The summer of 1969 three couples had parked by a clearing on the shores of Lake Worth, Tarrant County, Texas. A favorite hangout place for the teenagers of the area changed on the night of July 9th when a beast straight out of a horror movie jumped on top of one of the automobiles, trying to grab one of the girls through the open car window. They sped away before it could pull her out.
“We’ve had reports about this thing for about two months,” a police dispatcher told the local newspaper, “but we’ve always laughed them off as pranks.”
But an 18-inch gash in the car’s side and the terrified nature of the witnesses led police to open a full investigation. It appeared in the newspapers the next day, and the area was immediately caught in monster-fever.
Truckloads of men with guns headed toward Greer Island to hunt the thing. Spectators came out in droves to try to catch a glimpse of it. Reporters swarmed in, and police tried to keep the peace.
On the night of July 10, a few dozen people were at a clearing known for dumping near the lake when the monster made another appearance. It appeared on a cliff, looked angry, and threw a tire 500 feet. Everyone, including a group of sheriff’s deputies, ran away in fear.
One witness said the monster gave off a “pitiful cry, like something was hurting him.”
Reporter Jim Marrs followed up on the story and wrote an article, which made front page news. The headline was, "Fishy Man-Goat Terrifies Couples Parked at Lake Worth." The couples described it as goat-and man-like with fur and scales.
In October of 1969, a man named Allen Plaster took a picture of the Lake Worth Monster, which is the only photographic evidence of the creature. The picture shows a large, white body. The image was then given to Sallie Ann Clarke, one of the curious who went to Lake Worth that summer. She was an aspiring writer and private investigator who dropped everything to interview people for what would become her slightly tongue-in-cheek book, "The Lake Worth Monster of Greer Island," self-published in September '69.
During the weeks of summer, people saw the creature running through the Johnson grass, found tracks too big for a man, and reported dead sheep and blood.
Soldiers and sailors in Vietnam wrote their parents in Fort Worth and asked for more news, and reporters from far and wide wrote stories about it. The authorities continued to blame either a bobcat or teenage pranksters.
Then, about the time school resumed, perhaps not coincidentally, the Lake Worth Monster furor largely disappeared.
Clarke is 80 years old now and still lives in Benbrook, but, has said she always regretted the way she wrote her book, because after she published it, she saw the monster on three occasions.
Marrs, the reporter, told the newspaper in 1989 that police questioned several Castleberry students who were found with a faceless gorilla outfit and a mask.
Clarke's husband maintains that the monster was definitely not pranksters. He said that she offered a $5,000 reward for any person who could pass a polygraph that they were the monster. She never got a call.
Source - Dallas News
Stranger Than Fiction Stories by Marlene Pardo Pellicer