The Ozark Howler: Actual Cryptid or Elaborate Hoax?

Updated on June 25, 2020
Paxash profile image

Darcie is a graduate student who spends her free time writing and learning everything she can about cryptozoology, aliens, and the unusual.

The Ozark Howler, also known as the Ozark Black Howler or just the Howler, is a cryptid that supposedly resides in remote areas of Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Physical Description

There are varying descriptions of the Ozark Howler, as witnesses often give conflicting accounts of the creature they claim to have seen. The most general description that can be pieced together is of a creature that is the size of a bear, with a thick, stocky body, shaggy hair, a beard like that of a goat, glowing red eyes, and sometimes even having horns protruding out of its head. The creature also has a tail, but one of the many things witnesses can't agree on is whether it has a short tail or a long tail.

Some witnesses have claimed it resembles a giant cat, much bigger than a cougar. Others have described it as a cat-like monster along with the aforementioned horns and glowing eyes, making them doubt the idea that they might have seen a cat. Most sightings agree that it is black or at least dark in color.

The Howl

The most distinctive feature of the Ozark Howler is its unusual cry. Far more people have claimed to have heard the Ozark Howler than to have seen it. It's agreed upon by all witnesses that the creature has a terrifying howl, but what this howl sounds like varies wildly, perhaps even more so than its physical description.

The Wikipedia entry describes the Ozark Howler's cry as being a combination of a wolf's howl and an elk's bugle. However, witnesses have also described it as being similar to a hyena's laugh.

Origins and Theories

The origins of the Ozark Howler legend aren't very clear. Some sources claim that there have been sightings as far back as the early 1800s. In the 1950s, there was a supposed sighting where a black, goat-like creature was described as being the Ozark Howler, despite not matching the current common descriptions at all.

The idea that the Ozark Howler is a cat-like creature supposedly originates from a sighting in the early 1980s when a truck driver who had pulled off the road for the night described seeing a black, cat-like creature that had a long tail, shaggy fur, a stocky build, a beard, and red eyes.

There has been speculation that the Ozark Howler might merely be a misidentified big cat. The Arkansas Fish and Game Department does not recognize its existence as a previously unknown animal because no one has ever caught one or recovered a body. Instead, the agency says that these sightings are actually of pet panthers that have somehow escaped captivity.

Another theory on the identity of the Ozark Howler links it to the extinct saber-toothed cats, the idea here being that it may be a modern descendant of these animals.

In the cryptozoological community, it has been suggested that the Ozark Howler is related to the Black Dog of Death from British folklore, creatures often said to be associated with hellhounds or the devil. Some sources have claimed that the first sightings of the creature originated with settlers from Ireland, Scotland, and England, who would have brought the legend of the Black Dog of Death with them, and over time the legend evolved into its modern iteration.

Photo of a recent supposed sighting
Photo of a recent supposed sighting | Source

It's All a Hoax

Others in the cryptozoological community believe the entirety of the Ozark Howler myth is a hoax. In his book Cryptozoology: Science and Speculation, Chad Arment writes of how he and other cryptozoologists received emails with outrageous claims of a creature called the Ozark Howler. The messages were traced back to a university student. It was revealed that this student, after mocking how myths of the Chupacabra had spread across the Internet in the 1990s, made a bet he could fool the cryptozoological community.

Prominent cryptozoologist Loren Coleman is very adamant about the Ozark Howler being a hoax, as he is the person who originally tracked down the originator of the emails he, Arment, and others received, eventually even obtaining a full confession from the student of how the elaborate hoax, including creating multiple websites in an attempt to plant the idea that sightings went back far earlier than they actually did, was pulled off.

In his article "Ozark Howler: Faux Cryptozoologie," Coleman tells of how he tracked down the hoaxer and wrote up the full story in a draft originally written in 1998, co-authored with Jerome Clark, with the draft eventually being published in 1999 as Cryptozoology A to Z. However, his editors decided to drop all entries in the book related to hoaxes, ultimately leaving out Coleman's story of the true origins of the Ozark Howler legend. Today, when searching online for information about the Ozark Howler, there is little mention of it even possibly being a hoax, let alone saying that it is conclusively one.

