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I was skimming through the world of internet news reports the other evening and I ran across one of those stories that just jumps out at me.  The story begins normally:

“A man was struck and killed by two cars the other evening”.

Tragic, I thought to myself.  Hopefully it was a horrible accident.  I confess I also felt it was unfortunately predictable in this fast-paced modern lifestyle that we have ushered in with welcoming arms.  But the story goes on:

“Presumably, he was trying to provoke a Bigfoot sighting in Northern Montana.”

I wasn’t sure whether I should laugh or cry.  Bigfoot? Really?  I mean, come ON people.

The story went on to say: “He put on a full military style “Ghillie suit” and stood in a lane in the highway, waiting for someone to call in a Bigfoot (or Sasquatch) sighting.”

Wait, WHAT?  Sorry, but I mean seriously people. What did he think was going to happen?  Did he just jump out at these approaching cars and scream “Boogie, boogie, boogie, boogie” ?   These suits are specifically designed for camouflage. Think about that for a moment.  Ghillie suits are used by snipers, soldiers in battle, hunters, and paintball game enthusiasts. Because the camouflage with a Ghillie suit is three-dimensional, it is much more effective than simple camo gear. When made properly, the bits of the Ghillie suit will blow in a breeze exactly as surrounding vegetation does, making the disguise that much better.  It was the very essence of camouflage.  And he was just standing in the road… in the dark… at night…

The name Ghillie comes from the Gaelic word for servant. Developed by gamekeepers as a sort of portable hunting blind, the outfits were first used on deer hunting and fly fishing expeditions in the highlands of Scotland.  The Ghillie suit was also employed by a Scottish Highland regiment during the second Boer War. That was the first instance of the British Army using sniper suits.  Although people used to have to build their Ghillie suits from scratch, using a whole-body coverall and adding twigs and leaves to it, kits are now available to make Ghillie suits. Just as a momentary aside, wouldn’t a made-from-scratch Ghillie suit covered with dry leaves and twigs be a major fire hazard? It wouldn’t take much to set them alight. I imagine Kit-made suits are much safer. But even the companies that make the kits say that you shouldn’t smoke while wearing a Ghillie suit. Imagine that.

As strange and outrageous as this story is, it’s also sad. Just for the sake of argument, let’s ignore the fact that most people understand how dangerous it is to walk around dressed as a supernatural creature.  And more significantly, one who was wearing camouflage.  Maybe this guy wanted to put a little magic back in people’s lives. Maybe he was trying to lighten the lives of the people around him. Possibly he was just being a goofball or maybe even satisfying a bet.  Maybe he just wanted people to believe in something. It’s a pretty depressing world out there right now. Maybe this guy just wanted to bring back a little mystery.

Given that premise, standing out on the highway wearing camouflage may not have been the best plan.  I have some other ideas on how to bring back whimsy that might not be as dangerous. Have someone set up a zip line through the forest, put on wings and sprinkle pixie dust over unsuspecting hikers. Or how about donning a giant space suit and emerging from a cardboard UFO set up near campgrounds saying, “greetings, Earthling.”   Or somehow otherwise imitate a Chupacabra, Ogopogo, Yeti, or even Nessie… (Actually I have a Nessie in my backyard, although this one got nicknamed Leslie – but that’s another story…)

What’s that you say? All of these are dangerous? Oh yes. Well, there IS that. All said, it was a hazardous game to play.  Admittedly, a man is dead and that is appallingly sad. Making fun of human stupidity seems pointless and cruel. As do the Darwin Awards lists.  Even so, I am wondering if this fellow will at least get an honorable mention this year.  And I do appreciate the effort to bring a little humor and curiosity back to a world that sorely needs it. But really, people, stand on the side of the road, OK?

When even the cops are shaking their heads and saying they have never heard of anything like it, you know it might have been really bad idea.

Do you believe in Bigfoot? What about the Chupacabra or Yeti? Heard of Cryptozoology?  It’s the study of creatures that have not yet been proven to exist by science. Rather a fun read, if I say so myself.  Any thoughts?