August 11, 2012

Van Acker’s Black Eye and the Michigan Monster

I’m in Michigan for the weekend, giving a talk and talking to people about their local Bigfoot sightings. It seemed only appropriate to mention these two series of accounts again.


Above: An eyewitness drawing of the Missouri Monster, Momo, from 1972.
Doesn’t this look remarkably like the 1960s’ Michigan Monsters?

An interesting couple cases of “Eastern Bigfoot” (also called Windigo and Marked Hominids, of course) occurred in Michigan in the mid-1960s.

You remember them, don’t you? One of them – known with the tag phrase “Sister Lakes” – was from Cass County, Michigan.

In May and June 1964, Sister Lakes, Michigan, was the location for many reports of an 8 to 9 feet tall Bigfoot, seen by Mr. & Mrs. John Utrup, Gordon Brown, Joyce Smith, Patsy & Gail Clayton, and several others, who were berry-pickers or those who had hired them.

The other significant series I investigated back then was the Monroe incidents. The August 13, 1965 story of Monroe, Michigan, involved Christine van Acker and her mother Mrs. Ruth Owens, having a close encounter with a black 7-feet tall Bigfoot. The Bigfoot reached inside their car, giving van Acker a black eye.

Do you vividly remember the newspapers across the country publishing van Acker’s bruised face and an artist’s drawing of the hairy, faceless Bigfoot.

In a 2006 discussion with Bigfoot researcher Roger Knights, he correctly pointed out to me that the event might not have been an “unprovoked assault” from the Bigfoot’s point of view, because the women’s car had “brushed past” the Bigfoot before coming to a stop.

Finally locating the drawing from the 1965 incident (thanks to assistance from former police officer VZ), you can see how similar the Monroe Monster from 1965 is to the Missouri Monster sketches from 1972!

The Sister Lakes and Monroe Monsters had the rather distinctive shaggy look, with hair over the face, often reported from these Midwestern accounts, such as with Cohomo (from Illinois) and Momo (from Missouri).


Investigator Walt Andrus’ enhanced drawing of Momo.


Another image of Momo (originally from MoMo = Missouri Monster), which mirrors what the typical Michigan Monster (which I guess I’d have to coin as MiMo or Mimo, humm? Or Momo for Monroe Monster?) looks like.

Details about the Midwestern incidents, the Momo sighting and another drawing of Momo can be found on pages 50-51 of The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates.


Comment from zman:

Do you believe in Monsters? Have you ever heard of such thing in Monroe County? Many probably have never heard of it well, mainly because it happened during the evening of August 13, 1965, near the Nadeau Road area west Dixie Highway. It was a story that riveted town folk with fears of a bipedal Bigfoot type of creature roaming Frenchtown Township and for small kids it always conjured up visions things that black and white television or Technicolor movies portrayed them at the drive-in theatres. I would have just turned 10 years old, when the story of the Monroe monster surfaced causing a regional stir and setting off major news outlets to scramble for maps to Monroe, Michigan.

Do I believe this story is possible? Yes… Do I believe these creatures exists? Yes. As veteran law enforcement investigator who has seen and experienced my share of unexplained things in the course of my work, unrelated to this subject matter leaves me with no doubt this and other things exist and most outside that culture will never hear about. Again, unrelated to this subject but as a means of establishing my credibility I recently located my cousin who went missing 32 years ago less than two years after starting my search.

I’ve listened to a fellow recently speak on this topic matter who discussed missing people and Bigfoot creatures but stopped short of connecting dots. I have read many, many different American Indian legends and lores from many different groups east to west and Midwest who indeed made some of the same references relating missing persons and Bigfoot. Understand that all do not view them as violent creatures though.

I am not a Bigfoot researcher myself, but I am aware of reports and read newspaper articles dating back to early 1800s from all across the country who reported Indian folklore and other news from obscure little towns about giants and skeletons of giants being excavated in farmlands. Some of the skeletons ranged in height from 8 -16 feet or even 20 feet in length they said. These skeletal remains usually had double rows of teeth with incisors and more than five digits on their hands and feet and were usually confiscated soon after they were removed.

The earlier American Indian folklore written in some of these old articles reported these creatures were hated by the local inhabitants because they had a taste for humans! Some of the earlier articles I read on this topic from around early America say the Indians would locate their caves and smoke them out or burn them when they could. Fascinating read in any event to think stories like that were reported long before political correctness in media became the norm.

Once again, do I believe this is real? Yes, Indian mounds were found all along the midwest including Michigan and inside some of these mounds were some of the greatest mysteries of early man.

Though I started kindergarten in Ida school district before moving northeast in Monroe County to a place several blocks away from where this incident took place. Not more than a mile from where we lived in the Woodland Beach subdivision off of Dixie Hwy and Nadeau Road, in a sparsely populated a largely agricultural area was the scene of this report. The Monroe Evening news and the Detroit News featured the story and so did the paranormal “True” magazine.

According to their reports a woman and her daughter claimed a monstrous snarling dark hairy creature with piercing red eyes leaped out the brush at their stalled car showing teeth and shook the car. The creature according to some accounts flees the area but not before taking the time to reach in the window and pull the girls hair knocking her out cold. As though reminiscent of the Jim Crowe days of Montgomery, Alabama during the pre-civil rights era men folk of that part were angry. Even before hoards sightseers and news reporters flocked to the scene, many vigilante types with pitchforks, garden hoes, shovels, ball bats, shotguns, and high powered rifles formed groups in search of the elusive creature. There is no way knowing if any of the men carried torches or bloodhounds but that wouldn’t be completely out of the realm of possibilities either.

Many swear the story is correct and true and others claim it was disclaimed as hoax, but I was too young to care. I suppose if it were true, the best possible scenario for authorities in 1965 is to deny and disclaim it in the same manner the Area 51 UFO crash was in the 1940s.

Well, as poor card player and a two bit gambler who rarely if ever throws a dollar down for a lottery ticket, I am less inclined to believe the odds. I am a suspicious person by nature who tends to view things as a skeptic seeing things in black and white and quick to draw conclusions or offer explanations first. And while, I have not personally seen such a creature I am not sure I want to see one real soon either. For those less stable in mind and weak at heart I am not sure they can withstand the shock of reality if it walked up to them and introduced itself, and we are all probably better off if it does not either!

NOTE: Monroe County Monster Evening of August 13 1965, north of Monroe: Rumors of something big, black, and terrifying. 17 year old driver stalled her car as it brushed past the creature. Driver’s mother in car saw “a huge hairy hand”, and the girl’s face was slammed against the door post, knocking girl unconscious. Covered by Detroit News, and by True Magazine, June 1966.

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.

Filed under Bigfoot, CryptoZoo News, Momo, Sasquatch, Swamp Monsters, Windigo