Wicked, White, & Toothy – Mysterious Beasts of West Virginia

KurtsBookRecently, I finished reading a book I enjoyed very much that was full of cryptozoological information mostly new to me. I want to share these reports with you, as much as one can in a blog post, and recommend the book, White Things – West Virginia’s  Weird White Monsters by Kurt McCoy. He has a pleasing,  easy-to-read style, and he’s thoughtful and informative but not in a stuffy way. There is humor in this book, and if you read it, you’ll understand why.

Folklore’s Role

He begins with an explanation of how local folklore has played into many of these reports, some of which are just stories and hearsay. In fact, the folklore of this state encompasses not only the cryptozoological creatures, but a lot of paranormal and ghostly folklore as well. But the bottom line seems to be, the monsters he discusses in his book don’t fall into the typical creature descriptions detailed in the area folklore. They’re sort of “others”, and because of that, we’re left to wonder if there may not be some truth in their existence.

Another important aspect to note is that the sightings of these white creatures seem to cluster around the 1920s through 1940s, and then again in the 1980s through 1990s. It’s odd how the sightings came in these cycles. Perhaps they migrate around the country? Or their life cycles lend themselves to infrequent but intense appearances? I’m not sure we’ll ever know, but it certainly is strange. I have to wonder if the next batch of sightings will begin in the 2020s, following the time difference from previous periods.

Anyway, let’s look at some stories.

Bigfoot Style Story

The stories that involve Bigfoot are interesting because it’s a Bigfoot that doesn’t quite exhibit the behavior we’ve come to expect from their brethren in the Pacific Northwest. They look a bit different , seem a bit smaller, and do some crazy things that other Bigfoot families don’t do. Nonetheless in my mind, they still do exhibit enough Bigfoot type behavior that I feel sure, IF these sightings are true, they could very well be a family of Bigfoots indigenous to West Virginia.

The Morgan’s Ridge Monster begins with the tale told by the O’Dell family.  At the time they lived out in the boondocks, farming and raising sheep to make their living.  A series of sheep deaths and mutilations began to occur and the men in the family began to investigate at night when the damage was being done to their herd.

NighttimeImageIn one blinding rainstorm, they caught sight of a big lumbering creature that began to terrify the herd of sheep. They fired some shots, but weren’t sure if they hit their mark due to the ferocious storm raging around them.

So they decided to hatch a better plot. Soon after they geared up and went down into the dark fields where the sheep were penned. Silently they waited, letting the hours pass by, waiting and watching for signs of this creature’s return. Before too long it appeared, the sheep began bleating in fear, and the men went into action. All four experienced hunters aimed and shot at the creature who let out an almighty howl. They all felt sure they had hit it.  When they reached the spot where the creature had been, they only found one dead sheep, trampled ground, but no creature. It never did return, so the family felt they had accomplished their goal of protecting their herd and their families.

Normally we hear about Bigfoot hunting deer, but I think from a practical standpoint, if you have a herd of sheep standing there all night, they’d be a perfect target for an apex predator.

Melissa’s Story

Another report Kurt shares comes from a woman named Melissa. She and her husband were driving down a lonely, unpopulated road. Her husband said something and she turned to answer him when they spotted an animal in the road up ahead. She said, “About 50 yards ahead of us was something in the road. It was on all fours and was snow white. It was bigger than a dog, way bigger. As we got closer it turned and looked our way. Its mouth opened and it stood up on two legs and began running across the road and up through the woods. I never said a thing. All I could do was sit there, stunned. A few minutes later Joe asked if I had seen what he had seen. Unable to answer him, I began to cry.”

They drove home a different way not wanting to retrace their steps that led to that encounter.  That sounds like a Bigfoot to me, and as we’ve heard from Bigfoot researchers, some of them do tend to go gray/white with age.

On Yet Another Ridge

Up on another ridge in West Virginia, the Baker’s Ridge, appeared a monster behaving suspiciously like a juvenile Bigfoot. A college coed agreed to house-sit a home out in the boondocks while the owners went on vacation. Her first night there she spent reading a Stephen King novel, perhaps not the best choice when one is out in the woods by themselves, but anyway, a lot of commotion soon followed.

