Fouke (Miller County) is a small town in southwest Arkansas that attracted attention in the early 1970s when a resident of Texarkana (Miller County) reported being attacked by a mysterious creature there. A reporter for the Texarkana Gazette wrote an article about the events, and from that small publication, a legend was born. Fouke and its monster became famous and were featured in a 1973 movie.
In May 1971, Bobby Ford reported to the Fouke constable that he was attacked at his house by a hairy creature that breathed heavily, had red eyes, and moved very fast. Ford said the man-like creature, which was about seven feet tall and three feet across the chest, put its arm around his shoulder and grabbed him. Ford broke free from the creature and ran, reporting that he ran so fast that he did not stop to open the front door but barreled right through it. He was treated at a local hospital for minor scratches and shock.
Ford said the being had been around his house for several days and that there were other eyewitnesses, including his brother and a hunting companion. Ford’s wife, Elizabeth, claimed that she was asleep in the front room when she saw a hairy arm with claws coming in the window. She also saw the creature’s red eyes. On the night of the attack, Ford claimed, he and his hunting companions spotted the creature at the back of Ford’s house with the aid of a flashlight. They shot at it and thought they saw it fall. The men started out toward it, but Bobby Ford ran back to the house when the group heard women screaming. Upon Ford’s return to the house, he was attacked. The men shot at the creature several more times, but investigators never found blood. The sheriff’s department searched the area, and the only things officers found were a set of strange tracks and claw scratches on the Fords’ porch.
Jim Powell, then a reporter for the Texarkana Gazette and the Texarkana Daily News, and Dave Hall, then-director of Texarkana radio station KTFS, went to Ford’s place and found a terrified family moving out of the house it had owned less than a week. Powell wrote an article that appeared in the newspaper, outlining the family’s alleged sighting and attack. The next day, both the Texarkana Gazette and the Texarkana Daily published the same follow-up story. It contained the first reference to the name “Fouke Monster.” The Associated Press and United Press International wire services transmitted the article to newspapers across the nation.
In 1973, the incident was made into a low-budget movie, The Legend of Boggy Creek, which perpetuated the story to an even larger audience. The movie, filmed in Fouke, is a pseudo-documentary thriller about the creature and the town, and it stars some of the eyewitnesses and residents of Fouke. Reported sightings of the Fouke Monster date back as far as 1946, when a resident reported to Miller County Sheriff Leslie Greer that she had seen a strange creature near her home. Sightings of a creature have been reported throughout Fouke history, but no sighting has been as famous as the one that gained national attention in 1971.
For additional information:
Blackburn, Lyle.The Beast of Boggy Creek: The True Story of the Fouke Monster. San Antonio: Anomalist Books, 2012.
———. Beyond Boggy Creek: In Search of the Southern Sasquatch. San Antonio: Anomalist Books, 2017.
Crabtree, Smokey. Smokey and the Fouke Monster. Fouke, AR: Day’s Creek Production Corp., 1974.
Thibodeau, Sunni. “The Fouke Monster 30 Years Later: Ex-journalists recall sifting fact from Fouke fiction after sighting.” Texarkana Gazette. June 24, 2001, p. 1.
Amy Michelle Thompson
North Little Rock, Arkansas
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My family lived in Texarkana, Texas, for many years. I left in 1979 to join the service. Around 197576, I went squirrel hunting down in Millers Creek and discovered two sets of strange three-toed footprints in the muddy creek bed. The first is about seven inches in lengthmuch shorter than previously reported prints over in Fouke. The other is only three inches! It looked as if a small female and child creature were foraging the creek bed. Crushed mussels were littering the banks without the flesh. I returned the next day and made plaster castings. Over the years, only the seven-inch casting survived. In 1983, I loaned the casting to the San Bernardino County Museum, where it disappeared. No one claimed to have ever seen it.
I was doing research in the Arkansas Gazette for a history paper back in the 1980s and came across an article from the very early 1900s reporting a sighting of an unknown ape-like creature in extreme southwest Arkansas. I didn’t think to make a copy or note the exact paper date, but I think if it could be found by someone, it would be the earliest recorded report on what became known as the Fouke Monster.