Cryptid Profile: The Hawley Him
Everybody knows the story; on October 20, 1967, Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin managed to record a “real” Sasquatch on camera while out in Bluff Creek, California. The creature -known forever after as Paddy- was captured for 59.5 seconds on 954 frames of film that when physically stretched out, measures only 23.85 feet long. This amateur film, although short and extremely shaky, went on to change the world as we know it. The film proved that monsters were no longer things of fairy tales, they were real, and people were ready to see them.
Three years after the release of the Patterson-Gimlin Film, monster fever took hold of the nation. Witnesses started coming forward from all over the country to share stories of their personal sightings and encounters with the tall hairy beasts known as Bigfoot. It seemed that almost every small town had its own resident monster simply show up overnight. Articles appeared in countless newspapers in almost every state talking about how large, hairy, unknown creatures were being seen lurking around just inside the tree line. Spreading tales of how drivers had near collisions with large footed beasts running across moonlit roads at night. And some went as far as to create near panic by sharing the stories of off the grid homeowners being assaulted by some overly aggressive, putrid smelling, unseen things.
The articles were so numerous that many monsters became local “celebrities” in their area and even went on to be well known throughout the world. Others weren’t as lucky though, and these throwaway beasts were quickly forgotten by most readers outside of their affected areas and were left to fade in obscurity.
The following account below is of one of those forgotten monsters.
On July 6, 1977, three youths in Hawley, Texas, encountered what could be described as a typical Bigfoot-like creature. The encounter began on a hot day at 10 am while two teenage boys - Tom Roberts (age 14) and Larry Suggs (age 15) - cleared brush from the property of the Abilene Boy’s Ranch. While sitting on the ground, taking a rest in the shade at a location not far from the surrounding tree line, the boys began to get hit with small rocks. Confused at first, the teens looked around in hopes of finding the culprit, but they could not see clearly through the dense brush and trees in front of them. Suddenly, the pair were hit by stones again, but this time around they were thrown harder as if in anger.
With their arms in front of their faces in order to shield themselves from the stones, the two young men began to shout at their unseen assailant to stop. As if taking pity and granting them what they wished for, the stone throwing stopped and everything went quiet. Relieved, the boys lowered their arms and turned to leave, but as they did, the sound of snapping tree limbs echoed from behind them as if something large was approaching. As the pair fled the area, Larry turned to look behind him in hopes of seeing what the thing was that attacked them. What he managed to see was a brown haired, giant ape standing between the trees.
Terrified, the duo ran to the closest residence for help, the home of Mr. and Mrs. McFarland. As the teens frantically pounded on the door for help, the homeowners' daughter (Renee, 15) answered and let them inside. After explaining what had happened, Renee grabbed her fathers deer rifle and handed it to Larry while stating that they should go back to the location of the assault and kill the thing that had attacked them. Obviously wanting to get revenge on their attacker, the newly formed trio made their way back to the ranch and prepared to stop the monster once and for all.
Upon arriving at the tree line, the trio started yelling and screaming in hopes of bringing the creature back out, and oddly enough, it worked. From the woods emerged a 7ft tall, shaggy-haired humanoid looking creature with huge arms that hung down past its knees. The face was flat and looked like an ape, but still resembled a man. Obviously terrified, Renee shouted as loud as she could for Larry to shoot it, and then he took the shot. The recoil of the blast knocked him backward onto the ground and the creature took off running back into the thick brush, he had missed his target. The trio of teenage monster hunters made their way back to the Abilene Ranch and started sharing their story.
One of the men who listened to the trio was the manager of the Abilene Ranch, Mr. Bob Scott. After hearing the tale, Mr. Scott informed the local sheriff's department about what had happened to the teens and reminded them that the location in which this wooded area passes through is the exact same location where he had recently lost 21 of his goats over the past few days. The same location that the sheriff's department searched only a few days prior and ended up finding four carcasses that appeared to have been buried under various brush piles. While the officers involved claimed coyotes were the cause of the deaths, they could not fully explain where the 17 other goats had gone, they had simply vanished. Scott though was adamant that something much bigger than a coyote had to have been responsible. He felt this way because the goat enclosure wasn’t broken into and no damage to the fences was discovered, rather it appeared that something snatched the goats out of them and simply carried them off.
