Bigfoot in Texas?
||Maps comparing river basins,
precipitation amounts, and bigfoot sightings in Texas. More
Some people think that the Bigfoot phenomenon is strictly a
Pacific Northwest occurrence. They would be sadly mistaken. There
have been reported sightings in every state in the Union with
the exception of Hawaii.
In East Texas, which is where the majority of the reported sightings
of Bigfoot occur in the state, there is nearly 12 million acres
of forestland. That is equivalent to 12 million football fields.
There are four national forests and five state forests in Texas,
all located in East Texas, the primary and most important forest
area in Texas. The East Texas Pine Belt, or "Piney Woods" as
it is commonly called, extends over forty-three counties and
accounts for almost all the state's commercial timber. Marion
County is smack dab in the Piney Woods.
has been a long history of sightings in the state of Texas. One
of the first in the history books is the strange case of the "The
Wild Woman Of The Navidad". This is a story that was recounted
in the "Legends of Texas" published by the Texas Folklore
Society in 1924. The creature was described as covered in short
brown hair and was very fast. She eluded capture because the
horses were so afraid of the strange creature that they could
not be urged within reach of the lasso. These events occurred
in 1837 in the Texas settlements of the lower Navidad. Mysterious
barefoot tracks were seen frequently in the area. There are Native
American legends dating back hundreds of years that describe
tribes of giants that were hair-covered and lived in the woods.
report that I came across years ago was written up in a Bigfoot
newsletter in 1970. It was written by a man from California who
shared a barracks in the Army with two soldiers from Longview.
He wrote "In or about the year 1965, there was a rash of
reports of giant hairy creatures roaming the thickets and back
country between Jefferson and Longview, Texas, but nearest to
Longview. A man and his little daughter reported it as being
a large, black and not a bear. Several head of cattle and a couple
of people were supposedly killed by it. Private Jacobs was a
member of a posse that hunted the creature when he was a teenager.
He told me that he saw the body of one of the murdered persons
and that the victim had been torn apart. At the time, he threw
his gun back in the car and went home. I can't blame him, he
was only 14 or 15 at the time."
started investigating this case by digging through the newspaper
and library archives in Marshall and Jefferson finally finding
an article dated September 1st, 1965 that mentions
the Marion County Monster Legend. The article was titled "Boy
Says For Real Sighting of Monster Renews Marion Legend." The
story is about a 13 year old boy who was chased by an ape-like
creature while walking home from a friend's house one afternoon.
2 men picked the boy up in a car and drove him home. The boy
described it as "about 7 feet tall with thick long black
hair all over its body except for the face—the face, stomach
and palms of its hands." Marion County Deputy Sheriff George
Whatley investigated the scene, but found no evidence of a large
animal having been there. A UPI clipping, dated September 20,
1965, from Jefferson, Texas, entitled "Town Fed Up With
Monster Hunters" was also found concerning the incident.
Sheriff Luke Walker is quoted as being upset by the Bigfoot hunters
from three states who had overrun his small northeast-Texas town
since a thirteen-year-old boy came running out of the woods three
weeks earlier telling of seeing a big, black hairy thing.
DeVore of Karnack, one of our members, started doing some follow
up investigation, using the names found in the articles. Sheriff
Luke Walker and Deputy George Whatley had both passed away. He
went to current Jefferson law officers who were very helpful
and directed him to one who worked for Sheriff Luke Walker back
in the early 70's. This officer related that he had spent many
hours with Sheriff Walker back then talking over events of his
career and their was no possibility that any Bigfoot killed anyone
around Marion County during the 60's or any other time in Jefferson
history. This officer even called several people that he knew
that were around back then and none of them knew of any Bigfoot
on the list was Dwain Dennis who owned the Jefferson Jimplecute
at that time. Charles found him to be in good health and with
a very sharp memory. He corroborated the Marshall News Messenger
story about the 13-year-old kid who claimed to have been chased
by a Bigfoot. He had interviewed the kid himself that day. He
related that something had scared him very bad but to this day
is not sure what it was. He feels that the tracks that he found
were all faked evidence.
and his wife spent all their spare time for about 6 weeks researching
into that story and a few related stories that sprang up from
the original. His newspaper articles generated calls from throughout
the country and from several foreign countries. Many other stories
sprang up in other media and tabloids and got embellished from
there. While many people did come to Jefferson to learn more
or chase down embellished rumors, or hunt down the imaginary
killer Bigfoot, there was no posse organized to hunt it down.
