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Monday, August 9, 2021

The Murphysboro Mud Monster

The Murphysboro Mud Monster events started in June of 1973 when a young couple (Randy Needham and Judy Johnson) were parked at a boat launch in Riverside park, next to the Big Muddy River. (The big Muddy River is a 156 mile long river that joins the Mississippi south of Grand Tower.) The two were listening to the radio deciding whether to leave or stay a little longer. Judy's father had forbid her to see Randy, which is why they were parked at this remote location. They were interrupted by the sound of what Randy described as "An Eagle shrieking into a microphone" coming from the bush along the river. Shutting off the radio to listen closer it happened a second time but this time coming with movement in bush in front of them. Randy hit the headlights and the couple saw a large foul smelling creature roughly 8ft tall, light colored hair matted with mud and walking on two legs toward the vehicle. Randy started the car and sped back toward town. After a few minutes of silence between the two they debated on whether or not to make a report to the local police. This was a forbidden romance after all and at the very least would expose them.

When they weighed what had just happened against the possible backlash they would receive for being down there together they headed straight to the police station. 

They arrived shortly before midnight to make an "Unknown creature" report to then patrolman, now retired Murphysboro police chief Ron Manwaring. As skeptical officers wrote down the report they decided to send two officers out to investigate. Officers Meryl Lindsay and Jimmie Nash arrived only minutes after the sighting. Nash was the first to find "Peculiar" tracks, 10-12 inches long and 3 inches wide. Nash leaned over to get a closer look at the deep impressions and was hit by what he described as " The most incredible shriek I've ever heard". Nash who initially thought the couple's story to be "Hogwash" took off so fast that he dropped his revolver in panic. The "Shriek" was estimated by Nash to be roughly 300 feet away.

The two officers hurried back to the station to report what they had found and gather more officers to form a search party.

The men ( Nash, Lindsay, Bob Scott and Randy Needham) arrived back on the scene at approximately 2am. It wasn't long before the party discovered more tracks running along the river bank. Officer Lindsay headed back to the car to grab a camera to take photos of the tracks. The four were interrupted by the same scream that had been witnessed earlier. With all four frightened they raced back the the patrol car for safety. After some time the men left the car to continue their search but were unable to track the monster down and figured that whatever it was had disappeared with the morning sun never to be seen again, They were wrong.

Track cast of The Murphysboro Mud Monster.

On the evening of June 26 5yr old Christian Baril was catching fireflies in his back yard near the banks of the Big Muddy river when he spied a large white figure behind the fence that separated their yard from their neighbors. The young boy dropped his jar and bolted to the house yelling to his father "Daddy, Daddy! There's a big ghost in the back yard." His father was doubtful of the boy's story until hearing about his neighbors encounter.

At the same time Baril was crying in his father's arms, one of their neighbors, Cheryl Ray and boyfriend Randy Creath were sitting in her darkened porch talking and looking at the stars when they heard some noise in the bushes about 15 ft. away. Cheryl, thinking it was the neighbor's kids spying on them jumped up to hit the porch light while Randy headed for the porch door to check things out.
Part of Cheryl's statement " Randy and I were sitting in my parents breezeway when we heard something in the woods. We both went down, but Randy was walking a bit ahead. Then he said come here and there it was. We stood there looking at it."

The two stood stunned looking at a dirty white monster starring back at them.

Creath stated "The thing I remember was the bulk of it, the shape, the human form and the stench of the river slime it apparently had on it. It was about 8ft tall and at least as stocky as any NY football player. We were within 15ft of it, close enough to see the texture of the fur, long and hairy like an English sheep dog".

Ray also gave her description: " It was real tall, Hairy, I think it was white but dirty, matted. It had a really bad odor, it was really rank. I never smelled anything like it. It seemed like an eternity we stood there and then it turned around and walked off in to the woods. We could hear it trampling through the woods ".

Creath said that the "Animal" starred at them for what felt like a long time but later guessed it was roughly 30 seconds or so. Both Creath and Ray agreed that the creature had glowing red eyes, while Creath accredited a nearby reflection of a streetlight for the glow Ray insisted that the creatures eyes were actually glowing, not the result of any other light source.

Ray said that the creature they saw was at least 350lbs and 7ft tall. They also said it had a "Roundish" head and long gorilla like arms.

Officers Manwaring and Nash arrived on the scene noticing a powerful but quickly dissipating odor along with footprints where the creature was seen. Following this, then chief Toby Berger dispatched all 14 of the rest of his men and sent for nearby Carbondale officer and dog handler Jerry Nellis .

Armed with rifles, handguns, flashlights and one bad ass German shepherd named Reb, the officers found a trail of black slime from Ray's porch all the way to the river. Reb picked up the scent of the beast as the officers followed through broken branches and trampled underbrush. They tracked through dense forest and down a steep embankment to a small pond. The trail was  temporarily lost due to dense growth. The officers continued to look around with flashlights to try and figure out where the creature could have disappeared to when Reb picked up on the beast once again and headed straight for a nearby deserted barn east of the Ray property and north of the river, but once he reached the door, he began trembling and yelping with fear. This confused both Manwaring and Nellis as Reb was known as the most reliable tracking and attack dog in the county.  Nellis attempted to force the dog through the door but Reb dropped to his belly scrambling backward, whimpering. Reb's reaction prompted chief Berger to radio for help from other departments in the area and within hours more than a dozen patrol units were on scene. Between Reb's reaction and the arrival of the other officers the beast managed to escape through the back of the barn. Shortly after, the search was called off for the night.

A traveling carnival set up near Riverside park and on the night of July 7th around 2am some time after the show had shut down for the night, 3 Carnies (Ottis Norris,Ray Adkerson,and Wesley Lavender) were sitting behind a truck going over the receipts when they heard the shows ponies start to whinnie . The 3 got up to check what was bothering them to find the usually very calm Shetlands in a frighted state trying to free themselves for their ropes. The carnies soon caught site of an 8ft 400lb creature, they could not distinguish any facial features but saw that it was watching the ponies.The men ran for help with the creature running in the opposite direction. One of the other Carnies called in to help with the situation (Charles Kimbal) saw the beast roughly an hour later staring once again at the ponies with its head tilted to one side in a "Deeply Curious" manner.

This was not the end of the Murphysboro Mud monster and may not have even been the beginning.

Thank you for reading.
Leo A Frank.

 This post by Leo Frank, Leo enjoys the outdoors and researching Bigfoot. Leo has over 23  years experience researching and investigating Sasquatch across different regions of North America. He is also the author of the very popular book Sasquatch Family Ties.

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