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In Search Of…The Lizard Man

Anyone who has ever hung around my blog and chain knows I’m a cryptid fanatic. Just check out Swamp Monster Massacre if you don’t believe me. Or my upcoming book, The Montauk Monster. Or the one after that, Hell Hole. I recently had my fortune read by a traveling gypsy, and for the price of one silver coin, a lock of my hair and two drops of blood, she said I was once the leader of a clan of Bigfoots and that one day I would return to the wild. That explains everything.

I was an enormous fan of Lyle Blackburn’s debut book, The Beast of Boggy Creek. Here was a man I could tell loved Sasquatch as much as me. His book was one of the best researched and well written in the vast cryptid library (no offense to Loren Coleman, who is the king of the field).

When I heard Blackburn’s follow up book would be about the Lizard Man of Bishopville, South Carolina, I chomped at the bit to get my hands on it. I snatched up a copy when it came out in October, but with writing deadlines, I had to wait until now to read it – or to put it more accurately, plow through it.

Lizard Man

I have a confession to make. With all my fascination with monsters and beasties, and having half my family live in South Carolina, I’d actually never heard of the Lizard Man. I intentionally avoided looking anything up before reading the book. I trusted Lyle to give me all I’d need, and I was right.

Back in 1988, when hair metal was in full swing and I was playing cards in the cafeteria more than going to classes in college, there was a series of encounters with a large creature that walked on two legs, attacked cars and people and generally scared the bejeesus out of an entire town. That town was Bishopville, SC, which, like the ol’ beast of Boggy Creek, was home to the Scape Ore Swamp, prime living quarters for the strange beast.

Descriptions of the cryptid varied, and in truth, after reading the book, it didn’t seem to be at all like an actual Lizard Man. I get the feeling that what folks were seeing was more in line with a Bigfoot, and I feel Blackburn leans in the same direction. No matter what it was, the town was gripped with Lizard Man fever for a long, hot summer.

Blackburn went down to Bishopville and interviewed the man who had been sheriff at the time, as well as some of the people who had come in contact with the unknown. The man does his homework. He even explored stories of reptiles and lizard men in other areas, pop culture and movies. In fact, he mentioned a few I haven’t seen and will seek out when I go to Horrorhound in Cincinnati next week.

I totally dug Lizard Man and it’s now sitting proudly on my special shelf of prized cryptid and ghost books. I don’t want to spill the beans on the whole book, so I highly suggest you pick up a copy. I did get the feeling that with the flap being so brief and reports not jiving with one another, Blackburn had to pad the book a little to give it some weight. No matter. The padding was just as good as the underpinnings of the story itself.

Let me finish with a personal request for Lyle. Come on up to New York and knock on my door. There’s a place in Orange County I can take you to that will give you enough fodder for three books. I’ll do the driving and buy the first round. Hell, I’ll even break out my cowboy hat.

2013 : Don’t Let The Door Hit You Where The Good Lord Split You

As you can most likely ascertain from the title of this post, 2013 was not my favorite year. In a word, it was a disaster. And so I bid it a not-so-fond farewell, not with a top 10 list or bullet points of resolutions. I have only one resolution for 2014 : to never live through 2013 again. Now there’s one that can’t help but come to fruition.

2014 will be better. The people that have passed from our lives can’t do it a second time. Family members that have been seriously ill are on the mend. I have several books coming out that will keep me exceedingly busy and happy that I’m still living a dream that floated into my fevered brain decades ago.

I have my Narragansett beer, Patron tequila and Nat Sherman cigars waiting to help me usher in the new year.

So, what am I looking forward to?

In April, my novella, The Waiting, a ghost story based on actual events, is sure to make you rethink life and death and the unknown places in between.

The Waiting

Over the summer, my very first western horror, Hell Hole, will take you to a deserted, haunted mining town in Wyoming at the turn of the 20th Century. From aging cowboys to Teddy Roosevelt, wild men to black-eyed kids, hell on earth has never been so much…well, fun!

HellHole

I have another major book announcement to make, but that will come very soon in the new year.

Through all of the tumult, writing and entertaining you, the reader, has been the one thing that’s kept me sane. Despite everything, I managed to write 3 full length novels in 2013, along with my first short story collection, Asylum Scrawls, which is doing exceedingly well despite my typical writer’s neuroses that nothing is ever good enough. I can tell you from experience that writing is better (and cheaper) than therapy.

At the Monster Men podcast dungeon, we’re going to branch into remote interviews with writers, directors, paranormal groups and anyone that tickles our monster bone. In fact, our test run, an interview with Anthony Ventarola (you remember the guy who went with us to the haunted Union Cemtery?) about this season’s The Walking Dead, can be seen right here. Lots more to come.

My wife and I plan to renew our vows, 22 years after the first go around with a priest who was three sheets to the wind and a DJ who drank himself unconscious before the reception ended. Good times.

Basically, 2014 will be a re-start,  a shedding of the skin, even though I hate snakes more than Indiana Jones.

