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Honey Island Swamp Legends
Just a short drive from New Orleans, Louisiana are many acres of swamp land deep in the Honey Island Swamp that are said to be as uncorrupted, primitive, and untouched by man as anywhere in America. It is for this very reason that some say it may actually be possible for a creature to live in these parts and go unnoticed by humans… well, almost unnoticed.
Legends abound in the swamp. There are legends about pirates such as Jean Lafitte, Pierre Remaux and many more who supposedly hid buried treasures in these swamps. There legends about ghosts of native American Indians that still roam these swamps at night and about mysterious green lights flickering at night deep in the swamps and lead travelers into the wilderness where they never return, but nothing has seemed to have captured the attention of man like that of the legend of the Honey Island Swamp Monster.
Honey Island Swamp Monster
The first documented sighting of the creature took place in early August of 1963. Harlan Ford, a retired air traffic controller, and his friend Billy Mills came home from the swamp with an incredible story. The pair of veteran hunters claimed that while out in the swamps they came across a large creature standing over the body of a dead boar. The strange creature had apparently ripped the boar’s throat completely out.
Harlan described the creature as being covered in dingy grey hair, with even longer hair hanging from its head. The two estimated the creature weighed close to 400 pounds and stood about 7 feet tall. The creature’s enormous size and hair were frightening enough, but the amber-colored eyes and horrible stench that reeked from the creature were the two things that stuck in Harlan and Billy’s minds from this unbelievable encounter.
While news of this story spread like wildfire, the locals knew that stories of this ferocious creature go back hundreds of years. The Native Americans of the area called the creature Letiche and described it as meat eating, human-like creature that lived in the water and on the land. The Indians from this area believed that the swamp monster was once an abandoned child who was raised by alligators in the deep dark regions of the swamp. Cajuns called the creature Loup Carou, which some say means werewolf.
Some researchers believe that the Honey Island Swamp Monster is related to Bigfoot. While the body size and description are very similar, the tracks found in and around Honey Island Swamp do not resemble tracks collected in the Pacific North West. They are 4 and sometimes 3-toed, much like tracks discovered in southeastern Texas and parts of Florida. Casts made by Harland Ford are about ten to twelve inches long, and have three long thin toes set next to each other and a fourth set back on the inside, rather like a thumb. Here at Pearl River Swamp Tours, we are lucky enough to have a cast of the footprint on display. The granddaughter of Harlan Ford lives out our way and was kind enough to let us have a cast taken from the original her grandfather made.
We do not claim to have seen the swamp monster even though this wonderful place is our home, but we do have enough sense to know that there are all kinds of things out in these swamps. There are mysteries of buried gold and Indian maidens that died too young. There are some who have seen magical-looking green lights glimmering in the swamps at night and whispers in the evening winds. Who is to say what else is hidden here… we just think y’all might want to come and take a look for yourselves.
Depending on the season, you may see alligators, deer, black bears, wild boar, and much more! The Honey Island Swamp is home to a bald eagle’s nest, and occasionally there are sightings of the Florida panther! Male Florida panthers are known to wander far off course; in 2008, one wandered all the way up to Georgia. This male panther is not alone, as many other male Florida Panthers have been spotted roaming near or outside the Southeast United States.
If you’re lucky enough to spot one of these majestic creatures roaming freely across the Honey Island Swamp, you’ll know them from a distance thanks to their distinctive fur coloration. Their bellies are usually a light cream color and they will have black-tipped ears and tails just like other members of their family tree. These beautiful creatures don’t roar like many of their cousins though- they vocalize through high-pitched whistles, chirps, growls, hisses, and even purrs so charming you’ll want them all to yourself. Females range in weight between 64-115 pounds; males weigh 115-232 pounds with an average length of around 4 feet long including their tail. They can even reach heights up to 28 inches tall at the shoulders!