The legend of the Swamp Monster is not as old as one would expect. When doing research on the monster itself, thinking mostly to be as old as Big Foot, to my surprise the very first sighting of the half humanoid half leafy murky wet abominable monster took place in 1963 when a man and his friend were looking down from a plane on a swamp and discovered more than they anticipated.
The Birth Of A Monster
It was on a hunting trip that Harlan Ford and his friend Bill Mills encountered what we have come to name the Honey Island Swamp Monster or most commonly the Swamp Monster. The story or maybe the legend goes a little something like this…
While Harlan Ford and Bill Mills were on their way to a duck-hunting trip, piloting above Honey Island, they both spotted a tall slimy creature who fixed them right in the eyes for a short moment before disappearing in the wilderness not to be seen again.
9 years later.
When settling for their duck-hunt, the two friends might have thought about the figure they saw until they quickly found bodies of boars that were savagely killed with their throat slashed open along their path. Too far from the water, alligators couldn’t have been responsible for the kills they were witnessing and that alone, was enough to pick their curiosity about the monster they saw near a decade ago, but at what cost.
When noticing a three-toed webbed foot print next to one of the boars, the two friends decided maybe their curiosity would lead them to trouble and so they decide not to take their chances with the monster marauding around the swamp and left the Honey Swamp Island.
Maybe it was too hard to resist or maybe too much determination that had them both return later in the night to the island to make a cast of the very unique footprint. Ford’s description of the monster was enough to have the imagination of many artists and authors thriving with stories, but his words are those of a man who encountered a beast.
“It was nothing like I’ve ever seen before, ugly and sinister and looking like something out of a horror movie.” – Harlan Ford
What seemed to be the common characteristics of the monster are the tallness of the creature itself which seems to be around seven and a half feet tall and the appearance would give the idea of a four to five hundred pound creature.
While the appearance seems to almost be out of a horror movie, it seems as if the animalistic biped creature adapted to its surroundings if not originally from that area. Many believed witnesses described the Swamp Monster to be entirely covered in thick and long gray or brown hair intertwined with wild weeds probably from it spending days and nights walking around wet areas in marshy wilderness. The eyes are reminiscent of one of a reptile, yellow and bright.
For many creatures straight out of the imagination or folklore, a smell often follows the character and it is not different for the Swamp Monster that seems to be emanating a smell of death which I believe could be linked to all the creatures it is accused of killing from livestock to wild boars. What is frightening about those local legends or maybe truth is the link between the creature and the disappearance of children close to the Honey Swamp Island.
Legend says that the Swamp Monster was first born in the early twentieth century when a train transporting circus animals was crossing the state of Louisiana in the United States near the island and derailed. The animals were able to escape into the swamp, but sadly did not survive its harsh environment for such creatures.
However, chimpanzees are believed to have survived and somehow interbred with the alligators which later on created a new breed of Swamp Monsters, though now revealed to be impossible for mammals and reptilians to interbreed, for a very long time that was the general belief and the beginning of the legend of the Swamp Monster.
The 8 mm Evidence
Following the death of Mr. Ford in 1980, the people who went into his home to clean his belongings found somewhere a reel of eight millimetre film. Once played, to their surprise, the film shown the abominable creature he had encountered with his friend.
When thinking about actual footage, it is easy to think it might be actually real, but then the reality settles in and one could easily think it was faked but then again, knowing the year it was filmed, faking footage would have been a very hard thing to do and that type of costume (no distinction between the neck and shoulders) was not invented yet.
Credibility is hard to achieve in today’s world because of the technology that is now available to everyone and folklore such as the Swamp Monster, Bigfoot, Jersey Devil, Windego to name only a few, might be the last ones that will be passed down to future generations because somehow we have moved away from passing down new stories and legends and our surroundings have changed and yet, those creatures still excite our imagination.
Is The Swamp Monster Big Foot?
