Monsters Of The Southern U.S.
Written by Jasen Keplinger
Monsters have always been part of the folklore in the southern United States. I grew up in the south so I remember most of the monsters discussed here in our countdown. So sit back, relax, and be prepared to learn about ten of the most mysterious monsters of the south.
1) The Fouke Monster
The Legend of Boggy Creek launched a southern monster into the spotlight in 1972.(Link 1) Interest in the Fouke Monster was rekindled in the 1970s as a result of a number of cattle being seemingly slaughtered and eaten in the town of Fouke, Arkansas. (Link 2) Described as hairy and having a distinctive stench, the beast was described as being a circa seven feet tall bipedal humanoid with eyes the size of silver dollars. The movie points out that the alleged monster only has three toes, which separates him from the typical five toes left by similar creatures.
The 1970s weren’t the first time the creature was reported. In 1851, 1856, and 1875, a creature exactly like the Fouke Monster was described as being responsible for the disappearance of cattle in other parts of Arkansas. (Link 2) Since then, dozens of sightings have been reported.
2.) The Pope Lick Monster
The next monster is one of the scariest on our list, to me anyways. It’s part man, part goat, and part sheep, the Pope Lick Monster is reputed to live underneath the railway trestle above Pope Lick Creek in Louisville, Kentucky. (Link 3) Legend has it that the monster is either a true human and goat hybrid or a circus freak who spent it’s life in torment prior to escaping and now seeks revenge. (Link 3) Still, one other legend says that the monster is a farmer who was reincarnated after sacrificing goats to Satan in exchange for power.
Regardless of its origin, the monster is said to be able to both mimic human voices or put its victims in a hypnotic state in order to lure them onto the tracks and into the path of oncoming trains. (Link 3)
3.) The Knobby
Often referred to as the Bigfoot of North Carolina, Knobby was given the name because the first sighting around an area called Carpenter’s Knob near Kings Mountain. (Link 4) Knobby was seen by at least a dozen people in the area back in 1979. Here’s how one witness described the creature.
“I saw its eyes first. Then I saw its oval-shaped head. Then I saw the hair hanging off of him about 4 or 5 inches. I saw his left arm bowed out beside of him. I could see every finger and thumb,” said Lunsford. “I never did see it no more and I never did go back looking for it.” (Link 4)
The biggest difference between Knobby and the Bigfoot of the West is that Knobby has blonde hair instead of brown or black.
4.) The Lizard Man of Scape Ore
First spotted in 1988 near Scape Ore Swamp in South Carolina, the Lizard Man is described as being 7 feet tall with three fingers on each of its feet and hands and highly aggressive. (Link 5) During its first sighting, the man who saw it while changing his tire was pursued by the creature and it even leapt onto his rooftop while he drove away. (Link 5)
“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.” (Link 5)
Other sightings of the creature followed and were consistent, a bipedal lizard creature ranging from green to dark in color with red eyes.
5.) The Big Bird Monster
No, I’m not referring to the big bird on Sesame Street! The Big Bird monster is a giant winged creature first sighted in Texas in 1976 first by two young girls and later by a police officer who claimed the creature was five feet tall with a twelve-foot wingspan. (Link 6) Later on, the same day a father and son who were out fishing saw a creature matching the description of both the officer and the two girls. Here’s just one of several accounts of encountering the creature. (Link 6)
On January 14, 1976, Raymondville, TX resident Armando Grimaldo claimed to have had the most harrowing encounter yet chronicled with this aerial atrocity. According to Grimaldo, he heard a loud flapping sound accompanied by an odd whistling noise while walking outside. Just as he glanced up to find the source of this strange noise a pair of large, talon-like claws grabbed onto the back of his shoulders, tearing his shirt and sending him crashing to the ground.(Link 6)
Many believe “Big Bird” to be one of the Thunderbirds sighted elsewhere in the U.S.
