Monster of Benbrook Lake
by Jack Lean
Benbrook Lake is a small body of water on the southwest side of Fort Worth, Texas. The lake was created by the Army Corp of Engineers as a flood control reservoir in the mid-1900s, and although it is used for fishing and water sports, the lake is only crowded April through June because summers in Fort Worth are usually long and dry, with 100-degree days lasting well into September. The heat takes it toll on lake visitors and generally accounts for diminished usage during the late summer, especially with the 2005 drought that dropped the lake level by eleven feet.
The heat brings all manner of animal to the water at sunset... deer, armadillo, fox, raccoon and possums all frequent the dark, green pool, but I'm not exactly sure what I saw there in the waning glow of dusk on October 20, 2005.
I had arrived at Holiday Park on the lake's western shore around 6:15 in the early evening, but the thermometer still registered in the 90s. There wasn't another soul in view except for a lone hobbyist flying his radio controlled airplane at the Thunderbird's RC park some 200 yards away. I fanned out my blanket and settled down to stretch in preparation for my daily swim. The low water level discouraged boats and made my swims more secluded and enjoyable than ever. The drought had also moved the shoreline far away from the original bank, and as I walked across the dried clay that once formed the lakeshore, I marveled at the variety of footprints stamped in the brown sand. You could see the imprints of bird, deer and the occasional mix of human with dog.
I happened across a set of large, strange tracks that led into the water where I routinely swam. Although unusually large, I attributed the tracks to a pair of Great Danes that I had seen running with their owner earlier in the month. The depth and structure of the prints also caught my eye, but the heat and my desire to feel the water drew me away. Let me just say that "you should never swim alone," and not merely for the reason that soon confirmed my foolhardiness. My swim was routine – 30 to 40 minutes of strenuous kicking along the shoreline until my departure point was a quarter mile behind me. As I struggled out of the gooey clay in the shallow water, I lost one of my aqua-shoes in the mire. Luckily, I used my right foot to locate the shoe and continued my trudge out of the water as I removed my earplugs.
As the sounds of the lake began to filter into my awareness, I heard someone trudging through the underbrush and reeds that fronted a small patch of woods to my right which separated me from the point on the shoreline where I went into the water. I don't recall looking in the direction of the sound. It never registered that there were no other vehicles or evidence of swimmers nearby. I walked slowly back to my blanket and collapsed to soak up the heat. I planned to rest a few minutes before undertaking a bike ride along the western lakeshore.
As I rolled onto my left side, I saw it. I say it because I don't really know what "it" was. It had dark fur and was large... perhaps seven of eight feet tall. It was pushing through a stand of reeds about 200 yards from me. The reeds came up to my chest, but only reached the animal's waist. It appeared to walk upright, grunting in a belabored manner. The animal had turned away from me so I could not make out any facial details. I wheeled about to see if there was anyone within earshot, but the lake was deserted now. I can’t describe my fear, but the "hairs on my neck stood up" is no cliche. I quietly and quickly collected my stuff and strode back to my truck for safety. I sat quietly and watched the animal disappear into the woods.
I was shaking. Several minutes passed before I cranked the truck and headed home, primarily because I was afraid I would see the creature along the winding lake road that lead out of Holiday Park. As I said, I’m not sure what I saw. While I’m an avid sci-fi and horror fan, I read most accounts about paranormal phenomenon with healthy skepticism. I encourage the same skepticism towards my experience. I returned to the site two days later and found sufficient evidence that something large did move about the reeds. It appeared as thought something large had nested there. I don’t know what I encountered, but I still swim and bike at Benbrook. Perhaps, someone will corroborate what I saw.