Sunday, February 13, 2011

Re-Post: The Witch Doctor

FLASHBACK: KEYKO-The Witch Doctor Chronicles.
Without searching Google all night for images... this is the best composite photo-shopped pic I could come up with for the infamous "Witchdoctor"
This story goes way back to old school Bmx on Long Island. Today all of the lines of jumps at our Bmx trails are named after some crazy person related to the trails at some point or something funny that happened there, This is the story behind the meaning of the name of the "Witch Doctor" line at the trails.
Here's the scene...Suburban LI around 1989. If you ever took the Oyster Bay Line train on the LIRR between the Sea Cliff and Glen Head stops you would've looked out the window to see some tractor trailers that read "Keyko" on them parked off in the woods next to an open area of dirt hills and trails. I don't remember when or how exactly I ended up in the Keyko woods for the first time, but I do know that it was a no holds barred- free for all, with old 50 gallon drums burning logs and other garbage, a boombox rocking out to what I know now as Black Sabbath, long haired scary lookin hessians drinking and probably smoking weed, and every type of wheeled vehicle you could imagine, motorized and not. I remember one Jeep like truck in particular trail blazing all over the place and jumping up the walls of a ravine in there that is now the landing to a section called 'Whammo'.
Now remember this wasn't the Soccer Mom SUV driving, Yuppy Daddy buys you a Fit Complete and an Animal wardrobe Long Island that it is today, it was a lot more of a 'rough around the edges' American suburb. At some point my friend Tim Lowe and myself decided to try to build some BMX jumps in there. Back then it wasn't the most prime real estate for BMX jumps, at that time Bmx trails all around the world were almost exclusively built on flat terrain only, its crazy how over the last 20 years trails have evolved into being almost exclusively downhill and now the spot is considered perfect for Bmx Trails. But back then it wasn't but we weren't in the position to be picky, we were happy to get away with trespassing on someone else's property to hang out and build our jumps. It was 'a' spot which was all that mattered. It was infested with non-bmx-friendly occupants on motorized vehicles, metal-heads, weirdos, and hessians but that's just what we had to deal with.

Now this is where we came to know the one only known as "The Witch Doctor". He was about 60 yrs, old, long straight straw-like bright white hair with a mandatory Red Bandana. We'd go in there and work on and ride our jumps and he'd just hanging around in the woods. He used to tell us things that we probably shouldn't of known at the age of 13. He was scary but we were young and thought we knew everything and probably were too stupid to realize how dangerous this guy potentially was, he was a drifter, when we'd see him outside the trails he was attempting to hitch-hike but was mostly walking up and down Glen Cove ave. We had seen him doing this for around a year. This was a different time than now keep in mind, and today someone like him would quickly be taken of care by the awesomely "Fair and Just hard working" Nassau County 6th precinct cops that now protect us everyday. (Acknowledge sarcasm here). We had encountered this Mr. Witchdoctor many many times, but it was the last two times which stand out and matter the most in my memory. The Second to last time I saw him, it was late fall, back in the Keyko woods.

They were completely on Fire.

And the WitchDoctor wasn't trying to put the fire out, he had set it. All the the fallen leaves and brush on top of the hill was burning and spreading. Fire trucks were on their way. We heard the sirens just over the houses across the tracks. Me, Tim, and The WitchDoctor all did the first thing that came to mind, we all got the Fuck out of there, quick. I think the Fire trucks probably ended up driving down the tracks to put the fire out. Now the Last time we saw The Witch Doctor I was again riding my bike with Tim, on Glen Cove Ave, the Witch Doctor was across the street and when he saw us he ran straight across the street towards us. We were scared, we stopped but didn't run from him, we held our ground we had enough of this guy. He came up to us and told me that he knew that we knew he lit the fire and that he knew I lived on Adams st. in Sea Cliff, the brown house with blue shudders. And he told us that Tim lived on Plymouth Drive in Glen Head. I have no idea how this guy knew this but he did. That was when everything changed. We were 13 or 14 and there were 2 of us on a public street. Something clicked. We stopped being scared and without hesitation or any discussion amongst each other we got angry. We said Fuck You! You Freak! Get out of Here! And He stepped back and took off back running the other way down Glen Cove ave. Aside from the feeling you have the first time you kiss a girl, I think the second best feeling you can have in your early adolescence is the first time you can tell an adult, "FUCK YOU!" and rightfully so. That was the last time we saw the WitchDoctor. That was the last time we were little kids, we had grown up a lot in that moment.
Fast Forward over 20 years, And now we're the scary old guys listening to Black Sabbath in those same Keyko woods. Here's some photos by Keith Terra (Supes, Supes and Sean) and Jed Rogers (Lil' Paulie) on the "WitchDoctor" section, Keyko trails, LI NY


Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Ya know I almost didn't remember that until I looked at that face.. I'm sure he was psychologically unstable most likely a sociopath! Anyway, keko has come a long way since then! I would love to ride them although I'm not sure I wanna Die!!Awesome post!

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