Wonders of The Weird

Wonders of The Weird

By far one of the most entertaining and inspiring presentations at the Primal People’s Conference had only a tangential relation to Bigfoot. And yet, this presentation served as an object lesson for how Bigfoot effects us, inspires us, and touches our lives. Kelly Milner Halls stood before the audience and proudly proclaimed, “I get paid for being weird!

From a very young age she knew she was different from other kids. She could only be induced to play Barbies with he sister if she was allowed to bring a lizard. Her third grade teacher recognized her talent for writing, but she really did not think much beyond that until high school where working on the school paper gave her license to indulge her habit of asking too many questions and solve her problem of never finding what she really wanted to read. Perhaps writing it for herself was the solution.

Journalism turned out to not be the direction she wanted. Writing for children allowed her more freedom of expression and choice of topics. She could write “weird stuff.” Her interest in the weird led naturally to contact with stories of Crypto-zoology, so she set out to prove it fake. Resulting from that task.

Tales of the Cryptids. turned out to be anything but proof of fakery. Still, there was something missing and she was loudly and frequently informed of it. Bigfoot was too large a topic to be included in the book and the letters she got, mainly from children, were all about Bigfoot. She knew what she had to write next.

Her most recent book, In Search of Sasquatch is the result of that demand. In a society where the most some people read is a text message, children are demanding a book about Bigfoot. Kelly’s feelings about this are easily summed up, “Give them the books they want to read and they will read them.”

Kelly neither dismisses any cryptids, or specifically Bigfoot as a hoax (unless they are, in the case of the Fiji Mermaid) nor does she claim to know they are real. What she does do is give the children the stories to read and lets them decide for themselves. More importantly, lets them think for themselves. Bigfoot makes them think. “Teach them not to fear the unknown and they will search for knowledge without using guns.”

I told you that this presentation was entertaining and inspiring. Kelly travels the country talking to school children about her books, and about anything they want to talk about. Largely that seems to be Bigfoot. She gets a lot of entertainment out of addressing the kids too. With the famous image of Patty up on the screen…

…Kelly gets a mischievous look in her eye and happily proclaims, “There is nothing more fun than trying to explain pendulous breasts to sixth graders.”

She went on to tell two stories, one of a boy who she told us does not read, but he reads her book; the other story resonates with so many people, especially those of us who delve into the areas of the unknown, and the possibly unknowable. A young boy named Leo who she had spent much of the day with during one of her events was paging through Tales of Cryptids all the while, predictably commenting, oohing and ahhing at the stories and pictures, but he became quieter the deeper he delved. Kelly asked Leo if he was okay? Was something bothering him? Leo looked up at her and paused before replying, quietly, “I never thought the day would come when I would meet someone like me.”

Kelly Milner Halls’ message: “It’s okay to be curious about anything.”

Henry Paterson