- Paperback: 32 pages
- Publisher: Honey Island Swamp Books (January 10, 2006)
- ISBN-10: 0970474350
- ISBN-13: 978-0970474353
- Package Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.3 x 0.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,929,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Swamp Monster: Real Encounters in the Louisiana Honey Island Paperback – January 10, 2006
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About the Author
Dana Holyfield grew up in Slidell, Louisiana. She wrote this book because it was her grandfather, Harlan Ford, who first reported the sighting of the legendary Swamp Monster after he poured plaster paris tracks. She has authored many books such as Swamp Cooking With The River People, More Swamp Cooking, New Orleans Mardi Gras Recipes, Cajun Sexy Cooking, Swamp Tour A Way Of Life On The Bayou, Mermaid Bayou Legend Of The Fresh Water Lady Fish, Sexy & Lean Bayou Cuisine.
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Top customer reviews
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: the Honey Island Swamp Monster. The book covers many angle on the beast
as well as the sightings. it touches and refutes hoax claims as well. If
your a fan of cryptozoology you can't go wrong
There is nothing slick or polished about the writing, and there are numerous typos and mis-spells, but...ultimately...those little technical and grammatical imperfections don't matter nearly as much to this reviewer as does the EARNESTNESS of this narrative. You cannot come away from this little tome without feeling that there is no put-on here, that Dana Holyfield honestly and sincerely believes in the truth of everything she writes about. And since she grew up right there in the area where all this goes on, and has interacted all her life with the relatives, friends, and acquaintances who have allegedly seen or heard this "creature"...or come across its tracks in the backcountry...she has a deep, first-person awareness of what the people think and believe. In this respect Ms. Holyfield comes across more as a spokesperson for her community and its beliefs than "some writer covering a story".
It must also be said that this book serves as the companionpiece, or "bookend", to a quite well-done little "no-budget" film documentary on this subject (available at her website) that puts the eyewitnesses and accounts mentioned in this booklet onscreen for the world to see.
And that is an interesting sight to see. Why? Because it is one thing to read words on a printed page, but quite another to hear and see them spoken "for real". On a printed page you don't get body language, tone of voice, facial expressions, emotional nuances that help you "read" the honesty (or lack of it)of what is being said. In the DVD the truthfulness and integrity you SENSE in this little booklet is right up there on your tv screen in full display. And people like Denty Crawford, to use just one example, come across as real-deal "straight-arrows" who are telling it like it is.
And what is this oddity that these people all believe in, and what Dana Holyfield's grandfather, Harlan Ford, first saw over a half century ago now? She describes it in the book as being bi-pedal, between six and seven feet tall and having not much of a neck , but shoulders and a big barrel chest that were both "tremendous". Below that chest the lower torso, hips, and legs slimmed down almost to sleekness. "It had long, muddy colored hair on its head and face and upper chest and shorter dingy gray hair on its lower body. Its face seemed ape-like though some of its features seemed close to human." The eyes, Ford claimed, were the most startling thing about it. They were an amber-green , very intelligent looking, very intense, and they locked onto Ford's own eyes with a hard stare before the thing turned and retreated into the woods.
Later on Ford and his hunting companion, Billy Mills, would find mysterious tracks in the area that had only 3-to-4 toes on them. There were , it looked like, three main toes and a smaller toe ,offset to the side rather like a dewclaw. If the ground was soft or mucky the fourth "toe" would show up. If the ground was harder, it usually wouldn't.
Reviewer's note: Would comment here that these 1963 Louisiana footprints look remarkably like the footprints of the "whatever" that showed up in the bottomlands around Fouke, Arkansas, several years later. The term "bigfoot" cannot technically be applied here because none of these Honey Island Swamp or Fouke prints are big. They are all well within human range in terms of width and length. They DO, however look like they were made by something large and heavy.
It is also interesting to note that both the "Fouke Monster" ("Legend of Boggy Creek" creature) and the Honey Island Swamp "whatsit" exist within a fairly close proximity geographically to each other in the lower Mississippi Basin between southwest Arkansas and New Orleans.
Some expression of doubts have been raised by a few people about the legitimacy of the "Swamp Monster's" reality, given that an old boot with a molded "track" on the bottom was found several years ago. Dana Holyfield, to her credit, does not try to "duck and dodge" on this issue, but forcefully tackles it head-on, even including a photo of the "track-boot" in her book. She also makes a telling point about how much significance this item might, or might not, have.
She points out correctly that , when these sightings were first made, the Alan Landsburg Productions company came out and did a segment on the Honey Island mystery for their t.v. show "In Search Of". In doing this shooting they did "recreations" of things with costumes and PROPS. Among these props were "feet" to make footprints with. She notes that production companies are known to discard things when they pack up and move on, and this "track-boot" might have been such a discard.
Moreover, she points out that it is documented that there followed a period after the airing of the show where many locals had quite a time treating pumped-up tourists to "Swamp Booger" stories and taking them out and showing them "authentic footprints". Ms. Holyfield states that it is well known...and written about...that various people did this (as did Ray Wallace and Ivan Marx in California with Sasquatch/Bigfoot)and this rigged-up boot could easily have been tossed off by ANY of these.
These are points well taken. Add to that everything that is known about the character of the late Harlan Ford , and sensing the strong faith in his integrity that comes across in the writing (and filmmaking) of his grandaughter, I would have to say the jury is still out on this one and likely will be for some time to come (unless, of course, one is a total skeptic and just plain "doesn't want to hear it").
Me? I'm willing to give "Old Swampy" the benefit of the doubt. In fact I kind of hope he and his kind really are there...and, as long as they behave themselves, rather wish them well.
Getting back to the book, it is really good and a must-read for anyone interested in cryptozoology. By the way, it was written by Dana Holyfield, garnddaughter of Harlan Ford, who first reported a sighting and found the tracks.