Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 13th, 2007
What could this “Horned Horror” have been?
The people of Jonesboro, Tennessee, are in a turmoil of terror over the appearance of a fearful and wonderful animal which is depredating in the State. A gentleman recently from the Shelton Laurel district of North Carolina, some forty miles from this place, informs us that the people in that “densely thicketed” country are greatly excited in regard to the appearance, upon several different occasions, and in several different places, of a huge mountain monster, the species of which are [sic] unknown.
Mr. George Anderson, one of the gentlemen residing in Laurel county, being one of the persons that saw the monster, also furnishes us with the following description of it: “I was out in the jungle hunting up some lost hogs, when all of a sudden there came into my path a beast, the appearance of which[,] I must confess, caused me to quake for the first time in many years. Aside from its strange and unusual appearance, the unearthly yell it uttered on perceiving me, which reverberated and re-reverberated through the forest, was enough to shake the most daring adventurer. The animal was some hundred yards distant from me, and appeared to be a huge black bear with mane and head like a lion, but had horns like an elk upon it. Its tail was long and bushy, with dark and light rings around it to its very extremity. Its eyes glared like a panther’s, and its size was that of an ordinary ox, but somewhat longer.
Just previous to making its appearance I had shot off my gun at a squirrel, and felt little prepared to meet such a ferocious beast without any weapon of defense. I immediately set about to reloading my rifle, but had scarcely begun when it started towards me. I retreated in as good order as possible, and must say I did some good running – not looking back until I reached an open spot – when I found the animal had disappeared in the laurel thicket.
This is no story, Mr. Editor, gotten up to scare naughty children. I am not the only one that saw the monster – several have seen it since I did; and as sheep and calves are lately missing, it is presumed to be a carnivorous brute. Many have fortified their homes to prevent a night attack from the strange monster, the like of which was never seen in these mountains before. Some think it has escaped from some rambling menagerie, while others superstitiously think it is sent to warn the people of some approaching danger.”“An Animal Horror,” Janesville [Wisconsin] Gazette, March 3, 1873.
Thanks for this historical item from Jerome Clark.