Imagine. It’s a hot summer’s day. You and a friend decide to go out to the river for an exhilarating swim. You hop in the water enjoying that cool refreshing feeling as it removes the heat of the day from your body. You swim blissfully about thinking that this is the life. But then, suddenly, out of nowhere, something from below has grabbed hold of your leg. You resist immediately. Your mind races incessantly as you swiftly endeavor to understand what is happening.
A half second elapses and still no idea what it is. This concealed river creature is now trying to drag you below the water all the while your flabbergasted friend screams and watches in horror from the shore.
You no longer have time to think as you are now completely submerged. Your body instinctively chooses flight over fight. You frantically struggle with a couple of indiscriminate feral kicks. Finally. You are free. You resurface, gasp hungrily for air and make a frenzied effort to get to shore. Its only 15 feet away. You are close. But once again, it grabs you. This time from behind and pulls you under again. You think this might be it but you unconsciously make one more effort to get free. You’ve done it. You scramble towards the shore. Land at last. You collapse on the ground from your brief but harrowing fight for survival as your bewildered friend attends to your well-being.
This is what happened to Darwin Johnson and Chris Lamble while swimming in the Ohio River near Evansville, Indiana on August 21, 1955.
Once on shore, Johnson retold her story in great detail. She claims a “large, hairy, claw-like hand” attempted to drag her under. Bearing a “green, palm-print shaped stain” on her leg that took several days to disappear along with several contusions, something clearly had taken hold of Miss Johnson. But what was it.
Was there something unseen submerged in the river such as branches, fishing line or junk that she somehow became enmeshed in. Freeing herself of the entanglement, did she panic and then re-entangle herself as she rushed to shore.
Branches, fishing line or man-made junk do not attack people, at least not intelligently. Assuming her story and details are true, something tangible grabbed Darwin Johnson twice, both times submerging her. Although it is possible she became ensnared in something less dubious under the water, it doesn’t explain the appearance of the green palm-print shaped stain on her leg.
Could it have been something more sinisterly cryptid or alien, such as the Thetis Lake Monster, the Loveland Frogmen or a Hopkinsville goblin, looking for a mid-afternoon human surf and turf snack.
The Thetis Lake Monster is an alleged man-eater using its “razor sharp fin” that runs down the middle of its skull to subdue its prey. But reports of these beings are nowhere close to the Ohio River with most sightings occurring up in the British Columbia area. Showing no deep gashes or missing limbs it appears these supposed monstrosities were not to be blamed.
The Loveland Frogmen are plausible suspects. There had been multiple sightings of these strange figures in the Ohio River area originating in May of 1955, just mere months before Darwin Johnson’s strange encounter.
Reports from a traveling businessman, two police officers and a farmer over a span of 17 years adds a bit more intrigue to the idea. Each story described the creatures as three to four feet tall, bipedal, frog-headed humanoids with webbed hands and feet. One report even had one of them wielding a “magic wand” in which sparks emanated outward. Also of note is that on each encounter, the beings left peacefully and disappeared into the same waters Darwin Johnson was attacked, the Ohio River. You can read those stories here.
The Hopkinsville Goblins Case was mentioned because it happened on the very same day of the Green Clawed Beast attack. Interestingly, this well documented UFO and alien encounter occurred not too far away in Kentucky, a state that the Ohio River borders to the north. This fact, along with the timing of both events and the similarities in descriptions between the sighted aliens and the Green Clawed Beast, are just too powerful to ignore the possibility of them being related. Read more on the Hopkinsville Goblins Case here.
But could these be the stories of wildly imaginative minds or the works of hoaxsters, out to gain some notoriety and have a little fun. With so little information known, it is difficult to say.
With the release of the movie, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, just an year earlier in March of 1954 and noting the striking resemblances between the lagoon creature and those that people claim to have seen, could “Jaws mania” have had a predecessor?
Whether or not the beings are real, imagined or otherwise mundane, one thing is for sure, something very odd has being going on in and around the Ohio River area since early 1955. And one might want to think twice before going back into the water.