Monday, December 30, 2013

Momo the Missouri Monster

In the above photo a woman is holding a plaster footprint of Momo The Missouri Monster. There were several footprint plaster casts made of the Missouri Monster.

Quest for the Missouri Monster (MOMO) by the Fearless Explorers

Momo Documentary

Momo is the name of a local legend, similar to the Bigfoot, which is reported to live in Missouri. The name Momo is short for 'Missouri Monster' and it is reported to have a large, pumpkin-shaped head, with a furry body, and hair covering the eyes. First reported in July 1971, near Louisiana, Missouri by Joan Mills and Mary Ryan, Momo has been spotted up and down the Mississippi River.

It is supposedly a large, 7 ft (2.1 m) tall, hairy, black, manlike creature that eats dogs and emits a terrible odor. Some suggest it was a rogue black bear. Following sightings in 1972 beginning at 3:30 p.m. July 11, first reported by Terry, Wally, and Doris Harrison, and lasting for about 2 weeks, tracks were found and submitted to Lawrence Curtis, director of the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden.

Momo the Missouri Monster is about to step back into the spotlight. Production teams for the Discovery Destination America Channel show “Monsters & Mysteries in America” and The Animal Planet program “Finding Bigfoot” say they plan to feature the creature on upcoming broadcasts. A production team from “Monsters & Mysteries” plans to be in town late next week for interviews with Doris Bliss and her husband, Richard, Mayor Tom Wallace, Christina Windmiller and others. A schedule for “Finding Bigfoot,” which involves a regular cast, was still being worked out. A 15-year-old Bliss and her two siblings, eight-year-old Terry and five-year-old Walley Harrison, reported seeing the hair-covered, foul-smelling creature outside their home near Star Hill in Louisiana on July 11, 1972. “I don’t know what it was,” Bliss said in a telephone interview Monday. “It was tall and hairy. It was real shaggy. It was standing by a tree.”

To this day, Bliss is certain that the figure she and her brothers saw was not an animal such as a bear, bobcat or dog.

“I know it wasn’t a normal animal,” she said.

After the teenage Bliss saw the creature, other sightings and reports quickly followed. Local radio personalities even wrote a musical tribute entitled “Momo the Missouri Monster.” Soon, reporters and news crews from around the country joined law enforcement and volunteers in traipsing the woods around Louisiana for proof.

“It wasn’t a man and it wasn’t a bear,” Bliss told Jim Salter of The Associated Press for a 40th anniversary article last year. “It was something…”

“Something you’d never seen before?” the reporter asked.

“Exactly!” she replied.

Several people made castings of unexplained footprints, including Windmiller’s father, Clyde Penrod.

Windmiller doesn’t believe in Momo, but she also does not discount the stories others tell.

“I’m a skeptic, although I would never tell someone that they didn’t see what they think they saw,” she said. “But, sometimes, we see what’s not there and sometimes we see what we want to see. I’m not saying that Bigfoot doesn’t exist. I just need more proof.”

Priscilla Giltner, a retired teacher told The Associated Press that she thinks the whole affair was a hoax perpetrated by three of her students.

“I don’t think they planned for it to get as big as it did,” Giltner told The AP. “They were just bored. They didn’t have anything else to do.”

Giltner has repeatedly said she would not identify the students.

“I will never, ever, tell their names,” she said to The AP. “That’s their secret.”

The fervor over Momo eventually died down, but for years Louisiana had a festival named for the beast. Because occasional sightings were reported, the legend never really died.

Both national television programs were attracted to the story by media accounts of last year’s anniversary, and by the fact that many of the people involved are still around.

Maddy Woodmansee, the producer for the “Monsters & Mysteries” program, said in an e-mail to Windmiller that she’s planning an Aug. 2 shooting schedule.

“We are so happy to have you as part of the show – so thanks in advance!” Woodmansee wrote in a July 17 e-mail. “Looking forward to chatting with you soon and meeting you in a couple of weeks.”

The shows are expected to air early next year.

Reported Sightings

1971 - A pack of picnickers reported that Momo came out of the surrounding woods. While they locked themselves in their car, the creature supposedly ate their food.

