The origins

While historical records are sketchy, the best information we have is that Bugbear Day was created by Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1841 with the publication of his essay "Self-reliance". In that essay, his famous quote of "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" lays down the principle rule of Bugbear Day. Indeed, a hobgoblin is often thought in the same breath as a bugbear, though the bugbear is imminently more frightening to children and, indeed, to most people. It appears that Emerson picked August 14th almost randomly, simply a play on palindromic possibilities. The connection to Valentine's Day is a mere coincidence, though one played up to great effect by the low brows. His basic idea at the time was more of a twisted approach to giving gifts to friends. The notion is that of a genie granting wishes, but wishes that never quite turn out correctly. Its purest form is to be used upon long-standing wishes. Fleeting thoughts should be all we have, according to Emerson; he delighted in punishing those that did not see it the same way.

The very first bugbear day seemed to have mainly consisted of those around Emerson. In particular, Henry David Thoreau was given the bugbear day gift of tutoring Emersons's children. This is a perfect bugbear gift as it certainly appears to be generous on the surface, but, in reality, it is quite a burden, especially with Ralph's children.

While the elite would swap bugbear gifts back and forth and the details were barely recorded, the most prominent bubgear gift of the mid-1800s was Emerson letting Thoreau use his land for the Walden experiment. To avoid consistency, Emerson rarely gave gifts on the 14th of August and indeed he would often use July. Thus, Thoreau was unaware of the practical joke nature of the gift. In actuality, Emerson had grown sick of the man and was happy for a couple of peaceful years.

The bugbear tradition continued. Some research contends that the communist manifesto was a bugbear gift to capitalists. They thought at the time that the manifesto would attract the trouble makers into their trap. But the capitalists learned that this was a bad idea.

The civil war was a catalyst to the formation of the secret bugbear groups. While Emerson had envisioned it as a twisted wish granting to friends, over time the masses saw it as an inspiration to get that really annoying prat a gift that would put him in his place. And the civil war spread that idea everywhere that troops from the Concord area went to.

20th century

Bugbear Day flourished in many parts of the country well into the middle of the 20th century. It set the date for the entry into China of foreign troops to suppress the Boxer Rebellion. It was the driving force of the ill-conceived "Birth of a Nation"; that was supposed to be a parody of the KKK. It was perhaps the worst bugbear gift of all time. Not only was it overdue and over budget, but it caused horrific fear and violence. After that, most bugbear groups prohibited using the tools and methods of bugbearism for any grand epic screen play.

One of the most famous adherents of Bugbear Day was FDR. Indeed, Social Security is just one big bugbear gift. It is a gift that keeps giving. Again, such gestures are discouraged, but FDR was never big on following the rules. He would even argue that having rules about Bugbear Day is against the very spirit of Bugbear Day. Honoring his memory was also why the Americans pressed for the surrender of Japan to be on August 14th.

In part because of FDR, Bugbear Day was seen to be associated with socialists and communists. Indeed, much of the communist meetings were simply about Bugbear Day. Most of the communists at the time were actually dyed-in-the-wool capitalists just trying to jab at their fearful colleagues. The Congress, however, had become so paranoid that any mention of a bugbear made them scream in terror and anger. It was decided at a meeting of the Bugbear Leadership Council that August 14, 1953 would be the last official bugbear day for a period of fifty years. It was hoped that after this moratorium, the Cold War would be over and paranoia would cease. There had been too many incidents of grand gestures that had actually hurt people. While bugbear sleeper cells slept, the nation forgot the wonders of Bugbear Day.

Recent Incarnation

The first Bugbear Day of the 21st century was August 14th, 2003. While it had been hoped that its dormancy would cause grand gestures to not occur, it did not turn out as planned. An overly enthusiastic bugbear of the hale age of 65 decided he would black out the East Coast and so he did. He was bugbeared mercilessly after that and we all apologize for his excessive enthusiasm. It shall not happen again.

To that goal, secrecy is being lifted. We want all to rejoice and wonder in the glory of Bugbear Day. It is a time to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of your friends and enemies. We hope that you have enjoyed this brief history. We will add more as we can uncover the truth of bugbear history.

Have you Bugbeared anyone recently?