Cryptid Profile: The Lockridge Monster
When the month of October gets close to the end of its 31 day run, many people prepare themselves to deal with a variety of costumed monsters approaching their doors, ringing their bells, and asking for candy. What most people don’t expect though, is to have to deal with a real life monster. Especially one that causes its costumed rivals to stay inside on the one night where monsters should truly be roaming the streets. But, that’s exactly what happened in October of 1975 just north of Lockridge, Iowa.
The first official reported sighting of the unknown creature that would go on to be known as the Lockridge Monster, took place on October 3rd, 1975. Herbert Peiffer, a turkey farmer along with his wife and son, went out as the sun was setting to tend to his turkeys before retiring for the day. While driving out to the pens his birds were kept in, Mr. Peiffer caught sight of something on four legs passing in front of the headlights on his tractor. Assuming it was the predator that had repeatedly broken into his turkey pens the past few nights and killed multiple birds each time, Herbert kept driving forward. Suddenly, the unknown creature stood up onto its hind legs and darted out of the way of the approaching tractor. Shocked, Mr. Peiffer returned to his home to inform his wife of what he had just encountered. The man stated that he saw a bushy, dark haired creature that stood nearly 5ft tall, ran like a man, had the body shape of a bear, and had an ape like face.
The following morning, the Peiffer family went out to inspect the turkey pens. While they did not encounter the creature again, they did find a series of odd 10in tracks around the bodies of four freshly killed turkeys. After helping clean up the dead birds, Mrs. Peiffer made her way back to the home, but as she passed an apple tree on her property, she noticed something odd. There in front her, still attached to their branches, were multiple apples with bites taken out of them. While it was understandably strange to find half eaten apples still on the tree, what made it even more strange was fact that the apples were hanging on branches nearly 7ft off the ground.
The Peiffer’s, obviously upset about what they had witnessed and experienced, reported their sighting as one would expect. But what they didn’t expect was that in doing so, other witnesses to strange events in the area would come forward as well. Many hunters in the area reported finding strange looking tracks along stream edges and on sand bars along Turkey Creek. One even claimed to have been hunting close to the edge of the Peiffers property a few weeks prior to the incident when he saw an unknown creature in their fields. The man, who carried a camera with him while hunting, tried to snap a photo of the beast but was unsuccessful in doing so as it disappeared from view as he was focusing the lens. Others who came forward spoke of hearing odd sounds while in the woods around the property.
While a hunting party was set up to try and flush the creature out of the surrounding woods, no progress was ever made in doing so. Tracks continued to be found, but no monster was ever captured. The creature was never seen in the area again.
Now while many believe the above encounter to be the first official sighting of the Lockridge Monster, few know of a possible sighting that took place only months before in July. In the same general area as the Peiffer’s, there lived a couple by the names of Wendell and Gloria Olson. While out in the area, the couple claimed to have seen an upright, bushy haired creature with the face of a monkey lurking around the buildings of a deserted farm. From a distance, the couple watched as the creature went in and out of dilapidated structures before walking back into the woods. Oddly, this sighting did not become as popular as the one that took place on October 3rd.
So what could that Lockridge Monster be? Many feel that it was nothing more than a black bear that had travelled down from Wisconsin and made its temporary home in the area around the Peiffer’s turkey farm. While not native to Iowa, it is not unheard of for a rogue bear to travel from an adjacent state, take advantage of a plentiful food source, and then move on again. This may explain why the reported tracks and sounds from the area were not easily identifiable to the hunters in the area. But, what is not so easily explained, are the apples found eaten at 7ft on the tree, the described ape like face of the creature, and its reported ability to run like a man.
The mystery of The Lockridge Monster has never been solved.
-The Pine Barrens Institute
*Image Credit: Public Domain
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