Bigfoot or Bust: Where to Encounter America's Mythical Monsters on Your Summer Road Trip
Even Scooby-Doo wants no part of the mythical creatures you may encounter during your summer travels (he’s seen enough of `em, thank you).
Shortcuts to popular tourist destinations can sometimes stretch through the back roads of less traveled, uninhabited byways. Driving deep into some of these rural regions comes with associated risks. Like something out of a “Scooby-Doo” episode, getting a flat tire on a moonlit, desolate dirt road might bring your family face to face with a creepy creature, the likes of which have only been seen by locals. From Sasquatch to the Montauk Monster, here’s a glimpse of some of the most legendary creatures in U.S. folklore to run across the beaten path.
Artist drawing of the Jersey Devil, Philadelphia Post 1909 (Photo: WikiCommons)
Jersey Devil: New Jersey
For 260-plus years, an animal or entity known as the Jersey Devil has been witnessed by over 2,000 people. Yet, with inconsistent reports — and the fact that it’s never been captured — the Jersey Devil continues to avoid the leap from mythology to zoology (although it is the name of New Jersey’s hockey team). With the head of a horse and the wings of a dragon, this feisty amalgamation is reputed to bite, scratch, scream, and spit at those disturbing its lair in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Want to learn more about the little devil (and other creepy creatures)? Head to the Paranormal Museum, in Asbury Park.
Wampus Cat: North Carolina and Tennessee
Those who camp deep in the Appalachian wilderness might just hear the wailing screams of the ferocious, and unsubstantiated, Wampus Cat. This half-dog, half-cat beast — the stuff of Cherokee folklore — is well-known to locals. In fact, the cougarlike creature is the mascot of several Tennessee high school sports teams. Go, Wampus Cat!
"Bigfoot" (Photo: Everett Collection)