I commented on Mike's post that my childhood reading was pretty much limited to the types of anthologies that feature mummies (or, now that I've thought a little longer, UFOs, Bigfoots, or vanishing people) on the covers. These paranormal "true story" books fascinated me. The entries were always written so that they seemed not only plausible but probable. These books, bound in hot pink paper and advertised in public school book order catalogs, were written as if they carried great truths soon to be reported by much more somber media outlets.
I'm going to blame the non-existence of the internet and the paucity of interesting children's literature in our small-town library for part of my weird reading list. I did love these books, though, probably because they scared the hell out of me like nothing else did (ghost stories, horror movies, etc. didn't feature much in my house). I was dead certain after reading most of these books that the next ones would feature accounts of the terrible things that happened to me.
Because all these books have congealed into one greasy blob in my memory, I'm going to write about some of the individual stories that I remember most clearly:
The One About Two Hikers (Or One Hiker? I'm Not Sure) Being Carried Away in their Sleeping Bags by Bigfoots
A dude wakes up and he's suspended in his sleeping bag, banging against the back of a smelly Bigfoot. The Bigfoot deposits him back at his den, where there is a Mrs. Bigfoot and a Baby Bigfoot. I think the hiker can't run away because one of his legs is broken. Or maybe he's just terrified that he'll be mauled. Bigfoot tries tobacco, likes it. One morning the man wakes up, alone.
The One About A Skier Escaping a Vicious Bigfoot by Skiing Straight off a Cliff
Conclusion drawn by investigator following tracks.
Bigfoot Escapes from a (Circus?) Train, Raises Hell
A Bigfoot, captured finally and under transportation to a major metropolitan area for scrutiny, escapes his bonds and the train carrying him. Violence is done in the surrounding terrain and the specimen is never captured. Understand that my house was about 20 feet from a set of train tracks, close enough that the floor rumbled when an engine passed. When I finished reading the story I went outside in the yellow light of the bulb on my Dad's workshop and looked toward the raised ground beneath the tracks and knew I would be torn apart before the sun rose.
Someone is Abducted by Aliens
The One About Men Who are Assailed through the Night by Bigfoots
These dudes are roaming the wilderness, the hillside wilderness, and they decide to make a cabin for themselves. Maybe they find the cabin but I'm pretty sure they build it, because a lot of time is spent, narratively, on how sturdy they make it. Well, later they shoot a Baby Bigfoot, and you can guess what happens. Through the night the stoutness of their cabin is tested by all the Bigfoots of the land.