Eric Standridge is a historian and author who focuses on Oklahoma's history, with an emphasis on LeFlore County and Poteau.
The Untamed Wilds
Deep in the forests of Southeastern Oklahoma, among the tangled vegetation and infant mountains, there roams a creature that legends are made of. It stands over eight feet tall, and has razor sharp claws that can rip the flesh off any living creature. Covered in a thick weave of fur, this creature quietly blends in with the surrounding vegetation. For those who seek it, it remains elusive; only trace evidence of its existence remains.
In Oklahoma, it is known as the Boggy Bottom Monster. Across the world, it's better known as Bigfoot.
Legends of Bigfoot
The Kiamichi Mountains lie in a part of Oklahoma that remains wild and free. Meandering streams, creeks and vast tracts of dense, uninhabited forest make this area prime Bigfoot territory. Numerous expeditions have been conducted throughout the Kiamichi Mountains, and while tales of this mysterious creature abound, little evidence is presented to support their claims. This Oklahoma Bigfoot has been called everything from a gentle giant to a voracious beast.
According to legend, this Oklahoma Bigfoot resides near Clear Boggy Creek in Southeast Oklahoma, near the town of Honobia located high in the Kiamichi Mountains. The legendary cryptid stands between seven to eight feet tall and is covered all over with reddish brown hair. Reportedly, from eye-witness accounts, the Boggy Bottom Monster makes sounds that resemble that of wild birds, similar to that of the whippoorwill and certain owls. This creature is said to weigh in excess of 500 pounds. Witnesses have also described large eyes, a pronounced brow ridge, and a large, low-set forehead; the top of the head has been described as rounded and crested, similar to the sagittal crest of the male gorilla. Bigfoot is commonly reported to have a strong, unpleasant smell by those who have claimed to have encountered it.
Sightings of Bigfoot in Oklahoma have been going on long before statehood. Native Americans would tell tales of large human-like beasts roaming through the woods.
The first recorded sighting in Oklahoma happened in the Spring of 1942, where two Sisters observe tall hairy creature running away from them. since then, sightings have been well documented, and happen quite frequently. Most of the sightings happen in LeFlore county, where at least 18 sightings have been officially reported.
In May of 2009, footprints of the Oklahoma Bigfoot were found in the Kiamichi Mountains of southeastern Oklahoma. The dimensions of the footprint is reported to be five inches wide and fifteen inches long. D. W. Lee, director of the Mid-America Bigfoot Research Center said of the find, "The toes were clearly visible on the cast after it was lifted up."
While many of these sightings of Bigfoot have been proven to be hoaxes, cryptozoologists still faithfully study every reported sighting in hopes of discovering a long lost link in humanity.
A Local Legend Celebrated
Located on Indian Highway, just a few miles Southwest of Gobblers Knob, Honobia is a mecca for Bigfoot believers. The town of Honobia holds an annual Bigfoot convention every year, complete with keynote speakers from the scientific community. Typically, the Bigfoot convention includes lectures on the truth of Bigfoot, Bigfoot ATV hunts, costume contests, and instructions on how to hunt for Bigfoot.
Honobia takes great pride in their Bigfoot traditions, as more sightings of Bigfoot have occurred around this sleepy little town high in the Kiamichi Mountains than anywhere else in Oklahoma.
Amusing Myth, or Stunning Reality?
For the most part, scientists discount the existence of Bigfoot because the evidence supporting belief in the survival of a prehistoric apelike creature resembling humans is scarce. The proof for Bigfoot’s existence consists mainly of eyewitness accounts from Bigfoot enthusiasts, barely distinguishable footprints of questionable origin, and pictures that could easily have been of apes or humans in ape suits. There are no bones, no droppings, no artifacts, no dead bodies – in fact, there has been absolutely no real proof that Bigfoot exists. Even so, there are plenty of sightings reported every day. To this day, there is no evidence that any individual or community of such creatures dwells anywhere near any of the “sightings.” The evidence points more towards hoaxing and delusion than real discovery.
There are those who are adamant that Bigfoot exists. While that possibility always exists, as there are thousands of uninhabited miles of forest across the United States, the probability of Bigfoot roaming around these areas is negligible.
Does Bigfoot really exist?
That’s up to you to decide.
© 2010 Eric Standridge
JGreg on January 23, 2016:
I didn't believe in Bigfoot until about 4 years ago. A friend of mine went on an investigation with a research group in SE Oklahoma. After that, he started taking his own reports from witnesses. I decided to go with him on an investigation one night and things haven't been the same for me since.
The first time I went, we had something strange happen. As we sat by a pond in the dark, my friend made a knocking noise. We only had to wait about 10 seconds before we got a response. Across the pond on the far bank, 2 rocks were slammed together. I tried to reason for a while and I realized there are no animals in Oklahoma woods that can pick up two rocks and SLAM them together. Seeing as this was only about 40 yards away, I was a little excited...and nervous. Could this really be a Bigfoot?! Shortly after, we could hear something moving around the pond in our direction. We then heard a small twig snap or two and a limb being twisted! We sat there a little longer with no more action. We came back during the day to see what we could find. On the back side of the pond were some blackberry bushes. We found a limb on a small tree that was recently twisted, not just snapped. Unfortunately, there were no tracks of any kind.
