Monthly Archives: July 2013

“I’ve never met a healthy person who worried much about his health, or a good person who worried much about his soul.”

– John B.S. Haldane

An apology for the devil: it must be remembered that we have heard only one side of the case; God has written all the books.

– Samuel Butler

Review: The Beast of Boggy Creek by Lyle Blackburn

The Beast of Boggy Creek by Lyle Blackburn documents the history of a Sasquatch-like creature that has been making appearances in the vicinity of Fouke, Arkansas for decades. Also known as the Fouke Monster, it originally catapulted to fame when it became the subject of the 70s film The Legend of Boggy Creek. Blackburn recognizes the movie, which he first saw as a youngster, as being a significant contributor to his eventual adult interest in cryptozoology. Finding a dearth of solid documentation regarding the monster, the author took it upon himself to pursue the topic and become the beast’s “biographer.”

A biography almost seems to be an appropriate summary for the book, too. The author does not invest heavily into trying to prove nor disprove the reality of the creature. He does include a summary of some common theories in one of the later chapters, and although it’s made fairly clear that none of the suggested debunkings seem to hold much water, the work ultimately shies away from forcing an explanation. The focus is clearly on recording the story for what it is; who saw what, where, and when. Colorful stories abound, and it’s clear that Blackburn has put a lot of effort into getting around and unearthing every scrap of information he could. Remote sites were visited, living witnesses were interviewed, and news reports were meticulously scavenged for details on the creature. He even manages to tie nearly every scene from the Boggy Creek film to the real life event that inspired it. And the end result is impressive to say the least. Every mystery beast should be so lucky to have such a dedicated biographer.

I really loved this book. It reminded me of all the things I enjoy in a good old fortean mystery. There are colorful characters aplenty, and a constant stream of the odd and intriguing incidents that you just can’t help but want to believe. The author manages to hit pretty much every aspect of the story, too. From the history of the location and early sightings, to the infamous film and the resulting monster craze, and many of the locals who wound up at the core of the situation (right up to present day), there’s rarely a dull moment. The writing is clear and accessible and the pace keeps you turning the pages. Blackburn really manages to express his own love of the mystery and the atmosphere surrounding it to the reader, and his enthusiasm is contagious.

Highly recommended. Existing knowledge of the Boggy Creek film is also by no means a requirement. While I’m sure it adds some extra depth for those who have seen it, The Beast of Boggy Creek easily stands on its own merits.

Rating: 5/5