“Anthropoid, anthropoid, don’t kill me yet!”


My sister Pearl as the anthropoid, about 1961 at Old Plank.

My family had a tradition of chasing the children around while acting like a monster.  My Uncle Louis was the master and didn’t need any sort of mask or costume to send us screaming into the lake at Idlewild.  He just twisted up his face and hands and came towards us and that was it.

My uncle Henry got the mask above from somewhere and incorporated that into the scary chases.  You had to holler out “Anthropoid, anthropoid, don’t kill me yet!”  when he got too close, in order to escape.  Aside from putting on the mask for photo ops, I remember once time we put it on, wrapped in a blanket and sat on the lawn toward the road where we hoped to scare drivers passing the house.  I don’t remember any wrecks so I guess no harm was done.

By the time my children came along, my cousin Warren used to take them on a bear hunt. I remember one time that he worked it out with another cousin to be out in the woods where he drove and stopped and told the kids, who as I remember were in the back of a pickup with a camper, that they were waiting there to see the bear.  The other cousin starting growling and knocking on the truck and finally my cousin drove off, it was dark or almost dark. He said they had a close escape.  Later, when we were all inside, the other cousin came around tapping on the windows.  The bear!

My cousin and me playing in the sand during the visit Louis chased her into the lake.
My cousin and me playing in the sand on the beach in Idlewild during the visit my uncle Louis chased her into the lake. July 1955.

Nobody was terrified of the bears or monsters, well maybe my cousin Barbara who did run into the lake, but mostly it was the enjoyable kind of being scared while knowing you are safe.

17 thoughts on ““Anthropoid, anthropoid, don’t kill me yet!”

  1. All my father ever needed to scare me & send me running was a spider he caught. I do not like spiders! And I saw plenty of them after I married & moved into the woods. The dang things came in on the wood we brought into the house to burn in our woodstoves. I usually try to catch them in a wide-mouth canning jar & throw them outside. Luckily, we don’t see so many anymore now that we live in a more urban neighborhood & have central gas heating!

    1. I know there are a few more anthropoid pictures out there somewhere. I especially remember one were anthro is peeking out of the barn. I think that time it was me. where oh where is it??

      Glad I found this one too 🙂

  2. Great story. I can remember 2 rather horrible older boy cousins who used to make a point of terrifying younger cousins at family gatherings. Still not particularly fond of them.

  3. Even at my adult age, I’m scared! Fun way to grow up, if you weren’t frightened first!

  4. You’ve got it right: the “enjoyable kind of being scared” was one of the best parts of childhood — safe, thrilled — loving the screaming!

  5. You nailed it again! And that phrase ‘enjoyable kind of being scared’ – I knew exactly what you meant!

  6. Ha! Wonderful, Kristin. I had a gorilla mask at one point which I wore around campus all day on April Fools. No one was scared, of course, and I got very hot and sweaty inside it, but I guess it was worth it. Nowadays I would probably have been arrested or tased as a potential terrorist.

  7. This was a great spin on the theme! The tradition of family ghost stories and monster tales goes back to ancient times. It might be one of the few shared experiences for every culture around the world.

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