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Local History

Missouri Monsters 2

The Ozarks have been home to many mysterious and mythical creatures over the years. These creatures roamed the Ozark hills, woods, and waterways striking fear and stirring imaginations. Their stories have been passed down from generation to generation, and sightings have been recounted in newspapers across the region. Here are just a few of the well-known creatures of the Ozarks and just a few of their tales. See part one of these scary creatures here.

Though it’s not dangerous, the Snawfus is puzzling and said to possess supernatural powers. An albino deer with antlers that can, some claim, produce apples, plums and blooms, it can make tremendous leaps into treetops or, as one old-timer put it, “fly through the timber, as quiet as a God damn’ hoot-owl.” Some claim that if you see a blue haze hanging over the Ozarks, a Snawfus is near. But beware, for anyone who lays eyes on a Snawfus is, as legend has it, “not long for this world.”



The Giasticutus is a ginormous bird-of-prey with a 50-foot wingspan and a boat-like beak beneficial to its predilection for picking up and carrying off full-grown cattle. How gigantic is the Giasticutus, you ask? Well, one Sparta, Missouri, man claimed to have come across a black feather 14 feet long, with a quill as thick as a man’s leg. According to one man, there was once a Giasticutus in Greene County, 24 feet from tip to tip, that carried off a yearling calf. Even as recently as 1948, an enormous gray-and-black bird was spotted gliding over Alton, Illinois, casting a shadow that covered two houses at a time.


Called “the most dangerous wild animal that ever really lived in the Ozarks,” the Painter is said to occasionally kill children, climbing down chimneys to swipe a newborn babe, the scent of the mother’s milk attracting it. With a roar resembling the whistle of a steamboat or locomotive, the Painter’s strange screams can cause men to gather with their rifles and dogs. 

The Painter is said to have been seen as recently as 1945. A woman and her babe were alone in a backwoods shanty near Abesville, Missouri, as night fell. Suddenly, there came a scratching at the door. Opening it, the woman saw a monstrous beast standing upright like a man; it was tan-colored, with staring eyes and terrifying teeth. She slammed the door, but the creature came close to tearing down the cabin trying to gain entrance.

Mainly concerned with capsizing boats, mangling fishing nets, and tearing up tackle, the Gollywog is described as a giant mudpuppy or waterdog (Ozarks for salamander), with full-grown Gollywogs reaching 8 to 10 feet in length. 

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