Meet the Honey Island Swamp Monster. According to legend and supposed eyewitness accounts, it's a 500-pound beast, part man, part animal, with bright yellow eyes, covered in hair from head to toe, and about eight feet tall. It wanders through the moss-covered cypress trees in Honey Island Swamp, which is in eastern St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, about 40 miles from New Orleans. Nola.com recently published a great article about the creature, including some history of the legend, and some fascinating eye-witness accounts. Nola.com explains:
Over the decades, numerous people have talked of an ape-like creature or creatures living in swamps. Like other "monsters"—Loch Ness, Bigfoot—the Honey Island Swamp Monster has developed an enduring legend. The monster has its own Wikipedia page and has been the source of numerous news stories and documentaries. Talk of the monster, of course, is also a staple of some of the swamp tours operating in the area.
"Reporting a sighting of Bigfoot, Sasquatch and even the Honey Island Swamp Monster does not get you labeled a crazy person anymore, and therefore, those who believe eyewitnesses are not labeled crazy either," said Dana Holyfield, granddaughter of Harlan Ford—a man often credited with having the first recorded encounter with the purported swamp monster.
But as with all great monsters, certifiable proof has been elusive.
Next time I'm visiting family in St. Tammany Parish, I'm going to ask if we can go to the swamp and look for the monster. I'm sure my family will be thrilled. Read more about the creature here.