Monday, October 28, 2013

Reviews: Smokey and the Fouke Monster/Too Close to the Mirror/The Man Behind the Legend/The Legend of Smokey Crabtree/Laughsquatch

1. Smokey and The Fouke Monster, by Smokey Crabtree

This is an excellent book, which introduces us to a unique man, J.E. "Smokey" Crabtree, who talks about his early life in the Sulphur River bottoms where he lives with 6 other children (2 brothers, 4 sisters) and his mother and father, but his father dies when Smokey is 5, so he and his brothers are basically left to be the men of the house. Smokey and his family have to either farm their own food or catch it in order to survive, and they learn these skills to catch fish, deer, beavers,  alligator, all kinds of different game animals in order to survive. Smokey also writes about taking down a large blue boar which his family chased for 17 years with just a .22 rifle. He also writes of taking pipeline jobs in different regions and states, taking his wife and family along with him on these jobs. He also writes about his family's experiences with the Fouke Monster, including his son Lynn's sighting, the family hearing but not seeing the creature and the find of footprints in his brother-in-law Willie Smith's bean field in 1971. He also writes of his legal struggles with Charles B. Pierce, director of The Legend of Boggy Creek, over some of the treatment of Smokey and the people of Fouke. I highly recommend this book and give it a 9 3/4 out of 10.

2. Too Close To The Mirror, by Smokey Crabtree

This sequel book, coming 27 years after his original book (which was written in 1974; this one was written in 2001), is a great follow-u to his first book, detailing more about Smokey's life and his battles with Charles B. Pierce, who had screwed Smokey and the town over during the filming of The Legend of Boggy Creek. He also writes of more pipeline jobs, including one where his son Tommy was unfortunately killed on one job. Smokey also writes about opening a grocery store in Fouke, which was more trouble then it was worth, and of divorcing,re-marrying and divorcing again. He also writes of the Skeleton found in the Four States area close to the Texas/Arkansas border in 1991, which Smokey received from these two hunters nd still has in his possession today, and he believes that the creature which was turned into the skeleton is responsible for 97% of most of the happenings in and around that area. Smokey also gives some tips on hunting and tricks of the trade where that is concerned. This is a great follow-up to his first book, and I highly recommend it and give it a 10 out of 10.

3. The Man Behind The Legend, by Smokey Crabtree

They say the third time is the charm. Well, that certainly applies to Smokey Crabtree's third book, which is not to say his first two books are not great, but this one is a great finish to the trilogy of books. He continues to write about his hunting trips, including some funny stories, as well as about his life and the people he has met along the way. He also writes about more of his pipeline work, which is very dangerous work, but pays well. There are chapters about his adventures in the bottoms, as well as capturing and killing a large beaver and his pulling pranks on people out in the bottoms. He also writes about his youngest son, Jay, going on a frog hunt and the young man catches about 45 bullfrogs. It is a fitting end to the trilogy and really compelling. I give this one 10 1/2 out of 10.

4. The Legend of Smokey Crabtree (CD)

This CD is Smokey telling 6 different stories about his life and travels, including about the Fouke Monster, the skeleton in his possession, his early childhood and other stories. There is even a song by Red Lane which is all about Smokey and his life. I do enjoy this CD a good bit, and give it 11 out of 10.

All of those previous items can be found at 

5. Laughsquatch, by Robert Swain

This book is an excellent and funny chronicle, via cartoon, of Robert Swain's comical look at the Sasquatch field, done very much in the style of the Far Side and takes a humorous look at the different things we as Squatchers have to deal with, such as hoaxers and the mindspeak people and the field research and the evidence for the Sasquatch, all done in a very humorous way. I laughed out loud at all the cartoons, very funny stuff. I highly recommend this one. Perfect 10 out of 10. This one is available at

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