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A Different Shade of Bigfoot: The White Thang and Pennsylvania White Bigfoot

Darcie spends her free time going down research rabbit holes and occasionally writing down what she finds.

This is actually artwork of a Yeti, but you get the idea.

This is actually artwork of a Yeti, but you get the idea.

The White Bigfoot is an especially unique breed of cryptid; it stands out not only because it's so rarely sighted, but also because of its rare coloring. Here are two white Bigfoot legends: the White Thang and the Pennsylvania White Bigfoot.

The White Thang

The legend of the White Thang—and yes, that is spelled correctly—has been prevalent in the areas of Alabama between Morgan, Etowah, and Jefferson Counties (sighted in Happy Hollow, Walnut Grove, Moody's Chapel, and Wheeler Wildlife Refuge in particular) since the 1930s. It possibly goes back even further than this, as there is supposedly a legend of an early settler family near Collinsville who boarded up the windows of their cabin to prevent the White Thang from entering their home during the night. But regardless of when and where the stories actually started, people continue to report seeing a creature covered in white hair and standing more than seven feet tall.

The early tales of this creature claimed it ran on all fours and climbed trees. It would then lay in wait for people to walk beneath its hiding place before pouncing on its unsuspecting victim. It is known for moving extremely quickly despite its size. This story later evolved into a creature that walked upright.

Despite these early stories, many people claim that the White Thang is non-threatening. However, they are still scared by its scream, which has been described as sounding like either a woman or a baby crying. Some witnesses who report these noises say they were particularly unsettled when they saw the creature make it, especially—and quite understandably—in those cases where witnesses reported it screaming in their face while standing over them. Alternatively, some witnesses have described this scream as sounding more like a panther.

Specific details of the White Thang vary from witness to witness. Some of these witnesses claim to not be able to make out any details of the creature. Some have claimed it has no eyes or ears, others that it looks like a bear with the head of a lion. One witness even claimed the White Thang could shapeshift and that they saw it change from the size of a chicken to the size of a cow.


Some people in Alabama are willing to put their names to sightings of the White Thang (or perhaps more accurately, put the names of others to those sightings). Peter J. Gossett, who runs a website on Winston County history, was told a tale by his aunt, Feneda Martin Smith. He recounts her story:

Old man George Norris...seen it over there in Enon Graveyard, and he said it looked like a know, bushy, betwixt a dog and a lion. It was white and slick with long hair. It had a slick tail, down on the end of the tail a big ol' bush of hair. He lent up against a tree and fell asleep. When he woke up the sun was just rising, and the 'white thang' was laying right beside him, and it was looking at him. He said it didn't offer to hurt him or nothing.

There are a couple of different speculations on what the White Thang might actually be. On the side of a plausible explanation, some have speculated it might be a large albino bear. On the more creative side, it's been speculated to be an albino Bigfoot, an apparition, or even an interdimensional being. And as with many sightings of this nature, some have also speculated the White Thang is an alien humanoid.

Pennsylvania White Bigfoot

The Pennsylvania White Bigfoot is a creature that was first seen in Blakeslee, Pennsylvania, in 1970. A witness who was identified as Annette B. claimed it was between six to seven feet tall, with a broad chest, long neck, and dirty white fur. She recounts her experience:

Its eyes were dark and spaced far apart. Its [white] hair covered the lower half of its face. There was 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.

Artist rendering of early reported sightings

Artist rendering of early reported sightings

A few years later, on September 27, 1973, two girls in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, were out at night when they saw an eight-foot-tall figure. It was covered in white fur and had red glowing eyes. The creature then ran into the woods, carrying a large glowing orb with it. One of the girls' fathers later went into the woods to find this creature but was unable to locate it after an hour and decided to give up.

A possibly related incident occurred that same year. Near Uniontown, Pennsylvania, a glowing orb appeared. At about the same time, two Bigfoot-like creatures were seen in a pasture.

Illustration based on the orb sighting in 1973

Illustration based on the orb sighting in 1973

The most notable sighting occurred in 2010 in Carbondale, Pennsylvania. It's noteworthy mainly because there was video footage to go along with the claim. During this time, residents had supposedly been reporting sightings of a white-furred Bigfoot. One local man heard movement in his backyard and was able to capture footage of the creature he saw.

Throughout the same year, residents of Carbondale supposedly also began to report sightings of a juvenile white Bigfoot—though how they could tell it was a juvenile is anyone's guess—and heard strange noises coming from the woods.

MK Davis, the man who contributed to a supposed debunk of the Honey Island Swamp Monster, posted a stabilized version of the Pennsylvania White Bigfoot footage. On his blog, The Bigfoot Field Journal, Scott Carpenter used this stabilized footage as part of his analysis of why this sighting was a hoax. He came to this conclusion:

In my opinion this is a hoax. Some thought went into this to make it look realistic and believable. The person put on white make up, then put on some sort of white jacket. On the head a white mesh material was used that fit very tight. Using a flash light with a video camera was the perfect way to cover any flaws and only showing the subject from the waist up. Since no mask was used facial expressions and reaction to the light would look very natural. Jerking the flash light also made the subject appear like it moved very fast.

The general consensus fits with Carpenter's analysis, but others insist there are elements of realism in the video that couldn't be duplicated with a costume.