; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Oklahoma's 'Abominable Chicken Man'

The Spokesman-Review published an unusual account on March 1, 1971:

Oklahoma City (AP)--There's something out there. It walks like a gorilla, leaves hand prints like a man, rips doors off their hinges, and it likes chickens.

For want of a better name we'll call him Oklahoma's Abominable Chicken Man.

It's a long story and it goes like this.

An El Reno farmer walked out to his chicken coop one day in December and found its door on the ground, apparently thrown there after being ripped off the wall.

On the surface of the door, and inside the coop on the walls, were a number of strange hand prints--like none he'd ever seen before. They were about seven inches long and five inches wide.

The farmer called a state game ranger. The ranger had never seen anything like it either and he sent the door to the Oklahoma City Zoo to see what experts could make of the prints.

The experts were baffled too. Zoo Director Lawrence Curtis says the prints appear to be like those of a primate. A primate is an animal like a gorilla or a man that can stand erect.

The thumb of the print is unusual. Curtis says it crooks inside, as if it were deformed or had been injured.

"It resembles a gorilla," he said, "but it's more like a man."

"It appears that whatever made the prints was walking on all fours. There were some footprints on the ground outside," he said. Whatever it was was barefoot. Barefoot in December.

Since Curtis got the first print he has had reports of similar finds around the state. A man in Stillwater and a woman in McAlester have told him of discovering similar prints. The woman has a photograph she is mailing to the zoo for comparison.

Oklahoma has only four native animals big enough to leave such prints: the black bear, the mountain lion, the wolf and man. Curtis has ruled out all but the last.

"We've shown it to several mammologists and several wildlife experts in Oklahoma and some passing through. All agree it is a primate," he said. "These prints were made by some sort of a man, perhaps one looking for chickens."

Asked about the wide distances between the points reporting similar prints, Curtis said, "If there is one there is more than one. There has to be more than one unless he's hitchhiking."

There are no zoos in El Reno, no circuses and no one known to be keeping a gorilla. In fact the only thing in the area that "keeps" primates--in this case men--is the federal reformatory just on the outskirts of town.

The Abominable Chicken Man is being compared with reports of similar findings from California. In this case people have reported seeing a seven-foot man-like creature wandering in the northern wilds. They call him Bigfoot, after the large tracks he makes.

The description also seems to match the Sasquatch, also known as Bigfoot, a towering primate reported in Washington and British Columbia.

Curtis is trying to find a book and a magazine article that tell about the Bigfoot sightings. He's anxious to make a comparison.

In the meantime he has the chicken coop door in his office for reference, and one supposes, for conversation.

There's not much else to go on until somebody reports actually seeing the Abominable Chicken Man.

There are a lot of people looking.

Strange State: Mysteries and Legends of Oklahoma.

Bigfoot, Yeti, and the Last Neanderthal: A Geneticist's Search for Modern Apemen

Weird Oklahoma: Your Travel Guide to Oklahoma's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets

Monster Trek: The Obsessive Search for Bigfoot