In Arkansas folklore, the Fouke Monster /ˈfk/, also known as the Boggy Creek Monster and the Swamp Stalker, is purported to be an ape-like creature, similar to descriptions of Bigfoot, that was allegedly sighted in the rural town of Fouke, Arkansas during the early 1970s. The creature was alleged to have attacked a local family.[1] It has since become a part of Arkansas folklore.[2] It has also influenced local culture in Fouke, with some businesses capitalizing on the local lore.[3] Stories of the creature influenced the 1972 docudrama horror film The Legend of Boggy Creek, which became the 11th highest-grossing film of 1972[4] and is today considered to be a cult classic.[5]

The creature was named by journalist Jim Powell, who reported on it for the Texarkana Gazette and the Texarkana Daily News.[6]

Description edit

Various reports between 1971 and 1974 described it as being a large, bipedal creature covered in long dark hair. It was estimated to be about 7 feet (2 m) tall with a weight of 250–300 pounds (110–140 kg).[citation needed] Later reports claimed that it was far larger, with one witness describing it as 10 feet (3 m) tall, with an estimated weight of 800 pounds (360 kg).[7] Some accounts describe the Fouke Monster as running swiftly with a galloping gait and swinging its arms in a fashion similar to a monkey.[7] Reports also describe it as having a terrible odor, the odor being described as a combination of a skunk and a wet dog, and as having bright red eyes about the size of silver dollars.[8][note 1]

A variety of tracks and claw marks have been discovered which are claimed to belong to the creature. One set of foot prints reportedly measured 17 inches (43 cm) in length and 7 inches (18 cm) wide, while another appeared to show feet that only possessed three toes.[6]

History edit

Prior to the 20th century, several alleged sightings in the general area related to a large, hairy creature circulated in an 1851 report in the Memphis Enquirer, and an 1856 report in the Caddo Gazette.[9]

Local residents claim that the creature had roamed the area since 1964,[10] but those sightings had not been reported. Local folklore also holds that the creature can be further traced back to sightings in 1946.[11] Most early sightings were allegedly in the region of Jonesville as the creature was known as the "Jonesville Monster" during this period.[12][13]

In 1955, the creature was allegedly spotted by a 14-year-old boy who described it as having reddish brown hair, sniffing the air, and not reacting when it was fired upon with birdshot. Investigator Joe Nickell observed that the description was consistent with a misidentified black bear (Ursus americanus).[14]

1970s edit

The Fouke Monster first made local headlines in 1971, when it was reported to have attacked the home of Bobby and Elizabeth Ford on May 2, 1971.[8][15][16]

According to Elizabeth Ford, the creature, which she initially thought was a bear, reached through a screen window that night while she was sleeping on a couch. It was chased away by her husband and his brother Don.[17] During the alleged encounter, the Fords fired several gun shots at the creature and believed that they had hit it, though no traces of blood were found. An extensive search of the area failed to locate the creature, but three-toed footprints were found close to the house, as well as scratch marks on the porch and damage to a window and the house's siding.[18] According to the Fords, they had heard something moving around outside late at night several nights prior but, having lived in the house for less than a week, had never encountered the creature before.[18]

The creature was allegedly sighted again on May 23, 1971, when three people, D. C. Woods, Jr., Wilma Woods, and Mrs. R. H. Sedgass, reported seeing an ape-like creature crossing U.S. Highway 71.[19] More sightings reports were made over the following months by local residents and tourists, who found additional footprints.[20] The best known footprints were found in a soybean field belonging to local filling station owner Scott Keith. They were scrutinized by game warden Carl Galyon, who was unable to confirm their authenticity.[6] Like the Ford prints, they appeared to indicate that the creature had only three toes.[21]

The incident began to attract substantial interest after news spread about the Ford sighting. The Little Rock, Arkansas, radio station KAAY posted a $1,090 bounty on the creature.[6] Several attempts were made to track the creature with dogs, but they were unable to follow its scent.[18] When hunters began to take interest in the Fouke Monster, Miller County Sheriff Leslie Greer was forced to put a temporary "no guns" policy in place in order to preserve public safety.[6] In 1971, three people were fined $59 each "for filing a fraudulent monster report."[6]

After an initial surge of attention, public interest in the creature decreased until it gained national recognition in 1973 when Charles B. Pierce released a docudrama horror film about the creature in 1972, The Legend of Boggy Creek.

