Friday, May 2, 2014

The Green-Clawed Beast of Evansville

Indiana, often called the Crossroads of America, isn't exactly a state known for its monsters or much in the way of paranormal activity. However, something truly strange and terrifying happened along the banks the Ohio River in late summer during the mid-1950s. To this very day, people are still unable to explain exactly what happened. But all that they know is that a local woman nearly lost her life to a vicious aquatic monster. That monster has come to be known as the Green-Clawed Beast of Evansville.

August 21st, 1955 was a typical hot summer's day in Dogtown, Indiana (near Evansville). Both locals and tourists alike were headed for the local lakes and rivers to take a swim and cool down. Among them was Mrs. Naomi Johnson, her children Sandra, Darwin, and Darrell, and her good friend Mrs. Chris Lamble. Mrs. Johnson told her children to stay put while she and Chris went out for a swim.  Mrs. Lamble went out with a big, black rubber inner tube, as she couldn't swim. Naomi and Chris talked while they were leisurely swimming, but little did they know that something was closely watching the two women underneath the water...

Mrs. Johnson was only fifteen feet from the shore when she felt a "large, hairy, claw-like hand" grab her around the left knee and pull her under. Naomi struggled to free herself from the unseen attacker as Mrs. Lamble looked on in horror above the water's surface. Mrs. Johnson was finally able to kick herself free from the creature's clutches and made it back to the surface, taking in a huge breath of air as she did so. But almost immediately, Naomi was seized again from behind. Mrs. Lamble shrieked and screamed loudly as the Johnson children watched helplessly from the shore...

Naomi wrestled with her unseen attacker in the murky water, desperately trying to free herself and get back to the surface for air. She managed to get herself free and made for Mrs. Lamble's inner tube. She gasped for air and screamed at the top of her lungs for help, but at that instant, the creature seized her by the leg and pulled her down once more. Kicking and screaming, Mrs. Johnson was able to break away for the final time and lunged for her friend Chris's inner tube. She made a thump upon contact with the tube, and this apparently frightened the attacker enough to drive it away.

With the aid of Mrs. Lamble, Naomi managed to make it ashore in a state of shock, crying and screaming all the while. To their horror, it was discovered that her leg was covered in deep, bloody scratches and bruises. But what troubled Naomi, her children, and their friend Chris the most was that her leg was covered in green palm stains where the beast had seized her. Somebody had called an ambulance, and Mrs. Johnson then received medical treatment for her cuts and bruises. Naomi was hysterical after the attack, and her husband was called home from work. He then called a doctor, who administered sedatives to help calm the poor lady's nerves. But although the attack was over, Naomi's ordeal was far from finished...

The next day, a local newspaper ran Mrs. Johnson's story. Several eyewitnesses allegedly reported seeing a silver oval disk floating a few hundred feet above the water that same day. The Johnson family themselves reported that they were visited by a man who claimed to be a Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. The Colonel seemed to be very interested in Mrs. Johnson's story, and he took extensive notes on the case as he interviewed and questioned her. Before he left, the Colonel told Naomi that she could never repeat her story to another person ever again (which, strangely enough, reeks of an attempted government cover-up and bears some similarities to Men in Black encounters). The man then left the house and didn't bother the Johnsons again.

Mrs. Johnson later found out that the strange green palm stains on her leg wouldn't wash off, and the stains didn't disappear for several days (suggesting that the stains were more akin to bruises rather than being mere stains). Naomi later said that "Whatever this thing was, it had a strong grip and was very furry. All I know is that I will never go swimming in that river again." And for the rest of her life, Naomi never did so again. And to this day, these strange evens are still as yet unexplained, and the case itself remains unsolved. And yet, there are questions that still remain...

