Interview with Cryptid Investigator and Author Lyle Blackburn
We recently interviewed Lyle Blackburn on the Monster Men to discuss his new movie, Boggy Creek Monster, and book, Monstro Bizzaro. If you’re obsessed with cryptids like I am, Lyle is one of the best investigators in the field today. His previous books, The Beast of Boggy Creek and Lizard Man have prominent positions on my bookshelf.
When all was said and done, I realized I still had a few more questions I’d wanted to ask. So, here is the original video interview along with the bonus questions Lyle was kind enough to answer. Now let’s go squatchin!
We’re very much alike in that we grew up fascinated by tales of Bigfoot and other creatures (as well as a fondness for The Creature from the Black Lagoon!). How did you take the leap from being a rocker in Ghoultown to cryptid reporter?
LB : In addition to being a musician, I’ve always worked as a writer. Among other things, I wrote for a rock magazine and then for Rue Morgue (www.rue-morgue.com) as their cryptozoology-meets-horror columnist. I’ve always wanted to write a book, so I decided to take some time off from the band to pursue that. I ended up choosing one of my favorite subjects, The Legend of Boggy Creek. Once I started investigating these sort of cryptid cases and writing the books, I really enjoyed it so I continued. I always thought the job of a professional writer sounded boring, but this brought me to interesting places and I met interesting people as part of the writing process – not to mention it involved my fascination with cryptids. My band Ghoultown still plays and records, but we don’t tour like we used to.
One of the best things you bring to the field of cryptozoology is your straightforward, journalistic approach to researching and educating people about creatures like the Boggy Creek Monster and the Lizard Man of Bishopville. You report the stories and the facts as they are without dramatization for the sake of titillating your readers. What made you decide to go in this direction and do you think the field needs more level headed reporting so it can be taken more seriously by the mainstream media and public?
LB: I think these stories are fascinating unto themselves without trying to sway people toward a certain point of view. I just tell the story, report the facts, and let whatever evidence speak for itself. I like to take the reader along as I investigate and give them credit to make up their own mind.
Who are some of your biggest influences and why?
LB: As far as writing and cryptozoology, I would say John Green and Loren Coleman. Green always had a level-headed approach to Sasquatch research and presented the stories in an engaging way. He also paid attention to details and getting the facts correct as best he could. Coleman, of course, paved the way for the modern cryptozoology researcher and has investigated so many of the seminal cases. Many times as I’m doing research, when I trace an investigation back to its original source, Coleman was there first. I’m honored that he wrote the Foreword for my first book, The Beast of Boggy Creek. It’s like having one of your heroes endorse your efforts. So cool.
Out of all the photographic and video evidence for Bigfoot, which to you is the most compelling evidence that it is real? And with just about everyone having a camera/videocam in their pockets, why aren’t we getting more solid evidence? Could it be we are but because it’s so easy to fake now, the real deal might be hiding in plain sight?
LB: To me, the footprints represent the most compelling evidence. Examples such as the Elkins Creek cast from Georgia stand out, especially when I’ve been able to interview the police officer who originally discovered the track.
As far as all the photos and videos, it’s really hard to discern between what might be real and what is a possible case of pareidolia or just outright fake. All the blurry shots don’t do us any good. We need something much clearer in this day and age, and even that is suspect since modern technology allows for such amazing CGI. Most people do carry a smart phone camera these days, but the lack of a clear photo shouldn’t be used as a basis to completely rule out the possibility of these creatures. Chance encounters typically last only a few moments, making it hard to pull out a phone, open the camera app, aim, and take a photo.
I’m sure you’ve heard the Sierra Bigfoot recordings taken back in the 70s. What are your thoughts on it and other similar recordings? Most of them are downright chilling.
LB: They’re definitely creepy and very compelling. In my opinion the Sierra Sounds are legit. And if it’s not a hoax, then that leaves very few possibilities beyond an undiscovered creature such as Bigfoot. I’ve heard recordings from other places which sound very similar; sent to me by credible individuals. They just don’t sound like any known animal.
Do you have any plans to investigate the Skunk Ape in Florida? I have the Fate Magazine with the famous Skunk Ape picture on the cover and keep waiting for someone to hunker down and do some serious research in that corner of the country.
LB: Earlier this year I visited the Ocala National Forest in Florida where there’s been a good amount of Skunk Ape sightings over the years. This was part of the research for my upcoming book, “Beyond Boggy Creek: In Search of the Southern Sasquatch” in which I document the history of Bigfoot sightings all over the Southern U.S. I dedicate an entire chapter of the book to the Skunk Ape, although there’s so much to this cryptid’s history and so many sightings, that I could write an entire book on it. Perhaps in the future.
