The Appalachian Mountains are a region rich in folklore and legends, with numerous tales of mysterious creatures and supernatural entities. From the Virginia Devil Monkey to the Flatwoods Monster, the lore of Appalachia is full of cryptids and otherworldly beings that have captivated the imaginations of locals and tourists alike.
These creatures have been the subject of countless sightings, stories, and debates, with many people still searching for evidence of their existence. Here are 10 of the creepiest cryptids from Appalachia.
Related: Top 10 Cryptids Easily Explained by Real Animals
10 The Smoke Wolf
According to legend, the Appalachian Smoke Wolf is a fierce predator that hunts at night and feeds on livestock, wildlife, and the occasional human unlucky enough to cross its path.
Physical encounters with a Smoke Wolf are extremely rare, but those who have seen it describe it as a large, wolf-like creature with black fur and red eyes. Is this giving anyone else Little Red Riding Hood vibes?
It also has the ability to transform into a cloud of smoke, making it almost impossible to track or catch. And if that isn’t enough to send chills down your spine, here are two more knowledge nuggets for you. It can only be deterred by the sound of rattling chains, and when you hear it, it sounds like the howl of a wolf with the scream of a demon.
The legend of the Smoke Wolf is relatively recent. It dates back to the early 1900s when reports of a mysterious, smoke-like creature began to circulate in the region, with some speculating that it was a supernatural entity or a previously unknown species of wolf.
9 The Silver Giant
The Appalachian Silver Giant is a creature from the folklore of the Appalachian region of North America. According to legend, this massive humanoid creature has shaggy silver fur and eyes that glow in the dark. It is described as being almost 10 feet (3 meters) tall and weighing over 500 pounds (227 kilograms), making it incredibly strong and agile.
The Silver Giant is said to be a solitary predator that hunts in the mountains and forests of the Appalachian region. It feeds on livestock, wildlife, and sometimes humans. Its strength and speed make it a formidable opponent, and those who have encountered it describe it as a terrifying and awe-inspiring sight.
Due to its fearsome reputation, the Appalachian Silver Giant is often portrayed as a creature to be avoided at all costs. Many believe that encountering the Silver Giant is a sign of impending doom or tragedy, and some legends suggest that it can only be defeated by powerful magic or divine intervention.
The legend of the Silver Giant is relatively recent, dating back to the mid-20th century. Some speculate that it was a previously unknown species of primate or a mutated bear. Many people in the region still believe that the creature is lurking in the forests and hills around them.
8 The Raven Mocker
The Raven Mocker is a creature from the folklore of Native American tribes in the Southeastern United States. According to legend, the Raven Mocker is a malevolent spirit that preys on the sick and dying.
It’s said to take the form of a large bird with raven feathers and sharp talons or an old person. Known for its ability to fly silently through the night, it hunts for those whose time has come. Once it finds its prey, it uses its powerful magic to drain their life force and prolong its own existence.
The legend of the Raven Mocker is believed to have originated from the fear and superstition surrounding death and disease in traditional Native American cultures, including the Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole. It was a way for people to explain the mysterious deaths of loved ones and understand the power of sickness and death.
Today, the Raven Mocker is still regarded as a dangerous and malevolent spirit in many Native American communities. Its legend continues to be passed down from generation to generation. Some believe that encountering the Raven Mocker is a sign of impending death or tragedy, and many traditions and rituals are still practiced to protect against its dark magic.
7 Virginia Devil Monkey
CRYPTIDS 101 🐾 Devil Monkey 🐾 “Deadly Demon Primate” (Appalachian NAPE Origin Myth Legend) ᴸᴺᴬᵗᵛ
The Virginia Devil Monkey is another creature from the folklore of the Appalachian region. According to legend, the Devil Monkey is malevolent and dangerous, preying on humans.
The Devil Monkey is said to be a medium-sized (3-5 feet or 1-1.5 meters), ape-like creature with powerful legs, 3-toed feet with sharp talons, and a thick tail. It’s known for its incredible strength and agility and can move quickly through the trees and over rugged terrain.
The legend of the Virginia Devil Monkey supposedly originates from sightings of unknown primates in the Appalachian region. The creature’s ferocity and viciousness quickly became the subject of local folklore, with many claiming to have seen the Devil Monkey attacking and killing livestock and humans.
