Stories of creeping, flying, and swimming cryptids have long emerged from communities across what is now the United States. From figures of Native American legends to the lore behind small town hysteria, cryptids have long captured human curiosity. Today, people erect monuments in their honor, coalesce in cult followings, and continue to seek them out. Now, you can explore the homes of cryptids across the U.S.—from the Beast of Montana, to a murderous goat man in Kentucky, to a lake monster in Vermont—and learn the stories behind the country’s most elusive icons.
by Jonathan Carey, Senior Associate Editor, Places
Follow along on a nationwide Bigfoot roadtrip!
by J.W. Ocker
Ringdocus, Guyasticutus, or simply, the Beast, whatever you call it, the wolf-like Shunka Warak’in was a Montana livestock terror in the late 1880s.
A museum dedicated to the mysterious cryptid.
by J.W. Ocker
While its appearance may vary across time and geography, the Wendigo remains a symbol of hunger and desperation through the cold, dark winter.
by Shaun Raviv
These supposedly supernatural balls of light—whether lanterns carried by ghosts or rising phosphorus gas—have been sighted near swamplands around the world, sometimes accompanied by the sound of a cowbell or the killing of car engines.
by J.W. Ocker
The monstrous thunderbird, with a whopping 70-foot wingspan, can incite storms and occasionally kidnap pets and children, according to the legends of the Comanche, Chippewa, Mandan, and other Native American tribes.
by Joel Balsam
The Louisiana Bayou Beast is said to be a giant, harry human trapped by a curse, or a rising symbol for saving the state’s imperiled wetlands.
The menacing creature had a tremendous influence on the local culture before being exposed as a hoax.
This railroad overpass is said to be home to a murderous goat-man whose legend has led to very real deaths.
The bug-eyed, big-winged Mothman was first sighted on November 15, 1966, in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, in the height of Cold War paranoia and a UFO craze, cementing his place in local lore and pop culture.
In the depths of the Everglades, one man has dedicated his life to studying the elusive Skunk Ape.
by Nicole Hebdon
The football field–length serpent was said to call the tiny town of Perry, New York, home for centuries before and after European arrival. It has been celebrated, hunted, and hounded by locals and tourists alike ever since.
by Samantha O’Brien, Senior Editor, Gastro Obscura
The New Jersey Devil, a two-legged horse sporting claws, wings, and a forked tail, has lived on as a legend, despite some debunked sightings. This exploration of the Garden State can show you where to learn more.
The second most famous lake monster in the world is honored with its own statue.