My Exposure

In Bigfoot, Columns

When the initial immersion occurred, back in 1969, the fullness was incomplete. Not until the summer of 1976, the time of my final instruction, did I feel ready. Subject absorption. Read, see, and listen to all things Bigfoot related. In the late 60’s, I was lectured, by my dad, on the subject. However, being only eight, I wasn’t able to fully comprehend. Not until the mid-seventies did my spark plug finally fire. Boy, when it did, I couldn’t get enough of anything Bigfoot. The seed had not only been planted, but the roots were taking a firm hold.

I dove in with an insatiable thirst that not even the local library was able to quench at the time. I checked out all their books, which wasn’t many, and read them in no time. I went and saw the movies, ‘Mysterious Monsters’, and ‘The Legend of Boggy Creek’ multiple times. The Leonard Nimoy narrated series, ‘In Search Of’, had a couple of episodes pertaining to Bigfoot that I watched feverishly. So, as you can see, over the years, I became quite knowledgeable in Bigfoot.

Being this interested in the subject caused a sort of metamorphosis to develop within me. A Bigfoot radar went up. Periodically, I monitored the public library for any new books, I scanned the TV guide for shows I may not have viewed yet, (this did not keep me from watching re-runs) and magazine racks were picked through often. The magazine, Skeptical Inquirer, always had a Bigfoot article in every issue, it seemed. Any medium which caused a blip on my ’radar’ was never overlooked. Just as I arrived at the road of, seen that, read this, the internet came out and my world exploded.

With all that information filed in my brain, it is almost a given that I might mention the word Bigfoot out loud to elicit a response. To anyone, anywhere, who might in return, say, “yea, I seen that on TV too” or, “Hey, I read that also” and send me into an excited conversation. But my father neglected to verse me in one important aspect which I was not prepared to face. When the world of the unsubstantiated is tread upon, one must be aware and able to handle one important ingredient: ridicule.

Ridicule: to mock, make fun of, to evoke contemptuous laughter and to deride. These definitions are very sharp to the thinned, unprotected skin of the first-timer. Me. When you open yourself up to others, that you know, of a topic which is largely ignored, on the basis that it is simply not true, one is susceptible to derision. I have been mocked, laughed at, called almost every name in the book in my early days. And in each instance, it was sharp enough to penetrate. I thought about giving up the subject entirely, but that nagging twitch of discovery kept me going. The same twitch that enveloped Columbus, Einstein, or anyone else who rolled right along despite their opposition.

What I needed was continual negativity along the lines of, “you’re crazy”, or “you’ll never find something that is not there” to thicken my thin hide. There wasn’t going to be a shortage of ridiculing sentiment in my future for sure. And over the years all the name calling, the accumulation of time wasted, and whatnot actually did all the forging I needed. Today, one can let loose with a folly of negative discourse and it will just bounce off. The ole’, in one ear and out the other. I bet that I will even get a few comments of ridicule from this article. Go ahead; give it your best shot. My armor, by now, is impenetrable. Besides, after many years of following and researching this most controversial subject, my armor is as strong as ever. Toughening the shield I wield with a Teflon coating not soon to be worn. So, take your best shot. It will only make me stronger.

Jeff Payne

blogger, photographer, crypto-enthusiast

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