SD_BF-Window-WatcherJust after midnight she heard someone on the back porch rummaging through the boxes that were there and messing with the porch furniture.  She peeked out a window to see what could be out there and saw two red eyes glaring at her. She tried to hide by shutting off the lights and cowering behind a chair, but the creature started howling and slapping the window with its palms. The howling stopped so she peeked around the chair and the animal was still staring into the window, its breath fogging the pane of glass. She estimated it was about 5 feet tall with hair sticking out all over its head, messy and un-groomed. Its body was covered in long white hair.

Finally it turned away and went back to searching the boxes on the porch. After that she heard a banging at the door and the rattling of the lock.  She heard it jump off the porch and after a minute or two heard it rummaging in the trash containers further out back.

After that she ran upstairs and hid in a bedroom while holding a baseball bat. Nothing else happened that night and after sunrise she finally came down to inspect the damage out on the back porch. It was a mess and she clearly saw muddy footprints all over the wood. The window pane was covered with hand prints and mud, and the trash bins and stand for the bins was nearly destroyed.  The coed had seen enough. She gathered her things and hitchhiked back to town. At the end of that semester she transferred to another school and left Morgantown and its “monster” well behind her.


Much has been made of the term Sheep-Squatch recently and as far as I can tell, it seems to have originated here, in West Virginia. The name seems to have come from the fact that these Bigfoots prey on sheep, rather than the usual deer, if in fact it is a Bigfoot. Here is the witness’ description from Kurt’s book:

SheepSquatch01“We had just rounded a bend in the road. I looked to my left, and about a foot from the window I saw what appeared to be a strange creature, half man, half animal. It had a face very similar to a sheep’s, horns like a ram, and it was standing upright like a human. I was stunned and immediately thought I had lost my mind. My friends started screaming “What in the hell was that?” So I backed up the car, and it looked at me, turned and ran into the woods. I got a pretty good look at it. It basically had is nose right in my face! It was white, furry, and had paws, no hooves, paws like a dog, a sheep-like face, and stood upright like a human. It ran away on human legs.”

The young lady reporting this sighting goes on to say she never believed in paranormal stuff prior to this, nor UFOs, etc. So she was truly mystified by what she and her friends saw. A couple things jump out at me from this report.

  1. It had paws, not huge hands like a Bigfoot would normally have.
  2. Horns on its head? I don’t know how else you could account for something that obvious. Maybe a branch fell on the head of a Bigfoot? Impossible to say.

There may be another possible explanation as to what this creature might have been which I’ll talk about later. For now, I’d rather think this was some kind of bizarre Bigfoot sighting, but, that’s really pushing it.

Other people claim to have seen Sheep-Squatch but the animal they describe sounds much more like a sheep/bear/dog than a Bigfoot.

SheepSquatch02First Hand Account

For example, an anonymous witness described the beast he saw like this, “What I saw emerge from the brush was a large, brownish-white creature. Its fur looked dirty and matted as if the animal did very little in the line of self-grooming. I can’t be sure if I was looking at a dirty white animal or a brownish animal with a white undercoat. It was late in the fall so it makes sense that it might be putting on a winter coat. The creature moved on all fours as it breached the brush line and knelt to drink from the creek. Its front limbs, the only limbs I saw clearly, ended in what were markedly paw-like “hands”. Its head was long and pointed, like a canine’s, and it had largish horns, not antlers but single point horns. … It drank for a few minutes, then crossed the creek and continued on across toward Sandhill Road. When I was sure it was gone, I turned and ran as fast as I could back toward the pond where I’d parked.”  He goes on to say the creature smelled strongly of sulfur. My first thought was maybe it was demonic, but the odor may just indicate it lived in an area of town where old munitions were stored and leaked into the surrounding vegetation and water. Those smells would include a sulfurous odor too.

There were other stories along these lines relating to a “Sheep-Squatch” so much so that a local woman, Mary Hyre, collected these stories (unpublished) and she referred to that creature as the “Jericho Road Man-Bears”.

