Thursday, July 5, 2007

Murphysboro’s Big Muddy Monster

By John Gojkovich
Executive Editor

Murphysboro American

Murphysboro is home to the tale of the “Big Muddy Monster.”

This tale conjures up images of scenes from a late night horror picture show, like the creature of the Black Lagoon dragging itself out of the swamp, dripping and hissing.

The Big Muddy Monster has been sited on numerous occasions here in the city. Recorded sightings are in the 1950’s at the Murphysboro Iron and Metal Co., which was located on Gartside and 19th and in June 1973 near Riverside Park.

In July 1972, a jogger reported seeing something like the Big Muddy Monster near the Ohio River near Cairo.

Between June and July 1973 nine people reported seeing it in four separate incidents in Murphysboro.

In February 1975, four truckers, traveling seyparately radioed in reports of seeing a “bear-like” creature along Illinois 3, near the Illinois 149 junction west of Murphysboro.

In July 1975, two Murphysboro men reported something they thought may have been the Big Muddy Monster near a pond in Harrison community near north of Murphysboro.

In June 1976, three youths said they saw something near the Westwood Hills Subdivision – the area of two previous sightings.

Numerous other sightings were recorded in 1975 and 1976 as well as the ones previously mentioned.

Following these incidents, the Murphysboro Police Department  was flooded with mail about the Big Muddy Monster. One California youth wrote to let the police know his mom could catch their monster.

Other offers came like two fur trappers from Oregon who offered to capture the monster: We would be willing to take on the adventure at only the costs of expenses and materials for doing so,” they told local authorities.

The most recent incident came in June of 1988, when two residents reported seeing the legendary monster in a salvage yard on the north side of Murphysboro near the Missouri Pacific tracks just off Business Route 13.

Bob Reiman had been called to the scene by security guard Charles Straub, who thought there might be a prowler in the salvage yard.

Reiman and Straub searched the yard for a while, then they came upon what they said was an 8 to 10 foot creature covered with fur.

The sightings even brought two men to Murphysboro in 1988 to investigate the Big Muddy Monster.

So far no “other reports of the Big Muddy Monster have surfaced, but it sure  holds a place in the folklore of Murphysboro.

The Big Muddy Monster is reported to be about seven to eight feet tall and weighing more than 300 pounds.

Even local police officers, who were called to investigate  sightings, claim to have smelled something out of the ofrom the rdinary and to have heard weird, high-pitched shrieking coming  from the distance .

To this day the Big Muddy Monster is still speculated about.

There have been several people that have come forward claiming to have knowledge of the myth and even a few that claim they were the Big Muddy Monster and the whole affair was just a clever hoax. One even said it was a hoax designed to scare area women.