“Animals Don’t Act Like This” – Appalachia’s Folklore Creatures, Part 2

In part two of our series, we examine creatures from the Kentucky Hellhound to the dreaded Snarly Yow. Our journey takes us into moonshine country and skyward, then makes a daring turn toward the woods and on thoroughfares. Take care on this trek, lest you get lost and are found by one of these beasts. Let us know in the comments if you’ve ever encountered what follows. We might just have a few stories of our own. Tell us your story and we’ll tell you ours.

 

VII. Kentucky Hellhound

Still shot from Mountain Monsters TV episode – via The Finest Post
  • First Encounter: 1939 – encountered by moonshiners
  • Other Encounter: The team from the television show Mountain Monsters claim they encountered and filmed a Kentucky Hellhound.
  • Areas Located:
    1. Pike County, Kentucky
    2. Other areas of Kentucky
  • Appearance:  The Kentucky Hellhound weighs around 400-500 pounds, is approximately four feet tall and seven feet long. The hound has “blue-black” fur with a ridge of hair along its back. Its paws are large and bear-like.
  • Behavior: This hellhound prefers to eat farm animals, which is the main reason the Mountain Monsters team investigated the creature.
  • Habitat: Unknown
  • Origin: One theory is that the Kentucky Hellhound was a tale told by moonshiners during Prohibition and well into the Great Depression to deter people from finding their stills.
  • Investigations: Mountain Monsters – Air date: April 4, 2014
  • Danger Level: mild – kills animals that are human food sources
  • Other information:  Since 1940, the Kentucky Hellhound has had a bounty on its head of $200.
  • Information sources:
  1. The Finest Post in the article, “5 Hellhounds Caught On Camera & Spotted In Real Life!”
  2. It’s Something Wiki (Fandom site)
  3. Cryptid Wiki (Fandom site)
  4. Foxsylvania

 

 

IX. Mothman

Mothman in flight – WCHS ABC News Channel 8 – “Man photographs creature that resembles legendary Mothman of Point Pleasant” by Fallon Pierson
  • First Encounter:  November 12, 1966 in Clendenin, West Virginia. Gravedigger, Kenneth Duncan, saw a “brown human being” shape fly from tree to tree. Duncan said:  “It was gliding through the trees and was in sight for about a minute.” Four other gravediggers were there but didn’t see it.
Newspaper Clipping of incident – USA Hitman website – “The Mothman Mystery,” Mothman History, July 2, 2011
  • Other Encounter(s):
    1. Three days after the first incident, two couples were out for a nightly drive in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. They saw the creature near an old National Guard Armory. When the couples turned to leave, the creature chased them, “hovering the car.” The times they made a turn here or there to avoid the creature, it was standing in front of them, seemingly waiting.
    2. After these sightings, more people (two volunteer firefighters, for example, who said they saw “‘a very large bird with large red eyes’”) observed the creature in Point Pleasant and a folklore legend was born.
  • Areas Located:
  1. Clendenin, West Virginia
  2. Point Pleasant, West Virginia
  3. Chicago, Illinois
  • Appearance: According to the Point Pleasant men in the car, Steve Mallette and Roger Scarberry, the creature was six to seven feet tall with a ten-foot wingspan and “red eyes about two inches in diameter and six inches apart.” The eyes glowed red only when lights flashed on them, and it tried to avoid them. Mallette said: “It was like a man with wings.”; Mothman appears to be a “human-bird hybrid” with gray wings.
  • The Mothman drawn by witness in 1966 – Otherside podcast

     

  • Behavior and Characteristics: Mothman has an unbelievably fast flight speed. One of the witnesses said it could have been “as much as 100 miles per hour.” The creature cannot move well along the ground and is reportedly quite clumsy.
  • Habitat: unknown
  • Origin:
    1. Dr. Robert L. Smith, an associate professor of wildlife biology, points to the sandhill crane as the culprit. The Audubon Society lists this bird as a Florida and hot weather native, but it does appear in the Appalachian Mountains on its southern migration.
    2. Another theory says the creature is certainly a crane, but it was deformed from exposure to the nearby WWII munitions bunkers that might “have leaked toxic materials into the neighboring wildlife preserve.”
  • Other Information:
    1. The Mothman is believed to be a harbinger of doom because it appears right before traumatic or catastrophic events. On December 15, 1967, the Silver Bridge (connecting Virginia and Ohio) collapsed. Forty-six
      Mothman statue – Wikimedia Commons, Jason W. May 28, 2009

      people drowned or were crushed. John Keel, author of The Mothman Prophecies, connected this disaster with the Mothman’s augury. Mothman sightings supposedly occurred before the 1986 Chernobyl tragedy, the 2009 Mexican swine flu outbreak, and the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Mothman also appeared before 9/11.

