Thursday, September 6, 2012

Swamp Ape or Swamp Sloth?

 These reports from Illinois are thirty years old but they are also important. Now that we know that we are looking for the giant sloth, these old reports are invaluable.

1 The creature is as large as a Bigfoot and it does use bipedal motion very successfully. This was unexpected but should not have been.

2 Way more important, it is not a Bigfoot. Witnesses were too close to not recognize it as a primate or not. What they saw was a hairy monster that they could not recognize. This means rather obviously that it was not a bear either.

3 The footprint is suitable for bipedal movement and this is a surprise. I expected something akin to a bear, except a bear does a lousy job of walking on two legs because of the limitations of its feet. The foot print is narrow without a thumb. This conforms well to a foot able to grasp a tree limb.

4 There are real claws as we know occur on the Giant Sloth.

5 A severe odor is noted although not described. I expect rotten meat for the Sloth and old fecal material for the Sasquatch and perhaps both for the Sloth.

6 Unlike the Sasquatch, it is not nearly so shy. It deliberately confronted folks in cars likely in its space and bathed in daylight. We already knew this aggressiveness from other reports. The problem is that this creature is a predator. I wonder if much of the sheep meat was actually eaten at all. More likely it had left the corpses to become fly blown before it returned to cache the bodies of its victims.

As you can see from this that there were plenty of witnesses who all had the general good sense to get away.

Again the original reports did not recognize the giant sloth and I expect to see more of that as these tales are winkled out. We now have several separate incidents and the number will steadily climb because we now know what to look for. Some Bigfoot reports will turn out to be better explained as a giant sloth.

The second report is of a large number of frightened individuals attempting to confront another one of these creatures. I regret that they failed to take pictures of the tracks, but the ground may well have been too soft. However, I think that this informs us that the Swamp Ape and the Giant sloth are one and the same.

It is important to know that this creature is aggressive and curious and exceedingly dangerous. That individuals confronting this animal slam into auto flight is telling. We do not do that when we confront the sasquatch.

Monsters of Central Illinois


In the Spring 1970, three sheep had been killed near the town of Farmer City, Illinois. Local officials dismissed it as the work of wild dogs, which have been known to roam the area. In July just outside of town, near Salt Creek, was a ten-acre section of woods and fields that was a popular parking spot for teenagers. Four teens parked at the popular “lover’s lane” area and received the fright of their lives when a huge, hairy humanoid with piercingyellow eyes decided to see what was going on in their car. After the creature was “scared away” by a flashlight, the terrified girls demanded to be taken home. The boys returned to investigate and again encountered the creature; even with windows closed its stench permeated the vehicle. They didn’t stick around. The boys led local police to the area, but a search turned up only a much flattened area of foliage - thought to be its “nest”.

During the next two weeks, multiple sightings of the creature were made around the area - including one sighting by Robert Hayslip, a Farmer City police officer. A week after this sighting, the creature was spotted 20 miles southwest in Weldon Springs State Park near Clinton, IL - it was a bear 'bathing' in the river, but fled to dense woods when it realized it was spotted. Later, a policeman and a conservation officer found tracks along the water‘s edge that definitely did not belong to a bear. They were reportedly very large and human-like.

Days later the creature migrated 15 miles north to Heyworth, IL where it was spotted late at night crouching by the side of a county back road - it jumped and fled when the car slowed to observe it. The startled observer described it as “ape-like”.

Still seemingly on the move, the beast was, 10 days later witnessed by a team of construction workers outside of Waynesville, IL (10 miles west of Heyworth). It sprinted across the road (from woods to woods) in front of their van near dusk. Another Waynesville resident reported seeing it too within days. That was the last report of the so-called "Farmer City Monster" and one can’t help but wonder if it continued its strange journey northwest across Central Illinois. If it did, it was never reported again.


Friday, July 17, 1970

Farmer City 'Monster" Sparks Search, Debate

By James Keeran

Bloomington Pantagraph

Farmer City - Believe it or don't, but a lot of people think there's something that might be a monster of some sort running about the Salt Creek area south of here.

It all started a week ago when four Farmer City youths set up camp on some land owned by Kenny Johnson.

It was Thursday night, July 9, and they were sitting by the campfire when they heard something move in the tall grass surrounding the area. It spooked them. 

One youth said he saw something move between the grass and the tent. Somebody turned the car lights on to get a better look.

