The Honey Island
Honey Island swamp is unique
because it's one of the least-altered river swamps in the country.
It's pretty much in its original condition, almost a pristine
wilderness.Take a personalized narrated nature tour into the
250-square-mile Honey Island Swamp. Nearly 70,000 acres of it
is a permanently-protected wildlife area--the Nature Conservancy's
First Louisiana Nature Preserve. People from all over the world
now explore this wildlife sanctuary with him.
Honey Island earned its name
because of the honeybees once seen on a nearby island. A tract
of bottomland timber lying between the East Pearl and West Pearl
rivers, Honey Island is between three and seven miles wide and
15 to 20 miles long. It is located 50 minutes from New Orleans
in Southeast Louisiana.
Honey Island has become one of
the most well-known swamps because of the real or imagined presence
of a creature similar to what others have called Big Foot.
Long to short hair on the head.
Shorter hair all over the body. At times head hair forming bangs
some what over the eyes. Hair color is dingy gray. 5- 8 feet
tall and weight 300 or 350 pounds, with long, orange-brown gray
or black hair and big, wide-set orange amber eyes.
These animals are sometimes
described as having a "mane" of hair, large broad
shouldered. The face is said to be rather flat. The most prominent
feature described by Ford and others , is the size and color
of the eyes. They appear to be disproportionately large , and
of an amber color.
Mr. Ford stated that this gave
the animal a "sinister" look.
The tracks , left by the animal
, appear to be somewhat similar to an Alligator's rear foot.
Upon close examination , however, it becomes clear , that this
is something different.
In 1974, zoologists from Louisiana
State University (LSU) met with Harlan Ford to study the plaster
casts of the creature's four-toed footprints. Crypotozoologist
from Washington also arrived in Louisiana to inspect the unusual
casts. Harlan said, "That thing stood eye level with me.
The thing that startled me the most, we're it's large amber
eyes." Harlan was later interviewed in a documentary called
"In Search Of" which still airs periodically on The
Discovery Channel and other television networks. Harlan's own
personal sighting has been documented in a book, "Monsters
of North America"
This is a real plaster cast of
the impression of the footprint of the Honey Island Swamp Monster.
This cast was donated to the Abita Mystery House by Dana Holyfield,
grand-daughter of Harlan E. Ford, the hunter who found and cast
the tracks. He was the first man to report a sighting of the
creature and he was also the first and only man to my knowledge
who poured plaster paris casts of it's tracks found deep in
the swamp. The Honey Island Swamp is about 25 miles East of
the Abita Mystery House. There are several swamp tours of the
There are four toes visible.
There are three heavily clawed toes , with prominent knuckles
, underneath the foot. Then... there is the bizarre thumb like
small toe . About an inch and a half on the cast that I have.
These toes show clearly , that this animal can grasp with the
toes. The three large toes , are long and slender , with tendons
visible in the prints. The claws are turned down , and backwards
to grip the loose soil , sand , and mud. This is reminiscent
of a cat like trait. The skin appears to be thin on the bottom
of the foot , with tendons showing. In the hostile environment
of the island , thin skin under the foot would indicate that
it didn't spend a lot of time on the ground.
IN SEARCH OF
ST. TAMMANY, PARISH BIGFOOT
In 1978 the Alan Lamdsburg Company, producers of the popular
TV program, IN SEARCH OF did a segment on the Honey island Swamp
Monster. This catapulted the monster into International fame.
Since then there have been many reports and the program has
become a reference for information on the creature.
Dana Holyfield, grand-daughter
of Harlan Ford, has made a documentary film about the Honey
Island Swamp Monster. The documentary also includes footage
of a swamp trek that Dana took into an area where there had
been sightings of the creature. She found tracks, and shot video
of the tracks. Also included in the documentary is footage shot
by Harlan Ford years ago in the swamp. There are a few seconds
of footage of a bipedal, hairy being that is walking behind
This book documents sightings of a mysterious man-like creature
that roams the dense foliage of the Louisiana Honey Island Swamp,
where few men have ever ventured. Evidence found (as seen on
Discovery Channel's In Search Of) was studied by reputable crypto
zoologists who claimed that is was not a hoax.
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.
The footage was recently uncovered
by Dana’s grandmother, Harlan Ford’s widow. it had
apparently been lying around, gathering dust. Dana was just
given this old footage earlier this year and has included it
with her documentary.
Is the figure the Honey Island
DVD is available on Dana’s website http://www.angelfire.com/la2/SwampMonster/.
Since hurricane Katrina people
are still seeing the Honey Island Creature in the wilderness
along the Pearl river on both the Louisiana and Mississippi
sides, as far as Covington and Hammond to Slidell and New Orleans
The outside world first learned
about Louisiana's Honey Island Swamp Monster in 1974 when two
hunters emerged from a remote area of backwater sloughs with
plaster casts of "unusual tracks." The men claimed
they discovered the footprints near a wild boar that lay with
its throat gashed. They also stated that over a decade earlier,
in 1963, they had seen similar tracks after encountering an
They described it as standing
seven feet tall, being covered with grayish hair, and having
large amber-colored eyes. However, the monster had promptly
run away and also an afternoon rainstorm had obliterated its
tracks, the men said.
