Wednesday, January 4, 2012
The Legend of Walnut Creek
There is a small creek called Walnut Creek in Chilton County, Alabama. Driving down I-65 you cross it near Clanton. Most of my relatives are in that county, having moved there sometime around 1812. We have a lot of people who live on the Coosa River or Lay Lake. I got to thinking about it the other day and remembered a story I heard from the time I could sit up late enough to listen to the grownups talking. The Legend of Walnut Creek.
Back in the fifties, yes before I was born, my grandfather was the sheriff of Chilton County. He kept receiving calls about missing pets and cows around the Walnut Creek area. He checked around, finding nothing but noticing a horrid smell near the water around some pushed down trees. He thought no more of it until late one night he received a call about some horrible screaming going on by the creek. He and a deputy went to the area and started walking toward the sound, which he likened to a cross between a woman screaming and a coyote or wolf. As they walked down the steep slope, pushing through brambles and barely able to see in the pitch black, a large tree came crashing through the woods directly at them. Never said we had any fools in the family. He and the deputy hastily made their way back up to the road where a crowd was gathered. Now the animal was slamming things into trees, making banging noises and still screaming. One of the onlookers, a man who’d partaken a bit too much liquor, told everyone he wasn’t scared and that he was going down to see what this thing was. My grandfather tried to talk him out of it but the man plunged down the slope, hell-bent to find out the source of the noise. The screaming increased and then there was another loud crash followed by another, different scream. The man emerged at the top of the slope, a lot more sober than when he went down. He said it was a big creature, about eight feet tall that “stunk to high heaven.” His wife had to drive him home because he was shaking too hard to turn the car on. The animal stayed around a few more days, making noise and scaring the locals but no one ever attempted to make contact again. I haven’t heard of any more sightings around the area.
I guess the animal was a Skunk Ape or as the Northwesterners call it “Sasquatch.” It certainly fit the description. Florida has the “Skunk Ape.” Rhode Island has “Big Rhodey.” Tibet has the “Yeti” and Australia has the “Yowie.” Whatever the thing is, I believe we had one for a while in Alabama on a little creek called Walnut. Would he be "Big Walnutty"? Catchy. I like it.
I do believe there is some basis for these legends as do a lot of other people. The Animal Planet even has a television series “Finding Bigfoot,” which airs every Sunday night at 9 pm. I watch it and I believe.
What do you think? Does Sasquatch exist? Or do you believe it’s just a bear or escaped ape? I think there is a novel in this somewhere. A romance. They went in search of Bigfoot and found each other…. (Not Harry)