Bigfoot - Big Muddy
Authorities are investigating the report of a weekend attack that left gaping holes and traces of animal blood on a tent in a campground at Rend Lake.
COPIED FROM: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch ARCHIVES Originally published on Tuesday, August 8, 1989.
TENT AT REND LAKE ATTACKED; NO ONE HURT; TESTS UNDER WAY
By Paula M. Davenport Post-Dispatch Special Correspondent
BENTON, Ill. - Authorities are investigating the report of a weekend attack that left gaping holes and traces of animal blood on a tent in a campground at Rend Lake.
The tent was unoccupied at the time of the attack. No one was injured.
Park rangers with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees Rend Lake's 517 campsites near Benton, refused to speculate on what might have caused the attack - the first since the agency opened four campgrounds in 1977. The region is an yearly haven to 2.3 million campers, hunters and anglers.
Rumors of bear sightings and "beer hall" legends of a Big Muddy Monster - "a scaled-down version of Big Foot" - have circulated among local residents for years, officials say. Park rangers have spotted neither.
"At this point, all we know is that the tent was severely damaged and the markings - the tears and so forth - indicate it was an animal," said Clyde Wilkes, a spokesman for the St. Louis district of the Army Corps of Engineers. "We took clippings from the tent, which appear to have saliva and traces of blood on them, and sent them to a lab to have them checked out."
The attack happened early Sunday morning in Rend Lake's South Marcum campground, officials said.
The tent's owner, Donetta Clayton, of Marion, Ill., told authorities that she was sleeping in a nearby camper-trailer when a pair of her pet dogs became agitated and awakened her by barking at 3:15 a.m. Clayton told authorities that she had gone back to sleep, thinking the dogs had been barking at other campers. But early Sunday morning, Clayton noticed three large openings that had been torn in the tent.
"We'll evaluate the situation after we get the results from the animal lab," Rend Lake Park Ranger Jerry Schutte said Monday.
"Our main concern is that the only time an animal would attack a tent like this is when it is hurt or diseased and can't hunt naturally. We're concerned that there is an animal out there that may need to be killed. Our main concern is to protect our campers."
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COPIED FROM: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch ARCHIVES Originally published on Friday, August 18, 1989.
`BIG MUDDY MONSTER' RULED OUT IN ATTACK ON TENT AT REND LAKE
By Robert Kelly Of the Post-Dispatch Staff
Dogs, and not the legendary "Big Muddy Monster," apparently caused the gaping holes left in a tent at a campground at Rend Lake on Aug. 6, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported Thursday.
Tests run on saliva and blood samples taken from the tent indicated that the bodily fluids were canine, said Ken Kruchowski, a spokesman for the St. Louis district of the corps. The corps manages Rend Lake, which is near Benton, Ill., about 85 miles southeast of St. Louis.
Phil Jenkins, the lake manager, said officials were unsure what had caused dogs to attack the empty tent. No one reported seeing the attack, Jenkins said.
Rumors of bear sightings and legends of a Big Muddy Monster - "a scaled-down version of Big Foot" - have circulated among residents of the lake area for years. Park rangers have spotted neither bears nor a monster.
And Kruchowski said results of tests on the tent "put to rest any idea of a Big Muddy Monster."
Jenkins said the attack on the tent had not affected attendance at the campgrounds at the lake. He said that the dogs that ripped the tent had not been found but that no other attacks had been reported.
The tent's owner, Donetta Clayton, of Marion, Ill., told authorities that she was sleeping in a nearby camper-trailer when a pair of her pet dogs became agitated and awakened her by barking at 3:15 a.m. on Aug. 6. Clayton said she had gone back to sleep, thinking her dogs had been barking at other campers. But after getting up later that morning, Clayton noticed that three large openings had been torn in the tent.
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