By late 1974, interest had waned again and sightings all but stopped; only to begin again in March 1978 when tracks were reportedly found by two brothers prospecting in Russellville, Arkansas.[citation needed] There were also sightings in Center Ridge, Arkansas.[citation needed] On June 26 of that same year, a sighting was reported in Crossett, Arkansas.[citation needed] During this period the creature was blamed for missing livestock and attacks on several dogs.[citation needed]

Since the initial clusters of sightings during the 1970s, there have been sporadic reports of the creature. In 1991, the creature was reportedly seen jumping from a bridge.[22] There were forty reported sightings in 1997 and, in 1998, the creature was reportedly sighted in a dry creek bed 5 miles (8 km) south of Fouke.[citation needed]

Investigation edit

One month after the Ford sighting, Southern State College (now known as Southern Arkansas University) archaeologist Frank Schambach determined that "There is a 99 percent chance the tracks are a hoax."[23]

According to Schambach, the tracks could not be from a species of ape, as claimed by witnesses, because they were from a three-toed creature, whereas all primates, including hominids, have five toes. In addition to the number of toes, Schambach cited several other anomalies as part of his conclusion: the region had no history of primate activity, ruling out the possibility of the creature being the remnants of an indigenous species; all apes are completely diurnal, as the Fouke Monster was reported to be nocturnal.[23]

By 1986, the mayor of Fouke, Virgil Roberts, and former Miller County Sheriff Leslie Greer, were of the opinion that the alleged Fouke Monster tracks were man-made. Greer's working colleague at that time, Chief Deputy H. L. Phillips, said that he had not taken calls regarding the monster in years. He does not believe the creature exists, stating, "...I don't believe in it. But I'd say you don't argue with people who say they've seen it. Many were respectable and responsible folks".[24]

The Skeptoid podcast concludes "So in total, every last shred of evidence that the Fouke Monster exists at all is anecdotal. Not a single piece is testable. The Fouke Monster fits very poorly with the model of a living animal, but fits very well with a local legend."[9]

Festival edit

Since 2013, the Fouke Monster Festival, previously called the Boggy Creek Festival, has been an annual event dedicated to discussions, presentations, and lore related to the creature and other similar monsters. Proceeds benefit the Fouke School District, with over $3,000 having been raised in 2019.[25]

Films edit

The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972) edit

The story of Bobby Ford's encounter with the Fouke Monster was the subject of a 1972, docudrama horror film, The Legend of Boggy Creek[11] (initially titled Tracking the Fouke Monster),[26] which played in movie and drive-in theaters around the country.[27] It was written by Earl E. Smith and directed by Charles B. Pierce. The part of Bobby Ford was played by Glenn Carruth and the part of Elizabeth Ford was played by Bunny Dees. Fouke Garage owner Willie E. Smith, on whose land three-toed footprints were found, starred as himself. Many characters were named after the people who played them. Much of the film was shot on location in Fouke and nearby Texarkana, though some scenes also were filmed in Shreveport, Louisiana. Most of the cast were local people or Texarkana college students.[28] The film is believed to have cost $160,000 to make.[29] It grossed $20 million at the box office.[30]

Return to Boggy Creek (1977) edit

A second Fouke Monster film, Return to Boggy Creek, was filmed and released in 1977. The movie had an entirely fictional plot and was not intended to be a sequel. It was directed by Tom Moore, written by John David Woody, and starred Dawn Wells as the mother of three children who become lost in the swamp.[31] Some of the film's scenes were shot on location in Dallas, Texas, and Loreauville and Iberia Parish, Louisiana.[31]

Boggy Creek II: And The Legend Continues (1985) edit

Originally titled The Barbaric Beast of Boggy Creek, Part II, the third Fouke Monster film was written as a sequel to the original film. Charles B. Pierce wrote, directed, and played the role of Brian Lockart, a University of Arkansas professor who leads a group of students into the swamps around Fouke.[32] The film was shot on location in Fouke[32] but included some scenes shot at the University of Arkansas.

In 1999, Boggy Creek II: And The Legend Continues was lampooned in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.[33]

Boggy Creek: The Legend Is True (2010) edit

Boggy Creek: The Legend Is True was released to home video in 2011. Early buzz suggested that the film, directed by Brian T. Jaynes, was to be a remake of Charles B. Pierce's original 1972 film. However, it is an unrelated story set in the fictional town of Boggy Creek, Texas. Even so, the film obviously draws influence from Pierce's film with its small-town setting and use of spooky swampscapes for this Southern Sasquatch horror slasher.[34][35]

The Legacy of Boggy Creek (2011) edit

This low-budget indie film was originally released in 2009 under the title The Skunkape Story,[36][37] but was later re-edited and released to home video in 2011 as The Legacy of Boggy Creek. The docudrama chronicles the events that began after the original attacks in Fouke. It was written and directed by Dustin Ferguson.[38]

Boggy Creek Monster (2016) edit

In 2016, a documentary film about the Fouke Monster entitled Boggy Creek Monster was released. Directed by Seth Breedlove, who co-produced the film with Lyle Blackburn under the banner of Breedlove's production company Small Town Monsters, it was filmed in Fouke and features accounts from claimed eyewitnesses of the purported creature.[39][40]

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ Silver dollar coins minted in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries are 1.5 inches (38.1 mm) in diameter.

