I don't know if it's simply my luck or it's all of the Lyfts as a whole in Florida, but I keep getting the most interesting drivers. Not bad, thank goodness, but interesting. And the conversation always seems to turn to the weird and haunted around Florida (namely because of me, granted). The drivers always seem to be able to tell that I'm not only a transplant, but that I'm hungry for any stories to collect. Maybe it's something in my eyes, but let me tell you, they always show out for me. And this time was no exception."He's like Big Foot, right? Another version of the Florida Skunk Ape."
The Lyft driver had snorted a little and said, almost as if on queue, "that's what someone from out of state would say."
And then he'd proceeded to tell me all sorts of terrible things about the disturbing Bardin Booger, which I rushed to research for myself, and I'm not sure if I'm mortified or intrigued to report that the stories he told me about the Bardin Booger were as horrifying as they sounded.
So naturally, I want to talk about it.
Considered by many to be the "Skunk Ape of Palatka", the Bardin Booger, which is said to inhabit the small town of Bardin outside of Palatka, Florida. Apparently, curious out-of-towners can learn all they need to know about the Bardin Booger by visiting Bud's Grocery, the unofficial Bardin Booger information center. If you're in the mood to buy some overpriced Bardin Booger merchandise, too, you can grab a t-shirt or maybe a mug.
If having your own clothing line doesn't show that you are a sensation, the Bardin Booger even has a song written after it by musician Billy Crain, which became a cult classic bar song all across Florida:
Mr. Bardin Booger, Bardin is your home
And every day, you love to roam
Runnin’ through the bushes and runnin’ through the trees,
Mr. Bardin Booger, don’t you get me, please.
“Bardin Booger,” by Billy Crain
The Bardin Booger, which is said to be "just another skunk ape" because it, well, smells like a skunk and looks like Bigfoot, which is the textbook description for the famous Skunk Ape.
Though the Bardin Booger sitings weren't recorded in the official edit until 1982 in the Palatka Daily News, the Bardin Booger has been scaring people since the early 70s, apparently. And those witnesses must have been very frightened, indeed, considering the first to see the Bardin Booger didn't report what they witnessed until some time after the experience.
Many locals have reported spotting the Booger in various spots, including a "lover's lane" that the teens frequent, which might only make the sightings seem like something made up by dumb kids, but I don't know. I think kids are the most honest, including teens.
Some have also said the booger has made off with their clothes as they were hanging to dry, and have even claimed to see "the creature carrying a lantern through the woods".
Though, despite all these sightings, the Bardin Booger hasn't made an official appearance since the early '80s in the area, it has reportedly been near Camp Blanding.
Have you heard anything about the Bardin Booger? Are there any local stories you want to share?
I'm not sure if I've decided if I want to take a trip out to Camp Blanding for a little Bardin Booger hunt, but I might go if I had some company. So, who's coming with me?
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