Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 5th, 2009
Word has reached Cryptomundo from the family of Sallie Ann Clarke, 80, that she passed away on Tuesday, November 3, 2009.
Clarke was a tireless researcher and chronicler of the 1969 “Lake Worth Monster” or “Goatman” of Texas. Clarke wrote a book in September 1969, with the creature’s name as the title, a book that she admitted years later was partially fictional. She wrote it before her own experiences.
The original sightings began on the night of July 9, 1969, at the same time a little thing called Woodstock was getting lots of media attention. The next day, the local monster coverage began, with an article headlined, “Fishy Man-Goat Terrifies Couples Parked at Lake Worth.” Jim Marrs, who would later become famous for his book on the JFK assassination that Oliver Stone used, broke that first story.
Lake Worth, about 15 miles from Fort Worth, was a popular lovers’ lane hangout. Greer Island, a small patch of land close to where the West Fork of the Trinity River flows into Lake Worth, was the focus of the activity.
The Monster or Goatman was said to be about 7 feet tall, with having scales and/or white fur. One eyewitness said an 18 inch gash from the beast was put into the side of his car when the thing leapt from a nearby tree. Another eyewitness told of a tire being thrown.
Clarke, who lived in Benbrook, due to a series of strokes, suffered in recent years from a fading memory and declining health, according to her husband, Richard Lederer.
Clarke, as time passed, regretted the way she wrote her book, her husband told a newsman this last summer, because after she published it, she saw the monster on three occasions.
“If I’d seen it before I wrote the book, the book would have been quite a lot different,” she told the Star-Telegram in 1989. “It wouldn’t have been semi-fiction. It would have been like a history.” She published the most famous, perhaps the only, photograph ever taken. It was given to her by Allen Plaster, who snapped it in October 1969, at 1:15 a.m. near Greer Island.
Both her descriptions and the photo show a large white something, very much like a Bigfoot, not a Goatman.
There was much reality in what Clarke told about in her interviews and book. Sallie Ann Clarke, who saw the “Lake Worth Monster” three times, changed her view of the creature, from something lighthearted, to a bit more serious in her mind, down through the years. Despite recent media accounts and multiple mixed message confessions of a prank, most conflicting with the original sightings, Clarke steadfastly disagreed with the simple hoax explanations to the end. Her disapproval of the prank scenarios was unmistakable when they were discussed.
Clarke’s last public retelling was in the 2007 film, Southern Fried Bigfoot.
She will be missed.
Craig Woolheater has released this statement:
I was informed today by Sallie Ann Clarke’s husband, Richard, that Sallie had passed away on Tuesday, November 3, 2009.
I first read her book when I was 9 years old and it was (along with John A. Keel’s Strange Creatures from Time and Space) the genesis for my interest in the subject of cryptozoology.
I met her in person in July of 1999, shortly after co-founding the Texas Bigfoot Research Center.
She was to be the guest of honor at the recent Lake Worth Monster Bash last month, but was too ill to attend.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.