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Published: July 30th 2018
I've always had a fascination with the bizarre, dark corners of humanity. When I was a kid, I poured over every piece of information I could find about the Unabomber. Before that, I had a morbid interest in Jeffrey Dahmer. Horror movies were always playing in the background; even to this day, there's nothing better than sitting in a dark room and watching a scary movie. I love studying conspiracy theories, aliens, and ghost reports, even though I'm not a big believer in them.
I don't like these things because I'm a dark person. Like I said, I don't believe that Area 51 isn't holding aliens, and to be honest if it wasn't, it wouldn't interest me that much. What interests me is what makes people believe these things.
What causes someone to consume themselves in David Icke's work about reptilians? Is it ego? Is it the belief that they are the last arbiters of truth, the last hope for all of us sheep? Is there some dark part of the human mind that has to believe in aliens and ghosts to tame our evolutionary instinct? What about serial killers? What makes someone like Albert Fish or H.H. Holmes decide that they have to kill?
These questions first occurred to me when I was young... six, maybe seven. Who knows? I remember watching news footage of a group of people outside of a Florida prison celebrating the death of Ted Bundy. It was interesting to me. Here were these normal people holding signs calling someone a monster for killing innocent women. Make no mistake, Ted Bundy was, in fact, a monster. The people outside of the jail were quick to look into a camera and tell the world that they were glad he's gone.
As a kid, it seemed strange to me. It's one thing to believe that the death penalty is a proper punishment. That's been a sentiment shared by billions since the days of Hammurabi.
The issue, for me at least, was that these "normal people" took joy in the loss of life, even if Bundy was a monster. I've wondered then, and now, for that matter, what separates Bundy from those people. Maybe one of the morally virtuous revelers from that night is reading this. If so, I'd love to know, because I don't know. The fact that I don't know fascinates me to no end.
That's what this blog is about. It's about the idea of the unknown.
My dad's side of the family is Dutch. They came over to the United States in the 1800's and settled in the Ohio and West Virginia area. My dad was born in Logan County, West Virginia. He grew up terrified of the mountains.
The mountains in West Virginia are awe-inspiring, but there's a sense of something lurking beneath the surface. He used to say that you never knew what was out there. As a kid with a terrible attitude, my first thought was always "lots of trees", but he's right. There's no telling what lies in the mountains.
For that reason, I've always found myself drawn to the mountains. I've always wanted to blindly explore the woods of West Virginia, walk the Appalachian Trail, get lost in Tennessee wandering aimlessly for days.
I want to walk into the unknown and see what happens. Maybe that's what drove Christopher McCandless
to disappear into the woods. The unknown scares some people and draws in others. To be honest, I think that the fear is the healthier response.
I can't go to West Virginia because it's too far of a drive and I don't have the patience. So I've decided to head to Tennessee.
I'm not going to copy Into The Wild, because let's be honest, I'd last all of five minutes. The mountains and the unknown draw me in, like a moth to the flame, but I'm a realist. I love the internet, Netflix, tacos, and nicotine too much to abandon my modern day comforts in a mission to find myself.
I just wanna get away for a few days, hang out in the woods, and see how long I can make it without cell phone reception.
I'm gearing up for a pretty busy month of travel; I'm going to Tennessee this week, and then in two weeks I'm heading to Yellowstone. I'm not sure what I'm going to do at Yellowstone yet. I looked at hotels in the towns that are close to the park, and they all seem a little overpriced. That's what happens when you have dozens of towns who's entire economy relies on a national park I suppose.
For Tennessee, I found a Gypsy Girl Media
site with some cool cabins I'm gonna check out. Most of them are in Gatlinburg, which I've been too before. In the Upstate of South Carolina, where I grew up, we view Pigeon Forge as a quasi Disney World.
Either way, both places are unknown to me. I've been through those areas, but like many others, I've only passed through. I want to focus on where I'm at this time. I want to examine my surroundings and immerse myself in nothingness. I want to explore places that I don't know and see if I can figure out why I'm drawn to these places.
Granted, Gatlinburg isn't unknown, but the woods are. I don't want to see Dolly Parton's animal show. I want to walk around in the woods and see what I can find. I'm hoping for some abandoned cabin. I found one of those when I was a kid, and for whatever reason, it was a seminal moment in my young life.
I felt like I had a secret that no one would ever find out, and I liked it. Here's hoping for the same in Tennessee and Yellowstone / Idaho / Montana. I do hope I have wifi wherever I stay. I only like the unknown when I've got my modern day comforts in tow. I'll write about the Tennessee trip when I get back. I'll more than likely find nothing, but I guess that's something in and of itself, right?
Wish me luck,
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