Mystery of the Bardin Booger…

In most parts of the country he’s known as Bigfoot or Sasquatch. In Florida and some other southern states he’s a Skunk Ape. However, in a small town in northern Florida he’s called the Bardin Booger. Bardin is a small town in Putman County, where since the 1950′s there have been sightings of a strange creature. Some have described it as a large upright animal that looks like a bear with a pig’s nose. Yet others say it looks like a troll and carries a lantern. Although skunk ape sightings are not uncommon in the nearby Ocala National Forest, the legend of the Bardin Booger took on a life of its own. In fact, there was even a country song about him written at one point and like any respectable monster or mysterious creature, he has a headquarters. The headquarters of all things related to the Bardin Booger is Bud’s Grocery. So when we recently drove Ian to Florida, I was determined to pay Bud a visit…

We drove to Bardin on the last day of our adventure. The town is out in the middle of nowhere and the drive set the tone for our adventure or more appropriately, my adventure. By this point Ian and Deb were itching to get to Disney and were kind enough to humor me, but I they didn’t share my enthusiasm for this particular destination. I guess some people just don’t appreciate all things Bigfoot the way I do…

We pulled up in front of Bud’s Grocery and the first thing that struck me was that it looked nothing like a grocery or convenience store. It looked like an old-fashioned gas stationgarage and auto parts store. However, the GPS and the sign on the pole said Bud’s Grocery, so this had to be the place. As I parked the car, Ian and Deb decided that they would stay in the car and sit this one out.

I walked in the front door and sure enough, it was mostly an auto parts store, but I guess the few shelves of food and small refrigerated case they call a deli, make it a grocery store. As I looked around, I saw no signs that identified it as the headquarters of the Bardin Booger and no cheesy Bardin Booger merchandise. I was puzzled and about to leave when an older gentleman approached me and asked if he could help me. I was almost embarrassed to say why I was there, but since I don’t embarrass easily (if at all), I said “I’m told this is the headquarters of the Bardin Booger.” He laughed and signaled for me to follow him. He took me over to the window and removed a framed newspaper article that I missed on the way in. I was thinking to myself, “Is this it?”, when he yelled to his wife that someone was here about the Bardin Booger.

So I stood there and read the article and took a few pictures of it while I waited. A few minutes later, he came back with an old clasp envelope which he handed me. I opened it and dumped out more than a dozen newspaper clippings, photocopied sections from books and other assorted items. As I stood there reading and taking photos, I felt like Carl Kolchak from the old Night Stalker television series.

After looking through all the clippings I noticed that some of them contained photos of a much younger Bud and that he was in fact the same man that I had been speaking with. He was quoted in many of the articles and seemed to take all this Bardin Booger business quite seriously. However, once I was done going through his collection I couldn’t resist asking him what he really thought about all of this. He stood there for a minute, seemingly deciding how he was going to answer the question then he finally started to laugh. Now bear with me, but I’m going to try to quote him exactly as he answered me… “Naw, I don’t like he’s real… but let me tell ya what we dun one night. One of the boys, he dun put on a wolf suit and went down the road a spell and hid behind the old church. Then he dun waited till there were some folk coming out of the store. The he dun run down here and through the park’n lot as fast he could. Well, everyone started scream’n and speed’n off in their cars. A few minutes later the phone dun rung and it was the sheriff. He said, Bud, I don’t know what you all be doing down there, but cut it out before you dun get somebody killed.”

Well, we shared a laugh after that and I asked him to pose for a picture and he obliged. I’m not sure what made Bud decide to tell me the real story, but it was a special moment. I felt like I was being let in on a private joke. Very cool moment. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Bud and his pals are responsible for all the sightings, but the fact that the person that was in charge of the ‘official’ headquarters of the Bardin Booger was in part responsible for keeping the legend alive caught me off guard. I still hope that there really are swamp apes and other mysterious creatures out there, but this was still a very cool Pop Culture Adventure…

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3 Responses to “Mystery of the Bardin Booger…”

  1. Linda Bazar Says:

    I enjoyed your article about the Bardin Booger. Now, although I don’t live in Bardin, I do live in Bostwick which is only a few miles away (as the crow flies). And I heard a rumor that the Bardin Booger was going to make an appearance at the Bostwick Blueberry Festival on May 21st, 2011. If you’re down this way and want to see for yourself, stop on in.

  2. well i dont know if there is a skunk ape here in bardin, but i like to think that there is a creature out there that fits the description….why not? there are plenty of animals that we have not discovered yet.

  3. Well now, in South Putnam we have all kinds of critters from bears, wild hogs/boars, and fox, along with an odd bull here and there. I can believe Bardin has whatever it is 45 north of us.

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