An Ice-Age Lion

Yes, if you can possibly believe, in the midst of this plethora of other weird and puzzling tales, there arises stories about people sighting African lions and black panthers.  No less a luminary than noted cryptozoologist Loren Coleman discussed at length a theory purported by Mark A. Hall that, “an ancient Ice Age inhabitant of North America may still be very much alive, in the flesh, among us. Panthera Atrox was a lion-like predator of substantial size that prowled the land we walk on many ages past. Panthera Atrox is suggested as a possible candidate for the numerous “African Lion” and “black panther” sightings all across North America. … The survival of Panthera Atrox could account for a number of our stories, along with many, many otherwise unexplained sightings of lion-like creatures. While no one has suggested that these animals are white furred, some examples could be throw-backs to the Ice Age that spawned them, when white fur would have been more useful as camouflage.”

PantheraAtroxPanthera Leo Atrox measured between 5 feet and 8 feet long from head to end of body. At the shoulder, it would have averaged 4 feet tall.  Scientists estimate the average weight for this animal would range between 560 – 770 pounds. Quite a formidable animal!

Few thoughts here:

  1. There are many truly remote and wild areas in the West Virginia mountains where creatures like this could live and survive. There are plenty of deer in that state to sustain a large predator.
  2. Black panthers: these animals are well known in Florida, and are often found dead along the side of the road so science is well aware of the existence of this black “panther” which is actually a subspecies of puma, not panther: Puma concolor coryi. They are never actually black, but tan and tawny colored. The males average 7 feet in length and can weigh up to 120 pounds – much smaller than Panthera Leo Atrox.
  3. If someone does actually see a black cat, they are probably seeing a black jaguar which some believe have been migrating up from their natural habitats in Mexico into the southern US. They are most often seen along the Florida panhandle.

But back to West Virginia – who knows what people are seeing?! It’s beginning to give me a headache! LOL!!

Demonic Creatures

In his book, Kurt McCoy briefly mentions that the area of the backwoods and mountains of West Virginia have been used as places to practice the occult, hidden, unseen, and secluded.  That immediately raises a red flag for me. What are they conjuring? Demons they can’t control?

We’ve seen it quite a few times on the Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures shows. People practice the occult, bring demonic spirits into the world and then can’t control them. It’s a recipe for disaster.

So when I was reading a few of these white beast tales (including the Sheep-Squatch stories with their “horns”) I thought they sounded more like demonic creatures than anything earth-bound.  Here’s a good example:

minerFrank Kozul’s Story

Immigrant Frank Kozul had married and settled down by the year 1929,  in Fairmount WV. He worked for the Consolidated Coal Company’s 93 Mine which sat on the Morgan’s Ridge, famed for its Morgan Ridge “Monster” stories. One evening he decided to take a short-cut home, through the thick woods. Suddenly a creature stood before him.

Kurt writes, “It stood two feet at the shoulder, about the size of a large dog, and had an extremely large, powerfully jawed head. It was covered with stark white hair and also had a bushy tail. The creature snarled silently at him, then jumped at him, snapping and biting. Frank swung at it with his lunchbox but failed to hit anything solid. He punched and kicked at it, but hit only air. The strange white creature continued to leap at him, attacking ferociously but silently as he ran down the path. He could feel its weight slam against him over and over, smell the foulness of its breath, but he could not lay hands on it or strike it in any way.

Finally, Frank stumbled near a graveyard where the thing simply vanished into thin air. When he got up and brushed himself off, he found that he was unharmed by the apparently vicious attack. There wasn’t as much as a scratch on him. Shaken and badly frightened, he made his way on home.  … he never took that shortcut again despite having to walk twice as far by the other route.”

Earth-bound creatures are solid be they Bigfoot, mad dogs, wolverines, whatever. What can attack you while remaining in spirit form?

demon_sheep_by_landylachs-d625obxThe Hunted

Another story involves a first-hand account by a hunter who had gone into the woods with family and a family friend. As they were moving along a ridge, they heard a horrible scream, then a creature jumped out at them. Kurt writes, “A hairy white animal, about the size of a large dog, with a bushy tail leaped out of the underbrush from uphill and pounced on one of the hunters. The man screamed as he was knocked off the game path and tumbled downhill, bouncing through some nasty briers.”

