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The "Graveyard Ghoul" of Fostoria

In January 1884, it was reported that a "graveyard ghoul" had been spotted around Fostoria, Ohio. James Bates, "an old hunter and a gentleman," gave a description of the "ghoul:"

"Its neck and breast are white, and the rest of the body black; its front tracks are about eight inches long and three wide, making tacks in the snow with its claws about twice the length of a man's finger; the tracks made by the hind feet are nearly round, and about the size of a large dog's, except the claws, which are longer and sharper. The animal is about three feet long and eighteen inches high. It burrows into the ground in the graveyard, and penetrating the coffins therein contained, devours the contents thereof. It travels with much rapidity and all attempts thus far to kill it have proved futile. The gentleman who last saw the animal says it was in the middle of the road, having gone from a farm by literally tearing the fences to pieces. His dog gave chase to the animal, but soon returned scared almost to death. The people living in the vicinity have frequently heard strange noises, which are supposed to have emanated from this peculiar, unnamed, unknown beast. The animal is said to be slowly making its way towards Toledo."

A few months later, in March, it was reported that the animal had been captured. The Fort Wayne, Indiana, Daily Gazette said that: "The ghoul is about the size of a large terrier, and resembles in form a badger. It is of a reddish-brown color, and its claws are very long and sharp. Its genus has not yet been determined. It refuses to eat until yesterday when it devoured a ground-hog thrown in the cage. Al Richards, the general agent and brother-in-law of W.W. Cole, the showman, lives in Fostoria, and is negotiating with Branderberry for the purchase of the prize."

Later, it was revealed that the creature was not a cat, or a "ghoul," but an American badger, Taxidea taxus.

This post is excerpted from The Ohio Monster Guidebook, my upcoming book on Ohio cryptid sightings.

My first book, Cryptid U.S., can be bought on If you like it, leave a review!


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