I was old enough to feel shame about getting scared like some “baby,” and I was spending a dull day with the toys strewn around my bedroom. Somehow, I wound up listening to records. One of the records was a 45 handed down to me from some unknown relative. The song? “Bigfoot” by Bro Smith.
The setting couldn’t have been less frightening. My room had light blue walls, and I was playing the record on my portable Dukes of Hazzard record player. I had even heard the song many times before. Something clicked this time, and I pulled the needle out of the groove before the song was done.
I did not look out my window. I knew all too well the rear of our house was surrounded by woods. When the leaves are still on the trees and the weeds are thick, you can’t really tell what’s standing in the woods, staring back at you.
I didn’t believe in Bigfoot then, and I don’t believe in Bigfoot now.However, imagining something unknown and feral watching you from behind a gnarled tree is a fear I still cannot shake. Bigfoot’s as good a name for that thing as anything.
Want a taste of that fear? Stare at a thick tree line on a dark night and let your mind wander.
I didn’t realize that, when I was listening to Bro Smith’s novelty hit, there was a reason I was scared in spite of being safely in my own bedroom. The beastly thing looking at me from the woods had been inside me. It was, and remains, a symbol of wild night-time fears. These fears are inside all of our minds from centuries of human survival. My bedroom was no match for that primal fear.
See for yourself. The YouTube video I’ve selected shows the turntable playing the record, an element I believe makes all of the difference.