Zane, Ted E. Bear, Herbstein is an incredible human being. He seems to be a bigger person than he really is. He’s probably 5 foot 7, but he’s stocky and barrel chested. His blue eyes sparkle and are steady when he is serious and bright, playful when he’s imparting his unique wit. Below his high cheek is a wide jaw set low and forward. His nose is normal size with a high ridge that leads to thin, precise lips. He sports a beard year-round. In his early 50s he carries a light, unconcerned, self-assured countenance at all times. His drollness is quick, brilliant. If you sit to have a chat with Zane, you will have to listen carefully as he speaks fast, almost as fast as his sense of humor.
As a kid and young adult he was being groomed by his stepfather to be a rabbi. He studied deep Jewish texts and learned Hebrew at an early age. But, he just missed the calling because he didn’t want to do it. The most interesting thing about Zane up to this point is that he has, or had, an actual bone/calcite growth, or baculum in his penis. He has been through many operations because of the danger of breaking the bone. If Z were to break the baculum he could die within hours due to internal bleeding. Now he’s stuck with a perpetual hard-on constructed of stainless-steel, wire and silicone. Z’s wife is happy, but it has made Z somewhat reclusive. He spends weeks at home without ever leaving. He studies any subject you could imagine, lifts weights almost every day, and builds incredibly detailed model trains and cities. It’s wonderful to watch the transformation from bear of a man to playful child as he dons his engineer’s hat.
Zane is one of only a handful of men in the world who has been born with this calcification, which puts his genitalia closer to ancestors such as chimpanzees and gorillas. The walrus baculum can reach up to four-feet long. The other animals have a sheath for protection, with Zane this was not the case.
The night he confided in me we also had talks about many things. One of which was dreamtime. Basically we were on the subject of feeling like dreams are so real sometimes that you don’t know what is going on when you wake up. He said, “You never know you may wake up as a butterfly that you’ve been dreaming about for years.”
His ancestors are from Wales, supposedly from some of the old tribes of the Celts. He swears by the necessity of eating animal flesh in his life. He, I think, is the living example of humans not being very far from their animal roots. And it makes good sense if you see the surroundings where he lives. It is a round house partially embedded in earth near Eastern, Washington in the eastern part of the state. The first time I approached his house was in the early evening of November. After about a 1.5 mile journey off the highway, I slowed down near the circular drive that came out of the dark. As my headlights swept from right to left, suddenly, there was a flash of light and a giant barn owl took flight only 20 yards to my right, with another owl perched nearby.
Animals seem to gravitate to his house; I must ask more about these rendezvous. He loves to tell stories about encounters with grizzlies. Zane fished for many years in Alaska, and because of this, has had many close encounters with grizzlies and he talks of carrying a big hand gun that is a “two handed cannon” that can take a grizzly down just long enough to get more shots in him. He told me a story about a guy who went into an outhouse on a pier. When the guy finished his business, he stepped out to be met by a giant grizzly which promptly ripped his head off, and Zane watched the whole thing.