Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 10th, 2010
This Fouke Monster replica is from the Monster Mart in Fouke, Arkansas. The “dolls” were sold locally there a few years ago. This one can be seen in the International Cryptozoology Museum collection.
Lyle Blackburn from Texas, who recently visited the Portland, Maine museum, has informed the ICM that these were handmade by Karen Crabtree and sold at the Monster Mart for only a short time. Rick Roberts (former owner of the Monster Mart) told Lyle that less than 50 of the “dolls” were sewn by hand by Crabtree, and they were only sold between 2002-2007, exclusively at the Monster Mart. It is indeed rare to find any today.
Blackburn said that Karen Crabtree was the sister-in-law of Keith Crabtree, the man who played the monster in The Legend of Boggy Creek.
As it turns out, Blackburn continued, Karen Crabtree died in an automobile wreck.
In doing a little research, the details are as follows.
According to the Texarkana Gazette, Karen Sue Crabtree, 50, of Fouke, Arkansas, died Sunday, January 18, 2009, in a Shreveport, Louisana, hospital of injuries from an automobile accident.
Mrs. Crabtree was born Feb. 6, 1958, in Texarkana, Texas. She was a convenience store clerk (specifically, of course, at the Monster Mart).
Survivors include her husband, Harold Crabtree of Fouke; two sons, Jonathan Crabtree of Texarkana and Brandon Crabtree of Fouke; one sister and brother-in-law, Lisa and Doel Harvin of Fouke; her mother-in-law, Lillian Crabtree of Fouke; one special aunt, Doris Sanders of Fouke; and a number of other relatives.
The Arkansas State Police reports says that the accident occurred at 2:03 pm on January 17, 2009, when Karen Crabtree (d.o.b. February 6, 1958) was traveling north on U.S. 71, in her 1989 Ford pickup truck. She lost control and the truck overturned several times. Not wearing a seat belt, she was ejected from the vehicle and died the next day in the hospital. The weather was clear and the road was dry.
In November 2007, the media had interviewed Karen Crabtree about Bigfoot because of the national interest in the Pennsylvania “Jacobs” creature reports. She first talked about the 1972 Bigfoot film The Legend of Boggy Creek from the Monster Mart.
The media noted that “travelers still stop at the store to talk about Bigfoot, clerk Karen Crabtree said. Do townspeople really believe in Bigfoot? ‘Some do, some don’t,’ Crabtree said. But, she added, ‘A lot of people who do won’t say they do.’’’
Crabtree is gone now. But it is good to, at least, have her Fouke Monster original in the ICM, as a tribute to the friendly chatter she shared with many of us that visited the Monster Mart down through the years.
One last bit of trivia: Karen Crabtree was the individual who painted the mural on the Monster Mart wall (shown below). Her painting of the creature reflects the appearance she also gave to the Fouke Monster in the handmade replicas.
Credit for initial K. Crabtree info from Lyle Blackburn.