5 Creepiest Cryptids from Indiana
Have you ever seen a creature you can’t explain; something that shouldn’t exist but made your blood run cold and every hair on your body stand straight up? You’re not alone.
Long before and ever since the first European settlers set foot in Indiana, there have been reports of strange encounters with beasties in the state’s lakes and forests. These creatures are known as cryptids, or animals whose existence or survival is disputed or unsubstantiated.
Bigfoot in the Pacific Northwest, the Monster of Scotland’s Loch Ness and the Chupacabra of Central America are among the globe’s most famous cryptids.
The Hoosier State’s cryptid creatures may not be as well-known as their headline-grabbing cousins, but the stories surrounding them are just as terrifying. Here’s a spine-tingling look at the 5 creepiest cryptids from Indiana.
5. Beast of Busco
Oscar is definitely the most famous of Indiana’s cryptids. The “Beast of Busco” is said to be a giant turtle with a shell as big as a dining room table that inhabits a lake near Churubusco, Indiana. First spotted by the owner in 1898, Oscar’s popularity really picked up steam when it was spotted by two fishermen in 1948. His “discovery” led to an all-out effort to capture the monster, but several attempts, including draining most of the lake, came up empty-handed. The town, however, has turned the story into tourism, dubbing itself “Turtle Town USA” and celebrating its cryptid each year with the Turtle Days festival.
4. Mud Mermaids
Indiana is without an oceanic coastline, making it quite a stretch that Hoosiers would see a mermaid, the beautiful (or hideous, depending on the teller of the tale) half-human, half-fish cryptids of the sea.
But in 1894, two Ohio newspapers reported sightings of the creature on the Ohio River near Vevay, Indiana. These “mud mermaids” had apparently taken up residence on a sand bar in the river. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the creatures were purported to be “about five feet in length” with a “yellowish” color, and “the extremities resemble hands and are webbed and furnished with sharp claws.” The mermaid was devoid of hair but had ears that were “sharp-pointed and stand up like those of a dog.”
Apparently, Indiana has a Loch Ness monster of its own, with reports dating far back in the traditions of the Native Americans that inhabited the lands near Rochester. An August 1838 article in the Logansport Telegraph describes a monster, known to the Potawatomi as the Meshekenabek, in Lake Manitou, that was estimated to be 60 feet long with a noggin shaped like a cow’s head about 3 feet across and a “dingy” color with bright yellow spots. There was apparently a “well-known tradition of the Indians respecting the Monster in ‘Devil’s Lake.’”
2. Green-Clawed Monster
In 1955, two women swimming in the Ohio River near Evansville reported a terrifying incident involving an unknown creature. One of them was floating on a raft when a green, hairy clawed hand grabbed her leg, pulling her underwater. She escaped but a green handprint reportedly remained on her leg for days. The fact this incident occurred shortly after the release of “Creature from the Black Lagoon” is surely pure coincidence.
1. Ghoul Snake
Don’t go near the graveyard west of Oxford, Indiana. A monstrous snake 15 feet long and “as large in circumference as a good-sized stovepipe, with eyes of fire, adorned with horns underneath fully 10 inches long,” lurks among the graves, according to a September 1889 report in the Lafayette Courier. The snake was said to feed on the corpses in the cemetery.