The Momo is said to be a cross between a Bigfoot and a werewolf like creature located in Missouri. The “Momo” is actually short for “Missouri Monster” and is known by “The Show-Me Sasquatch” or Momo locally. The most significant sightings of this creature took place in the summer of 1972 however reports of sightings date back decades prior to that time when dealing with modern day sightings. Earlier reports of a creature with a similar description date back to the early 1940s.
The Momo, like many other bipedal cryptids seems to give off a nasty stench, much like its possible cousins the Bigfoot and the Skunk Ape. Many believe that the Momo is no more then the common, yet undiscovered, Bigfoot but just described locally. There are some characteristics of the Momo however that do differ it from the traditional Bigfoot appeal, giving it a much more frightening appearance.
Some descriptions of the Momo claim it has glowing orange eyes, a pumpkin-shaped head, three-fingered hands and leaves three-toed footprints. Unlike the shy Bigfoot, this aggressive creature is known to kill animals and antagonize humans. Bigfoot researcher Loren Coleman describes the now-legendary Momo scare in his book, "Bigfoot! The True Story of Apes in America."
According to Coleman, the Momo saga began in July, 1971. Joan Mills and Mary Ryan were driving along Highway 79, north of Louisiana, when they allegedly saw a hairy creature that made disturbing gurgling noises. The women described the thing as "half ape and half man."
The most notorious sighting of the Momo took place one year later. On the afternoon of July 11, 1972, 8-year-old Terry Harrison and his 5-year-old brother, Wally, were playing in their backyard at the foot of Marzolf Hill on the outskirts of Louisiana, MO.. Their older sister, Doris, was inside the house. Doris heard her brothers scream. She looked out the bathroom window and saw a black, hairy manlike creature, standing by a tree.
The thing appeared to be six or seven feet tall. Its head sat directly atop its shoulders, with no visible neck. The face was likewise invisible, completely covered by a mass of hair. The youths reported a chilling detail – the creature, streaked with blood, carried a dead dog under its arm.
To coinciede with this report a local farmer reported his dog had disappeared and a neighbor reported hearing terrible growling sounds that afternoon. Edgar Harrison, the children's father, also heard loud growls the evening of July 14. He and several other people smelled a strong, unpleasant odor as they investigated the area around Marzolf Hill. Investigators later reported smelling a similar stench, like rotting flesh.
The sightings of Momo continued during this summer stretch and on July 21 Momo revealed itself to Ellis Minor outside his home on River Road. It was around 10 p.m. when Minor heard his dogs barking. He grabbed a flashlight and stepped outside, expecting to see an intruding dog. Instead, he saw a 6-foot-tall monster standing in his yard. The black, hairy creature turned and ran.
According to a July 23, 1972 story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, police sealed off a 200-acre wooded area while a team of 25 hunters searched for the creature, which many believed to be a black bear. No creature was ever caught however there were reports that some believe did believe they were searching for more then just your average bear.
Police received reports of a creature crossing the highway with a dog or sheep in its mouth. Another witness told police that the creature lifted the back of his automobile. Not all hunters used guns. Many used pencil and paper. Being that Bigfoot researching had recently spiked, Bigfoot investigators swarmed Louisiana, interviewing witnesses and taking plaster casts of the creature's unusual three-toed footprints. One of the preeminent researchers was Hayden Hewes, director of the Oklahoma City-based Sasquatch Investigations of Mid America.
Mr. Hayden Hewes was later quoted saying the following about Momo: "What impressed me was the willingness of people to talk to us. Normally people are reluctant to talk about these things," said Hewes, 61. "This was not just one person spitting in a can, saying `yes sir, I saw it right over there.' These were good quality people who were enthusiastic about what was going on." Hewes said he was impressed with the witnesses' sincerity. "These people didn't want to sell something. They didn't want publicity. They just wanted to share their stories. I never got any inkling that there was a hoax."
The Momo scare lasted only two weeks, but it triggered a media frenzy. Television and newspaper journalists from across the nation descended on the small town. "I did close to 75 television and newspaper interviews," Hewes said. "They flew me to Chicago to do some television there. There were people around us shooting documentaries. We haven't had a case that well-documented since."
