THE SWAMP CREATURE: According to legend, a terrifying monster lurks deep in the untamed wilds of Louisiana's Honey Island Swamp, less than an hour from New Orleans. Standing over 7 feet tall and weighing between 400 and 500 pounds, the Honey Island Swamp Monster -- also known as the Louisiana Wookie -- is said to be covered in a thick coat of matted gray or brown hair. Its yellow eyes are seemingly reptilian, and the smell it emits has been called the stench of death. This primitive creature has long been blamed for the deaths of livestock and the mysterious disappearances of children in adjacent areas.
THE ALLEGED EVIDENCE: Although stories of the Honey Island Swamp Monster have been circulating for close to 100 years, the first alleged evidence was reported in 1974 by two Louisiana hunters, Harlan Ford and Ray Mills. The two men claimed to have found a four-toed footprint left by the beast next to the carcass of a slaughtered wild boar. After discovering the footprint, Ford returned to the swamp with video camera in hand. His grainy film captures a shadowy figure that appears to be a hairy beast walking upright, weaving quickly in and out of trees in the dense swamp.
CHIMP MEETS ALLIGATOR? Popular lore in the region is that the Honey Island Swamp Monster might be the horrifying product of a union between a chimpanzee and an alligator. And in the darkly primordial swamplands that must look much the same now as they did thousands of years ago, the existence of almost any creature seems possible -- no matter how ominous.