Honey Island Swamp monster
The Honey Island Swamp monster, also known as the Cajun Sasquatch, is an ape-like humanoid cryptid creature, similar to descriptions of Bigfoot, purported to inhabit the Honey Island Swamp in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. It has become a part of Louisiana folklore, with many swamp tour companies in the area capitalizing on its alleged existence, that is considered unlikely by scientists.
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 Rougarou, Louisiana Wookiee, and The Thing. Alleged plaster casts of footprints said to be from the creature showcase four toes; not a natural trait found in primates, who possess five.
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.
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.
Today, the creature is still purported to inhabit the swamp and the bayous along the Pearl River. 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.
- 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. The animated monster resembled a Bigfoot-like creature with crab-like claws.
- The creature was featured in an episode of Lost Tapes, "Swamp Creature."
- It was the subject of an episode of In Search of..., "The Swamp Monster."
- 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," 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.
- 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 entitled "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.
- Eoin Colfer drew inspiration from the Honey Island Swamp monster for the character Vern in his novel Highfire.
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- Frances, Leary (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. Cite journal requires
- "Honey Island Swamp Monster Footprint". ucmmuseum.com. Abita Mystery House. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
- Wolter, Scott (9 July 2019). "Bigfoot in the Bayou". America Unearthed. Season 4. Episode 7. Travel Channel.
- "Swamp Creature". animalplanet.com. Animal Planet. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
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- "Ghost in the Machine". The Secret Saturdays. Season 1. Episode 15. 15 May 2009. Cartoon Network.
- "Swamp Creature". Lost Tapes. Season 1. Episode 4. 6 January 2009. Animal Planet.
- "The Swamp Monster". In Search of... Season 2. Episode 16. 4 March 1978. syndicated.
- "Full Moon Fever". Swamp People. Season 2. Episode 9. 26 May 2011. History.
- "The Swamp". Monsters and Mysteries in America. Season 1. Episode 5. 21 April 2013. Destination America.
- "From Artemis Fowl to a vodka-guzzling dragon". The Straits Times. 11 February 2020. Retrieved 11 March 2020.