To keep this from being a long story, I'll just sum it up real quick. We continued to investigate this location for a period of 3 years. We received many new stories from the witness and we have TONS of stories of our own. From that location alone, we have been charged, had rocks thrown at us (some aggressive and some not so much), photographed and cast footprints, had multiple trees pushed over, heard wood-knocks, howls, whistles and screams. Three of the people even had visuals of the creatures multiple times.
The way they move through the woods is unlike anything I have ever experienced. They don't seem to make a sound unless they want you to know they are there. I've learned that if you act aggressively toward them, they will do the same. It is not something I recommend. As crazy as it sounds, we have been with 5-15 feet from them on many occasions and had no clue! It wasn't until they decided to make themselves known! That is one of the most uncomfortable feelings I've ever had.
I could probably go on for hours, but I'm going to wrap this up.
I have grown up in the woods all my life. Since I started investigating Bigfoot, there are places I won't even consider going alone now! Enjoy the outdoors, but please be careful and stay aware.
LD on August 28, 2015:
Living in the country most of my life, you see and hear things. Coleman, Ok is very small and never thought in our woods one morning looking out the window I would see what folks call Bigfoot, but I did. It was tall and slender, grey and dirty brown in color. Didn't see me, just walked by. Head turned and was gone, I thought til later that night. There was a big fire near by and I stepped out on the porch. A very loud , all I can say is a scream, but more so. We went to bed and I woke smelling like something was dead close by. Weird smell filled the whole room. Told my husband next day this and of course he lol so be it as I told him I know what I saw and heard and later smelled. My dog did too she was scared.
jw serna on December 20, 2014:
I am going camping in my mini van to Honobia OK this summer 2015.I would sure like to hear a holler,scream,yell,sound or maybe just a tree knock,But it would probably scare the crap out of me if I did :-/
Cathi Sutton on May 22, 2014:
Johng680.... What does credit history have to do with Bigfoot? GOSH!
Cathi Sutton on September 23, 2013:
My dad grew up in Oklahoma durning the Great Depression. Once when he was maybe 13 to 15 years old, he was out alone cutting firewood. It was a task that took more than one day. There was a "shack" near the place he was cutting, to sleep in at night. The roof of the shack had a hole in it just above the bed. He said he could lay there and watch the stars on a clear night.
My dad said he was asleep, but woke wide awake suddenly, and looked up at the hole in the roof. He said he saw "something". It was just the head of a big creature, covered in fur, or hair, and it was staring down at him. They watched each other for a few moments.
He had a shotgun propped up against the wall beside the head of the bed, so he said he eased over to get the gun, and when he looked back at the hole... the creature was gone. It left without making a sound.
I was just a kid when he told me about it, and had never heard of Bigfoot then. It wasn't until years later that I realized what my dad saw watching him.
The experience "spooked" him.
KKK on November 26, 2012:
I just read a book called Monster by Frank Peretti. It's all about a woman who gets captured by four bigfoots. there's a huge hunt for her, and it turns out some of the hunters aren't so friendly after all.
Oklahoma Traveler from Wister, Oklahoma on July 22, 2012:
Dennis Daryl Shamblin on June 30, 2012:
Communion with Sasquatch is a non-fiction narrative written by author and journalist, J.P. Smith and co-authored by lifelong researcher, Freeman Young .
The book is based on a series of interviews conducted by Smith, with three men from three different states who have had exceptional, lifelong experiences and up-close, personal encounters with the being known as Sasquatch.
You will read in amazement, marvel, and wonder at perhaps the most intriguing and elusive being on the face of the planet, as each of the three interviewees recounts their most incredible, bizarre and sometimes frightening experiences with the legendary Bigfoot creatures, as they’re known throughout North America.
marcus1305 on October 01, 2010:
in lost tapes wich i dnt think is real they show a lot witch confuses me and i beleive some of them
Eric Standridge (author) from Oklahoma on March 23, 2010:
Marcus, that's just wild! I can't say I've ever had an encounter like that, but the world's a big place.. Who knows what's lurking out there that still remains to be discovered.
