I'm a softie when it comes to animals, crazy about baseball (especially the Cardinals) and a news junkie. I'm also a fan of cryptozoology.
What Is a Cryptid?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, a cryptid is an animal whose existence or survival is disputed or unsubstantiated, such as the yeti. The International Society for Cryptozoology is continually evaluating the evidence for cryptids.
Pukwudgies come from the folklore of the Native American Wampanoag Indians. It is a troll-like creature standing only two or three feet tall. They look a lot like humans except their noses, fingers, and ears are quite a bit larger. Their skin is smooth and gray and is sometimes glowing.
According to the lore, they have many extraordinary abilities including appearing and disappearing at will, transforming into half human and half porcupine, using magic, and creating fire from nothing. You should leave a Pukwudgie alone or it will play endless tricks on you.
The most recent reports of sightings of Pukwudgies have been in the Freedom-Fall River State Forest in Massachusetts, including in the Watuppa Reservation. There have been several unexplained suicides in the park that have been blamed on Pukwudgies pushing people off cliffs.
9. Pope Lick Monster
The Pope Lick Monster lives at a railroad overpass under a trestle on the Norfolk Southern Railway where it crosses Pope Lick Creek in the Fisherville neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky. The very existence of this legend has lead to numerous deaths. The monster is described as a man from the waist up with two short horns on top of its head and a lower body of a goat.
According to the legend, the creature uses a siren voice or some type of hypnosis to lure humans onto the trestle just in time to be run over by a train. Whether lured there by a mythical creature or just trying to satisfy their own curiosity, people have been dying here since it was built in 1929.
The Glawackus of Glastonbury, Connecticut made headlines in the winter of 1939. Described as a mixture of dog, cat and bear, its blood-curdling screams could be heard late at night. The sightings were all in the wooded area in the eastern and southern parts of town.
Two theories of the creature’s true identity were that it was a lynx or a mountain lion. During a hurricane in 1938, a mountain lion had escaped from a zoo in Manchester, Vermont.
Small dogs were found mutilated or just disappeared altogether. Sheep and goats were also found dead.
In July 1939, a huge, brown dog was captured in a bear trap and was then shot and killed. The local newspaper announced, “Mysterious Glawackus Is No More.”
Regardless of the newspaper’s declaration, sightings continued to occur. Not long after the Glawackus’ supposed death, there were reports of the creature in Massachusetts where livestock had been slaughtered, but not eaten.
Sightings were reported all over the northeast until after World War II when they abruptly stopped.
Igopogo seems to be the cousin of Ogopogo in Lake Okanagan in British Columbia. Igopogo lives in Lake Simcoe in Ontario. It is rarely seen. Its neck is described as looking like a stovepipe and its head looks like a dog. The descriptions of the creature have remained fairly consistent and it seems more like a mammal than the marine-like Nessie in Loch Ness, Scotland. It has been described as a seal-like animal anywhere from 12 to 70 feet long. It has several dorsal fins and a fish-like tail. The dog-like face has a gaping mouth and prominent eyes.
Sightings of the creature became so rare that it was thought to have died until it was seen and filmed in March of 1991.
Igopogo is also called Beaverton Bessie by residents of Beaverton on the eastern shore of Lake Simcoe. Others call it Kempenfelt Kelly after Kempenfelt Bay which has had the most sightings and is the deepest part of the lake.
The Melonheads are humans that roam Lake County in Ohio near the towns of Chardon and Kirtland. There are many origin stories about the Melonheads, but one of the favorites is about secret government experiments.
There is no one theory as to what the government was testing, but the outcome was humans with enormous heads. The Melonheads were all sent to a secret location in the woods in the middle of the night. It was said to be somewhere near Wisner Road.
They were taken good care of, but occasionally one or two would get curious about the outside world and sneak out in the middle of the night. They were always scared of the things they saw and would retreat to their haven.
Apparently, the Melonheads still roam the area on occasion and have been seen at the Holden Arboretum and Mitchell’s Mill as well as all over the area.
Legend has it that they become aggressive on nights with a full moon, but you will be safe as long as you wear dark-colored clothing. Some people claim that they are always aggressive, regardless of the phase of the moon.
5. Ohio Grassman
The Ohio Grassman’s description is about the same as the creature generally known as Bigfoot. The difference is not in what they look like but in how they behave.
Grassman seems to be more social and is generally seen in groups of four or five rather than alone. Mothers with babies have been seen. They are often seen in cornfields, which could possibly be a source of food. Eyewitnesses have described the creature as five to ten feet tall, generally six or seven feet. The footprints range from ten to twenty inches. Weight estimates are anywhere from 300 to 1,000 pounds.
It has a pointed head and the face has a snub nose and red, deep-set eyes. The chest and shoulders are very wide. It growls, barks, and breathes heavily. It gives off a strong, unpleasant odor of rotten eggs. The hair has been described as shaggy and coal-black or blackish-brown.
It has been theorized that the Grassmen live in caves or crudely constructed dome-shaped dwellings made from things in the forest. They have been seen following a herd of deer and strangely dead deer have been found with only their liver missing.
A 16-inch strand of hair was found and taken to Ohio State University to be analyzed. The scientists there were unable to determine to what species the hair belonged.
