Snallygaster 002All over the world there are stories and urban legends of monsters, mythical creatures, spirits, and demons. The truth of these legends mostly depends on the legend and more importantly who you ask. One such urban legend is that of the Snallygaster. The Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding Frederick County, Maryland were settled by German immigrants beginning in the early 1700’s. Early accounts of this creature described it as half-reptile and half bird. It has a sharp metallic beak with razor sharp teeth and octopus-like tentacles sprouting from its back. Legend says that the Snallygaster would swoop down from the night sky, pick up its victim in its talons, and carry them off. It is said that the monster would suck the blood from its victims bodies. Supposedly, the only way to ward of the monstrous beast is seven-pointed stars. 

Rumor is that the legend was resurrected in the early 19th century to frighten freed slaves.

According to blueridgecountry.com, there are many newspaper accounts from February through March of 1909 the describe the experiences of terrified locals with an “enormous beast that has large wings, a pointed beak, and claws like steel hooks.” Screeches are said to have been the sound it made like that of a train whistle. One account claims that an adult male was captured by a large winged creature. Then he was dropped onto a mountain side with large teeth marks in his neck and his body drained of blood. Many more accounts followed this article in February of 1909. Such as: it apparently laid an egg the size of a barrel, picking up a man working on the railway by his suspenders, and speaking to one man. The strange creature mysteriously declared, “My I am dry. I have not had a good drink since I was killed in the battle of Chickamauga.”

There was a large amount of publicity that surrounded this new trail of appearances. The Smithsonian Institution is said to have put a rather large offer on the beast for its hide. Also, it is said that U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, who is famed for his love of hunting big game, almost postponed a safari in Africa to hunt the legendary beast.

To this day, there are still seven-pointed stars on the sides of old dilapidated barns.