6 The Dwayyo
The Dwayyo is a creature from Appalachian folklore, specifically Maryland. It is said to be a large, wolf-like creature with shaggy fur, sharp teeth, and glowing eyes. Starting to sound like a familiar image, right?
The legend of the Dwayyo dates back to the early 20th century when reports of a mysterious, wolf-like creature began circulating in the region. Some believed that the beast was a werewolf, while others speculated that it was a previously unknown species of animal. According to legend, the Dwayyo is the enemy of the Snallygaster—an entry later on our list. It is known for its incredible speed and agility and is said to be able to move quickly through the forests and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Despite the many reports of Dwayyo history from University of Maryland students, there is no concrete evidence of its existence. Some believe that the creature is simply a legend, while others believe that it is a real but elusive predator that is still roaming the wilds.
5 The Bell Witch
The Bell Witch is a legendary ghost or spirit from the folklore of Tennessee. According to the legend, the Bell Witch was an evil entity that haunted the Bell family in the early 19th century.
The Bell Witch is said to have caused a wide range of supernatural phenomena, including poltergeist activity, strange sounds, and physical attacks on members of the family. The entity is also said to have had the ability to speak and was known for its taunts and insults directed at the Bell family.
The legend of the Bell Witch began in 1817 on the Bell family farm when their daughter became engaged. The paranormal activity, like strange knocking sounds and things around the house being disturbed, continued for several years. After supposedly threatening to kill the father, John Bell, Sr., he was poisoned, and the haunting mostly stopped. Today, the Bell Witch is still regarded as a dangerous and malevolent spirit in many communities in Tennessee.
4 The Flatwoods Monster
The Flatwoods Monster, also known as the Braxton County Monster, is a creature from the folklore of West Virginia. According to legend, the monster is tall with glowing green eyes and a spade-shaped head.
The legend of the Flatwoods Monster began in 1952 when a group of people in Braxton County reported seeing a strange object crash-land in the woods. When they went to investigate, they encountered the monster, which they said made a hissing noise and gave off a terrible smell.
The incident quickly gained national attention, and many people came to the area to investigate. While some believed the sighting was evidence of extraterrestrial life, others speculated that it was a hoax or a misidentification of a known animal.
3 The Wampus Cat (Cherokee Death Cat)
The Wampus Cat or Cherokee Death Cat also comes from the folklore of Appalachia. According to legend, the Wampus Cat is a fearsome creature that roams the forests and mountains of the region, feasting on humans and animals.
The Wampus Cat is said to be a large, cat-like creature with green eyes, razor-sharp claws, and a long, sinuous tail. It is known for its speed and moves quickly through the dense foliage of the forest.
The legend of the Wampus Cat is believed to have originated with the Cherokee people, who believed the creature was a powerful shapeshifter that could take on the form of a cat or a human. In some versions, the Wampus Cat is said to be a cursed woman who was transformed into the creature as punishment for violating a sacred tradition.
2 Grafton Monster
The Grafton Monster is a creature from the folklore of West Virginia, USA. According to legend, the Grafton Monster is a large, bipedal creature that roams the forests and hills near the town of Grafton.
The creature is said to be between 7 and 10 feet (2.1 and 3 meters) tall, with a muscular build and a slick body similar to a seal. It makes a whistling sound that some suspect is a spaceship. Depending on who you listen to, it might not even have a head!
The legend of the Grafton Monster began in the 1960s when several sightings of the creature were reported in the area. While some believe that the monster is a misidentified bear or other animal, others believe that it is a true cryptid—a previously undiscovered species of creature. Its legend continues to be passed down through West Virginia folklore, and many people in the region still believe that the creature is lurking in the forests and hills around Grafton.
1 The Snallygaster
The Snallygaster is another creature from the folklore of Maryland. The Snallygaster is a fearsome creature with a reptilian body, bird-like wings, and a long, sharp beak. It is said to have a ferocious appetite and prey on livestock and people.
The legend of the Snallygaster dates back to the early 1700s when German settlers in the region reported sightings of a winged creature that they called the “schneller geist,” meaning “quick spirit.” The legend evolved over time, and the creature became known as the Snallygaster.
In the early 20th century, the Snallygaster became the subject of a media frenzy, with newspapers reporting sightings of the creature and offering rewards for its capture. Despite the hype, however, the Snallygaster was never caught or proven to exist.