and shows a large dark humanoid walking on two legs. As the creature stumbled away from the camera, it glanced back at the camera, terrifyingly, before stomping out into the wilderness. The (alleged) real footage reinforces the fiction I want to believe swamp creek Movie. A large, hairy monster – unknown to science – does live in the woods.

That movie turned 50 in 2017. There is a big celebration planned in a small California town near where the movie was filmed, and I want to go. A quick search online for flights, lodging and everything else poured cold water on my pilgrimage to the heart of Bigfoot’s fringe. Frustrated, I considered my options at the Memphis Brewing Company. There I had the dumbest idea ever. I just want to have my own Bigfoot festival at Cooper-Young Brewery.

Owners Andy Ashby and Drew Barton, friends of mine in Memphis, don’t think it’s stupid, to be exact. They didn’t know what to think, but they agreed to host the event. At first, I’m sure it’s just me sitting around with a dozen or so handsome guys in flannel, scoffing at the big guys. But an hour after the doors opened, the bar was filled with hundreds of beer-drinking Bigfoot friends, making it uncomfortable (and happy).

When a story begins, the room is quiet, eyes are raised, and the storyteller can tell it as long as he wants. Some of the stories are clearly nonsense. Some of them still send chills down my spine.

Another friend Stephen Guenther broom cabinet and Memphis’ History Haunted), hosted a wildly interesting discussion about an encounter with local thriller writer Steve Bradshaw’s Bigfoot. Bears flow. I showed some evidence snippets and browsed “The Year of Bigfoot,” a roundup of the biggest Bigfoot stories from the previous year. (More than you might think.) Our costume contest brought out the tallest, most realistic Bigfoot costumes and the smallest, weirdest Bigfoot dolls I’ve ever seen.

The first year ended with my favorite Bigfoot music festival. I turned on the microphone and opened the door to anyone in the crowd who wanted to tell the story of their Bigfoot encounter. No laughter or jeers are allowed, but this rule is never required. When a story begins, the room is quiet, eyes are raised, and the storyteller can tell it as long as he wants. Some of the stories are clearly nonsense. Some of them still send chills down my spine.

As the last story wraps up and the first Bigfoot festival draws to a close, I step off the stage, wobbly on my knees like stupid old Ichabod Crane. But I was electrocuted. I did it and everyone had a great time, even the ones who showed up sarcastically and stared at “Bigfoot.” My Memphis friends were ecstatic and immediately welcomed me to any ghost festival or UFO festival any time. They were kidding, but it was a success for them. They don’t know what that means to me.

So what happened next?

Since then, Bigfoot has stepped into Memphis manufacturing every year, except 2020, because…you know why. During those years, we had some well-known, serious Bigfoot researchers giving talks. The festival also takes Bigfoot very seriously. We just don’t take ourselves seriously. So I try to have something for pretty much anyone considering attending a so-called Bigfoot festival.

Details of this year’s Bigfoot festival have yet to be finalized. We always do this around the Halloween spooky season. But this year we might be in a couple of weeks, when the Memphis calendar of events is a bit more spacious. This year I hope to have the Big Four: Beer, BBQ, Bluegrass and Bigfoot to make it a family-friendly fall event. Just wait and see.

Bigfoot and the paranormal have had a positive impact on my life. I’ve always been curious that these mysteries will (probably) never be solved. I love stories, and maybe if it hadn’t been for Bigfoot early in my life (sent me voraciously through the library’s card catalog), I probably wouldn’t have been searching for them all my life. Without it, I — maybe — would never have been a journalist. There are so many possibilities out there; who knows? It’s easier to simply thank Bigfoot and move on.

I’ve never had a chance to thank my third-grade friend for introducing Bigfoot. I will never. He passed away recently, and he may never have known that I grew up to be “Bigfoot” after doing terrifying stunts on so many scary nights. He probably thought my love of the paranormal and festivals was weird. But somehow I don’t think so.

He met Bigfoot before me and wanted to show him around, at least for me.So, I think he, like me, would agree swamp creek The film’s narrator said the creature “frightened me then, and scares me now”.

Toby Sells is memphis flyer and founder of the Memphis Bigfoot Festival.

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