"...we should pass over all biographies of 'the good and the great,' while we search carefully the slight records of wretches who died in prison, in Bedlam, or upon the gallows."
~Edgar Allan Poe

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Newspaper Clipping of the Day



This unpleasant bit of Forteana comes from the "Spokesman-Review," March 1, 1971:
Oklahoma City (AP)--There's something out there. It walks like a gorilla, leaves hand prints like a man, rips doors off their hinges, and it likes chickens.

For want of a better name we'll call him Oklahoma's Abominable Chicken Man.

It's a long story and it goes like this.

An El Reno farmer walked out to his chicken coop one day in December and found its door on the ground, apparently thrown there after being ripped off the wall.

On the surface of the door, and inside the coop on the walls, were a number of strange hand prints--like none he'd ever seen before. They were about seven inches long and five inches wide.

The farmer called a state game ranger. The ranger had never seen anything like it either and he sent the door to the Oklahoma City Zoo to see what experts could make of the prints.

The experts were baffled too. Zoo Director Lawrence Curtis says the prints appear to be like those of a primate. A primate is an animal like a gorilla or a man that can stand erect.

The thumb of the print is unusual. Curtis says it crooks inside, as if it were deformed or had been injured.

"It resembles a gorilla," he said, "but it's more like a man."

"It appears that whatever made the prints was walking on all fours. There were some footprints on the ground outside," he said. Whatever it was was barefoot. Barefoot in December.

Since Curtis got the first print he has had reports of similar finds around the state. A man in Stillwater and a woman in McAlester have told him of discovering similar prints. The woman has a photograph she is mailing to the zoo for comparison.

Oklahoma has only four native animals big enough to leave such prints: the black bear, the mountain lion, the wolf and man. Curtis has ruled out all but the last.

"We've shown it to several mammologists and several wildlife experts in Oklahoma and some passing through. All agree it is a primate," he said. "These prints were made by some sort of a man, perhaps one looking for chickens."

Asked about the wide distances between the points reporting similar prints, Curtis said, "If there is one there is more than one. There has to be more than one unless he's hitchhiking."

There are no zoos in El Reno, no circuses and no one known to be keeping a gorilla. In fact the only thing in the area that "keeps" primates--in this case men--is the federal reformatory just on the outskirts of town.

The Abominable Chicken Man is being compared with reports of similar findings from California. In this case people have reported seeing a seven-foot man-like creature wandering in the northern wilds. They call him Bigfoot, after the large tracks he makes.

The description also seems to match the Sasquatch, also known as Bigfoot, a towering primate reported in Washington and British Columbia.

Curtis is trying to find a book and a magazine article that tell about the Bigfoot sightings. He's anxious to make a comparison.

In the meantime he has the chicken coop door in his office for reference, and one supposes, for conversation.

There's not much else to go on until somebody reports actually seeing the Abominable Chicken Man.

There are a lot of people looking.
So far as I know, they never did find it, so Oklahoma poultry had better remain on guard.

6 comments:

  1. "These prints were made by some sort of a man, perhaps one looking for chickens." Am I the only one who thinks this line should be uttered by Leslie Nielsen, with his deadpan seriousness, in an 'Airplane!' movie?

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    Replies
    1. That, or an Edward D. Wood Jr. film.

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    2. Sounds like the Samsquatch from "Trailer Park Boys," but I thought they were in Nova Scotia?

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  2. Handprints 7 inches long and 5 inches wide inside the coop? Did they dust it for prints or had the intruder dipped its hands in ink? BTW, that's about the size print my hand would make so I'm unimpressed.

    And f'r Pete's sake - what happened to the chickens? There's no mention of their fate - were they killed, injured or just hanging around the barnyard?

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  3. Let's see, I was in tenth grade when this happened, and my husband had already graduated high school, so he remembers it happening better than I do. He had relatives living in El Reno at the time, though we both lived in South OKC. I'd like to know what happened to the door after Curtis retired from the zoo. And it's really funny that this was in the Spokesman-Review because I live near Spokane now! There are quite a few recorded instances of a "Sasquatch" type of creature in Eastern Oklahoma, though I never saw one when we lived there.

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  4. Sas-cluck. :)

    There are many things unanswered about this article. For instance, if the creature walked on all fours did the front and back footprints look the same? Did he keep his chicken coop locked? Primates are smart enough to understand how to open a door. How would you even hold onto a door to rip it from it frame - unless it was already ajar. And we're the hand prints of blood or dirt maybe? My guess, this guy wanted to make up a crazy story for some reason or another.

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