Much of the swamp is only accessible by boat. With only a few roads, the remainder must be traveled by foot. The northern part of the swampland is made up of thick pine forests that are part of the Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge. The lower regions of the swamp are classified as flood plains where the Pearl River often escapes its banks.
As you might imagine, such a vast refuge is teeming with all kinds of wildlife that includes alligators, deer, bear, feral hogs and many other animals. But many claim that something other than typical earthly animals is skulking about the dense forest and surrounding swampland.
The Honey Island Swamp Monster
The Honey Island Swamp Monster was first officially reported in 1963. Harlan E. Ford, a retired air traffic controller, and his friend, Ray Mills, were hunting on Honey Island when they encountered the creature.
According to the two men, they came upon the creature after it had torn out a boar’s throat. The creature was leaning over the boar when the men startled it. The creature glared at the intruders before running away into the woods. Ford stated that the creature had dingy gray hair all over its body with the hair on its head being much longer. He also noted that the creature had clawed hands instead of paws.
The men estimated that the creature stood approximately seven feet tall and weighed somewhere around 400 pounds. The most frightening feature of the creature was its yellow, almost sickly looking eyes that were set wide apart. They also reported that it had a horrible sickly stench.
Harlan made a plaster cast of the creature’s footprints that were nearly 12 inches long with three long, rather thin toes and a fourth that resembled a thumb. Soon after this first sighting was reported, other sightings were reported and the name Honey Island Swamp Monster was given to the creature.
The creature legend isn’t new, in fact, Native American legends refer to the creature as “Letiche”. The Native American legend claims that the creature is an aquatic humanoid that eats animals, livestock and even humans. The legend claims that the Letiche was a lost child raised by swamp alligators.
Another legend claims that the monster is an exotic hybrid born of alligators and chimpanzees that escaped into the swamp after a circus train wrecked along Pearl River. Some claim that the swamp monster is a cousin of Bigfoot. The tracks claimed to be found and those cast in plaster reveal a 3 or 4 toed creature.
In 1973, a guide traveling by boat reported seeing a bi-pedal creature emerge from the swamp and walk into the woods. Others have reported seeing the creature in the woods or swimming in a bayou or hearing strange calls and screams.
TV Shows and Documentary Feature the Swamp Creature
Various TV shows, such as In Search Of and Animal Planet have featured the legend of the Honey Island Swamp Monster. Missing livestock and even children have been attributed to the swamp monster.
In fact, soon after Harlan Ford’s death in 1980, his family discovered a super 8mm film that he allegedly shot on a return visit to the swamp. Although grainy, the film reveals a tall hairy dark figure moving through the woods.
In 2002, Ford’s granddaughter, Dana Holyfield wrote a book, “Encounters With The Honey Island Swamp Monster”. Then, in 2007, she made a documentary film, “The Legend of The Honey Island Swamp Monster”. There are various videos on her website along with news about her plans to produce a “big screen” film about her grandfather’s story of hunting the swamp monster.
Clearly, the Honey Island Swamp Monster is shrouded in many legends of how it came to be in existence and, much like the hunt for evidence of Bigfoot, the search for proof continues throughout the swampland. What do you think? Is there a simple explanation for the reports or is there something more going on in Honey Island Swamp?
The video below is a documentary about the swamp monster.
The video below debunks the 1963 video, stating that the super 8mm wasn’t released until 1965 by Kodak.