Cryptids, for those not in the know, are mythical beasts, either culled from local or indigenous folklore, or else arisen from freaky encounters recounted by everyday citizens. There are near-uncountable cryptids all over the world, from the Loch Ness monster to the yeti. Many of these creatures are said to be human-like in appearance – in some cases simply because they are bipedal (walking on two legs); in others, because their resemblances to men, women, and children are uncanny. Every state in America has a humanoid cryptid to call their own. Some of these unclassified animals are urban legends steeped in local culture, while others are one-off, chance encounters with monsters, possibly even aliens. Here are 50 such cryptids, the craziest from every US state on the map.
Alabama: Huggin’ Molly Huggin’ Molly originated from Abbeville, where there’s even a restaurant named after her. The legend goes, Molly appears to children at night. She grabs a hold of the kids, squeezes them tightly in her arms, and screams in their ears. She is purported to be seven feet tall and wears black clothing with a wide-brimmed hat or hood.
Alaska: Qalupalik The Qalupalik are creatures from Inuit legend. They are said to have long hair, green skin, and long fingernails. The Qalupalik snatch away disobedient children and keep them underwater forever.
Arizona: Mogollon Monster The Mogollon Monster is Arizona’s version of Bigfoot, said to roam around the Mogollon Rim, an escarpment near the New Mexico border. The beast stands roughly seven feet tall, is covered in long, matted hair, and is reported to smell awful.
Arkansas: Fouke Monster Also known as the “Southern Sasquatch,” the Fouke Monster hails from the town of Fouke in Arkansas. Like other Bigfoot-related cryptids, the Fouke stands roughly seven feet tall, is covered in hair, and smells atrocious. However, this Arkansas iteration is reportedly quite violent. The Fouke provided the basis for the film The Legend of Boggy Creek.
California: Fresno NightcrawlersThe Fresno Nightcrawlers are so named due to a surveillance video that surfaced in 2008, purporting to show a creature that appeared to be all legs. The creatures are believed to be the same as those spoken of in certain Native American folklore.
Colorado: TommyknockersTommyknockers are said to be tiny elf-like beings (or, in Colorado, the spirits of dead miners) who make knocking sounds to warn living miners of impending danger. However, other legends insist the tommyknockers are mischievous entities who like to steal from miners or cause general, but not deadly, mayhem. Of course, Stephen King had his own take on the legend…
Connecticut: Melon HeadsOne of the few cryptids with some genuine evidence supporting their existence, the Melon Heads are also prominent in Ohio and Michigan. They are said to be large-headed, short-of-stature beings who are either shy and reclusive, or malicious and aggressive, depending on the legend. Some of the wilder origins surrounding the Melon Heads insist the beings are either government experiments gone awry, or human-alien hybrids.
The legend of the Mhuwe originates from the Native American tribe from which the state takes its name. Native Languages describes the monster as such: “Mhuwe is a man-eating ice giant of Lenape legend, like the Windigo of the Ojibway and Cree tribes. Not many tales of Mhuwe were ever recorded, but like the better-known Windigo, Mhuwe was a fearsome monster associated with starvation, cannibalism, and sin. A person who tasted human flesh or went mad from the cold might turn into a Mhuwe, and in at least one Lenape legend, a Mhuwe monster that is treated kindly and given civilized food to eat can be turned back into a human”
Florida: Skunk Ape
Florida’s own Bigfoot (though it’s been known to appear elsewhere), the Skunk Ape follows familiar territory where ape-like cryptids are concerned: big, hairy, and stinky. This last characteristic, however, is the Skunk Ape’s most defining feature. Witnesses of the creature have likened this smell to that of a skunk, hence its name, but more often than not it is said to smell “rancid” or “putrid,” like rotting food or dead flesh.Georgia: Frozen Bigfoot
In August of 2008, two men claimed to have discovered the body of a dead Bigfoot-like creature near a northern Georgia forest. Naturally, the whole thing turned out to be a big hoax, but for just a moment, cryptozoologists believed the proof of this urban legend might have finally surfaced.
Hawaii: MenehuneThese mythical little people, who range in height from six inches to two feet, are said to be excellent and industrious builders, who can construct and engineer structures overnight.
