Lucifer: Turtle Demon of Skuna River Bottom
Skuna River Bottom, near Houlka, Mississippi has served as a location of wild, unimaginable legends. There have been accounts of people seeing Wampas Cats, humongous rattlesnakes, ghosts, and other supernatural creatures. There is one creature that is probably more ferocious than any of the other crawling, walking or swimming creatures that have inhabited the virgin forests, which once covered all of the Skuna River Bottom. That creature is the giant alligator snapping turtle. This story is about one, who brought terror to fishermen, loggers, and hunters who ventured near Skuna River Bottom, even before the United States was formed. He is "Lucifer: Turtle Demon of Skuna River Bottom."
Turtle Tracks and Death
At a time in the past, the river bottom was in its infancy of being populated, but the few settlers who lived in the bottom dealt with the hardships. The nearest town was Houlka, (Old-Houlka as it is called today). It was seven miles away.
It was during this period that some loggers and fishermen came up missing along the banks of Skuna River. All that was ever found of them were areas on the river bank where it looked like a struggle occurred, and where something was dragged into the water. Pieces of clothing and hats were sometimes found there, but the biggest presence were huge animal tracks left in the mud. The tracks appeared to be alligator snapping turtle tracks, but they were unbelievably huge.
Legend had it that a demon turtle lived in the river, and had so since ancient times. The Chickasaw Indians, who had inhabited this area long before the white man called the turtle "Loksi' aamalili'' and spoke of its ferociousness, and unstoppable rampage among the warriors, women, and children of the tribe. Many had become its prey and its meals.
The settlers in the bottomland, who believed in the creature, called it "Lucifer." Not only did they believe in it, but they stayed away from the river as much as possible, and if they had to cross it or fish in it, they never did it alone, or without a gun.
None of the white settlers had been attacked or even seen the creature, but legend had it that the turtle lived in a burrow in the river bank and only came out every 100 or 200 years, and was only active for a year before it had enough food to last it while it was hibernating. No one knew exactly when it might reappear, but they believed it was close at hand.
Lucifer Claims It's First Victim
It was during this time that it did return. Jack McQuoid was what many called the local drunk. Jack had a whiskey still out near the river, and he loved to sample his 'shine,' but he wouldn't be sampling it long. When Jack wasn't tending his still, he was catfishing from his wooden rowboat, and that was what he was doing on his last day on Earth. As he was pulling in one of his trotlines to rebait it, something big hit the bottom of his boat. "Must have been a big catfish?" He thought as he leaned over and stared into the muddy water. That was the last thought he had before Lucifer tore his head from his shoulders, before Jack could even scream. His blood covered boat was later found on a sandbar.
As word got around about what happened, a group of men decided to go down to the river and find what had killed Jack. They thought it was a panther, so they took a pack of dogs with them.
When the men reached the river, it was high due to heavy rain overnight. They unleashed their dogs and listened as they picked up a trail down by the water's edge. They didn't have to go far before they started baying something on the water's edge. Their baying turned into what almost sounded like screams from the dogs, and several blood-covered and wounded ones came running back to their owners. As the men rushed to the spot of the attack, a monster turtle, looked at them, hissed and went into the water and submerged. The men were horrified to see some body parts of their dogs there along the edge of the water. They didn't stick around, but loaded their remaining dogs into the wagons and headed for town. They knew they had just seen Lucifer.
When the men arrived back in town they told their story of terror, and this time the people believed it. Many of the men who saw Lucifer were upstanding citizens of the community, with some even being church elders.
During that year, people who had livestock, along the river reported many of them missing, while some found body parts and bones of their animals scattered along a two-mile length of the river. If any more people were killed by Lucifer, they were strangers passing through, who didn't know that Lucifer was there in the river, waiting for them.
It's Time For Lucifer To Return
Well, folks, if you decide to take a walk along Skuna River, or maybe go fishing or swimming, you should know, it's about time for Old Lucifer to show his ugly head. "Will you be his next victim?"
© 2019 Gerry Glenn Jones