Follow Lyle Blackburn at http://www.lyleblackburn.com
In the mood for a good cryptid book? Check these out…
The Beast of Boggy Creek : The True Story of the Fouke Monster
Loch Ness Revenge
The Jersey Devil
11 Bigfoot Movies To Get Squatchy With
In honor of the return of Finding Bigfoot to the airwaves, I figured I’d list 11 (that’s right, mine goes to eleven!) Bigfoot movies for all you squatch lovers. I honestly feel that little show on Animal Planet is responsible for the rash of recent and upcoming Bigfoot movies – and in my book, that’s a good thing.
Even better news for all you movie producers, the definitive Bigfoot movie has yet to be made. Find a writer, quality director and Adam Sandler cash and get to work.
So, here’s the list. Thanks to Amazon, I’ve dropped in a quick synopsis for each followed by a 1 line personal review, because I can’t say no to Bigfoot movies, as well as my Squatch Rating of 1 to 5 Squatch Toes. There are dozens of sasquatch movies out there, the bulk being made in the 70’s and within the last few years. This should be a good place to start your squatch-ucation.
THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK
A 1970s documentary-style drama questions the existence of a hairy 7ft tall Sasquatch-type monster that lives in a swap outside of Fouke, Arkansas. According to the locals the monster walks on two feet, has a characteristic smelly odor and kills chickens.
Hunter : It put the low in low budget but is still a classic despite the terrible music. 2 1/2 Squatch Toes.
CREATURE FROM BLACK LAKE
Some fishermen are attacked in the Louisiana swamps. When the word gets out of a mysterious Bigfoot-type creature, two researchers come to a small town to study and hopefully discover what the beast is. Their research from some farmers help the two men to learn that the creature may be a very angry and murderous missing link.
Hunter : Some actual, real life actors in here and though cheesy, has a couple of creepy moments. 3 Squatch Toes.
Scientists mount an expedition to find a Bigfoot-type creature. (Wow, could they spare the words???)
Hunter : Saw this as a kid in the theater and it scared the hell out of me, though I have a feeling I’d be less than impressed now. 2 Squatch Toes.
NOT YOUR TYPICAL BIGFOOT MOVIE
Dallas Gilbert and Wayne Burton, best friends from a dying former steel town in Ohio, are out to convince the world that Bigfoot exists.
Hunter : A wonderful documentary that’s more about two old and broke friends searching for Bigfoot than the hair fella. 4 Squatch Toes.
Based on found footage. A documentary filmmaker and his crew venture up to Siskiyou County to investigate the alleged Bigfoot sightings.
Hunter : Three ass-tards get what they deserve in this dreadful found footage flick. 1 Squatch Toe.
Jim (John Schneider) and his research team study the Canadian Lynx every year. This year, he has to take his rebelling 16 year-old daughter, Emmy (Danielle Chuchran), with him. But the lynx are missing. As Jim and his team–with the help of a local ranger (Jason London)–try to find out why, something stalks them–a predator no prey can escape.
Hunter : Perfect to fall asleep to on a Saturday afternoon after mowing the lawn. 2 Squatch Toes.
BIGFOOT : LOST COAST TAPES
After a Bigfoot Hunter claims to possess the body of a dead Sasquatch, a disgraced journalist stakes his comback and the lives of his documentary crew on proving the finding to be a hoax.
Hunter : Oddly strange yet effective found footage movie with the most bizarre ending any squatcher could conceive. 4 Squatch Toes.
SHRIEK OF THE MUTILATED
What is the grisly, hides secret of the murdering white yeti? A group of college students finds out when they venture to a mysterious island. Low budget and REALLY awful in places, but at times chillingly effective. A Shostokovich type score much like that used in THE BRAIN EATERS.
Hunter : Considered by some to be an underground classic, but they’re all high. 2 Squatch Toes.
THE BIGFOOT HUNTER : STILL SEARCHING
In the summer of 2006, two Sasquatch hunters led a group of curious, young paranormal investigators into the hills of southern New York on a quest for evidence of the legendary beast known as Bigfoot.
Hunter : This documentary surprised the hell out of me and is a a must watch for squatchers. 3 1/2 Squatch Toes.
THE LEGEND OF BIGFOOT
Wildlife chronicler Ivan Marx became one of the world’s most notorious Bigfoot researchers. This film documents his journey, with plenty of raw footage and unique insight. Marx’s quest takes the viewer throughout the wilds of Northern US and Canada, where we follow the trail of ravaged farm animals and stunned eyewitnesses that Bigfoot is leaving in his wake. Not to mention some of the most famous footage ever shot of the elusive creature!
