Honey Island Swamp monster

The Honey Island Swamp Monster, also known as the Cajun Sasquatch and in Cajun French: La Bête Noire,[1] is an ape-like humanoid cryptid creature, similar to descriptions of Bigfoot, purported to inhabit the Honey Island Swamp in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana.[2] It has become a part of Louisiana folklore, with many swamp tour companies in the area capitalizing on its alleged existence,[3] which is considered unlikely by scientists.[4]

Description edit

The creature is commonly described by alleged witnesses as a large, bipedal, humanoid, about 7 feet (2 m) tall, covered with gray hair, having yellow or red eyes and accompanied by a putrid odor. Other local names for the creature include the Louisiana Wookiee, and The Thing.[5] Alleged plaster casts of footprints said to be from the creature showcase four toes; not a natural trait found in primates, who possess five.[6]

Claims of its existence are generally not considered credible, including by scientists familiar with the area like ecologist Paul Wagner and his wife Sue. Neither they nor their Cajun guide, Robbie Charbonnet, report having seen any valid evidence beyond anecdotes and possible forgeries.[4]

History edit

The first claimed sighting was in 1963 by Harlan Ford, a retired air traffic controller who had taken up wildlife photography. After his death in 1980, a reel of Super 8 film showing the creature was found among his belongings.[7]

In 1974, Ford and his friend Billy Mills claimed to have found unusual footprints in the area, as well as the body of a wild boar whose throat had been gashed.[8]

Today, the creature is still purported to inhabit the swamp and the bayous along the Pearl River.[9] Local lore tells of a train crash that occurred near the swamp in the early 20th century in which a traveling circus lost chimpanzees who adapted to the environment and offer a potential explanation as to the creature's origins.[10]

Popular culture edit

  • The Honey Island Swamp monster was the subject of The Secret Saturdays episode "Ghost in the Machine" with its vocal effects provided by Dee Bradley Baker.[11] The animated monster resembled a Bigfoot-like creature with crab-like claws.
  • The creature was featured in an episode of Lost Tapes, "Swamp Creature."[12]
  • It was the subject of an episode of In Search of..., "The Swamp Monster."[13]
  • It was a subject of an episode of Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files, "Bayou Beast/River Ghost," showing Mr. Ford's original film. The investigators were able to recreate Ford's footage with a man dressed in a camouflage ghillie suit used by hunters. They deduced the film could simply be mistaken identity on Ford's part, but didn't rule out that such a creature could exist.
  • An episode of Swamp People, "Full Moon Fever,"[14] includes a segment in which a group of people, Harlan Ford's granddaughter among them, are searching for the monster.
  • The creature was featured in a segment of the series Monsters and Mysteries in America, "The Swamp." Super 8 footage of the monster was shown in the segment.[15]
  • It was featured in a segment of a 2012 episode of Mysteries at the Museum.[16]
  • On July 20, 2013, Mattel introduced the Monster High character Honey Swamp as the daughter of Honey Island Swamp monster at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International.
  • In 2019, an episode of America Unearthed titled "Bigfoot in the Bayou" investigated possible sightings. Presenter Scott Wolter concluded that the smell attributed to the creature was most likely methane produced by decomposing plants.[7]
  • Eoin Colfer drew inspiration from the Honey Island Swamp monster for the character Vern in his novel Highfire.[17]
  • A version of the Honey Island Swamp monster is included in the role-playing game supplement GURPS Monsters.[18]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Mikells, Bruce (22 January 2014). "Cajun Sasquatch? Here's Where to Look for Him". 973thedawg.com. WDGG. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Honey Island Swamp Monster". pearlriverecotours.com. Archived from the original on 3 September 2021. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  3. ^ "Big Foot". honeyislandswamp.com. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  4. ^ a b Nickell, Joe (July–August 2001). "Tracking the Swamp Monsters". Skeptical Inquirer. 25 (4). Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Archived from the original on 25 September 2009. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  5. ^ Leary, Frances (December 2003). "The Honey Island Swamp Monster: The Development and Maintenance of Folk and Commodified Belief Tradition" (PDF). Memorial University of Newfoundland: 4–5. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  6. ^ "Honey Island Swamp Monster Footprint". ucmmuseum.com. Abita Mystery House. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  7. ^ a b Wolter, Scott (9 July 2019). "Bigfoot in the Bayou". America Unearthed. Season 4. Episode 7. Travel Channel.
  8. ^ "Swamp Creature". animalplanet.com. Animal Planet. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  9. ^ "Honey Island Swamp Monster". msgulfcoastheritage.ms.gov. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  10. ^ "Honey Island Swamp Monster". cajunencounters.com. 23 September 2020. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  11. ^ "Ghost in the Machine". The Secret Saturdays. Season 1. Episode 15. 15 May 2009. Cartoon Network.
  12. ^ "Swamp Creature". Lost Tapes. Season 1. Episode 4. 6 January 2009. Animal Planet.
  13. ^ "The Swamp Monster". In Search of... Season 2. Episode 16. 4 March 1978. syndicated.
  14. ^ "Full Moon Fever". Swamp People. Season 2. Episode 9. 26 May 2011. History.
  15. ^ "The Swamp". Monsters and Mysteries in America. Season 1. Episode 5. 21 April 2013. Destination America.
  16. ^ "Mysteries at the Museum | Exorcism, Honey Island Swamp Monster, the Real James Bond, La Belle Shipwereck, Sgt. Stubby". IMDb. Retrieved January 8, 2023.
  17. ^ "From Artemis Fowl to a vodka-guzzling dragon". The Straits Times. 11 February 2020. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  18. ^ Johnson, J. Hunter, ed. (2001). GURPS Monsters. Austin, Texas: Steve Jackson Games. pp. 38–39. ISBN 1-55634-518-6.