Before the swampy land of southeastern Missouri was drained to become the rich farmland of today, sightings of an immense, hairy humanoid responsible for killing livestock, were reported often. After a hunter reported shooting at the black hairy beast, it disappeared for nearly thirty years.

Appearing again in July of 1968, in a St. Louis suburb, the hairy beast grabbed a four-year-old child playing in his backyard. When an aunt started screaming and chasing the creature, it dropped the toddler, and ran into the woods. Trackers found no evidence of the beast.

In 1971, Joan Mills and Mary Ryan stopped for a picnic lunch off of Highway 79, when they smelled the most horrible odor anyone could imagine. Standing in the thicket was a half-ape and half-man creature. Ryan said “the face was definitely human,” but “it had hair over the body as it if was an ape. It was more like a hairy human.” The cryptid was covered in hair, except for the hands which were hairless.

Mills stated that it made a gurgling sound, as it shambled toward the women, who were running to their car. The monster stroked their car, and even tried to open the doors. Unable to leave because the ladies had neglected to grab the car keys (like a typical horror movie scene), they began honking the horn which made the creature back off. But, before heading back into the woods, the hairy monster grabbed a peanut butter sandwich, and devoured it in one bite!

Dubbed “MoMo” for Missouri Monster by the press, sightings were being reported from all over the Louisiana area. In July of 1972, eight-year-old Terry Harrison, and his little brother Wally, were playing by the woods next to their house. Their older sister, Doris, heard the boys scream. Looking out the window, she saw a monster “six or seven feet tall, black and hairy” standing, “like a man,” close to the boys. It had a dead dog in its arms, and was covered in blood. The creature disappeared deeper into the woods, but the family dog became extremely ill for several hours afterward, possibly from the overpowering stench. Clumps of hair, and several footprints were found in the area.

Neighbors began to report missing dogs and other large animals, footprints, hand prints, beastly smells, and the sounds of an animal “carrying on something terrible.” A group of teenagers claimed MoMo confronted them, roaring “ferociously.” A driver told the story of the hairy monster attempting to overturn his car, with the driver inside!

While researching for my book on cryptozoology some years back, I was grateful for the extensive work and documentation conducted by Jerome Clark (https://sasquatchchronicles.com/momo-the-missouri-bigfoot-monster-of-1971/) and Jerry and Loren Coleman (http://lorencoleman.com), all experts in the field of cryptozoology. I also had the pleasure of talking with a lady in Louisiana, Missouri, who had been instrumental in perpetuating the legend of MoMo.

Gail Suddarth was seven years old when the story of Momo was at its peak around the Louisiana area in 1972.

On a lazy, hot August morning Gail was outside by herself picking tomatoes in the family garden. She was feeling a little bored that morning, and started thinking about the big monster scare that had been sweeping the area over the summer. A precocious little girl, she decided to have a little fun. She had no idea how far that fun was going to go!

She had seen pictures of the MoMo footprint, and had a pretty good idea of how to make one of those footprints herself. Very carefully, with her big toe, she drew out an enormous footprint in the soft dirt of the garden. She pressed her little foot down in certain places, until it looked just the way she thought it should.

Then, little Gail went running excitedly into the house to tell her family what she “found” in the garden! Her mom and dad followed her out to the garden to look it over. They were pretty impressed with their daughter’s finding all right! They called their friends who called their friends who called their friends until, before you could say “Missouri Monster,” the media and the experts had descended upon the little girl’s family farm!

What could she do? What had started out as a little fun with her family had turned into a huge ordeal! She bravely kept her secret all to herself. She didn’t share it with anyone at all, not a sibling or a friend.

Tests were run, plaster casts were taken, and the ground was studied. “Oh my, yes,” the experts agreed, “this was definitely a genuine footprint from MoMo.” The pressure points were perfect, and the print was in the soft sand of the garden and that “explained” why there was only the one print. They listed all the convincing points verifying that this was indeed the footprint of MoMo, the Missouri Monster.

Quite a few sightings were reported until the winter of 1972, when the creature might have gone into hibernation in one of the numerous caves honeycombed throughout the hills in the area. People in the area of Louisiana, Missouri, still report seeing MoMo in the vicinity now and then, but the creature (and/or its kin) seems to have improved its hiding techniques.