Geographical Index > United States > South Carolina > Lee County > Article # 26
Media Article # 26
Friday, September 9, 1988
Lizard Man Seen; Creature Spotted
The Latrobe, Pa. Bulliten
BISHOPVILLE, S.C. (AP) -
Some say it's Bigfoot, some say it's only a bear. To some, the creature described as 7 feet tall with red eyes and three-fingered hands that quickly became known as the Lizard Man is simply a hoax.
Whichever explanation one believes, there's no question Lizard-mania has seized this rural community this summer.
It all started when 17-year-old Christopher Davis told police he had been attacked by a creature while changing a tire in nearby Scape Ore Swamp about 2 a.m. one morning back in June.
The creature, he said, was more than 7 feet tall, was black-green and grabbed the door of his car, running as fast as 35 mph as he fled.
Davis said he swerved along the road before the creature, which had jumped on his car, was thrown off.
"It was strong and it wasn't an animal and it wasn't no man," he told Sheriff Liston Truesdale.
As word of the sighting spread, hundreds of outsiders came to walk through the swamp west of town. A Columbia radio station offered a $1 million reward and reporters descended on the quiet farming community of about 3,500.
Sheriff's department spokesman Billy Moore said he has no doubt there was something on the road with Davis that night.
"I believe he saw something. What it was I have no earthly idea. But it wasn't no Lizard Man," he said.
It may have been a bear, Moore suggested. Or, he said, it could have been people stopping by an artesian well in the area. He said locals are known to frequent the well at all hours of the day and night.
Scape Ore Swamp got its name in Revolutionary War days. It was near a British encampment and, when the Americans moved against the area, the British camp followers escaped into the swamp.
What became known as Escaped Whore Swamp became shortened over time to Scape Ore, Moore said.
Since the sighting, however, the sheriff's department has recieved dozens of calls from townspeople when their dogs bark at night or their farm animals act strangely.
"I think most of the people think it's a prankster or a joke," Moore said.
Authorities say there have been hoaxes as Lizardmania spread. Deputies made plaster casts of large tracks purportedly made by the creature. Moore said wildlife biologists determined the tracks were man-made.
Last week, an unidentified man reported shooting the thing along Interstate 20, and gave authorities some scales and blood that purportedly came from the creature.
The blood and scales, headed for a state crime lab analysis, apparently are from a dead fish, the sheriff said. "It doesn't take an expert to see what they are."
Visitors have been pulling off Interstate 20 for the past few weeks to satisfy their curiosity about the Lizard Man.
Marina Watson of the local Chamber of Commerce said business has been brisk this summber, but she had no extimate of how much money Lizardmania has put into the local economy.
If it's Lizard Man paraphernalia you're after, there are hats, T-shirts, inflatable toy dinosaurs and even wanted posters with an artist's impression of the Lizard Man.
Truesdale has had enough. He said that when stories like the Lizard Man circulate, " a lot of people try to get publicity and feel important. We have enough to do without trackind down things like this."
Sitting on a counter in the sheriff's department is a can labeled as a Liz-A-Rid repellent-a can that appears to have nothing in it.