newspaper article

by DonDon

This was written about a placed back home by my retired English Teacher from College. Pretty neat
Stratton Booger is very real to residents of small Newton Co. Community

There is a granite marker which stands by the side of the road at Stratton in Northwest Newton County. From the markers inscription, one learns that Stratton was called Pickney until 1835 when the name was changed to Stamper in honor of Martin W, Stamper. With the coming of the railroad in 1905, the name was changed to Stratton. W.D. Stratton was the President of the newly built railroad.
In its early years the community had a church, stores, a post office and the largest school in Newton-Neshoba County. (Neshoba county was divided by legislation in 1836 into the counties of Newton and Neshoba.) Wagon trains from Tennessee and Kentucky going to and from Mobile knew the community as a repair and provision stop, and Company B of the Eighth Mississippi Infantry used the town as a point of departure for the Civil War. According to the marker, Stratton was proposed as the location for Mississippi State University, but the proposal failed in the Legislature by one vote. (this statement is apparently based on folklore rather than fact, for Dr,. John K. Bettersworth in his history of Mississippi State University lists all places offering bids for the location of the college, and Stratton, by any of its three names, is not listed. Bettersworth states that selection of a location for the college was done by the Board of Trustees and not by the Mississippi Legislature.)
Strattons marker does not mention the one aspect of the community that would be of interest to young and old alike; but if one stops to set a spell in the community, sooner or later the conversation drifts to the Stratton Booger, a creature which appears in the community from time to time. Granted, boogers are not something new. They have been around since Grendel walked the snowy wastes of Scandinavia, and those who delight in logic would contend that Strattons booger is a small black bear, a very large wildcat, or an apparition originating in the dark recesses of the imagination.
Let those who deal in logic have their way. To the citizens of Stratton , the creature is very real and has appeared periodically over the years. Its description varies with the observer. To some, it is about the size of a small man, is covered with black hair, has long arms, and shatters the night with screams. One woman saw it standing and staring at her three-year-old son who was playing in the back yard while she took in the wash from the clothes line. A man saw the booger in his pig pen when he went to slop the hogs. When the creature saw him, it jumped out of the pen and ran screaming into a cornfield.
Others describe the thing as black with the face of a cat. When it once attacked a dog, the creature was walking upright, its arms dangling by its side.
While it is difficult to find two people who agree on what the Stratton Booger looks like, and although stories vary widely on its wanderings, there is one point on which people seem to agree. Cows are frightened by the booger, and when it is afoot, cows are difficult to drive into pastures distant from the barn. Cows also low mournfully when it is nearby.
The only visible evidence of harm ever left by the booger were slashes found on the bodies of some dead calves. Since Stratton lies near a swampy area, one might logically suppose that bobcats were the killers. However, this explanation would never satisfy the booger believers.
When the booger appeared in 1964, it ranged for the first time over the northern part of the county to other communities and was accompanied by offspring. One man described the tracks sighted as four inches across and unlike any tracks Ive ever seen. In fact, there are three sets of tracks, one extra large and two smaller sets. This was the last time this sly and elusive rambler has appeared.
The trains dont stop at Stratton any more; they just blow for the crossing. The great belts and wheels of the cotton gin are still, and there is only a broken pile of masonry where the school once stood. People at Stratton, like people everywhere, have given up the custom of sitting on their porches in the evening or lingering around the supper table to tell stories; but one night in the midst of a rainstorm the electricity in Stratton will go off, the television screens will be dark, and the sudden stillness that always follows a power failure will be shattered by the screams of that thing.

Posted on Feb 7, 2012, 6:33 AM
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