Sasquatch Investigations of Mid America is an offshoot of the International UFO Bureau, an organization Hewes founded in 1957. "We researched Bigfoot sightings in eight states, mainly to see if there was any connection with UFO sightings," he said. "With Momo, we found there was no correlation whatsoever with UFOs." Hewes said his investigations suggest there are families of nocturnal Bigfoot creatures that continuously migrate across the nation from the Pacific Northwest to the southeast. "The path begins around Oregon and Washington state," he said. "It crosses Oklahoma around the first week of September, then finishes in Florida."
When he is not conducting paranormal investigations, Hewes runs a talent agency and works in warehouse distribution in Oklahoma City. Hewes has a degree in aeronautical and space engineering from the University of Oklahoma. Though Hewes is a well respected explorer of the unknown, many scientists and peers in his field of work disagree with the “migration” theory stating that it would be too difficult for them to remain hidden and the stories do not line up sighting wise with the migration theory. Another fact to dispute Hewes theory is the fact that the creatures have been described differently based on region and there may even be photographic images to prove this.
While Hewes and other researchers concentrated on Louisiana, one team of investigators focused on sightings in the St. Charles County vicinity. John Schuessler was living in O'Fallon during the Momo scare. Schuessler worked for McDonnell Douglas as a group engineer for life support systems on the Sky Lab space station, then later as director of flight operations for the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
In 1969, Schuessler helped establish the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), an international collective of UFO researchers. The 71-year-old Schuessler still directs the organization from its headquarters in Colorado.
The Momo scare coincided with a rash of UFO sightings, including reports near his home in O'Fallon. The possible UFO connection intrigued Schuessler, so he joined the Momo investigation. Schuessler, like Hewes, found no connection between Momo and UFO activity, but he did investigate two incidents that corroborated the presence of Bigfoot creatures in the region.
On June 30, 1972, a month before the Harrison sighting in Louisiana, two young men from Troy were fishing on a secluded bank of the Cuivre River near Cuivre River State Park in Lincoln County. The fishermen, named Vaughn and Tim, stood atop a high bank overlooking an unusually low bank on the river's opposite side. According to Schuessler, Vaughn noticed a splash and looked up. "They said they saw something wading across the river – a big, hairy thing. They didn't know what it was," Schuessler said. "Vaughn said, `Hey Tim, look at that silly hippie wading across the river.' Then they realized it was not a hippie."
The men described the creature as standing taller than a normal man and hairy all over, Schuessler said. Like the Louisiana creature, the Troy monster's hair completely covered its face. Its head looked like a dome resting on its shoulders. Tim scrambled up a hillside while Vaughn held his ground. The creature continued its deliberate march toward him. Vaughn finally panicked and ran. The men found a conservation officer and returned to the scene.
"All they found were fresh, three-toed footprints where the creature came out of the water," Schuessler said. Schuessler inspected the area the next day and found the prints. "They were large prints, but I couldn't tell what made them," he said. "We looked for hair, but found nothing but tracks." Schuessler said Vaughn and Tim seemed honest and genuinely frightened. Schuessler also interviewed the conservation officer.
"He said he'd gotten a lot of weird reports out of the park, but he didn't pay attention to them. I think he wanted to stay at arm's length from it all," he said.
Another Momo sighting took place July 24 near O'Fallon, just after the final Louisiana sighting. Two teenage girls reported seeing a hairy creature at sunset walking along the edge of a wooded area. The O'Fallon incident is mentioned in "The Bigfoot Casebook" by Janet and Colin Bord, but Schuessler does not remember the details. "It was not as vivid as the Troy sighting," he said. Momo must have enjoyed his sojourn in St. Charles County, because the creature apparently passed through town again four years later.
The "Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization" Web site lists Momo sightings in 29 Missouri counties, including a 1976 report from St. Charles County. According to the report, two people were in a boat on the Missouri River near Highway 40-61 when they saw what appeared to be a 6-to-7-foot tall creature covered in dark brown hair. The creature was drinking from the river when it saw the boat, stood up and ran into the trees.
Another local story is posted on the "Bigfoot Encounters" Web site. Mark Richardson, of Modesto, Calif., claims to have seen the creature in 1979 when he was living in St. Peters.
