Post by Graveyardbride on Nov 18, 2018 20:42:28 GMT -5
Indiana Cryptids and Strange Beings
Have you ever seen a creature you can’t explain – something that shouldn’t exist, but made your blood run cold and every hair on your body stand straight up? You’re not alone. Long before and ever since the first European settlers set foot in Indiana, there have been reports of strange encounters with beasties in the state’s forests and lakes. These creatures are known as cryptids, or animals whose existence or survival is disputed or unsubstantiated.
Bigfoot in the Pacific Northwest, the Monster of Scotland’s Loch Ness and the Chupacabra of the southwestern United States and Central America are among the globe’s most famous cryptids. While the Hoosier State’s cryptid creatures may not be as well-known as their headline-grabbing cousins, the stories surrounding them are just as terrifying. Following is a spine-tingling list of Indiana’s cryptids:
Wild Men/Bigfoot. While most Bigfoot reports originate in other parts of the country, Indiana isn’t without its stories of encounters with large, hairy humanoid creatures. A Dec. 30, 1839, article in a Pennsylvania newspaper tells of a 4-foot-tall “wild child” covered in light brown hair running about the hills in Michigan City, Indiana. Another wild child was sought by a posse of 300 in June of 1860 in Carroll County. And, in 1937, an animal some described as a “monster hairy ape” and others as a “giant sloth” or a “cross between a sloth and ape” was believed to be stalking the Booneville area.
What has come to be known as the “Crosley Monster” was first reported in July 2006. Four boys camping in the Crosley State Fish and Wildlife Area in Jennings County (about an hour north of Louisville), saw two glowing red eyes, which they estimated to be about 8 feet off the ground, watching them as they fished. When they shined their light on the watcher, whatever it was became angry, rushed in their direction and the boys fled. They said the monster was covered in matted dirty hair from head to toe and had bright yellow teeth. What sets this sighting apart from most Bigfoot stories is that when the youngsters first saw the creature, it was standing upright, but when it when it came toward them, it ran on all fours. The boys managed to get away as the monster ran into a field. There have been reports of bloodcurdling howls that stops people in their tracks in the same location.
Mill Race Monster. Two sightings of this cryptid were reported the same day – Saturday, Nov. 1, 1974. Four women claimed they encountered a large, green, hairy monster (illustration above) in Mill Race Park around 3 p.m. Approximately eight hours letter, around 11:45 p.m., two other women reported the same beast jumped onto the hood of their car, leaving “scratch marks in the paint.” A few days later, the Indianapolis Star reported yet another sighting, in which dogcatchers Rick Duckworth and John Brown, both in their 20s, alleged the monster wasn’t a monster at all, but merely a large man “wearing a green mask and green blankets.” In 2015, Tyra Cataline, one of the women who encountered the creature 41 years earlier, appeared on Monsters and Mysteries in America and insisted the thing she saw “wasn’t somebody wearing a costume.”
Green-Clawed Monster. In 1955, two women swimming in the Ohio River near Evansville reported a terrifying incident involving an unknown creature. One of the ladies was floating on a raft when a green, hairy clawed hand grabbed her leg, pulling her under the water. She escaped, however a green hand print reportedly remained on her leg for days. The fact this incident occurred shortly after the release of Creature from the Black Lagoon is surely pure coincidence.
Beast of Busco. “Oscar” is definitely the most famous of Indiana’s cryptids. The “Beast of Busco” is said to be a giant turtle with a shell as big as a dining room table that inhabits a lake near Churubusco, Indiana. First spotted by the owner in 1898, Oscar’s popularity picked up steam when the humongous diapsid was spotted by two fishermen in 1948. The “discovery” led to an all-out effort to capture the monster, but several attempts, including draining most of the lake, failed to produce Oscar. The town, however, has capitalized on the sightings, dubbing itself “Turtle Town USA” and celebrating its cryptid each year with a Turtle Days Festival.
Mudmaids. Indiana is nowhere near the coastline or even the Great Lakes, making it quite a stretch when Hoosiers claim to see a mermaid, a beautiful (or hideous, depending on the teller of the tale) half-human, half-fish cryptid of the sea. But in 1894, two Ohio newspapers reported sightings of such a creature on the Ohio River near Vevay, Indiana. These “mud mermaids” had apparently taken up residence on a sand bar. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the creatures were purported to be “about five feet in length” with a “yellowish” color and “the extremities resemble hands and are webbed and furnished with sharp claws.” The mermaid was devoid of hair but had ears that were “sharp-pointed and stand up like those of a dog.”
Monster snake. Don’t go near the graveyard west of Oxford, Indiana. According to a September 1889 report in the Lafayette Courier, a monstrous snake, 15-feet-long and “as large in circumference as a good-sized stovepipe, with eyes of fire, adorned with horns underneath fully 10 inches long,” lurks among the grave stones. It was rumored the snake fed on the corpses in the cemetery.
Meshekenabek. Apparently, Indiana has a Loch Ness-type monster of its own, with reports dating to the American Indians who once inhabited the lands near Rochester. An August 1838 article in the Logansport Telegraph describes a monster, known to the Potawatomi as the Meshekenabek, in Lake Manitou, that was estimated to be 60-feet-long with a noggin shaped like a cow’s head about 3 feet across. The creature was reportedly a “dingy” color with bright yellow spots. There was apparently a “well-known tradition of the Indians respecting the Monster in ‘Devil’s Lake.’”
Puk-Wud-Jie. No Hoosier cryptid list would be complete without Madison County’s mysterious troll-like critters. According to American Indian folklore, the local variety, standing 2- to 3-feet-tall with rounded white faces and dull blond hair, inhabit the area near the White River in Mounds State Park. With magical powers and a penchant for playing tricks, the “little wild men of the forest” were believed to be mostly peaceful and even participated in trade with the local Indians. There are periodic Puk-Wud-Jie explorations in the park wherein children and adults attempt to lure the little creatures from their hiding places with offers of peanut butter cookies.
Sources: Heather Bremer, The Washington Times-Herald, October 23, 2018; 103GBF, September 12, 2018; and Darcie Nadel, Exemplore, December 30, 2016.