In the mountains of central Arizona we have the Mogollon Monster, a southwestern variant of Bigfoot. First sighting seems to have been by Boy Scouts in the Payson, Arizona area in the early 1940s. Other tales involve attacks on prospectors in remote cabins, harassment of campers in the Sierra Ancha, etc. When I was a Scout in the early 1960s, tales of these encounters were told around the campfire to mutually scare the bejeezus out of one another. Good luck getting to sleep in your tent!
The local cryptid is the Beast of Bray Road. There are several encounter stories about it, ranging from a dog-like humanoid running across a road to three of the creatures hunched over a watering hole, observed in secret from a distance. The beast seems to be a human-canine hybrid, not a werewolf. It was first reported in 1935 but I don’t know that there has been any activity lately.
Our local Cryptid is similiar in features to the Loch Ness in Scotland with reported sightings but truly no official verification. It’s a bashful creature that shows up rarely without any threat to human kind.
You can see images of it at the link above and there are documentaries that have researched it, all without verifiable success. Just google Champy, Lake Champlain since it’s been seen along the shores of both New York and Vermont.
About a 30 minute drive outside my childhood town ofSaint John NB, on highway 1, toward St Stephen, you’ll see a turn off for Lake Utopia (obscure fact! Connected out to the Bay of Fundy via the Magaguadavic River through the 2nd deepest natural canal in the world!) .
Now, apparently there’s a monster in that lake.
“Old Ned”, they call him, and sightings go back into local Indigenous folklore.
My grandfather claimed to have seen it as a boy - serpent like and scaly and swimming very quickly across the lake. You can well imagine that hearing that story, the imagination of 6 year old me latched in to what that must have been like for my grandfathers 10 year old self back in the 1920s!
Murphysboro, Illinois, (near Southern Illinois University-Carbondale) has repeated sightings (and smellings) of the Big Muddy Monster. Many believe it may be related to (if not the same as) the Creve Couer Monster, sighted near the St. Louis suburb.
This is an animal often likened to Sasquatch in size and appearance, but with a distinct “skunky” smell. Those who believe the two cryptoids are the same surmise that the animal swam down the Big Muddy River in Murphysboro to the Mississippi River and, thence, north to the Missouri River by which it swam to a bend in the river near Creve Couer.
I grew up at the base of the Mogollon Rim North of Payson and while I do recall the local convenience store having bigfoot merch, I never questioned it. I never actually heard of the Mogollon Monster until I moved to Seattle for college and found an online list of cryptids by state.
My dad grew up in Flagstaff and evidently never heard the stories because he told me that Dolan Ellis invented the monster, despite the reports of the monster that predate Ellis’ songs.
The story unfolds in Versailles Indiana and involves a man named Silas Shimmerhorn, a confederate soldier and one of Morgan’s Raiders who passed through this area in 1863. For whatever reason Shimmerhorn deserted , slipping away from the group, perhaps he decided he objected to the war (who knows…), but he hid out in the woods of Versailles. According to legend Shimmerhorn took shelter in a cave commonly known in my childhood era as the bat cave at Versailles located in the area where the State Park is today. He began raiding local farms for food at night and then hiding out during the daylight hours. Shimmerhorn may have had a problem though as a pack of wolves took up residence in his cave. Shimmerhorn somehow worked out a partnership with the wolves and ran with the pack if you will, hunting with them for his survival. Sounds like Silas had gone a little off the beam about that time and local residents at times would spot the scraggly, bearded man running naked in the night with the wolf pack. As more and more of the farmer’s livestock was being killed by the pack (with Silas in the fray) the menfolk decided to hunt down the wolf pack and the wild and naked Silas, now dubbed “The Wolf Man of Versailles.” Gradually the wolf pack was killed off, but Silas evaded capture. Eventually the wolf possee found the cave but Silas was nowhere to be seen, only his makeshift bed and his civil war era rifle was found. You say not so spooky? Problem is that occasionally Silas and or the pack are sighted running in the woods at Versailles. I know this because before I ever heard of the legend I was told to be careful in the woods as various riders would come off of the trail talking about some scraggly dirty man streaking buck naked out there in the woods!
Looks like this post was meant for our discussion of local cryptids, so I’m going to move it over there at this time. Thanks again for posting!
Cadborosaurus (called Caddy by locals) is a sea serpent with a horse-like head, large front-facing eyes, and flippers on a serpentine body. Sightings (including a couple of unclear videos), stories, carcasses and even captures of “baby cadborosaurus” have been reported off the coast of British Columbia for hundreds of years, starting with the First Nations people. Caddy has been carved into petroglyphs along the Pacific coastline as far north as Alaska and as far south as San Francisco Bay. Sightings by European settlers date back 200 years.
