The legend of the Boggy Creek Monster has long captivated the people of Fouke, Arkansas, a little town about 150 miles outside of Little Rock. It is said that Fouke is the first place that this cryptid was spotted. According to legend, the Boggy Creek Monster stands between seven and eight feet tall on two feet and weighs close to 300 pounds. Its chest, legs, and arms are covered with thick, long hair.
The first reported sightings go all the way back to 1834, when people began to report a large, hairy “wild man” was roaming around Arkansas. In the 1900s, sightings around Fouke became more frequent. Residents spotted the monster more than 40 times in 1997 alone. It has been suggested that the animal is nocturnal, but a hunter reported a sighting in broad daylight in the Sulfur River Wildlife Area near Fouke in 2000.
The Boggy Creek Monster has been the subject of at least four different films, beginning with 1973’s The Legend of Boggy Creek. This movie, centered around Bobby Ford’s supposed encounter with the beast, played in drive-in theaters around the country and introduced millions to the legend. Mostly shot on location in Fouke but with additional scenes filmed in Texarkana and Shreveport, Louisiana, the film also served as a major economic boost to the region; many cast members were locals or nearby college students.
The famous encounter that the film is based on occurred in 1971. Bobby and Elizabeth Ford claimed that the Boggy Creek Monster attacked their home late on the night of May 1. The monster, Elizabeth said, reached through her screen window, but was chased away by Bobby and Dan, his brother, who had just returned from a hunting trip. Unsatisfied, the monster returned shortly after midnight and tossed Bobby to the ground. Bobby was taken to the St. Michael Hospital in Texarkana and treated for large gashes across his back. He was suffering from mild shock when he arrived, according to newspaper reports (there were several papers covering the legend around this time). Although no traces of blood were found at the Ford’s home, three-toed footprints were found near the house, there were scratches on the porch, and the siding and a window were both damaged.
Many have argued the reported sightings of the Boggy Creek Monster are actually sightings of black bears, misidentified. Although black bears are not bipedal, they can rear up on two feet. Some weigh up to 400 pounds and stand six feet tall.
In an attempt to capitalize on the Boggy Creek legend, Peavy’s Monster Mart sells souvenirs and trinkets based on the beast and has even erected a large wooden cutout outside of the store where visitors and tourists can take pictures of themselves as the Boggy Creek Monster.