When traveling through southwest Arkansas, we advise sticking to the main roads. Those brave enough to wander into the woods risk running into the nefarious Fouke Monster. Also called “the Southern Sasquatch,” sightings of the Fouke Monsterdate back to the 1940s, but arguably the most famous accounts occurred in the early ’70s.
In 1971, Bobby Ford told police that he was attacked by a man-like creature standing over 2 meters (7 ft) tall with red eyes. Ford claimed that he’d spotted the beast only days before on a hunting trip, and decided to shoot at it with his buddies. It was on his porch and presumably seeking revenge.
Before being treated at the hospital for minor injuries, Ford explained to the officers that he routinely spotted the monster on his property terrorizing his livestock, so they decided to investigate. The police failed to find any blood from a supposed wound inflicted by Ford, but they did find a strange set of tracks out in the woods, as well as scratches on Ford’s door. A reporter from the local paper thought enough of the incident to file a story, earning the attention of low-budget filmmakers, who turned the encounter into aclumsy horror moviethat propelled the creature to national stardom. The movie spawned four sequels. The History Channel evengot in on the action, sending its MonsterQuest team to investigate in 2009.
In recent years, sightings have been sporadic. While the ’70s saw interest in the Fouke Monster peak—a local radio station even put out a bounty for its capture—the late ’90s was the last time the mysterious beast ever saw a resurgence in popularity. To further muddy the legend, independent researchers have argued that the tracks found by Ford and others were forgeries. Dr. Frank Schambagh, a professor at Southern Arkansas University, said thatthe tracks were man-madeand that the anatomy of the Fouke Monster didn’t fit with the known species of primates. Either way, we’ll take our chances with the well-lit, paved areas of Fouke when passing through.