Professor: Lizard Man is part of the legend cycle

Published: Aug. 4, 2015 at 10:00 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 4, 2015 at 10:04 PM EDT
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Source: Sarah Berra
Source: Sarah Berra

SOUTH CAROLINA (WCSC) - "Monsters kind of become a way that communities identify themselves," Dr. Scott Poole, Ph.D., with the College of Charleston, said.

That monster, Lizard Man, is making a name for himself this week.

Over the weekend, new pictures popped up on social media of the shadowy creature roaming the midlands near the town of Bishopville.

Twenty-five years ago, sheriff's deputies tracked sightings of the monster in Lee County.

Whether you believe the stories or not, Poole has an interesting take on why the legend of Lizard Man is making a comeback now.

"They move in kind of five to ten year cycles," Poole, who teaches history and pop culture at the college, said. "They often build on earlier versions of the story."

Poole said the renewed interest in Lizard Man is similar to the legends of the Loch Ness Monster and Big Foot.

But why now? Why do people care about this story of Lizard Man roaming the swamp area of Bishopville?

"They often are ways for communities to express other kinds of anxieties," he said.

Poole said when the Lizard Man story first came out in the '80s, South Carolina's economy was tough, and rural communities were hurting.

Now in 2015... ""South Carolina has had a very difficult summer," Poole said. "So I'd say that it's not very surprising that Lizard Man is making another appearance and that people are focusing their anxiety and angst on that."

Dr. Poole was one of several professors who traveled to Bishopville four years ago to learn more about the Lizard Man legend.

He's studied urban and folk legends and has written a book called "Monsters in America".

He said Lizard Man can be good for business, too.

In Bishopville, you can buy t-shirts and hats celebrating the half reptile half man.

Here in Charleston, a designer is capitalizing on the re-surging Lizard man phenomenon, making brand new t shirts to sell at the market.

"There was a real sense of ownership, almost like, this is our monster," Pool said.

Social media is making Lizard Man a bigger star than he ever was back in the 80's and 90's.

He has a twitter page, and in the last few days he tweeted: "Kicking myself for being photographed outside that church. I was just trying to figure out if they were traditional or contemporary worship."

Bless you Lizard Man…bless you.

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