This bizarre encounter begs the question: what did Mrs. Johnson encounter on that day in the river? Although shocking, this may be one of the only monster encounters where the creature wasn't actually seen by the eyewitness, but was rather felt instead. But what is clear is that the beast had great strength, was quite possibly both reptilian and amphibious in nature, and was extremely aggressive towards humans, possibly to the point of viewing people as a food source. This evidence  has led some researchers to believe that the Green-Clawed Beast is an amphibious reptilian monster of some kind, while others think that this creature may have been extraterrestrial in nature. However, the evidence in this case seems to point to a more terrestrial, possibly even supernatural sort of creature. The native tribes of North America have legends of reptilian humanoid creatures going back several hundred years. The Creek Indians of the Carolinas, for example, speak of the Inzignanin. According to Lyle Blackburn's incredible book Lizard Man: The True Story of the Bishopville Monster, the Inzignanin are a race of amphibious, lizardlike humanoid creatures with a distinctive three-foot tail that is described as being "as thick as a man's arm" and "as hard as bone." They had long fingers and rough, scaly skin. These reptilian creatures lived entirely on a diet of raw fish, and thus when the local fish population could no longer support their numbers, the Inzignanin died out...or so it is said. Could a small number of these creatures have survived and managed to find new territories? Possibly. If these creatures followed the major waterways, one of them could have easily ended up in that section of the Ohio River alongside Evansville. But if this is not the case, then where else could the Green-Clawed Beast have come from?

According to paranormal researcher Chris McDaniel, a type of strange blue mud was found on Mrs. Johnson's leg right after the attack. This mud was sent to a lab and analyzed, and it was discovered that this blue mud came from the deepest reaches of rivers. In fact, it was only found in deep underwater caves. Is it possible that some form of unknown aquatic reptilian monster dwells deep within these underwater caves? Most of the world's oceans, lakes, and rivers remain unexplored by man, so it is a distinctive possibility that an unknown species or unnatural beasts do dwell within the deep places of the world. Furthermore, Mrs. Johnson noticed that her attacker's hand had large claws and felt furry. In his excellent book Mothman and Other Curious Encounters (2002), leading cryptozoologist Loren Coleman noted that the creature's hand might have actually been scaly instead, for there are no known species of aquatic mammals or primates with furry, dexterous hands (Coleman 93-94). It remains a leading theory that the Green-Clawed Beast was an aquatic reptilian humanoid of some sort.

It is interesting to note that in 1954, a year before Mrs. Johnson had her encounter with the Green-Clawed Beast, Hollywood's Universal Pictures released the now-classic science fiction/horror film, The Creature from the Black Lagoon. This film tells the story of a team of scientists who travel up the Amazon River to the "Black Lagoon," a place that is dreaded by the locals and from which none ever return. These men and women are searching for the fossilized remains of a Devonian "fish-man," only to encounter a living specimen of this creature. But after the film was released, there was an explosion of sightings of these reptilian "lizardmen". Could this be a coincidence? After Jaws was released in 1975, there was a similar outbreak of shark attacks. However, when it comes to things like monsters, there is really no such thing as coincidence.

To this very day, the case of the Green-Clawed Beast of Evansville remains unsolved and a fascinating mystery. Even world-renowned cryptozoologists like Loren Coleman and Lyle Blackburn don't have all of the answers. Perhaps there are mysteries best left unsolved in this world, and mayhap that this is one of them. Strange reptilian monsters continue to be seen by ordinary people to this day. One has to ask: what are these people seeing? Perhaps that is a question best left unanswered, for the truth may be far too disturbing to be heard...


Blackburn, Lyle. Lizard Man: The True Story of the Bishopville Monster. San Antonio, Texas: Anomalist Books. Copyright ©2013 by Lyle Blackburn.

Clark, Jerome. Unexplained! Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurrences & Puzzling Physical Phenomena. Second Edition. Farmington Hills, Michigan: Visible Ink Press. Copyright ©1999 by Visible Ink Press.

Coleman, Loren. Mothman and Other Curious Encounters. Broadway, New York: Paraview Press. Copyright ©2002 by Loren Coleman.

Newton, Michael. Strange Indiana Monsters. Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Publishing Ltd. Copyright ©2006 by Michael Newton.

Nunnelly, Barton M. The Inhumanoids: Real Encounters with Beings that Can't Exist. Great Britain: CFZ Press. Copyright ©2011 by CFZ Publications.

Steiger, Brad. Real Monsters, Gruesome Critters, and Beasts from the Darkside. Canton, Michigan: Visible Ink Press. Copyright ©2011 by Brad Steiger.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank Loren Coleman, Lyle Blackburn, Michael Newton, Bart Nunnelly, and Brad Steiger for all of their help and allowing me to use their books and other materials in my research. Without their help, this entry would've been very short otherwise. Thank you all, and I hope that you are very pleased with my work!

No comments:

Post a Comment