The hunters were Harlan E. Ford and his friend Billy Mills,
both of whom worked as air-traffic controllers. Ford told his
story on an episode of the 1970s television series In Search
of . . . . According to his granddaughter, Dana Holyfield (1999a,
When the documentary was first televised, it was monster mania
around here. People called from everywhere. . . . The legend
of the Honey Island Swamp Monster escalated across Southern
Louisiana and quickly made its way out of state after the documentary
Harlan Ford continued to search for the monster until his death
in 1980. Dana recalls how he once took a goat into the swamp
to use as bait, hoping to lure the creature to a tree blind
where Ford waited-uneventfully, as it happened-with gun and
He did supposedly find several,
different-sized tracks on one hunting trip. He also claimed
to have seen the monster on one other occasion, during a fishing
trip with Mills and some of their friends from work. One of
the men reportedly then went searching for the creature with
a rifle and fired two shots at it before returning to tell his
story to the others around the campfire (Holyfield 1999a, 10-15).
Footprints and other specific
details aside, the Honey Island Swamp Monster seems part of
a genre of mythic swamp-dwelling "beastmen" or "manimals."
They include the smelly Skunk Ape and the hybrid Gatorman of
the Florida Everglades and other southern swamps; the Scape
Ore Swamp Lizardman of South Carolina; Momo, the Missouri Monster;
and, among others, the Fouke Monster, which peeked in the window
of a home in Fouke, Arkansas, one night in 1971 and set off
a rash of monster sightings (Blackman 1998, 23-25, 30-33, 166-168;
Bord and Bord 1982, 104-105; Coleman and Clark 1999, 224-226;
Coleman and Huyghe 1999, 39, 56).
FROM ANY DIRECTION: (New Orleans, Covington, Mississippi and
the Gulf Coast), you must exit Interstate 10 in Slidell at exit
266 (US 190) also known locally as Gause Boulevard.
Take US 190 East (2 miles) to
the traffic light located at the intersection of US 190 and
Highway 1090 (Military Road). Turn LEFT. Drive NORTH 1 mile
on 1090 where you will pass over Interstate 10. Immediately,
you will come to the Interstate Service Road. Turn RIGHT onto
the Service Road and follow it 1.5 miles to its end at the Pearl
River. Parking is on the LEFT. Gift shop, restrooms and refreshments
available on location.
Island Swamp Tour Information
Island Swamp Tours has provided unique, interpretative boat
tours since 1982. Our business has grown as demand for the tours
has steadily increased. Use of small boats (both covered and
uncovered) allow us deep access into the heart of our beautiful
honey island cypress swamp. All boats are Coast Guard-inspected;
and all guides are licensed, native, professional guides.
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Blackman, W. Haden. 1998. The Field Guide to North American
Monsters. New York: Three Rivers Press.
Blanchard, Kevin. 2000. Bigfoot sighting in La.? Baton Rouge,
La., The Advocate, August 29.
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Pa.: Stackpole Books.
Burdeau, Cain. 2000. Many in central La. fear Bigfoot. Baton
Rouge, La., The Advocate, September 15.
Byrne, Peter. 1975. Quoted in Guenette and Guenette 1975, 81.
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Charbonnet, Robbie. 2000. Interview by Joe Nickell, December
Coleman, Loren, and Jerome Clark. 1999. Cryptozoology A to Z.
New York: Fireside (Simon & Schuster).
Coleman, Loren, and Patrick Huyghe. 1999. The Field Guide to
Bigfoot, Yeti, and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide. New York:
Dennett, Michael. 1982. Bigfoot jokester reveals punchline-finally.
Skeptical Inquirer 7.1 (Fall): 8-9.
Dennis, John V. 1988. The Great Cypress Swamps. Baton Rouge:
Louisiana State University Press, 27, 108-109.
"Dr. Wagner's Honey Island Swamp Tours, Inc." N.d.
Advertising flier, Slidell, La.
Ford, Perry. N.d. "The Honey Island Swamp Monster."
Song text in Holyfield 1999b, 13.
Guenette, Robert, and Frances Guenette. 1975. The Mysterious
Monsters. Los Angeles, Calif.: Sun Classic Pictures.
Holyfield, Dana. 1999a. Encounters with the Honey Island Swamp
Monster. Pearl River, La.: Honey Island Swamp Books.
--. 1999b. More Swamp Cookin' with the River People. Pearl River,
La.: Honey Island Swamp Books.
Krantz, Grover. 1992. Big Footprints: A Scientific Inquiry into
the Reality of Sasquatch. Boulder, Colorado: Johnson Books.
Nickell, Joe. 1995. Entities: Angels, Spirits, Demons, and Other
Alien Beings. Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books.
Pickens, Ray. 1975. Quoted in Guenette and Guenette 1975, 80.
Wagner, Sue. 2000. Interview by Joe Nickell, December 4. l
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HAVE BEEN WARNED!