Thursday, January 18, 2018

Interview: Lyle Blackburn on What Lurks in Louisiana Woods

Lyle at Twelve Mile Bayou

Whether you've seen him on Monsters & Mysteries in America, heard him on Coast to Coast AM, or read one of his previous books on the subject, odds are you've ran across cryptid hunter Lyle Blackburn. We asked Lyle what he thinks may be going unseen in southwest Louisiana.

O7: First of all, Lyle, you're a Texas native, correct?

LB: Correct.  I was born in Fort Worth and I’ve lived in the Fort Worth or Dallas areas all my life.  My father’s family is from a town in far East Texas, so we often had family reunions near Louisiana.  I was also fortunate to have a family that like hunting and camping so I was able to experience much of the outdoors in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.

O7: We are always interested in takes on cryptids in southwest Louisiana from the vantage point of cryptid researchers. Have you had the opportunity to investigate this kind of phenomena in our area? Do any Louisiana sightings make it into your new book, Beyond Boggy Creek?

LB: I have several sections in the book which cover the history and modern sightings of bigfoot-like creatures in Louisiana.  Some of the more prominent areas include the eastern portion along the Sabine River, eastern Caddo Lake, bayous near Alexandria, Zwolle, St. Martin and Rapides Parishes, Atchafalaya Swamp, and Honey Island Swamp, among others.  The reports come from a variety of people such as average citizens, loggers, truckers, hunters, and even a police officer.  With the vast amount of wooded areas, boggy bottoms, rivers, and inland swamps, Louisiana seems to be a perfect place to hide unknown creatures, and not surprisingly, there’s lots of credible reports coming from there.

I’ve personally investigated parts of Louisiana myself, such as the southern Sabine River, Caddo Lake, Twelve Mile Bayou, and Honey Island Swamp.  In these cases I’ve interviewed witnesses and gone into the deep bayous or remote woods to have a look for myself.  The Honey Island Swamp Monster is perhaps the most famous of cryptid tales from Louisiana, but there’s many other dramatic creature sightings which have taken place in the Bayou State over the years.

O7: A couple years ago, we had a gentleman in Vernon Parish send us a picture of what he described as a Sasquatch ducking out of sight as he was hunting along a pipeline. Do the majority of your reports seem to come from hunters, campers, or people simply carrying out their lives at the peripheral of the woods?

LB: Reports generally come from people who are driving through rural areas, working or living in rural areas, along with hunters, hikers, and campers.  In other words, people who are closest to the areas where creatures such as these would presumably live.

O7: We've talked to researchers in the past (Ken Gerhard, Chester Moore, and Michael Mayes, another native Texan about to put out a book on mysterious big cat populations) who believe that Sasquatch is, for the most part, an undiscovered biological creature that has found a way to elude study. Over time, have you come to this same conclusion? Or do you believe Sasquatch is something else entirely (something interdimensional or possibly extraterrestrial)?

LB: Like my colleagues you mention here, I also operate under the premise that these are flesh and blood creatures who have thus far managed to remain elusive.

O7: In the past, we've published old articles and stories we've found related to what appears to be reptilian creature sightings associated with the Sabine River area between Texas and Louisiana. Have you had a chance to look into any sort of high strangeness occurring at our border?

LB: I’ve heard a few reports of reptilian humanoids - or “lizardmen” as they’re often referred to - in the Sabine River area.  I recall one from the 1980s in which a witness reportedly saw a creature like this in a swamp between Phoenix Lake and the Sabine.  I wrote a book about the famous Bishopville Lizard Man case of South Carolina, so I’ve looked into these sort of cases at length.  To me, they are even more difficult to rectify due to the bizarre nature of a humanoid with reptilian features.  I’m not quite sure what these creatures are, but there’s no doubt people believe to have seen such things.  The lizardmen type cryptids are really fascinating to me, maybe because I’m such a big fan of the movie Creature From the Black Lagoon.  It’s like a real life version of the monster stalking the swamps of modern day America.
Beyond Boggy Creek

O7: Finally, Beyond Boggy Creek is available at Amazon and other online retailers, including your site, Is there anything else the southwest Louisiana audience needs to know about your work?

LB: I think anyone who’s interested in sightings of unknown creatures in the South will appreciate Beyond Boggy Creek.  It takes in-depth look at the history of bigfoot sightings all across the Southern U.S., with sightings that date back to the 1800s all the way up to modern day.  I think people in Southwest Louisiana will find the sections on the “Sabine Thing” and “Monster Central” particularly intriguing since those deal with that exact area.

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