Regular readers of Rue Morgue will recognize Lyle Blackburn from his recurring Monsto Bizarro column and accompanying Rue Morgue Library book. When Lyle is not chasing monsters or attending cryptocons, you can find him in the halls of cryptozoological lore deep in research mode. His latest efforts have produced a new book, MOMO: THE STRANGE CASE OF THE MISSOURI MONSTER, now available.
We managed to catch up with Lyle just enough to submit him to our Sinister Seven Q&A. Here’s what transpired:
1. What is Momo?
Momo – short for “Missouri Monster” – is an alleged hair-covered, bipedal creature reported near the town of Louisiana, Missouri, in the early 1970s. It was first spotted by three young witnesses as it emerged from the woods behind their home. Within a short time, others caught glimpses of the disturbing creature, not only around the little town, but along the Mississippi River corridor to the south. Stories of the strange phenomena quickly made headlines across America, making it one of the most publicized of these kind of cases.
2. Why did you decide to devote a book to this creature in particular?
Momo has always been one of my favorite cryptid stories, mostly because of its infamy and its spooky nature. I had intended to include it in my “Beyond Boggy Creek” book, which discusses the history and modern sightings of Bigfoot-like creatures across the southern United States. However, there ended up being so much material for that book, I had to narrow the scope specifically to the Deep South. Plus, there is more to the fascinating Momo story than would fit into a small section, so I decided to make it into its own stand-alone book.
3. What is one thing that most people might want to know about Momo?
I suppose the big question is whether it is – or was – real. While I can’t prove it one way or another, I have no doubt people in this case saw something highly unusual; it’s just a matter of whether it was an actual undocumented creature, hoax, or something else. Either way, it’s a fascinating story both in terms of cryptozoology and strange social phenomenon.
4. Assuming this creature exists, could it be a distant relative of Bigfoot?
I think it would have to be classified as a sub-species of the creature known as Bigfoot in the Pacific Northwest. In the Momo case, witnesses described something more ape-like with longer hair on its head, which even covered its face. It was also said to have a three-toed foot. Momo is similar to other southern cases, such as that of the Boggy Creek Monster, where the general description is reminiscent of Bigfoot, but the details of anatomy suggest the creature is somewhat different.
5. What is the creature’s relationship to unexplained objects in the sky and disembodied voices?
At the same time the creature was being sighted, witnesses in the area noticed strange lights and objects streaking across the sky. On a few occasions, while investigators were searching the nearby woods, they heard strange voices for which they could find no source. People in the town were so freaked out by what was going on, law enforcement formed a posse and tried to track down the creature. It was very surreal; like something you would see in a movie, yet it actually happened.
6. Do you believe or do you want to believe?
I want to believe, but without solid proof or having seen such a creature myself, I can’t conclude they are absolutely real. I try to keep a good balance between open-mindedness and logical skepticism.
7. What’s next for Lyle Blackburn?
It’s going to be another busy year. I’m shooting episodes for a few different television shows in the near future, and also working on two films being produced by Small Town Monsters, a film company I’ve worked with for several years now. One of these films will be a horror docu-drama about Momo, in which I will be the narrator and on-screen host. I’m also working on the 4K re-release of the original “The Legend of Boggy Creek” movie, and I’ve got a long list of appearances lined up at various cryptozoology conferences and horror conventions. Somewhere in there, I’ve got plans to start another book!
Learn the true story behind the infamous case!
You can order the paperback directly from me, or on Amazon. Order as follows:
Autographed paperback from me (shipping in about two weeks):
Amazon USA (paperback or Kindle ebook):