Magical Creatures: Kentucky Folklore and Mystical Beasts

The Killer Beast of Caerbannog

In Wales there lies a cave-- the cave of Caerbannog--and the entrance to this cave was guarded by a creature so foul, so cruel that no man yet has fought with it and lived! I traveled with Young Brian to Wales and we caught this magical beastie, transporting it, sedated and under the highest security, to reside in peaceful tranquility at the Alabaster Menagerie for Retired Beasties. No photo available as it ate our photographer. 

The Basilisk: King of the mythical serpents

One look at its gruesome visage will turn any living man stone dead! A Blood red serpent whose color marks the countless lives it’s taken. No photo available as it petrified our second, third, and fourth teams of photographers.

Kulkukan

Kulkukan The mythical, feathered reptile of old whose horrible cry makes the earth shake. Chasms in the earth open before its gruesome maw. His skin blue and cold as ice, but whose bite is hellfire. He is only sated in his bloodlust by devouring the heads of the greatest of ancient warriors. By pluck and our wiles, Young Brian and I were able to subdue this fearsome beast and lodge him for safekeeping in our menagerie. Having yet again opened a chasm it swallowed our fifth photography team. Alas, we have provided an artist’s rendering of him in all his terrific glory. See below. As December is its molting season he has lost most of his beautiful plumage.

Extra Credit: More About Magical Beasts!

Andy: Blue Tongued Skink

This is the largest member of the skink family. Its body is long and tubular, with short legs and a short tail. The head is triangular and broad. This skink is very well known for its long, bright blue tongue. Blue-tongued skinks are omnivores, meaning they feed on a variety of plants and animals. Their diet includes insects, worms, snails, flowers, fruits, and berries.

Ursula: Argentine Tegu

The Argentine black and white tegu, also known as the Argentine giant tegu, the black and white tegu, or the huge tegu, is a species of lizard in the family Teiidae. The species is the largest of the "tegu lizards".

Dottie: Red-Footed Tortoise

The red-footed tortoise is found throughout South America and on the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Barbados. These long-lived tortoises have bright red, yellow or orange patches on their legs, tail and head.

Red-footed tortoises are primarily herbivorous but will also eat small amounts of animal matter, such as small invertebrates. Most of their food comes from leaves, grasses, fungi, fruits and flowers.

At the Smithsonian's National Zoo, they are fed a specially formulated tortoise feed that includes a balance of cellulose, carbohydrates, proteins and minerals such as calcium. They also receive dietary enrichment in the form of browse and occasional fruit.

David Boa: Red Tailed Boa Constrictor

Typically tan with approximately 20 dark dorsal saddles running the length of the body. The tail blotches are usually red, orange or brown with black edging. Laterally there are tan, brown or black blotches (circular or diamond shaped) spaced along the saddles. Undersides are yellowish, spotted with black.

Zenon: Chinchilla

Chinchillas are rodents that are native to the Andes Mountains of northern Chile. Often kept as pets, chinchillas are also prized for their luxuriously soft fur and were nearly driven to extinction because of the demand. 

Chinchilla fur was originally mottled yellow-gray in the wild, according to The Merck Veterinary Manual. Through selective breeding, however, other colors have become common, including silver, yellow-gray, bluish-gray, white, beige and black. Each hair ends in a black tip, no matter what color the chinchillas are.

Dixie: Bearded Dragon

Bearded dragons (their scientific name is Pogona) are a type of reptile that includes eight different lizard species. Their name refers to the fact that they have a coat of shiny scales, including a ‘beard’ of spikes under their chin, which expands depending on their mood.

They’re diurnal creatures (meaning they’re active during the day) and the most common species to have as a pet is the central bearded dragon.

Australia, where bearded dragons are from, is very hot and dry.

Harry: Rose Hair Tarantula

Tarantulas move slowly on their eight hairy legs, but they are accomplished nocturnal predators. Insects are their main prey, but they also target bigger game, including frogs, toads, and mice. Tarantulas are burrowers and typically live in the ground.

