Snallygaster

The snallygaster is a mythical dragon-like beast said to inhabit the Blue Ridge Mountains near Braddock Heights, Maryland.

The area was settled by German immigrants beginning in the 1730s. Early accounts describe the community being terrorized by a monster called a Schneller Geist, meaning "quick spirit" in German. The earliest incarnations mixed the half-bird features of a siren with the nightmarish features of demons and ghouls. The Snallygaster was described as half-reptile, half-bird with a metallic beak lined with razor-sharp teeth, occasionally with octopus-like tentacles. It swoops silently from the sky to pick up and carry off its victims. The earliest stories claim that this monster sucked the blood of its victims. Seven-pointed stars, which reputedly kept the snallygaster at bay, can still be seen painted on local barns.

It has been suggested the legend was resurrected in the 19th century to frighten freed slaves.

In February and March of 1909, newspaper accounts describe encounters between local residents and a beast with "enormous wings, a long pointed bill, claws like steel hooks, and an eye in the center of its forehead." It was described as making screeches "like a locomotive whistle."ref|ValleyRegister A great deal of publicity surrounded this string of appearances, with the Smithsonian Institution offering a reward for the hide. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt reportedly considered postponing an African safari to personally hunt the beast.ref|BraddockHeightsBook

In 2008, author Patrick Boyton published a book about the history of the Snallygaster entitled "Snallygaster: the Lost Legend of Frederick County".

Other meaning

A "snallygaster" is also a beverage composed of Mountain Dew and vanilla ice cream, created to promote Mountain Dew in the 1960s.

References

#"The Valley Register", February 12—March 5, 1909.
#Hooper, Anne B. (1974). "Braddock Heights: A Glance Backward". Great Southern Printing Co. p. 71-72. ASIN: B0006CEDUA.

ee also

* Cryptozoology

External links

* [http://www.baltimoremd.com/remember/snallygast.html Beware the Snallygaster]
* [http://www.hollowhill.com/misc/blair1.htm The Real 'Blair Witch' Ghosts]
* [http://wesclark.com/jw/snallygaster.html The Snallygaster] , from "Ghosts and Legends of Frederick County" by Timothy L. Cannon and Nancy F. Whitmore
* [http://www.marylandmonster.com Snallygaster: the Lost Legend of Frederick County]


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