6.) The Skunk Apes
The Skunk Ape or Myakka Ape is a bipedal humanoid, possibly a Bigfoot, reported in the South Eastern United States, most notably in the Florida Everglades. (Link 7)
It has black fur and glowing red eyes, unusual for most primates because most primates lack a tapetum lucidum, a layer of tissue behind the retina that reflects light. (Link 7)
The Skunk Ape’s most obvious character is its terrible odor, which gives it its name. Inhabiting Florida, North Carolina, and Arkansas, the Skunk Ape is a bipedal humanoid creature between six and seven feet tall. (Link 7)
7.) The Honey Island Monster
Another variant of Bigfoot under a different name, the Honey Island Swamp Monster was sighted in Louisiana and Mississippi as early as the 1960s by those living in remote bayou communities. (Link 8) A man named Harlan Ford was the first to film the creature on now primitive 8mm film. Described as being near seven feet tall, the creature bears all the descriptive markings of a Bigfoot-like ape. (Link 8)
The Honey Island Swamp Monster is a bipedal ape-like creature said to live in the Honey Island Swamp in Louisiana. It is said to be about seven feet tall and weigh somewhere between 400 and 500 pounds, with gray dingy hair, yellow eyes, and be accompanied by a disgusting smell. (Link 8)
Though it is purported to be a Bigfoot-like creature, the footprint castings that have been collected more resemble alligator-like footprints.
8.) The Wampus Cat
The Wampus Cat of East Tennessee likely has its origins in Cherokee legend where it is said that a young girl once disguised herself in the skin of a cougar in order to spy on the men of her tribe as they sat around the campfire telling sacred hunting stories. (Link 9) Once discovered, the medicine man of the tribe punished her by turning her into a creature that was half woman and half cat.
Descriptions of the Wampus Cat itself vary but the creature is often depicted with two hind legs and four front legs and of greater size than any cougar. The folk legend in East Tennessee says that if you hear the cry of the Wampus Cat then it means that someone nearby will die within the next three days. (Link 9)
9.) The Atamaha-Ha Monster
Near the mouth of the Altamaha River in southeastern Georgia is said to reside a hissing sea monster. Called Altamaha-ha, for the river, or “Altie” for short, the legend predates British-English colonization and is said to have originated with the Lower Muskogee Creek Tribe. (Link 10)
This strange cryptid is described as having a sturgeon like body including a bony ridge on its top. With front flippers and no back limbs, it swims like a dolphin, and has the snout of a crocodile, with large, protruding eyes and large sharp teeth. (Link 10) Its coloring is said to be gray or green with a whitish-yellow underbelly. Reports indicate that it is 20-30 feet long, though some have stated seeing smaller or larger creatures, suggesting that Altamaha-ha is not alone. (Link 10)
10.) The Wild Man of East Tennessee
The origins of the Tennessee Wild Man, or as the local people call him the “Wooly Booger” goes way back to the 1800s in McNairy County, Tennessee. (Link 11) One of the stories is that a circus freak showman somehow captured the beast and put him on display in a cage to where everyone can see him for exploitation until it finally broke free. (Link 11) The description of the Tennessee Wild Man is much similar in appearance to Sasquatch but only more human.
He supposedly has either dark grey hair or dark ginger hair, is about 7 feet tall and is always accompanied by piercing red eyes. (Link 11) It is known to spout out a disturbing war cry that can frighten anyone that hears it and has a horrible smell that’s reminiscent of the Skunk Ape. It’s very aggressive in behavior and could possibly be the archenemy of Sasquatch ironically, often fighting for territory reasons. (Link 11) Not surprisingly the Wild Man possesses great strength, agility, and speed. There have been many groups of men that went out hunting for the creature but all the times, usually they don’t find anything or something traumatizing happens. The monster is known to have a strange targeting obsession with dogs and women. Many women came out to say the Wild Man had attempted to snatch them up and carry them away. It is suspected, however, that these attempts were always unsuccessful. (Link 11)
The southern United States if full of mysterious sightings of elusive monsters. So if you are looking for a place to come face to face with a monster, the south is certainly a good place to start! These creatures leave you wondering what’s really out there. Be sure to check out our other blogs at www.eprmuisc.com!