My wife knows I love the absurd and have an odd fascination with cryptozoology which is why she made it a point to have us swing by the Bigfoot Discovery Project’s museum in the Santa Cruz mountains (http://www.bigfootdiscoveryproject.com/) while we were in the are.
To get there you have to head out of Santa Cruz and weave your way up into the mountains. The setting conjures up unsettling images from “Deliverance.” But I have to admit that there weren’t a lot of pleasant images in “Deliverance.”
I kidded with my wife on the drive out there that the “museum” would probably just be some yahoo’s bedroom or garage decorated with ape costumes and it turns out that I wasn’t far off the mark.
The museum is basically a glorified shack on the side of the road with some wood carvings of Bigfoot out front.
There’s some Bigfoot-related junk outside the building leading you inside where there’s more Bigfoot junk hosted by a crazy looking old man.
On the day we happened to drop by the crazy old man was joined by a couple of young Mormon missionaries.
Uncomfortable doesn’t even begin to describe walking into a dingy little room deep in the woods and finding yourself surrounded by odd Bigfoot trinkets, a crazy old man and a couple of clean-cut white kids who couldn’t possibly look more out of place.
The poor kids must have thought that they drew the short straw when missions were being handed out to all the Mormons this fall and they ended up in some sort of Mormon purgatory where they can’t escape until they can get the insane old man to believe in the Mormon faith the same way he sincerely believes that there’s an overgrown hairy missing link hanging out within a short drive of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
A part of me wanted to believe that the Jehovah’s were working the Mystery Spot (http://www.mysteryspot.com/) that afternoon.
The old man let us in on some recent Bigfoot sightings he investigated, sometimes heading out at 3 a.m. to chase down a lead.
Some of the sightings were debunked as squirrels scurrying around in the woods and one sighting, called in by an old woman living deep in the mountains, turned out to be a feral goat.
Goat. Bigfoot. Sure, I can see someone getting them mixed up. The old mountain woman must have been drinking too much of her homemade moonshine.
I think I was more afraid of being stuck in the woods with a crazy old codger and a couple of idealistic Mormon missionaries than I was of running into Bigfoot.
Our trip to the Bigfoot museum is a half hour out of my life that I’ll never get back and never be able to forget … no matter how hard I try.