Tampa Truth Today – Lizard Man

Posted by: Loren Coleman on December 16th, 2005

Tampa Truth Squad Today: Taking on the Lizard Man

Lizard Men remembrances seem to be popping up all over, in the midst of the interest in King Kong. But in the realm of media reporting, another Tampa journalist joins Florida Frank in making a major mistake in writing about cryptids.

First, in the realm of fiction, in an article by Paul Wuntch of The Dallas Morning News (a subscription site) , he writes:

Marilyn Monroe summed it all up. In The Seven Year Itch, she emerges almost in tears from a movie theater showing Creature From the Black Lagoon . It seems that she felt sorry for the prehistoric Gill-Man who terrorized the population in search of the beautiful scientist who unearthed him. Marilyn whispers that she doesn’t think the creature was really mean. The poor thing just looked different. In her innocence, MM spoke an eternal truth: A successful movie creature must pull at the heartstrings.

Okay, that is innocent enough, and a thoughtful contribution from Dallas. But wait until you see what happened in Tampa again.

Today, in the realm of nonfiction commentary, in the THIRD article this week on the Skunk Apes of Florida in the Tampa Tribune, reporter Steve Otto writes about the Lizard Man. He pens this, his entire comment on the topic:

A few years later, I was sent to Bishopville, S.C., to investigate the appearance of Lizard Man, sort of a scaly version of Skunk Ape. The local sheriff had a cast of Lizard Man’s footprints, but other than providing a healthy trade in Lizard Man shirts and caps, the creature never appeared in public.

Of course, this reporter gets his short essay on the Lizard Man as wrong as Florida Frank did on the Skunk Apes yesterday. The Lizard Man was, indeed, seen by locals. Gosh yes, Steve, the Lizard Man did “appear” in public.

How do these reporters think “flaps” start? With sightings, of course.

I suggest if the Tampa Tribune’s editors would like to get things correct, they should hold a seminar on cryptozoology reportage, in which I discuss the historical Skunk Ape evidence noted in my 2003 Simon & Schuster published study, Bigfoot!, and let fellow cryptozoologist Mark A. Hall go over the history of the sightings he notes in his new 2005 book Lizardmen.

Until then, perhaps the Tampa Tribune should back off on dealing with the Skunk Ape and the Lizard Man entirely, as they seem to be clueless as to what cryptozoology is all about and that, indeed, cryptids sightings are happening!

Meanwhile, Happy Holidays in Skunk Ape and Lizard Man lands.

Lizard Man

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.

10 Responses to “Tampa Truth Today – Lizard Man”

  1. godzilladude responds:

    Looks like bigfoot with a skin disease, maybe excema? Well, maybe not GREEN skin, but any species with fur is also going to have an occasional critter bare with weird skin.

  2. The Toad responds:

    I’m new here and would like to add something of a possiblility to the lizardman from S.C. Perhaps it was a Skunk Ape. Could have been in the swamp, when it came up out of the water all the moss and green algae was still on it and wet, giving it an appearance of green and scaly? Just food for thought. Great sight! Going bigfootin’ in a couple of weeks. Can’t wait.

  3. Toirtis responds:

    The cold weather up here has me semi-conciously plotting to borrow a repro creature suit, fly down to Florida, and spend an evening lurking in Steve Otto’s garden.

    ‘Lizardman’ may not be what I believe to be one of the most credible cryptids, but as a writer and scientist, I get very itchy when I see a writer fail to do decent research before he hands in an article…even a small ‘offbeat’ article destined for an editorial piece.

