Missouri magazine

Part of the artwork for the story about Mo Mo the Missouri Monster in the July/August issue of Missouri Life magazine, which is available on newsstands now. Submitted photo

The monstrous tale is still being told 50 years later.

The July/August issue of Missouri Life magazine has a feature on Mo Mo the Missouri Monster, the creature who famously stalked Pike County in 1972—and one that witnesses say still calls it home. The publication is available at Walmart and other newsstands.

The author is Jodie Jackson Jr., who visited Pike County for interviews in April. Missouri Life celebrates its own golden anniversary next year, and Jackson says Mo Mo is a perfect topic.

“Looking back at 50 years ago is often a gold mine for stories, and Mo Mo is no exception,” he said. “Mo Mo caught the imagination and attention of a small Missouri town and grew to a national and international sensation. How could we not cover and write this story?”

Although some have passed, many of those involved in 1972 are still alive. Perhaps fittingly, others remain as mysterious as the cryptoid itself.

“It was a fun time,” Herbert Sisco recalled for the magazine. “It’s an amazing story.”

The article recounts Doris Harrison’s eyewitness description and the sensation it created. The 15-year-old was cleaning a bathroom sink on July 11, 1972, when she heard two younger brothers screaming outside their home at the foot of Louisiana’s Star Hill.

“Doris looked out the window and saw a massive, hairy creature at the edge of the woods,” the magazine reads. “The beast, maybe 7-feet tall, appeared to have blood on its unkempt fur and clutched a dead dog under one arm. Doris also said a putrid odor wafted through the air and into the open window.”

Others reported seeing a similar bipedal behemoth. Though numerous searches found no conclusive evidence, the story drew worldwide attention. Newspaper and broadcast reporters descended upon Louisiana. Merchants soon took advantage of the hoopla, and the community would hold Mo Mo celebrations for years to come.

Jackson remembers following the frenzy as a nine-year-old in Belle, a tiny burg 110 miles south of Louisiana. He says the creature “captured my imagination and has never let go.”

“We even got a little dog and my Dad name her Mo Mo,” Jackson said.

For every believer there was a skeptic. Louisiana High School educator Priscilla Giltner was one, and the knowledge came first-hand. Her family was on a camping trip in July 1972, and after reading about Mo Mo she used a pay phone to call a student whom she thought responsible for a bamboozle.

“I said ‘Did you do this?’ and he said, ‘No, but I know who did. I swear to you, Mrs. Giltner, I was not in on it.’” the magazine quotes her as saying. “But he told me the three boys’ names.”

To this day, Giltner will not reveal their identities. Her husband, Don, a former Louisiana school administrator and mayor, recently said he will not, either. He believes the pranksters destroyed the Bigfoot costume they’d made by tossing it into the Mississippi River.

Until her passing, Doris Harrison Bliss remained adamant that what she saw wasn’t a hoax. William Magee would agree. He told Missouri Life that he and family members have seen a Bigfoot on his property near Bowling Green since 1991. As with Bliss, he insists it wasn’t another animal.

“I’ve seen this thing with my own eyes,” Magee is quoted in the magazine. “Had I not seen it with my own eyes, I’d be a little skeptical.”

The buzz is far from over. The Louisiana Area Historical Museum is hosting a concert by Bill Whyte at 7 p.m. July 1 at the Louisiana Elks Lodge. One of the Nashville recording artist’s first songs was about Mo Mo. Tickets are being sold through the museum at the 1972 price of $5 each for ages 13 and older. Those ages 12 and under get in free. More information is available on the museum’s Facebook page.

The magazine article quotes a Missouri Department of Conservation spokesman, who points out that no scientific or reliable evidence of Bigfoot has been found in the state. Believers often respond by saying researchers discover new species of animals and plants every year.

And as for the lack of in-focus, up-close photos of Bigfoot? Well, Magee has a perfectly good explanation.

“They’re not going to stop and pose for a selfie with you,” he told the magazine.

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