And what better way to move on while still looking back than with a great HuffPost article about the year in Bigfoot. Things will be squatcherific, for sure.

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

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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

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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.

SASQUATCH

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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

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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.

BIGFOOT COUNTY

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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.

SNOW BEAST

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

BIGFOOT LIVES

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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!

Swamp Monster cover 2017

 


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Bigfoot is Big News Lately

It’s been a squatchy week here in the good ol US of A. I was a little shocked to see reports of definitive proof of Bigfoot on all the news outlets. Some of them actually reported it without their usual snarky comments or rolling of the eyes.

The folks at the Sasquatch Genome Project just released some startling (if it’s real) footage of Bigfoot, including one sleeping (below) and a clear, full-on image of a face, which looks an awful lot like Chewbacca. If this is real and Bigfoots look exactly like Wookies, do we need to interrogate George Lucas? Click here to see the news report and video footage. 

bigfoot sleeping

Now, I know there’s been some controversy recently about Dr. Melba Ketchum’s DNA evidence and it’s so hard to get your hopes up. Look, I’m not going to be on this planet for another 100 years. Can one of these legendary cryptids please be proven real before I’m sharing beers with Jesus?

Some eggheads put together a pretty cool visualized Bigfoot map so you can see the clusters of sightings. A great tool if you want to pick your next squatchin’ hideout.

More than anything, watch the video and tell me what you see and think. Has the Bigfoot myth finally been dragged into the harsh light of reality? Or is this just another hoax? The kid in me tends to get a little over excited, but the adult side is waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Inside The International Cryptozoology Museum

Hey, fans of Bigfoot, Mothman, the Jersey Devil, The Dover Demon, Sea Serpents, Chupacabra and all creatures strange and undiscovered, did you know that there’s an International Cryptozoology Museum? I didn’t, and I have been vacationing right outside its doors for years! Located in Portland, Maine, it’s owned and run by world famous cryptozoologist, Loren Coleman. He’s the man who actually coined the terms for many now famous cryptids such as the Montauk Monster and The Dover Demon. You’ve seen him on TV and documentaries like Ancient Aliens, MonsterQuest and Weird Travels. The best part is, when you go to the museum, Loren is there to greet you and talk monsters.

As soon as I found out about it, I had to drag my kids to see it for myself. Located on a small side street off the main drag in downtown Portland, we were greeted by a flag depicting a Coelacanth, a large fish thought to have been extinct for millions of years until one was pulled from the depths in the 1930’s. Loren informed me that the prehistoric fish was the inspiration for my favorite Universal Monster, The Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Crypto Flag

Loren quizzed us on what was on the flag and I passed the test!

Inspired by a fish!

Inspired by a fish!

The museum consists of two rooms jam packed with actual artifacts from cryptid investigations as well as recreations. I was immediately drawn to some of the Bigfoot plaster casts and the news stories accompanying them.

Squatch Feet

Squatch Feet

Loren actually owns the largest Bigfoot in the world and he’s happy to take pictures with everyone standing in front of old Squatchy. Being next to a legend in the field by a giant Bigfoot was the highlight of my trip.

Me, Loren and my favorite hairy dude

Me, Loren and my favorite hairy dude

Once we got through the huge Bigfoot displays, there was a host of other mysteries and wonders to explore. Turning a corner into the other room, I came face to face with the legendary Fiji Mermaid, a bizarre, mummified creature that P.T. Barnum used to proclaim was an actual mermaid. It kind of looks like a shriveled up Yoda with boobs. I wonder of Lucas got his inspiration from this.

“Powerful you have become, the dark side I sense in you.”

“Powerful you have become, the dark side I sense in you.”

The second room had a little bit of everything, from a small Chupacabra display…

A little goat sucker under glass

A little goat sucker under glass

To the Dover Demon, an alien-like creature that appeared in a Massachussets town over a 2 day period in 1977.

You can read about the Dover Demon in Loren's book 'Monsters of Massachusetts"

You can read about the Dover Demon in Loren’s book ‘Monsters of Massachusetts”

Turns out, Loren investigated the strange and creepy Mothman and was even friends with John Keel, the man who reported on the infamous cryptid. He was a consultant for the movie, The Mothman Prophecies and starred in a documentary on it. It’s my belief that what went on in that West Virginia town in the 60s is one of the weirdest events of all time. You can check out our Monster Men podcast on the subject here.

You could dedicate a whole museum to the Mothman

You could dedicate a whole museum to the Mothman

Loren told me that he was the man who gave the Montauk Monster its name. He also said it was just a decomposed raccoon. Bummer.

I don't know, this doesn't look like a raccoon to me

I don’t know, this doesn’t look like a raccoon to me

The museum has it all. For a guy like me, I could have stayed there all day, but it was getting late and we had a Duck Boat tour to take and a baseball game to see. So, if you’re ever in the Portland area, I highly suggest you check it out. It must be popular, because it was even mentioned on the Duck Boat tour. There are monsters everywhere….at least I hope.

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