A friend of mine asked me to make up a quiz of American cryptids. Why me? Well she knows that my wife and I have an extensive library of monsters and supernatural creatures (there’s a whole section devoted to just cryptids). Alas, most of my books were on international cryptids or mythological animals, but I think I dug up enough information to make the quiz work.
Here are 13 of the most popular North American cryptids, complete with a brief description and a picture. A little bit of trivia: out of the 13 creatures, three are native to West Virginia. And I was already worried about my Uncle-in-law who lives there. Plus, three of the 13 creatures were first spotted in 1977. (A banner year for LSD? You decide.)
#1: A creature with bat wings, a thin neck, horse’s head with goat’s horns, and cloven hooves. Reports put it anywhere from three to six-feet tall. It preys on small animals and livestock in the woods of Eastern United States.
#2: A large hairy, ape-like humanoid that kidnaps humans throughout Northwest United States as well as Canada.
#3: A slimy-gray snake-like creature that haunts a lake in the Northeast United States and Canada.
#4: Looking like a cross between a satyr and Satan, this creature haunt lover’s lanes and secluded highways in Maryland.
#5: A dark figure with large wings and glowing eyes. Encounters with this creature in West Virginia are portents to disaster.
#6: An ape-like creature that lurks in the wilderness of Florida. It has been known to kill cats, even throwing a kitten at one witness.
#7: A wolf-like creature with clawed hands, yellow eyes that walks the roads around southeastern Wisconsin.
#8: A tan-colored creature with a bulging head and large, reflective eyes. This three-foot tall, spindly humanoid, haunts the woods around the Charles River in Massachusetts.
#9: Four-foot creatures with thick leathery skin, large bulging eyes, and webbed hands and feet. Swimmers in the Ohio River report being attacked from below by these creatures.
#10: This ten-foot tall creature has a dark green body surrounded by a robe with a pointed hood. It haunts the woods of West Virginia. Witnesses have noted a noxious odor causing skin and eye irritation.
#11: A sea serpent with a dark undulating body that gives the appearance of humps in the water. It’s head looks similar to a horse. It eats fish and the occasional horse around Lake Okanagan, British Columbia.
#12: A giant condor-like bird with a wingspan up to 35 feet. It carries off livestock, pets, and children in Southwestern United States.
#13: A gray humanoid with large red eyes. It slaughters livestock in Puerto Rico and Mexico.
So, how well did you do? Did you get all 13 right? Check below for answers.
Answer #1: The Jersey Devil or the Leeds Devil.
In the mid 1700s, the monster was born to a woman with the surname of Leeds. The monster leapt from her womb, ate her other children, and flew up through the chimney. It continues to haunt an area of woods called the Pine Barrens in New Jersey. It apparently likes to swoop into family homes via the chimney and make off with screaming children. Over 2000 people claim to have seen this creature over the years.
Answer #2: Bigfoot or Sasquatch.
This cryptid was skyrocketed to superstar status in 1958 when a construction worker named Jerry Crew showed a plaster cast of a footprint he found at Bluff Creek Valley to a newspaper, who dubbed the creature “Bigfoot.”
Answer #3: Champ is the American Loch Ness Monster.
He inhabits Lake Champlain, the largest lake next to the great lakes (100 miles long). He’s been sighted as even before Europeans arrived. Native American’s called him Chaousarou. P. T. Barnum offered a reward of $50,000 for the beast’s body (for his traveling show). Sandra Mansi took the most credible photo of Champ in 1977.
Answer #4: Goatman.
The legend goes like this: A scientist experimenting with goats somehow mutated into a goat-human hybrid. He was driven mad and now takes his vengeance on the youth surrounding Prince George’s County in Maryland.
Answer #5: Mothman.
Beginning in 1966, the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, two young couples were followed by this flying creature. They drove to the edge of town, clocking 100 mph, yet the creature had no trouble keeping up. The creature, then called “The Bird” made numerous appearances after that, rising up from behind parked cards, or chasing autos down the road. These appearance continued for a year, coupled with sighting of men in black who questioned and sometimes threatened witnesses. On December 15, 1967 the Silver Bridge collapsed, plunging 30 cars into the Ohio River. After the bridge disaster, the Mothman and the men in black were never seen again.
Answer #6: Skunk Ape or Florida Skunk Ape.
Reports vary, making this creature as large as bigfoot, or as small as an orangutan. It has glowing orange (or green) eyes and a repugnant scent that dogs refuse to track.
Answer #7: The Beast of Bray Road.
During the 80s and 90s, there were a rash of werewolf sightings around the towns of Elkhorn and Delavan. Motorists often saw an oddly hunched creature along Bray Road. The first report involved a woman who pulled to the side of the road after hitting something. She saw a dark shape in the woods. She quickly got back in the car and sped away, but the creature leapt on the back of the car, clawing the trunk, before falling off. Some people have connected this werewolf with the Native American legend of the Shunka Warakin (meaning “carried off dogs”).
Answer #8: The Dover Demon.
In 1977 several teenagers claim to have seen this creature in the woods around Dover. Although it bears resemblance to the “little gray men”, there were no UFO sightings during that time. Also, the creature appears similar to the Native American legend of the Mannegishi (a legendary Cree trickster).
Answer #9: The Loveland Frogmen.
Described as frog-like trolls, they inhabit the banks of the Ohio River near the town of Loveland. They’ve been seen lying along the shoulder of roads, easily mistaken for roadkill. Upon discovery, the creature will stand up on two legs and flee back to the water. Sighting most often occur in the Spring, particularly March.
Answer #10: The Flatwoods Monster, The Braxton Monster, The Green Monster, or The Phantom of Flatwoods.
On September 12, 1952, a UFO was reported to have crashed on a small town in Braxton County, West Virginia. Several boys witnessed the crash and investigated. They ran into a tall green figure with a pointed hood or helmet. Its clawed hands emitted a strange sulfurous smell. The boys fled. Authorities later found strange oily skid marks in the area.
Answer #11: Ogopogo.
Sightings date back to 1860 (about 60 years before Loch Ness). The name is not Native American, as it would seem. Native Americans call the creature N’ha-a-itk (meaning “snake in the lake”). A British entertainer, W. H. Brimblecombe, was fascinated by stories of the creature. He wrote a silly song where he uses a palindrome to name the creature. Recently, in 2000, John McDougal, attempted to swim the entire length to raise money for cancer research. As he swam past Rattlesnake Island, he spied two creatures, 20 to 30 feet long, swim beneath him for several minutes.
Answer #12: Thunderbird.
Almost every Native American tribe has a story about an enormous bird that can beat its wings like thunder. Lighting shoots from its eyes and its shadow blocks the sun. Storms follow in its wake. In 1977, a ten-year old boy from Illinois spotted a pair of thunderbirds in the sky. One swooped down and tried to abduct him. The mother’s screams scared the bird away. Cryptozoologists think this version of the bird, with a reported ten-foot wingspan, might be a relative of the Andean condor.
Answer #13: El Chupacabra.
Second only to Bigfoot in popularity. In the early 1990s an epidemic of slaughtered livestock, mostly goats, affected Puerto Rico. The animals had small puncture wounds on their necks and they were completely drained of blood. The legends spread and seemed to encompass other cryptids, thus creating competing descriptions for the creatures: small and hairy or tall and scaly, using fangs or a forked tongue. Although the Chupacabra is relatively new, its legend probably isn’t. In the 1970s, Puerto Rico had stories of El Vampiro Moca, a vampire in the town of Moca that killed livestock. South America has a mosquito-man, who drains animal blood through a long nose.