    2. Keel’s book was made into a 2002 movie, starring Richard Gere and Lara Linney.
    3. Point Pleasant, WV holds an annual Mothman Festival.
    4. A huge, twelve-foot statue was built in the creature’s honor.
    5. A museum has been dedicated to the Mothman and houses “the largest collection of props and memorabilia from the movie The Mothman Prophecies,” along with “rare historical documents.”
    6. Mothman was featured in an Unsolved Mysteries episode, a Paranormal Witness episode, and a Buzzfeed Unsolved.
    7. When persons encounter Mothman, they experience “confusion, extreme fear, and psychological distress that can last months and lead to death or insanity.”
  • Danger Level: mild to medium – Though it chases and terrifies humans, this creature doesn’t appear to be knowingly violent. It does impact a human’s psychological state.
  • Information sources:
  1. ati – “The Story Of The Mothman, The Legendary Creature That Terrorized A West Virginia Town In The 1960s,” by Krissy Howard, published May 17, 2017.
  2. Mothman Museum
  3. npr – “The Case of the Chicago Mothman,” by Robbie Telfer, October 28, 2019
  4. Thought Catalog – “12 Facts About The Mothman, The Terrifying Creature You Never Want To See.”
  5. net Archive

 

X. Pennsylvania White Big Foot (aka White Thang)

Pennsylvania White Bigfoot – still shot from filmed sighting – Crypto Sighting
  • First Encounter:  Blakeslee, Pennsylvania in 1970, by Annette B. who explained her observation as follows:

“Its eyes were dark and spaced far apart. Its hair covered the lower half of its face. There was a pinkish skin around the eyes and forehead. It looked like its hair was a little longer on its head and hanging over its forehead like bangs.”

  • Other Encounter(s):
  1. Two little girls in Beaver County, PA were playing outside on September 27, 1973 when they saw the creature. They ran frantically back home. The father of one of the girls searched the area for over an hour but saw nothing.
  2. A hunter from Ohio says of his encounter:

“There was this white fuzzy thing standing on two legs. It was looking at me. It fled. Couldn’t wrap my head around what the hell I just saw. My hands kept shaking and didn’t feel right putting a rifle up at something I didn’t understand. I would get within 40 yards or so. It would back up. Then flee. Then popped out a third time . . . Animals don’t act like this. It was playing with me. I felt I was being lured into something. With creature still in sight I turned and went home.”

  • Areas Located:
  1. Blakeslee, Pennsylvania
  2. Beaver County, Pennsylvania
  3. Carbondale, Pennsylvania
  4. Appalachian areas of Alabama
  5. Baker’s Ridge, West Virginia
  6. Lonedell, Missouri
  7. Mahoning County, Ohio
  8. McPherson County, Kansas
  9. Shaftsbury, Vermont
  10. Litchfield, Maine
  • Appearance: This ape-like creature stands six to seven feet tall and has a wide chest. Its fur is white and dirty with pink skin where visible. Due to this pigmentation, some believe the creature is albino. The creature’s eyes are dark.
  • Behavior and Characteristics: Initially, the White Thang walked on all fours and climbed trees, pouncing on travelers underneath. The creature has evolved into a bipedal and is considered less violent. This Big Foot has a piercing scream like a baby’s cry or a panther’s roar.
  • Habitat: Unknown; has been seen “near a mine reclamation site” in Carbondale, Pennsylvania – home of the first underground mine in the U.S.
  • Origin: Unknown
  • Other Information: A resident of Carbondale, Pennsylvania heard noises outside his property at night. He went to investigate and subsequently captured a video of what some believe to be the Pennsylvania White Bigfoot.
  • Danger Level: Mild – This creature appears to have evolved in its reactions to humans and other living things.
  • Information sources:
  1. Cryptid Wiki (Fandom site)
  2. Exemplore – “A Different Shade of Bigfoot: The White Thang and Pennsylvania White Bigfoot,” by Darcie Nadel
  3. Cryptozoology News – “Pennsylvania Researcher Captures Clear Picture of ‘Bigfoot’”
  4. PW

 

 

