You’ve heard of Bigfoot. Everyone knows about Bigfoot. (Large hairy guy. Hangs out in the woods. Only takes grainy photos.) You’ve probably heard about the Loch Ness Monster (“The Succubus” from Southpark: Season 3, Episode 34). There’s even a chance that you’re aware of the existence of the Mothman (who had its own movie starring Richard Gere) or the chupacabra (“El Mundo Gira” from The X-Files: Season 4, Episode 11). But what about the Popelick Monster, Genny the Water Monster, The Spottsville Monster, or The Sturgis Vampire? Collectively, these are what are known as “cryptids.” You can think of cryptids as creatures that exist in pop culture somewhere between local history and conspiracy theories, animals that exist in the folklore of a given area that science cannot prove the existence of. There’s even a branch of science devoted to searching for cryptids called cryptozoology. What these last four have in common is that they are cryptids that might be found in your very own backyard.
Hide your cats and dogs because we’re going to discuss Kentucky-fied Cryptids.
Genny, the Geneva, Kentucky Water Monster or Henderson County Water Snake
First, try to remember everything you’ve ever heard about the Loch Ness Monster or similar beasties like Champ, the Lake Champlain Monster. Now take that mental image and set it in Kentucky. That’s really all there is to this one. The Geneva Water Monster, or Henderson County Water Snake, are something like a horse with a duck bill combined with a stretched out catfish that is then covered in dark green moss. It may or may not have been responsible for drownings. It may or may not be a giant log. Is it a giant catfish, given that it sounds exactly like how one would describe a giant catfish if you had never seen a giant catfish before? Who knows?
The Spottsville Monster
The Spottsville Monster is nothing like Bigfoot, other than being a large man shaped bipedal humanoid covered in hair. (It might be having some issues with male pattern baldness.)
Dogmen are nothing like Bigfoot, other than being a large man shaped bipedal humanoid covered in hair that also have snouts that may or may not be covered in blood. (It might have the ability to disappear into the underbrush like the aliens from the movie Predator.)
The Popelick Monster
The Popelick Monster is nothing like Bigfoot, other than being a large man shaped bipedal humanoid covered in hair that also has goat horns and hooves. (It might have mind control powers that compel individuals to dare other individuals to hang out late at night on train trestles and play chicken with passing locomotives. This largely makes it equivalent to the penguin from Billy Madison.)
But wait, there’s more…
Unless you live in Boone County, that is. Out of the many many books on Kentucky folklore I read in preparation for this article, the weirdest thing I could find reported to be living in Boone County was a bald eagle large enough to try to carry off a puppy. Nearly every other county has stories of witches, hairy men, lizard people, giants, moth men, men traveling via weird flying machines, pterodactyls, and grave robbing cannibal gophers. (Yes, grave robbing cannibal gophers. SYFY Channel, why aren’t you here in Kentucky making a movie about this? Do we really need another Sharknado?)
More to come (should any furry beastie poke its head out in Boone County) as this story continues.
Kevin Wadlow is 100% a real human being and definitely not a murder of crows wearing a person suit. He is an avid reader of horror, tabletop gamer, and drinker of coffee who enjoys drawing things of strangeness along the way. When the zombie apocalypse comes, he will probably be eaten first after saying something about how he fully expected to go out like this.