1950, Willow Creek, California: Man Arrested For Dressing Like Monster and Selling Autographs


1950, Willow Creek, California: Man Arrested For Dressing Like Monster and Selling Autographs

Unemployed veteran, Geoffry “Duke” Sullivan, was visiting his sister’s family in Willow Creek. He had just hitchhiked across the country looking for work.

While drinking in a local bar, Duke heard stories about a monster who lived in the woods, threw garbage cans at houses, and generally made a mess of other people’s property.  Thinking about this over the next couple days, Duke got what he considered a brilliant idea.

Acting on his brilliant idea, he spent hours locked in his sister’s sewing room, stitching up a very crude furry monster costume. Duke liberated a few fur coats out of his sister’s wardrobe.

Once his costume was to his liking, Duke started walking up and down the country roads at dusk.  He waved his arms at passing cars and sat on rocks with his chin in his hands.  Cars would slow down, then speed up, once he started to move toward them.  At night, Duke listened to the locals gossip about the various monster sightings.

After a month of laying the ground work, Duke got some his brother-in-law, who was an amateur photographer, to take some candid snapshots.  The best of which Duke walked into the newspaper.  Startled, the editor paid him 3 dollars for them, with a promise of $4.25 for any more he was able to capture.  Without telling his brother-in-law about the cash, Duke developed a stack of them.

Duke’s photos ran on the front page of that week’s newspaper. The town was buzzing with speculation.  People who had seen the creature came forward to tell their stories to the newspaper.  A special edition came out.

The local boy scouts started a Willow Creek Monster club which organized weekend monster hunts and coloring competitions.

After selling a few more blurry pictures, Duke decided to cash in completely.  He set up a stand in the town square and announced that the monster had been captured.  Duke promised to display the creature on an upcoming Friday night.

When Friday came, Duke made a big production, having paid a local hobo to wear the monster suit and stand in a poorly constructed wooden cage.

A massive crowd, nearly the entire town, showed up wanting to see the monster.  Before un-draping the cage, Duke sold autographs for a quarter.  Once the crowd was at a near fever pitch, Duke unveiled the monster.  Taking one good look at it, everyone was furious. Clearly, it was a man in a poorly stitched up fur coat costume.

Duke’s sister was the most furious of all.  Demanding the Duke to be arrested, on the spot, for stealing and destroying her precious fur coats.  For the vandalism, Duke spent a week in jail and was fined $250 dollars.

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