It was crouched down by the tent. It looked manlike and was covered with a grayish white fur. Then it ran away. . . on two feet.

Stood Above Grass 

Another youth said it stood between two and three feet above the grass. The grass is between three and four feet high in that area.

And it runs fast. The campers, Don Ennis, Larry Faircloth, Bob Hardwick and Gale Baker, left the area posthaste.

Young Ennis, with one foot in a cast because of a broken ankle, even left his crutches behind.

They told their story to Farmer City Policeman Robert Hayslip. He investigated and saw nothing.

But, he did hear something "running through the grass."

Friday night between 10 - 15 people say they saw a pair of eyes glowing at them in the dark.

Sunday night three more people swear they saw a furry creature again, in the same area.

More Saw Beast

Tuesday night eight to 10 people saw it standing by a dead tree about 100 feet away from the original campsite. When they shined car lights on it, it ran into the tall grass.

Bob Tharp was one who saw it.

"I didn't think it was as tall as they said it was," he said. "It looked to be maybe three or four feet high."

He called it "just a grayish figure."

Early Tuesday morning, between 2 and 3 o'clock, Officer Hayslip returned to the campsite with a friend.

Nobody knew the two men were going. The area seemed deserted.

"Heard Something Running"

"About 2 or 2:30 I heard something running through the grass," said Hayslip. "I thought once I might have see a pair of eyes pop up."

When he left the area about 3 a.m., a tent was still standing.

Somebody else checked the area about 6 a.m. Tuesday and found tent in shreds about 20 feet from where it had been pitched. Steel grommets, set in the heavy canvas tent, had been "ripped out," said the officer.

A quilt left near the tent also had been ripped to shreds.

Young Tharp and a friend took a tour of the 10-acre area on a motorcycle Tuesday. They found several paths and the grass around several trees had been matted down "like something slept there," he said.

Questions Persist

End of story? Not quite.

Unanswered questions persist.

Why would a wild animal, against it nature, approach human beings and then run away?

What kind of animal runs in an upright position?

How can it run fast through thick grass three and four feet high?

What is strong enough to tear steel grommets from heavy canvas?

Who or what is it?

Maybe it's somebody who just gave up smoking, can't sleep and doesn't have anything else to do at night.

Nobody, really knows what it is, but it's beginning to cause a lot of talk around town. And it's definitely keeping a lot of teenager off the streets at night.

They're all out looking for the creature.


Wednesday, March 30, 1977

Spring resurrects ‘Kickapoo Monster’

By Rick Baker

Bloomington Pantagraph

Downs – “You didn’t really see that thing, did you, Dale Mitchell?”

“Yes, I did,” Dale Mitchell said earnestly.

“Aw, come on.”

“I saw it,” Dale Mitchell said.

Dale Mitchell, a 23 year old mechanic from Downs, said he saw, and was pursued by, something about seven feet tall and “covered with fur” late Monday night about two miles north of Downs.

Mitchell said he was driving to his home in Downs from his job in Wapella, when the headlights of his pickup truck shone on what he said looked like “a bigfoot monster.”

“Aw, come on.”

“I saw it.” Dale Mitchell said.

Mitchell said he saw the thing near a bend in Kickapoo Creek, and when he saw it, he said he stopped his truck on a rural road to look at the thing. He said that when he stopped, the thing started rushing toward him.

Mitchell took off. He said he didn’t get a very good look at the thing, but said it “had a kind of human face and hands.” Mitchell said he nervously drove home and, as many people who have seen monsters do, call The Daily Pantagraph.

Since 1970, there were several reports of a “bigfoot monster” in Tazewell County near the Coal Hollow Road. A lot of people got pretty riled up over those monster sightings.

About 75 men in Tazewell County formed a posse, equipped with guns and flashlights to find the monster. The monster wasn’t found and the posse broke up shortly after one of the searchers, an East Peoria man, accidently shot himself in the leg.

Some members of the posse figured the monster went back home in outer space.

And in 1973, the United Press International was moving quite a few stories about monster sightings near the small town of Enfield, in Southern Illinois.

Henry McDaniel, a disabled war veteran from Enfield, told UPI that he heard something scratching on the rear door of his house in the spring of 1973. He said he went to the door and saw a gray, hairy, three-legged monster standing like a human being with pink reflecting eyes bulging from a huge head. (Holy Moses)

“I wasn’t scared.” McDaniel told UPI. He went back into his house and got a gun. Then he shot it four times. He said the monster hissed, leaped 75 feet in three jumps, and disappeared.