Idaho: Human-Like Aliens
There have been numerous encounters with humanoid aliens in the Gem State, going back as far as the 1950s. In many of these incidents, strange “non-human entities” were observed either inside their spacecrafts, or standing near them. The beings in each individual sighting bore a striking resemblance to one another, with an incident in 1967 perhaps being the closest look at these creatures reported:
“Its face was oval and heavily pitted and creased. Two small, round eyes and a straight, slit-like mouth completed the facial features. Large ears stood high on the hairless head.”
There were also a spate of sightings in 2013, in which “human-like figures” wearing either white or black suits were observed “in formation” near bright, shining objects.
Illinois: the Enfield HorrorA small creature, roughly three feet in height, with a small body, small arms, and “pink eyes as big as flashlights,” terrorized the small town of Enfield, Illinois, in 1973. The animal was said to have leapt forty feet in just three bounds. A similar creature was spotted in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, forty miles from Enfield, between 1941 and 1942.
Indiana: the Double-Footed Being
In 1988, a boy living in Knox, Indiana, observed a UFO in his yard in the middle of the night. He states that a being emerged from the craft and began walking toward his house: “The humanoid was described as a bit over 5-foot tall with normal arms with what appeared to be claws and strange ‘double feet.’ The being wore a belt and a buckle and appeared to have some type of symbols across its chest. It had a large nose, large square mouth, and huge dark brown eyes. The skin was lizard like green with scales and wrinkled.”
Iowa: Grassman Grassman,BearThis ape-like cryptid, not unlike Sasquatch, is mostly associated with Ohio, though he has reportedly made appearances in Iowa as well. He is described as being seven feet tall, weighing 300 pounds, and leaving three-toed footprints. Grassman is so named because he is most commonly observed walking through tall grass.
Kansas: Beaman Beaman is said to be a kind of hybrid between Bigfoot and a wolf, though not necessarily a traditional wolfman or werewolf – a wereape, perhaps? Beaman hangs out in the forests near Kansas City, meaning he claims dual residency in Kansas and Missouri.
Kentucky: Kelly-Hopkinsville GoblinWhether a hallucination spurred by too much moonshine, a randy owl attack, or a genuine encounter with alien beings, we may never know. Regardless, the Kelly-Hopkinsville incident, in which a pair of families was terrorized over a twenty-four hour period by goblin or gremlin-like creatures in metallic clothing that could float, is one of the craziest cryptozoological stories on the books.
Louisiana: RougarouThis beast roams the greater New Orleans area, and is said to be a variation of the werewolf myth, although while Rougarou has the head of a wolf, his body is said to be human. Among other origin tales, Rougarou is believed to hunt down and devour any Catholics who do not follow the rules of Lent.
Maine: ArgopelterA creature similar to Sasquatch, only more the size of a chimp, Argopelter’s most distinctive feature are his arms, which are “like muscular whiplashes, with which [Argopelter] can snap off dead branches and hurl them through the air like shells from a six inch gun,” according to one eyewitness.
Mark Opsasnick, folklore investigator, breaks down the three primary origin stories behind the Goatman:
“Number one is that they described a creature that was half-man, half-animal, walking on two feet. The other aspect of the legend was that it was a mad scientist – a scientist who worked in the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center who was experimenting on goats, and the experiment went astray, and he started attacking cars with an ax. [He’d attack] anyone who would roam the back roads of the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. The third aspect of the legend was that it was just an old hermit who retreated to the woods and would be seen walking alone at night along Fletchertown Road, and when anyone would come around, he’d just run away.”In other areas, the Goatman is known as the Pope Lick Monster, and a woman actually lost her life looking for this iteration of the beast; she was struck by an oncoming train and fell off a bridge to her death.
Massachusetts: the Dover Demon .The Dover Demon is described as standing four feet tall, with no nose or no mouth, its face mostly consumed by large orange-glowing eyes, and tendril-like fingers growing from its hands and feet. He made one appearance in Dover, Massachusetts, in April 1977, though it is speculated the demon may have also terrorized a gentleman in 1914.
Alison Hudson of Skeptoid describes the Michigan Dogman, a creature not unlike the famed Rougarou of Louisiana: “In the counties of Northern Michigan, folks tell tales of a strange creature stalking the night. At first, most who encounter it think it’s just a large black dog; but then the beast rears up on its hind legs and reveals its true nature: a 7-foot tall, bipedal monstrosity with the head of a canine, surprisingly blue eyes, and the torso of a man. It lets out an unearthly howl that sounds almost like a human scream, sending all but most stalwart of witnesses fleeing in fear.”