  4. tpeter responds:

    Dear Loren,
    “The Toad’s” suggestion above that the South Carolina Lizard-Man could have been a wet skunk ape just emerged from the water all covered by moss and algae reminds me of your and Patrick Huyghe’s suggestion in _The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti, and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide_ (p. 37) that “the scaly-looking but actually hairy and misnamed Lizard Men” are really Freshwater Merbeings (i.e., Chupacabras-Kappa-Honey Island-Thetis Lake cousins) with “patchy hair growths that appear ‘like leaves’ or ‘scaly.'” Still, I wonder, could the 7-foot-tall South Carolina Lizardman really belong to the same species as the 4-foot-tall Chupacabras or the 5-foot-tall Thetis Lake Monster? The Lizardmen COULD be primates–but couldn’t they also be what they look like, large bipedal reptiles, perhaps larger cousins of Ohio’s Loveland Frog? If Lizardmen ARE reptiles, they would then no more be hominids despite an erect bipedal posture than kangaroos, penguins, or Mesozoic bipedal dinosaurs!
    T. Peter

  5. Justin Kidd responds:

    Is it too stinkin’ obvious to suggest that Frank and Steve have the economic well-being of the fat-cat developers in mind, that they don’t feel comfortable with the possibility that evidence of real scientific interest could interfere with the T-shirt sales and the vacationers and the condo-timeshare sales mills and the people building McMansion-loaded gated communities on the wetlands, Adam Smith and his Providential invisible hand forbid? These “reports” run right along with the process of making sure that the mass audience thinks first of Marvin the Martian and Ray Walston whenever the possibility of a CE3 comes up.

  6. 2400bc responds:

    Hello – I live in SC and vaguely remember the lizard-man frenzy. I feel it was not a creature, but probably a hoax since the evidence was and still is so scant. South Carolina is probably the more boring state in the U.S. as far as cryptids go. I did see a one and a half foot-long salamander at work one time which I almost ran over. That’s about as close as I’ve come to the “lizard-man.”

  7. cryptocat responds:

    Hey guys. These are reptilians. If you want to go searching for them check out cavernous areas where there are also UFO sightings. I will warn you that they are a lot stronger than humans as are sasquatch. Both are multidimensional too. So, if you track one and all of a sudden the tracks end, don’t be surprised. If you are interested in finding these interesting creatures start looking underground(caves) especially in areas where humans tend to not go. No mystery to this and a lot better than looking at the arse end of a deer—of course you had better have a level head and cajones(this removes most of the people in this field–the level head part unfortunately). Yeah, they exist(you wonder where gargoyles came from). Take care!

  8. sean responds:

    yeah i agree with the guy above, these reptilians are meant to be gods and they go back a long time, they are called the annunaki, they seem to have orignated in babylon although they can be found in many cultures, quetzotal the plumed serpent in mayan culture,they get this name because some of them look like birds, they dont have feathers but there face looks protracted like a beek and some have folds of skin on there back that look like wings, also these annunaki supposedly mated with humans and created hybrid bloodlines, this is accounted in the bible, Genesis 6:1, The Sons of God Mated With the Daughters of Man, these then becaame, the kings of old and also where the term the devine right to rule comes from, The Royal Court Of The Dragon was established in Egypt in 2170 BC, and this was set up to service the these bloodlines, this royal court of the dragon now has its base in england had its head sir Laurence Gardner,he has written a number of books on the subject, but denies that these royal bloodlines where actually reptilian,although he states that this is how they were depicted these beings because of there hybrid nature are able to take both human and reptilian form and are believed to still rule today but under different names eg , presidents and heads of state, burke’s peerage the blue bloods bible, state that 36 of the 42 Presidential families can be traced back to England, Scotland, Ireland or Wales these then can trace there lineage back to Charlemagne, king of the Franks and the Holy Roman Empire, or the devine bloodlines, this is also supported by the book, the Da Vinci Code, which is based on a book called Holy Blood, Holy Grail the theme of the book which is fact not fiction states that a priest found a list,in a church in france in a place called Rennes-le-Château which showed the bloodline of christ this list was called Le Serpent Rouge or blood of the serpent aka human reptilian hybrid bloodlines, there are a number of books available on the subject which go into more detail, a brilliant one called The Biggest Secret by author David Icke, you might find it hard to believe at first, as i did but everything is backed with evidence and is well researched, also a book called Transformation of America by Cathy O’Brien and blueblood true blood by Stewart Swerdlow worth a read if you interested in the subject, good luck.

