One dark night, a seventeen-year-old had a close encounter that would be forever embedded in cryptozoology and become fodder for our nightmares. The year was 1988, and it happened near Bishopville, South Carolina.
Many theories attempt to explain the existence and identity of Lizard men. Some propose they might be living dinosaurs that evolved along the same path as primates. Others are more inclined to believe they are actually reptilian aliens that secretly populate the darkest recesses of our planet. Whatever the case, they instill panic.
This case is the scariest since it has what others lack: physical evidence supporting the creature’s existence. The first sighting was made by a local 17-year-old who stopped on a road near Scape Ore Swamp tho change a blown-out tire.
At around 2 AM on June 29, 1988 Christopher Davis was just tightening the final nut on his wheel when he saw a tall creature rapidly approaching him. It ran on its hind legs and made loud grunts as it got closer.
He jumped in his car and as he drove off, the beast jumped on his roof and tried to get in as a terrified Christopher swerved from side to side in an attempt to throw it off. When he got home he saw that his side-view mirror was badly damaged and his roof held multiple scratch marks.
He described the thing as a 7-foot-tall reptilian-looking bipedal creature, with lizard-like skin and glowing red eyes. Its three-fingered hands ended in sharp claws of considerable length. Unbeknownst o Christopher, a similar report had been made two weeks prior to his encounter.
On the morning of July 14, 1988 the Lee County Sheriff’s Office was called to the Waye residence near Bishopville, South Carolina to investigate a damaged vehicle. The vehicle in question had sustained extensive damage. The paintwork was severely scratched and the chrome molding had been torn away from the fenders, as if something had chewed at it. Clumps of reddish hair and muddy footprints surrounded the vehicle.
Noticing a pattern had emerged, Sheriff Liston Truesdale’s first instinct was that this was the work of pranksters. He therefore called Christopher in for an interview and suggested he take a lie detector test. He figured that the young man had made the story up and thought the idea of taking a lie detector test would make him retract his story.
To Sheriff Truesdale’s surprise, Christopher not only agreed to take the test but maintained a firm position regarding the whole ordeal. The fact that he passed the test with flying colors convinced the Sheriff’s Office that there was something hiding in Scape Ore Swamp.
In the following month, several encounters were reported in the area and bite marks and scratches were found on cars parked near the swamps of Bishopville.
Many eyewitnesses came forward and a number of them were upstanding members of the community. Why would they risk their credibility if they had seen nothing? Sheriff Truesdale noticed some of the witnesses were visibly shaken by their encounter. His training helped him identify signs of emotional distress and he quickly understood they were indeed recovering from a traumatic experience.
The Sheriff’s Office continued to receive reports of the Lizard Man throughout the 1990s. One of the most credible eyewitnesses was a Colonel in the Army Corps of Engineers, Robert Cooper. He reported seeing a “half-dinosaur, half-man” running alongside his car late one night. He notified Sheriff Truesdale but, after discussing the matter with his attorney, Cooper decided he wouldn’t file a formal report about his sighting. Doing so would have damaged his military career.
Another incident involved a family returning one night from a restaurant. As the Blythers were driving home, they almost ran over a “huge, hairy beast” standing in the middle of the road. The encounter frightened them so much they drove directly to the Sheriff’s Office where they reported what they saw. Sheriff Truesdale had them sit in separate rooms while their reports were taken but they still matched.
The most recent event occurred in 2008, when a Bishopville couple reported the same type of damage on their car, traces of blood and the disappearance of some of their cats. Soon after the incident, Sheriff E. J. Melvin discovered a dead cow and a dead coyote next to the couples’ home.
To this day, many residents believe the Lizard Man is still out there. Although he is now retired, Sheriff Truesdale continues to search for the creature that terrified so many not so long ago.