If you ask Chad Gesser's family, they will tell you that the headline of this story is as exaggerated as Chad's account of what really happened. Chad, however, stands by his claim that he once was viciously attacked by a peacock at the St. Louis Zoo and that encounter basically scarred him for life. Nearly twenty years later, he's still carrying that ornate bird trauma with him like it's a genetic condition that he's trying to pass along to his children. His kids aren't buying it.

So, let's travel back in time to that fateful day.  It was June 7th, 2005. Chad, his wife Susan, their kids Jacquelyn and Josephine, and Chad's mom and brother Jeff whisked off the St. Louis Zoo for some family fun. Chad, who claims he's the only person in the family who actually documents life, took this photo of the family.

Chad Gesser
Chad Gesser
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For the sake of the timeline, it's important to note that this photo was taken BEFORE the attack. The attack, as illustrated by Chad's account, reminds me a bit of this . . .

According to Chad, the family was walking up the incline to approach the zoo exhibit that is now Peabody Hall. As they walked, Chad noticed that there were some peacocks perched up in a tree just ahead. He turned ver his shoulder to alert the family so they'd be sure to notice them as well. After all, it's not every day you see peacocks perched up in a tree and Dad Chad wanted to make sure his baby birds had that experience.

But, that's when the story took an unexpected, rather Alfred Hitchcockian-turn. When Chad turned back to the tree a peacock jumped down and 'attacked' him.

Chad says, "My vision was completely blacked out by his feathers." In a "split second" he knew that a peacock had "descended on him."  Instinctively, Chad "dropped to the ground to avoid the assault- the clawing and pecking of his face and eyes."

Now, it's important to note that none of the witnesses to this event- not even Chad's wife, mom or brother- remember the story this way. 18 years later, they are still making fun of him and accusing him of greatly embellishing the time he battled a peacock like Mad Max in the Thunderdome.

The family recently returned to the scene of the fowl crime and Chad was recounting the family legend to his youngest daughter. As they strolled the St. Louis Zoo, in the precise location of the attack, she wasn't buying it either.

So, Chad decided to chronicle his experience in a harrowing dramatization.

Even Chad's non-Oscar-nominated short film has failed to impress or sway his family. Chad showed his mom the video on Saturday. Her response then was similar to her response 18 years ago. She simply squawked, "You're an idiot."

That said, she did ask Chad to send her the YouTube link so she could show the video to all the friends she plays cards with. So, it seems this Gesser Family folklore will continue to live on. I can hear it a generation from now. Remember that time when Grandpa Chad was attacked by a peacock at the St. Louis Zoo???


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