Saturday, January 21, 2006

Alabama's not-so-big Bigfoot

Bigfoot stories are as common in Alabama as they are in other rural states. Here's one example of many.

In fall 1960, several people reported seeing apelike creatures in the woods around Clanton, Ala., in the middle of the state between Birmingham and Montgomery. Most of the sightings were in the Walnut Creek area, where I-65 and U.S. 31 intersect south of town.

According to a July 8, 2004, article in The Clanton Advertiser, Clanton County Sheriff T.J. Lockhart made a concrete mold of some alleged footprints, "about the size of a person's foot but looking more like a hand." The sheriff's office kept the mold around for decades but eventually -- alas for science -- threw it away.

Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman believes the Clanton sightings were of Bigfoot's smaller Southeastern cousins, often called "swamp apes" or "skunk apes" or "monkey men" or "the little red men of the woods" or, most vividly, "boogers": chimpanzee-like creatures that have been fitfully spotted for 250 years but never (yet) proven to exist.

James M. Smith's Bigfoot Sightings of East Central Alabama details 14 sightings in only four counties: Chambers, Lee, Randolph and Tallapoosa. (To order Smith's book, send $10 to James M. Smith, P.O. Box 6, Wadley, Alabama, 36276-0006.)

Other books on the subject include Sasquatch: Alabama Bigfoot Sightings, again by James M. Smith, and UFO and Bigfoot Sightings in Alabama by Wyatt Cox, which is available on Amazon.

The website of the Alabama Bigfoot Seekers Research Group -- alas again for science -- seems to be defunct, but the Gulf Coast Bigfoot Research Organization has picked up the torch.


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