If Coleman is correct in saying that the legend truly originated with this proven hoax, then he is also correct in saying that his debunking has remained far more obscure than the legend itself. Many modern bloggers writing profiles of the Ozark Howler will still claim sightings go back decades or even hundreds of years, usually with no source or citation to back it up.

So is the Ozark Howler real in the sense that something like Bigfoot is real, or was it all just part of an elaborate hoax by a bored university student? I'll leave it up to you to decide.

Is the Ozark Howler just a hoax?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Ozark Black ironically 

      2 months ago

      That picture looked like well detailed sock puppet

    • profile image


      3 months ago

      I heard something I couldn't identify howling here in Texas county Missouri last year, pretty weird

    • profile image

      Cryptid researcher SW Missouri 

      7 months ago

      The Ozark Howler PREDATES the clueless and attention-seeking "student" who is cited in this story as the originator of a 'hoax'. The earliest settlers in the Ozarks were Scots/Irish and brought with them beliefs in both the black dog of doom (Britain/Scotland) and the banshee (Ireland). The call of the Ozark Howler was described as being like that of a woman in distress. It was said that the Howler would scream and a male settler would hustle into the forest to render assistance... only to be found later with his throat torn out. Those who saw the beast noted that it could rise up on two hind feet, but moved on four in most sightings, and had red reflective eyes.

      My wife and I have four years of audio recordings of an unidentified creature that was capable of making listening canines slink away in fear or bark frantically with fear if unable to find a hiding place. We've had repeated visits by a LARGE, bipedal cryptid, including tree damage, tree signs, and tracks. Two separate years saw tracklines in snow through our residential land... with six foot stride lengths. Photographed and documented. I personally feel that there is a good chance the Howler is a Bigfoot who drops down on all four for movement in restrictive brush.

    • profile image

      shadow wolf girl 

      8 months ago

      it looks like a long tailed deer

    • profile image


      8 months ago

      So where would the thing be seen at?

    • profile image


      10 months ago

      the animal in the picture looks like a long tail prong horn.

    • profile image

      Mel DreamWeaver 

      19 months ago

      Hoax or not it is a very good story - I am an author and found it very well written except for the ending - I hate when the writer leaves you speculating what has happened. Stories always need an ending unless you are going for a sequel.

      Personally, I have had 3 encounters with 3 different bigfoots, two in Texas and one in Oklahoma. They are very powerful, and do not like being seen. Also, I have had over a thousand encounters with ghost. It is just part of who I am.

      I attract them to me. Some people are born with this and some are not. Those that do learn to deal with it, make the most of it and move on. Those that never do are the skeptics and rightly so, you would not be able to handle them if they chose to share space with them.

    • profile image

      Hunter from texas 

      22 months ago

      Im gonna go on a personal level with this im from texas and the noises that are on videos and are claimed to be a howler is actually a fox foxes have very demonic sounding howls and barks its insane and very scary but there are also animals mostly matching the description of these things and are very much real and not too common the are russian red boars they are huge like the size of a large calf or small cow amd have tusks that can get to look lile horns if you dont know what you are lookong at and they are evil sons of bitches i had one i tracked and finally killed after three days in the woods and after putting three very large very heavy and very powerful roumds in it ot had enough life left to charge and total my f250 truck it was bad

    • Paxash profile imageAUTHOR

      Darcie Nadel 

      3 years ago from Louisiana

      @ParaPalooza I might have worded the last part a bit wrong. I didn't mean that I personally believe the entire thing is a hoax. Personally I'm of the opinion that anything's possible and it's highly unlikely everyone who claims to have seen the Howler is making up the experience. I just thought it was important to include that there is an admitted hoaxer out there that many people either ignore or are unaware of.

    • CYong74 profile image


      3 years ago from Singapore

      I've never heard of the Ozark Howler before. Thanks for sharing this info.

      And hoax or not, I think I'd prefer to stay away from its purported nesting spots.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)