Correspondence for the St. Louis Dispatch... June 27, 1868 -- A strange visaged creature apparently one of natured prodigies, has just been discovered near Meadville, Franklin County, Mississippi, causing much excitement in that usually monotonous village. A letter from a friend residing in the above named village, dated June 4, 1868 said:
"M____. at this time, is very much agitated on account of the strange creature seen near here."
It said to be similar to the one seen near Vicksburg, Mississippi last fall. A Vicksburg paper of a date some few days subsequent to the discovery of this strange creature near that place, gave a full description of it and the manner in which it was discovered, which given from memory is in substance about as follows:
Some time in September last, as a party of huntsmen were driving in the swamps some miles from the river, a trail was taken by the hounds and followed up at a brisk pace leaving the party far behind. In following after the dogs they discovered the track of the game in some miry places, which appeared similar to the track of a human foot, and they observed also that the toes of one foot turned backward.
On coming up with the dogs, which were now baying, they beheld a frightful looking creature of about the average height of man but with far greater muscular development, standing menacingly a few yards in front of the dogs.
It had long coarse hair flowing from its head and reaching near its knees; its entire body also seemed to be covered with hair of two or three inches length, which was of a dark brown color. From its upper haw projected to very large tusks, several inches long. Its head and face as well as could be determined from the distance of the observers bore a striking resemblance to that of the Negro, except that the chin and cheeks were covered with long hair.
On the near approach of the hunters, it fled toward the Mississippi River and was not overtaken again until within a few yards of the bank. When the party came up with the dogs the second time, the monster was standing erect before them, none of them having yet dared to clinch with it. But when their masters urged the dogs, they endeavored to seize it, when it reached forward and grabbed one of them and taking it in its hands, pressed it against its tusks, which pierced it through and killed it instantly.
Becoming alarmed at this display of strength, the hunters fired several shots at the creature, which caused it to leap into the river. It remained under the water several minutes and then raised almost its entire length above the surface uttering shrieks, which almost petrified the pursuers with terror.
No similar sound had ever come to the ears of these men who were familiar with the howl of the wolf, the whine of the panther and the hoarse bellowing of the alligator. After sinking and rising several times, it swam to the Louisiana shore and disappeared.
This report of the huntsmen created quite a stir and considerable speculation among theorists and much greater amount of fear among the commonality who looked at the thing in a practical point of view. But however, as time rolled away and no new discoveries were made concerning the monstrosity, the excitement died away and the strange individual had almost ceased to be thought of long before its second appearance.
Meadville, where it has last appeared, is about 40 miles east of the Mississippi River and I suppose near one hundred miles fro Vicksburg. Throughout Franklin County there are retreats especially adapted to the accommodation of wild beasts, such as the high barren hills, ravines and the dense vine matted swamps of the Homochitto River.
It is highly probably that this is the same creature seen near Vicksburg and for fear that it is the only living specimen of that genus, some of our scientific men who are ambitious of contributing a mite to nature history should contrive to become acquainted with its nativity, lineage, characteristics, and given them publicity that they may take the place of the fear and speculation that are now prevailing.
Published in the Dubuque Daily Herald, Saturday Morning June 27, 1868
Article is courtesy Scott McClean
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