Texans have warm memories of Big Tex, the massive statute that greets State Fair visitors. He elicits childhood memories of corny dogs, rides, and possibly rigged fair games.
To many newcomers, Big Tex is just plain creepy.
Even when he's not burning.
Why is Big Tex creepy?
It's because he's from the uncanny valley.
The "uncanny valley hypothesis" is that people are repulsed by things that appear to be almost human. This is also why clowns and puppets scare many people.
Big Tex has had three creepy iterations.
He started life as a Santa Claus in the Navarro County town of Kerens in 1949. The Kerens Chamber of Commerce wanted a gimmick to drum up business, so they decided to create the "World's Largest Santa Claus."
The Kerens Santa Claus greeted visitors for two years and then was sold to the State Fair of Texas for $750 in 1951.
That is when the framework of the statue was repurposed as the first Big Tex.
The current Big Tex made his debut in 2013, and has served as a eerie selfie backdrop ever since.
Whether you love him or hate him, there is still time to see Big Tex. The State Fair of Texas runs through Oct. 23.