While all over the world, most likely in Nordic places we are all aware of the legend of Bigfoot otherwise known depending on the location: Sasquatch, Yeti or Abominable Snowman, the existence of a tribe of giant furry animal-like bipeds is believed to be real by many people from everywhere and actually created enough wave to have many movies, documentaries and shows about its possible existence and have some people doubt their own beliefs that it is impossible for such a creature to even be thought to be alive.
And now, it might even have moved down to the marshes of Louisiana and adapted to its environment thus evolved to become one with its surroundings. Many believe it to be of the Bigfoot family only slimier. The legend of the Swamp Monster might not be as old as its Sasquatch counterpart, but like any group of nomads trying to hide themselves from the world, it had to eventually move and find a new home. Who knows, maybe it grew tired of the harsh winters?
As the Swamp Monster gains in popularity in the paranormal world, the Swamp Monsters show that aired on the Destination America channel in 2014 to give an example, picked people’s curiosity about the creature and it only grew from there on. Many watchers such as me, didn’t want the team to kill the creature and I believe that it was one of the many reasons why the show was canceled – also that it was believed to be a fake documentary-like type of show.
The Devil Has Many Names
Just like Bigfoot, the Swamp Monster has many cousins all around the world and among them are the Will-o’-the-Wisp (Willothewisp) that seems to be living around the swamps and many legends has the creature appear as an evil spirit haunting the lands.
An other one is named the Grootsland, which is a very strange creature that is most doubtful to exist in my own personal opinion. It is supposed to be an enormous creature reminiscent of an elephant with a reptilian tail that lives in caves and swamps in South Africa.
As part of the Australian Aboriginal mythology, dating back to 1847, the Bunyip is a beast that marauds around the swamps, creeks and any other type of body of water.
“…Much dreaded by them … It inhabits the Murray; but … they have some difficulty describing it. Its most usual form … is said to be that of an enormous starfish.” – George French Angus
A name that caught my attention was the Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp in the Lee County of South Carolina in the United States. The common characteristics are that the creature would be about seven feet of height and bulky. The reason why it is referred to as a lizard is the scaly skin all over its body.
Much like an amphibian, it would have three toes on each of its feet and hands. It is also believed to possess superhuman strength and for that, there are testimonies of people reporting to have seen a tail despite having many other reports unaware of the presence of one.
It was on June 29th, 1988 in the early hours of the morning, 2 a.m. that Christopher Davis a seventeen years old boy in Scape Ore Swamp, encountered what would come to be known as the Lizard Man. His description of the creature was one worthy of a Stephen King novel.
“I looked back and saw something running across the field towards me. It was about 25 yards away and I saw red eyes glowing. I ran into the car and as I locked it, the thing grabbed the door handle. I could see him from the neck down – the three big fingers, long black nails and green rough skin. It was strong and angry. I looked in my mirror and saw a blur of green running. I could see his toes and then he jumped on the roof of my car. I thought I heard a grunt and then I could see his fingers through the front windshield, where they curled around on the roof. I sped up and swerved to shake the creature off.” – Christopher Davis
Of course, investigators were not taking those testimonies seriously and one of them, Joe Nickell, even wrote that the creature might have been none other than a black bear while other sightings might have been simply hoaxes.
It’s A Swamp Thing
There might never be a way to truly know if the Swamp Monster is real or not, because maybe if they are a part of our world they want to stay secluded away from human eyes and if they do not, then why so many sightings and legends were told about its existence?
While we are drowned in technology, holding our phones next to our face always looking down at the next cool thing to buy or watch or “like” we might be missing on paranormal sightings and mysterious encounters. We have disconnected ourselves with a simple night around a camp fire to tell each other creepy stories about creatures that may or may not exist.
Our world still hides many secrets for us and much is yet to be discovered. What is to say that we are the only ones out here? Before looking out there, maybe we should revisit our own backyard and take a trip down “South” to one of those swamplands and see for ourselves?
And either you decide to believe or not, one thing will forever remain true: legends and folklore will always captivate our mind and ignite our imagination.