When most of us consider the HAIRY-HOMINID phenomenon in North America we are inclined to look at the Pacific Northwest with thoughts of the legendary BIGFOOT and his equally famous Canadian cousin the SASQUATCH, but the fact remains that come of the most intriguing, not to mention downright frightening, encounters with these creatures hail from the Southeastern portion of the U.S.
Wedged below Missouri (and its allegedly appalling MOMO MONSTER) and above Louisiana (with its bizarrely predatory HONEY ISLAND SWAMP MONSTER) we have Arkansas, arguably the home of the most intensively investigated and terrifying encounters ever chronicled between humans and a large, hairy man-like beast.
It is this infamous history that made the world take notice when, in September and October of 2003, eyewitnesses throughout Northwest Arkansas reported sightings of a mysterious monster lurking in residential neighborhoods. According to the reports a large (or small, depending on the eyewitness) ape-like creature was allegedly seen by eyewitnesses in Decatur area in Benton County. Retired Police Chief Coy Hendrix claimed to have received three calls from people reporting that they had seen the beast.
While most eyewitness have stated that this creature resembles the classic image of a large, bipedal, ape-like animal, there have been some who claimed that this rogue simian is less than 2-feet tall. Hendrix tried to clarify this creature’s appearance:
“The only description that I have is a small, brown monkey. I don’t think it’s Bigfoot. I didn’t see any huge tracks or anything.”
Current Decatur Chief of Police Terry Luker, echoed his predecessors assessment:
“We had some pretty interesting calls on it. I had one lady call me and I tried to explain to her that it was not a Bigfoot and that it was too small to be a Bigfoot. The lady stopped me and she said, ‘Well, you know, they have babies, too’.”
The first reported sighting of this creature was on Hill St. in Decatur. The second anonymous eyewitness made claimed that the animal was headed north toward Crystal Lake, which is located approximately a quarter-mile away from Decatur, then a third caller said the animal was on Benning Rd. several miles east of town.
While there were no reportedly violent interactions with this beast, residents were understandably nervous and were particularly concerned with the welfare of their children and pets. Local resident, Ike Owens expressed his concerns:
“They’re saying its Sasquatch. They’re saying Bigfoot and this and that… It’s freaky. ”
Although many have speculate that the Arkansas Ape Man is merely an escapee from a local wildlife refuge, a representative from the Wild Wilderness Drive-Thru Safari in nearby Gentry claimed that no animal matching the description of the creature in question had escaped from the park.
Nevertheless, the appearance of an unknown primate in Arkansas begs comparison to the regions most famous cryptozoolocial phenomenon (and subject of the world most well know crypto-flick) “ The Legend of Boggy Creek ” or, as it is known in the rural regions where the creature torment locals between 1971 and 1974, the FOUKE MONSTER.
Later in October of 2003, an expedition consisting of members of Sasquatch Watch of Virginia set up camp in the craggy Allegheny Mountain highlands with GPS navigators, cameras, voice recorders and other crypto-investigation equipment. There hope was to turn up evidence regarding the existence of this creature. The group, led by founder Billy Willard, took plaster casts of suspicious prints but didn’t spot the creature during the trip.
Gentry native, Mickey Metz, summed up the lingering fear that surrounds this new chapter in this old legend, while standing on the wood infested shores of Crystal Lake:
“He stays right out there. Some people still say they can hear him way out over there, but we never see him and I do not stay out after dark.”