The monster story got national attention. When a man in Elyria, Ohio, read it, he recognized the description. It was his pet kangaroo that had escaped. Its tail looked kind of like a third leg. The most reports of a monster in any one place in the area came from Farmer City in July of 1970. Within a week about 30 people reported seeing a “manlike thing” covered with grayish-white fur near a rural campsite.

Four young men camping at the site said they saw it and manged to get a set of car lights on it before it ran away. Soon after the thing ran away, they ran away. One of the young men had his broken foot set in a cast. He ran off without his crutches. They reported the sighting to police.

A couple of nights late, about a dozen people said they saw “a thing’s” eyes glowing at them in the dark. A few nights after that, three people swore to police they saw the furry creature again.

And a couple of nights after that, about 10 people told police they saw the thing standing by a dead tree about 100 feet away from the campsite.

Farmer City police officer Robert Hayslip, after getting all the reports, went to the campsite one morning about 2 o’clock. Hayslip said he heard something running through tall grass, but didn’t see anything.

When Hayslip left, there was a tent standing at the camping area. Four hours later, the tent was found ripped to shreds.

And it hasn’t been heard from in the Farmer City area since.

A couple of weeks after the Farmer City sightings, several youths said they saw a similar creature on the Kickapoo near Heyworth.

“I really saw it,” Mitchell said Tuesday. “I got pretty shook up.”

NOTE: There have been many similar sightings in the same general area over the years, including a reported 'Class A' sighting in 2009 and more recent sightings in Chatham in the Summer of 2011 (posted below)...Lon


July 18, 2011

Strange Howling, Footprints and Other Evidence Reported In Central Illinois

There’s something amiss in the backwoods of Chatham, something potentially big. Lately there’s been talk around certain areas of town of an unusual howling and screeching sound as well as evidence of some very large footprints.

Since June there have been at least five to six instances of residents discovering or hearing evidence that the infamous Bigfoot may be lurking somewhere in the Chatham community. One case in particular has garnered some attention from local police, as well as a few proclaimed Big Foot experts.

On Wednesday, June 15, 2011, Michael Patrick’s mother was getting the liner to her pool changed at her residence, when workmen noticed an abnormally large footprint under the apple tree in the back yard and brought the footprint to Patrick’s attention.

Over the years Patrick and his mother had, at times, heard bizarre noises, but had always passed them off as coming from some common forest animal. But they weren’t the only ones that had heard the sounds either. The night before the footprint was found a neighbor had also commented about unusual sounds.

“My neighbor has a German Shepherd, and it heard something that night that spooked him. The dog went outside to investigate, but came back cowering, now it won’t leave its owner’s side,” Patrick said.

Unsure about what exactly the footprint was, and concerned for his mother’s safety, Patrick called the Chatham Police Department. An officer came to investigate the scene, but was unable to determine what might have caused the print.

“The responding officer stated that there was a large footprint approximately 18 inches long and 8 inches wide, and it appeared there were five claw marks,” Chatham Police Department Deputy Chief, Vernon Foli said.

To give you an idea how big 18 inches is, retired NBA center Shaquille O’Neil's feet are approximately 15 inches long, and he wears a size 23 shoe. The average human being’s foot measures approximately 9 ½ inches. Most shoe size charts end at a size fifteen shoe. An 18-inch footprint is about the size of a healthy newborn baby. Considering the size of the print, it’s understandable for a person to show a little concern if they found such a print in their yard.

Patrick documented his discovery on Facebook where he struck up a conversation with a friend. Patrick’s friend knew John Winterbauer, a Bigfoot investigator. Winterbauer in turn contacted local Bigfoot expert Stan Courtney.

Courtney has documented sightings and gathered sound recordings and evidence of Bigfoot for years. He has interviewed over two hundred witnesses who have seen Bigfoot.

“I literally know hundreds of people who’ve seen these animals. There have been lots of them in central Illinois. I’ve recorded lots of sounds that other researchers and witnesses believe come from these animals. People in Springfield don’t realize it, but there have been a lot of reports from the Sangamon River around Riverton.” Courtney said in a previous interview.

Courtney said that there have been five to six other reports of finding footprints and howling in the Chatham area since June.