Hunter : A horribly shot nature flick that will bore you to no end. 1 Squatch Toe.
Everything you know about Bigfoot is about to change. Follow the travels of the world renowned Bigfoot hunter, Tom Biscardi, and his Searching for Bigfoot team. You will follow the team as they search the country from Montana to New York in search of the world’s most elusive and mysterious beast. Tom Biscardi has been in search of Bigfoot for close to 34 years and you will see what he has discovered! Journey further and deeper into the world of Bigfoot then ever before in this award-winning documentary.
Hunter : Find out why Tom Biscardi has been totally discredited by the Bigfoot community. No Squatch Toes.
And there you have it, 11 Bigfoot movies that should keep you busy through November. And if you’re looking for some squatchy reading material, you can always pick up a copy of SWAMP MONSTER MASSACRE, where skunk apes get real…real angry!
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A Crash Course on the Bigfoot of Boggy Creek
Admittedly, I’m a crypto nut. My father bought me a hardcover book on monsters when I was a kid and I’ve been hooked ever since. I remember it had some green, muppet-y looking creature on the cover. I wonder where it went.
For folks my age (I was born around the time the Jets won the Super Bowl), there is a pivotal movie that hooked our fascination with Bigfoot. That film, a drive-in flick that took the country by storm, was The Legend of Boggy Creek. The movie was shot like a documentary and recalls the tale of the Fouke Monster and how it terrorized a town in Arkansas in 1971. Production was cheap, actual townies were used to re-enact events and the pacing was, well, ponderous at times.
With everything going against it, The Legend of Boggy Creek succeeded in terrifying audiences, first in theaters, then on home video, for years. Something about it felt so real, so plausible, that you can’t help being sucked in to the story.
Like most, I thought this was a brief Bigfoot flap that came and went. I was wrong. There is so much more to the story. Here’s everything you need to know about the Bigfoot sightings in and around the now legendary Fouke, Arkansas.
The sightings of a large, bipedal creature did’t begin in 1971. In fact, there are records of brushes with the hairy cryptid, both written and verbal, going back 100 years and continuing right up to the present day, Individuals, families, hunters and even police have all had strange encounters, especially around Highway 71 and the Sulphur River Bottoms.
What makes the Fouke Bigfoot different than other squatches in other locations? From all accounts, the Fouke Bigfoot is aggressive. In quite a few cases, it’s been very threatening towards humans. The Ford family house was attacked by a large, angry creature that tore off doors, broke through windows and grabbed people with intent to harm. This is very uncommon for Bigfoot sightings. The Fouke Bigfoot is not a happy camper and people have gone into shock after coming across it. It’s been known to charge at and even grab people with talon-tipped fingers.
As the town of Fouke has seen a decrease in forested land that makes a perfect hideout for the beasts, it’s been seen less there, but more so in neighboring towns less than 10 miles away that are still dense with trees and winding rivers. Are they migrating? It seems likely.
The creature is generally described as being between 6 and 8 feet tall, with glowing red eyes. On some night encounters, people have seen the eyes first, then the massive body emerging from the dark. Its face is tanned and very human-like.
I don’t think any Bigfoot has been shot at more times than the creatures living in Fouke. The odd thing is that many experienced hunters have had the creature in their sights and appear to have missed every time. Unless there’s a Bigfoot hospital somewhere that tends to their wounds, they’ve all escaped unscathed.
Now, I’m not saying everything that’s been reported is true. I’m just stating the facts. You can visit the town for yourself and see.
Before you go, you may want to bone up on the story and enjoy some of the fiction that’s grown up around it. I highly suggest the following:
- The Beast of Boggy Creek by Lyle Blackburn. From what I can tell, this is the definitive collection of all things Fouke Monster. Blackburn has done an excellent job collecting all of the lore and reports.
- Boggy Creek : The Legend is True by Eric S. Brown. Probably the #1 Bigfoot fiction writer today, Brown’s story will grab you by the throat.
- Smokey and the Fouke Monster by Smokey Crabtree. Smokey actually lived in Fouke and was very much in the thick of things. An interesting bird’s eye view of the phenomena.
And of course, grab a copy of the movie. I have Fouke on my list of places to visit. I’m sure local Bigfoot researchers go into the woods from time to time, searching for the elusive legend.
Which begs the question, if you know that the Fouke Bigfoot is aggressive, would you bring extra precautions on a hunt? Would knowing its temperment make you think twice before going out there?
The legend continues…