XI. Pitty Pat

No Pitty Pat image found – Photography by Alex Fu – Pexels
  • First Encounter: In 1775, a woman “and her four children were crossing a bridge on their way home in a horse and buggy . . . when suddenly they heard a ‘pit, pat, pit, pat,’ and a beast approximately the size of a cat ran out on its hind legs in front of the horse.” The horses were scared and the buggy flipped and tossed off the woman. Some stories say she died immediately; others say she lived “long enough to see the beast carry off her children to devour them.”
  • Other Encounter(s): Though legend states the first incident occurred in the late 1700s, the written account lists the date as sometime in the 1860s.
  • Area Located: Shipley Hollow Road (locals dubbed it “Pitty Pat Hollow”) in Sale Creek, Tennessee (located north of Chattanooga).
  • Appearance: size of a cat; can walk on hind legs
  • Behavior and Characteristics: follows behind a traveler, perhaps to eat him or her, or to terrorize or both
  • Habitat: Hollow, woods, forest, darkness
  • Origin: unknown/ A question exists as to whether or not Pitty Pat is “ghost children or a creature.”
  • Other Information:
    1. Believed to be an “imp”
    2. Persons who travel after dark have been “frightened of the entity” for over a century.
  • Danger Level: medium to high – If the story of the woman in the buggy is genuine, the creature is quite deadly. A person walking in Shipley Hollow who hears “pitty-pat, pitty-pat, pitty-pat,” should flee immediately.
  • Information sources:
  1. Wikipedia: Shipley Hollow Road
  2. Southern Spirit Guide – “The something near Sale Creek – Tennessee” by Lewis Powell IV, September 1, 2017
  3. Pinterest – Bridge in Sale Creek, Tennessee by Georgiana Kotarski

 

 

XII. Pope Lick Monster (aka Goatman or Sheepman)

(not “technically” in Appalachia, but close enough, really)

Pope Lick Monster – by pyro helfier – Cryptid Wiki
  • First Encounter: No eyewitnesses or sightings exist.
  • Other Encounter(s): No eyewitnesses or sightings exist.
  • Area Located:  Underneath a railroad trestle in Fisherville, Kentucky
  • Appearance: The Pope Lick Monster is said to be a ram-horned “human-goat hybrid,” mostly covered in fur with ivory skin underneath. The monster’s face is somewhat hairless with an ivory color. Its eyes are wide set and its nose is prominent. It has strong, hairy legs, and “claw-like human hands.”
  • Behavior and characteristics: Various tales say this monster lures people “with a familiar voice” to the trestle to die by an oncoming train. The monster reportedly jumps atop cars passing underneath the trestle, and is said to attack people with an ax. Anyone who walks across the trestle and sees the creature is compelled to jump. When anyone crosses the trestle and a train approaches, the monster holds the person down from underneath and the train runs over them.
  • Habitat: woods, underneath railroad trestle; perhaps an underground cave, a flimsy woodland shack
  • Origin:
      • Theory 1a (Circus Story): The monster was captured in the late 1800s in Canada and given to a circus where he became a circus freak “until an electrical storm caused a train derailment” and the monster was the only survivor. He made his home underneath the trestle and is still there, retaliating against humankind due to the abuse he suffered.
      • Theory 1b (Circus Story):  In the 1930s, Colonel Beauregard Schildknecht owned and operated a traveling circus. He reportedly ran the circus as a crime gang with a “crew of carnies and circus clowns” who were “cutthroats and pirates” instead of performers. A bearded lady (Madame Bristelles) found the monster as an infant and Schildknecht was thrilled at the prospect of making the monster an attraction that would make him rich. The monster grew. One night a bad thunderstorm occurred in Fisherville, Kentucky, and, “as the circus train passed over the trestle, a bolt of lightning struck the tracks causing the train to derail just ahead, over Pope Lick Creek.” Only the monster lived.
      • Theory 2: The monster is a “twisted reincarnation of a farmer who sacrificed goats in exchange for Satanic powers.”
      • Theory 3:  he’s the “product of a sexual relationship between a farmer and one of his sheep.”
      • Theory 4:  He “was struck by lightning on the train trestle, which transformed him into a violent monster who hungered for blood.”
  • Other Information:
  1. Named after the Pope Lick Creek that runs underneath the trestle.
  2. The trestle is almost 100 feet high and “772 feet from end-to-end.” A traveler has nowhere to run when a train comes.
  3. On Halloween, one can “see the beast LIVE and in person” by taking the Ultimate Halloween Legend at Pope Lick tour/ haunted walk.
  4. A walking trail is underneath the trestle.
  5. Maryland also has a “Goatman.” They have surprising similarities: chasing people with an ax, lives under a bridge, lures people.
  • Danger Level: Extremely High – Searching for or encountering this creature is a death sentence. Young people, in an attempt to find or tempt the creature have actually fallen off the trestle or have been hit by an oncoming train.

