I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in the strange, the uncanny, the mysterious, the wondrous, the supernatural. But when I was in 1st grade, I became somewhat obsessed with ghosts and haunted houses, UFO sightings, legends of vampires and werewolves, and cryptozoology. This went on for years. I checked out as many books as I could find in libraries, got my parents to buy me as many books as I could convince them to buy, watched as many movies and TV shows as I could stand to watch. (The last part was the most difficult, since this was in the dark days before the internet, DVDs and VHS players. I could only watch what was immediately on, and only until my bedtime.) I was Fox Mulder long before The X-Files came around.
In the middle of my 1st grade year, my mom moved us from the suburbs of Detroit to Port Jefferson on Long Island. I didn’t know anyone there when we first arrived. The potent combination of loneliness and geekiness pushed me to create the “Bigfoot Explorers Club” and declare my mom and brother as members (whether they wanted to be or not). The Bigfoot Explorers Club was dedicated to exploring the world in search of Bigfoot, Yetis, the Loch Ness Monster and other unexplained, mysterious creatures. I hand-drew signs for the club and taped them up around the house. I announced expeditions that my family would be going on.
Sadly, my enthusiasm for the Bigfoot Explorers Club faded as the school year went on and I made some actual friends. But the memory lives on, and every once in a while, I consider starting the club back up.