Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bigfoot In Texas?

By Craig Woolheater

Some people think that the bigfoot phenomenon is limited strictly to the Pacific Northwest; they would be sadly mistaken. There is a common misconception of Texas terrain as being nothing but prairies and deserts, with a lone tumbleweed rolling by. It is probably safe to assume that many people who have never been to Texas, formed their opinion from watching the television show Dallas in the 1980s. In East Texas, which is where the majority of the reported sightings of bigfoot occur in the state, there are approximately 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.

There 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.

A 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.”

We started investigating this case by digging through the newspaper and library archives in Marshall and Jefferson, finally finding an article dated September 1, 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 allegedly chased by an ape-like creature while walking home from a friend’s house one afternoon. Two 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.

Charles DeVore of Karnack, one of our investigators, 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 1970s. 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 1960s 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 killing.

Next 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 felt that the tracks that he found were not faked evidence.

He 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. More>>


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