Lake Worth Monster Resurfaces

Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 8th, 2006

One of the enlightening side events at a speaking engagement is the media. University publicity relations people, television reporters, radio talk show hosts, and newspaper writers want your time, and all come with their own special interests and bias. Sometimes, of course, it digs up old stories and develops new details.

Lake Worth Monster

In Texas last weekend, one reporter, Bud Kennedy, from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, was there early and talked to me for quite a while before the event. Since Ben Radford was speaking first and busy with preparing for his talk, I gave Kennedy a tour of the exhibition and answered his questions.

Right away I noticed Kennedy was peppering me with skeptical questions and hints of ironic humor in his conversations. That’s okay, I’m used to that.

Kennedy asked immediately what I thought of the "Elmendorf Chupacabras" – found southeast of San Antonio, Texas, in July 2004. He seemed surprised that I thought it was nothing more than a mangy dog or maybe merely a diseased coydog or coyote. He thought so too, and seemed unaware that dogs and other candids with mange were found all over the South that summer.

Then Kennedy, taking notes and looking in some cases in the museum, appeared to soak in the exhibition. He interviewed Craig Woolheater, a couple other people, and then listened to parts of Radford’s show and my talk before leaving.

What Bud Kennedy has produced, as far as articles, are somewhat skeptical overviews. We have grown to expect that from a few people in the media. But Kennedy has done a relatively good job focussing in on one specific old case.

While I was not prepared for Kennedy’s drumming away at the Lake Worth Monster of 1969 being a myth or hoax, nevertheless, he has written this week about that angle. And each of his columns has added material to the file on this case. That’s good, no matter what his bias.

On Tuesday, 6-6-06, Kennedy penned "Lake Monster May be Myth, but Exhibit is Real." His treatment was about the exhibition, but his underlying theme underscored his belief that the Lake Worth Monster was a "mythical swamp beast." The article shows this quickly, even when quoting me:

As it turns out, experts and hobbyists now track the mythical swamp beast’s Texas appearances back to 1969 — and Lake Worth. No kidding. Our very own Lake Worth Monster — the "Goat-Man," if you prefer — is now considered the most famous of all Texas Sasquatch sightings.

Police later blamed teenage pranksters. But one of the speakers Saturday at an Institute of Texan Cultures forum said he still thinks the Lake Worth Monster was real.

"You had several credible people saying they saw it," said Maine author Loren Coleman. "You had investigations. You had more than one incident.

"It was too involved for a prank."

Kennedy then takes a breath, readjusts his sarcastic tone machine, lol, and summarizes the events for his readers:

If you’re new around here, back in summer 1969, a lot of people were seeing things. Some people thought they saw flying saucers. Some people thought they saw Soviet spies. And some people thought they saw a 7-foot-tall half-man, half-goat threatening motorists near Lake Worth.

John Reichert of South Henderson Street was quoted in the Star-Telegram as saying it scratched his car. Jack Harris of Sansom Park said he saw it throw a tire 500 feet. Allen Plaster of Fort Worth, who owned women’s wear shops, shot a photo of a large, furry-looking, light-colored blob.

That fall, Charles Buchanan said he saw a gorillalike creature. He threw a bag of leftover chicken at it, and it swam off toward Greer Island, where it has apparently lived ever since in an undisclosed location.

Police said later that Brewer High School students were found with a glow-in-the-dark mask and a gorilla costume. Experts back then said the first sightings were probably of a bobcat, and the guess was that the teenagers wanted to scare the curious crowds searching the lake. If so, they not only scared the crowds but also wrote Bigfoot history.

In Dallas, 9-year-old Craig Woolheater was watching the breathless TV news coverage of the search.

If you think the TV newscasts made a big deal lately about a dead alligator in Lewisville Lake, imagine the coverage in the Texas summer of 1969, before we had the Rangers or Mavericks.

(The rest, as they say, is history, and Woolheater’s efforts in Bigfoot studies in Texas and elsewhere are relatively well-known.)

Let us return to the saga of Kennedy’s writings on the Lake Worth Monster. On Thursday, June 8, he decides to add to his skeptical bent here by writing "37 years after snapping photo, Bigfoot talk gets man’s goat."

This is a straight-forward critical look at the Lake Worth Monster by airing the view of the man who took the famed "White Bigfoot" photograph of the creature.

Kennedy writes that

…the man who shot the photo now says talk of a swamp beast is "silly." The fleeing "monster" looked more like a prankster with a fur or rug, Allen Plaster, 59, of Fort Worth, says. And the "Goat-Man" should be glad that Plaster shot only a Polaroid.

"That place was crawling with people with guns," he said. "That was really stupid."

Until this week, Plaster didn’t know that his 1969 snapshot is on Web sites and in a new San Antonio museum exhibit, "Bigfoot in Texas?"

Kennedy continues:

Plaster and a Weatherford couple, all in their early 20s, went to the lake two or three nights a week that summer searching for the "monster" or "Goat-Man" described breathlessly on TV and radio news.

