A few years ago, I came across an event on my Facebook page. It was an event to look for Bigfoot in the Land Between the Lakes area, a local national park. It piqued my interest because I’ve always been a fan of cryptids and the unknown. While scrolling down the page I noticed someone posted that they were not going to attend and that we were all fools for doing so. Attached to this naysayer’s post was an article called The Beast of LBL, which to me sounded like the corniest thing I had ever heard, but my interest was piqued. By the end of the article, I was solely convinced in the legend and had no desire to go tromping through the trees late at night, at least for a while. What could this nightmare fuel of a creature be? Just a local folktale or a creature that would give us stiff competition for the top of the food chain?
Land Between the Lakes is situated between Barkley and Kentucky Lakes in western Kentucky. It is a popular tourist attraction and recreational area. People have been going there for decades to hunt, fish, and camp. In all that time, the national park has had its fair share of strange stories and mysterious happenings. Locals have told tales of haunted campgrounds, vampire hotels, and the famously known Bigfoot. The land has also seen closures of paths and campgrounds that many cannot explain. This leaves many questioning if there are things in those woods that they haven’t found yet, and if they ever want to.
Many of the woodsmen in the area have given some accounts of strange occurrences on the foot trails in the park. Some would say it is just paranoia of many of the newer inexperienced outdoor recreation seekers, but many of the older generations still feel anxious among the trees. Many of them, while following many of the game trails, have reported feeling like they are being watched. More unsettling still is that these people swear they are being stalked by whatever was watching them.
Other instances include hunters noticing strange hunting patterns that do not match up to any of the local predators. Where most, if not all, animals killed by predators are eaten, there have been some that look like they were killed without any of it being eaten. Almost as if they were killed for sport, but rest assured the injuries on the animals would not have come from any human hunter.
The buffalo that LBL is so famous for have even been affected by the odd occurrences. Some of the younger calves had been hunted, which would not be totally uncommon. A mountain lion or a pack of bold coyotes could kill a small calf. This doesn’t explain, however, the state of agitation that can be found in some of the older buffalo who would have little to fear from a solitary mountain lion. This would lead some to believe there is something much bigger and much more sinister. The question still remains, what could this thing be?
The question of what this devilish beast is, raises many theories. The most popular being a dogman or werewolf, which are not the same thing. Unlike a werewolf, dogmen do not revert to a human form after a full moon. Semantics aside, the characteristics are about the same. Like the elusive Bigfoot, dogmen have been a part of American culture for generations. You can see accounts of them as far back as the early Native Americans, all noting a terrifying creature that lives in the forests. Many stories have been passed around the area and online as well that recount some horrific and terrifying things the beast has done.
One of these local legends dates back to the 80’s. A family of four- a mother, father, and two children, went to get an early campsite before the area’s busiest tourist season. The family got there in their camper during the day and all seemed well. That night however things took a turn for the worst. Sometime in the evening, while the father was grilling dinner and the kids and mother were inside, the campsite was set upon by a monstrous beast. The father was suspected to be killed first. It was then theorized that in the mother’s terror she tried to close the door to the RV by attempting to put something in the way of the foul creature to keep it away. It had little effect, however, as the creature forced its way in leaving a grisly scene.
Many think the story of the family is just a scary story to tell in the dark around a campfire, and I will admit it does sound like something straight out of a Stephen King novel. However, an account from a couple of college students sounds much more believable. A few students, presumably from the nearby Murray State University, were out camping one night on break. The night was filled with what many would expect college students to be doing. Drinking. The night was going along with nothing out of the ordinary until one of the students decided to answer nature’s call. He stumbled away from the group to get some privacy, and shortly after he heard rustling in the trees and bushes. This alone is enough to put anyone on edge, but what sent the young man running was a pair of yellow eyes staring back at him from the darkness. He quickly told his companions about the eyes and they brushed it off as if it were nothing. That is until they heard the rustling as well from just outside the light of their fire. Terrified, they all ran to their tents and didn’t come out till morning, and by then there was no sign of any creature.
The Beast of LBL has captured the imaginations of many and has many more in fear of going into the recreational area. One thing for sure is it has eluded discovery for hundreds of years and probably will continue to for many years after. What do you think the Beast of LBL is? Leave your answer in the comments below!