The Honey Island Swamp Monster of Louisiana

Categories
Horror Mystery and Lore
Dark and spooky swampland
Photography by Anthony Roberts

Louisiana is rife with local folklore, particularly stemming from the untouched acres of the Honey Island Swamp just a short drive from New Orleans. These legends are of the pirates of the Bayou who were said to have hidden buried treasures, Native American ghosts, and the mysterious green lights that lure unsuspecting night travelers into the depths of the swamp, never to be seen again. These are just a few examples of all of the stories that are hidden in the unfathomable depths of the Louisiana swamps, which is home to the Honey Island Swamp Monster.

In August of 1963, Harlan Ford—a retired air traffic controller—was the first to catch sight of the bigfoot of the Bayou, having recently taken up wildlife photography. He described this seven-foot-tall, bipedal creature as being covered in grey hair, with yellow or red inhuman eyes set deep into its primatial face. The air hangs thick around this swamp monster, with an odor of rotting, decaying flesh—a smell so distinctive and disgusting that it would warn anyone of its presence.

The Honey Island Swamp Monster
Honey Island Swamp Monster

In 1974, the Honey Island Swamp Monster gained fame nationally, after Ford and his associate Billy Mills claimed to have found footprints that weren’t like any other creature in the area—these footprints according to myth, and a chance casting of a footprint found by these two men were at between ten to twelve inches long with three webbed toes, along with an opposable digit that was set much farther back than the others. Along with the luck of finding this footprint and casting it, they found the body of a wild board whose throat had been gashed open just a short way away. For the next six years, until his death in 1980, Ford continued to hunt for the creature—after his passing, a reel of Super 8 film was found among the belongings he had left behind, this film supposedly showed proof of the creature’s existence.

In the early twentieth century, before the first reported sighting of the Honey Island Swamp Monster by Ford, there was a legend of a traveling circus—traveling by train, a catastrophic wreck resulted in the escape of a group of chimpanzees. These chimpanzees were said to have gone deep into the swamps and interbred with the local alligator population. The Native Americans who called the area home, referred to the creature as the Letiche—they knew it as carnivorous, living both on land and in water—they believed this creature had originated as an abandoned child, raised by alligators in the darkest, most untouched regions of the swamp.

The Honey Island Swamp Monster caught on Super 8 Video footage

Researchers who have studied the lore of the Honey Island Swamp Monster, believe that it is related to Bigfoot—one reason that it is often referred to as the Bigfoot of the Bayou. While their description is similar, the tracks do not resemble those collected of Bigfoot from the Pacific North West. Despite the reputable nature of Ford and Mills, there have been a number of shows that have focused on hunting down the Honey Island Swamp Monster in order to prove the existence of this cryptid—all of them have come down on the side of the whole thing being a hoax, which isn’t entirely surprising.

Thunderbird: Nightmare of the Skies

Categories
Horror Mystery and Lore

What is the Thunderbird?

The legend of the Thunderbird has roots in the history of North America—going back all the way to before external influences touched the continent—this enormous bird of prey was noted in folktales to be seen most often during the spring and summer seasons and in many instances its appearance would forecast a destructive storm coming to the area. Despite bringing life-giving water to the area, the omen of the Thunderbird always meant death and destruction to the people of the land.

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Photography from Getty Images

Descriptions of this unbelievable black bird report that it has a wing-span between 10-20 feet, with some people comparing it to the size of a small airplane. The only comparable bird, scientifically speaking, would be the Pelagornis sandersi a species which hasn’t existed in over 24 million years. Many also lump the Thunderbird in with a similar cryptid who has been sighted in the Midwest, but it bears more of a resemblance to the extinct Pteranodon as opposed to a feathered bird. Regardless, simply the size of this aerial threat is enough to cause panic in parents of small children, as these creatures have been found attempting to snatch children off of the ground while playing outside.

Thunderbird soaring on the wind
Photography by Quentin Dr

While this creature is not a new avian phenomenon, the Thunderbird has had reported sightings in Juneau, Alaska as recently as the early parts of 2018—and the late Mark A. Hall even wrote an entire book dedicated to the topic. There are many writers out there with an opinion on the topic, some suggesting that it shouldn’t be categorized as a cryptid at all, considering the basis in historical science of birds like these existing once upon a time. It can difficult to get behind, without physical evidence that can be studied in a lab, but this is one cryptid that doesn’t necessarily require a flight of fancy to get people wondering whether or not it truly exists in our modern world.

In the end, reports of this child-snatching terror in the skies are not only an isolated incident in Alaska. Destination Truth even had an episode where they featured the search for the mysterious Thunderbird and while most of their episodes are a little lackluster when it comes to evidential support, I think it’s interesting that the legend of it warranted their time and efforts to try to capture it on film. So what do you think, have you ever seen a Thunderbird?