So why is Bigfoot in Chatham? Well it’s hard to say really. Patrick’s property does back up to a wooded stream which flows into Lake Springfield. Courtney proposed that the creature was drawn to the house because of the apple tree that grows in Patrick’s mother’s back yard.

Stan Courtney explained to Patrick that the apple tree might have somehow been interpreted as a gift of food. In the past the Patrick’s had noticed that apples from the tree had been picked, but only to a certain height. They believed that the culprit was a wily raccoon, but the large footprint seemed to suggest otherwise. Courtney told Patrick that a creature such a Bigfoot will usually return the favor, and present a gift of its own as a show of appreciation in the form of a dead animal or a strange arrangement of flowers.

The day after his meeting with Courtney, Patrick discovered the Sasquatch’s gift, a decapitated rabbit, near his mother’s house. In Courtney’s account he stated that the rabbit had, “its head pulled off, not bitten or cut, but just simply pulled off.”

Since that strange June evening, no more incidents have occurred at Patrick’s mother’s residence. You might think that such a strange series of events would frighten most people in to staying out of the back yard, but the occurrence has not deterred Patrick’s mother from going about her normal routine.

“She’s not scared, she continues to do her yard work, she thinks it’s neat. My mom has never been skeptical of it.” Patrick said.

While his mother may not be skeptical of what happened, others aren’t ready to pin the event on Bigfoot just yet. Vernon Foli posed a possible explanation, albeit an indirect one.

“One thing I can tell you is that approximately ½ mile south of this location is the former Grindstone Valley Zoo that use to have exotic animals. The zoo is no longer in existence but the owner is Brad or Larry Reynolds and he still has some animals at this location,” Foli said. 

Could the print have come from an animal from the old zoo? The Reynolds had kept large animals such as buffalo, antelope, elk, deer, tigers, leopards, monkeys, and zebras while the zoo was open. Or could it be a bear footprint? It’s widely believed by many that there are no bears in Illinois, but with their presence in neighboring states, Wisconsin and Missouri, would it be so far fetched to think that there are indeed bears in Illinois?

At this point it’s hard to tell what exactly made the footprint, but with other accounts of strange happenings and unusual howls and screeches in Chatham, many residents are raising an eyebrow.

“I definitely don’t think it was a hoax, and it was more than just a coincidence. I think that people should just be a bit more vigilant and careful, because you never know what you’re going to find out there,” Patrick said. - sj-r

NOTE: The Murphysboro Mud Monster is one of the more infamous Bigfoot-like creatures reported in the state of Illinois...this time in the southern part of the state. Lon


The Murphysboro Mud Monster

Around midnight on June 25, 1973, ayoung couple was parked by a desolate riverside for a romantic interlude when they came face to face with a huge, wet, hairy, mud-slathered monstrosity with a penchant for disturbing teenage lovers.

During two harrowing weeks in the summer of 1973, the rural town of Murphysboro, Illinois became the epicenter of a terrifying series of encounters with a huge, albino beast, which would come to be known as the “Murphysboro Mud Monster” or the “Big Muddy Monster.”

This bizarre beast tormented the citizens of this small community for approximately fourteen days before its reign of terror abruptly ended, resulting in one of the strangest and, in some ways, most frightening cases in the history of hairy hominid research.

The first official encounter with this decidedly unhygienic beast occurred at approximately midnight on the on June 25th, 1973. A youthful couple, Randy Needham and Judy Johnson, who were parked at the foot of 23rd Street, in Riverside Park, near the town’s old boat ramp overlooking the Big Muddy River.

According to their account, Johnson claimed that they were listening to the radio, engaged in a debate about when they should leave and, presumably, doing what couples are want to do, when they heard a piercing roar (which Needham compared to an “eagle shrieking into a microphone”) that seemed to emanate from the thick underbrush not far from his car. Needham quickly snapped off the radio and scanned the area, listening intently.

Suddenly, another horrific shriek echoed through the night accompanied by a rattling of the brushwood in front of them. Needham flicked on his headlights and Johnson gasped as they both saw a huge, foul scented creature lumbering toward them...a creature whose very existence would tax the limits of their imaginations.

Needham wasted no time in starting his car and accelerating away from the scene with his frightened girlfriend. As the pair entered more civilized territory they made a beeline for the Murphysboro Police Station.

