Western Louisiana is an interesting mix of pine forest, hardwood lowlands, and swampy river bottoms. The various habitats offer a tremendous number of food sources for all sorts of creatures that call this area home. The food items on a bigfoot’s menu would include deer, hogs, snakes, fish, insects, and a multitude of plant species.
Many more bigfoot reports come out of neighboring Texas and Oklahoma than from the Bayou State. This seems strange to me since most of the reports from both Texas and Oklahoma come from near the border of Louisiana. I suspect this is because of a human factor, and not a bigfoot one. Perhaps the culture of western Louisiana is less apt to share experiences with bigfoot for fear of ruining their reputation, or maybe for another reason that is unknown to me.
The mayor of Zwolle, LA, a man named GJ Pie Martinez, invited us to his small town to look into a cluster of reports from nearby. Some of the townspeople had reported running into bigfoots in the rural areas outside of town.
Nearly in every case, when bigfoots are in an area there are local legends about them from decades past. Sometimes these legends speak of a “wood booger,” such as in the case of Virgina, or “Old Red Eyes,” from New Jersey. In this case, the locals talk about “La Llorona,” or the crying woman.
I first head the tale of La Llorona when I was a teacher. My students were mostly Latinos, and many of them came from Mexico where tales of La Llorona were common (I am not sure how common these stories are throughout the rest of Latin America). The students were very frightened of La Llorona, and it was clear that the legend is used as a cautionary tale, like the boogey man. Apparently, the tale of La Llorona has migrated northward to Louisiana, and has influenced the culture. In Zwolle, they use the tale to explain the long moaning wails they hear from the forested areas outside of town.
One of the local adventures we were treated to was my first exposure to “mud bogging.” Apparently this is a big deal throughout much of the country, but I had never heard of it. To oversimplify it, you get in giant trucks with big motors and you drive through deep mud pits that cars really shouldn’t go into. It’s a whole lot of fun, though it really tears up the roads. Still, if you need to go deep into the woods on crappy roads, there may not be any more fun way to do it.
On our night investigation, Matt and I stumbled across an abandoned homestead with a skeletal barn and an a shell of a house. I have heard several reports of bigfoots bedding down in barns during bad weather, though I have yet to hear a convincing report of a bigfoot being inside of an abandoned house. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t, but we thought it would be worth a look. Matt is a strong advocate that bigfoots like to to be very comfortable, always seeking the place that is warm, out of the wind, and sheltered from the rain. I’m not so sure bigfoots conform to our idea of “comfortable.” They seem to like it cold, dark, and wet. In any case, the house turned up nothing of interest.
What was of interest, though, were the possible wolf vocalizations that we recorded that night. What makes them so interesting is that according to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, red wolves have been extinct from the area for some time. I think they might be incorrect, just as many other state and federal agencies are incorrect about the existence of mountain lions, black panthers, and bigfoots living in their areas. It is also possible that what we heard was a hybrid of a wolf and a coyote, which is one of the reasons that wolves have gone extinct in the area.
Our investigation of Derek and Lauren’s sighting was informative, not only because they saw the creature in full daylight from relatively close (only 70 yards), but they also shared with us some useful information. That property is owned by Derek’s grandmother, and she told Derek about hearing a “booger” around her house many years ago. It would come around and make noises that would frighten his grandmother. The booger had not been around for several years, but just about the time that Derek and Lauren saw the creature, his grandmother told him, “Whatever that thing was, it’s back.” You can always count on the rural folks to know what’s happening on their property.
Tom and Rosie were also very credible witnesses. They had just had their car washed, so Rosie was driving along a dirt road towards home slowly so as to not get dust all over their car. At one point, there was a strange smell in the air, and Rosie thought she was smelling goats (and maybe she was). On a berm to the left of the car, Rosie saw a large, hair covered figure standing at the tree line. Tom then saw it and was struck by its mass and color. The creature turned to its left and disappeared into the brush. Our recreation indicated that it stood between 6.5 to 7 feet tall, and had shoulders in the range of 32 to 36 inches wide.
Rosie and Tom shared other stories that they have heard over the years as well. One of their neighbors had a hog that was stolen and later found “all torn up.” No animal in all their years of living there had ever done such a thing. Several of their neighbors had livestock stolen around this time, mostly hogs. And finally, a man they know claims to have seen one by a nearby bridge one night, but he was never taken seriously because he had been drinking. Rosie and Tom eventually moved from their home that bordered the wildlife management area partly because of what they saw.
While our night investigations didn’t really turn up anything too bigfooty, it was cool to see the habitat that the bigfoots use in the area. I thought the witnesses were credible, and it was great to be welcomed by the mayor and his personal friends who have seen bigfoots in the area. I hope to return to Louisiana in the future, for no other reason than to have another plate of crawfish and corn!