Sunday, May 28, 2017

Bigfoot doesn’t keep people from moving to Fouke

Fouke, Ark., has been growing the last few years, with the largest ever population – 859 – in the 2010 census. The first census in Fouke was in 1910, when 246 people lived in the Southwest Arkansas town. The only drop in population occurred between 1940 and 1950, with the latter census count of 336 a whopping 32 people less than the former enumeration. The town quickly picked up, though, registering an increase of 58 by the 1960 census.

Fouke is 11 miles southeast of Texarkana and 17 miles north of Louisiana. Interstate 49 now runs across the western part of town.

Fouke is best known as home of the Fouke Monster, presumably a Southern Sasquatch. The monster lived in the Boggy Creek area near Fouke and terrorized a few residents in the early 1970s. After those sightings came several “Oh, yeah. That thing” statements, locals wondering why media people were only then aware of the furry creature.

“In 1851, the Memphis Enquirer reported a creature spotted by hunters in Greene County:

“’He was of gigantic stature, the body being covered with hair and the head with long locks that fairly enveloped his neck and shoulders.’”

Greene County is way up in Northeast Arkansas, in a less boggy area, but still within the forested terrain so favored by Sasquatch. And, Greene County is located on Crowley’s Ridge, a long rocky wooded line that runs from Missouri to near Helena, Ark. The Ridge is good habitat for big furry creatures.

The 1851 report was not the only story of an Arkansas Sasquatch.

“Five years later in 1856, the Caddo Gazette reported the following beast in the Upper Red River region:

“’...A stout, athletic man, about six feet four inches in height, completely covered with hair of a brownish cast about four to six inches long. He was well muscled, and ran up the bank with the fleetness of a deer.

“’...In an instant [he] dragged the hunter to the ground and tore him in a most dreadful manner, scratching out one of his eyes and injuring the other so much that his comrades despair of the recovery of his sight, and biting large pieces out of his shoulder and various parts of his body.’

“The ‘wild man’ then stole the hapless victim's horse and rode away on it.”

(Same link.)

As with other legends and myths and possibly accurate stories, people who live in such an area learn to, well, live with the recounting. And with the subject.

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