Monsters of Illinois: Mysterious Creatures in the Prairie State

The couple arrived at the station and made out what is known as an “unknown creature” report, describing a beast that looked like an “over-sized gorilla,” which they estimated to be almost 8-feet tall, with matted, mud streaked, white hair. Former patrolman, now retired Murphysboro police Chief, Ron Manwaring, was still able to recite the facts of this strange incident from memory almost three decades later:

“The first report came in just before midnight on June 25. A couple had been ‘parked’ near the boat dock on the southwestern edge of Riverside Park, next to the woods.”

“The two, who were not married, said they were in the car when they heard a loud screaming sound in the wooded area and observed a large creature approximately 7- feet tall. The creature appeared to have light-colored hair matted with mud. The creature appeared to be walking on two legs and was proceeding toward his car.”

Manwaring felt that the couple’s account was lent credibility due to the fact they risked exposing their alleged indiscretions...which would no doubt bring them public ridicule and, even more alarmingly, Johnson’s father’s wrath. They were so frightened by what they had seen by the river: “There was no advantage for them to come up and report this.”

While the officers who took down Needham and Johnson’s statement were understandably skeptical of the event, they dutifully sent out two patrolmen, Meryl Lindsay and Jimmie Nash, to investigate their report. Within minutes of the sighting the officers arrived at the boat ramp in the Riverside Park area to inspect the scene.

History, Mystery, and Hauntings of Southern Illinois

Officer Nash was the first to discover a plethora of “peculiar”tracks, “approximately 10 to 12-inches long and approximately three inches wide”, deeply impressed in the mud by the riverbank. Nash claimed that as he bent over to inspect the prints from a closer vantage point he was shocked to hear a horrifyingly shrill screech nearby. Nash took off posthaste, accidentally dropping his revolver in his panic.

The officer, who admitted that he initially thought the story to be little more than hogwash, described the hideous sound as: “The most incredible shriek I’ve ever heard. It was in those bushes. It was no bobcat or screech owl. We hightailed it out of there.”

Nash and Lindsay quickly went back to the station to report their findings and gather more men for a search party. The officers laterestimated that whatever had made that sharp cry was no more than 300-feet away from them.

Approximately two hours later, at 2:00 am. on the 26th of June, officers Nash and Lindsay returned to the scene accompanied by officer Bob Scott and Needham. The quartet swiftly discovered another spate of tracks near the river. As Lindsay ran back to the patrol car to retrieve a camera the rest of the group intrepidly followed the prints along the bank.

Without warning, the stillness of the black night was shattered by the same horrible scream that Needham and Nash had heard earlier. Fear rapidly usurped curiosity as the trio of men summarily abandoned their search and raced back to the patrol car for safety.

Tales and Trails of Illinois

After huddling in the car for what must have felt like an eternity. No doubt waiting for the beast to attack, the men managed to regain their courage and continued their pursuit of this enigmatic monster once more. This mini-posse worked until dawn trying to track down the “splashing” sounds, which they described as being like a large creature rushing through the knee-deep water in the no avail.

As the sun rose, the officers felt that this so-called “monster” would evaporate with the rest of the night-shadows, never to be seen again, but this presumably nocturnal fiend had a surprise in store for them.

At approximately 10:30 pm. on the evening of June 26th, 5 year-old Christian Baril was playing in his backyard, which was located relatively close to the Big Muddy River, attempting to catch fireflies in the glass jar his mother had given him.

The child frolicked about delightedly when he spied a colossal, white shape looming up from behind the fence that separated his yard from the neighbor’s property...the Ray family.

The terrified Baril dropped his jar and raced inside, crying out:“Daddy, Daddy! There’s a big ghost in the backyard!” The child’s father was understandably dubious of his son’s story, that was, until, his neighbors corroborated the tale.

This account of a terrifying backyard encounter is uncannily similar to one that befell another young Illinois boy named Greg Garrett just a few months earlier on April 25th, 1973.

Garrett claimed to have been attacked while playing in his backyard by a truly bizarre, slimy, three-legged beast known as the 'Enfield Horror'. Like Baril, Garrett immediately retreated to the relative safety of his parent’s house.

While Baril was sobbing in his father’s arms, teenager Cheryl Ray was sitting on her darkened back porch next door with her young suitor, Randy Creath. The pair claimed that they were talking and looking at the stars when they heard a rustling in the bushes about 15-feet away from the porch.