 

Pope Lick Monster – Newspaper clipping – The Ghost Diaries
  • Information sources:
  1. Cryptid Wiki (Fandom site)
  2. cult of weird – “Pope Lick Monster: Searching for Louisville’s Deadly Legend,” by J. Nathan Couch, July 31, 2013
  3. Only in Your State – “Some Locals Swear There’s A Legendary Monster Living Under The Pope Lick Bridge In Kentucky,” by Andrea Limke, October 31, 2019
  4. Graveyard Shift – “The Pope Lick Monster Is No Mere Urban Legend – He Has An Actual Body Count,” by Laura Allan, October 13, 2018
  5. Louisville Halloween

 

 

XIII. Sheepsquatch (aka White Thing)

Sheepsquatch – IMDB Mountain Monsters, 2013
  • First Encounter:  In 1994, a U.S. Navy veteran said the beast came out of the bushes to drink from a creek. Also in 1994, two children saw a large white beast stand up on two back feet.
  • Other Encounter(s):
  1. In 1995, a couple driving along saw “a large white beast sitting in the ditch alongside the roadway.” They said the creature had four eyes. It leapt up and attacked the car.
  2. In 1999, a group of campers heard the beast and it sounded like a bear. The creature quickly charged at them. The campers fled and the Sheepsquatch pursued them.
  3. In 2015, a camper saw the creature squatting across a river. When it stood up, it appeared to be around eight to nine feet tall with wide shoulders at four to five feet across. The camper ran to his fellow campers and told them. The beast waded across the river to get to the group. The creature fled after hearing a “loud gut-based screech” in the woods.
  • Areas Located:
  1. Boone County, West Virginia
  2. Kanawha County, West Virginia
  3. Putnam County, West Virginia
  4. Mason County, West Virginia
  5. Fulks Run, Virginia
  • Appearance: Sheepsquatch is around the size of a bear and has woolly, white hair, a horned head, long opossum-like tail, and “paw-like hands.”
An account by Ed Rollins on West Virginia Ghosts
  • Behavior: This creature walks on all fours and has a “musk scent gland” that secretes a sulfur smell.
  • Habitat: the woods
  • Origin: Unknown
  • Other information: Not to be confused with the Pennsylvania White Big Foot (aka White Thang)
  • Danger Level: medium to high – The creature has been known to attack (or have the desire to attack) humans.
  • Information sources:
  1. Cryptid Wiki (Fandom site)
  2. ObscUrban Legend Wikia (Fandom site)
  3. West Virginia Ghosts – “Sheepsquatch” by Ed Rollins, October 14, 2004

 

 

XIV. Skunk Monkey (aka Skunk Ape, Swamp Beast)

Skunk Monkey – Skunkapes.com – from “Willie” in Northeastern Tennessee Tri-Cities area
  • First Encounter: Unknown
  • Other Encounter(s):
  1. The Skunk Ape has been around for hundreds of years, according to the Native Americans of Florida.
  2. People may have encountered this creature in the 1940s, but the first recorded sightings were in the 1960s and 1970s, occurring mostly in Florida.
  3. In 2000, Sarasota County police were sent an anonymous letter containing two photographs of what was described as “an escaped orangutan who had been stealing apples” from a back porch near the Myakka River. This encounter prompted cryptid aficionados to name the creature the “Myakka Skunk Ape.”
  4. In 2003, several residents of Campbell County, Tennessee were terrorized by this creature. The 911 center was flooded with calls about a creature “killing their cats.” Interestingly, at the time “numerous reports of missing cats and kittens” occurred. LaFollette Animal Control Officer at the time, George Moses, reported, “All told, over 100” cats were missing. LaFollette resident Donna Keathley said she came upon the Skunk Monkey who was holding a kitten. The creature was so startled, it threw the kitten at her. She recalled of her encounter: “I didn’t really get a good look at his face because he didn’t hang around all that long . . . But he’s big and he’s got a really bad stinkful odor to him.” Campbell County residents have actually seen the creature before – some as far back as 35 years ago – but have been mum “for fear of being labeled crazy.”
  • Areas Located:
  1. Southern Florida
  2. Florida Everglades
  3. East Tennessee
  4. Southern West Virginia
  5. Eastern Virginia
  6. Northern Georgia
  7. Eastern North Carolina
  • Appearance: The ape-like Skunk Monkey is seven to ten feet tall and weighs around 300 to 400 pounds. Its fur is dark and some witnesses say it has a bushy tail. It’s a “cousin” to Bigfoot.
  • Behavior and characteristics: The Skunk Monkey is believed to “be mostly vegetarian” (likes fruit) though it may eat meat at times. It’s apparently fascinated by cats and scares easily. It emits a “skunk like” or “rotten egg” smell that supposedly comes from being in dank, marshy areas.
  • Habitat: muddy caves, swamps, marshes, woodsy areas, forests
Skunk Monkey – tumblr, The Strange World on Tumblr
  • Origin: Unknown
  • Investigations:
    1. Campbell County Sheriff’s Department (Tennessee)
    2. Examined in a Monsterquest episode as “Swamp Beast.”
    3. The Trail of Bigfoot team investigated the Skunk Ape (as “Swamp Ape”) in the Finding Bigfoot series and Nightline on ABC News joined them.
  • Other Information:
  1. Edward Ramsey from the University of Tennessee’s Veterinary School is a primate authority. He said it may have been an escaped monkey pet.
  2. Cryptozooligists think hundreds of skunk monkeys live in the Southeast.
  3. The “Official Skunkape Headquarters” is in Ochopee, Florida.
  4. Various Skunkape merchandise can be purchased.
  • Danger Level: Mild – Though this creature scares people, it doesn’t harm them. The reason it might like cats is a mystery.
  • Information sources:
  1. The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization
  2. freerepublic.com
  3. WATE News – “Is a Skunk Ape Loose in Campbell County?” by Vince Lennon, October 22, 2003
  4. Unexplained Mysteries.com (broken link, non-operational)
  5. The Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman (broken link, non-operational)
  6. Cryptid Wiki (Fandom site)
  7. Official Skunkape Headquarters
  8. skunkapes.com
  9. Crypto Sighting

