Dressed in shrubbery, determined to scare; 'Bay Area Bushman' performs prank with roots in SF

Amanda del Castillo Image
Saturday, August 13, 2022
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The "Bay Area Bushman" dresses in shrubbery, determined to prank scare the public -- a prank that planted its roots in San Francisco.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- He sits atop an empty planter in downtown San Jose, watching and waiting. Head to toe in shrubbery, with his cell phone affixed, the content creator who calls himself the "Bay Area Bushman" is prepared for a good scare.

He asked to be identified only as the "Bay Area Bushman." The San Jose native now has a blossoming social media following after he posted videos of startled strangers.

"The bushman jumped out at me, and I went, 'What the f***,'" Gina Trepagnier said while laughing.

Trepagnier and others explained their familiarity with the prank -- one that has roots in San Francisco.

"I never thought I would meet the famous Bushman," Koroush Saraf told ABC7 News. "That was quite amazing."

However, the Bay Area Bushman is not the "World Famous Bushman" many might associate with the prank.

Instead, the Bay Area Bushman explained that he was inspired by the World Famous Bushman of Fisherman's Wharf.

"I've met that Fisherman's Wharf Bushman," Saraf said. "I've gotten scared a few times with the Fisherman's Wharf one, yes."

The World Famous Bushman was a long-time, well-known street performer who years ago captured the Bay Area Bushman's attention -- a must-see attraction when he and his family ventured to San Francisco.

"That was part of the regular trip. Like, walking the wharf and seeing the bushman," he said. "I've even kind of taken his technique of using the bush leaves to scare people."

The Bay Area Bushman explained the "sweet spot" for scares is between 90 minutes to two hours.

One passerby described being spooked as a "Great experience, I would say. Ten out of ten."

The Bay Area Bushman said there's an art to scaring people and choosing the right "targets."

"Your mannerisms. I'm looking at facial expressions," he said. "If you're in the mood to have a good time, you know, I kind of pick and choose who I'm going with."

He was able to get a significant reaction from Saraf and his friend Ajay Malik.

"We were so engrossed in our discussion," Malik said, while trying to catch his breath from laughing.

The Bay Area Bushman said he isn't going after every single person and has found success scaring couples and families.

"The parents love seeing their kids get scared," he said. "At first, I was like, 'I don't know about scaring kids.' But, they love it the most. They enjoy it."

He said he is also aware this type of content creating does stir up controversy. Online, some critics are calling him out for scaring complete strangers without knowledge of their health history.

"We're just trying to be positive, have fun, see smiles," the Bay Area Bushman said. "Everything isn't for everybody. Everybody isn't gonna like it, but we're keeping it positive."

The Bay Area Bushman plans to bring his show to other parts of the region.

"I've been in San Francisco with the guy -- the bushman, you know? I expect that guy," Trepagnier said. "I did not expect this guy."

The Bay Area Bushman said he just wants to have the ability to put together online content for others to enjoy.

Since uploading his social media videos in the last few weeks, he's since added a tip jar for those who feel inclined.

"Not my day job, but you never know," he said. "Support, and maybe it could be."

To check out his work, search for "Bay Area Bushman" on Instagram and YouTube.

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live