Assuming that is was neighborhood kids come to spy on them; an enraged Ray went inside to turn on the porch light, while Creath, the son of a state trooper, now a minister at the First Baptish Church in Sheffield, Iowa, leapt to his feet and opened the door. This intention vanished the moment that the light came on revealing the same appalling apparition that had terrified Baril just minutes before — as well as Needham and Johnson the previous night. Ray recounted the scene:

“Randy and I were sitting in my parents’ breezeway when we heard something in the woods. We both went down, but Randy was walking a little bit ahead. Then he said ‘Come here,’ and there it was. We stood there looking at it.”

Creath and Ray stood frozen with shock as this filthy, white monstrosity seemed to stare back at them. Creath recalled the moment vividly:

“The thing I remember was the bulk of it, the shape, the human form, and the stench of the river slime it apparently had on it. It was about eight feet tall, and at least as stocky as NY football player. We were within 15-feet of it, close enough to see the body, the texture of the fur, long and hairy, like an English sheepdog.”

Ray also described the beast, which she claimed bore inhuman features and stood more erect than an ape:

“It was real tall, hairy. I think it was white, but it was dirty, matted. It had a real bad odor. It was really rank. I never smelled anything like it. It seemed like an eternity we stood there, and then it just turned around and walked off into the woods. We could hear it trampling through the woods.”

Creath claimed that the “animal” stared at them for what felt like a long time, although he later estimated that the incident lasted only about 30 seconds. Both agreed that the creature had “glowing red eyes,” which Creath accredited to the glow of a distant streetlight.

This description of the eyes is significant if one is to assume that the Murphysboro Mud Monster is actually a prototypical Bigfoot-like creature that just happens to be albino. While pink eyes are a common trait in animals lacking pigmentation, Ray would insist that this beast’s eyes were actually “glowing” and were not reflecting light from some other source.

After this strange interaction, the couple claimed that the shaggy beast simply turned and pushed through the shrubbery, thrashing its way back to the nearby river.

Creath and Ray testified that the creature they saw weighed at least 350-pounds, stood about 7-feet tall. They also stated that it had a “roundish” head and long, gorilla-like arms. Officers Nash and Manwaring were swiftly dispatched to the scene, where they noticed a powerful odor that quickly dissipated. They also found a cluster of footprints where the creature had been lurking.

Following the officer’s discovery, Chief Toby Berger immediately dispatched the rest of his men to the scene then sent for an officer and trained dog handler with the nearby Carbondale Police Department, a man named Jerry Nellis.

Nellis was the owner of a tough German Shepard named “Reb,” who had assisted the Murphysboro police in the past as a search and rescue, attack dog and, most pertinently, as a tracker.

The officers discovered a trail of unidentified “black slime” that seemed to lead directly from the Ray’s back porch to the river. Officer Manwaring confirmed the existence of this still unknown material:

“I saw this substance and smelled the smell myself.”

Almost instantly, Reb picked up the scent of his prey and took off. The men then followed the dog down the recently forged path of broken tree limbs and trampled underbrush toward their bizarre quarry.

The dog managed to track the monster through the dense forest and down a steep embankment toward a small pond, but the brush became too thick for it to continue. The officers began searching the area with flashlights for clues as to where this creature might have escaped, but in no time Reb picked up the scent again.

The determined dog darted toward an abandoned barn on the Bullar property, which was located just east of the Ray’s house and a little north of the river, but once he got to the decaying door the usually courageous canine began trembling and yelping with fear.

This mystified both Nellis and the officers who had noted over the years that Reb was the most relentless tracking dog in the county. Nellis attempted to grab the dog by the scruff of his neck and thrust him through the open door of the barn, but Reb just dropped to his belly and scampered backwards, whimpering.

The usually bold Reb’s terrified reaction to whatever lurked within the barn was enough to convince Chief Berger to call in the“troops.”

He radioed for help from neighboring police departments and within hours a dozen patrol cars had responded to his call.

Unfortunately, in the time that had elapsed between Reb’s fearful display the arrival of backup, whatever it was that had hidden in the barn managed to slip out through the back. Not long after, the search was called off for the night and the disappointed officers returned to their home bases.

But this would not mark the end of the Murphysboro Mud Monster saga as sightings of this mysterious man-beast were reported two more times during the next week and a half. Berger claims that during this period he was worried less about the monster and more about one of the 10,000 Murphysboro residents shooting another in one of the many armed posses that seemed to spring up like wildfire.

