15 Mythical Creatures from North America That Are Way Cooler Than Bigfoot
The truth is (maybe) out there. Sasquatch and Bigfoot lovers aren’t the only ones who have a potentially awesome magical, mystical and marvellous creature lurking in their neck of the woods. There are many more alleged to live and roam the four corners of the USA and Canada; everything from goat-headed demons and underwater monsters to birds so big they block out the sun. Grab your camera, night-vision goggles and monster-hunting kit and get ready to capture a rare encounter with one of these 15 cryptids.
The Jersey Devil
Pine Barrens, New Jersey: Since 1735, the Jersey Devil has been terrorizing southern Jersey. According to legend, a woman known as Mother Leeds uttered a fateful curse when she fell pregnant for the 13th time: “Let this one be a devil!”. After its birth, the child transformed into a massive two-legged creature with bat wing, heavy horse-like hooves and a goat head.
One of the very first recorded sightings was in 1812 by none other than Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother, Joseph Bonaparte. Joseph followed hoofprints into the woods and allegedly came face-to-face with the mysterious creature. Ever since, there have been regular sightings. In 1909 alone, there were an unbelievable 1,000 glimpses. The most recent account came in around 2015.
Freetown, Massachusetts: Even though Pukwudgies are reported in many surrounding areas, only the city of Freetown felt compelled to put up a crossing sign specifically for the creature in question!
So what are they? Basically, they are small little bundles of trouble. They have a humanoid shape, but they are only knee-high (no higher than 3 feet tall, according to many reports). Algonquin legend claims that Pukwudgies are to blame for child abductions, harmful sabotage, and dangerous, deadly pranks. There is one redeeming quality to them: depending on the traditional version, these little creatures are seen as mischievous but not malicious—unless they are disrespected. So next time you see one, be polite.
Burlington, Vermont: If you like stories about lake monsters like the Loch Ness in Scotland, then you’re in luck! The U.S. has a few of its own, the most famous of which is Champ. Champ is the name of the plesiosaur/sea serpent/monster that is believed to live in Lake Champlain, in Vermont.
He’s a fixture of the area, and even P.T Barnum once tried to capture the beast. In most depictions, Champ looks like the typical lake monster we know and love: a long neck, egg-shaped body, four paddle-like feet and a short tail. Besides the many blurry pics of Champ, two pieces of documentation are worth examining. In 1977, a woman, Sandra Mansi, took the most clear and famous photo of the creature. In 2005, two fisherman from New York captured footage of something with a long, snake-like neck swimming behind their boat.
Pope Lick Monster
Pope Lick Creek, Kentucky: The Pope Lick monster, like the Jersey Devil, is a human-animal hybrid with a demonic appearance. Unlike its counterpart, however, the Pope Lick only appears in one place: the trestle bridge over Pope Lick Creek on the Norfolk Southern Railway.
The bridge is a dangerous place to be, not only because of the goat-headed beast. The train tracks are still in use and it’s said that the Pope Lick imitates human voices to lure victims on to the bridge and in the path of oncoming locomotives. The search for this monster is the cause of multiple deaths, including several monster hunters.
Ochopee, Florida: Guess what? Bigfoot has a cousin! There are dozens of different Sasquatch creatures, one for every American state. However, the skunk ape stands out as one of the most popular ones, with a wave of fans.
If you don’t believe it, head on over to the Skunk Ape Research Headquarters in Ochopee! While this creature has a lot of similarities to its Northern relative, it has one very distinctive feature: a pungent, rancid odor. Yumm.
Denton, Montana: Just like its friend the Busco Beast, Shunka Warak’in most closely resembles a massive version of a known animal: a wolf. Stories of a massive, wolf-esque creature that haunts the Rockies have been popping up for several centuries, and its complex name in Ioway means “thing that carries dogs away in its mouth.” While it is often described as a wolf, some reports claim it has hyena-like features.
Shunka Warak’in is intriguing because there could be some truth mixed into the mythical beast. Two specimens exist that are often believed to be Shunka Warak’in; a taxidemied mount of a beast killed in 1886, and a recently discovered corpse that has scientists questioning whether it’s a full-bred wolf…or something else.
Huachuca Desert, Arizona:Thunderbirds are enormous birds of prey with wingspans measuring anywhere from 10 to 60 feet (3 to 18 meters), depending on who tells the story. Those massive wings mean that sightings have been reported all over the country.
