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Thursday, October 7, 2021

Mud Creek Road Monster

 Mud Creek Road Monster

By Cole Herrold

Sometimes in the annals of Forteana, a creature can be interpreted a certain way that matches an already existing category. These cases are sometimes accurate as of the incredibly large Hairy Hominid category, which includes everything from Momo, the Fouke Monster, the Honey Island Swamp Monster, Skunk Apes, and of course the quintessential Sasquatch; however, sometimes a case gets lumped into a category simply out of convenience because the entity's appearance when you look at the original case files is something entirely different, that currently makes it stand alone in a world where there's already a huge range of bizarre beasts reported. One such case that occurred on Mud Creek Road near Troy, Pennsylvania, is often lumped into the category of Werewolf or Dogman type creature, yet when you actually view the initial report, it clearly is something even more bizarre.

On November 20, 2011, a pair of travelers were driving down Mud Creek Road traveling west towards Highway 14. It was 11:05 that night, and the road was completely shrouded in darkness that could barely be penetrated by the beams of the headlights. The driver, a young man, stared blankly into the darkness, cautiously looking for deer or any other native species that might scurry out into the road. As he stared down the paved road, he noticed that near the edge of the bank was something moving. He could not tell what the object was, but he could tell it did not appear normal, and so he grabbed the attention of his friend. She was staring out the passenger side window, focused on the enveloping tree-shrouded darkness, and hearing his voice, she turned her head, staring then in the direction he alluded to. The driver proceeded in slowing down the car expecting that it could be some deer that they misidentified, and so slowed down even more to get a better look. As they came closer, the female friend staring at the anomalous object soon felt that what they were staring at was a naked human. Concerned that it could be someone hurt, the two slowed down even more until they realized that even this was certainly not the case.

The driver ended up stopping the truck in the middle of the road and directed the headlights at the bizarre form. The truck was about 30-40 ft away from the object and could now clearly tell that this was not a person but instead was a strange creature crawling on the ground. As they watched, the creature suddenly rose up on its hind legs in a squatting position, its back completely straight, which was similar to a kangaroo's. The creature in this position was about 5ft tall. The arms of the creature were held close to the body, and each hand had four long talons like that of an eagle's. Each claw was 8-10" in length except for one which was much shorter than the other one. The creature had a muscular body slightly covered in barely noticeable little black hairs and  was mostly covered in grayish black wrinkly skin that covered the entire body in bizarre folds of flesh, yet the most startling feature was the oversized head which appeared wolf like as it had pointed bat-like ears about 4-6” in length. As if this wasn't nightmare fuel enough, the creature had a mouth filled with razor-sharp fangs, and its eyes were a solid black, almost as though they were voidless pits. The witness would go on to state that these dark pits were the size of a silver dollar and that throughout the entire time of the headlights being on it, not once did they reflect with eyeshine.

The man stared at the entity for some time when a peculiar thought broke into his mind, which was that he felt that the creature should have wings, yet none were clearly apparent. The creature was slowly moving in this position, and it slowly worked its way to the road being only 1-2ft on the pavement. As the creature did this, it began to do something incredibly bizarre it began to what can only be described as stretching its body as the animal got down onto all fours. The witnesses would describe that as the creature stood up on its back legs, it fell forwards onto its front ones. It was in this position that the creature seemed to be about 6-7ft long. In doing the seemingly awkward stance of getting down on all fours, the creature, when its front paws hit the pavement, managed to span the road almost in the same way a tree falling would, and the creature's top half made it 2ft beyond the center of the road. This anomalous abomination which now took up more than half the road with its bewrinkled form, soon began to turn its head and instantly looked at the vehicle. The two travelers could tell its black-holed gaze was focused straight at them and not the mechanical transport they were in; a shiver ran down their spine as they expected the beast to come barreling towards them to rip them asunder but what happened next was beyond what they expected.

The creature's expression changed, and to the witnesses, the only word they could describe the face was "panicked." The creature appeared to be horrified of them just as much as they were, and it began to take a heavy deep breath as though to calm itself in this situation. The witnesses stared at each other, confused at this behavior as it almost was as though the creature had some sort of supernatural stage fright due to being seen. The driver would later comment that "he had the feeling the creature didn't realize it was being observed and when it did realized it was- it was like it was caught doing something." Just what would only be speculated later, but in the present, the creature soon began to move after freezing for that short duration. The creature started to lean back and then proceeded to reach forward with its claws; after doing what seemed to be a kind of a stretch, the creature then took an enormous leap which managed to clear the entire roadway from where it was and a seven-foot embankment which was on the other side of the road and ultimately disappeared out of sight all in the same length of time. The way the creature leaped, the man would later state, was that it made itself perfectly straight in position and held its front claws forward. As the creature did this grand leap, the back legs were more noticeable and were even more surprising as the creature's lower legs "were only slightly larger than broomsticks or about the size of a walking cane and were very long." The woman in the passenger seat also felt that as the creature jumped, it was almost 9ft tall, as though the process of jumping increased its height or length. Later it would be estimated that the total length the creature jumped was an incredible forty feet.