According to Richardson, he and a friend were on a railroad bridge over Dardenne Creek one night. Richardson saw shadows moving and assumed it was his friend. To his shock, he discovered it was an 8-to-9-foot-tall creature with long, matted brown hair covering its body and face. Its shoulders were five feet wide. Its three-fingered hands hung below its knees.
The creature smelled like rotting hair and screamed like a panther. Richardson claims it lifted the railroad timbers and tried to grab his friend. The two escaped and ran home. Richardson claims he knows other people who saw the St. Peters creature. He could not be reached for comment and supposedly does not talk about it much today.
Finally, there are reports of the Momo being disturbed by worships involving Christianity. Nothing else is known about this statement other then the previous sentence. Being that there is no source it can not be considered a strong piece of evidence, but some point to the Momo as a demonic creature because of it.
The bottom line is investigators like Schuessler say the sincere testimony of eyewitnesses cannot be dismissed. Despite the fact that no physical evidence or photographs were taken of this creature, it has had a considerable amount of reported sightings. Who knows how many other sightings have taken place of the Momo not during it’s famous early stretch in the 1970’s. Is the Momo a possible Bigfoot wrapped up in local legend, or perhaps a much more disturbing creature wandering around the southern parts of the Mississippi River?
Three toed footprint casts are the only form of evidence that still remains of the Momo. Despite numerous sightings, no pictures, hair samples, or bodies have risen in regards to the Momo.
• Throughout the early 1940's there were reports of strange screams coming from the woods in the Louisiana area of the Show-Me state. The creator of the screams was never documented.
• In July 1969 at about 10:30pm in Paris, Mo. (Monroe County) A report of a possible youth Momo was reported with the following: "A small furry ape like animal came up out of the ditch on the left side of the road. My date was driving. The amimal ran in front of the car in the headlights with its back to us , never turning to show its face. It ran upright with its arms swinging at its sides. It was about 2 foot tall or more. After running
approximately 30 feet it ran down into the ditch again on the left side of the road. My date stopped the car and got out to see if he could see it but couldn't find it in the dark."
• July, 1971. Joan Mills and Mary Ryan were driving along Highway 79, north of Louisiana, when they allegedly saw a hairy creature that made disturbing gurgling noises. The women described the thing as "half ape and half man."
• On the afternoon of July 11, 1972, 8-year-old Terry Harrison and his 5-year-old brother, Wally, were playing in their backyard at the foot of Marzolf Hill on the outskirts of Louisiana. Their older sister, Doris, was inside the house. Doris heard her brothers scream. She looked out the bathroom window and saw a black, hairy manlike creature, standing by a tree.
• On July 21 Momo revealed itself to Ellis Minor outside his home on River Road. It was around 10 p.m. when Minor heard his dogs barking. He grabbed a flashlight and stepped outside, expecting to see an intruding dog. Instead, he saw a 6-foot-tall monster standing in his yard. The black, hairy creature turned and ran.
• On June 30, 1972, a month before the Harrison sighting in Louisiana, two young men from Troy were fishing on a secluded bank of the Cuivre River near Cuivre River State Park in Lincoln County. The fishermen, named Vaughn and Tim, stood atop a high bank overlooking an unusually low bank on the river's opposite side. According to Schuessler, Vaughn noticed a splash and looked up. "They said they saw something wading across the river – a big, hairy thing. They didn't know what it was," Schuessler said. "Vaughn said, `Hey Tim, look at that silly hippie wading across the river.' Then they realized it was not a hippie."
• July 24 near O'Fallon, just after the final Louisiana sighting. Two teenage girls reported seeing a hairy creature at sunset walking along the edge of a wooded area.
• Mark Richardson, of Modesto, Calif., claims to have seen the creature in 1979 when he was living in St. Peters.
The Stats – (Where applicable)
• Classification: Hominid
• Size: 6 to 8 feet tall
• Weight: Heavy set, probably 400-600lbs.
• Diet: Reports indicate these creatures eat dogs and other animals
• Location: Missouri, USA
• Movement: Walking
• Environment: Forests of Mo. and riverbanks of the Mississippi River