One of the stories that I loved as a child, partly because it scared the dickens out of me, was the story of a monster my Grandpa saw one dark night.
Now my grandparents spent most of their lives bein' born and raised in an area located deep in the Mark Twain National Forest in southern Missouri. Today you can drive in this area and there are houses fairly frequently but it is still the type of country you wouldn't want to be out walkin' through on foot in the night. In these parts we would describe the area as bein' woolly and boogery.
As a young married couple, my grandparents lived on a farm with their firstborn, my dad's oldest sister. The time period was about 1920.
One night after milkin' the cow, my grandpa was walkin' back to the house. It was dark and grandpa was carryin' a lantern. He could just make out somethin' on the path in front of him and he said he actually smelled it first. He slowed his walkin' and proceeded with care. As he got closer it looked like a large animal on all fours just standin' ahead on the path. Grandpa started to worry it might be a bear. He raised his lantern up to get a better look and that's when the creature raised up and stood on it's two back feet. It had long dirty yellow lookin' hair all over its body and it looked like a man in stature, just bent over. Grandpa said the creatures face looked like pictures he had seen of apes and he said it smelled awful. He looked into the creatures eyes and met the look of a human.
Grandpa stood still and the creature stood sill, with both lookin' at each other. Then the creature dropped back down on all fours and ran off into the woods.
When grandpa got back to the house, grandma said he was as white as a sheet and was shakin'.
A few days later when he and grandma were at church, grandpa related the story to some of the men there. They started laughin' and teasin' grandpa about his 'monster'. They decided to get a huntin' party up and search through the woods for Denzil's monster.
I'm sure there was moonshine involved and lots of tom foolery goin' around. After all most of these men had grown up together and known each other all their lives. They changed their tune however when they found a place back in under a rock overhang that looked like somethin' had been usin' the area to bed down. There was old dirty yellow hair layin' on the ground with leaves and grasses for a bed. There were small animal bones layin' about.
Grandpa, nor anyone he knew, never did see his 'monster/ape man' again. But he said he was always on the lookout.
In the early 1960's, my family lived on a farm near a small community about 25 miles southeast of Springfield. One summer day a boy of about 12 years, who lived on a farm about 8 miles east of Springfield, was out in the woods in the blackberry briars. He came upon a hairy ape type creature eatin' berries. It had long light brown hair all over its body. The description he gave was exactly like the thing my grandpa had seen, except for the hair color. The boy even described the creature as smellin' somethin' awful.
Needless to say everybody in neighborin' communities was nervous and scared. My mom said we weren't allowed to go traipsin' out in the woods and we had to be in the house before dark.
This state of anxiety went on for about 2 weeks with everybody speculatin' about the ape/monster. I guess the county sheriffs department was kept mighty busy with phone calls every time somebodies dog barked. They put out a news release sayin' that the 12 year old boy had made up the story. My folks said, no way.......they thought the authorities just wanted to calm people down. We never did hear anythin' else about this 'monster'. After a while folks calmed down and forgot about it.
In the early seventies, in Branson, before it became the country music mecca it is today, it was a small quaint town. A girlfriend and I started spendin' weekends down at the lake and goin' into Branson to explore. There was a museum and lookout tower on the outskirts of town on the road to Silver Dollar City. This museum was called The Jesse James Museum. In the front part of the museum was a gift store but the back part housed the museum. You had to pay to go through the museum and at the roped off entrance was a hairy man type stuffed creature in an early 1900's suit. There was a plaque that told how this creature had been trapped in the area back at the turn of the century and was sold to the Ringling Brothers travelin' circus. The creature lived about 20 years in captivity and when it died, they stuffed him and he eventually made his way back to Branson.
The Jesse James Museum was torn down years ago and I don't know what happened to the hairy man.
A few months ago I thought about what my grandpa and the 12 year old boy saw and the stuffed hairy man in Branson, and I started lookin' up on the internet to see what I could find. Low and behold there is a lot on there about MoMo, the Missouri Monster, described just like the creature my grandpa saw.
So the next time you're out at night keep a look out......in this day and age he might have traveled and he could be in your area.
Room Service Adventures by The Pioneer Woman
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