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Local History

Blue man of Spring Creek

“The story of ‘The Blue Man of Spring Creek’ has been current in the rough region in the eastern part of Douglas County, Mo., for 60 years. It is a genuine Ozark legend, and if the testimony of scores of men during all these years is to be accepted, the legend is absolutely true.”

So begins a long tale of sightings of the Blue Man. The article printed in the Springfield Leader in November of 1924, begins in 1865 when a hunter, Sol Collins, was hunting between the Big North Fork and Spring Creek. He was tracking game and saw tracks that he thought were bear. After following the tracks for hours and while climbing a mountain, he barely had time to leap behind a tree as a boulder came rolling down the mountain directly in his path. A second boulder followed the first and a third boulder crashed into the tree with such force that the boulder shattered. When he peered around the tree he saw on the hillside “a gigantic figure shaped like an immense man, stark naked, except for the skin of some animal around its waist and other wrappings of skin around its feet. The creature was covered from head to foot with a tightly curling coat of short black hair, which as the sun struck upon it took on a dark blue hue. Collins always claimed that the giant was not less than nine feet tall…” The giant threw one more rock that also shattered against the tree and he “...made the hills echo with an ear splitting scream, more terrifying than ever came from any wild beast that roams the woods…” that was enough for Collins who “took to his heels and fled for his life.” For several days Collins and his neighbors tracked the Blue Man, and many caught glimpses of him. But he was never caught. It was believed that the Blue Man was responsible for the disappearance of many sheep and pigs. After a week or two of terror the creature disappeared.

For sixteen years there was only sporadic sightings of the Blue Man along the Big Fork and then he disappeared completely between 1890 and 1911, then suddenly he was back and more men than ever tried to hunt him down. They thought they had found his den in a remote valley but the man had disappeared as before.

One explanation is given by “Old Uncle Jerry Hilterbrand,” who settled in what is now Douglas County in 1820, and who died there in 1885. He used to tell the following story, which had been told him by yet older residents of the hills.

“Some years before the American Revolution, while Missouri was still a part of the French colony of Louisiana, a French fur trader came into the Ozarks bringing with him a very beautiful Spanish woman. The trader soon tired of his fair companion, bartered her to an Indian chief for a goodly package of furs, and slipped away, leaving the woman a captive. The poor woman thus abandoned in the wilderness, lost her reason, and lived for years a demented creature of the woods. From her sprang a...race of people, half Spanish, half Indian. They never mingled with either French or Indians, but hid away in remote and inaccessible places, where they increased in numbers, and were known to exist for many years. When the pioneer settlers poured into the Ozarks from 1820 to 1840 the strange half breed race disappeared, and it was generally supposed by those who knew anything about them, that they migrated into more remote and unsettled depths of the wilderness. The Boston Mountains in Western Arkansas, were thought to be the place which they had retreated to. From these people, probably the last of their race, came the 'Blue Man of Spring Creek.'” Leader November 17, 1924

The cartoon representation of a Blue Man hunt appeared in the News-Leader, October 3, 1965, in the Good Ol' Days Column.

If you love legends, ghost stories and tales of horror check out the programs available at the library's Oh, The Horror! events this October.

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