Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Iowa Devil

Last Thanksgiving, my girlfriend and I traveled to the southwest corner of Iowa to a town called Keokuk to enjoy the holiday with her family.  Nestled only minutes from Missouri and located on an expansive part of the Mississippi, Keokuk is a city of great history.  The start of the Black Hawk war, the loading port for thousands of Northern troops heading south for conflict, one of several Civil War hospital locations, a home of Mark Twain, and across the river, the final resting spot of the alleged prophet Joeseph Smith and the settlement of Navoo, IL, the area has been an epicenter for intense, human emotion over the past two centuries.  No doubt, Keokuk has witnessed more than its fair share of violence and death.  Grand, decaying mansions still sit high above the river banks; symbols of the town's past fortunes and its current economic plight.

As with all new spots that I visit, I always keep an eye out for locations of high strangeness interest.  Fortunately, the area delivered in one very interesting story.  Roughly eighty miles away exists School Number Nine, or the Monkey's Den School.  Located in a deep wooded portion along the southern Skunk River, the area has been witness to many Iowa Devil sightings.  Sasquatch-esque in nature, the area residents have encountered a large, hairy, shadowy biped for over one hundred years.  As the stories go, former students of School Number Nine fondly recall that how, during school days at the early part of the 20th century, screams would be hurled at them from the nearby timber.  Witness accounts of a "hairy large cryptid" and screams allegedly continue to this day.

I again can only speculate on the area and its connection to the Devil of Iowa.  Is this creature (if it indeed exists) truly an "unknown" animal?  Is it simply some flesh and blood animal that we have yet to discover?  I am more inclined to believe that this is not the case.  I find it fascinating that such a rich area of human history is near to a potential cryptid hotspot.  Why can't such impossible correlations exist?  Why must everything be proper in terms of scientific grandeur?  In my mind, I can see the outcome of thousands of young Iowa/Wisconsin/Minnesota  men on their way to battle leaving a scarred, frightened, and alienated print on the psyche of the human collective consciousness in that area of the country.  Why couldn't the the fears and worries of a lost generation forever be imprinted on the area?  And why couldn't such an imprint attract or generate the "thing" that is, for whatever it is, the Iowa Devil?

I was not able to actually visit the Den; my knowledge of the area comes from only a precursory review of literature on line (which at this time includes a BFRO archived report).  In the future and on a next visit, I hope to follow up with the area and speak to its high strangeness.  And for anyone who happens to be in the area (and reads this blog), I strongly recommend a similar visitation.

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