They are legendary creatures, and there is no proof they even exist, but people still believe. The chupacabra, or “goat sucker,” ranks right up there with the Jersey Devil and Bigfoot for legendary creatures, but the goat suckers may have shown themselves recently in Texas. Two canine-like animals (that many believe to be chupacabras) were shot and killed in north Texas this week, rekindling the stories of these creatures that suck up animals and spit out their bones. Testing on the DNA of the animals will be done to determine what exactly they are.
In my home area of southern Illinois, we have never had a chupacabra sighting, but we have our own legendary creature – the Big Muddy Monster. I grew up hearing about the Big Muddy Monster, and it still remains an unexplained legend in southern Illinois.
It was June of 1973 when the small southern Illinois town of Murphysboro first encountered a creature that would be dubbed the “Big Muddy Monster.” Witnesses reported seeing a tall, white-haired, mud-caked creature in the woods near the banks of the Big Muddy River.
The first sighting of the Big Muddy Monster came just before midnight on June 25, 1973. A couple was parked next to the woods near a boat dock when they heard a loud screaming in the woods and saw a large creature. They described it as about seven feet tall and having mud-covered light hair. The creature walked upright on two legs, and came toward the car.
After receiving the report from the couple, Murphysboro police officers searched the area using flashlights. They found tracks in the mud which measured about three or four inches deep, approximately 10-12 inches long and three inches wide. The police officers who were conducting the search reported hearing a loud scream coming from the woods during their search. They were never able to find further evidence of the creature.
More sightings of the creature came the next evening with similar descriptive details: a tall, mud-caked, light-colored hairy creature on two legs. The sightings on the next evening were by teenagers sitting on a back porch in the Westwood Hills subdivision and another man and his five-year-old son. These sightings reported seeing the creature near a field at the edge of the woods.
After police officers responded, two decided to venture into the woods in the area of the sightings. They reported seeing slimy residue on tree branches and noted a foul odor. A dog handler from the Carbondale Police Department in the next town over was called in. The dog was able to track the scent to a nearby barn, but refused to go inside.
One police officer surmised it was a bear (even though bears are not found in southern Illinois) while a cryptozoologist named Loren Coleman who studied the Big Muddy Monster during the 1970s later told a reporter that he believed the Big Muddy Monster was indeed a Sasquatch, or, as it is more commonly known – a Bigfoot.
Only two more reports of sightings of the creature came in after those two days in June of 1973, and nothing has been seen or heard from the Big Muddy Monster since. What was it, and what happened to it? Nobody seems to know, and perhaps those questions will never be answered. No matter: The Big Muddy Monster is a part of southern Illinois legend and lore, and will forever remain so.