Starting in the 1980s, Ghillie Suits (named for the Scottish word for gamekeeper, as Scots gamekeepers presumably invented the thing) have been trendy for military snipers. Especially the Hollywood kind –in the real world, they’re usually more of a pain in the neck than they’re worth.
An effective one really needs to be made, or at least customized, on scene, but trend-seeking people often demand instant gratification, and so commercial “Ghillie suits” are for sale out there. One supposes that there are guys crawling around stalking Bambi’s dad in terrain-inappropriate store-bought ghillies, misunderstanding the difference between hding from humans and hiding from the very different visual systems of game animals, but whatever blows their skirt up, you know? It’s a free country.
Enter, and too soon, exit, one Randy Lee Tenley, 44, of Kalispell, Montana. Mr Tenley had observed a certain resemblance between the dull, imitation-vegetation appearance of a ghillie suit, and some (certainly fake) Sasquatch photos. Wouldn’t have been the first phony Sasquatch, but he was the first one, we think, who tried to do it by dressing like a shrub and walking down a highway. Late at night. Illustrating why people don’t do that.
“Alcohol may have been a factor,” [Montana Highway Patol Trooper] Schneider said. “Impairment is up in the air.”
If “impairment was up in the air,” well, so was Mr Tenley, at least briefly between the first vehicle which struck him and the second which ran his well-concealed but prone carcass over.
Both of the vehicles which struck Mr Tenley at about 10:30 PM Sunday night were driven by teenage girls from Somers, Montana. Trooper Schneider again:
“He was trying to make people think he was Sasquatch so people would call in a Sasquatch sighting. You can’t make it up. I haven’t seen or heard of anything like this before. Obviously, his suit made it difficult for people to see him.”
Our source for this story was the local paper, the Daily Inter Lake, which observed: “Ghillie suits are commonly used by military snipers and some that are advertised on the Internet have a Bigfoot-like appearance.”
We’ve seen a few ghillie suits and even made a couple, and we have to say the resemblance never struck us the way it struck poor Mr Tenley.
Update: apparently using a ghillie suit to fake a bigfoot sighting wasn’t a brainstorm unique to the late Mr Tenley. Here’s a couple chuckleheads discussing just that (YouTube link) some months ago, at least according to the video description (we didn’t watch more than enough to be glad we’re not gonna watch the rest. Life is short and duty calls).