As a geologist working mostly in the western U.S., I’ve observed various unexplained phenomena over the years. Some of the strangest things I’ve heard of, second hand, of course, are tales told to me by my paternal grandmother – Aunt Bessie, as everyone called her.
One such story she told me sometime around 1955 concerned a large hairy creature she and her family observed sometime just before the First World War. I believe this incident occurred in 1916, well before the first documented California sightings of “Bigfoot” back in 1958. She and her family lived in East Texas near Sulphur Bottom, which is now under a lake, but in those days was a swamp, not too far from the Boggy Creek area of Fouke, Arkansas.
There had apparently been stories told of large, hairy man-like creatures in the woods and swamps of that region for many years. As she related this particular story, she, along with her mother and father and some combination of her many brothers and sisters, were returning home late one night from town, riding in a wagon pulled by two mules. It was summer. A full moon was at its zenith, and they’d just turned into the lane at the gate that led to their house. My grandmother said the first thing they noticed was that the mules stopped at the gate and seemed oddly disturbed. I can’t recall all the details, as she told this tale to me so long ago, but they first thought a snake or something might be spooking the mules.
Then a noise drew their attention to the east across a field to the edge of the woods. This noise was a high-pitched, eerie wail or howl. She said the moonlight was so bright that you could see almost as if it were day. As they watched the darker line of trees, “something” emerged from these woods and stood in the open field bathed in the summer moonlight. It was at least as tall as a man, probably taller, she said, and covered with long dark hair!
She said it didn’t seem to slump, but stood straight and erect, all the time howling and shrieking and motioning at them. When it started across the field, her father fired a shot at it with his rifle. It stopped cold, turned and fled back into the woods. After getting to the house, they noticed that all the dogs were cowed and hidding under the porch, not barking. The whole family spent a nervous night, but nothing more approached the house, nor did they hear anymore of the unearthly howling.
Over the next several days, her father, brothers and many neighbors hunted through the woods for any sign of this thing – hair, blood, any indication that it might have been wounded. But nothing was ever found. This story is but one of many told over the many years about that area of East Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana where large “Bigfoot” or Sasquatch-type creatures are rumored to lurk.
I, being retired, live in those same gloomy woods, further west from where this incident occurred, but near a wild and extensive bottomland with its own history of sightings. Although these woods have their share of eerie sounds and peculiar tracks found near the old farmhouse, I have never observed anything of that nature myself