Saturday, February 21, 2009

Two-Toed Tom - Florida's Alligator-Monster

One of the most unusual legends of the Deep South is the story of Two-Toed Tom, the "demon possessed" alligator monster of Northwest Florida and Southeast Alabama.

First recorded by Carl Carmer during the 1930s, the story was old by the time he heard of legendary battles between backwoods settlers and a monstrous alligator in the swamps and ponds along the Florida-Alabama line. The beast took its name from the fact that it had lost all but two toes on one foot in a bear trap.

Described as a "red-eyed hell-demon" in alligator form, the monster was a terrifying thing for people of the region for many years. In fact, some people believe he still exists. Sightings have been reported along the Choctawhatchee River and at Sand Hammock Lake in Holmes County.

Expeditions were launched over the years in efforts to find or kill the monster, but all turned up empty-handed. Even so, the stories linger on as part of the rich culture of the counties of the Northwest Florida "panhandle."

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