Boonville, Ind., Aug. 18.  – (U.P.) – A stranger who declined to identify himself strolled into the newspaper office here today and declared that the weird, mysterious beast whose screams and prowlings have terrified residents of the Ohio river valley is simply a giant sloth.
The man said he and his uncle were returning home from Mexico two years ago with the sloth, which they had captured on a game hunting expedition. He said they lost it near Evansville and never had found a trace of it since. He was uncertain if it was two-toed or three-toed, but averred that sloths came in both varieties.
When a sloth is hungry and frightened, he said, it will give vent to blood-curdling shrieks and yells such as terrified river valley residents have reported they have heard intermittently since Friday night [August 13].
At that time Mrs. Ralph Duff reported she caught a fleeting glimpse of the animal and said it looked like an ape.
Posses, according to reports here, are searching the river bottoms cautiously in the hope of tracking the beast to its lair.
River folk said today that they had seen an empty circus truck in the vicinity, and assumed that animal experts are endeavoring to capture the alleged monster also.“Sloth Scares the Boonville Natives,” Hammond Times, Hammond, Indiana, Wednesday, August 18, 1937.
Ah, the old circus truck hanging around the edges of the story, humm? It seems those stories about the circus people wanting to capture one of these mystery creatures to add to their collections are almost as common as those in which the same creatures are escaping from wrecked circus trains!
It is intriguing to find the tension between the “giant ground sloth” theory versus the “great ape” hypothesis we see being played out in the Amazon during the last few years was experienced in Indiana in the 1930s.