Honey Island Swamp monster
|Similar creatures||Skunk ape|
|Other name(s)||Letiche, Tainted Keitre|
|Region||Honey Island Swamp, Louisiana|
|Habitat||Marshland / Swamp|
The Honey Island Swamp monster is a legendary hominid cryptid reported to have been seen in Honey Island Swamp, Louisiana, since 1963. Native Americans call this creature Letiche. Cajuns call it the Tainted Keitre. It is also called the Louisiana Wookie, presumably after the Wookiee species from Star Wars.
The creature is described as bipedal, 7 feet (2 m) tall, with gray hair and yellow or red eyes, and accompanied by a disgusting smell. Footprints supposedly left by the creature have four webbed toes.
The first claimed sighting was in 1963 by Harlan Ford, a retired air traffic controller who had taken up wildlife photography. After his death in 1980, a reel of Super 8 film showing the creature was allegedly found among his belongings.
In 1974, the monster gained national fame after Ford and his friend Billy Mills claimed to have found unusual footprints in the area, as well as the body of a wild boar whose throat had been gashed. Ford continued to hunt for the creature for the next six years.
The idea of a large, ape-like creature in the area is not without its critics, notably the local ecologist Paul Wagner who, with his wife Sue, run nature tours in the area. Neither they nor their Cajun guide, Robbie Charbonnet, have seen any evidence for it.
A legend tells of a train wreck in the area in the early 20th century. A travelling circus was on the train, and from it a group of chimpanzees escaped and interbred with the local alligator population.
- The Honey Island Swamp monster was the subject of The Secret Saturdays episode "Ghost in the Machine" with its vocal effects provided by Dee Bradley Baker. The animated monster resembled a Bigfoot-like creature with crab-like claws.
- It was a subject of an episode of Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files, "Bayou Beast/River Ghost," showing Mr. Ford's original film. The investigators were able to recreate Ford's footage with a man dressed in a camouflage ghillie suit used by hunters. They deduced the film could simply be mistaken identity on Ford's part, but didn't rule out that such a creature could exist.
- An episode of Swamp People, "Full Moon Fever," includes a segment in which a group of people, Harlan Ford's granddaughter among them, are searching for the monster.
- The creature was featured in a segment of the series Monsters and Mysteries in America, "The Swamp." Super 8 footage of the monster was shown in the segment.
- On July 20, 2013, Mattel introduced the Monster High character Honey Swamp as daughter of Honey Island Swamp monster at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International.
- "The Honey Island Swamp Monster". americanmonsters.com. Archived from the original on 25 February 2009. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
- "Swamp Creature". Animal Planet. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
- "Bayou Beast/River Ghost". Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files. Season 1. Episode 12. 9 December 2010. Syfy.
- Holyfield, Dana (Writer, producer) (2006). The Legend of the Louisiana Honey Island Swamp Monster (DVD). Slidell, Louisiana: Honey Island Swamp Books2film. OCLC 138692829. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- Nickell, Joe (July–August 2001). "Tracking the Swamp Monsters". Skeptical Inquirer (Committee for Skeptical Inquiry) 25.4. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- "Ghost in the Machine". The Secret Saturdays. Season 1. Episode 15. 15 May 2009. Cartoon Network.
- "Swamp Creature". Lost Tapes. Season 1. Episode 4. 6 January 2009. Animal Planet.
- "The Swamp Monster". In Search of.... Season 2. Episode 16. 4 March 1978. syndicated.
- "Full Moon Fever". Swamp People. Season 2. Episode 9. 26 May 2011. History.
- "The Swamp". Monsters and Mysteries in America. Season 1. Episode 5. 21 April 2013. Destination America.
- "Honey Island Swamp Monster Footprint Now On Exhibit" at the Abita Mystery House, Abita Springs, Louisiana