The driver and his friend were just trying to figure out what they had just seen when something just as bizarre happened as they waited in the dark road. A large bird, possibly an owl, suddenly rushed at the passenger side window, almost hitting the glass. Then took off and did not return. The witnesses frightened by this flying feather friend were unsure whether this avian anomaly was an owl, but they thought it was bizarre that such an airborne anomaly would come from the exact area as where the creature was meandering.

On April 11, 2012, the driver would later get ahold of Pennsylvania Paranormal Researcher Stan Gordon, and he would retell his experience to him as best he could. Stan then was able to interview the woman of the 26th, but even after those few months, the effects of their creature sighting lingered on as the man would tell Stan that the creature "scared the hell out of us" and "I will never forget that night." Stan would later ask the two what their thoughts on the creature were, and both had some rather unique if not conflictory ideas of what the creature was. The two were both in agreement that the creature appeared to of changed form somehow. The driver stated, "Its shape was nothing like when it squatted." The driver, after his sighting, went online to see if he could find anything that matched the creature they were seen, but he came up empty-handed when later asked by Stan what the closest thing it looked like was, he later stated that it looked more like a gargoyle without wings. Whereas his female counterpart reluctantly and conclusively went on to say, “It shaped into another form…I think it was a man turning into a werewolf”.

Thus ends the account of the Mud Creek Road Monster, a brief encounter that took no more than 12 seconds but instantly changed the lives of two young people. This account is interesting for so many reasons; first of all, there's nothing truly like it, its safe to say it's not a black bear with mange since bears don't have incredibly long broomstick thin back legs; bears also have five claws as opposed to the four the Mud Creek Road Monster allegedly had. Mangy cats, dogs, foxes, wolves, and coyotes have four claws but also do not reach the height or lengths of the creature reported. Compared to other cryptids that are said to be endemic to the area, like black panthers, Bigfoot, Flying Humanoids, and even Dogmen, none of them truly match the creature. Another interesting factor is unlike other cryptid cases, there’s a point of scale with how much of the road the creature took up, so measurement is easier as opposed to an ambiguous photo or a sighting in an open field. This sighting has reasonable places where measurements, as opposed to spitball guesses, can be applied.

This entity is perhaps one of the most bizarre I've come across in Pennsylvania's Fortean history since there's so much to unpack in such a short encounter. I guess the first thing to discuss is the possibilities of what this creature could be. I've already discussed why it couldn't be a mangy native animal, so I'll branch over into cryptid territory and discuss some of the similar creatures that vaguely resemble this creature. The first that comes to mind, of course, is the Dogmen. Dogmen sightings are becoming extremely common in Pennsylvania, and this creature was described as being rather wolf-like in the face; perhaps Dogmen like Bigfoot can get mange. There’s a famous PA bigfoot case of a bigfoot with a short mohawk and patches of hair on a practically hairless body that many, myself included, feel is a case of Bigfoot with mange. If this is possible with dogs, bears, and Bigfoot, perhaps Dogmen are just as plausible to be subject to getting it. My only problem with this is that Dogmen usually have eyes that naturally seem to glow or reflect light; the creature's eyes seem to be devoid of any light as though it was to quote Sam Loomis "The Blackest Eyes the Devil's Eyes." This entity also was described as having four claws which is something that is different from dogmen accounts. Dogmen are described as having five digits, and some of the track evidence also verifies this.

Another Cryptid possibility is a recent phenomenon known as crawlers. Crawlers are described as pale humanoids that have small heads, long spindly arms and legs, and long, overly extended fingers; they also are sometimes described as having red or black eyes. These entities are very close to what the Mud Creek Road Monster was described except for a few points. Crawlers are typically pale white in color or light gray and completely hairless. The Mud Creek Road Monster, on the other hand, is dark grey to almost black in color with very fine black hair, almost like one would expect to see on a peach. The Mud Creek Road Monster also had one less digit than what is typically described with Crawlers, who usually have five long razor-sharp or skeletal-like fingers. The Mud Creek Road Monster also has a wolf-like head that is larger in mass than most of its body which is something that is completely opposite of what the Crawler phenomenon seems to indicate.

From there, the possibilities seem to of hit a brick wall; there was an alleged creature that was said to of been killed by some boys in Panama that does have some similarities to the creature. This particular creature was known as the Cerro Azul Monster and was a popular mystery for some time; however, the Cerro Azul Monster was later revealed to not be a new undiscovered animal but simply the bloated remains of a sloth. Yet even if this was a cryptid animal, it would still not exactly match.

