June 1988

Muddy Monster Returns

Group reports Murphysboro encounter

By Norm Heikens
Southern Illinoisan

Several people are claiming to have seen something near Murphysboro that resembles the Big Muddy Monster, the stinking, dirty hulk with matted hair that shrieks and leaves large footprints.

The latest sightings are said to have taken place early Friday morning at Reiman Auto Service & Salvage north of Murphysboro on business Illinois 13, close to the WINI radio station.

“We weren’t crazy that night,” said Bob Reiman, who claims he first came upon it with his security guard Charles Straub. “We were scared.

“There isn’t any man who could stand that tall. There’s no man that can travel that fast on all fours. And I don’t know a man who can make that noise.”

Reiman said he and Straub first stumbled onto it at about 1:30 a.m. when they were searching for what they thought might be someone stealing parts.

Straub, a part-time policeman for the village of Ava, had heard a commotion toward the back of the salvage yard, and being under instructions not to act before contacting Reiman, called him at home.

Reiman arrived and they split up for the search, rendezvousing near the back corner under moonlight.

Suddenly, they noticed a terrible stench. It was then that they turned on their flashlights and pointed them toward some brush about 30 feet away.

“All we could see was red eyes and yellow teeth,” Reiman said.

It screamed at a high pitch and stood erect. Straub wanted to open fire with the .357 magnum Smith & Wesson handgun he was carrying, but Reiman thought otherwise.

“I told him, “You don’t shoot Mongo. You make Mongo mad.”

They turned and ran from the 10-foot-tall beast and called several others to come witness it.

The group, consisting of Straub, Reiman, his brother Ronnie, his sister Joyce Tindall, his wife Cheryl, his 15-year-old son Bobby, his mother Irma, Charles Tindall and Straub’s 12-year-old son, Shawn, returned to the area looking for the monster.

Irma remembers thinking it was a hoax.

“We were going to tease them and say we were going to call the men in the white coats,” she said, but, “when we got there, we weren’t so sure.”

Upon arriving in the area, she also caught a whiff of the smell that resembled something like “a skunk that fell in a sewer.”

Joyce Tindall also thought it was a joke until her sighting.

“We knew it wasn’t a person from its size and height,” she said. “It stood up and I was in total shock. I couldn’t get anything out of my mouth. You’d think you were looking at a gigantic bear.”

Then she said she recalled that the same obnoxious smell had wafted in her window not far from the garage the night before.

“Living out in the country, you can smell anything.” Tindall said, “Then we heard it drinking (from the dog’s pan).

“It was slurping, like a person.”

Fear kept her from getting up to investigate, claimed Tindall, although she thinks now it isn’t dangerous.

Reiman said they watched if for several intervals of about 30 seconds each as it reappeared from among salvaged cars or tall grass.

Since the monster was working its way closer each time in reappeared, they began making their way back to the garage in an effort to draw it into range of a security light.

It never went under the light, but instead went around the back and banged on the side of the garage.

“The only thing I could figure was he was as curious as we were of him,” Reiman said.

It finally disappeared into the night, but Reman claims to have found a footprint near the Missouri-Pacific Railroad tracks behind the salvage yard that is about 14 inches long about 4 inches wide. It since has filled with water.

Reiman wanted to call authorites, but Straub, who has gone on a camping trip and couldn’t be contacted, advised him otherwise for fear of ridicule.

At least 21 people reported seeing what has been called the Big Muddy Monster in 12 separate incidents between July 1972 and June 1976. Seven came from in or near Murphysboro, one came from Cairo and one from near Wolf Lake.

Reiman is convinced he’s seen something like a Sasquatch of the Northwest or a Yeti of the Himalayas. And with fumors of the sighting floating around Jackson County, he has received calls from others who claim similar encounters.

Irma has become a believer too.

“Let’s just say I don’t care to hang out alone in the back junk-yard,” she said.