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The Snallygaster - A Maryland Legend

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posted on Sep, 10 2011 @ 08:36 AM
I was very surprised there isn't a thread here on the Snallygaster.

Living in Maryland all my life, I have heard many tales about this creature.

There are many writeups on the Snallygaster if you perform a Google search.
Google Search for Snallygaster

The most accurate writeup which matches what I have been told in personal accounts from my Great Grandfather is at

This creature is described as a half-bird half-reptile with a ghoul-like face. It has a very strong metallic like beak with very sharp teeth. Some even say that it had tentacles.

My Great Grandfather was a moonshine runner during Prohibition. While he primarily ran moonshine for Blue Blazes Still, he would on occasion run moonshine for other stills in the area.

He claimed to be present when the Snallygaster was overcome by fumes and fell into the whiskey still. Note he didn't tell me which still, but he did say it wasn't Blue Blazes.

His story is as follows, as relayed to me when he was approximately 90 years old:

He was at the still waiting to pickup his moonshine when a loud shrieking cry could be heard from above. A shadow fell upon the entire wooded area around the still as the largest bird he'd ever seen flew overhead. Most of the men panicked and fled the area. Of course, being the stubborn mountain man he was, he wasn't leaving without his moonshine. He hid behind something (rock? tree? didn't remember) and watched as this monster circled the still.

The fumes from the still overcame the creature. It began flying erratically, then fell from the sky into the moonshine vat. About that time, a scout signaled the alarm that the revenuers were coming, so he was forced to leave without his moonshine and hide in the woods.

He came back a day later to find the entire still destroyed, and no remnants of the creature.

Please note that thing I've noticed about this story is that his account does not mention tentacles, unlike many of the accounts I've read online.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it! If you have a story about the Snallygaster, please share!

posted on Sep, 12 2011 @ 02:14 AM
reply to post by TheLonePhantom

whoa....that thing sounds frackin' awesome!!! a new beasty for me to admire. thanks!!

posted on Sep, 12 2011 @ 05:20 AM
It's sounds a bit similar to the thunderbird stories.

posted on Sep, 12 2011 @ 06:51 PM
Now here's an interesting few excerpts...

All from

The Snallygaster is a monstrous beast whose rampages were recorded in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia starting in 1735. The reports of a bloodsucking dragon-like beast with wings, claws, tentacles, fur, horns, and a long reptilian tail continued into the mid 1970s. In addition, the Snallygaster had only one eye in the middle of its head and had a horrible sulfuric smell. A group of lumberjacks also claimed to have come upon the Snallygaster’s nest, which was perched on a high cliff and contained an egg “big enough to hatch a horse”.

The beast got its name from German immigrants who settled in the region. “Snallygaster” is a corruption of the German word “schnellgeiste” which means “quick spirit”. The Snallygaster evidently had many frightening attributes, which included its dragon wings, poison breath, toothy beak, tentacles, and its penchant for sucking blood.

The last event in the long, frightening history of the Snallygaster was in 1976, when the Washington Post funded an expedition to find the beast. Nothing was ever found – no eggs, tracks, or any other evidence. Despite this, the state of Maryland placed the Snallygaster on the Endangered Species list in 1982.

NOTE: I researched the "Endangered Species" bit, and could not find any reference in Maryland law. If it is true, it has been since removed.

posted on Sep, 18 2011 @ 01:01 AM
Wow, I live in Maryland and I've never heard of this creature/legend. Heard of the goatman and tons of others, but this is a great one. I also was thinking along the lines of 'Thunderbird' with a bit of embellishment over the years... Great story!

posted on Sep, 19 2011 @ 12:34 PM
I have never heard of this either, but also think it resembles the thunderbird.

Thanks for sharing your grandpas story

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