Thursday, April 6, 2017

'Beyond Boggy Creek' book details new, old Alabama Bigfoot incidents

I have to admit that, prior to Conecuh County becoming the epicenter of Bigfoot reports in Alabama, I didn’t know much about the topic of Bigfoot. Aside from the bare basics, I didn’t have any real, in-depth knowledge about the subject, which made writing about it for the newspaper somewhat challenging. With that in mind, I began reading up on the subject, and one of the best books that I’ve found so far is Lyle Blackburn’s new book, “Beyond Boggy Creek: In Search of the Southern Sasquatch.”

Published by Anomalist Books on Feb. 1, this 310-page book is a sequel to Blackburn’s 2012 book, “The Beast of Boggy Creek.” While “The Beast of Boggy Creek” takes a close look at the famous Fouke, Arkansas Bigfoot case, “Beyond Boggy Creek” describes dozens of modern Bigfoot cases across the Southeastern United States, including a number that took place in Alabama.

Blackburn is especially well-suited to write this book, and those of you who have watched such TV shows as “Finding Bigfoot” will be familiar with him. A native of Texas, he has appeared on a wide variety of Bigfoot TV shows, including those on the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Destination America, A&E and CBS. In short, he is considered one of the country’s leading experts on Bigfoot, especially when it comes to the Southeastern United States.

I enjoyed the portions of the book that talked about Bigfoot incidents in Alabama, some of which date back as far as the 1880s. One of the most intriguing Alabama cases discussed in the book is the case of the Downey Booger, which took place near Rabbittown, in Calhoun County, inside the Bankhead National Forest. The tale of the Downey Booger involves a half-human, half-animal creature that was supposedly seen by cousins John and Joe Downey late one night in the late 1800s and then was later supposedly shot by a man named Jim Jackson.

Blackburn also furnishes a unique list of the different names Bigfoot-type creatures have been called in Alabama, including the Black Thing, the Clanton Booger, the Dallas County Monster, Elijah Mae’s Booger, the Guntersville Terror, the Monster of Marmotte Street, the Shiny Gorilla, the Tannehill Monster and the Alabama White Thang.

I also enjoyed the portions of the book that talked about Bigfoot researchers Donald McDonald and Michael Humphreys. Many in the reading audience will remember that McDonald and Humphreys, stars of the TV show “Killing Bigfoot,” investigated Bigfoot reports in and around Conecuh County in January. In his book, Blackburn sheds more light on the Bigfoot experiences of McDonald and Humphreys and describes their efforts to find definitive proof of the existence of Bigfoot.

Blackburn also shares his theories on Bigfoot behavior, and one that I found most interesting is his theory that “they always follow the creeks.” Blackburn explains that the vast majority of Bigfoot sightings and purported evidence like casted tracks are found near bodies of water, usually near creeks in the Southeastern United States. This struck a chord with me because most of the Bigfoot reports in and around Conecuh County have originated from places like Burnt Corn Creek and the Sepulga River.

In the end, if you’re interested in reading more about Bigfoot, I highly recommend “Beyond Boggy Creek.” Not only does it cover the basics, but it also takes an in-depth look at incidents that have occurred in and around Alabama. Copies of the book can be purchased online through book retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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