PENNSYLVANIA (WTAJ) – Have you ever heard of a Squonk? How about the Waterford Sheepman? If not, would you dare to go looking into the Pennsylvania wilderness to catch a glimpse?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word cryptid refers to an animal that is claimed to exist, but there is no definitive proof.
Popular cryptids that may come to mind include Bigfoot, the hairy sasquatch that works to protect the forest, or perhaps his cousin the Yeti who lives in the Himalayas. Every country in the world has variations of different legendary creatures that have been spotted over the centuries.
Whether they’re true or not remains to be proven, but below are several creatures that are said to call the Keystone State home.
The world may be familiar with Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster, Nessie, but if you’re from the Keystone State then you may know of Huntingdon County’s lake monster. Raystown Ray is said to be a monster that floats along Raystown Lake, although substantial evidence of Ray is still up for debate.
According to Cryptomundo, Ray is considered to be a gentle giant and a herbivore. He’s also very rarely been seen by visitors, but you can check out some alleged sightings on the Raystown Ray website. The legend first gained traction in 2006 when he was captured on camera by a local fisherman.
Raystown Lake gets nearly two million visitors each year and it’s over 30 miles long, according to Visit Pa. The lake also reaches a depth of 200 feet at its deepest point, according to Raystown Lake Region.
Maybe the sheer size of the lake is the reason we haven’t seen a better photo of Ray? The lake itself was built in the early 1970s, but the dam was built around 1905. This begs the question of if Ray is real, how did he get into the lake?
Questions about this creature and his existence have long gone unanswered.
It’s time to turn that frown upside folks, unless you’re the squonk that is. The squonk is said to live in the northern hemlock forests of Pennsylvania and his eyes are always filled with tears due to its hideous appearance, according to Wikiwand.
According to the original account from Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods, the squonk had ill-fitting skin that was covered in warts and moles and it was always unhappy. If you happen to go looking for a glimpse of the creature, you’ll need to follow the trail of tears that the sad creature leaves behind. However, if you are able to get close to the creature, it may dissolve into tears if it’s spooked or frightened, according to the book’s author William T. Cox.
Despite its melancholy nature, a group of people gather every year celebrating the creature hoping to turn that frown upside down! Squonkapalooza takes place in Johnstown, Pa. every year with vendors, games and entertainment.
The squonk, despite never being captured in a picture, has made its way into several popular media projects. This includes Genesis’s album “A Trick of the Tail” on the track titled “Squonk.”
Now everybody knows Bigfoot, but have you heard of his shorter cousin called Albatwitch? According to Cryptid Wiki, the Albatwitch is found in Columbia, Pennsylvania, and is described as a 4-foot hairy creature who lives in a heavily wooded area.
The creature gets its name from the words “apple-snitch” and its taste for the fruit, according to Columbia History. Legends say that the Albatwitch would steal apples from picnickers and farmers and would sometimes even throw them at the startled individuals.
The creature has been sighted not only in Columbia, but also in Lancaster, North Annville, and York County. Just like the Squonk, the Albatwitch is also celebrated in the Keystone State. Albatwitch Day takes place at the Columbia Crossing Trail Center in Lancaster County. There are usually vendors, family fun, food, lectures and music at the event. You can learn more about it here.
Not many counties in Pennsylvania can say that they have an official monster, but for Clinton County it’s official. The Giwoggle is said to be around 6 feet tall and shaped like a wolf that stands on its hind legs, according to Pa Wilds. It was also said to have bird-like claws on its front legs and hooves for back feet.
The creature would be especially hard to track due to its mixed features. Unlike some of the creatures on this list, the Giwoggle actually has some lore behind its debated existence. According to Pa Wilds, the legend goes that witches who were offended would conjure up these creatures to terrorize the people who committed the offense. Most often the Giwoggle would terrorize them in the form of petty vandalism.
According to the Lock Haven Paranormal Seekers, the sightings of this creature date back to the mid-1800s in Clinton County, but one such Giwoggle encounter was in downtown Lock Haven in 1909.
As author Lou Bernard says, if you plan to take a trip up to Clinton County anytime soon make sure that you don’t offend any witches!
The Waterford Sheepman
Whilst the other creatures on this list may be friendly, sad or perform petty acts of vandalism the Waterford Sheepman is said to be much more frightful. According to Cryptid Wiki, he was said to have terrorized the town of Waterford in Erie County in the 1970s.
Hundreds of alleged sightings and incidents of the sheepman include him ravaging livestock and chasing down people in an attempt to eat them. The sheepman was described as a humanoid creature that was covered in fur, had large horns that adorned its head and hooves sprouted where feet should otherwise be, according to Anita Breitweiser Chase Palmer, the admin of Old Waterford Pa in Photos Facebook page.
This terrifying creature in some legends was said to live in the rafters of the Waterford covered bridge, but in 2011 the bridge closed due to deterioration. The sightings of this cryptid dropped off in the 1980s, but some residents still believe that he’s out there looking for his next meal.
However, according to WJET/WFXP, the bridge may soon be restored thanks to PennDOT funding. Maybe the reopening of the sheepman’s old hunting ground will lead to Waterford residents once again having to look out for the legendary creature.
Have you ever gotten a glimpse of these creatures?