Chester Moore Jr. reports in Texas Fish & Game Magazine that last year, residents of Sabine, Texas reported seeing a gray, ape-like creature in the area?s dense forests. The local newspaper called the creature the ?Sabine Thing.?
A similar beast called the ?Caddo Critter? is said to have inhabited the area around Caddo Lake in the 1970?s. The Sulphur River along the Texas-Arkansas border has been a source of similar sightings for decades.
?Bigfoot? (or ?Sasquatch?) is associated with the Pacific Northwest, but investigators are searching for the same (or very similar) animal in Texas. Bobby Hamilton is the founder of the Gulf Coast Bigfoot Research Organization (GCBRO), a group dedicated to solving these mysteries in Texas and elsewhere. ?I know it sounds crazy, but there are Bigfoot creatures right here in Texas,? Hamilton says. ?That?s a lot to swallow, but I?ve been researching these creatures in the field for quite some time now. They?re out there.? His organization believes these creatures are real flesh and blood animals, not paranormal.
?They?re flesh and blood animals,? Hamilton says. ?We don?t believe they are flying around in UFOs or are shapeshifters or anything like that. In fact, we don?t allow anyone into our group who talks about that kind of stuff. We believe these animals to be a primate, a very smart primate that we just haven?t yet proven exists.?
The GCBRO keeps a log of sightings by county in Texas and other states, and according to Hamilton, reports come in on a weekly basis. ?Some of them are recent reports while others may be 30 years old,? he says. ?But they all tell us something. If an area has a bunch of sightings over a long period of time we know that?s a good area to research.?
Researching an area consists of looking for signs like footprints and twisted limbs and listening for vocalizations. ?We have recorded some noises we just can?t place with known animals. Some of these sounds are pretty amazing, even frightening,? says Hamilton.
The group has even found some hair samples. Primatologists who examined the samples said they were from ?no known animal.? One came back as matching alleged Bigfoot hair gathered in the Pacific Northwest.
?There are people within our group who have seen these creatures, myself included,? says Hamilton. ?Some joined the group because they saw one and others have seen them in the course of research.?
Craig Woolheater is a researcher for the Texas Bigfoot Research Center (TBRC) who has been interviewed on Dreamland. ?Several of our members have seen these creatures, and that?s a big part of the reason we?re so passionate about studying them. It?s one thing to read about them, but another to see them,? he says.
Woolheater?s sighting occurred while he and his wife were traveling through Louisiana one night in the early 1990?s. ?This big, grayish, hairy creature ran across the road in front of us on two legs. It was dark, but we got a good look at it. The beast was kind of slumped over,? he says.
TBRC members believe the creatures are a subspecies of the ones in the Pacific Northwest. ?The basic reports are the same?a large, hairy animal walking upright,? Woolheater says. ?But there are some differences, like coloration, hair length and build. Until it?s proven they exist, all of that?s kind of a moot point. This is certainly cryptozoology?s biggest mystery.?
Loren Coleman, who has also been on Dreamland, says there have been several discoveries of large animals in recent years. ?Just last December, there was a 22 foot-long squid discovered by scientists,? he says. ?It?s an entirely new species. A new species of antelope was found in Vietnam a few years ago. Tales of the mountain gorilla used to be greeted with the same kind of disdain as modern day mystery primate sightings. One day we may find out these creatures are real too.?
Coleman says there are many historical references of such creatures in the South, both from European and Native American culture. ?The Louisiana Choctaw Indian had an animal they called the nalusa fayala, which means ?long, evil being.? It fit the description often given of mysterious primates in the South,? he says.
The most famous Southern Bigfoot sightings came from just across the border on the Arkansas side of the Sulphur River near the tiny community of Fouke. The ?Fouke Monster,? as the creature was called by locals, was made famous by the 1973 film, ?The Legend of Boggy Creek.? Smokey Crabtree was a wildlife advisor for the film. He believes there are such creatures roaming the southern bottomlands. ?A lot of people got the impression after watching the movie that the creature was mean and aggressive, but in my experience it wasn?t,? he says.
?My son came home one day saying he saw this big, hairy creature in the woods behind where we lived. I could tell he was dead serious too, and this bothered me. I had never known my son to lie, but I just couldn?t believe there might be something like that out in the woods I had hunted and trapped in my whole life,? Crabtree says. ?After awhile, older members of my family started coming to me and saying my son wasn?t lying. They had seen such a creature in the area in years past but swore to never tell. However, they felt they had to let me know my son was telling the truth. I started looking back to things that happened to me out in the woods and in the bottoms in the past, and wondered if something strange had really occurred.?
Crabtree says, ?We get reports from time to time. In fact, a few years ago I got a report from several different people who reported seeing a large hairy creature off of Highway 71. Three motorists saw this thing on the side of the road at the same time, and on the same night a lady who had no knowledge of the other sightings reported seeing the same thing in the same general area.?
To learn more about Bigfoot in Texas, read ?In the Big Thicket? by Rob Riggs, click here.
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