1972 - Local children reported seeing Momo walk past them with a dead dog. Soon after, a farmer reported a flash of light, growls, and the strong odor that is associated with Momo

2013- In October of 2013 three hunters spotted two creatures that looked like Momo standing between them and their truck. The men had walked away from their truck and their weapons to set down on a log and eat lunch. The men said the two creatures took a few squirrels the men had shot earlier in the morning. The creatures then walked down the hill and walked across the creek there. The men left the woods and two of them said they would never go back to those woods again. One of the men was a former police chief of a local town so his story of what he saw is believed to be the truth.

Does a real-life monster roam the Missouri wilderness?

Witnesses claim to have seen a huge, hairy, hulking creature stalking the woods and lonely country roads. The creature is similar to the well-known Bigfoot of the Pacific Northwest, only more otherworldly. It has glowing orange eyes, a pumpkin-shaped head, three-fingered hands and leaves three-toed footprints. Unlike the shy Bigfoot, this aggressive creature is known to kill animals and antagonize humans.

Its name is Momo – the Missouri Monster.

Momo sightings have been reported throughout Missouri, even in St. Charles County. But the most famous sightings occurred in Louisiana, Mo., a town of fewer than 4,000 people. Located in Pike County, Louisiana lies 75 miles northwest of St. Charles County.

Bigfoot-like creatures have been reported in the Louisiana area since the 1940s, but it was not until the early 1970s that Momo attracted serious interest.

Bigfoot researcher Loren Coleman describes the now-legendary Momo scare in his book, "Bigfoot! The True Story of Apes in America."

According to Coleman, the Momo saga began in July, 1971. Joan Mills and Mary Ryan were driving along Highway 79, north of Louisiana, when they allegedly saw a hairy creature that made disturbing gurgling noises. The women described the thing as "half ape and half man."

The most notorious sighting took place one year later. On the afternoon of July 11, 1972, 8-year-old Terry Harrison and his 5-year-old brother, Wally, were playing in their backyard at the foot of Marzolf Hill on the outskirts of Louisiana. Their older sister, Doris, was inside the house. Doris heard her brothers scream. She looked out the bathroom window and saw a black, hairy manlike creature, standing by a tree.

The thing appeared to be six or seven feet tall. Its head sat directly atop its shoulders, with no visible neck. The face was likewise invisible, completely covered by a mass of hair.

The youths reported a chilling detail – the creature, streaked with blood, carried a dead dog under its arm.

A local farmer reported his dog had disappeared. A neighbor reported hearing terrible growling sounds that afternoon.

Edgar Harrison, the children's father, also heard loud growls the evening of July 14. He and several other people smelled a strong, unpleasant odor as they investigated the area around Marzolf Hill. Investigators later reported smelling a similar stench, like rotting flesh.

On July 21 Momo revealed itself to Ellis Minor outside his home on River Road. It was around 10 p.m. when Minor heard his dogs barking. He grabbed a flashlight and stepped outside, expecting to see an intruding dog. Instead, he saw a 6-foot-tall monster standing in his yard. The black, hairy creature turned and ran.

According to a July 23, 1972 story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, police sealed off a 200-acre wooded area while a team of 25 hunters searched for the creature, which many believed to be a black bear. Police received reports of a creature crossing the highway with a dog or sheep in its mouth. Another witness told police that the creature lifted the back of his automobile.

Not all hunters used guns. Many used pencil and paper.

Bigfoot investigators swarmed Louisiana, interviewing witnesses and taking plaster casts of the creature's unusual three-toed footprints. One of the preeminent researchers was Hayden Hewes, director of the Oklahoma City-based Sasquatch Investigations of Mid America.

"What impressed me was the willingness of people to talk to us. Normally people are reluctant to talk about these things," said Hewes, 61. "This was not just one person spitting in a can, saying `yes sir, I saw it right over there.' These were good quality people who were enthusiastic about what was going on."

Hewes said he was impressed with the witnesses' sincerity.

"These people didn't want to sell something. They didn't want publicity. They just wanted to share their stories. I never got any inkling that there was a hoax."

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