State’s Urban Legends: Arkansas

If we haven’t scared you away just yet, let us head eastward and see what other urban legends we might encounter. Today, with Arizona far in our rear-view mirror, we arrive in Arkansas.

The Gurdon Light

South of Little Rock lies the small town of Gurdon. If you are feeling somewhat adventurous hang out near the railroad tracks (not on them please) in the woods. Odds are, you’ll see a single light. No matter how long you wait, it won’t draw nearer so it isn’t a train or a car.

As far as what the light actually is, well that depends upon who you ask. One legend says it is a railroad worker that was struck by a train and lost his head and it seems his spirit is out there looking for it. Another version says the light is the spirit of a murder victim. A man killed by an employee he had just fired. Enraged, the axed worker drove a spike into his former boss and killed him.

There are photos and videos of the light which has been seen in the area for some time. But as for what the light actually is? No one has been able to figure that out yet.

The Boggy Creek Monster

It would not surprise me to discover that every state (including Hawaii) will have a Bigfoot-type legend lurking about somewhere and Arkansas is no exception. The Boggy Creek Monster hangs out near Foulke and is said to be nearly eight feet tall and covered in hair/fur. He is usually seen near one of the state’s creeks and has been spotted as far back as the 1830s.

Allegedly, he was caught on film in the 1970s, check out the 1972 film The Legend of Boggy Creek, and has been spotted recently. But apparently, he learned his lesson in 1972 because no one has caught him on film since.


Arkansas’ Dog Boy

So you find yourself on Mulberry Street in Quitman, Arkansas. Don’t go looking for the Muffin Man otherwise you’ll likely miss your chance at spotting The Dog Boy. Weighing in at 300 pounds and looking like a half-man, half beast, Dog Boy apparently enjoys chasing people down the street and biting their heels.

So the origin story that created this legend is probably even scarier than the legend itself. Gerald Bettis grew up at 65 Mulberry Street and this only child was most definitely a problem child. He would capture and torture animals (hello Dog Boy name) and eventually graduated to imprisoning his parents. He is even suspected of having killed his father. Eventually, Gerald wound up in the state pen on drug charges and died there of a drug overdose.

The legend has it that Gerald somehow gained satanic powers from his work on the dogs he caught and tortured. He did have a whole wing added to the house for his “experiments” after all. Years later reports have been made of animals howling from within the walls of the Bettis house. Bettis’ own ghost has been spotted nearby, perhaps looking to continue his work on new victims? Both two- and four-legged ones even?

So if you are planning on driving through Arkansas soon, don’t say we didn’t warn you.


Previously: Arizona

Next: California

About the author

Richard Paolinelli