THE LEGEND OF BIGFOOT
At Honey Island Swamp in Louisiana
Sometimes called a "Wookie"
The Honey Island Swamp Monster has become one of the most well-known swamp stories because of the real or imagined presence of a creature similar to what others have called Bigfoot. Sometimes known as "The Thing" by area fishermen, Dr. Paul Wagner simply calls it a "Wookie!" Continuing, Wagner says "I have an open mind about it. I don't say it does or doesn't exist. But there is certainly a remote and impenetrable area in this swamp, so if a creature exists, that is the place for it!" He recognizes that most of the stories are hearsay, [oh really?] but he talked to a commercial fisherman who claims to have seen Wookie firsthand. "He says it was about 7 feet tall and weighed 300 or 350 pounds, with long, orange-brown hair and big, wide-set eyes. Sounds like some kind of giant orangutan!" added Wagner. It is reported that when the creature saw the fisherman, he gave a loud shriek and disappeared into the underbrush. To the Bigfoot follower, this sounds all to familiar.
Although mystery abounds at Honey Island Swamp, those touring the swamp are more entranced by its natural beauty, and the sights and sounds of wildlife in this pristine wilderness. Dr. Wagner's now keenly-trained senses pick up evidence of wildlife along the way. He points to the dome of a beaver lodge; and identifies the silhouette of a bird in the distance as a "water turkey" distinguished by its turkey like tail feathers. What looks like a floating stick near a cluster of cypress knees is really a diamondback water snake. "Don't worry," Wagner assures us. "It's patterned like the diamondback rattler, but the water snake isn't poisonous."
Wagner adds, "It can get kind of spooky, though, at night. Sometimes you don't know what you are hearing." Although the swamp abounds with birdcalls of great blue herons, white ibis, snowy egrets, and others; maybe some of those mysterious sounds are from Wookie!
A rose is a rose and a rose by any other name is probably just another Bigfoot species with a separate legend attached. "It could be," he admits. "Actually, I was fishing near a canebrake one night and I heard some footsteps. Whatever it was, it sounded big. I turned to see the cane spreading apart, so I got out of there! Maybe it was Wookie, but I sure didn't hang around to find out!"
Nepal has its Yeti, Louisiana has its thing or Wookie; Southern California has its back-country Zoobies, Northern California has Bigfoot and the Pacific Northwest has their Sasquatch. There is either something to this phenomenon or the world has gone stark raving mad perhaps both
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