God's Gape Picnic
by Matt Hiebert, 3.24am January 10th 2021
This Saturday, the 49th Annual God’s Gape Picnic will be held in Bear Scat Park marking an unbroken tradition of community celebration that has extended across a half century.
“It’s something Bear Creek residents look forward to all year,” said Barbara Parsons, curator of the apparently bottomless sinkhole that is only uncovered once a year. “We’re expecting a big crowd. No one really believes all those old wives’ tales these days. They’re just silly. That’s the park’s official policy, by the way.”
Folktales and rumors have surrounded the fifty-foot-in-diameter hole since the disappearance of 13-year old Edward Foucher in 1970. It’s said that Foucher was playing near the geological anomaly when he disappeared, apparently falling into the karst structure. Although this has never been proven due to the absence of a corpse.
Less than 24-hours after the boy’s disappearance, the first deposit of uranium was found at the edge of town at the old Sawyer farm.
“That’s when Bear Creek really started to boom,” Parsons explains. “People started linking
the fate of that poor boy with the town’s abrupt success.”
One of the picnic highlights is the “Moment of Silence” where selected attendees link hands in a circle around the crusty rim of God’s Gape to remember Foucher and all the other lives lost at the site. If atmospheric conditions are in alignment, it’s said Foucher’s cries for help can be heard echoing from the hole.
“It sounds like birds singing far, far away…in the distance…from a realm long forgotten,” Parsons explained. “I think it’s really kind of pretty.”
Parson added that the sound was likely an auditory illusion caused by the wind whistling over the bottomless hole’s surface.
“Like blowing across the top of a soda pop bottle,” she explained with a laugh.
Of course, Foucher’s disappearance was not the only incident associated with the pit, whose depths pierce more than seven miles into the Earth’s crust (based on the limits of the cable used to measure its reach in the mid-90s).
The apparent suicide pact between Ethel Davis and Douglas Myers in 1971 did little to
dissuade true believers from reinforcing the cavity’s reputed magical ability to bring
prosperity through sacrifice. Especially after what happened only four hours after the well-documented tragedy.
“I guess you can’t blame people for making the connection,” Parsons said. “When a two-ton meteorite of pure gold immediately landed right in the center of town without burning up in the atmosphere, folks start to jump to conclusions.”
Asked about her own beliefs regarding the hole’s reputed powers of fortune, Parsons was quick to answer.
“I’m not the superstitious type,” she said, offering a small smile. “But like many other
citizens, I hedge my bets.”
There have been sixty-one missing persons cases linked to the locale, although all are considered “poppycock” or “total bullshit” by various town leaders.
Many active community groups will be in attendance at this year’s picnic, answering
questions and handing out literature at kiosks and game booths. Confirmed attendees
include The Elks Club, Bear Creek Shriners, Order of the Golden Dawn, Molochian Gape
Society and local Girl Scout Troop 23. Parsons said all organizations are welcome.
“Except the Rosicrucians,” she added. “They can come, it’s a free country, but we don’t really want them there.”
Local author and culinary celebrity, Doris Dagon, will be in attendance signing her new cookbook “Baking with Human Yeast” from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., right before the highly
anticipated closing ceremony.
Parsons noted that elderly, and otherwise infirm, attendees should congregate on the north side of God’s Gape just before the climactic closing event, which is promised to be the most ambitious on record. Caretakers are encouraged to assist these special attendees as soon as lunch is finished to ensure a smooth conclusion.
Families with extra children are asked to contact Parsons in advance of arrival to receive special instructions and coupon booklets.