After a moment’s shock, the other men followed their friend down that hill and found him lying on his back, crying and wailing that the creature had “…taken my guts!” They checked him over and there wasn’t so much as a drop of blood on him. His clothes were a bit torn from the fall through the briers, but his belly and entrails were still intact. Needless to say this hunter was badly shaken, and when he recovered enough to get up, he asked his friends to take him home. He never went hunting again, and Kurt reports that this man still has nightmares about this episode even to this day.

So in this case, the hunter felt like his entrails were ripped out of his belly, but in reality, nothing happened. Real, earth-bound animals don’t do that. They bite, tear, and cause pain. So what was this thing? Multiple witnesses saw it, and the man’s behavior changed after his attack, and he never went hunting again. That sounds suspiciously like a demonic attack to me.

What to Make of All This

The information I’ve shared with you here is just the tip of the iceberg. Kurt’s book is full of more stories, some stranger than you can possibly imagine. Others, somewhat familiar based on our previous experiences with Bigfoots.

How much is folklore? How much is real? How valid are the witnesses? Very hard to say, although Kurt does a great job trying to sort that all out. In some cases he actually knows the witnesses giving their accounts, but he’s honest about the sources for these tales/reports, most of which are a little obscure to say the least.

I guess we’ll never know but it’s fun and fascinating to contemplate. If you enjoyed these excerpts from the book, you will really enjoy the whole thing.

proceedCautionary Tale

In the course of my reading I was thinking I’d love to get up there (to WV) and do some exploring.  Kurt actually had some things to say on that account.  These many years later, most of the fields and hollers and old farms have been built into developments so the location of where many stories took place is actually now in somebody’s back yard.

Then he shared some cautionary words about wandering off down old roads that seem to go nowhere … and what might happen to people who do. One quote from the book goes, “…Another friend of mine remembers how Baker’s Ridge Road was described to her. It was said that the Morgantown police would warn people, particularly young coeds, to avoid that road, especially after dark. ‘If your car breaks down out there, at night, you’re better off locking your doors and sleeping in your car. Do NOT try going up to any of the houses looking for help!’”

He makes a few other references in the book more or less along the same lines. You take your life in your hands when you venture into these backwoods because it seems like the people there may get up to some strange and troubling things.

Maybe they’re the real monsters after all.

Til the next time!


  1. Wow. That’s a lot to absorb. I’ve always thought there was something to the stories of Bigfoot, Yeti and Sasquatch. But I am torn. I just heard of Big Foot sightings in my state of Conn. So I checked it out. Yes, there are pics! The first pic is exciting! It looks like a big apelike creature walking on what appears to be the edge of a field. But the second pic clearly looks to me like he is wearing a white headband, a bulky skirt, boots and orange socks! You can see white skin around the calf area. The last 3 he seems to be wearing some kind of weird bulky vest or equipment. My guess is this is a homeless man.


    There are many stories of eye witness sightings, people who definitely saw something that frightened them. But why hasn’t anyone, not one person ever come forward with any tangible proof? I’ve watched many “In Search of Bigfoot” documentaries and they all come up with nada, nil even though they use every technology known to man. There are people who claim that they visit their homes on a regular basis yet not one bit of evidence ever. And the account you posted above about the Morgan’s Ridge family. This large creature appeared, they could see where it was, 4 experienced hunters shot at it at once, they were sure they hit it, yet ….. again no body, not even a drop of blood to send to a lab. It’s the same story every time. It just seems if they exist that SOMEONE would be able to prove it after 100 years of sightings.

    • I share your frustration Lisa. Couple things though: many people feel they don’t want the world at large to know the Bigfoots are present because they fear the world will destroy them, and I think they do have a point.

      Re: Morgan’s Ridge Monster – that occurred back in the 1920s so they wouldn’t have had even an inkling what to do with the blood if they could even see it at night.

