The Appalachian Mountains are one of the oldest and most prominent mountain chains in the world. With this kind of history, it would be easy to imagine that ancient and forgotten things could be living there. The mountains seem content to keep their secrets to themselves, but occasionally a tale is heard, or something is seen that defies rational explanation. Here are a few of the mysterious creatures that have been rumored, through eyewitness accounts and other reports, to dwell in the shadows of the Appalachians.
Yahoo, the Appalachian Bigfoot Mysterious Creatures
Practically everyone has heard about Bigfoot, the mysterious ape-like creature found in remote parts of the United States. But did you know Appalachia has its very own Bigfoot-like monster, called the Yahoo?
The name comes from the sounds the creature makes. The loud wailing tone mimics the word “Yahoo” as it echoes off the surrounding hillsides. The brown-colored creature stands anywhere from six to eight feet tall, making it smaller than your typical Bigfoot.
While Bigfoot is a gentle giant, the Yahoo is very aggressive and territorial. For this reason, use extreme caution before approaching the creature… that is, if anyone would even want to get up close with an eight-foot-tall ape-like beast in a permanent bad mood.
The Virginia Devil Monkey
From the deep wilderness of Southwest Virginia comes a tale of mysterious, wild, part wolf, part monkey creatures that terrorize vehicles in the area. In one 1994 report, a road construction detour forced a woman from Ohio down a dark two-lane country road in the wee hours of the morning. As she edged her car on into the night, a horrifying monster suddenly leaped in front of her car, creating a panic.
The beast was all black, with short, sleek fur, very pointy ears, and a long, thin tail. The horrifying creature stood tall on its hind legs, reaching over six feet into the air. The torso was like that of a skinny man, yet the rear legs were like that of a dog or wolf. The beast’s muscles rippled as it moved. Luckily the creature left without further harm to the lady, but stories of missing livestock in the area soon followed.
This attack wasn’t the first appearance of the Virginia Devil Monkey. Back in 1959, a couple and their daughter were driving in Saltville, Virginia when a vicious creature charged their vehicle. The strange beast continued to pursue their car and left them with deep scratches dug across their door before disappearing.
A few years after that encounter, two nurses were returning home from work in the Saltville area. Suddenly an unknown creature attacked them, completely ripping the convertible top from their vehicle. The nurses were able to escape, badly shaken but none the worse for wear. Again, the Virginia Devil Monkey left without a trace.
Have you ever seen a werewolf movie? If so, you may know what to expect from the next mysterious creatures on the list. The humanoid-appearing Dwayyo is purported to dwell in the Appalachian Mountains. Unlike the Yahoo, the Dwayyo is a cross between a human and a wolf instead of an ape. They are also taller than the Yahoo, standing a massive nine feet tall.
Many witnesses have reported seeing the strange Appalachian Dwayyo, including such legitimate sources as hunters and park rangers. There are even more people that have heard the creature howling its piercing cry throughout the night.
The Dwayyo has an evil disposition, and it will willingly attack dogs and other beasts. Local cattle mutilations were attributed to the wolf-like creature.
The Fredrick News Post ran a story about the Dwayyo in November 1965. In the story, a person going by the name of John Becker reported meeting up with a tall wolf-man creature. He described the beast as being as big as a bear, with long black hair and a bushy tail. Becker said that it growled like an angry wolf.
The encounter resulted in the creature attacking the man, who fought it off to protect his wife and child. Finally, the beast ran back into the woods, leaving the family unharmed.
Does this sound like a joke – what has the head of an alligator, the beak of a bird, and a 25-foot wingspan? Well, to many who have witnessed it, this is no joke. The answer to the riddle is the Snallygaster, and it is as strange as its name suggests. This scary abomination dates all the way back to the 1730s when German settlers would share stories about the beast attacking others.
They named the creature Schneller Geist, which means “quick spirit.” It got this name because it was known to swoop down on unsuspecting victims. If that weren’t enough, it would then suck all the blood out of the victim, leaving the empty husk to be found by anyone unlucky enough to happen upon it.
The hunt for the Appalachian Snallygaster reached a peak in 1909, where several newspapers printed reports of attacks. The prestigious Smithsonian Institute announced a reward for the monster’s hide. Even the President at the time, Theodore Roosevelt, considered postponing an African safari so that he could hunt down the mysterious creatures.
The Snallygaster has a lot of superstitions associated with it. One tale has it that a five-pointed star would keep the beast away. Even today you can find some old barns with a fading star symbol, put there to protect the household from the creature.
Like a matchup of the century, there have been multiple reports of witnesses seeing a Snallygaster and a Dwayyo locked in mortal combat. It seems that the Snallygaster and the Dwayyo are natural enemies and will fight upon seeing each other.
The Black Panther
Imagine being out at night and coming upon a black as midnight snarling beast with glowing yellow eyes and huge fangs. The early settlers of Appalachia shared stories about enigmatic black panthers that were on the prowl during the night. Wildlife experts are quick to point out that no one has ever photographed or captured one in modern times, but the stories still exist in the Appalachians and the Ozarks. Even Texans reported seeing them in the 1800s, so it isn’t hard to imagine that they could have survived deep in the Appalachian Mountains.
If you read the history of Montgomery County, Arkansas, you will find the story of an early black panther encounter. Emily Stacy was home alone with her children when a wild creature appeared. It kept attacking the front door, trying to force its way into the house. Not one to back down, Emily bravely loaded a musket, steadied herself, and shot the beast through the wooden door. In the morning a black panther – described as a black mountain lion – lay dead on the porch.
The Snarly Yow
Domesticated dogs were a part of early Appalachian life, so it was no big surprise to see one. But when they saw a Snarly Yow, they knew immediately that this was no dog. The Snarly Yow is a massive black four-legged beast, with a large red mouth filled with jagged fangs.
According to some reports, the mysterious creatures can appear to be phantom-like, appearing and disappearing at will. Hunters have even had their bullets pass through the beasts without harm.
The Snarly Yow has been around for a very long time. In colonial days, the beast would appear and terrify horses, causing the animals to throw off the riders. It would then disappear without a trace into the night. The Snarly Yow has continued this annoying habit; on occasion, it jumps out in front of vehicles, causing drivers to swerve and crash. Reports have stated that the creature will stick around long enough to intimidate the bewildered drivers, bearing its fangs menacingly before disappearing into thin air.
The creature sometimes chases cars down the road before disappearing. It takes particular joy in frightening hikers on a remote trail. Despite the almost playful nature of these reports, the Snarly Yow has been known to be violent and attack people without provocation.
The Appalachians are home to many different living things. Even today scientists are still cataloging new species of flora and fauna. Perhaps there are a few more species that have avoided scientific classification up to now, but of a more beastly nature.