FW: [UL] The Choccolocco Monster: Jokester reveals 32-year-old pr ank
- fyi...aj wright // ajwright@...
From: Brian Chapman [mailto:wt046@...]
Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2001 2:25 PM
To: urban legends
Subject: [UL] The Choccolocco Monster: Jokester reveals 32-year-old
Anniston Star [Alabama] | 31 Oct 2001
The Choccolocco Monster: Jokester reveals 32-year-old prank
By Matthew Creamer
Star Staff Writer
He suspected something was wrong when the oncoming truck slowed up
sooner than expected. He knew something was wrong when the rifle
blasted again and again into the warm night.
When the shots rang out, Neal Williamson was standing on the side of
Choccolocco Road, draped in a white sheet and holding a cow skull
above his head. He was doing a little dance, which, when combined with
the outfit, made him the Choccolocco Monster, the chimera that haunted
these backwoods for days more than three decades ago.
It was only the fourth time Williamson, then a 15-year-old jokester,
had pulled this particular prank, prowling overgrown roadsides until
some approaching headlights etched out his bizarre silhouette just as
he rushed off into the woods. Word of a shaggy beast had nevertheless
spread all the way to Talladega and Birmingham, drawing the curious
and their itchy trigger fingers to this sleepy community.
It was all done for laughs, a cheap way to beat the boredom of those
slow Alabama weekends. But, now, Williamson and two friends who had
tagged along were under fire, a spotlight from the truck sweeping
through the trees.
By the second shot he was off, and whatever rush he got from giving
chills to passersby must have been magnified a hundredfold as he raced
through the woods, across a pasture, and then into a barbwire fence.
The shooter, whose shots all missed, was never identified.
"To this day," Williamson said recently, "I don't know who it was and
I didn't care. But that was the last appearance that monster made."
In an interview at his Nances Creek home last week, Williamson, now
48, drove a stake through the heart of Calhoun County's version of the
Sasquatch legend. He described how the extended practical joke began
and how it ended, and laughed as he recalled how a little media
attention turned the joke into frenzy unseen before or since in these
The interview ended a myth that no one seemed to believe in anyway. At
the time, most Choccolocco residents were pretty sure the monster was
really just a cow or a bear. These days, locals just raise an eyebrow,
shake their heads or laugh deeply when that dead memory is brought
back to life.
Though the truth's cold fingers unravel this already threadbare tale,
it leaves behind an amusing swatch of a story of a few people who
shuddered at the glimpse of a strange figure and the many more who
came from far and wide to shoot it dead.
"I knowed it was a booger."
Margaret Teague was driving to her Choccolocco home from work at
Cleburne County Hospital one night in May 1969 when she saw what she
thought was a monster.
It was late, and the way home took her over the secluded Iron City
Cutoff. She saw it sitting on its hind legs on the edge on the woods.
She would later tell the county sheriff as well as The Star that the
monster had a huge head and was hairy. She said the hair prevented her
from telling whether it had paws or hooves; she exclaimed only "Oh,
Lordy, Lordy, what a head."
Mrs. Teague, who died several years ago, was one of at least eight
people who said they saw a monster during those late spring weeks. A
composite portrait of the monster developed, and then evolved as the
days went by. At first, it was gray or black and about the size of the
cow with a hump and large teeth. Then it had stringy white and black
hair that obscured many of its features.
At least three newspaper articles, all of which quoted people who
doubted the existence of the monster, helped to drum up interest. By
early June, cars from other counties were roaming the backwoods, their
drivers taking potshots at anything that moved in the night.
"People came with flashlights and guns and different things," said
Beverly Graham, a teenager during this time. "That scared me."
Aside from fear, whether generated by the creature or the
trigger-happy visitors, there was anger. You could practically smell
the reporter's notebook burning when a Mrs. Bobby Murphy warned those
who were unloading their weapons near her farm.
"But I'll tell you one thing, if one of our cows or bulls is shot, and
we can find out who it is, somebody is going to pay dear," she told
Mrs. Murphy said she thought the monster was in reality a beaver or a
cow or a bull, a skepticism echoed by many in the area.
But as for the believers, no matter which of them saw it, they were
dead-certain it was a monster, and not a member of the local wildlife.
Mrs. Teague was certain her eyes weren't fooling with her.
"And, oh Lordy, they weren't, for I knowed it was the booger," she
told The Star. "I turned the car around in the middle of the road to
get another look, and it (the car) got caught in a ditch I just knowed
the booger had me for sure."
"You just had to create your own fun."
His parents asleep, Neal Williamson jacked his family's old 1950 Ford,
which he didn't have a license to drive, and started cruising down the
backroads of Choccolocco. He was bored, just driving around, and
realized that in the backseat there was a cow skull he'd found.
And so, the Choccolocco Monster was born.
He'd put on a long black coat, raise the skull up, and do a dance.
That, and a little bit of timing, was all there was to it.
"I'd wait," he said, "until somebody come around the road there, and
I'd run out and don't let them get a good look at me. When they'd let
off the gas, I'd run up back in the woods."
He did it just four times before the hail of bullets put an end to the
creature. But so far, it's the most famous of pranks in a lifetime of
joking that includes locking a cow in the hallway of his high school,
as well as a number of stunts that could get him in trouble if word
Williamson, who works for Southwire, talks about all the joking with a
mischievous glint in his eye. He's unapologetic and says he liked to
give people a fright just to relieve his own boredom and have a little
"Back then, you didn't have nothing to do really," he said. "You
didn't have computers.
You just had to create your own fun. And that was fun until that last
His wife, Glenda, on the other hand, feels a little sorry for the
"His wife apologizes for him," she said. "Please don't be angry with
Looking for snakes
When told recently that the Choccolocco Monster had been in fact a kid
playing a joke, few in the community were surprised. Some were
hard-pressed to dredge up the memory of the episode, and those who
could recalled it as overblown.
"We thought it was a cow," said Georgia Calhoun, president of the
Choccolocco Heritage Society. "It was the outsiders who was all so
interested in a monster."
One woman who did doubt Williamson's story was Demarest Teague,
Margaret's older sister. Though Demarest never saw what Margaret did,
she vividly remembers the terror that arose in her sister. Margaret
would never travel down the Iron City Cutoff alone again.
Upon hearing how Williamson created the monster, Demarest was
skeptical, asking how it could be a teenager when whatever Margaret
saw was so big and hairy. As an explanation for the monster, Demarest
suggested another legend -an old man rumored to have wandered off into
those woods, reappearing to give people a fright.
By the end of the interview she seemed anything but convinced. But,
she allowed, "I guess if he says he did it, he did it."
To Williamson, a lot of what you see depends upon what you want to
"It's just like snakes," he said. "You go hunt snakes, you'll find
snakes. You don't hunt them you ain't gonna find them. You get to
looking around for them, man, you're gonna find one before it's over
While his account can be neither verified nor disproved, one thing is
certain: On the edge of a summer when a man would first walk on the
moon, some folks in the eastern part of Calhoun County feared there
was a monster in the woods.
To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/