This week we’re taking a look at The White River Monster, a beast that reportedly lurks in the the waters of — you’re way ahead of me on this — the White River in northeastern Arkansas. Although some witnesses have described the monster as being serpent-like, there are reports of three-toed tracks being found on the banks of the river.
In his book The Field Guide to North American Monsters, W. Haden Blackman describes the creature (affectionately known as “Whitey”) as “…a huge river serpent with dull white, blotchy skin. His spine is graced by a large, ridged fin that extends down the creature’s back and tail.” Blackman’s description includes “four stubby legs” which would verify the notion that Whitey can stroll around on land in search of food. The size of the beast has been estimated to be anywhere from 12 feet to “the size of a boxcar.”
Reportedly, during the Civil War, the White River Monster overturned a Confederate riverboat. Sightings of the beast are sporadic at best, unfortunately, so there aren’t many good photos out there. As always with these things, the “experts” claim that Whitey is merely a case of misidentification, and suspect that the beast is actually an Elephant Seal. Because, you know, there are a lot of those in Arkansas.
Interestingly enough, Arkansas is also home to the Fouke Monster, made famous by Charles B. Pierce’s The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972).