      I’ll check out the pics of the CT Bigfoot – sounds interesting! Well, BFRO investigated sightings in RI, so why not CT?! LOL!!

  2. Gonna have to get this book. I recently read Lyle Blackburn’s “Beast of Boggy Creek” and it was really good!
    I think Sheepsquatch is possibly one of the most ridiculous names ever given to a cryptid, but hey, it is moonshine country so the fumes may be partially to blame.
    As for the ones that only show up every so often? MIgration could be a possible explanation or they could be like cicadas and lay dormant for many years in underground burrows until they mature into adults then they emerge to mate. Sounds legit, no? LoL.

    • Dormancy is a good thought, Patrick! So is the moonshine. The author, Kurt, is a native of WV, and I don’t recall him mentioning the role that moonshine might play in these sightings, but you never know! LOL!

    • Bob, it may have been mentioned in the book I mention in the article. That author covered a LOT more creatures than I could have covered in one article. I recommend reading that book – you may find it there.

      Thanks for visiting CryptoVille! … Susan

    • Jacqualyn – did you see it in West Virginia? I recommend getting the book I recommend in this article – he has so much stuff about things in W. VA that it’s unbelievable! You may be able to write him directly to see if he knows anything about it. … Susan (CryptoVille)

  3. Im looking for anyone with info on something i saw in mcgraws it stood about 6 ft stood on to legs with no arms or front legs and loojed like a zebra

  4. I looked this up believing there would be nothing on this topic. I was wrong. Late one night within the past year I was driving on highway 250 between Elkins and Monteray when I saw it. My 10 year old daughter was with me sleeping, thank God. I was driving along coming to a bend with a shallow dip in the road, as i was coming around the bend I saw it plain as day. I know what I saw but could not explain it, thinking I was crazy. What I saw was the white goat/man creature. Thank you for the article, now I dont feel as though I was hallucinating.

    • That’s fascinating Lu!! I’m glad you found the article so you could corroborate your experience. You might find that book I mentioned in the article interesting too.

      I don’t know what’s going on in West Virginia, but it sure seems strange!

      Thanks for visiting CryptoVille! … Susan (CryptoVille)

  5. I grew up near Chicago and had a friend whose father was raised in West Virginia, but I don’t know where. He once told us that his family lived in a wooded area, and an old uncle lived with them who rode his horse or mule through the woods into town to a bar. One evening he was riding back through the woods, somewhat tipsy I presume, and his mount came to a halt. The uncle looked ahead on the trail and saw some type of creature standing there that he said looked like the devil, or something to that effect. After some seconds of the creature observing the uncle and his mount, it turned and walked away from the trail. The horse or mule wouldn’t go any further on the trail but would go into the woods around the spot where the creature stood and then return to the trail. He returned to the house, and the uncle was in a sort of state of shock for 2 or 3 days before he would talk much. Not much detail here, but my friend’s father told us this in the 1950’s, when we were in our teens. The father must’ve been in his teens in the late 1920’s to early 1930’s, so I suspect that’s approximately when this incident happened. Anything similar to this in anyone’s experience or readings?

    • Very interesting account, Don. My first thought that this sounds like a Bigfoot encounter simply because the creature didn’t try to harm him or his horse/mule, it just looked & went on its way.

      We’ve seen before in other accounts how horses have been spooked by Bigfoots. So the fact it went around the area where the Bigfoot was before rejoining the trail, is also consistent with that.

      But, as it’s in West Virginia and there seem to be ALL SORTS of things going on, I just don’t know.

      I recommend the book that I mention in this article. It’s a very interesting and enjoyable read and it may help you pinpoint more closely what this man encountered.

