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The Snallygaster: Hoax, Moonshine Monster, or Real Cryptid?

The state of Maryland is said to be home to a weird winged wonder, and this flying cryptid is even stranger than the Jersey Devil. 

What is this thing I'm talking about, you ask? It's called the Snallygaster.

Well, what's a Snallygaster then? Let's find out.


Starting in the 1930s, the area surrounding Washington, D.C. and Frederick County, Maryland was settled by many German immigrants. Many of these people told of seeing something they called a "Schneller Geist," which means "quick spirit" in German. The Schneller Geist was said to be some sort of dragon-like monster, part bird, part reptile, with a beak lined with sharp teeth and tentacles. So, not really something you'd want to run into when you're alone in the woods in the middle of the night!

Settlers said the creature, which later became known as the "Snallygaster" here in the U.S., would silently swoop out of the sky and snatch up human victims! Some stories also said that it drained the blood out of whatever it caught. Farmers painted seven-pointed stars on their barns, because that was supposed to keep the Snallygaster away. People still do it today.

In February and March, 1909, many newspapers carried stories about a "beast with enormous wings, a long pointed bill, claws like steel hooks, and an eye in the center of its forehead." The monster also was said to make "screeches like a locomotive whistle." After these stories came out, the Snallygaster received a great deal of publicity. The Smithsonial Insititution offered a reward for its hide, and President Theodore Roosevelt even considered hunting the beast.
Theodore Roosevelt

Many people think the stories of a Snallygaster were just a newspaper hoax. It supposedly met its doom in a vat of moonshine. Maybe that's what started the stories of the Snallygaster in the first place?


There were also stories about the Dwayyo, another strange Maryland monster, said to be the enemy of the Snallygaster.

The Dwayyo is supposed to be bipedal, hairy, and has a bushy tail. It is commonly said to look like a wolf but stand like a human. (That sounds like a Dogman!)
The Dwayyo and Snallygaster are said to be bitter enemies. Violent encounters between them have been reported since settlers first arrived in the areas they supposedly inhabit.

On November 27, 1965, the Frederick News-Post, of Frederick County, Maryland, described an account of an encounter with a Dwayyo. Here's the account:

"Near the woods of Gambrill State Park, 'John Becker' went out in his yard to investigate a strange noise. It was getting dark, and he had started back to the house, when he saw something moving toward him. 'It was as big as a bear, had long black hair, a bushy tail, and growled like a wolf or a dog in anger.' As it got closer, it stood up on its hind legs and attacked him. 'Becker' fought the creature until it ran into the woods, leaving him, his wife and children in horror. Deciding to the remain anonymous under the alias John Becker, he filed a report with local state police, telling of an attack by a mysterious monster that he called a Dwayyo." 

If anyone can, I encourage them to see if they can find the Frederick News- Post from Nov. 27, 1965 and see if the story is really in there, or see if there was actually a police report about a Dwayyo attack. If the story is true, it really sounds like the Dwayyo is a Dogman.

Just like with the Snallygaster, the Dwayyo is probably more fiction than truth. But, there have been a good number of reported sightings besides the one above. Maybe there really is a werewolf-like monster in Maryland.

Snallygaster attack!


Whatever it is, the Snallygaster is very weird, and it is still known. Last year, the AIMS team of Mountain Monsters went after it in one episode. That supposedly took place in West Virginia, though, not in Maryland.
Snallygaster on Mountain Monsters
Below is a clip from Mountain Monsters. 

Keep an eye on the sky the next time you go to Maryland - you might just spot a Schneller Geist! 

Wild Bill's "WANTED" poster of the Snallygaster


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