As word spread around town that a monster had attacked three teens and was almost killed in the process, the local paper jumped at the chance to write about it. Soon amateur monster hunters from all around Texas began to flock to Hawley, stocked with an assortment of weapons and a burning desire to be the one to bag the beast. Not long after the hunters started to arrive, a wealthy Texas oilman and geologist by the name of Jack Grimm posted a $5,000 bounty on the beast, but there was a catch. Grimm stated that the only way to claim the bounty was to capture the Hawley Him alive and that the creature also had to be previously undiscovered and unidentified by science. Needless to say, after Grimm posted his bounty, the monster hunter population in Hawley nearly doubled, and that was exactly what the Texas oilman knew would happen. You see, Jack Grimm was no stranger to monster hunts, as this was his third $5,000 bounty on a cryptid creature. The other two, which he had going on at the same time as this one, were for the live capture of the Texas Big Bird (a Thunderbird first sighted in 1976), and the Loch Ness Monster. He had also previously paid to have both a news reporter and photographer flown out to the Pacific Northwest in order to search for Bigfoot. Monster hunting was nothing new to Jack Grimm.
While nothing ever came of the search besides the discovery of a few large human-like tracks, the overabundance of hunters in Hawley tromping around looking for the monster made it no longer safe. Not wanting to be killed, the giant 7ft tall man-ape did what any creature would do in that situation, it left the area. The Hawley Him is reported to have made its way 20miles southwest (over the course of 4 months) to the town of Merkel, TX. Once there, it quickly got to work making its presence known.
The Merkel sheriffs department was first alerted to something odd going on when a man by the name of Eugene Danielski called at 8:25 pm on Saturday, November 26, 1977, to report that something had snatched his collie from his property and that he could not locate it. A sheriffs deputy went to the property located at FM Road 1235 and helped Danielski search the area for his beloved pet, but just the like the missing goats of Hawley, only a carcass was found. The body of the collie was discovered near some brush with broken bones and its entire throat ripped out. The sheriff's deputy believed the cause was a coyote and returned back to the station.
That same night around midnight, the sheriff's department phones started ringing off the hook. Residents all along FM Road 1235 were calling to report that their pets and livestock had also been taken from their property. Everything from cats to chickens were being snatched away and killed, and the deputies investigating the calls were unable to find the thing responsible. Although coyotes were initially blamed, the sheer amount of animals that went missing in the affected area made it hard to believe that coyotes were the culprits as they tend to hunt alone and rarely kill more than one or two animals before leaving an area. No evidence or prints of the creature responsible were ever found and the sheriff's department was left stumped.
The final call in this strange series of events came in around 2 am. A resident living near the end of FM Road 1235 called to report that they had seen what appeared to be an upright, tall, hairy thing running along the side of the road before turning and jumping over a fence. The moon was somewhat full so the caller was able to watch uninterrupted as the creature made its way to a wooded area and disappear within it. And just like that, the Hawley Him was gone. No more sightings of the creature were reported, no more pets and livestock were stolen, and no further attacks on teenagers were carried out. The monster had vanished as quickly as it arrived. The towns of Hawley and Merkel moved on and the Hawley Him faded into obscurity.
After the Hawley Him vanished from the area, a few newspapers tried to keep the story going. Local paper The Abilene Reporter-News contacted Jones County Sheriff Woodrow Simmons to ask his opinion on the whole situation and to see if there was any truth to the story. Sheriff Simons responded by saying that neither he or any of his deputies had seen the creature that was known as the Hawley Him. As far as he believed, the creature was a creation simply made up by Tom Roberts, Larry Suggs, and Renee McFarland in order to pull one over the residents of Hawley.
The Hawley Him was one of many Bigfoot-like creatures that were reported on during the monster craze of the 1970’s. It possessed all the common traits of previous sightings from around the country and even delved a bit into the fear-inducing side of the beats. While many in the area believe that the incidents were nothing more than the combination of coyote attacks and a scary story made up by a trio of teenagers, some feel that the Hawley Him was real. That it was a legitimate Sasquatch that was making its way through the area and just happened to get an entire city all riled up. Some even claim that the beast never truly left the area as modern sightings of Sasquatch-like creatures occur throughout the entire state of Texas pretty frequently.
In the end, it all comes down to what you believe. Could there really be giant hairy human-like creatures roaming the forested areas of North America close enough to be seen by humans, but far enough away to not interact with on a regular basis? Or are these reports nothing more than people claiming they are seeing monsters because they truly want to believe they are real? It is all up to you.
Finally, before we end this, you are probably wondering how the creature above became known as The Hawley Him. The name does seem odd as a majority of these creatures end up with names such as “The Beast Of…” or “The Backwoods Monster” or even “The Texas Terror”. Well, the name Him came from the trio of teens who first reported it. When they described the incident to anyone who would listen, they kept referring to the creature as “He” and “Him”. And since both Hawley and Him start with H’s, the reporters at The Abilene Reporter-News simply combined the two words to create a name and published it. Simple as that.
-The Pine Barrens Institute
*Image Credit: https://lonestarape.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/lubbock_avalanche_journal_thu__aug_18__1977_.pdf