      Thanks for visiting CryptoVille! … Susan (CryptoVille)

      • Hello Susan. Maybe was a Bigfoot. Regarding the horse/mule going around where the creature stood, I read once where one scientist thought that BF’s might be able to emit a pheromone that would be a repellant to other animals. Are you familiar with the books by Linda Godfrey of Wisconsin about mysterious canines in the Upper Midwest and occasionally in other places too? Usually large creatures with heads similar to wolves but different construction of bodies that enable them to walk on two hind feet also, although others seem to be built mostly for quadrupedal movement at fast speeds. Anyway, after her second book I emailed her about a creature sighting in West Virginia about something similar seen by a guy and his fiance on a mountaintop there. She included that in her third book. Only thing about that sighting that is different is that the creature’s eyes shown “neon red,” and that was during the daylight. That sounds unnatural to me. More demonlike, which I don’t care to pursue in reading or if I were in the woods. Don’t like to read about ghosts and hauntings either. I might’ve been near to a BF in northern Saskatchewan many years ago when I was young. Just me, when I was 19, and another boy several years younger. That was at night and was spooky. I’ve lived in central NY State for many years, and people here and in northern Pa. also report seeing pumas and “black panthers.” Lastly, when coming upon your website I had just ordered two books from Amazon about creatures/monsters in West Virginia and Virginia. White creatures with horns do not interest me. I prefer to read about critters that seem to be “normal.” That is part of our natural world. For her books about strange canines, Linda Godfrey uses the term “werewolves” in titles or subtitles and sometimes within her books but doesn’t believe in werewolves in the traditional sense. That’s fine with me.

        • I know what you mean about the demonic stuff. That’s why I don’t cover much about ghosts and paranormal, either.

          I’d rather deal with things that at least share the same dimensions of time and space as we do!! 🙂

          • Susan,

            I don’t disbelieve in “ghosts,” hauntings, and demons. As a Christian I have to believe in spiritual realms beyond this world. However, as a Christian I also believe it is best, and biblical, to not delve into these other realms and potential demonic entities. So praying to God in the name of Jesus Christ, or just talking with God, are where my interests in a spiritual world stop. I confine my crypto-creature interest to what I can accept as unproven animals in the physical world we inhabit.

            Also, I can’t accept stories of man-like or animal-like entities with wings flying around scaring people. Birds that are predators may have sharp beaks and strong talons, but they need long powerful wings to carry their lightly-built bodies in the air. Something that would be as heavy as a man, or heavier, wouldn’t be able to lift itself into the air with wings such as are reported for supposed airborne creatures that people sometimes report. If these things have some paranormal power to propel them through the atmosphere, they wouldn’t need wings. Similarly, many paintings, statues, and figurines of angels in Christian literature and modern culture depict angels with wings. Other than a couple of references to winged beings in heaven, biblical angels appearing in our world didn’t have wings, to my imperfect knowledge of the Bible. Reports of “heavenly hosts” in the Old Testament and at the birth of Jesus indicate these heavenly envoys might appear in the sky but not that they had wings. Thus the centuries of artwork and imagery of angels having wings were probably done by artists that assumed that something moving in the sky had wings as we know birds to have. This is just my opinion of course.


            • Don – I am also a Christian and agree with most of your post. I believe that, for whatever purpose or reason, these entities can “leak” into our existence for a short time then disappear as suddenly as they appear. I believe under the right conditions and with people that are sensitive can see these creatures. I shy away from “ghost” or “demonic” events since I believe that these fall under a other worldly subject. God Bless!

  6. In the 1950’s my father saw a “Black Panther”run across the road in front of him,this was in Plainfield,Ct is it a coincidence that their high school mascot is a black panther?
    I my self have seen 3 Mountain Lions,one in 1977,and 2 more in 1999 in Ct.though the state denys they live here.

    • That’s very interesting Glenn! I’ve always thought, how can scientists be sure what lives where, because animals often move around for their own reasons.

      It sounds like there may have once been Black Panthers in the area if the mascot is a black panther.

      Please let us know if you see anymore of these critters.

      Thank you for visiting CryptoVille! … Susan (CryptoVille)

  7. I plan on going to West Virginia in the near future to visit. If anyone would like to join me for a week or so this summer, please let me know. ghopper150@gmail.com

    Thanks \\
    George D Hopper
    USAF, Retired
    MUFON Field Investigator
    S.T.A.R. Team Member

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