My intentions were to post this story in it’s entirety through a few blog posts, but of course I became busy, which is all-too-common of late with almost everything regarding AFi. I had additional entries ready to go last Fall/Winter, but part of the appeal of this story is reading it in the hot, humid Summer season while camping in the woods – the cold indoors of Winter simply doesn’t have the same effect. So I’m reposting this initial entry, with some additional details, and the next installment is coming later this week. Enjoy!
OK, so this blog is about four years later than I had promised. Yeah, yeah, I know, I am a slacker. In writing this, I realize I have never put this story down on paper. It’s always been told to others, with much dramatic effect, so hopefully that won’t get lost on the written page.
– – – – –
I’ve always been fascinated by the legend and stories of this creature that supposedly lives in various forms all over the world. I’m not sure what got me interested in it, but ever since I was a little kid, I visited libraries, old bookstores, tracked down any and all books, documents, stories, research papers, basically anything I could find on the subject. It’s much easier now with the internet access, but years ago it was tough to find much of anything, especially braving the looks and attitudes of people when you inquire on the subject. But that didn’t stop me.
All the skeptics and scientists that say Bigfoot didn’t exist, and all the friends who thought I was just plain crazy, all that never made that much of a difference to me. I always dug the idea of this unseen primitive beast who manages to stay hidden despite all of society’s technology and advances.
It was always just a hobby; I never had any real plans to actually go out in the woods and hunt for one, considering that growing up in the deserts of Phoenix made that fairly impossible. Plus, reading some of the eerie stories of encounters made me acknowledge there was absolutely no way I would ever sit huddled alone in a tent at 2 am and listen for the horrible midnight screams of Bigfoot.
Terrifying animal screams breaking the silence, followed by sounds of branches being torn down by something huge and powerful, all that in the dead of night? Yeah, no thanks.
I’ve had my share of strange things happen in the forests of Northern Arizona and that was more than enough for me. I settled for staying up late reading personal accounts of sightings, from books with nightmare-inducing language like "Here are the true facts you should know about the controversial creature that may be lurking near your town – at this very moment." Nice, huh?
OK, so this creature, this monster, it’s not just a goofy creation of good ‘ol USA hillbillies; it has been seen in many countries worldwide and in all sorts of frightening forms. It’s known as Yeti in the Himalayas, Yeren in China. The Yowie-Whowie in Australia. In Native American culture, the creature goes by the name Chiye-tanka (roughly translated to great elder brother) or "the big man".
And in Missouri, the MoMo – the Midwest’s version of Sasquatch.
It apparently has orange eyes, a large pumpkin-shaped head, three-fingered claws and leaves three-toed footprints, and, unlike the shy Bigfoot, this aggressive creature was known to kill dogs and terrorize humans. Sounds playful, yes? There were actually plans for a MoMo action figure by Nevermore Creations, but the line was eventually canceled. Looks rather goofy, in my opinion. I mean, where are the blood-soaked teeth and dead dog?
Sightings of the Momo (short for Missouri Monster) have been reported since the 1940s, but it was the 1972 sightings in Louisiana, Missouri, that attracted all the press. The report:
The press jocularly dubbed the elusive and rank-smelling critter "Momo," for "Missouri Monster."The first sighting was on the afternoon of July 11, 1972. The Harrison boys – Terry, 8, and Walley, 5 – were playing near their home at the base of Marzolf Hill, a ridge that runs the length of the town.
At some point, Terry felt an unease. He glanced up and saw something staring at him. It was big and hulking and ominous. Its face was obscured by a mat of long hair. Terry screamed. In the house, 15-year-old sister Doris, hearing their screams, ran to the window. "It was right by the trees," she would later tell reporters, "6 or 7 feet tall, black and hairy. It stood like a man, but it didn’t look like one to me."
Now, this was 1972, and, true, there were hirsute hippies roaming the forests. And at times there would be seen lumbering through town some scruffy barge hand who might prompt a double-take, but it seemed this was a new species. Both Terry and Doris said the creature seemed to have no neck, and it was carrying under its arm what looked like a dead dog flecked with blood.