References edit

  1. ^ Thompson, Amy (28 February 2017). "Fouke Monster". Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  2. ^ "Fouke". Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  3. ^ "Monster Mart". Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  4. ^ "Top Grossing Films of 1972".
  5. ^ Gavis, Karen (7 January 2020). "Dallas Horror Fans Will Be Able to See The Legend of Boggy Creek for the First Time in 50 Years". Dallas Observer. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Thibodeau, Sunni (24 June 2001). "The Fouke Monster 30 Years Later: Ex-journalists recall sifting fact from Fouke fiction after sighting". Texarkana Gazette. Archived from the original on 3 August 2003. Retrieved 1 October 2006.
  7. ^ a b Farish, Lou (25 October 1981). "Fouke Monster Still Alive and Well". Arkansas Democrat. Retrieved 1 October 2006.
  8. ^ a b "Fouke fields combed in search of monster". Texarkana Gazette. 3 May 1971.
  9. ^ a b Dunning, Brian (4 March 2014). "Skeptoid #404: The Boggy Creek Monster". Skeptoid.
  10. ^ Green, John Willison (1978). Sasquatch: The Apes Among Us (1st ed.). Saanichton, BC; Seattle, WA: Hancock House. ISBN 978-0-888-39018-9.
  11. ^ a b Ogilvie, Craig (8 October 2002). "Legendary Arkansas Monsters Have Deep Roots in History". Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 1 October 2006.
  12. ^ Crabtree, Julius E. "Smokey" (1974). Smokey and The Fouke Monster. Fouke, AR: Day's Creek Production Corp. p. 142. ISBN 978-0-970-16320-2.
  13. ^ Thibodeau, Sunni (24 June 2001). "Crabtree book still generates interest". Texarkana Gazette. Archived from the original on 3 August 2003. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  14. ^ Nickell, Joe (Summer 2015). "Bigfoot Roundup: Some Regional Variants Identified as Bears". Skeptical Inquirer. Vol. 25, no. 2. CSI.
  15. ^ "Monster may be mountain lion". Texarkana Daily News. 3 May 1971.
  16. ^ "'Creature' attacked, victim says". Arkansas Gazette. 4 May 1971.
  17. ^ "The Fouke Monster: A look at how the media recorded the reports of the 1971 alleged sighting of a large creature in rural Miller County, Ark". Texarkana Gazette. 24 June 2001. Archived from the original on 3 August 2003. Retrieved 1 October 2006.
  18. ^ a b c Powell, Jim (24 June 2001). "The Fouke Monster: A look at how the media recorded the reports of the 1971 alleged sighting of a large creature in rural Miller County, Ark". Texarkana Gazette. Archived from the original on 3 August 2003. Retrieved 1 October 2006.
  19. ^ Powell, Jim (24 May 1971). "'Monster' is spotted by Texarkana group". Texarkana Daily News.
  20. ^ Powell, Barry (16 June 1971). "He's been sighted again: Monster  – a monkey's uncle". Texarkana Gazette.
  21. ^ "Tracks of the incredible three-toed Fouke Monster". Arkansas Gazette. 16 June 1971.
  22. ^ "Stories of ghosts, monsters, unexplained phenomena haunt Arkansas". USA Today. 31 October 2005. Retrieved 1 October 2006.
  23. ^ a b "The Fouke Hoax?". Texarkana Gazette. 17 June 1971. Retrieved 1 October 2006.
  24. ^ Charton, Scott (21 July 1986). "15 Summers After Tracks Found, Fouke Monster Called Hoax". Associated Press. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  25. ^ Brand, Aaron (29 July 2020). "It's alive: Fouke Monster Festival Saturday". Texarkana Gazette. Retrieved 10 March 2021.[permanent dead link]
  26. ^ "Community Caught By Surprise: Legendary Monster Becomes Money-Maker". The Victoria Advocate. 23 August 1973. p. 7C.
  27. ^ Thibodeau, Sunni (24 June 2001). "Monstermania: 30 years hence: 'Legend of Boggy Creek' considered a cult classic". Texarkana Gazette. Archived from the original on 3 August 2003. Retrieved 1 October 2006.
  28. ^ The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972) at IMDb  
  29. ^ "Charles B. Pierce, Director of 'Boggy Creek,' Dies at 71". The New York Times. Associated Press. 10 March 2010. p. B18. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  30. ^ "The Legend of Boggy Creek, Worldwide Box Office". Worldwide Box Office. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  31. ^ a b Return to Boggy Creek (1977) at IMDb  
  32. ^ a b Boggy Creek II: And the Legend Continues (1985) at IMDb  
  33. ^ "Boggy Creek II: And The Legend Continues...". Mystery Science Theater 3000. Season 10. Episode 6. 9 May 1999. Sci-Fi Channel.
  34. ^ Boggy Creek (2010) at IMDb  
  35. ^ "Boggy Creek – Coming in 2010". Archived from the original on 8 February 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  36. ^ James (22 December 2009). "My Review of The Skunkape Story (2009)". Archived from the original on 12 May 2010. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  37. ^ "Fouke Monster: The Beast and the Legend of Boggy Creek: Movies..." Monstro Bizarro Productions. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  38. ^ The Legacy of Boggy Creek (Video 2011) at IMDb  
  39. ^ Gelmini, David (October 24, 2016). "Boggy Creek Monster Rising From the Murky Depths Next Month". Dread Central. Retrieved November 8, 2022.
  40. ^ Brand, Aaron (September 11, 2016). "New Boggy Creek movie coming out this fall". Texarkana Gazette. Retrieved November 8, 2022.

External links edit