 

XV. Snarly Yow (aka Black Dog, Shadow Beast, Dog Fiend)

Snarly Yow – West Virginia Explorer – “Meet the top five monsters from the West Virginia hills” by Ted Fauster
  • First Encounter: 1790, at an inn; stories about the Snarly Yow might have begun with German settlers as early as the 1700s.
  • Other Encounter(s):
  1. Madeleine Vinton Dahlgren penned other experiences in her 1882 book, South Mountain Magic:

2. Encounters with the beast in the early 1900s were mild because it never hurt anybody. People were still afraid of it and tried to shoot it, but “bullets passed right through its body without causing harm or drawing blood.”

3. The Snarly Yow wasn’t seen after the early 1900s until 1970. In 1976, a couple in Frederick County, Maryland hit a huge black dog with glowing eyes. When the couple stopped to check on it, the creature was mysteriously gone. Other motorists revealed they’d hit the creature when it appeared on the road in front of them, but the vehicle passed through it. Looking back in the rear-view mirror, witnesses say the creature was “standing in the road behind them.”

  • Areas Located:
  1. South Mountain, Maryland
  2. Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
  3. Georgia
  4. New Jersey
  5. North Carolina
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. Tennessee
  8. Virginia
  • Appearance: The Snarly Yow is a big black dog with a red mouth, glowing eyes, and large paws.
  • Behavior and characteristics: This Beast loves to chase cars. It can magically appear, disappear, and change its size. The Snarly Yow is something between a paranormal entity and a physical being.
  • Habitat: The Yow likes to be near main roads or thoroughfares.
  • Origin: One theory states this creature is the product of “an unnatural union between a dark specter and an English Fox and Coonhound.”
  • Other Information:
  1. Its name is a Germanic word describing “a wail that emanates from a toothy mouth.”
  2. According to most sources, this animal is not a Devil Dog.
  3. A short video exists about the Snarly Yow here.
  • Danger Level: Mild – Though people are scared of the creature, it appears never to have harmed anyone.
  • Information sources:
  1. NightWatch Paranormal – “Snarly Yow, Maryland” by Andy Hagerty
  2. 304 Monsters, WV Monsters website
  3. Ballyraven’s Corviary: Documentation of the World’s Strange & Magical Creatures
  4. Denver Michaels: An enthusiast for cryptozoology, the paranormal, lost civilizations, and all things unexplained
  5. Hathi Trust Digital Library

 

**Featured Image Source:  Pexels – photography by Steve Baxter

2 Comments

  1. Thank you for giving my blog credit in this post! I’ll be bookmarking this site for future reference.

  2. Mr. Powell, thanks for your comment! We try very hard to credit our sources and provide links whenever possible. I’ll add, we found your article, and your blog a very interesting read to be sure!

    Tom Anderson, Admin

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