On finding myself in the Oregon darkness, not far from Ape Canyon

    When I was a kid, I was fascinated by the prospect that we were surrounded by bigfoot. I had a ton of books about the evidence of their existence, and I spent a good deal of time traipsing around in the woods, thinking about them. Maybe it was all the episodes of In Search Of that I’d watched with my dad. Or maybe there’s just something about the hairy humanoid creatures that resonates with kids. For whatever reason, I ate the stuff up. The height of my obsession probably came in 1977, when I convinced my parents to let me go with my friend David Spivey to see the movie Sasquatch, the Legend of Bigfoot. I can’t remember the exact timing of events, or which movie came out first, but Star Wars also made its big screen debut that summer, and, like most kids of my generation, I’d eventually become hooked, deciding to put aside childish things, like bigfoot, in favor of science fiction… but not before having the shit scared out of me one last time by the mythical wild man of the Pacific Northwest. The following scene from the movie, was absolutely seared into my brain that afternoon. It’s probably been 30 years since I’ve seen it, but I find that my memory of it is surprisingly accurate, down to my recollection of the bigfoot’s posture at the top of the ridge. It’s weird what you choose to keep in your mind, and what you lose with age, isn’t it?

    But, somehow, up until last night, I hadn’t made the connection that I was a stone’s throw from the place where this scene, which had played such a big part in my young life, had transpired. And actually it wasn’t me who made the connection – it was my friend, Matt. We were walking down the highway last night, in the dark, taking a break from recording, when he uttered the phrase “Ape Canyon.” And that’s when everything came flooding back. I’m not sure what the 8 year old me would say if he knew that, when he grew up, he’d be staying in a cabin not far from the scene of Fred Beck’s 1924 attack by a band of enraged Sasquach. There’s something kind of poetic about that, I think. Of course, the 8 year old me wouldn’t see the poetry. He’d just be shitting his pants in terror.

    [It's a very short clip, but, for those of you who are interested, you can hear Fred Beck talking about the giant, slender-hipped creatures that attacked him and his gold-mining friends, here.]

    This entry was posted in Mark's Life, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

      17 Comments

      1. Posted August 27, 2011 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        That In Search of Link also contains a video reenactment of the 1924 Ape Canyon attack.

      2. Posted August 27, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        I hope you go capering and hooting through the woods at night, to keep the legend alive.

      3. Posted August 27, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

        I also watched all of the In Search Ofs with my dad! Loved that show! Stay safe :)

      4. Posted August 27, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

        I watched them all alone.

      5. Posted August 27, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

        Forget creationism, maybe this is the question we should ask Mitt Romney:
        “Do you subscribe to Mormonism’s ‘Cain-Bigfoot Theory?’”

        http://www.lds.net/forums/general-discussion/4910-cain-bigfoot.html

      6. Eel
        Posted August 27, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

        You need to reenact that whole segment with Monkey Power.

        The creatures throwing the stones could be the people who accidentally heard you perform.

      7. Arthur Bagly
        Posted August 27, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

        I’ve often wondered why “Sasquach” is capitalized and “bigfoot” isn’t. Could someone please shed some light on that.

      8. Sow balls
        Posted August 28, 2011 at 12:20 am | Permalink

        Arthur, the capitalized Bigfoot is reserved for reference to monster trucks and their spouses.
        Non-capitalized sasquatch refers only to the large, slim-jim type sausage that you will find at your local kroger.

      9. Sow balls
        Posted August 28, 2011 at 12:22 am | Permalink

        Oh.
        I also watched Leonard Nimoy’s In Search Of with my father when I was young.
        It is kind of funny how those things are still all mysteries. Even the DB Cooper thing.
        But television really has gone to shit since then.

      10. Mr. X
        Posted August 28, 2011 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        It’s difficult for me to watch that clip from the bigfoot movie and not be struck by just how low the bar was in terms of entertainment in 1977, pre-Star Wars. It’s unbelievable to me that people paid money to go into a theater and watch something with production values like that. We wouldn’t even accept that on a third tier television network these days.

      11. Dennis
        Posted August 28, 2011 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        Yeah, but the acting in Star Wars is just as crappy as that bigfoot movie to this day.

      12. Christine M
        Posted August 28, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        I saw a bigfoot docudrama at the movie theater in town as kid with my friend Barb and she spent most of the movie in the bathroom so I was there terrified and alone. I still remember it. It was some sort of trilogy about Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and something else, I can’t remember the third thing. Anyway, it was around that same time, late 70′s. I was completely freaked about Bigfoot for YEARS afterward. Our house was surrounded by woods and I was convinced they were coming to get me.

      13. Bob
        Posted August 28, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        For something that was (I think) pretty low rated, In Search Of had a profound impact on many people our age. I remember going to see the Bigfoot movie and also the Noah’s Ark one. I was completely fascinated by that stuff. I also grew pretty disinterested with it by the time X-files was on. The news became much scarier I guess.

      14. Bob
        Posted August 28, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

        Also, the sound of the entire MPT being savagely eaten by Bigfoot, Timothy Treadwell style, would make a great record. Provided Bigfoot doesn’t eat the tape.

      15. Mike Shecket
        Posted August 29, 2011 at 12:35 am | Permalink

        Bigfoots? Bigfeet? Bigsfoot? Bigfooten?

      16. Etta
        Posted September 12, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        I know that people have found that apes enjoy porn, but I’m not sure if we know what kind of porn they like best. I mention this because I’m curious as to whether or not a large ape might find sex between a human woman and a man in a gorilla suit more satisfying than that depicting two apes. I’m fascinated by this question.

      17. Posted September 12, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        I think you posted this in the wrong Ape Canyon thread, Etta. Regardless, I was intrigued enough to do a little research. Here’s something from 2005:

        …Next, the researchers took photographs of the macaques and loaded them into a computer program. Some females were photographed from behind, so that the image showed a close-up of their hindquarters. Other pictures were head shots of both males and females.

        Four of the male monkeys then sat in front of computer screens. They were rewarded with juice whenever they shifted their gaze from one image to another. Some images resulted in more juice than other photos.

        When given the choice between a photo of a low-status male with a high juice reward and a photo of a female’s hindquarters, the male test subjects refused the extra juice so that they could gaze at the sexy female images. They also “paid” with juice to see photos of high-status males.

        Conversely, the male monkeys required extra payment, meaning more juice, to view the faces of low-status males and females.

        “We think that the monkeys value orienting towards all kinds of social information, but some types of information are worth more than others,” says Deaner.

        The study determined that when males look at high-status males they pay attention, but do not make sustained eye contact. Deaner says long looks could signal aggression and, under normal circumstances, could pose a potentially costly threat of violence.

        Males did not look away as quickly when they admired the females’ behinds.

        “Viewing the hindquarters of a female, on the other hand, may provide a benefit, but no potential cost,” Deaner says, and added that males likely check out the colour and size of the female’s perineum, or her genitalia. A large, red perineum generally means she is ovulating…

        I don’t have time right now, but it might be fun to contact the scientist who did this research and see if he/she has gone farther with it in hopes of identifying the fetishes of the macaques.

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


      4 × = sixteen

      You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

        Connect

        Corner ad Wurst Bar ad BUY LOCAL... or shop at Amazon through this link Banner Initiative Hischak1