Regarding caracasses, nine reported since 1930 are hypothesized to have been basking or whale sharks, beaked whales, giant oarfish, sea lions or elephant seals.
Fisherman William Hagelund claimed he caught a live, 40-centimeter long infant Cadborosaurus off De Courcy Island in 1967. The creature had scales, two flippers and a long, flat tail. He placed it in a bucket of water to have it examined by scientists later, but for some reason returned it to the sea instead. In 1991, on the San Juan Islands, Phyllis Harsh claims to have caught a 2-ft baby Caddy and returned it to the water. It has since been argued that these “infant” finds were actually pipefish.
Of course, it’s always easy to explain things away in retrospect! Wikipedia mentions that Dr. Paul LeBlond, director of Earth and Ocean Sciences at UBC and Dr. Edward Blousfield, retired chief zoologist of the Canadian Museum of Nature, state that every possible elongated animal has been put forward as an explanation for Caddy. LeBlond and Blousfield state no known creature matches the characteristics found in over 200 sightings collected over a century, noting that Caddy is described as having flippers both anteriorly and posteriorly. Darren Naish (a British paleontologist), on the other hand, contends that LeBlond and Blousfield are engaging in bad science and have incorrectly assumed that different, conflicting eyewitness reports are all descriptions of one species. For me, I like looking out at the foam-flecked ocean surface which obscures immense hidden depths, and meditating on the limits of our current knowledge…
I was with my troop at the Boy Scouts’ Camp Geronimo, seven miles east of Pine, Arizona, from 1961-65. I distinctly remember the Mogollon Monster stories around the campfire, with the tellers using that name – “Mogollon Monster.” Later, in 1969, a college friend and I went on an extended camping trip at sites both above and below the Rim, and one evening we completely spooked each other with Mogollon Monster speculations – not much sleep that night! Here is an amusing discussion of the Monster. And, yes, I heard the “face hanging in a tree” story!
Forgot link: Weird Arizona
Virginia, it’s the Bunny Man, but I don’t know if we can consider it a cryptid or a ghost story. One story is he was a man who escaped a state facility and lived in the forest and wore rabbit pelts to stay warm. The other is the same except, there’s an experiment that goes horribly wrong (like all good cryptid tales) at the facility and he becomes …HALF MAN/HALF BUNNY!! Yay or Nay on Bunny Man’s cryptid status??? The state needs answers lol.
The version I read of that was that he was an axe murderer who wore a bunny suit and left bunny carcasses hanging from trees, but the rabbit pelts makes a lot more sense.
I’m Pine now and I still don’t hear much about the Mogollon Monster. I think the Zane Grey Museum in Payson has a few Tshirts, but that’s about it that I know of. Guess I’ll have to be the one to bring the stories back! lol
I don’t think I’ve heard the “face hanging in a tee” story. Would you care to share it?
(I suspect my lack of knowledge in local lore is that after 4th grade I moved and maybe that’s when kids share these stories?)
I’ve heard that one too! That’s the other version from when I was a kid, I’m also pretty sure I just saw the pelted one on a travel channel episode lol, it was news to me. They say…whoever they are lol…that he hung them up to scare off people as a warning. Its one of those cryptid stories that’s steeped in actual events. There are like 30 versions of the bunny man lol…
I believe a half-man/half-rabbit WOULD indeed qualify as a cryptid.
Has anyone thought they’ve seen a cryptid?? My nana swore she saw a rat with a pig face roaming our backyard (i think it was a possum)…I’m not sure what that was supposed to be but she would not let us hear the end of it her lasting words “yall think im crazy”
Here in Louisiana the local cryptid is the rougarou - which has many spellings, and derives from the French loup-garou, which literally means werewolf. Although relatively common across the French-speaking world, like so many things, it appears to have gained particularly prominence in the swamps of Louisiana.
Yes. When I was in high school in Cincinnati I was into all things cryptid. My friends and I used to cruise around the woods in town at night. There were rumors of a community of little people in town that we were always looking for, usually referred to by locals as “Munchkinville.” You can find a description of the origin of the urban legend here: Munchkinville / Tiny Town | Creepy Cincinnati
My friends and I were always on the lookout for this community of little people (and, btw, I love Herzog’s “Even Dwarfs Started Small” ), in what I now regard as a childish over-fetishization of differences. But at the time the idea of a community of hobbit-esque people living in the woods was hard for a D&D-playing nerdy teenager to pass up.
One night while cruising through the woods, instead of finding the village we instead saw some large, low-slung mammal cross in front of the headlights and even stand upright. Based on the behavior and thick brown fur, a particularly big (likely exaggerated by our imaginations) groundhog is my guess. At the time we had just learned the word “simian” in English class, so we appropriately dubbed the occasionally bipedal cryptid “the simian.”