  9. DallasTanner responds:

    I have the good fortune of having met and gotten to know Loren, Mark A. Hall and Liston Truesdale, the retired sheriff who investigated the Bishopville Lizardman sightings, back in 1988.

    I call all three of these fine individuals my friends, and know them to be consumate professionals at what they do. Not to mention inquiring and meticulous in their research and investigation.

    When it was originally reported in July, 1988, the Lizardman in Bishopville, SC became an overnight sensation. The media and curious public descended on the small, South Carolina community, swelling its population that summer by more than 60,000. All the major talk shows and news networks were there, including fledgling CNN.

    Truesdale told me that anyone wishing to report a sighting, from 17 year old Chris Davis, to the eventual dozen who came forward, had to draw the creature correctly, sign an affadavit, allow themselves to be videotaped and polygraphed. If they failed in any of those steps in filing a false report, they would be arrested. Only one man ever was – for claiming he shot Lizardman and breaking the local gun ordinance, by waving a shotgun around in public.

    Liston treated the matter seriously, as it began with vandalism and ended in the sworn testimonials of people who had nothing to gain and what little they had to lose. Chris Davis, whose car was first attacked by the quick and highly aggressive biped (there would be others), paid a high price for his experience.

    He came forward only because his father saw the news story where Sheriff Truesdale asked for help in figuring out what clawed and ripped apart another vehicle, in the dead of night.

    Chris was changed from a quiet young man to someone who survived a traumatic event. He was never himself again, and his life was inexorably altered. He has refused since to give interviews, although he has been approached several times.

    Truesdale has endured skepticism, through the years, by never changing his story; in spite of film crews that come from around the world under the pretense of open-minded journalism. He has sometimes been ridiculed, once by wearing an oversized sheriff’s hat they brought with them!

    The SC Educational Lottery depicts Lizardman in its recent ad campaign as gilled, green and reptilian. As I surmised from my own research and later had confirmed by Liston himself, the Bishopville Lizardman was described as a tall, black, hairy, glowing-eyed, 3-toed skunk ape. Plain and simple.

    Bishopville told its visitors later that year there were no more Lizardman sightings, so that they could be left alone to go on with their lives. In fact, it would be 1993 before the last was heard from the most famous denizen of Scape Ore Swamp.

    The only remnant of the sighting in town today is the faded plywood cutout of a two-legged alligator man with a long tail, welcoming the lost or straggling to “The Home of Lizardman”.

    Fitting, that the the town should put up a sign to dissuade the knowledgable and placate the rest of us. There are few who actually crossed Lizardman’s path, and most never allowed themselves to be interviewed by the media, until coaxed 10 to 15 years after their encounter.

    As I understand it, they nearly all wished it had never entered into their lives. These are not cryptozoologists, forteans or paranormalists of any kind. A few would be hard pressed even now to tell you what those words mean.

    Fortunately, there are professionals like Loren, Mark A. Hall and Sheriff Truesdale to help such people understand and regain normalcy in their lives. Have these men seen Lizardman for themselves? No, but they all readily admit that.

    What they have done is collected the most qualified and reliable information from those who have; via historical records, Native legends and eyewitness accounts.

    What they’ve done, during long careers in their respective fields, has been to always strive in getting their facts straight. Perhaps the journalistic naysayers could do the same? After all, the world has been round for a very, very long time, and it’s obviously much bigger than they realize…

  10. 2400bc responds:

    Thanks DallasTanner for all that great info.

    If people saw an ape-like humanoid creature how did it tagged with the name of “Lizard-Man” instead of an ape-related name? Did the media do this or the eyewitnesses?

    I can more easily accept a skunk-ape explanation for lizard-man than a one-off reptilian humanoid as is commonly claimed.

    Oh yeah – I’ve also seen those SC Education Lottery commercials with the lizard-man. Those are so cheesy!

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