All the wild stories were generated by other outlets and totally
false. He stated that there were no killings in or around Marion
County or Jefferson that could even remotely be blamed on a Bigfoot.
||Photo purported to be
of the Lake Worth Monster, taken by Allen Plaster. (Click image
for larger view.)
Probably the most famous of the Texas reports is the case of
the Lake Worth Monster. This case hit the public consciousness
in the summer of 1969. While America was caught up in the moon
landing, sightings of this hairy creature were being reported
in the Greer Island area of Lake Worth in Fort Worth, Texas.
The animal was described as being approximately seven feet tall,
weighing in the neighborhood of three hundred pounds, covered
with white hair and walked upright like a man. It was seen repeatedly
throughout the year and during July the area was packed with
locals who had witnessed the beast. At one point it was said
to have become annoyed at the onlookers and hurled an automobile
wheel and tire at them from the distance of five hundred feet.
Needless to say, they leapt into their cars and departed the
area post haste.
The last sighting of the creature that year was by Charles Buchanan
on November 7. He was sleeping in the open bed of his pickup
truck and was awakened when his sleeping bag was suddenly grabbed
by a creature and was pulled from the truck. He stuffed a bag
of chicken in its mouth and it shuffled off into the water and
swam towards Greer Island.
This series of events was the impetus of my interest in this
field. I was a child of nine years old that summer and my grandparents
lived in Fort Worth. They had a boat on Eagle Mountain Lake,
which was separated by a dam from Lake Worth. I can still remember
seeing the headlines in the Fort Worth Star Telegram about the "Goatman".
We spent many a night anchored out in the middle of the lake
and my imagination ran rampant with all manner of scenarios of
the monster climbing aboard our boat.
same summer something was going on in the Sulphur River bottoms
near Commerce, Texas. Jerry Matlock and Kenneth Wilson saw a
creature that they described as about eight feet tall, man-like
in posture and covered with brown hair. They went back the next
day and found footprints left by the beast. "I put my arm
down in one of the prints" Matlock recalled, "and
that print was as long as from my elbow to the tips of my outstretched
fingers". Our group has recently contacted Mr. Wilson and
we are planning to go with him to the site.
were two separate sightings in the same area in September of
1973, near the town of Peerless. Again they were in the Sulphur
River bottoms. Are we beginning to detect a pattern here?
Later that fall, Kenneth Thurman of Paris, Texas had an encounter
with what he described as "a hairy bipedal creature over
eight feet tall". This occurred 30 miles Northeast of Commerce,
Texas. Once again it was not far from the Sulphur River. Mr.
Thurman was making butane gas deliveries in a rural community.
He stopped the truck and he and a co-worker stepped outside to
relieve themselves. They noticed a foul odor in the air. They
spotted a long shadow moving toward the back of the truck. Mr.
Thurman found himself facing the rapidly approaching creature
that was as tall as the butane tanks on the truck. "That
thing wasn't four feet from me when I dove into that truck," Thurman
said. "Listen, I'm a hunter and I'm not scared
of the woods or anything in it, but that thing reached out for
me and I was afraid for my life. I don't know what I'd
have done if it caught me. It must have come out of the woods
from behind the truck. We dove in, threw that truck in gear and
took off. Bet it wasn't two seconds from the time I saw
that thing until we took off." Thurman got a better look
at the creature in the side mirror as he sped off. After making
the deliveries, the men had to take the only route back to the
highway, the same road they had come in on. Thurman sped through
the area and entered the highway.
At this point they saw it for a second time. It was running
in the same direction as the truck, 75 yards out in a field.