Marcus on March 22, 2010:
My story begins in Missouri, late 1960's when I would go camping & trout fishing as a boy. My parents, brother and I camped next to a really nice couple from Texas and their 2 kids, around summer 1970 when I turned 11. Dumb luck - we ran into them again in same state park next year with no advance planning, in 1971. Our families camped and fished together same park in Missouri 1972, 1973. Then, something happened in 1974. My parents explained that despite how much the couple from TX loved us, they couldn't see us anymore, just this one last time and it wasn't going to be in the same state park in Missouri. Instead, we would meet them at Boggy Depot State Park in Oklahoma, and would have an extended "picnic" with them lasting about 2 days instead of the normal 2 weeks - and there would be no fishing. Just two families saying goodbye to one another - they had become born again christians and were no longer going to be able to associate with us because we weren't of that religious stripe. Well, my family drove down there from Kansas where we lived and met the TX couple at Boggy Depot - the state park. It was July 1974 - hot, humid in the extreme, and I can truly say we encountered some of the thickest swarms of mosquitos I've ever seen, and I hunt, fish and camp a lot to this day. We actually arrived late on the first day, probably around 5:00 p.m. or so - not much for us kids to do except hang around, before dinner time. Me and my brother and the son of the TX couple went out hiking around (their daughter stayed with her parents) and I quickly became aware something was watching us. Just a feeling I was getting - I had turned 15 by that time and was an avid young hunter and had a sense for those things. We thought we smelled a skunk but it was kind of different from a normal skunk smell and our parents admonished us not to get too close to the "skunk" - they smelled it too. I remember there were not very many people camped at the park that day - none at all in fact, in the area where we and the TX couple had parked our trailers. Me, my brother and son of the TX couple went off into a wooded area - that's where I really began to feel we were being watched. At a couple of points, my skin got goosebumps without me seeing or hearing anything...just a presence. At one point, a thump, then another and another. Definitely the sound of rocks hitting the ground - my brother and I had played plenty of games throwing rocks in the woods so we knew something threw rocks in our direction and that's when the 3 of us decided to leave the area and go back to the camping area - we knew dinner was going to be served soon anyway. The TX couple's son tried to relate the story of the rocks being thrown but I could tell the adults didn't believe him so I changed the subject...it was hard anyway because this was to be our last time seeing our friends from TX. The "skunky" smell came and went several times that evening as we sat around a campfire but no other noises. Not until later - probably 3:00 a.m.. Something outside made the sound of a large animal, sounded like it was exhaling heavily, and it had a gurgle, almost like it had fluid in its lungs - but you could tell this was a big, powerful animal. Not a raccoon or a dog or coyote, and really didn't sound like a horse (my brother and I rode horses, took riding lessons as boys, and were very familiar with the sounds they make). The "skunky" smell was very strong at that point. Next morning came and we had breakfast with our friends from TX and they left. Later, we had lunch but it was depressing, really. Still remember the sound of the locusts in the trees and that hot, oppressive steamy heat coming on well before noon. Later we had supper but nothing big because the heat and humidity were so high...and my brother and I really didn't feel like going back into the wooded area...we used mosquito repellent but it seemed we sweated so much that the repellent lost its potency quickly and we didn't want to be eaten alive by the "skeeters". We had our supper early because we could see, smell and feel a storm coming. I tell you, it got deadly quiet before that line of storms came in. High winds, lightning, the works. The storm was actually waves of storms and it lasted until early the next morning. In between the crackle of up close up lightning bolts and the rumble-crumple of cloud to ground discharges in the distance, I heard, far off, a sound that is unforgettable. Made the hair on my body stand straight up and I got goose-bumps all over. I'm guessing but that was probably around midnight. Definitely not a coyote - I've heard plenty of them and not dogs or a wolf. Not a scream or a holler like a human makes, either. It had the resonance of a very large animal and wasn't the thin high pitched cry like a bull elk makes...it was a much more hearty but still high pitched call and it lasted a long time, like maybe a full 45--60 seconds. I asked if my family heard it but they have all been much heavier sleepers than I, so they missed it. Fast forward to about 4:00 a.m. - the rain and storms had stopped. Humidity was creeping back up and tree frogs were singing like crazy. Then, that call but farther away. Everything outside stopped. Crickets and other insects, treefrogs - everything just...stopped. Whatever that thing was, the wildlife in the area stopped what they were doing when it made that noise. I'll never forget that trip; we lost a good set of friends. Not to mention, my dad and I always checked our camping trailer out before leaving on every trip and we always torqued and re-torqued the lug nuts. On the way back to Kansas from Oklahoma the next morning, the air conditioner in our car quit so we had the windows down and because of that, my mother heard the lug nuts of the camping trailer swirling around in the hubcap. The wheel was damaged and had to be replaced not to mention the brakes - because just as we pulled to a stop, the wheel came off the camper axle. This was on a Sunday, mind you - my dad and brother unhitched from the trailer - left me and my mom in it and they went looking for, and found, an auto salvage. The owner was extremely kind, and mimraculously had the correct wheel and brake parts - literally gave them to my dad and refused any payment of any kind - we have always been and will eternally be grateful to him. But, my dad and I still wonder to this day who it was that snuck up to our trailer that dark night and untorqued those lug nuts. Had to be during the rain storm at a moment while we were all sleeping and that had to be a human - not a skunk ape. But, I am convinced that was what threw the rocks, made the odor and what I heard at Boggy Depot - a skunk ape.
Barry Wah Lee from Auckland on February 15, 2010:
Big foot may have a well developed spirituality,
an ability to see well beyond physical abilities.
The panda bear discovery was not really a long time ago.
So what exists and their uncanny abilities at evasion
are necessary for self preservation.
Tim from Los Angeles, CA on February 01, 2010:
Bigfoot is real.