The first person to claim to see the Snallygaster was James Harding. He saw it in Frederick County, Maryland in early February of 1909. His description included a long sharp beak, enormous wings, claws and only one eye right in the middle of its forehead.
It has been reported in New Jersey, Ohio, Maryland, and West Virginia. Also described as a cross between a vampire and a tiger, it makes a shrill, screeching noise.
There was such a fuss about the sightings that President Theodore Roosevelt considered postponing a European trip to lead a party to try to catch it. The Smithsonian Institute was also interested in capturing it.
The creature never attempted to harm anyone, but nevertheless, people ran inside their homes when it was seen flying overhead.
Snallygaster comes from the German “schnell geiste,” a Pennsylvania Dutch term meaning “quick spirit.” Apparently, he was not quick enough and met his end in a horrible way. He was flying in Washington County near Frog Hollow when the smell of a huge vat of moonshine attracted him. While circling overhead he was overcome by the fumes and fell into the 2500-gallon vat. A little while later two revenuers came to the scene and were shocked by the dead monster in the vat. They exploded 500 pounds of dynamite under the still. It destroyed the vat, the body of the Snallygaster, and John Barleycorn’s workshop.
The Ogopogo is a lake monster similar to Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster. While not nearly as famous as “Nessie,” this creature is the most documented of all the lake monsters. Lurking in Lake Okanagan in British Columbia, Canada, the quantity and quality of the documentation of Ogopogo far surpasses that of Nessie.
Hundreds of years ago the Indians of the area called the monster N’ha-a-itk (Naitaka). It was a bloodthirsty animal that demanded a live sacrifice in order for a traveler to cross Lake Okanagan. Indians wishing to journey across the lake would kill a small animal such as a chicken at the water’s edge and then toss it into the lake.
The description of Ogopogo is consistently described as having multiple humps and a dark color. The exact color varies from green to brown or black. The head has been described as many different shapes including alligator, horse, seal, sheep, and snake. Some say it has horns or ears, others say it doesn’t.
Lake Okanagan is 84 miles long and 2.5 to 3 miles wide. The average depth is 249 feet, but the very deepest part is 840 feet. In 1991, a remote search was done of the lake using high-tech equipment on a mini-submarine, but no conclusive evidence was found.
There have been many theories about what Ogopogo really is. From manatee to a prehistoric whale, no theory has yet to be proven.
2. Beast of Bray Road
The first reported sighting of the Beast of Bray Road was on a rural road on the outskirts of Elkhorn, Wisconsin in 1936. It has been given the nickname “The Wisconsin Werewolf.” There were more reports in 1964, 1972 and 1989. The reports in 1989 came out of Delavan, about 15 minutes southwest of Elkhorn.
The first reporting of the werewolf to be widely publicized was on Halloween, 1999. Doristine Gipon was driving on Bray Road on her way to Delavan from Elkhorn. Near the intersection, with Hospital Road she momentarily took her eyes off the road to change radio stations and suddenly felt a thump. She thought she’d hit something so she stopped to investigate. She found nothing but heard a sound coming from the woods. Doristine turned to see a huge, hairy creature rushing towards her. She jumped into her car and attempted to speed away. The being leaped onto the hood but it was wet and he slid off. She promptly drove away as fast as she could.
After going public with her story more people came forward to corroborate the tale. Descriptions have all been pretty consistent. The creature has a human-like shape but is covered with coarse brown or black hair or fur. The eyes are yellow and the ears are pointed. When walking upright, it is approximately five feet tall. The chest is very wide and the tracks left behind look like wolf prints but are much larger.
There was a sighting in 1992 on Highway H, six miles southwest of Bray and Hospital Roads.
1. Jersey Devil
The Jersey Devil is a creature that has roamed the New Jersey Pinelands and nearby areas for over 260 years. During that time, there have been well over 2,000 reported sightings of the creature.
There are several different legends about the birth of the Jersey Devil. One is that a woman in Leeds Point, known only as Mrs. Shrouds, wished for her next child to be a devil. She eventually did have another baby and it was deformed. The family kept the child hidden from the world until one day its arms turned into wings and it flew out the chimney. The family never saw it again.
There are a few documents about sightings before 1909. One was Commodore Stephen Decatur, a naval hero. Another was by Joseph Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon Bonaparte.
During the week of January 16–23, 1909 over 1,000 people saw the creature all over Philadelphia and South Jersey. Many more found unrecognizable hoof prints in their yards all over the area. The creature was described by Nelson Evans of Gloucester as being about three and a half feet tall with a collie dog head and a horse face. It had a long neck and two feet long wings. The back legs were like that of a crane, but it had horse hooves. It walked on its back legs and its short front legs had paws. When Mr. Nelson yelled at it, the creature barked and then flew away.
That was the most sightings seen in a short period of time, but the Jersey Devil is still seen to this day.
Jade on July 20, 2020:
Oh my gosh thank you so much!!! I'm a author and am writing my first book about what I love. Cryptids! Thank you so much for giving me ideas and showing me more than just Nessie or Sasquatch or all of these known monsters. Thank you!!!
Lori Gross (author) from Nashville on December 27, 2016:
Definitely not things you want to run into in the middle of the night!
Ced Yong from Asia on December 27, 2016:
I've not heard of any of these except the Jersey Devil. The descriptions for some of them, maybe it's best I not know about them. :0