WHITE RIVER MONSTER
Near Newport, Arkansas
The forests, sparsely populated regions and the Ozark Hills of Arkansas have long made for many mysteries and the strange creatures of the state are no exception. There have been a number of anomalous creatures who have appeared throughout the state over the years. The Fouke Monster of Fouke, Arkansas is certainly one of the strangest. This six-feet-tall, hairy, humanoid monster gained notoriety in the late 1960's when it harassed two families living outside this town in the southwest part of the state. The monster is reported to have smelled awful and made a habit of killing chickens and livestock and mauling a number of dogs. The story became so popular that a low-budget horror movie called The Legend of Boggy Creek was made about it in 1973. The other most famous creature of Arkansas is the White River Monster, a mystery so widely accepted that it has it's own game preserve! From about 1915 to the 1970's, residents of the small town of Newport reported seeing a monster in the nearby river. The sightings were not constant but seemed to occur many at a time.
The monster was described as being sea-serpent-like and at least thirty feet long. Witnesses reported that it made a loud bellowing noise and had a spiny backbone. The reports varied the creature's size over the years and it was often encountered by fisherman and campers along the river. Two men reported in 1971 that they saw three-toed tracks along the muddy river banks and a place where the monster had crushed some of the vegetation.The creature was even photographed that same year by Cloyce Warren of the White River Lumber Company.
In 1973 a resolution was passed in the Arkansas State Legislature creating the White River Monster Refuge along all of the White River that runs adjacent to the Jacksonport State Park. This resolution made it illegal to "molest, kill, trample, or harm the White River Monster while he is in the retreat."
Newport, Arkansas is located about ninety miles northeast of Little Rock on Highway 67. The White River Monster has been sighted along the river and from the Jacksonport State Park.
The Fouke Monster was seen near this town in southwest Arkansas at the junction of the
Sulphur and Red Rivers. The sightings occurred between 1955 and 1975 along Boggy Creek.
The film, based on the events, The Legend of Boggy Creek, is described as a
low-budget docudrama about sightings of a horrifying swamp monster. It became
a huge success and, believe it or not, inspired two sequels. It is supposed to
be still available on videocassette, but I have not yet found a copy.
Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor