The 5 Spookiest Cryptids You've Never Heard Of

It’s Halloween! Which is to say, it’s October, and so the whole month counts as Halloween (because those are just the rules). And as this week in particular is the one leading up to Halloween, it has to be extra spooky—so grab a cup of apple cider (or hot cocoa), curl up with a warm blanket, and get ready to learn about five of the spookiest cryptids running around in the wild out there. After all...who knows how many just might live near you?

1. Corn Wolves

As if anyone needed another reason to stay out of creepy cornfields! In some rural areas of the United States, so the legend goes, there are “corn wolves” who wander the cornfields, looking for any small children who might have wandered in by accident to devour. Though this legend is largely oral—I heard it myself from a friend who grew up in rural Pennsylvania—the “corn wolves” are most likely based on the Roggenwolf, or “rye wolf,” a wolf in German legend who lived in rye fields and (you guessed it) would devour any children foolish enough to wander in. In addition, the legend seems to be popular mainly in areas both that produce large quantities of corn and have a history of German immigration and settlement. This excludes the legend from places like Minnesota, with history that centers around Scandinavian immigrants, and includes areas like Nebraska, or Pennsylvania. So now you have a reasonable explanation for the proliferation of corn wolves. Still though, try standing quietly the next time you go into a cornfield—is it just the irrigation systems, or is that the sound of huge lungs breathing? Is that a wave of corn, or a muscled back slinking through the stalks?

Maybe don’t stay long enough to find out.

 

 

2. The Honey Island Swamp Monster

This one is...weird. Local to the Honey Island Swamp in Louisiana, legend says that in the early 20th century, a circus train overturned and released a group of chimpanzees into the wild, where they...mated with the local alligators.

 

 

Likely? Not even a little. But the description is enough to spook anybody—the Honey Island Swamp Monster is supposedly bipedal and about seven feet tall, with yellow eyes and webbed toes. Purportedly sighted for the first time in 1963 by Harlan Ford and his friend Billy Mills, the monster disappeared and didn’t resurface again until 1974. That, plus a couple plaster casts of its footprints and (allegedly) a videotape of the monster itself are all the evidence that points to the existence of the Honey Island Swamp Monster. But even with the likelihood of a hoax, Ford and Mills did find a wild boar with its throat gashed nearby—real or not, it wouldn’t be a pleasant thing to meet a creature with claws that large.

 

3. The Loveland Frog

This cryptid, the inspiration behind the 2014 musical (and no, this is not a joke) Hot Damn! It’s the Loveland Frog!, was first sighted in 1955. The story goes that a businessman was traveling alone on an unnamed road late at night in Loveland, Ohio when he saw three figures, three or four feet tall, standing by the side of the road, with skin like leather and the faces of frogs. In 1972, locals briefly thought the Loveland Frog had resurfaced when a Loveland police officer spotted a large unidentified animal scurrying across the road and standing erect to climb over a guardrail—but just turned out to be a tailless iguana. However, there have been Loveland Frog sightings as recently as 2016, when two teenagers playing Pokémon Go in Loveland claimed to have seen a giant frog stand up and walk on its hind legs while playing the game out in the wilderness. So either it’s the Loveland Frog for real, or real-life Pokémon have existed this whole time. Either way, maybe stick to the bigger cities in Ohio, or at least avoid the lonely back roads with no names; it’s anyone’s guess what you might run across.

 

 

4. The Beast of Bladenboro

The tale of the Beast of Bladenboro is one of the more convoluted ones. Native to Bladenboro, North Carolina, the Beast made its first appearance in late December, 1953. The first signs of its appearance (sorry in advance for the gross imagery) were the sudden deaths of multiple dogs in the vicinity of Bladenboro. All had had their heads crushed and had been drained of blood, adding a layer of complexity to what might have ordinarily been ruled the work of a hungry cougar or bear. In addition to this, most sightings reported something that initially looked like a mountain lion, but at second glance appeared much bigger, and the tracks it left were apparently enormous.

The hunt for the Beast appeared to end in January of 1954—three times. On January 13th, local farmer Luther Davis discovered a bobcat caught in a trap and turned it in, causing the mayor to declare that the Beast had finally been stopped. That same day, however, a man named Bruce Soles, on his way out of town, hit a 75- to 90-pound cat with his vehicle, killing it and beginning the argument over the true identity of the Beast. To complicate things, not only was a third unnamed man credited in newspapers for the killing of the Beast, but those involved give conflicting reports of what they saw. Some said it resembled a cougar; others say a wolverine; some (including the local chief of police), a wolf. However, with no attacks since 1954, most presume it is long dead and Bladenboro, in an interesting turn of events, has taken on the Beast as its mascot.

 

 

5. The Enfield Monster

The Enfield Monster, similar to the Beast of Bladenboro, is simultaneously a story of the spooky and unnatural, and a story of the effects of mass panic on a single community. The monster was first sighted in 1973 in Enfield, Illinois by Henry McDaniel, who heard a scratching at the front door, and who later described the creature as three-legged, two-armed, with two big pink eyes. It apparently stood at around four and a half feet high, and was grayish-colored. McDaniel is also on record saying, “If they do find it, they will find more than one and they won't be from this planet, I can tell you that.” A local ten-year-old boy later claimed to researchers that it had all been a prank, something that the locals were not aware of. The story was covered widely at the time, but had to back down after Enfield residents expressed concerns that more press coverage was likely to encourage monster-hunters. While it is speculated that the creature might have been an escaped kangaroo or a wild ape (apparently commonly reported around that area), McDaniel continued to assert that he’d seen an alien from outer space, and that there were undoubtedly more of them. Either way, whether via alien or firearm or rogue kangaroo, Enfield was not a safe place for the time and who knows, maybe even now. Who can say if the Enfield monster is truly gone? Whether an actual extraterrestrial or just a wild animal, Enfield might be a place to steer clear of on late nights.

 

There are many more cryptids out there, of course, ranging from the well-known Bigfoot and Mothman to the lesser-known Nightcrawlers and Ozark Howler. For now, though, it is enough to wish you all a very happy Halloween—and to advise you all to perhaps stay away from those lonely back roads and woods in order to have a safe and happy Halloween (or, at the very least, if you do go, to learn from your predecessors and bring a camera).

 

[Feature image by Unsplash; all others by Giphy]