I haven’t done one of these in a while—almost three years, in fact. See “Good Reason to Kill #76a: Mystery Clown (or, Clown Mystery)” (Aug. 1, 2019). Instead of speculating about why, I’ll just say that until now, I had seen no cases in which a defendant claimed to have killed in self-defense because the victim had summoned a Bigfoot to murder him.
Now I have.
KTEN News reported Monday that police had arrested a 53-year-old man “in connection with a bizarre weekend homicide case in Pontotoc County,” Oklahoma, in the south-east part of the state. According to the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation, the suspect and another man “had been noodling in the river on Saturday when a confrontation ensued.”
Now, the local news report presents this statement without further explanation, obviously assuming, probably correctly, that locals will know what “noodling” is. But then you also know that “noodling” is, in fact, the practice of obtaining catfish by sticking your arm in an underwater hole, waiting for the fish to bite down on it, and then hopefully dragging it back out of the hole intact and with the fish still attached. See “Texas Bill Would Legalize Noodling,” Lowering the Bar (Apr. 29, 2011) (noting that noodling was said to be common at least in Texas, Missouri, and Oklahoma); see also Tex. Parks & Wildlife Code § 66.115 (that bill passed); also see also Okla. Stat. §§ 29-2-125 and 29-6-303(A)(4) (it’s also legal in Oklahoma). So contrary to what some might believe, it is perfectly legal in Oklahoma for two men to noodle together, as long as they have the right permits.
You’ll be surprised to know that it isn’t clear exactly what made this noodling excursion turn ugly. But it is clear why the matter escalated, or at least it’s clear what the suspect said about why it escalated, according to the sheriff: “His statement was that [the other man] had summoned ‘Bigfoot’ to come and kill him. That’s why he had to kill [him first].”
This is pretty unlikely, even though there is plenty of evidence that Bigfeet can be found in Oklahoma. And by evidence, of course, I mean “evidence.”
It was just last year that we discussed Oklahoma HB 1648, a bill that would have required the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission to regulate Bigfoot hunting in that state. See “Oklahoma Legislator Proposes Big Foot Hunting Season” (Jan. 22, 2021) (failure to hyphenate in original). That bill, which does not seem to have passed, was introduced by the representative for State District 19, which is also in the south-east part of the state, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. Even more compelling is the fact that this area is only a couple of hundred miles from Fouke, Arkansas, troubled for decades by the Boggy Creek Monster and the setting of the classic film The Legend of Boggy Creek, which I vaguely remember scared the crap out of me as a very small child (but is now hilarious). Certainly, no one would create such a docu-drama without solid evidence that cryptohominids roam the area.
On the other hand, there is no evidence (that I know of) that a Bigfoot can be summoned to do one’s evil bidding, like some kind of hairy hitman. That’s what golems are for. But even assuming a person had the power to summon a Bigfoot, there’s no reason to think killing the summoner would necessarily put an end to the danger. It’s not like the Bigfoot would just vanish. In fact, you might have sealed your fate by killing the one person who could call off the hit. It’s almost like the guy didn’t think this through before acting.
The sheriff did note that the suspect “appeared to be under the influence of something” when he made the self-defense claim, so that is another potential explanation.