Minnesota, the Iceman
The Minnesota Iceman first surfaced in 1968, when he was supposedly “discovered” by Ivan Sanderson Dr. Bernard Heuvelmans and touted as the “missing link” between ape and human. The Iceman began making the circus and fair rounds, with exhibitor Frank Hansen charging a quarter per person to view the monstrosity. After disappearing from view for several years, the Iceman found a new home in 2013, at the Museum of the Weird in Austin, Texas.
Mississippi: Man-BatA personal account from 1991 details one teenager’s encounter with a half-man, half-bat creature in the small town of Mantachi. The beast at first looked like a man in a long, black cloak, but later, he took on more of a bat-like form, complete with glowing red eyes.
Missouri: MomoSeveral encounters with Momo, short for Missouri monster, were reported between 1971 and 1972. Momo is said to have a large, pumpkin-shaped head and a body/face completely covered in fur. He also apparently makes unpleasant growling or gurgling noises and a emits a far more unpleasant odor.
It began in June 1959 and lasted twenty days: a wave of sightings, stalkings, and abduction attempts by the famed “greys,” which are the most commonly recognized form of extraterrestrial beings out there. The length of time of these visitations is strange, considering that greys typically reveal themselves only a few times. But this was not the first encounter with aliens in Big Sky Country. Reports of visitations go as far back as 1932 and persisted both before and long after the encounter described above. As such, Montana is considered a hotbed of alien activity, and the state has experienced everything from crop circles to cattle mutilation.
Nebraska: the Phantom Kangaroo
While some sightings of kangaroos around the nation have likely been escaped zoo animals or pets, descriptions of a giant kangaroo not unlike the prehistoric procoptodon, appearing in the midwest suggests something far more uncanny. In 1958, Charles Wetzel observed such a creature on his land in by the Platte River near Grand Island, Nebraska. The beast, whose head more resembled that of a deer, was chasing his dogs, but when Wetzel approached the animal it sprinted away in incredible 10-foot leaps.
Nevada: PenelopePenelope is a thin, long-armed and long-legged woman, described as having a witch- or zombie-like appearance, with long, light-colored hair. She haunts the Sierra Nevada area, and is said to emit a piercing, high-pitched scream. Locals do not know why the woman’s name is Penelope, nor do they have any idea about her origin.
New Hampshire: Wood DevilsAnother Sasquatch-like creature, only described as very skinny and covered in gray fur. The Wood Devils also appear to be pack animals, often appearing in groups, as opposed to the single creature sightings typical of most Bigfoot encounters.
New Jersey: Jersey Devil
From Pinelands Preservation Alliance: “Designated in 1938 as the country’s only state demon, the Jersey Devil is described as a kangaroo-like creature with the face of a horse, the head of a dog, bat-like wings, horns and a tail. For more than 250 years this mysterious creature is said to prowl through the marshes of Southern New Jersey and emerge periodically to rampage through the towns and cities.” The creature’s origin is even more compelling. It is said a local woman, distressed over her thirteenth pregnancy, cried out that she hoped the baby was the devil. And so, when the child was born, the Jersey Devil emerged instead of a normal baby. It screeched a horrible scream and then fled into the swamp, where it would prowl and terrorize for the rest of time.
New Mexico: Spring-Heeled Jack Though predominantly an English urban legend, Spring-Heeled Jack has made appearances all over the world, even showing up in Silver City, New Mexico in 1938. Sometimes described as having devilish aspects, other times described as a tall, thin gentleman, Spring-Heeled Jack is universally recognized for his ability to leap high into the air and travel long-distances by jumping.
New York: Cardiff GiantLater proven to be a hoax, the Cardiff Giant, discovered near Cardiff, NY, held the nation’s imagination for a period of time, as it purported to prove statements made in the Bible that giants once walked the earth. But no such archaeological bomb shell was ever discovered – the giant was only made of gypsum.
North Carolina: Moon-Eyed People .MinThese beings are dwarf-like and have large, round eyes, hence their name. They are believed to build house-like mounds in the woods, which serve as shelter for the Moon-Eyed people, as well as sources of great power and energy.
