The Lizard Man of South Carolina by Jeanne Scher
The Lizard Man of South Carolina is a fairly new phenomenon,first reported on June 29, 1988. This date makes one wonder if all the nuclear dump sites in South Carolina didn’t have something to do with its appearance. The first person to see the Lizard Man was Christopher Davis, a 17-year-old boy who was driving home from work at 2:00 a.m. According to Davis, he stopped his car on a road alongside the Scape Ore Swamp to change a tire. Just as he was finishing this job, he heard a loud thumping noise be- hind him. He turned and saw a large, lizard- like creature coming at him at a fast clip.
Davis had never seen anything like it before. The monster was taller than the average man, with red, glowing eyes, not un- like those of an alligator at night. The creature’s face was reptilian, but somehow also humanlike. From the neck down, the beast was covered with rough greenish-brown skin that looked somewhat scaly. It had a long, heavy tail like that of an alligator. Its hands had three big fingers each, and its feet ended in long, black, curled claws.
The young man, naturally frightened, threw down his tools and jumped into the car, intending to get out of the area as fast as he could. But the creature was fairly close by that time and grabbed onto the car before the boy could get it started. The terrified Christopher tried to drive away as the monster climbed onto the roof of the car. The youth raced and swerved frantically trying to throw the horrid creature off, but the thing managed to hang on for at least a hundred yards.
When Christopher got home, he examined his car. The sideview mirror was badly damaged and there were scratch marks on the roof where the creature had sunk in its claws to hang on. There was no other evidence of Davis’s encounter with the monster, but his parents could see that he was badly shaken.
In the weeks that followed there were other reports of a large, lizardlike creature in the area of the swamp. There were also reports of unusual damage done to cars parked outside overnight. People started complaining of odd damage to their vehicles, not only scratches, but bite marks that punctured metal. These reports came in from all over the general area, but Bishopville, South Carolina, suffered the most harm.
On August 5th of the same year, Kenneth Orr, an airman stationed at Shaw Air Force Base, reported that he had had an encounter with the beast while driving on Highway 15. Orr claimed that he stopped his car and shot at the creature, wounding it. He saved a few scales and a small amount of blood as proof. There is no record of whether tests were performed on this evidence.
Local law enforcement officials reacted with skepticism to these reports, even after a good number of these sightings were made by reliable people. The cops said that people were most likely seeing an unusual- looking bear under poor visibility conditions. But some weeks later the sheriff ’s department was persuaded to make a few plaster casts of what appeared to be three- toed footprints. These prints ranged in size from 11 to 14 inches, suggesting that there was more than one monster out there.
Johnny Evans, a South Carolina Marine Resources Department representative in 1988, said that the unusual tracks neither matched, nor could be mistaken for
the footprints of any local animal on record.
Stories of the Lizard Man attracted curious tourists to the state. In 1988, radio station WCOS offered a million-dollar re- ward to anyone who could capture the creature alive. This reward prompted hunting parties to try to track the monster down, but so far the money has not been claimed.
Sightings of the creature declined by the end of 1988. The Lizard Man managed to keep out of the papers until 2002, when reports of sightings came in again. There was another long, quiet period for the Lizard Man until March 4, 2008, when it made the front page again.
The incident happened in Bishopville, the town that was most troubled during the creature’s previous appearances. Bobby and Dixie Rawson of 990 St. Charles Road woke up to find that their 2002 Dodge Grand Caravan had been chewed up during the night. Again there were bite marks that punctured metal, making one think that the jaws of the creature must be as powerful as those of an alligator, and scratches deep enough in the metal to scare even the stoutest of hearts.
Regrettably, the Rawsons also found that most of their 17 cats were missing. They believe that the damage was done to the vehicle because the cats sought refuge under the car when the beast attacked them.
As far as I know, the million-dollar reward still stands. I hope that money will be paid out soon.