Known to the local Native Americans as Letiche, the Honey Island Swamp Monster is a type of Bigfoot cryptid reported to call its home in the Honey Island Swamp area of Louisiana with documented sightings dating back to 1963.
The Honey Island Swamp covers 27 square miles with pine forests to the north (part of the Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge) and the Pearl River flood plain to the south. Approximately 68,000 acres are protected, providing a home to a variety of creatures including black bears, alligators and feral hogs.
The first sighting was reported by Harlan Ford in 1963. Ford was in the swamp photographing wildlife with a friend when they encountered the cryptid devouring a dead hog. Ford described it as around 7 feet tall, having a terrible smell, covered in long grayish hair with claws on its hands and weighing approximately 400 pounds. The two men caught the creature’s attention and when it looked up at them with it’s yellow eyes; they ran off into the forest.
Ten years later, another local man working as a guide in the area was in a small boat on the swamp when he felt it gently impact something. He looked over the side and saw the creature swimming away from the boat to the shore where it stood on two legs and walked away.
While the sighting by Ford and his friend in 1963 was the first officially recorded of the creature, the Native Americans knew of its existence, calling it Letiche. Similar to the story of Tarzan, the legend tells a story of a child who was raised by alligators and grew up to become an aquatic predator eating whatever it could catch.
Oddly enough, there’s a story associated with the creature involving an early 20th century train wreck in the Pearl River area. The report states a train full of exotic animals from a circus was derailed in the swamp and the animals fled the train. Most of them were believed to have died but folklore provides an alternate fate for the chimpanzees who are rumored to have survived and interbred with alligators. The result was a colony of reptilian mammals living in the swamp. While cross breading chimpanzees with alligators is a bit hard to swallow, these legends around the swamp monster demonstrate and lend credibility to the possibility that there is in fact something in the swamp which has not yet been explained.
Experts who have analyzed suspected swamp monster footprints believe the cryptid is closely related to the Bigfoot species known as the Skunk Ape from Florida and not the species found in the Pacific coast areas. The strong smell reported is also similar to that reported around the Skunk Ape and the geographical proximity of the two creatures lends credibility to the theory.