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    Columns | "A Balloon In Cactus"

    The Hairy Man
    of Round Rock

    by Maggie Van Ostrand
    Maggie Van Ostrand
    Myths are as comfortable to wrap ourselves in as a down quilt. That's why we make them up with such dedication and perseverence.

    Take the famous Sasquatch of the Pacific Northwest for instance. Last month, two hunters all the way in Georgia swore up and down they had found the body of Old Sas, also known as Big Foot. But it was just a furry costume and nothing but a big fat fraud. We could've told you that. We knew it was a hoax because the real thing is in Round Rock, Texas. Always was, always will be.

    Mind you, I'm not talking about the Chupacabra from Puerto Rico who's been spotted in Cuero, South Texas, and who sometimes wanders off to Mexico. Nosireebob. He's just a fifth cousin thrice removed and anyway, he's as hairless as a billiard ball. Round Rock's Hairy Man's the real thing and he's been there back since pioneers built cabins and helped conquer the West.

    Want to tell your kids how the Hairy Man of Round Rock came to be? Well, one day far ago when his pioneer family was headed West, a young boy fell off their covered wagon. His parents didn't notice that he was missing until many miles later. Of course, there's a variation of this which says the boy was separated from them by flood waters. Either way, the result is the same and they were unable to connect with each other ever again.

    The resourceful boy learned to survive on his own, or maybe was adopted by a local family of animals. In any event, he slept and ate and hunted in the woods until he grew tall. Very tall. Even taller than that.

    And it seems that since he had long ago outgrown the child's clothing he was wearing when he got lost, nature gave him a new outfit: hair. From top to toe, his body grew a whole lot of the stuff to protect him from the elements. Mother Nature and Texas know how to take care of a fella.

    No longer used to humans and not even remembering that he was once human himself, the Hairy Man couldn't recall how to handle the occasional strangers who might accidentally stumble upon him, no matter how hard his efforts at concealment. He had to protect himself, so he did all he could think of -- he frightened them away. Scaredy cats every one. Must've been tourists and not Texans because they ran like heck to get away.

    They didn't have movies back then, or television or even a radio, so the Hairy Man would amuse himself by sitting in the trees, dangling his legs, and dragging his feet along the tops of passing stagecoaches. Nobody inside the stages ever figured out where the creepy sound over their heads was coming from. The Hairy Man laughed and laughed because he was having so much fun frightening everybody.

    Alas, one day, his aim was off and he fell out of the tree smack into the path of a stagecoach careening toward him at top speed. The startled quartet of horses got frightened and accidentally trampled him to death.

    To this day, the Hairy Man's ghost roams along the same shady road upon which he had died such a grisly death, doomed forever to seek return of the life that was so violently ripped from him.

    Kindly Texans have since tried to make it up to him by celebrating an annual Hairy Man Festival each October, Halloween month. There are food, fun, and festivities galore, including a Hairy Man Contest. The winner is the hairiest contestant.

    This year, it's at Cat Hollow Park in Round Rock, on October 4th, Noon to 7 pm, with the $2. admission proceeds donated to children's charities.

    The Festival's generosity should at least temporarily quiet down the ghost of a young boy who got lost, and turned into the Hairy Man.


    © Maggie Van Ostrand,
    October 1, 2008 column
    More "A Balloon In Cactus" Columns
    Related Topic:
    Texas Haunted Places & Ghost Stories
    Round Rock Hotels > Book Here
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