Behind his [Marty's] head, gauges and indicators began to light up, lines of digits formed and disappeared on the dashboard, and something like a siren sounded. What had he done? Blown a fuse? Driven the engine past its limits? Touched something he should have left alone? / His eyes quickly scanned the dashboard for some clue to the mystery. As he did so, he was suddenly conscious of a large object rising ahead of him, an object that had not been in his line of sight a moment before. Jerking his head up, he saw not the guard rail and arc lamps of the Twin Pines shopping mall — but the face of a scarecrow! / "What the hell —" / As abruptly as it appeared, the scarecrow disappeared, its crude head smashing against the windshield and falling away in a spray of straw. Then another object loomed — a large square building. From Back to the Future by George Gipe (quote, pages 67 and 68)
A scarecrow was a dummy figure stuffed with straw and dressed in old clothes, used by farmers to scare birds away from their crops.
In the early morning of November 5, the unfortunate scarecrow was hit and run over by Dr. Emmett Brown's DeLorean time machine, driven by Marty McFly, which had just arrived in 1955 and then proceeded to crash into the Peabody family's barn.
Whether Otis Peabody ever got around to repairing or replacing the run down scarecrow before he was sent to the County Asylum — after reporting his encounter with what he called a "space zombie" to the police — remains unrecorded.
- A scarecrow is also known as a hay-man in England.