North Dakota: Miniwashitu
From Cryptidz: “…also known as the Water Monster of the Missouri River, is a terrifying hairy beast that supposedly travels the Missouri River in central North Dakota… the Miniwashitu is 7-8 feet tall, has tough bison-like hide and fur, has a single eye and a single bison horn set above this eye, elk-like hooves, human hands, and a jagged and spiny backbone much like a Chupacabra’s.” The description of this creature sounds very similar to Rawhead Rex, the massive demon creature from the Clive Barker film adaptation of the same name.
Ohio: Loveland Frogmen
Half-man, half-frog, all TERROR! Well, not exactly terror: in the two encounters reported with the Loveland Frogmen (so named for their appearances in Loveland, Ohio), the creatures did not seem particularly antagonistic. In 1955, a group of Frogmen approached a local citizen on the road, prompting him to run to the police. Naturally, they were nowhere to be found by the time the man came back with the authorities. However, in 1972, a police officer did get to see the legendary animal. As it approached him – just as the Frogmen had done nearly twenty years earlier – the officer opened fire. He did not hit the Frogman, and the creature escaped. No other sightings have been reported since.
Stikinis are a legend from Seminole folklore, which found its way to Oklahoma when the Seminole people were forced to migrate their from their native Florida. The video game Final Fantasy features a version of the Stikini, and as such the wiki page for the game features a solid breakdown of the creatures’ etymology:
“Stikini appear as normal humans by day, but at night they transform into owls or other animals and sneak off into the woods and vomit up their internal organs that are hung in a tree or else hidden. The Stikini then transforms into an owl and flies off to feast on human hearts which they rip from sleeping humans through their mouths. The Stikini must retrieve and swallow its organs to transform into a human again. Hearing the cry of a Stikini is said to be an omen of approaching death.” Stikini legends are most prominent in Stikland, OK, where the creatures are typically described as owls with human faces.
Oregon, Unknown Goblin-Like CreatureOn December 30, 2013, a video surfaced claiming to show a strange creature resembling a hybrid between a man and a goblin. While it seems obvious the creature in the video is computer-generated, it is not out of the realm of possibly an animal bearing this description could occupy the woods of Oregon, alongside his more famous Pacific Northwest cousin, Sasquatch himself.
Pennsylvania: White BigfootA strange, all-white Bigfoot creature has been spotted numerous times around the Carbondale, Pennsylvania, area. Due to his height appearing to be shorter than many other creatures of the same ilk, some speculate this may be a juvenile Sasquatch, or else another breed of cryptid altogether. There is even a rather famous video of this creature that, while likely fake, is nonetheless well-done.
Rhode Island: Big Rhodey LiRhode Island’s own version of Bigfoot. He doesn’t appear to have much by way of features that distinguish him from other Sasquatch creatures. He even has his own blurry video, captured by two guys out in the woods. Some legends are just too good to alter in any way.
South Carolina: Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp
This Lizard Man is not associated with Lizard People, the race of creatures said to control the world by disguising themselves as politicians and government officials. No, this guy sticks to the swamps around Lee County, and enjoys terrifying citizens in their cars, among other antics. From Wikipedia: “The Lizard Man is generally described as being 7 feet (2.1 m) tall, bipedal, and bulky, covered in dark hair with scaly lizard-like skin on its hands, feet and face. It is said to have three toes on each foot and three fingers on each hand. The creature has an incredible degree of strength, more than capable of ripping into a car. A few witnesses have reported seeing a tail, although in the majority of cases, a tail was not seen.”
South Dakota: Hitchhiking Demons
Outside Eagle Butte, SC, a man driving home late at night was first circled by a band of glowing red orbs that surrounded his car. Then the man came upon a translucent being standing at the side of the road. The entity reached through the man’s windshield and touched his head. He describes the creature as such:
“It was glowing like a real dim light bulb cause you can see through it. Eyes were size of human, really long nose long in length. It has a really big mouth. Its arms were like sticks. They were parallel through each other. The two sticks looked like it was glowing. It was around 4 foot tall, but its arms stretched.”
