Since posting my monster stories, I've heard from a cryptozoology hobbyist who has given me a number of good leads for more Arkansas Monster stories. Until I check them out for myself, I've got his permission to share his correspondence with you.
Enjoyed your site very much!
My name is Bill Rebsamen, an Arkansas wildlife artist with a love for unusual natural phenomena especially unknown animals.
You can visit my site at: http://members.aol.com/cryptodude
I have a few more ideas for Arkansas monsters you may or may not be familiar with. I have been providing illustrations for several authors on the subject of Cryptozoology and have come across this very unusual entry by Dr Karl P.N. Shuker. a british zoologist and author.
"The Gowrow and the Devil's Hole"
For more than a century, inhabitants of rural Arkansas have spoken of a twenty-foot-long tusked lizard called the gowrow, reputedly lurking within caverns and under rock ledges. In 1897, one was supposedly killed near Marshall by traveling salesman William Miller, who claimed that he dispatched its carcass to the Smithsonian Institute, but there is no record of its arrival.
Sometime prior to 1935, near the village of Self in Boone Conunty, a gowrow allegedly inhabited the Devil's Hole, a deep cave who's mouth opened on the estate of E.J. Rhodes. One day, after hearing a commotion emanating from the Devil.s Hole's undergound recesses, Rhodes decided to investigate by lowering himself into its shaft and descending via rope to a ledge 200 feet beneath the opening.
Below this point the shaft was too narrow to permit further descent, so Rhodes failed to satisfy his curiosity - which was probably just as well. When some men lowered a flatiron down to the same level that Rhodes had reached, a loud angry hising noise was plainly heard. They heard it again when they repeated the procedure, this time using a large stone attached to the rope. Moreover, when they drew the rope back up they discovered that the stone was gone. The section of the rope holding it had been completely bitten through!
From Dr Karl P.N. Shuker's book "From Flying Toads to Snakes With Wings" pages 87-88.
Also noteworthy in Arkansas are the many reports of "black panthers". I have several accounts of these. There is are several viable "schools of thought" on this subject, ranging from "escaped exotic pets" (likely in some cases) to a remnant population of jaguars (known for being melanistic - "black") which did indeed populate the Southern United States until the turn of the century. Mountain lions are a possibility too accept that no known example of a melanistic puma has ever been identified by science, not to mean that they do not ever occur however.
Here's a good one!
I have an old "no-nonsense" High School Art Teacher friend of mine here in Fort Smith, Ron Thomas, who has helped with the local Sheriff's Department for years. He told me of some neighbors of his near Bloomer, Arkansas who have had an encounter with a four footed predatory type animal that was not a bear nor wolf or coyote but upon further inquirey sounds like an animal reported from the Great Plains States.
One of these animals rarely reported upon was actual was shot, killed and mounted in a roadside tavern or tourist shop. Although a photo of it exists, the whereabouts of the mount itself is now unknown.
This animal in question appears to have been a remnant species of North American hyena which populated North America many thousands of years ago next to mastadons, giant sloths, smilodons and cave lions.
I gave the photo of the mount, which showed a hideous wire haired black looking "hyena" about the size of a german shepard, to Mr. Thomas who showed it to his neighbors who were amazed at what they saw and confirmed it did indeed look very similar to what they saw. I can dig this photo up for you and scan it in if you are interested. Loren Coleman wrote the story of the plains animal several years ago for the British magazine Fortean Times, in which the photo appeared. I would be very interested in finding out if anyone else in Arkansas has seen such a creature.I also have and article and photo about a mystery carcass found on Fort Chaffee by a deer hunter who then took it to several Universties but no one was ever able to identify the animal.
Let me know if your intested in anymore of this stuff...
I may have a few more I can critters I can round up for you!