Tuesday, July 8, 1975

Is Big Muddy Monster back?

Is the Big Muddy monster active again in the Murphysboro area?

It’s that time of the year, and reports indicate another unexplained sighting Sunday night in the Harrison area, north of Murphysboro.

Jackson County authorities and Murphysboro Police checked the area near the Pentecostal Church grounds about 1 a.m. Monday, after two Harrison area residents reported seeing a “white and shaggy haired creature about seven feet tall.”

Police identified the two as Donnie O’Guinn and Marty Rogers. The two told police they were gigging frogs in a pond near the church when they saw the animal.

They said the animal made no threat to harm them before turning and walking away. The two told police the animal broke a tree limb near the scene, and police later found the broken tree limb.

Police reported they were unable to find tracks or any other trace of whatever it was the two saw.

Previous sightings of unexplained events, including the Big Muddy Monster, date back to 1973, and almost all sightings occurred around the Fourth of July.

The first sighting was in June 1973, when two different sightings were reported in the Riverside Park area in Murphysboro. A couple parked near the boat ramp on South 24th Street reported seeing a “white and shaggy haired creature about seven feet tall” approach their car.

Police checked the parking lot and found footprints in a muddy area near the lot. Police also reported hearing “unusual screams” in the parking lot area.

The next night two 17-year-old Murphysboro youths were sitting on the back porch of a home in Westwood Hills Subdivision, just northwest of Riverside Park, when a creature of similar description approached the rear yard of the home.

The following week workers at a carnival in Murphysboro’s Fourth of July celebration in Riverside Park, on the banks of the Big Muddy River, heard what they reported as “unusual screams.”

Not much more was heard from the monster until the first part of this year, when four truckers driving on Illinois 3 near the Illinois 149 junction west of Murphysboro reported to authorities they had seen a “bearlike animal,” on the highway near the Illinois 3-149 junction.

The sightings occurred near the United States Forest Service rest area, in a thickly wooded area.