Thursday, July 9, 2009


I was only 7. My imagination, jacked up on the Jersey Devil and Bigfoot, required very little to be provoked. These monsters were a full-blown obsession for me. Absolutely, these dastardly demons dwelled in the forests close to my childhood home. One winter, I regularly set out to find them with friends who knew where they would be found. We would track these beasts until the trail ran cold.

To be sure, we new all about the demon-baby, born with a "devil" tail, and how it flew away from its family to wreak havoc on the Garden State. Some eyewitnesses swore they would hear its baby-devil screeches as it loitered in and around the old New Jersey pine stands. We would gather around a book on the Jersey Devil in our school library, studying every detail, swapping stories heard from older siblings and other friends. The obsession grew and grew.

Every morning, the crossbeams of the windows in my room became some sort of monster. It was so clear to me, the trunk of the monster body and the arms outstretched as if to grab anyone who'd walk near it. The sunrise would pour light through the blinds, enhancing the contrast between shadow and light. This way the savage specter would come to life. I would get out of bed slowly, as not to call attention to myself. Pretending to be asleep, I'd watch the wretched creature through my squinted eyes as I slipped out of bed and into the safe-zone, the hallway. For quite a while, this was my daily routine.

One day, half asleep, I started to get up for school. It was a winter day; the sun was slow to rise. I carefully rose out of my bed and right then, two cats suddenly broke into a fight, shrieking like wounded devil-babies right outside the window. The demon had truly come to life and it was after me. Shear panic took over my entire being. A rush of adrenaline shot me into my parent's bedroom in a fraction of a second.

I was so panicked; I could only emit animal-like noises and grunts. There were no words, only shock and terror. I tried to point back at the window devil-demon, but could only muster violent arm swings and more grunts and wheezes. I was officially taken over by a sort of internal hysteria.

Soon I fully awoke and realized how silly it all must have looked. Mercifully, either my parents didn't recognize their kid had just lost his mind, or they acted like nothing happened to allow me a shred of dignity. I walked back to my room, feeling quite foolish.

That day marked the end of my monster-hunting career.

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