white river monster

The Legend of Whitey – The White River Monster

All I can say is that these stories are starting to get crazy. I’ve heard about the Boggy Creek Monster (aka the Fouke Monster) and the Boogie Man (whatever that is) but “Whitey” the White River Monster in Arkansas is new to me.

This all surfaced on my Facebook page after I shared my article about the Legend of the Boggy Creek Monster

Supposedly, the Boggy Creek Monster lives in a bottom area near Fouke, Arkansas. So, that explains why it would also be referred to as the Fouke Monster.

He’s “a Sasquatch-like creature said to haunt the network of creeks extending from the Sulphur River Bottoms in southern Arkansas to the town of Fouke.”


However, the White River Monster is a little different.

“Whitey” the White River Monster

The legend of the White River Monster begins back in 1915 when Whitey was first spotted but sightings were few and far between until 1937.


On July 1 of that year, Bramlett Bateman, owner of a plantation near the river, saw the monster. -source

Mr. Bateman claimed that the creature had gray skin and was “as wide as a car and three cars long.”

What does that mean?

Is it a lizard?  A bear-like creature? How could something possibly be that big?

“Somewhere in its depths, according to a half-dozen eyewitnesses including a plantation owner Bramlett Bateman, is the ‘monster’ which on rare intervals rises to the surface, floats silently for a few minutes and then submerges to make its presence known only by occasional strings of bubbles,” printed Michigan’s News-Palladium paper in July 1937. -source

After the sighting, the folks around there began constructing a huge rope net to capture this mysterious monster.

They even brought in a diver to search the eddy where the monster was seen.

Can you imagine being THAT guy?!

Anyhow, they never saw Whitey and they halted construction of the large net.

Whitey in the 1970s

Then, in 1971, the sightings started up again.

People were reporting that this giant creature had a horn sticking out of its forehead. Some people said it had a spiny back and it was almost 20 ft long.

Footprints were even found on the shores of the White River area.

One of my followers had this to say about the prints:

I went to college with the nephew of the Fouke Monster track maker. I went down to the Sulphur River bottom and saw the tracks in a muddy area. The man attached a cable between trees and rigged a pulley system to pull himself across the muddy area with 2 big hairy feet he made with pig skin attached to poles. It looked spooky, but it was a way to garner National attention. C1973. -David

But this story gets even crazier.

White River Monster Refuge

In 1973, the Arkansas legislature signed into law a bill that created the White River Monster Refuge along the White River.

The area is located between “the southern point on the river known as Old Grand Glaize and a northern point on White River known as Rosie.” -source

In this refuge, it is illegal to harm Whitey, the White River Monster monster.

The White River Monster and the Civil War

Believe it or not, The White River Monster may have affected the Civil War.

Back then, the White River was used for transportation and it was reported that the monster was possibly responsible for overturning a boat.

Descriptions of the White River Monster

Whitey has been reported as having gray skin and being as wide as a car and as long as three cars.

It has also been described as having a spiny back that is 20 ft long.

Others have described the White River Monster of having “the skin of an elephant, four or five feet wide by twelve feet long, with the face of a catfish, . . . lolling on the surface of the water.” -source

During the summer of 1971, the White River monster was sighted again and was described as being the size of a boxcar with a bone or horn protruding from its head.

What exactly is the White River Monster?

To me, this sounds like some sort of Sasquatch legend.

A biologist was once convinced that the monster was an elephant seal but he was later criticized due to the fact that the White River is well out of the range of elephant seals.

It was later concluded that the monster was a Florida manatee.

Sightings of the White River monster

I asked my followers to tell me any experiences or sightings of the White River monster that they have ever had. Though this Legend is widespread, this is the best we could come up with:

Hey Lindsey, I’ve never personally seen anything out there but I have had some very heavy fishing line snapped on me while catfishing at night and have heard some loud splashes. I know there have been sightings in the past. At normal levels the White River usually is 15 to 20 feet deep but there are areas around the old blue bridge and at the confluence of the Black and White that are 40 to 50 feet deep. Anything could be hiding down there. -Bart

Absolutely…anyone who grew up in Northeast Arkansas during the 70s & 80s knows this legend. There was even a band named after the White River Monster. -Randy

More Legends in Arkansas

Monster Mart and the Legend of the Boggy Creek Monster in Fouke Arkansas

The Legend of Petit Jean – Adrienne DuMont and Petit Jean Mountain Arkansas

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