The road curved ahead, but before the creature crossed their
path, it ran into the woods. "I was doing about 60 miles
per hour and it was outrunning the truck," Thurman said.
He reported the incident to his company but he was laughed at.
We received a report from a woman that was traveling to Lake
O' The Pines with her husband and daughter. She saw a large,
ape-like creature squatting down next to the fence line as they
drove past it. The only movement she detected was its head turning
to face them as they drove by. Her daughter turned around in
the back seat and watched it stand up and run off after they
passed it. This took place on a Friday evening in the summer
November of 1974 through August of 1976 there were numerous sightings
in the San Antonio area culminating in two sightings near Kelly
Air Force Base. A witness saw a seven-foot-tall brown Bigfoot
run out of his backyard. A few days later his next-door neighbor
saw a three-foot-tall brown creature sitting on her back step.
It then ran off on two legs.
summer of 1976 brought a sighting in Hallsville, Texas where
a witness saw a twelve-foot-tall silver-haired Bigfoot shucking
corn. A smaller red-tinged female creature accompanied it.
6 of 1977, three witnesses saw the "Hawley Him", and
it threw rocks at them. This occurred at the Abilene Boys Ranch
near Hawley, Texas. The next month, three women saw a Bigfoot
on the road near Trinidad, Texas, which borders Cedar Creek Lake.
Two weeks later a man saw a seven-foot-tall Bigfoot on a road
near Corsicana, which is in the same general area.
January of 1978, a woman in Sand Hill reported to the Harrison
County Sheriff's Department that a Bigfoot growled at her, and
was fighting with some dogs in the woods in the community about
eight miles west of Marshall on U.S. Hwy. 80.
June of 1978, in the town of Vidor, Texas, a couple had so many
sightings of a Bigfoot around their house that they were forced
to move out. August of 1978 brought a flap of activity to the
Commerce, Texas area in the vicinity of guess where? The Sulphur
River bottoms. On the nineteenth, in broad daylight, a witness
saw a Bigfoot cross the road ahead of them and it went across
a pasture towards the river. Also that month a witness saw a
seven-and-half-foot-tall Bigfoot cross a forty-two foot wide
road in three steps while he was driving at night. Two days later
on the same road, three boys saw a Bigfoot around midnight.
have been several reports out of the Woodlawn area. A family
out after visiting family on Easter Sunday decided to stop to
commune with nature while the husband did a little target practice.
After only a few shots, a large animal lunged at them and chased
them back to their car. On New Year's Eve 1996 a mother and her
son saw a large animal crouched down on the side of the road.
the fall of 1987, a deer hunter on the southeast side of Benton
Lake off Big Cypress Bayou above Caddo Lake observed a large,
hair covered animal stand up from a crouched position in one
foot of water. The creature did not detect the camouflaged hunter
as it turned its head from side to side, walked out of the water
and disappeared into the woods.
January 1992, the Hamilton Herald News printed a lengthy letter
by a man that claimed that while driving home from Stephenville
late at night with his family, they saw a huge, hairy creature
on the riverbank. Here, in part, is what the letter said: "It
stood, I would say, approximately seven to eight feet tall, weighing
probly (sic) between four to five hundred pounds. Its body was
covered with hair. It had long arms that extended down to its
knees. Its face looked almost human…It looked at us and
growled a low moan, showing four fang-like teeth, two on top,
two on the bottom, and the rest flat like humans. Then it hurled
over the guard rail and ran off into the night toward the brush
along the river banks on the west side…For the record,
we were not drunk or doing drugs or anything like that, and we
have respectable jobs in this and surrounding towns. We are not
crackpots. I thought maybe there are others living here who have
had a similar experience and would come forward now that the
door is open to talk about it."
did have that effect on Hilda Lunsford. She wrote the newspaper
telling about her experience early one morning in 1985 while
driving between Olin and Cranfills Gap. "A huge thing came
out on the side of the road and got right in front of the car
and stood up on its hind legs and I stopped and locked my doors
an the car and waited to see what it was going to do," Ms.
Lunsford wrote. "It looked right at me and it had a face
of an ape and it was [a] big black something…Yes I was
laughed at for telling about it, but every word is true."
