Honey Island Swamp Monster – Louisiana
By Jessica Stacey-Miller
The Honey Island Swamp monster, also known as the Louisiana Wookie, is a fascinating humanoid cryptid believed to have been seen lurking in the swamp since 1963. Honey Island Swamp is one of the most uncorrupted swamp lands in the U.S.A. covering over 70,000 acres of protected wildlife land. The swamp is inhabited by many animals including alligators, wild boars, snakes, black bears and bald eagles.
The first reported sighting was by Harlan Ford, a retired Air Traffic Controller who had a passion for wildlife photography. The monster gained notoriety in 1974 when Harlan and his friend Billy Mills reported to have found odd footprints as well as several bodies of boars with their throats slashed open. Harlan was able to get a plaster cast of the footprint showing webbed toes. The Louisiana Wildlife Commission and zoologist at the Louisiana State University were called out to examine the footprint and it was determined not to be a hoax. They estimated the weight of the creature to be around 400 pounds and an animal of unknown origin. Harlan kept searching for the monster for several years and after Harlan’s death in 1980, a film reel was found with footage of the monster. Though the video is not clear, you can still find a clip of the film online. Another man, Ted Williams, claimed to also have sighted the creature. When asked why he didn’t kill the creature, his response was that he didn’t feel threatened and didn’t believe it wanted to hurt him. Ted took his boat out one day to set trout lines and was never heard from again.
According to legend, the creature is reported as having two rear limbs, roughly 7 feet tall with matted grey hair and yellow or red reptilian eyes. Locals in the area have theorized that the creature is to blame for many livestock deaths as well as cases of missing adults and children. An interesting legend is that of a train wreck in nearby Pearl River in the early twentieth century. According to legend a train full of exotic animals from a traveling circus crashed and the animals fled into the swamp. Supposedly the chimpanzee’s mated with the alligators and the Honey Island Swamp monster is the product of their union. However, this is impossible as monkeys and alligators cannot interbreed.
The creature was featured in many television shows including Lost Tapes, In search of…, Fact or faked: Paranormal files, Swamp people, and Monsters and mysteries in America. There is a real plaster cast footprint of the Honey Island Swamp monster on display at Abita Mystery House. The plaster cast was donated by Dana Holyfield, the grand-daughter of Harland Ford.