The next reported encounter with the beast occurred approximately 10 days later after a traveling carnival set up camp in Riverside Park. The carnival workers chose a pleasant glade near the river between the boat ramp and the sewage treatment plant located below the Ray house.

Haunted Places: The National Directory: Ghostly Abodes, Sacred Sites, UFO Landings and Other Supernatural Locations

At 2:00 am. on July 7th, long after the carnival had closed up for the night, three carnies, Otis Norris, Ray Adkerson and Wesley Lavender, where sitting behind one of the carnival trucks discussing the day’s receipts when they heard a series of whinnies coming from the Shetland ponies that were tied to the bramble on the other side of the truck.

The men quickly got up to see what the commotion was all about and were shocked to find the usually docile ponies where in a tizzy with their eyes rolling in terror, furiously tugging at their ropes in a desperate bid to free themselves from their constraints. It wasn’t long before the carnies would see what the frenzy was all about.

The men maintained that they spied an 8-foot, 400 lbs. creature that seemed to be “calmly” watching the ponies. The men decided not to wait around to see what happened next and immediately ran for help, claiming that the monster also ran in the opposite direction.

About an hour later, one of the carnival workers called in to help deal with this beast, Charles Kimbal, claimed that he saw the creature once again staring at ponies with its head cocked to the side in what was described as a “deeply curious” pose.

While this would prove to be the last “eyewitness” report of the creature, its reign of fear was not quite complete. Later that same night a woman named Nedra Green asserted that she heard a screaming sound coming from a shed on her rural farm. She chose to remain inside her home rather than go out to investigate.

Berger’s concerns for the townsfolk’s safety led to a request from the town fathers to bring in “expert” help.

The man they chose for the job was St. Louis insurance agent and serious researcher of Sasquatch reports Harkan Sorkin. Sorkin led a group of five men, including reporters from the Kansas City Star and a lawyer, into the woods near Murphysboro in the fall of 1973, in an effort to track and possibly capture the Murphysboro Mud Monster.

Sorkin claimed that private groups had offered as much as $2.5 million for the creature’s capture. With that in mind this small expedition came armed with a stun gun with the capacity to take down a for a 500-pound animal, as well as chocolate and bananas, which Sorkin stated they would use to pacify the beast.

They also carried loaded shotguns, which they claimed would only be used if their safety were threatened. Sorkin further claimed that they had local zoos standing by and that arrangements had been made for a cage to be flown in by helicopter should they get lucky and manage to imprison the monster.

Needless to say, this mini-expedition met with very little success. Sorkin asserted that they heard “a very loud yell or guttural sound, between a roar and a bellow” and saw huge footprints and found two-inch saplings pulled out of the ground.

Of course, it wasn’t long before the press got their talons into this tale of a colossal, mud-caked critter. The local paper, The Southern Illinoisan, ran a small story on the search, which was eventually picked up by the New York Times.

Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman investigated the sightings in the 1970s and came to the conclusion that the Mud Monster was a Bigfoot-type creature, stating: “I think it’s within the context of other reports of a Bigfoot.”

Bigfoot! : The True Story of Apes in America

Coleman also felt that the Murphysboro Mud Monster represented a distinct type of ape-like creature distinct from its west coast counterparts in that they are known to be more aggressive:“There’s something very unique about this eastern-midwestern Bigfoot. From the reports from the Mud Monster it seemed to frighten people the way it didn’t in the west.”

Over the next three years there were sporadic reports throughout the area of animals that resembled the Mud Monster. Perhaps the most intriguing of these sightings occurred on January 26th, 1975, when four truckers, all of whom were traveling separately, radioed in reports of seeing a bizarre “bear-like” creature near the Illinois 149 junction west of Murphysboro.

On July 7th, 1975, two Murphysboro men reported a sighting of a strange creature that they believed may have been the Big Muddy Monster near a pond in the Harrison community, north of Murphysboro. Needless to say these isolated events in no way compared to the tremendous flap of encounters that had plagued the community in the summer of ’73.

The case of the Mud Monster is just one of two cases that remain unsolved in the history of the Murphysboro Police Department. Police Chief Berger puts it most succinctly when he said: “A lot of things in life are unexplained, and this is another one. We don’t know what the creature is, but we do believe what these people saw was real.” - - -

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Swamp Ape Is Real"