Posted by: Lyle Blackburn on April 22nd, 2011
I received some sad news that I would like to share with the Cryptomundo community. I was informed on Wednesday that James Lynn Crabtree of Fouke, Arkansas, and Leslie Greer of Texarkana, Arkansas, passed away. Both died of natural causes.
For anyone familiar with the Fouke Monster, Lynn had one of the most influential and important sightings of the creature when he was 14 years old. He allegedly encountered it one evening in 1965 while squirrel hunting near his home. The creature had apparently chased some horses into the waters of the Crabtree’s family lake when it noticed Lynn and began to advance. Lynn fired three times with his shotgun before running back to the house in a panic.
After telling his father, Smokey Crabtree, of the encounter, a full search of the woods was conducted, but failed to turn up any evidence of the strange animal.
Frame from The Legend of Boggy Creek
James Lynn Crabtree, who preferred to go by his middle name Lynn, was the second eldest son of Smokey Crabtree. Lynn worked as a pipeline welder for much of his life and continued to live on the Crabtree family property just outside of Fouke until his death.
Lynn did not directly participate in the making of The Legend of Boggy Creek movie, but his sighting did influence the entire Fouke Monster phenomenon – well before the major flap in the early 1970s – and was also the basis for several scenes depicted in the film. His younger brother, Travis, stood in for Lynn since he was too old to portray himself by the time it was made.
Smokey has written extensively about Lynn’s experience with the Fouke Monster in his first memoir, Smokey and The Fouke Monster originally published in 1974. Although it has been retold in many Bigfoot-related books, including John Green’s Sasquatch: The Apes Among Us, Smokey’s account is still the most authentic and most detailed.
Unfortunately, Lynn himself never spoke publicly about his encounter. Perhaps the frightening experience was not something he wished to relive or perhaps he wanted to avoid the ridicule that can often be associated with such things. Whatever the case, even though many others have claimed to cross paths with the “Fouke Monster,” when it comes down to the most remembered sightings, Lynn’s certainly ranks near the top. Let’s hope he finally knows the answers to the mystery.
In a tragic coincidence, retired Miller County Sheriff, Leslie Greer, passed away on the same day. Greer, who lived to the astounding age of 99, was the first public official to make reference to an early Fouke Monster sighting which was told to him in 1946. When the Fouke Monster came to the media’s attention in 1971, Greer recalled earlier sightings, dating back twenty years before Lynn Crabtree’s famous encounter. I have been told by some of the Fouke locals that Greer always had a keen interest in the creature and was open to its possibility.
Click here to view Greer’s official obituary.
Both men were major players in the monster’s history and will be remembered for years to come.
- Lyle Blackburn
Lyle Blackburn is an author and musician from Texas. His investigative cryptozoology books, "The Beast of Boggy Creek" and "Lizard Man," reflect his life-long fascination with legends and sighting reports of real-life 'monsters.' During his research, Lyle has often explored the remote reaches of the southern U.S. in search of shadowy creatures said to inhabit the dense backwoods and swamplands of these areas. Lyle is a featured speaker at cryptozoology and horror conferences around North America. He has been heard on numerous radio programs, including COAST TO COAST, and has appeared on television shows such as MONSTERS & MYSTERIES IN AMERICA, FINDING BIGFOOT, and the CBS SUNDAY MORNING SHOW. For more information, visit Lyle's website at: www.lyleblackburn.com