The thunderbird plays an important role in many Native American traditions, but its role varies from protector of the upper realms to a justice seeker for evil humans. The thunderbirds of Arizona are particular because they are the subject of an 1890 newspaper article titled “A Strange Winged Monster Discovered and Killed on the Huachuca Desert.”
Loveland Frog Men
Loveland, Ohio: These giant, bipedal frogs were first sighted in March 1972–and the witnesses were police officers. Officer Ray Shockey and Officer Mark Matthews both described a creature that was 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall, with textured, leathery skin and the face of a lizard or frog. Scockey say his frog man on March 3rd, and Matthews say his creature playing dead in the street on St-Patrick’s Day two weeks later.
The latest people to catch a glimpse of these mystica creatures were a pair of Pokemon Go players who claim to have seen one in 2016; they took a photo.
Chicago, Illinois: The very first Mothman terrorized West Virginia in the 1960’s, and those stories were fodder for a very tedious movie in 2002. However, if recent stories mena anything, a new Mothman (or copycat?) is active in the Windy City again.
Just recently, in 2017, no fewer than 55 people claimed to have seen a large winged humanoid swooping over the city. If it really is back, and running loose in Chicago, than city-dwellers need to be careful. Its first appearance in 1966 led to a tragic 1967 bridge collapse.
The Beast of Busco
Churubusco, Indiana: Confession time: of all the monsters on this list, the Beast of Busco is our favourite, and the most believable one. That’s because it’s actually a real animal–albeit a weird one. It was 1989. A farmer named Oscar Fulk saw a startling beast on his property: an alligator snapping turtle of monstrous size. The story was forgotten for about 50 years, but in 1949, the farmer who bought the farm started the rumour mill up again.
Gael Harris claimed he saw it on his property, but what really sealed the deal was that two Churubusco fishermen said they saw it, too. A massive search was conducted and the lake was drained in hopes of finding the mystery turtle, but nothing was found.
The Appalachians, Tennessee: Most of the wampus cats stories seem to cluster around Tennessee, although they are believed to roam the mountains across the Southern U.S. There are many different descriptions of the animal, but everyone agrees that the wampus cat (also known as a catawampus) is partially a mountain lion.
Some think that catawampus may just be another name for the beast, which at one point in history was also called a catamount. On the other hand, some versions depict the wampus cat as being half-woman, half-lion. Still others suggest it looks like a regular mountain lion, but with a spiked ball at the end of its tail, or six legs instead of four.
Mount St. Helens, Washington: Some creatures exist mostly in the imaginations of fans, with very little evidence. Sometimes, there isn’t even a fun, creepy story to support the idea. Sometimes, all a good monster idea needs is a fun name: Batsquatch. Think about that name for a second, what do you imagine? A giant, ape-like body, a horrifying bat face, an a set of massive, membraned wings?
Apparently, that’s exactly what it looks like. Allegedly, it was seen just before the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980. But who cares about proof, when the monster’s name is so awesome? Batsquatch!
Okanagan Lake, British Columbia: There is yet another marvelous lake monster alive and well (maybe), this time in Canada. Although First Nations have allegedly seen this sea monster since the 19th century,Ogopogo was first spotted at an Okanagan Mission beach.
This event was supposedly witnessed by about thirty cars of people who all claimed to have seen the same thing: a 40 to 50-foot-long snake-like creature resembling an extinct Basilosaurus or Mosasaurus. Sightings continue today: in September 2018, there were reportedly three separate sightings, one of which was described as a giant “snake” that was about 49 feet long.
Great Lakes Region, Canada: Wendigo (or sometimes Windigo), is an evil humanoid demon that has a horrifying power. Algonquin tribes of the Great Lakes believe it can turn people into cannibals by possessing them. These terrible creatures are often seen as a symbol of greed, but they have a physical form too, and it’s none too appealing.
They’re extremely tall and emaciated, with yellowed, rotting skin and sunken eyes, and they hang out in freezing forests, looking for people who might be starving enough to eat another person.
Nahanni Valley, Northwest Territories: Why are all the Canadian mythical creatures so…violent and horrible? Waheelas are said to be gigantic wolves with wider heads, spread-out toes, and long white fur, much like the prehistoric dire wolves. First Nations in the region claim that it stands around 4 feet tall. Waheelas are believed to have a morbid hobby: removing the, ah, heads of their victims.
This is such a widespread rep that the area they’re meant to roam has been nicknamed the “Valley of the Headless Men”, due to many decapitated bodies being found there. Of course, all those murders were pinned on the poor waheelas, even though it’s safe to say that’s a bit of a stretch…