Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Haunted Appalachian Trail: Maryland Cryptids

The Maryland section of the Appalachian Trail is probably one of the most paranormally active, if not the most paranormally active section of the entire Trail.A large part of that is that Maryland doesn't have just your typical ghosts, it also boasts 4 different cryptids along its 40 mile section.


The name Snallygaster comes from the German Schnelle Geist or "fast ghost" that was associated with slamming doors and the toppling of light weight objects.  It's thought that it migrated here with the Germans in the 1730's.  Unlike the ghost, the Snallygaster is a large creature that is part reptile and part bird.  It has a large metallic beak lined with razor sharp teeth and vise like alligator jaws.  Its tail is like that of a lizard, its body scaly and its legs short and tipped with talon sharp hooked claws.  It has large wings with a spread of 25 feet. Some descriptions include octopus like tentacles and poisonous breath.  The Snallygaster flies over South Mountain looking for prey, and once it finds a victim, it shrieks and screams as it swoops in to grab its dinner.  It's said that the screech of the Snallygaster sounds similar to a train whistle.  In the area where the Snallygaster roamed, there were reports of dogs, livestock and even children going missing.  Outrunning the monster was the only way to prevent being devoured if it had you in its sights, but you could prevent the Snallygaster from coming near your property with the use of a 7 pointed star.  Many barns in the area still have them painted on their sides.
In February 1909, there was a report that the Snallygaster grabbed a man, bit his jugular, drained his blood and dumped his body off the hillside.  In fact, the Snallygaster's reign of terror was so great that Theodore Roosevelt considered postponing a highly publicized African safari to go to Maryland and hunt the Snallygaster.  However, he decided to just stick with the African safari. 
I came across some information that suggested in the 1980's, Maryland added the Snallygaster to its Endangered  Species List.  A check of the current Endangered Species List did not turn up any mention of the beast.  So next time your out camping or hiking the area of South Mountain and you hear that train whistle, ask yourself  "Was that really a train whistle?"

Snarly Yow

The Snarly Yow might be more ghost than cryptid, but I'm still including it in this list.    It's described as a large black dog with grotesque red mouth, large fangs and a howl like a werewolf.  Its appearance is similar to a Hell hound, but unlike the Hell hound, the Snarly Yow hasn't foretold anyone's imminent death.  The Snarly yow roams the area around South Mountain chasing cars and scaring hikers by jumping out of bushes.  Many years ago, an expert huntsman came across the Snarly Yow.  He took aim and shot at the animal but the bullets passed directly through. 


The Dwayyo is a creature that is described as being between 7 and 9 feet tall, hairy, similar to a wolf but with the arms, stance and stature of a man.  Its hair is bristly and it has a large bushy tail.  Many accounts mention hearing screams from the creature.  Chickens and cattle have been found dead in the areas where the Dwayyo has been seen and dogs refuse to hunt the beast and hide when they sense its presence.  There was an account of a girl who was driving to a friend's house who saw the Dwayyo.  As she drove through the woods she felt as though something was watching her and she saw something running through the trees.  As she slowed her car, a dog like creature ran out into the road on 2 legs.  It had large fangs and lunged at the car.  The girl sped away.  A nearby farmer claimed to see what he described as a 9 foot dog creature.  There was also a report from a man who used the alias "John Becker".  He said he went outside to investigate a strange noise and saw something coming at him as big as a bear but it had a long bushy tail and growled like a wolf or dog in anger.  The creature stood on hind legs and attacked him.  Becker fought the creature until it ran into the woods.  He did call the State Police and file a report under the alias.  Several hunters have also reported seeing a strange creature, and 2 men out spotlighting deer also had an encounter.  They said they saw a 6 foot tall creature that was inclined forward as it moved.  The head was large and had a profile like that of a wolf.  Its body was covered in brown or brindle fur and the lower half of the body had a striped pattern.  It's forelegs were slimmer and held in front and the back legs were think and muscular like a kangaroo's. Two park rangers also described seeing a large hairy bipedal creature in the area.  So what is roaming South Mountain?  Is it a werewolf like some have said or something akin to a hexenwulf- a person able to transform into a wolf like beast by using a magical talisman like a wolf hide belt or an amulet given to them by another person (often received by making deals with the devil).  Whatever it is, I would prefer not to encounter it or hear its awful screams.


Bigfoot doesn't really need any introduction.  Most people know the basic Bigfoot description.  But many people don't realize that Bigfoot doesn't just live in Oregon and Washington.  Bigfoot has also been sighted often on the East Coast.  In fact, there is some speculation that Bigfoot uses the Appalachian Mountains as a migration route.  There have been a few sightings of Bigfoot like creatures in the South Mountain area.

So, if you're out and about on the Appalachian Trail in Maryland, keep your eyes peeled for something out of place.  There's no telling what kind of beast you might stumble upon.

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