• Maureen Elsberry

The Vicious Car Munching Lizard-Man of Scape Ore Swamp

Legends of a strange bipedal lizard man in a swamp in South Carolina have been floating around the state since the late 1980s. He apparently has an affinity for munching on cars and was even spotted by an airman stationed at the local Air Force base. But is this car hungry lizard actually terrorizing this town? Or is he a contagious fabricated hoax?

It all began on the eerie night of June 29, 1988 at approximately 2 A.M. when Christopher Davis, a 17-year-old resident of Bishopville, claims he was maliciously attacked by a giant three-fingered scaly lizard man.  He was a good-natured kid on his way home from the late shift at a local fast food joint when his tire blew out. He apparently had never seen a horror movie, because he pulled over on a dirt road next to Scape Ore Swamp to change the tire, and that’s when his harrowing account began. 

His original statement to the police was as follows:

“I looked back and saw something running across the field towards me. It was about 25 yards away and I saw red eyes glowing. I ran into the car and as I locked it, the thing grabbed the door handle. I could see him from the neck down – the three big fingers, long black nails and green rough skin. It was strong and angry. I looked in my mirror and saw a blur of green running. I could see his toes and then he jumped on the roof of my car. I thought I heard a grunt and then I could see his fingers through the front windshield, where they curled around on the roof. I sped up and swerved to shake the creature off.”

That’s a serious shit in your pants type of scenario. But I’m not buying it yet . . . A teenager coming home at 2 A.M. with a busted up side-mirror and scratches down his car claims that a LIZARD MAN did it?!?! You’ve got to give him points for creativity if that’s his excuse he gave to his parents for accidentally damaging his car. They bought it though. They claim that it took two hours to calm him down, and the look in his eyes was that of pure terror. 

But here’s where the story starts getting more complicated. The Lee County Sheriffs Department had responded to a strange incident involving a car just a few weeks after Davis’ sighting but prior to when he came forward with his story. Sheriff Liston Truesdale responded to the home of Tom and Mary Waye where he investigated the damage to their car. The car was dented and scratched, chrome ripped apart, and areas of the car appeared to have been snacked on. They ruled that an animal had caused the damaged, though they weren’t sure just what kind of animal was strong enough to tear the car to shreds. Speculation among the locals suggested this could be the same creature responsible for Davis’ damage. 

The following month after the original report, multiple witnesses came forth alleging that their cars were subjected to strange damage all within a 3-miles radius of the swamps surrounding the town of Bishopville. After Liston had enlisted a manhunt to find the Lizard Man, three-pronged footprints were found and casted in the swamp. A spokesman for the South Carolina Marine Resources Department explained that these were not a match for any known animal, nor could they be a match for a mutated creature. Truesdale decided against sending the casts to the F.B.I.

The fake lizard of Scape Ore Swamp
Image credit: Sarah Berra

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