October 2023


reaction to the movie,” Blackburn said. “Then, some people profited [with the mindset of] ‘well, let me sell some t-shirts... People are here anyway.’” Over time, the hype slowed down to an acceptable level, and town residents slowly accepted it as part of their history. Many locals view the story in a positive light, and some even use it to make some profit. Most of the negativity surrounding the story appears to have been left in the past. “The people who wanted to do something [with the story] and make something out of it have [done that], and the people that just kind of let it be, then they let it be. But you don’t have so much of the problem with people clamoring down here, running over fences and invading properties. That’s all in the past, and that generation is gone,” Blackburn said. “The generation now just has fond memories. They’re proud of it. So, they have a much more positive view of it.” The Legend of Boggy Creek has undoubtedly changed the community forever without changing the town’s identity. The legend works alongside Fouke instead of overtaking it. “It didn’t revolutionize the town in [the sense] that there’s no amusement park or anything. There are no water slides, and there are no motels and things that really exploit it. There are a few things, [for example] the Monster Mart, which has embraced it; it has a souvenir shop and a small museum,”

Blackburn said. “So, it’s changed in terms of if you’re going to come here [they have] stuff to show you if you’re interested. You can also see things about the monster in that, at one time, Highway 71 was called Monster Expressway, and there are establishments like the Monster Activity Center.” Many festivals and events have been held in the creature’s honor over the years. The Fouke Monster Festival’s most recent event was held in April 2023. It was their fifth annual meeting. These events have brought more than just publicity, though. Some funds raised at the camp-out were donated to Smith Park. Money raised at other events has gone to the local school or scholarships. The popularity of this local legend has transformed Fouke into a landmark, and the locals have either adapted to or ignored the beast of Boggy Creek. Mysterious and widespread, this chapter of Fouke’s history is not closing any time soon. “[It’s] this monster legend that never ceases. It kind of ebbs and flows, but it’s always getting bigger and bigger,” Blackburn said. “It’s never-ending.”

Newspaper pages from the Texarkana Gazette



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