In Search of The Boggy Creek Monster

Fouke, AR water tower
Late the night of May 1, 1971, just south of the little town of Fouke, Arkansas, something attacked the home of Bobby and Elizabeth Ford. According to Elizabeth, the creature, which she initially thought was a bear, broke and reached through a screen window while she was sleeping on a couch. Her husband and his brother Don just happened to be returning from a hunting trip at that time, heard Elizabeth's screams, and chased off the monster, firing several shots as it fled into the dense surrounding woods. The creature returned after midnight the next night and grabbed Bobby across the shoulders as he stood on the porch having a smoke, throwing him to the ground. Bobby managed to crawl free and made it inside the house where he retrieved his gun. He was later treated in St. Michael Hospital, Texarkana, for scratches across his back and mild shock.

The Fords believed they had hit the monster with shots from their rifles, but no traces of blood were found. An extensive search of the area did not locate the creature, but found three-toed footprints close to the house, scratch marks on the porch, and some damage to a window and the house's siding. The Fords said they had heard noises outside the small house several nights before, but they had never seen the monster previously as they had only lived in the house for one week.

Boggy Creek, near where the Ford Family lived.
On May 23, three people, D. Woods, Wilma Woods, and Mrs. Sedgass reported to the police they had seen an ape-like creature crossing Highway 71 south of Fouke near the Sulphur River. They reported the creature was about 7 - 8 feet tall, was covered in thick long hair, weighed about 300 pounds and ran upright, Numerous more sightings were reported over the next few months by both residents and tourists and several large 3-toed footprints were found along the banks of Boggy Creek and in a soybean field which belonged to Scott Keith, a local gas station owner. They were investigated by game warden Carl Galyon who indicated he had never seen anything like them.

The dense woods around Boggy Creek.
Not long after word got out about the Ford's experience, the Little Rock radio station KAAY offered a $1,009 reward for the creature, dead or alive. Numerous attempts were made trying to track the creature with dogs, but they were unable to track its scent except once. Just before sundown one day, several hunters with 3 hunting dogs were in the woods south of Fouke between the Sulphur and Red Rivers when the dogs indicated they had the scent and began running through the underbrush. A few yards in though, all 3 dogs began whimpering and refused to go any further. The hunters said they didn't see anything, but felt like they were being watched and when they smelled something foul, they decided with the daylight fading, it would be best to get out of those woods before darkness fully descended.


At the Red River at the exact spot where the
monster was seen.
Soon enough, public interest in what had become known as the Boggy Creek Monster waned. Then in 1973, a documentary-style horror movie based on the creature was released. Costing only $160,000 to make, the film became a cult hit and grossed over $22 million.

By late 1974, interest had again waned with the lack of public sightings or any further evidence. But in 1978, the same 3-toed tracks were found by two brothers who were out prospecting. Several ranchers reported missing cattle and the body of a dog was found in the woods. Some people blamed the monster, but definitive proof of the creature's guilt was never found.

Since the 1970's, there have been sporadic reports of the monster. In 1997, there were 40 sightings reported to the police. In 1998, almost 20 more sightings were reported with the last one of the year being in a dry creek bed 5 miles south of Fouke. The last two sightings were in 1999 with one stating the monster was seen jumping off the Highway 71 bridge over the Sulphur River and the last was reported by four boaters who stated they saw it at sundown standing on the boat landing just down from where the Sulphur River joins the Red River.


The Hwy 60 bridge where the Sulphur and
Red Rivers merge.

The Momma-woman and Youngest-daughter recently joined me for a weekend of Boggy Creek monster hunting. Located just a couple of hours from where we live, no way could I go for long without investigating with my own little eyes. Just because I didn't get to shake the monster's hand doesn't mean it's not out there somewhere. We found and walked around the edge of the woods where it was reportedly seen and I can tell you, those woods are dense and very creepy. At the place of the last sighting, it was lonesome, eerie and the only noise was the occasional car crossing over the Highway 60 bridge in the distance. I could definitely understand how something that's not supposed to be there could in fact be there and not be found. We stayed in that spot for a while, exploring along the edge of the river and peering into the woods. But when the sun began to go down and there were no other people around, the spookiness factor began to rise and we got ourselves out of there.

The Monster Mart
We stopped in at the Monster Mart in Fouke (pronounced like "folk" with a silent "L"), visited the little corner of the store where they have posted on the wall a bunch of old yellowed newspaper clippings reporting on the monster and had a nice long chat with Sonya, the grand-daughter of the original owner, Denny Roberts. She said she had never seen the creature, but she's sure her grandfather did. However, he would never admit it as he was afraid of people thinking he was crazy. We purchased a handful of Boggy Creek Monster souvenir postcards along with some road trip health food - chips, candy, soda's and enough Double Bubble gum to enable Youngest-daughter to showcase her talent for blowing really big bubbles during the drive back home.

Mural inside the Monster Mart, right next to the
monster t-shirts, caps and coffee cups for sale.
I like to think the Boggy Creek Monster is really out there, maybe with a momma monster and a couple of young monsters, happily living out their lives in the deep dark woods where humans don't go. I like to believe there are still unknowns here among us, that the earth still holds secrets not just in the deepest oceans, but right next door. I like to believe the earth is indeed stranger than fiction. With all of our vaunted knowledge, I think we've only just begun to scratch the surface. There is so much more. Things that will astound us. Things that will make us exclaim, "Holy cow!" Things of such beauty that the poets will be speechless. Things that will make us sit with our mouths open in stunned silence. In the long ago, when men thought the earth was flat, they would draw maps and clearly mark the boundaries of the lands they knew. Beyond those boundaries, at the far edge of the known, they wrote, "Beware! Here there be monsters!" I believe it's still so.
 
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