Ink drawing of Snallygaster. a Maryland cryptid bird monster

The Snallygaster is another new cryptid for me. My first thoughts were that it was basically like someone just made a jot list of scary things and pulled them out of a hat. But after a little thought, it makes sense that someone probably saw a stork or crane carrying an octopus in its mouth and got startled by it. Who knows. This drawing was done for my site at Relevant Irreverence, but I want to put some recent work up so here it is.

Also, here is the story of the Snallygaster as best I can find it.

The legend of the Snallygaster originates from early 18th-century German immigrants who settled in the Frederick County area of Maryland. They brought with them tales of a creature they called the “Schneller Geist,” meaning “quick spirit.” Over time, these stories evolved and merged with local folklore, giving birth to the legend of the Snallygaster.

The Legend

According to the original lore, the Snallygaster was a fearsome beast that combined features of birds and reptiles. It was described as having a large, bird-like body covered in scales, enormous wings, a metallic beak filled with razor-sharp teeth, and tentacle-like appendages. The creature was said to be highly aggressive, preying on livestock and sometimes even humans.

The Snallygaster was believed to dwell in the dark forests and mountains of the region, emerging to terrorize the local population. It was often associated with ominous events and was considered a harbinger of doom.

Later Sightings

1909 Sighting

The first reported sighting of the Snallygaster in modern times occurred in February 1909 in Frederick County, Maryland. The creature was spotted by a farmer who described it as having enormous wings, a long pointed beak, claws like steel, and an eye in the center of its forehead. This sighting sparked a series of reports, and local newspapers quickly picked up the story, spreading the legend far and wide.

1923-1925 Sightings

A new wave of sightings was reported in the early 1920s, particularly between 1923 and 1925. During this period, the Snallygaster was frequently sighted in the Middletown Valley region. These sightings caused widespread panic, with many locals claiming to have seen the creature flying overhead or attacking livestock. The panic reached such a level that the Smithsonian Institution reportedly offered a reward for the creature’s capture, and President Theodore Roosevelt was said to have considered postponing an African safari to hunt the Snallygaster.

1948 Sighting

In 1948, a significant sighting occurred in Sykesville, Maryland. A local resident reported seeing a large, bird-like creature with tentacles flying over the town. This sighting reignited interest in the Snallygaster and led to a renewed flurry of reports and sightings in the region.

Modern-Day Sightings

In recent years, sightings of the Snallygaster have become less frequent, though occasional reports still emerge. These modern sightings often describe a similar creature with large wings, a reptilian body, and tentacle-like appendages. However, due to the lack of concrete evidence, these reports are often met with skepticism.

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