Come with us as we explore Gulf of Mexico creepy tales that have a connection to the Gulf and its people through our Ghouls of the Gulf feature.
The Clearwater (Florida) Monster
Picture this, it’s the 1940s. The beaches are wilder, darker (because there’s less light pollution). And out of the waters, comes a horrific sea creature with razor sharp teeth. It’s 2,000-pound frame knocks over a lifeguard stand, and leaves huge three-toed footprints behind. This is the tale of the Clearwater Monster. Thought to possibly be a giant penguin, this monster turned out to be a hoax, but our fascination with real-life scary animals lives on.
What are your favorite creepy-creatures that call the Gulf home? I’ll start… any kind of shark.
Pirate Ghosts 🏴☠️👻
The Gulf was once home to many notorious pirates, including the infamous Jean Lafitte. According to legend, this surly pirate ghost has been known to show up across the coast including in Destrahan, LA, and La Porte, TX, where he supposedly guards hidden treasure . He also is known to haunt New Orleans, where he oft visited, and his former home in Galveston. Locals say you can still hear barking and smell wet fur from his pack of “devil dogs” that still guard the estate.
Alien Abductions 👽
In 1973, two men who were fishing off a pier in Pascagoula, MS, told the local sheriff they were abducted by aliens. The men claimed to see flashing lights, a giant oval shaped object, and five-foot tall creatures with gray skin and pincher like claws. While we can’t say for sure ET exists, we do know about one “alien species” roaming the Gulf. Invasive lionfish (native to the Indo-Pacific) won’t abduct people, but they can have a negative impact on our native fish and wildlife. Also, why are fishermen always seeing spooky things on the water… What’s the story there?
Off the coast of Alabama lies a beautiful island… with a creepy namesake. Dauphin Island, AL, was named “Massacre Island” when first visited by French explorer Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville. What could have inspired such a horrific title? Bones. ☠️ And lots of them. While he assumed the worst, the bones were actually part of an Indian burial ground damaged by storms. Native people have called the Gulf home for thousands of years, and visited the coast to fish and harvest oysters. Have you visited a coastal Indian mound or midden?
The Appalachians may have their Bigfoot, but the Gulf states have the Rougarou, the Honey Island Swamp Monster, or the Skunk Ape? The Cajun legend Rougarou is a werewolf-like monster who roams the swamps with the head of a wolf 🐺 and the body of a human. Just north of Lake Pontchartrain, you might run into the Honey Island Swamp Monster, a 500-pound beast with yellow eyes and a terrible stench. And in Florida, the Skunk Ape is cousin of Bigfoot himself!