Is there room in the Para/Crypto/Fortean world for a gun-toting, paranoid, bipolar, opinionated bastard? A lonely romantic in search of his lost soul? A knight, Samurai, gunslinger, born in the wrong century? A self-destructive, doom-driven survivor seeking redemption? A heavy drinking gonzo outlaw cryptozoologist whose ego is exceeded only by his libido?
No, there isn't. That's why I'm here...

08 August 2010

Locals, Monsters, And Local Monsters

Point Pleasant, WV, Fouke, AR, The New Jersey Pine Barrens, Loch Ness, Scotland. What do these disparate locales have in common? Monsters! Not only that, but these areas have embraced their place in cryptozoological history and indeed have entire cottage industries celebrating their respective creatures. Take a trip to any of these areas (among others) and you'll find that their pride in their local monsters is evident.
But, what about other places? Regions where the locals are more close-mouthed about the monsters of their past and/or present? I live adjacent to Alabama's Bankhead National Forest. The people in this area are your typical hard working, self-sufficient, types. People to whom the phrase "mind your own business" is less advice and more a way of life. Don't get me wrong, we're not talking Deliverance here, but we ARE talking about a place where you can buy some some land, raise children and grandchildren, and after you're laid to rest after a long life, the folks at the local store would still refer to you as "those new folks". Independence, self-reliance, and a natural distrust of outsiders are part of the makeup of residents of this area. In fact, before the Civil War, when the state of Alabama seceded from the Union, the residents of this area went them one better and decided to secede from Alabama, forming The Free State of Winston.
So, is it possible that this heavily forested area hides any monsters? Yes, quite possible. While detailed reports and witness accounts are hard to come by, I do know of a few hunters and campers who've described BF-type creatures, plus some strange and horrifying vocalizations. And this area isn't without a history of creepy creatures. Among them
The White Thang. "White Things" seem to be a unique staple of Southern monster lore, with accounts from a few places in Alabama and West Virginia, among others. Another local legend is that of the infamous Downey Booger. Again, there are a number of similar cryptids described in Southern folklore, often referred to as boogers, wildmen, or wolly-boogers. Are these accounts describing the same type of creature or phenomenon?
Remember, fellow monster hunters, just because a region isn't "known" for a monster or creature, doesn't mean there aren't any there. Maybe the locals just don't talk about them. Maybe they don't want the attention, the droves of outsiders, the nuisance of a bunch of monster hunters and researchers descending onto their little corner of the world.
If your research leads you into such an area, a little respect goes a long way. If possible, find someone familiar with the area and its people to serve as a guide, go-between, or negotiator. You just may turn up something!

1 comment:

Autumnforest said...

You are so right about that. That "White Thang" you talked about--that was something I remember hearing about as a kid when we visited family in SE West Virginia. Something that was almost bear-like and white. I used to go through the woods and keep my eyes open for anything white. I was half fascinated and half terrified. In my kid's mind, I imagined a giant Easter Bunny. Just look at the Melungeons. They sort of personify rural areas and legends and secrets. When I was a kid, they were used as a threat when in actuality they were just a mixed race of people.