This Is What It's Like At a Bigfoot Hunters' Conference

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Urban legends abound come Halloween, whether it's the hook-handed murderer who interrupts amorous teens in cars or the persistent yet nearly baseless idea that for some reason people want to waste their drugs by dosing your children via mini Snickers bars. 

For many, on the other hand, a steady belief in a seemingly impossible thing is a year-round affair; for some, it's a powerful source of identity (some might argue that this is also a description of organized religion in general, but heyooo that's a post for another time).

No, I'm talking here about Bigfoot. You know: the lumbering, oversized yet camera-shy half-ape, half-man that traipses around the Pacific Northwest, evading both logic and those who would wish to prove his existence (or non-existence! that's how these things work).

In a surprisingly heartfelt piece for the Flathead Beacon, writer Molly Priddy attends the inaugural Big Sky Bigfoot Conference in Big Sky, Montana. There she finds an earnest collection of Bigfoot truthers who are used to being ridiculed, all together, at long last in a safe space.

The believers gathered in this room must have skin as thick as a Mountain Giant – a vicious cousin-species of Bigfoot known for their flinty, impervious scales – to pursue their passion; each speaker throughout the day remarks about how difficult it can be to coax Bigfoot experiences from others, due to the fear of ridicule.

But gathered here, among birds of their own feather, the Bigfoot believers are electric, forming small groups during any down time to talk about their experiences and stories, to be with people to whom they do not have to explain themselves, with whom they can let down their guards.

The whole thing's worth a read, regardless of your level of skepticism, and should give you something to think about this Halloween weekend -- dosed candy or no.