Edgar Harrison came home from work and found no monster, but near the tree where his excited children said the thing had stood he found faint footprints in the dust and black hairs stuck to some twigs. Harrison tried to reassure them that what they had seen was probably a hobo who by now was long gone from the area.
Harrison was a deacon in the Pentecostal church, and that Friday, July 14, there was a prayer meeting at his home. Later, as the group socialized on the porch, they heard a series of growls and shrieks coming from the water reservoir atop Marzolf Hill. The harrowing sound got louder and louder as it drew nearer.
The neighbors, too, came out to see what manner of beast was making such a racket. One of them yelled, "Here it comes!" In a panic they one and all fled, away from the awful screams. According to the Louisiana Press-Journal, by the time police arrived on the scene, all was quiet once more.
Others began seeing Momo. About 5 the next morning, Louisiana resident Pat Howard saw a manlike creature cross the road near Marzolf Hill. He described it only as a "dark object" running like a man. On the river road that runs northward out of town, Ellis Minor, then 63, sat alone in front of his cabin. Around 10 p.m., his bird dog began to growl. Minor got his big flashlight and shined it out toward the road. "It was standing there," Minor told a UPI reporter. "I couldn’t see its eyes or face – it had hair down ’bout to its hindparts.
As soon as I threw the light on it, it whirled and took off thataway." On July 19, Louisiana police chief Shelby Ward organized a 20-man posse to search Marzolf Hill. Spread out with walkie-talkies, they combed the ridge from end to end. On one of the paths they saw that an old dump had been recently disturbed, rubbish dug up and strewn about.
They also discovered two disi
nterred dog graves with bones scattered about. It was getting weirder and weirder.The Harrison home had become a staging area for Momo seekers.
Edgar took Richard Crowe from Chicago’s Irish Times up on Marzolf Hill. Crowe would write, "As we walked up the path, we found a set of tracks. They looked like large human footprints. Even with the heel impression incomplete, it measured 10 inches long and five inches wide. There had been no rain for 10 days and we estimated that more than 200 pounds of pressure would have been necessary to make prints in the hard soil."
Meanwhile, there were Momo sightings up and down the Mississippi, from St. Charles County to Hannibal. A DJ on a country-music station in nearby Bowling Green recorded a song, "Momo the Missouri Monster," and that did more to fuel the legend than anything else. For several years after the scare, the town of Louisiana held Momo Days, with the residents walking around wearing wigs with the tresses in front. But the bottom line is he’s still out there, spooking horses, stealing dogs – just for a snack, mind you – and still smelling as funky as the river itself. (1)
The report was carried in the Chicago Sun-Times July 21, 1972 and in the Los Angeles Herald Examiner July 20 1972 and other newspapers. Since then, there have been sightings in 29 counties throughout the state. But mysterious creatures aren’t the only topic of local folklore; that area has had its share of oddities dating back to the 1940s.
UFOs, strange floating lights at night, fireballs in the sky, mysterious deaths. The haunted Zombie Road. The phantom man of River Road. A woman’s unexplained midnight screams from an abandoned lime kiln along the Salt River. And this – during the winter of 1954, a couple was found dead in a car along the side of River Road, north of Highway 54. The woman sat on the passenger side and appeared to be asleep. The man looked like he was hiding, curled up on the floor under the steering wheel and was completely naked. His clothing was found on the highway, 20 feet behind the car and folded neatly. Their deaths were officially listed as "asphyxiation", even though the window on the driver’s side was open in ten-degree-below-zero weather. Creepy.
And here you thought Missouri was just full of meth labs.
At this point you’re thinking, ok, great, so there’s some weird stuff and a Bigfoot-type monster hanging out in Missouri, so what doe this have to do with Superfly, right? Trust me, we’re just getting started…
To Be Continued…
(1) William Stage writes about the Missouri Momo Monster © The River Front Times Online Archives http://www.bigfootencounters.com/creatures/momo.htm
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