The next possibility, even though it seems too ridiculous to even think about, is that this creature is a Squonk. For those who have no idea what a Squonk is, a Squonk is a Fearsome Critter (a creature folktale created by lumberjacks to entertain, frighten, or pass the time) that is often described as a kind of pig-like creature completely ugly to look at. Its usually described as having the overall appearance of a pig with long spindly back legs, a warty, wrinkled body, slight hair that covers the body, and a pig-like face. The creature's appearance, however, is not its most known attribute legend says that when this creature is seen or captured, it reacts in a bizarre way due to the fact that the creature is very self-conscious it hates to be seen even by its own species and so when spotted by another living creature it will begin to cry. Now, this might seem unimpressive, but its body has a bizarre reaction to this natural behavior as the more the creature cries, the creature begins to dissolve. This can continue for a short span of time before ultimately turning into nothing but a pool of tears. Clearly, this has to be a folktale; there's nothing in nature that would benefit from such a behavior; an organism's sole purpose is to live its life and continue its line by reproducing; you cant have a species that dissolves when another of its kinds around there would be no offspring. However, if you remove the anomalous behavior of the Squonk, the Mud Creek Road Monster has an incredible likeness to it; the only difference is the size and supposed leaping ability, but the creature's ability to leap is not referenced in any books on fearsome critters so perhaps it can. Perhaps a pig-like face could have been mistaken for a wolf-like one; they both have a snout and large semi-pointed ears. I could see how it could be mistaken, and to me, more interesting is that perhaps the legend of the Squonk could be based on this creature. Even the creature's shyness could be accurate when the Mud Creek Road Monster was seen it didn't attack even though it clearly could have done some damage, but it seemed to be panicked or upset it even took a deep breath as though to calm itself this is similar to anxiety that we could attribute to Squonk behavior.

While I want this creature to be the thing that inspired the legend of the Squonk or that it is, in fact, the Squonk, I seriously doubt it, but it makes me double think putting the creature in the harsh Folklore file. With that said, there's another option that needs to be entertained that ventures out of the realm of Cryptozoology and into the paranormal. The female witness was adamant that what she saw was a human turning into a werewolf; perhaps she's right. Humans turning into werewolves have been around since the Greek Myth of King Lycaon, and every culture around the world has tales of such shapeshifters. We chalk this up to man's attempt to understand serial killers, animal attacks, the animal nature of humans, and wishful thinking, yet what if these accounts are legitimate claims of people who, through some supernatural means, have been able to change their skins and become snarling monsters. In this case, if this was what was seen, the creature seemed to be deliberately doing it and not forced to by some curse or some lunar cycle as depicted by classic werewolf movies. Even the witness had the feeling that the creature gave them a look as though it was caught with its claw in the proverbial cookie jar. Now with that said, the creature seems to be halfway through transformation if this is the case as it was clearly devoid of one of the most iconic features of the monster, the overly abundant hair growth. And this image of the creature then does seem similar to the uncomfortable Rick Baker transformation scene in American Werewolf in London when David is in his lover's apartment, just a less hairy version.

Other options for what this creature could be is the infamous Ultraterrestrial, a creature that appears to simply mess with humanity or feed on their fears, but this seems unlikely as the creature seemed more afraid of the witnesses than them of it. The creature could have been an interdimensional being and could have popped in from another dimension hence why when the witnesses saw it, the creature seemed to of been shape-shifting; it could also explain why the creature seemed so disturbed by their presence since perhaps on its homeworld it had never seen or experience humans before. Or perhaps on its homeworld, humans hunted these creatures for some reason or another. This creature could also be a faerie, yet I cannot think of any that would exactly match what this creature is said to be, but like the previous possibilities, I cannot rule it out.

In conclusion, the Mud Creek Road Monster is an enigma that is totally unique. Pennsylvania has had tons of encounters from Thunderbirds, Albatwitches, Black Panthers, Giant Snakes, Bigfoot, Dragons, What-Is-Its, and Aliens and none seem to match this creature. There were some reports of small hairless badger-like creatures, but they seem to be an altogether different breed of beast. I have no conceivable clue as to the origin or identity of this creature, and part of me would love some follow-up; perhaps some other motorist along Mud Creek Road encountered something similar or had an even closer encounter, yet there's no way of knowing for sure. Until the time being, if you're on Mud Creek Road, look all around, for you just might encounter a broomstick legged monstrosity that defies all logic.

Quick Facts:

Species/Potential Species: Mammal

Location: Mud Creek Road, Troy, Bradford County, Pennsylvania

Sighted: November 20, 2011

Works Cited:

Stan Gordon "Three Mysterious Creature Encounters Reported From Pennsylvania” Stan Gordon's Anomalies Zone. Accessed October 5, 2021.

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