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
Monster Hunting with Lyle Blackburn
Man, was I thrilled to interview Lyle Blackburn on the Monster Men. He is fast becoming a legend in the field of cryptozoology, and he’s a damn fine writer to boot. We spent over an hour talking monsters, so we broke the interview up into 2 parts. Enjoy!
This episode of Monster Men is such a big event, we had to present it in two parts. This time out we interview renowned monster hunter Lyle Blackburn, author of THE BEAST OF BOGGY CREEK and LIZARD MAN. His books are must reads for fans of cryptozoology, urban legends and monsters.
Lyle Blackburn Part 1: The Lizard Man
Lyle Blackburn Part 2: The Beast of Boggy Creek
In part one of our interview we focus on the Lizard Man, the mysterious monster of Bishopville, NC. Lyle investigated this case firsthand and his stories and accounts from actual witnesses will astound you. He’s got every angle covered and his book is fascinating.
In part two of our interview, we discuss Lyle’s true passion, the legendary Fouke Monster of Boggy Creek. Ever since Lyle saw the movie “The Legend of Boggy Creek” as a kid, he has been fascinated by this Bigfoot-like creature…
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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.
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.