There is no secret to the fact that the ridicule curtain is lowered a bit every October, and that creature stories are actively pursued by the media as the calendar nears Halloween. But who would have guessed that an old “Devil Monkey” case would be revealed in 2009?
Cryptozoological topics, naturally, are good ones to investigate this time of year for local newspaper writers, and sometimes little known ones are discovered.
Devil Monkey © Loren Coleman and Patrick Huyghe 1999, 2006; © Harry Trumbore 1999, 2006.
One such subject popped up this week in the guise of the “Belt Road Booger.” (Booger is a local Southern word for a strange creature, an unknown animal, a ghostly figure, and/or a haunt.) Jeff Bishop wrote the 2009 story for The Times-Herald, for his little town in the bottomlands.
The Newnan Herald was Georgia’s first newspaper after Civil War, and the outcome, The Times-Herald, which was started as a sideline by two Newnan (Coweta County, Georgia) lawyers in the days after the Civil War ended, has existed now for 143 years.
Bishop, digging in the archives, found a thirty-year old series of stories that seemed appropriate for the weeks before Halloween.
In old issues of The Times-Herald, the reporter stumbled across front-page articles with headlines like the one dated August 9, 1979, “Strange Creature Seen Here.”
“Move over, Sasquatch, Bigfoot, the Abominable Snowman and the Loch Ness Monster — make room for the Belt Road Booger!” the story screamed.
Several sightings of a “monster” sighted on Belt Road near the intersection of West Washington Street were reported that week.
“It was dark. It stands about five feet tall. It’s big across the chest. Its eyes look like diamonds at night when you shine a light on them,” was how one local woman described the “monster.”
The creature was reported to have “a face like a monkey and a long bushy tail.”
The Newnan Police Department investigated the incident but found nothing.
The creature was “alleged to have eaten the inside of an apple, leaving only the peeling, and to have bitten a hunk out of an ear of corn.” It was also supposed to have climbed into a barn in the neighborhood, and some local children speculated that he slept in some junked cars in the woods near Belt Road.
The Belt Road Booger was spotted again in the Meadowview subdivision near Arnco, described by one local resident as “the ugliest looking thing I’ve ever seen.”
She described the animal as standing between 4 and 5 feet tall, and it was covered with black hair and a tail “like a beaver’s, but it’s bushy,” with “a face like a dog.”
She said the creature dug into her flowers and tried to kill her calladiums.
Sightings were reported in the following weeks in the Smokey Road and Ishman Ballard Road areas, and then later at Sargent. Then reports began to become less frequent, and the Belt Road Booger was seemingly forgotten.
Bishop found that sightings appeared to return in April 2005, with the re-naming of the thing seen as the “Happy Valley Horror.”
An avid hunter and outdoorsman, very familiar with local wildlife described “an enormous … very hairy” beast walking upright in a field on Happy Valley Circle. He thought it was Bigfoot.
Then in August 2005, a skeptical Happy Valley Circle resident, Donna Robards, told of how her family saw the creatures in late August 2005. They described them as “big and hairy and walking upright,” but it wasn’t a bear “because the face was flat and didn’t have a snout like a bear.”
On August 25, a pair was seen, with the larger of the two creatures being 8 feet tall and covered with coarse black hair. The other was a foot shorter and its hair was reddish-brown in color.
In recognition of the 30th anniversary of the creature’s initial appearance, The Times-Herald appears to be gathering new stories and planning an update.
Clearly, the “dog-faced” case from 1979 is different than the sightings from 2005.
For hominologists, these stories fit into the diverse context of the “Devil Monkeys” reports from the South. The tail and head, of course, in the 1979 accounts, speak to something other than an ape or your typical Bigfoot described four years ago. But reports like these are nothing new.
One case summarized in my field guide involves a “giant monkey” encounter in June 1953, in the Gosainkund Pass, Nepal. George Moore, M.D. and his companion, George K. Brooks, came face to face with what they took to be Abominable Snowmen, while they were on a medical mission in the area.
Of course, Yetis don’t have long tails, but then normal monkeys aren’t man-sized and walk towards you in a misty valley in Nepal, either.
The Moore-Brooks sighting, a strange story indeed, involved two credible eyewitnesses. It remains a mystery of the Himalayas, as much as the Belt Road Booger is in Georgia.
Find out more about other Devil Monkeys in The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates.
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