The following is an excerpt from my new book Wild & Wonderful (and Paranormal) West Virginia:
During the mid-1960s, “monster mania” was taking root in certain areas of the country. “Hairy monsters” were being spotted nationwide; concerned—and adventurous—citizens began looking for the creatures. Heavily armed posses set out in pursuit of the monsters; teenagers piled into cars and headed to all-night monster-hunting parties; police became so bogged down directing monster-hunting traffic that they barely had time to investigate reported sightings of the creatures. Things got a little crazy.
In March 1967, residents of the North Carolina towns of Rockwell and Kanapolis reported seeing a “wooly booger” in wooded areas at night. The creature was ape-like, 8-10 feet tall, and had a massive body covered in hair. According to some reports, the monster had chased people. An area youth had to be taken to the hospital after becoming overwhelmed with fright after seeing the creature.18
Local residents, particularly young people, began searching for the monster at night; this led to problems for police. Traffic, illegally parked vehicles, and people carrying firearms, often concealed, became such safety concerns for law enforcement that Constable Jim L. Bost began making arrests.19
Southeastern Michigan experienced a rash of monster sightings in the summer of 1965. At least 15 Monroe residents claimed to have spotted a 7-foot-tall hairy monster. Its weight was estimated to be 400 pounds. Christine Van Acker, 17 years old at the time, was attacked by the animal while sitting in a car with her mother. “He reached through the window and grabbed my hair,” she claimed. Worse, the beast hit her in the eye. The Associated Press reported the incident and a picture of Van Acker—with a black eye—accompanied the story.20
The Monroe sightings—and attack—triggered a bout of monster mania in the area. Days after the Van Acker incident, monster hunters clogged the roads; traffic was bumper-to-bumper. Police estimated that a crowd of 1,000 people were out to catch a glimpse of the creature.21
In August 1964, the scene in Waxahachie, Texas was similar—carloads of heavily armed monster hunters set out in search of a strange bipedal creature. The monster, blamed for the deaths of several partially eaten calves, was up to 8-feet-tall and had been spotted by several people.22
Not to be left out, West Virginia also experienced monster-driven hysteria; the town of Grafton had a monster in its midst in June 1964….
Read the rest in my new book! Find out more about the Grafton Monster and a variety of other cryptids. A Kindle edition of the book is available for pre-order on Amazon for $0.99. The release date is set for April 3, at which point a paperback edition will also become available.
18. “’Wooly Booger’ Stirs Rockwell Area.” The Daily Independent (Kannapolis, NC), March 19, 1967.
20. “Search for the ‘Monster.’” Independent (Long Beach, CA), August 18, 1965.
22. “Monster Search Quiet.” Waxahachie Daily Light, August 3, 1964.