October 5, 1995, Danny Sweeten had an encounter near Cleveland,
Texas, forty miles North of Houston. While out surveying some
land he was considering buying, he came upon a creature lying
on the ground. The animal rose on two legs and ran toward Sweeten.
It hit him in the chest and caught him under the chin with
its forearm, flipping him over and knocking two teeth loose.
He was dazed, but managed to shoot some video as the creature
retreated into the woods. He quickly left the area.
|Still image taken from
video shot by Danny Sweeten. (Click image for larger view.)
was harassed by an investigator from a non-existent government
agency the man named as the Federal Wildlife Protection Agency.
He was told to turn over the tape. Sweeten eventually sold the
tape to the television show Strange Universe. The footage
was shown on November 3, 1997, along with comments by several
well-known Bigfoot researchers. Loren Coleman was interviewed
along with Danny Sweeten on Art Bell's radio program Coast
to Coast. This is where I first learned of the incident.
Luke Gross investigated this case before he and I co-founded
the Texas Bigfoot Research Center. His opinion is that this footage
is genuine and shows an animal, not a man in a suit.
November of 1998, two squirrel hunters encountered an eight-foot-tall
hair-covered creature near Longview. One of them shot at it 3
times. The creature grunted as if hit, then roared loudly. They
ran through the woods, towards one of the hunter's home.
It followed them, running upright through the woods, making its
own trail to their left, keeping pace with them. They felt that
it could have caught them at any time, however it stopped once
they reached the clearing near the house. It remained in the
wood line, circling the house, roaring and shaking the trees.
A pig came up missing that night. The homeowner went out to investigate.
He shined his spotlight and saw the creature again, taking another
shot at it.
December of 2001, a deer hunter saw a "7-foot upright stooped
ape like figure dark brown in color." This was near Marshall.
He observed it for two minutes through his riflescope from a
distance of at least 150 yards. He observed it picking up apples
that the hunter had put out to attract deer.
received two reports of sightings in Harleton in 2003. One was
an 8-foot Bigfoot crossing Highway 154 in front of a car at the
Little Cypress Bayou. The other was repeated activity and sightings
at a dog kennel near Harleton.
is a common denominator to most of the reports listed here: water.
All occurred near a lake, river or creek. Many of the encounters
took place near the Sulphur River or one of its tributaries.
The Sulphur River runs through the city of Commerce and winds
its way throughout Northeast Texas. It exits the state of Texas
south of Texarkana, near the area where the reports of the Fouke
Monster originated. These reports were the basis for the 1970's
movie "The Legend of Boggy Creek".
as is plain to see, when someone says that there are no Bigfoot
creatures in Texas, I would clearly have to disagree. If you
or someone you know has seen one of these creatures, please contact
the Texas Bigfoot Research Center through our website at www.texasbigfoot.com or at the following address:
Texas Bigfoot Research Center
P. O. Box 191711
Dallas, TX 75219
this article on the Bigfoot Forums >
Bord, Janet and Bord, Colin, The Bigfoot Casebook, Stackpole
Books, PA, 1982
Clarke, Sallie Ann, The Lake Worth Monster of Greer Island, Ft. Worth,
Texas, author, TX, 1969
Clarke, Sallie Ann, personal correspondence and in-person interview, 1999
Coleman, Loren, Deep in the Heart of Texas, Fate Magazine, OH, February,
Green, John, State and Province Sightings Data, Bobbie Short's website, Bigfoot
Jackson, Kathy, Sasquatch Watch, Dallas Morning News, TX, February 27,
Jones, Mark and Smith, Teresa Ann, Has Bigfoot moved to Texas?, Fate
Magazine, OH, July, 1979
Texas Folklore Society, Legends of Texas, Publications of the Texas
Folklore Society, 1924 Courtesy of Bobbie
This article was originally published on the Texas
Bigfoot Research Center's website and
is republished here by permission. All
rights reserved by the TBRC. On August 22, 2004, this article
was revised to reflect a version published in the Jeffersonian.