There was also another creature standing alongside this being:
“The other one, on the left hand side of the road had a face like a beast, horrifying, ugly, looked wrinkly, walked like a squat about the size of a goat. It was glowing too, reddish brown. It was wide and narrow.” While this other creature stayed on the road, the first being reportedly entered the man’s car and rode with him for several miles before vanishing completely.
Tennessee: Wild ManTheorized to be the escaped “ape man” specimen from a traveling freak show, and possibly the progenitor of the Bigfoot race of cryptids, the Tennessee Wild Man first appeared in McNairy County in the 1800s. He is described as tall and hairy, but far more human in appearance than his more ape-like brethren.
The legend of El Chupacabra is believed to have originated in Puerto Rico. But the creature has made his way through Latin America and finally began appearing in southwest states in America, particularly Texas. Chupacabra, which means “goat-sucker,” is described as being about the size of a young bear, with scaly spikes running down the length of its back. It walks on its hind legs and, true to its name, killing goats and draining them of their blood.
Utah: Hobbled Humanoid
A couple was attacked by an unknown creature in November 2010. They had pulled over on the side of the road during an argument, and the man had stepped out to get some fresh air. That’s when he spotted a figure similar to that of a bear charging toward their vehicle at a rapid pace, despite the fact the animal appeared to be hobbling, as though injured.
The man clamored back into the car and told his girlfriend to speed away. She did so, but the animal caught up to them easily. Getting a closer look, the couple noticed that the creature was completely covered in thick black fur, the only thing visible its eyes, which appeared to bulge out of its head like those of a praying mantis. After several minutes of pursuit, the creature vanished.
Vermont: the Pig Man
The Pigman of Northfield, VT, actually has a name – Sam Harris. It is said Harris disappeared on the night before Halloween in 1951. Though never found, many theorize Harris became possessed by Satan that fateful night, forcing him to stalk the woods for all eternity. According to Cryptidz: “Sam Harris is known to slaughter pigs, eat their entrails, hollow out the pig’s head, and wear it over himself all while terrorizing the New England town locals. Sam supposedly still haunts the hills surrounding Devil’s Washbowl. Rumour has it he lies with the pigs and is also known for bestiality spawning half man half pig offspring.”
Virginia: MothmanA spate of sightings in 1966 and 1967 established Virginia’s most well-known urban legend, the Mothman. He is described as either a brown or white figure, with the body of a man and the wings of a moth. His eyes are also said to glow red when illuminated. This cryptid received the Hollywood treatment in 2002 with the Richard Gere-starring film The Mothman Prophecies.
Washington: SasquatchThe grandaddy of them all, the original Bigfoot was been spotted across all of Washington state more times than in any other region in the U.S. In 2014 alone, there were 573 reported encounters with old Sasquatch. There are even guides for Sasquatch-sighting in Washington. Apparently, the Cascades Mountains region is the best place to catch (if only fleetingly) Bigfoot in action.
West Virginia: Flatwood Monster
On September 12, 1952, a group of Flatwood, West Virginia, residents ran into the woods to investigate a bright red flash they’d seen moments before. While shining a flashlight amongst the trees, one boy’s beam fell across an unknown figure.
Joe Nickell of Skeptical Inquirer writes:
“The light revealed a towering ‘man-like’ figure with a round, red ‘face’ surrounded by a ‘pointed, hood-like shape.’ The body was dark and seemingly colorless, but some would later say it was green, and Mrs. May reported drape-like folds. The monster was observed only momentarily, as suddenly it emitted a hissing sound and glided toward the group. Lemon responded by screaming and dropping his flashlight, whereupon everyone fled.” While many are convinced this being was an extraterrestrial, the more likely answer is that it was an owl.
Wisconsin: Beast of Bray RoadSimilar to neighboring Michigan’s Dogmen legend, this creature, as his name indicates, first appeared near Bray Road, a rural route outside Elkhorn, Wisconsin, in 1936. Described as a hybrid bear-dog, he made another rash of appearances in the ’80s and ’90s, prompting journalist Linda Godfrey to follow the story closely, and eventually write a book about the town’s terrifying encounters with this cryptid.
Wyoming: the Nimerigar The Nimerigar, according to Shoshone legend (a tribe prominent in Wyoming), were a vicious race of people standing no taller than three feet, known for attacking passersby with poisoned arrows.
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