Posted by: Lyle Blackburn on November 19th, 2013
A short Q&A about my Lizard Man book on examiner.com:
Brought to you by Anomalist books.
1. What made you decide to pursue the Bishopville, South Carolina Lizardman for your 2nd book entitled Lizard Man: The True Story of the Bishopville Monster?
I was doing research on monster sightings that have occurred in various swamps locations around the southeast U.S. In the process I actually visited swamps in several different states, including Scape Ore Swamp near Bishopville, South Carolina. As I interviewed people in the area, including law officials and witnesses, I realized there was much more to the story of the Bishopville Lizard Man than had ever been made public. It seemed like a great story, so I ended up developing it into a book.
2. Could you share some of the odd going ons regarding Lizardman festivities in Bishopville?
At this point the Lizard Man is sort of a cultural icon that many people in the area recognize. There’s a few restaurants that incorporate the Lizard Man into their identity and there’s a display at the Cotton Museum in Bishopville. Bishopville also has a Cotton Festival each year and their mascot is the “Lizard Man.” It’s kind of a fun thing now, but when it started, there were some incredible and downright spooky sightings of the creature.
3. What do you think the Lizardman is exactly when it comes to cryptozoology classifications?
It’s one of those creatures that falls in a gray area. The biological possibility of a hybrid between human and reptile is very improbable, so that’s one reason researchers have had a hard time trying to figure out just what it is people might have seen. In a cryptozoological sense, it might be more logical to conclude that it was a sasquatch covered in algae, or had patchy hair or mud that made its skin appear scaly. In a paranormal sense, some researchers have proposed that the creature could be part of a race of underground reptilians or something much more otherworldly. As far as my book is concerned, I just present the facts of the story as I know them and let people decide what the creature may or may not be.
4. What did the police have to say about the incidents?
This is one of those rare cryptozoology cases in which law officials took the sightings seriously. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office – in particular Sheriff Liston Truesdale – felt that many of the witnesses legitimately saw something unexplainable. During the bulk of the sightings in 1988, he investigated all aspects of the case and interviewed as many of the witnesses as possible. He realized that the notion of a “lizard man” was fantastic, but since the thing apparently attacked a young man one evening near Scape Ore Swamp, the sheriff felt he better follow up. If it turned out to be nothing, then fine. But if it turned out to be something dangerous – even if that was a bear or some other normal animal – then he didn’t want to risk somebody getting killed and his department not having done something to prevent it. When I was in Bishopville I had the opportunity to visit with Truesdale for several days and look through his archive of police documents regarding the case.
5. If the Beast of Boggy Creek got in a wrestling match with Lizardman? Who would you root for and why?
I suppose I’d have to root for the Boggy Creek Monster since that would be more of my home team, so to speak.
6. Could you go into why you considered the lizardman to be a hairless bigfoot?
The bigfoot theory came up when I reviewed the witnesses’ testimony. Several of the witnesses flat out compared the creature to a sasquatch. They said it was brown in color and definitely had hair. One witness I interviewed said it walked like an ape. The debate about the creature having hair, or not, comes into play when trying to explain why some of the other witnesses described it as having more reptilian features. This is hard to reconcile, so perhaps not all witnesses saw the same creature. Maybe some saw a typical bigfoot, some saw a bigfoot with a skin condition, or maybe there were two different creatures being seen. It’s one of the fascinating aspects of the case when you start really paying close attention to what the eyewitnesses were saying. It’s hard to elaborate here, but of course my book covers all these theories in detail so that we can try to sort out just what was going on down there in Bishopville.
7. Would you go into the case where the lizardman supposedly did damage to a car?
There were three instances in which cars in near Scape Ore Swamp were damaged during the night by what appeared to be a large animal. Part of the cars were literally torn off or otherwise scratched up. The owners found claw marks, teeth mark, hair and footprints near the vehicles which suggested that it was an animal, not just human vandals. The first incident occurred in July of 1988, which actually launched the whole Lizard Man investigation. The two other incidents occurred later; one in 2008 and one in 2011. There’s no direct evidence that connects the car damage to sightings of the Lizard Man, but it’s certainly strange that these bizarre incidents occurred in the same area.
8. What strange reptilian theories did you come across while on this sojourn of reptilian proportions?
It pretty much boils down to three main theories that have been proposed. The first is that it’s an unknown cryptid. That could be a reptilian or dinosaur type animal that can walk on two legs, or perhaps a bigfoot with a skin condition or covered in mud. The next is that the creature is part of a race of reptoids which live in subterranean caverns deep in the earth. The third is that it’s some sort of extraterrestrial creature that’s just passing through or that has taken up residence on earth at some point in the past. I approached the case as if it’s one of cryptozoology, but I also cover the other various theories that have been proposed since in reality nobody really knows anything for sure without more solid evidence.
9.This is a wildcard question. What would you like to share from the book with us that our readers might find beneficial?
During my research, I discovered that there were stories of scaly humanoid type creatures living in the South Carolina area that preceded the Lizard Man encounters of 1988. 500 years ago, Native Americans in the area told of a race of strange men that had scaly skin and hard, rigid tails. They apparently came from the sea and ate a diet of only fish. It’s hard to say whether these people actually existed, but it’s certainly spooky to think that the tribes reported something like this. The original Lizard Man witnesses would have had absolutely no knowledge of these prior legends.
10. Any clue on what creature you’re tackling for a possible third book? Any links or events you’d like to share?
I’m gathering information for my next book already. At this point I can only say that it will be on the subject of Bigfoot.
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