Illinois needs its own mythical monster
The State Journal-Register
With all the outstanding outdoor recreational opportunities we have in these parts, one thing is missing.
It could put us on the map, increase tourism and bring in much-needed new revenue. If we had one, it would captivate children of all ages. It might generate its own memorabilia industry. And who knows? Maybe even a theme park.
If we had our own elusive, terrifying wild country monster, complete with a credible backstory and spiced with scores of unconfirmed sightings, we’d have it made in the shade. Of course, we’d need hundreds of blurry photographs and a couple of grainy, out-of-focus video segments for distribution.
The Northwest has Sasquatch. He has his own TV show. The Carolinas have Lizard Man. People have seen him, red eyes glowing, rising up out of the murky swamps for decades. Goat Man roams from Maryland to Texas and has been spotted by hundreds of people. Not one witness had a camera or cell phone. Wisconsin has the Beast of Bray Road, a wolf-like creature of superior intelligence that can walk upright. Dozens of Cheese Heads have seen the Beast standing at the edge of the forest on dark, moonless nights.
Face-to-face encounters with all of these creatures have been beyond horrifying and have sent adventurers and camera crews in search of the monsters’ lair.
Just when you think all the good monsters are taken, I’m thinking there’s a better than even chance that another one is out there.
The Panther Creek Possum, a marsupial 6 to 7 feet tall, rumored to live in the deep ravines of an area state fish and wildlife area, might be a big boost to this monster-less area — as long as it doesn’t try to cross a road. After all, possums are already pretty evil-looking with their pointy noses, sharp teeth and disgusting tails.
It’s not that big a stretch that there’s one out there that is too bold to play dead — a giant possum that hangs by its tail in mighty oak trees and strikes fear into the hearts of even the boldest outdoors men and women.
Somebody handy with Photoshop could help along this legend by working over a suburban, garbage can possum. The hapless creature could be transformed into one the size of a defensive tackle. It would be standing upright, eyes blazing, nostrils flared, with yellow, snaggy teeth and a tail the size of a black snake. It could have a half-eaten Whopper in one paw and a cocker spaniel in the other.
This slightly adjusted photo could spawn a timeless legend — a creature with hot, rancid breath that makes hikers, bikers and monster hunters quake in their boots when it bellows and swishes its giant, reptile-like tail.
Initially, it won’t matter if no one has actually seen the Panther Creek Possum. Wrap a good enough story around it, people will believe it’s there.
The sightings won’t be far behind.