By Austin Leonard
As it gets darker, what monsters lurk in the night? Beware of the scary creatures that are said to haunt the woods and rivers of Tennessee, and hope you never run across them!
The Tennessee Terror
The legend of the Tennessee Terror began in 1822 when a “sea serpent” rose to the surface of the Tennessee River as a farmer was fishing. The serpent was so terrifying that the farmer died soon after from fear alone. Another story, much like the first, was told by a fisherman in 1827 who had been fishing on the river and was almost shook from his canoe by a bluish-yellow creature built like a giant snake. Over the years the legend grew and the Tennessee Terror became a giant 500-pound catfish affectionately named “Catzilla”. While catfish of this size do exist, none have been formally recorded in Tennessee… as of yet.
The White Bluff Screamer
In the small town of White Bluff, Tennessee, lies a spine-chilling tale of a wild creature. In the 1920s, in a hollow near town a man built a house for his family of nine. The story goes that almost every night as the family laid down to sleep, they were awoken by an ear-piercing shriek. After several nights of enduring the sound, the man decided to hunt down the source of the noise. As he followed the shrieks of the creature it led him back to his own home, where, inside, he found his family killed. The White Screamer is believed to be something much like a Banshee from Irish folklore, who follows around families and whose shrieks foretell death.
The Flintville Monster
This cryptid is akin to the famous Bigfoot, but much more aggressive and dangerous. It lurks around Flintville, Tennessee, tormenting its inhabitants. Those who have seen it describe the creature as standing 7 feet tall and smelling similar to a skunk. One of the most famous accounts of this creature comes from a mother in the 1970’s who claimed to have seen a large man-like ape running towards her son who was playing in the field. She ran to intercept it and barely got to him before the creature. She ran back to her house with her son and called the police. But when they arrived to investigate the creature, all they found in the woods were sixteen-inch footprints and blood.
The Tennessee Wildman
Not quite man, but not really a bigfoot either. This creature who, reportedly, is seven-feet tall with dark gray or dark red hair, eyes that are a blazing red, and whose hair and beard hang down to its waist, was found roaming around McNairy County, Tennessee. Extremely strong and fast with a scream that could “freeze a man’s blood”, and who seemed to target mostly women according to the May 5, 1871 edition of The Hagerstown Mail, though none of its attacks were successful. The beast was known to silently approach houses and if it was seen would run off into the woods. There have been many reported encounters of the Wildman all the way up into the 1970s, all providing similar descriptions.
A cryptid seen all through Appalachia, whose appearance is easiest described as a deer, but only at first glance. Upon further inspection, those who have encountered it reported that it’s proportions just weren’t right, sometimes described as mostly joints, or moose-like, and sometimes downright disproportionate. Another unsettling feature of the Not-Deer is having forward-facing eyes akin to a predator. Almost every report has included that the creature just “felt off”, and that it was apparent that it held some level of sentience, the ability to feel emotion and sensations.
As the sun sets earlier and Halloween draws closer, do you dare brave outside at the risk of running into any of these creatures? Do you even believe they exist? That’s for you to decide.