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Strange History from Roswell and Beyond

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Submitted Photo Courtesy of the Library of Congress Typical example of a South Carolina swamp.

Attack of the lizard men

By John LeMay

Author and historian

In June of 1988, Lee County, South Carolina, briefly became what could be called “Roswell famous” when a 17-year old claimed he had been attacked by a “lizard man” in Scape Ore Swamp. As proof, the teenager’s car showed claw marks and the young man was even on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to talk about his encounter. Oddly, a similar encounter took place in the same state 100 years before that and 164 miles south of Scape Ore Swamp in Palmetto. On Aug. 10, 1892, the California Woodland Daily Democrat reported on what was essentially the same creature:

An Uncanny Monster

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“The people residing along Palmetto Creek … as well as those for miles back in the slashes, are highly excited over the appearance of a strange and uncouth creature in that vicinity. The beast is described as being a creature that far outdoes the nightmare ideas of the mythologists. It is equally at home in the water, on the land or among the tall trees of the neighborhood, where it has been most frequently seen. The general contour of the head reminds one of a gigantic serpent with this exception: The “snout” terminates in a bulbous, monkey-faced knot, which much resembles the physiognomy of some gigantic ape. From the neck down, with the exception of some fin-shaped flippers, which extend from the arms to the waist, the creature resembles a man, only that the toes and fingers are armed with claws from 2 to 6 inches long.

“Tracks made by the beast in the soft mud around Hennis Lake have been taken to Downers Grove, where they are kept on exhibition in a druggists showcase. Those who have seen the horned thing face to face say that it is a full 9 feet in height, which could hardly be believed only for the fact that the tracks mentioned above are within a small fraction of 15 inches in length. Fishermen who surprised the monster sitting silently on a mass of driftwood declared that its back looked like an alligator’s, and that it had a caudal termination a yard long, which forked like the tail of a fish.”

Many theories as to what the mystery monster could be have surfaced, including everything from a reptilian alien to a highly evolved species of Troodon, called a Dinosauroid. Whether it came from outer space or the prehistoric past, whatever it was, it was weird.