Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Looking for Bigfoot and Other Haunts in East Texas

I grew up on the Arkansas line in Northeast Louisiana. Too far north to be chased by the Rougarou, we still had our share of haunts, haints, will-o-wisps, Bigfoot and a myriad of other supernatural encounters.

Morehouse Parish, where I lived, is home to the world's longest bayou, Bayou Bartholomew. It wanders 360+ miles through southern Arkansas into Northeast Louisiana to eventually feed into the Ouchita River, right outside of my hometown. Just an hour to an hour and a half east, you start to get into the Mississippi River flood plain that makes the soil great for growing cotton, soybeans and other crops. But the biggest export out of this area up to a decade or so back was lumber and paper products, until they started shutting down the paper mills. Yep, woods for miles and miles and you didn't know what was hiding in them.

In Morehouse Parish, we had reports of a Bigfoot roaming around. In fact, the local paper ran an article about a sighting on April Fool's Day. That didn't slow anyone down from believing it which shows how bad folks wanted it to be real.

In addition to Bigfoot, we had other weird places. One such place was a stretch of road called Girl Scout Road. I don't know where that name came from but there were always the rumors of devil worshippers to an old lady who was said to be a witch living out that way. We used to drive it late at night looking for anything out of the norm and the only time I saw any such malevolence was the night a friend and I took a short cut home from church. We witnessed a very large bonfire but didn't see anyone tending it. Of course that could have been because of the speedy departure when my friend gunned the engine of his '67 Cougar and got us out of there.

One thing that I did witness was in Southeast Arkansas. A girlfriend and I joined a couple that we knew and headed up to a spot that was simply referred to as the Light. The tale that was told is one that has been repeated all over the country. A long time ago, a train conductor was checking the track when he fell and somehow the train rolled over his neck freeing his head from his body. Through supernatural powers his body now walks that track, which has since all but disappeared, waving his lantern to and fro' looking for his head.

The male friend told us of his experience with it along with tales of his family who had seen it. We set up at a spot down the road a bit from where the light was supposed to appear. It was well after dark and nothing could be seen for about an hour. Then one of us noticed what looked less light a lantern but more along the lines of a patch dark that was not quite as dark as the rest of the night. A few more minutes and then, yes, it was a light that resembled the light source that a train conductor would use. Not a flashlight but an old-fashioned kerosene lamp. And it was coming towards us. It eventually died out and did not reappear, but it was enough for me. I will not say for certain that it is that doomed conductor, but something definitely did put on a show that night.

Where I live now in East Texas with the abundance of woodlands really reminds me of where I grew up. This makes me wonder what is roaming those areas, too. So what stories have you heard or actually witnessed yourself? Have you heard the calls of the Sasquatch or have you witnessed the will-o-wisps trying to lead wanderers deeper into the woods? Tell me your story, I'd love to hear it!


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