The USA is a fantastic place for any traveller! One of the biggest continents on the globe, it’s positively bursting with bustling cities, glorious food, amazing wildlife and yes, even a few regional monsters!
Now I know I’m not alone when I say that I’m totally intrigued by the monster legends you will find across the globe! And America has more than most. The idea of grabbing my (admittedly, non-existent) camping gear, a video camera and venturing in to the wild in pursuit of the unknown has been a dream since childhood, and if TV shows like Monster Hunters are anything to go by then there are certainly those who make this dream a reality!
So with those fearless travellers in mind, here’s a guide to five ‘real’ cryptid hotspots across America! From the mysterious, the elusive to the just plain terrifying, this is The Monster Hunter’s Guide to the USA!
1. Pine Barrens, New Jersey
Elect to camp in the vast Pine Barrens of Southern New Jersey and you may find yourself less alone than you expected. This sprawling coastal forest is said to be the home of a bizarre and terrifying creature, known as the Jersey Devil.
With the body of a kangaroo, the head of the horse and the wings of a bat, the Jersey Devil sounds about as odd as they come. The story goes that this abomination was born in the 1735 to a (needless to say, fairly shocked) human mother, before killing her unfortunate midwife and fleeing in to the forest.
The creature was said to have embarked on a mini-reign of terror during the early 1800’s; appearing on numerous occasions to frightened locals and even being blamed for a spate of livestock killings.
Today this story is widely believed to pure invention, yet you will still find many that insist the Jersey Devil still resides in the woods. So if you’re feeling fearless, why not grab your compass and good boots and head in to the Pine Barren’s of New Jersey. Just remember to keep your eyes on the sky. You never know what may be lurking above you…
2. North America
The enormous forests of North America are the rumoured home of the most famous – and scientifically contested – ‘cryptid’ in existence. I am of course talking about Bigfoot; one of the biggest mysteries of the 21st century!
This gigantic (and apparently rather smelly) ape-like creature has been sighted all over the US, but North-West America is a particular hotspot for supposed Bigfoot sightings. So much so that there are even a number of organisations dedicated to hunting, tracking and even protecting this elusive beast. Which are certainly an option if you feel like palling up with the experts for your bigfoot-hunting adventure!
Following extensive research many scientists are now arguing that ‘Bigfoot’ can actually be explained as misidentified black bear sightings, but this certainly hasn’t stopped the thousands who flock to the forests every year in hope of a glimpse (or a whiff) of the legendary creature.
Now I don’t know about you, but ‘Bigfoot spotting’ is certainly up there on my bucket-list! And even if you don’t get to see the great ape himself, you still have the rest of North America’s captivating wildlife and stunning scenery to enjoy!
3. South-West America
The South-West US is being stalked at night by a terrifying, alien creature which drains the blood of livestock. Well, that’s what many local farmers would have you believe anyway. It’s name is the chupacabara, and it’s been blamed for unusual livestock killings since the 1990’s.
Sightings originally began in Latin America in the early 90’s, but steadily spread to the Southern US over the next 20 years.. Very much the stuff of sci-fi movies, the chupacabara is said to hop on two legs like a marsupial, but (much less cutely) also possess scaly, greenish-gray skin, quills and claws.
Oh – and fangs. Let’s not forget the vampire fangs!
Now I love animals and have met a number on my travels, but I do have to admit running in to a chupacabara may not exactly be the cuddliest animal encounter you could ever have. Especially since scientists reckon that ‘chupacabaras’ may actually be mange-ridden dogs. Ew.
But if you like to keep things weird, a nighttime-stake out in hopes of spotting a chupacabara might be worth your time. Rather you than me however.
4. Point Pleasant, West Virginia
In the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia you will find a rather unusual local monument. An 8 foot half-human, half-insect metal sculpture, this striking statue depicts the ‘Mothman’ – a name horror fans may recognise from the 2002 movie The Mothman Prophecies.
If this is the case then it may surprise you to learn that the Mothman isn’t just a figment of horror cinema. He is in fact a very real figure in West Virginia’s history, and one that is even believed to have foreshadowed a deadly bridge collapse in the late 60’s!
Between the years 1966 and 1967, startling reports started flooding in of a bizarre half-man, half-bird type creature being seen around West Virginia. Possessing glowing red eyes and a blood-curdling screech, this so-called ‘Mothman’ was most commonly sighted by the town’s famous Silver Bridge.
The sightings persisted up until December 1967, when the bridge mysteriously collapsed killing 46 people. At which point the Mothman promptly disappeared, leading many to believe that he had served as some sort of supernatural omen to the impending disaster.
And while it now seems very unlikely you will actually catch a glimpse of the Mothman himself, his legacy certainly continues. He continues to celebrated through an annual Mothman festival and even boats his own museum, allowing visitors to truly immerse themselves in this unsettling local legend!
5. North America
Last but not least we to North America once again where, if the legends are true, you stand a chance of encountering by far the most bone-chilling creature on this list; the wendigo.
Originally a product of Native American folklore, the wendigo is said to be the tortured, grotesque remnants of humans who have committed the sin of cannibalism. They are typically described as emaciated figures with taught, greyish skin, sunken eyes and occasionally animalistic features – most frequently those of a deer or a wolf.
While the original mythology is centuries old there are still many tales of supposed wendigo encounters floating around the web, suggesting to many that these ancient monsters may still be stalking the forests and roadsides of North America!
Now I have to be honest; hunting out a wendigo sounds like a serious step too far for me. But if pursuing an inhuman monster with a hankering for human flesh sounds like your cup of tea, do head up to North America to immerse yourself in this most nightmarish of monster legends!
So what’s the weirdest motivation behind your own travels? Do let me know in the comments!
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