Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

September 15, 2013

“THE LAKE WORTH MONSTER” BY: NEAL MURPHY

Filed under: Neal Murphy — Freddie Keel @ 6:10 am

 

 

 

It was the summer of 1969.  Some remember it as the summer of the miracle Mets, Woodstock, and the astronauts’ first landing on the moon.  But in Ft. Worth, for many it will forever be the summer of the Lake Worth Monster.

It seems that “monsters” come and go.  But mysteries like the Loch Ness  Monster and Big Foot (Sasquatch) have remained with us for many years.

Forty-four years ago, the Lake Worth Monster first reared its no-so-pretty goat-like head and captured the imagination of thousands.  The monster sightings lasted but a few weeks, but the myth, lore, and legend continue to this day.

Greer Island is a small patch of land close to where the West Fork of the Trinity River flows into Lake Worth.  It is heavily shaded by oaks, cedar elms, and cottonwood trees.  The island is home to egrets, owls, and perhaps an alligator or two, and, maybe, just maybe, the Lake Worth Monster.

On the afternoon of July 10, 1969, the Star-Telegram’s front page carried a headline above the fold “Fishy Man-Goat Terrifies Couples Parked at Lake Worth”.  Six terrified residents told police that they were attacked by a thing they described as being half-man, half-goat, and covered with fur and scales.  Ft. Worth police searched in vain for the thing which was reported seen at Lake Worth, near Greer Island.

John Reichart told police that the creature leapt from a tree and landed on his car, and he showed them an eighteen-inch scar down the side of his car as proof.

The next night, the monster, in front of a couple dozen witnesses, was said to have uttered a “pitiful cry” and hurled a tire and rim from a bluff at them. Hundreds of amateur trackers descended on the area with all manner of Remington, Browning, and Colt firearms.

One of the curious who went to Lake Worth that summer was Sallie Ann Clarke, an aspiring writer and private investigator who dropped everything to interview people for what would become her quick-draw and slightly tongue-in-cheek book, The Lake Worth Monster of Greer Island which was published in September of 1969.

Clarke has always regretted the way she wrote her book because after she published it, she saw the monster on three occasions.  “If I’d seen it before I wrote the book it wouldn’t have been semi-fiction.  It would have been like history”, she told the Star Telegram in 1989.  She has the most famous, and perhaps the only photograph ever taken.  It was snapped in October 1969 at 1:15 a.m. near Greer Island.  Both her descriptions and the photo show a large white something, though it doesn’t seem to favor a goat at all.

A few weeks later several ranchers found the bodies of a number of sheep that had been mutilated.  This event added more fuel to the monster fire.  During the next weeks of summer, people saw the creature running through the Johnson grass, found tracks too big for a man, and reported dead sheep and blood.  Then about the time school resumed, perhaps not coincidently, the Lake Worth Monster furor largely disappeared.

In 2005 a reporter at the Star-Telegram received a handwritten letter, with no name and no return address. It read in part, “One weekend, myself and two friends from North Side High School decided to go out to Lake Worth and scare people on the roads where there were always stories of monsters and creatures who would attack parkers.”  The writer claimed to have used an old gorilla suit and tinfoil to make a mask to scare a truckload of girls.  The kids decided to retire their monster to avoid prosecution or being shot.

Still there was no explanation for the mangled sheep, or how a tire could be tossed 500 feet like a Frisbee.  There is no proof that the monster does not exist.  Is he still running loose?  Locals say that if you want to see the monster, or hear it; take a long quiet ride out around Lake Worth some dark, quiet night.  Don’t go alone. It is too scary out there.

monster

“THE  LAKE  WORTH  MONSTER”

 

BY: NEAL MURPHY

 

107 HEMLOCK STREET

PO BOX 511

SAN AUGUSTINE, TX 75972

936-275-9033

Cell: 936-275-6986

Email: sugarbear@netdot.com

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