Plaster was driving westbound along the shore late one night when one of his friends — he would give her name only as Kay — pointed and shouted, "Look! Look! Look! There it is!"

Something furry stood up in 3-foot-tall weeds on his side of the road. Plaster stopped and reached for his Polaroid, catching the figure running away.

"Looking back, I realize that when we drove by, it stood up," he said this week. "Whatever it was, it wanted to be seen. That was a prank. That was somebody out there waiting for people to drive by. I don’t think an animal would have acted that way."

At the time, Plaster had become the young owner of some women’s-wear boutiques in Fort Worth, the House of Allen. Later, he managed hotels before working 15 years as a bail bond agent.

He hadn’t seen the photo in years, he said. He remembers giving the Polaroid instant print — the only copy — to Sallie Ann Clarke of Benbrook, who not only saw the monster but wrote a homespun book, The Lake Worth Monster of Greer Island, Ft. Worth, Texas.

Now the photo is everywhere from to San Antonio and the Institute of Texan Cultures, where an exhibit open through July 30 reviews the folklore of Texas Bigfoot sightings.

Plaster looked down and shook his head sadly. "It’s strange, the things that happen," he said. "I don’t know what gets in people’s heads."

Clarke, now 77, said she thinks she has Plaster’s original photo somewhere. She also stuck by her story and said that Plaster now laughs it of
f out of embarrassment. "We all saw that thing at the lake that summer," she said. "A lot of people saw it."

Her book describes a "terrorizing monster" with white hair and scales, a 7-foot "goat-fish-man."

"It came out of a bunch of trees in front of 40 or 50 people," she said Wednesday by phone, describing the incident in the wee hours of July 11, 1969, that triggered the months-long search.

"When it screamed, everybody ran to their cars and took off. I didn’t take it as a prank, and I don’t think too many people did."

By the time Plaster shot the photo weeks later, everybody was either looking for Lake Worth’s celebrity Goat-Man or maybe dressed up portraying him.

And in 1969, the Monster wasn’t the only thing into weeds.

"If I’d been smoking pot or drinking alcohol back then, I could blame that," Plaster said.

"But my friends were all terribly boring. That’s why we were out driving around the lake every night. We were coffee and Dr Pepper people, staying out late."

If you think his photo shows Bigfoot, then you’ve been drinking something stronger than Lake Worth water.

Or Dr Pepper.

Sallie Ann Clarke has suffered a stroke, and is no longer well. Plaster is getting up there too, but still a young man. It is good to have his insights via Bud Kennedy, even if some of them are not the ones we might wish to hear. After all, in 1969, I preferred RC Cola and Silver Frost Root Beer. Never much liked Dr. Pepper. Still don’t. To each their own, when cryptid hunting, I guess.


Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. 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. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

14 Responses to “Lake Worth Monster Resurfaces”

  1. akbens responds:

    I live around this area. Recently when my wifes grandfather passed away I found a book about the Lake Worth monster while we were going through his belongings. I think it was a locally published thing because it’s not a very high quality item. Haven’t bothered to read it yet.

  2. bill green responds:

    hi everyone good late morning wow this a very interesting new article about the lake worth monster . maybe sightings will start up again in those forests where that sasquatch creature was encountered. wow i didnt know there was a book about the lake worth monster. thanks bill please keep me informed ok. 🙂

  3. One Eyed Cat responds:

    The ONLY thing the picture ‘proves’ is that there was something physical photographed.

    Has there been any recent attempts to analyze the photo? Might not solve a thing but no none will really know until it is tried.

  4. Brian Gaugler responds:

    Hi Loren,

    As usual for the skeptical side, Mr. Kennedy fails to think his arguments through very carefully. First, the Lake Worth Monster was witnessed by many people, and you’re telling me none of them could tell that this was a supposed gorilla suit? (not to mention that the description sounds nothing like a gorilla suit) What about the goat hooves and other unusual details, how did the alleged pranksters even walk around much less run as fast as the monster did? If the technology didn’t exist in 1967 to make as convincing a creature as appeared in the Patterson-Gimlin film, then I highly doubt some teenagers in 1969 would have been able to make a suit so convincing that it fooled dozens of people. Secondly, and maybe this is my own ignorance, but I’m unsure how someone in a gorilla suit would have been able to toss a tire 500 feet, and on a seperate occasion, swim to Greer Island, since suits like that usually tend to limit mobility, not make them into an Olympic athlete. Third, I have to agree with Clarke and say that Plaster may be downplaying his sighting and photo out of embarassment, after all there is still a certain stigma in our society to look down our noses at anyone who has had an unusual experience. To explain away the entire Lake Worth Monster event as just sightings of a bobcat and stupid teens in a gorilla suit is as insulting to those who genuinely reported something they couldn’t explain, as the government’s “explanation” that a witness who reported observing a fast-moving, disc-shaped craft in reality actually just saw the planet Venus!

    Brian Gaugler
    New York Investigator

  5. twblack responds:

    Well if it was a hoax it was a very good one. Kind of hard to believe that they tricked so many people. I wonder if any footprint photos or plasters were made.