Jellybean: African Pygmy Hedgehog

The African pygmy hedgehog, or four-toed hedgehog, is the smallest of the hedgehog species and is the species often sold for the pet trade. You can find these animals in a wide array of color patterns, including salt and pepper, snowflake, and cinnamon. Pet hedgehogs are quiet, active, and entertaining, but they require a lot of care. They need spacious housing that must be cleaned often and a quality hedgehog food. Plus, as nocturnal animals you will need to feed and care for them in the evening hours.

Hopkinsville Goblin

On the evening of Aug. 21, 1955, five adults and seven children visited the Hopkinsville, Kentucky, police station with a strange story. Among those 12 people were brothers Elmer and John Sutton, as well as O. P. Baker, who are pictured.

The group reported they had witnessed a flying saucer land near the farmhouse where they were staying the night. “Little men” surrounded the house, peering at the frightened families as they attempted to gain entry. John Sutton and Billy Ray Taylor claimed to have fought off the men with a shotgun and a pistol for several hours before leaving to notify the police. The little men, they reported, were short, monkey-like, with long arms and webbed hands with talons, large bright offset eyes and pointed ears. This sketch by Evansville Press artist Larry Hill appeared in the newspaper along with the first reports of the supposed sighting.

Pope Lick Monster

Just outside of Louisville, in eastern Jefferson County, the Norfolk Southern Railroad runs right through the Parklands of Floyds Fork -- and it's within this particular stretch of trestle that the Pope Lick Monster is said to reside.

Part man, part goat, and part sheep, rumors of a hideous beast roaming around the Pope Lick Trestle have been swirling for quite some time.

The most well-known version of the story is that a goat-man hybrid who lives on top of the trestle, using hypnosis or voice mimicry to lure victims to the top. Some people say a train then comes and strikes the victim, while others suggest that the sight of the monster is so disturbing that they are driven to jump off the 100-foot trestle... to their deaths.

Green Clawed Beast

Naomi suddenly arched her back and began splashing the water. Something had wrapped around her knee!  It felt like a very large hand. She would later describe it as "hairy and claw-like."  Whatever it was pulled her under the surface, where she kicked it away and bobbed back to the top of the water. She took a huge breath and screamed just before the creature again latched onto her leg from behind. Naomi was able to grab an innertube that the ladies were using as a float. As she tried to climb on board, Naomi pulled away from the creature's grasp and made it the few feet to the shore.

Naomi Johnson was safe and, when medical help arrived, she was treated for cuts and scratches on her lower leg but authorities could not remove a strange blue-green stain.

Octoman

In the winter of 1959, the Ohio River and its tributaries became the stage for a series of bizarre sightings. Five terrified witnesses reported encountering a large, gray, octopus-like creature, which quickly gained infamy as the 'Indescribable Octo-Man'.

The creature first made headlines on January 29th, 1959, when a local Cincinnati newspaper ran a captivating headline: "What Is It? ‘Monster’ Churns Up the Ohio”. The article sparked a whirlwind of speculation, leading to numerous sightings of the Octo-Man, many of which were reported to the local police.

The creature was first sighted near the town of New Richmond by an anonymous man who described the creature as “indescribable”. His report was initially met with skepticism by the police until a second caller, a truck driver, phoned in with a similar sighting.

The Herrington Lake Monster

The Lake Herrington Monster has a body like that of an eel and posses a pig-like snout. It has a somewhat curly tail and skin tone/pattern of a speckled fish. It is 12-15 feet long and said to be as fast as a boat. Since Herrington Lake's completion in 1925, there have been reports of the Eel-Pig within the lake. In 1972, University of Kentucky professor Lawrence S. Thompson reported that he had seen the creature swimming in the lake multiple times. However after his many sightings, he was unable to identify what it was. He was later interviewed by newspaperThe Louisville Courier. When asked whether he truly believed he had seen a real monster, he stated: “it’s only a monster in the sense that one would call an alligator a monster if they had never seen one before.