My daily commute takes me straight through downtown Bishopville, SC. If that name sounds familiar to you don’t be surprised. The town was made famous, more or less, back in 1988 with the alleged sightings of the Lizard Man at the Scape Ore Swamp. I’ve written about the Lizard Man in the past here, if you need a refresher. Last week on my way to work, I had to stop my car as a chicken crossed the road.
Recognizing a golden opportunity for a joke, I quickly went to twitter to announce this. I suppose that’s a commentary on our current social media obsessed society, but I digress. Because of my extremely witty joke, Theo Paijmans, linked me to an interesting newspaper report which I had not heard of before. It’s the strange tale of the “Abominable Chicken Man”. A primate of unknown origin which apparently had a craving for chickens and was roaming around the Oklahoma country side in the late 60’s early 70’s.
|Probably not what was seen|
The story was reported in The Spokesman-Review by Dennis Montgomery on March 1st of 1971. This encounter had occurred the previous December. Montgomery relates how a local farmer located in El Reno, Oklahoma suffered some loss and damaged property at the hands of this “Chicken Man”. Montgomery writes:
An El Reno farmer walked out to his chicken coop one day in December and found its door on the ground, apparently thrown there after being ripped off the wall.
On the surface of the door, and inside the coop on the walls, were a number of strange hand prints - like none he’d ever seen before. They were about seven inches long and five inches wide.
The farmer initially contacted a local game warden/ranger who was also at a loss to explain the origins of the hand prints. So the local zoo was contacted to see if they could offer any insight on what may have attacked the farmer’s chickens. Montgomery tells us:
Zoo Director Lawrence Curtis says the prints appear to be like those of a primate. A primate is an animal like a gorilla or a man that can stand erect. The thumber of the print is unusual. Curtis says it crooks inside, as if it were deformed or had been injured.
‘It resembles a gorilla,’ he said, ‘but it’s more like a man.’
‘It appears that whatever made the prints was walking on all fours. There were some footprints on the ground outside,’ he said. Whatever it was was barefoot. Barefoot in December.
This farmer was not the only one person to have come across similar prints. Montgomery notes several other individuals across Oklahoma who were said to have discovered the same, or similar, hand prints as the original farmer did. As to what this creature could have been, Montgermery relates:
Oklahoma has only for native animals big enough to leave such prints: the black bear, the mountain lion, the wolf and man. Curtis has ruled out all but the last.
‘We’ve shown it to several mammalogists and several wildlife experts in Oklahoma and some passing through. All agree it is a primate,’ he said. ‘These prints were made by some sort of a man, perhaps looking for chickens,’
Check this link in order to read the full article. Montgomery goes on to draw parallels between this “Chicken Man” and other Bigfoot creatures seen throughout North America. The chicken farmer never claimed to have seen the creature, only the devastation it left in it’s wake. There are a number of sightings of bigfoot-like creatures reported in the area in and around El Reno, Oklahoma. Did this famer have an encounter with the Bigfoot? It’s possible. Those hand prints certainly do sound quite large and the fact that the creature got around on all fours could possibly rule out a human culprit. Unless they were up to trickery, a possibility which I can’t deny.
The ‘Abominable Chicken Man’ never seemed to show back up. Maybe he had enough chicken? Maybe he went on a diet? Who knows? Either way, it makes for yet another interesting wrinkle in the Bigfoot story.