  6. Mnynames responds:

    It would be interesting to see the original, as perhaps more detail could be revealed. The picture as I see it here seems unusually blurry, as if it’s a photocopy, or a photocopy of a photocopy, etc…

  7. Chymo responds:

    I find it difficult to accept that an animal adapted for stealth would show itself to abuse people by a highway. In my view, Bigfoot is a creature that hides, not jumps out & screams unless you’re invading it’s territory, in low numbers.

    The best way to get a Bigfoot to clear out of an area is to get crowds of people with flashlights out there. This is the closest thing to a Homo Erectus hunting party we could muster, & I think would trip off all the instinctive flight impulses in the secretive, highly adapted Sasquatch, which has, in my opinion, adapted to its nocturnal, stealthy behaviour precisely because of ancient conflict with early man over the same sorts of food sources.

  8. blahhfoot responds:

    Thats just an overexposed camera.

  9. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    I always find it interesting when people back-pedal. Whether it is real or a hoax I’m not qualified to say. Their is definitely some “high weirdness” associated with the LWM descriptions.

    But I’m sure he thought it was real when he snapped the shot. With years of reflection, however, examination of the entities observed actions as compared to what one would EXPECT an animal to do, etc., he has talked himself out of believing.

    I was still six years from birth when this occured, so I can’t offer any real insight one way or the other. But as he noted, with all the guns around, any high school kids in a suit would have been playing a pretty dangerous prank. (Which, again, wouldn’t be the first time HS students had done something stupid.)

    An interesting cold case study nonetheless.

  10. Godrock responds:

    Wow! Blurry photo. This much we’ve established.

    I tend to believe folks (especially this many folks telling the same/similar story) when they say they’ve “seen something”. It’s evident they saw “something”. I would like to know what “thing” they saw.

    I live in the Rockies and I always keep my eyes peeled for a creature in the woods. I haven’t yet seen one that defies explanation; but I’ve heard things and smelled things that were clearly inexplicable. Those intangibles that can’t be proven are the types of things I see again and again in sighting reports. I have no doubt that “something” is out there somewhere.

  11. CWB responds:

    A blurry photo would make sense if considered from the standpoint of an entity in the process of materialization — from an energy state of a higher wavelength — just beyond the wavelength affording us sight, etc.

    Photos of monsters rising up from the ground, where it was assumed that they were sleeping, may be photos of something taking shape from the very essence of matter once called elementals.

    The photo of the critter taken at night which appears as something covered in mud may be an elemental entity coming to form in the range of frequencies which are perceptible to us.

  12. Mnynames responds:

    You know, I’m hesitant to support a tulpoid or deva-like explanation for CZ entities, and I believe that many of them will turn out to be conventional, albeit unknown, biological animals BUT…well, the theory does have some merit in explaining how these creatures can simply appear and disappear, seemingly at will, and exist in places unlikely to be able to support them.

    Further, the hairy wild man does have deeply-resonant, archetypal relevance within the human psyche. If it is true that the act of observation influences that which is observed, and if this influence is far more profound than we realize, then it is only natural that the icons of the human mind should express themselves this way. Many Ufologists, crop circle and earth energy researchers, and more than a few ghost-hunters have proposed this as a distinct possibility.

    Researchers, however, are caught in a conundrum- Are we seeing the expression of the archetypes because they’re all in our heads, or are they in our heads because they’re real, and we’ve been exposed to them long enough to leave an impression. It is well worth noting that snakes are deeply iconic too, and no one would doubt that they exist, and that we’ve been encountering them since before we could stand upright…just food for thought…

  13. mekasia responds:

    A tale I grew up with!

    I was about 5 when my mom checked out Mrs. Clarke’s book from the library for me (being only 5, I wasn’t allowed to check it out myself). But this is a story I had heard all of my life. Being native to the Lake Worth/Eagle Mountain area, I spent quite a lot of time around the Ft. Worth Nature Refuge and Greer Island. I saw many things: alligators, snakes, muskrats, beavers, deer, and turtles. I watched the prarie dogs and fed alfalfa to the buffalo. But I never saw the Goat man. Mind you now, this was in the 80’s and 90’s, so perhaps he has gone into retirement.

    Still, every time I went, I kept an eye out for him. I never saw him, and chances are good that I never will. Does he truly exist? Maybe. Does he exist in my mind, and in the minds of all the people whose parents told them the story? Absolutely.

  14. psychosis responds:

    It is interesting to note that sightings continue to this day. After spending many years investigating, I have seen hard evidence including being able to locate trails which are used by these cryptids and a migratory pattern in the fall and winter which takes them through East Texas and possibly into Louisiana. These creatures also seem to mark territory by breaking tree branches. Even though I have spent much time with Mrs. Clark and noted that she adds a facet of fiction to her stories (which she admits) there is also truth beneath it all. Sometimes beneath a hard to believe story lies a hard truth waiting in hiding, sometimes to protect the being which originally led to its creation.

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