Folklore has a special place in the hearts of many, as stories from cultures all over continue to influence us to this day. But many legendary monsters continue to thrive in the United States, unnoticed to us and hiding in the dark. Here are some of the origin stories of some of the most famous cryptids and monsters in the United States, which have also inspired some of our most famous Halloween masks and Halloween costumes.
As one of the most popular creatures, the Wendigo is a large furry beast originating from Algonquin folklore, often located within the northern parts of the US and Canada. As a creature known for its terrifying appearance, it's a bipedal, skinny creature said to be forever hungry, craving human flesh. The spirit of the Wendigo can possess people and induce them to cannibalism, turning them into monsters themselves. In some stories, the act of cannibalism itself invites the spirit of the Wendigo and was often called Wendigo psychosis by the Algonquin people. Today, it's influenced popular culture through its terrifying depictions in horror games and movies, such as Until Dawn, Pet Sematary (2019), and Dark Was the Night (2014).
Also called Bigfoot, the Sasquatch is one of the most familiar and notorious creatures in the United States. It's so popular that the Sasquash Information Society attempts to keep track of reported sightings across Canada and the United States, with primary sightings originating from the Pacific Northwest. With the first sightings being reported during the late 1800s and early 1900s, this ape-like creature was named Bigfoot after huge footprints were found back in 1958. Because of its various sightings, it's become a popular creature for horror movies such as The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972), Exists (2014), Willow Creek (2013), and Creature from Black Lake (1976) as well as our best-selling Bigfoot Halloween Costume.
The Jersey Devil
The Jersey devil, also known as the Leeds Devil, started from a legend back in 1735 in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. According to the legend, Mrs. Leeds cursed her 13th pregnancy, giving that child to the devil. The child once birthed changed into a demon, spouting horns, claws, and wings, and in the night could be heard screaming in the dark. The first sightings of the creature's footprints were seen back in 1909, causing panic throughout the region. Sightings continue to this day and are featured in movies such as Jersey Devil (2013), Leeds Point (2008), and The Last Broadcast (1998).
Originating from West Virginia, the Mothman was first seen back in November of 1966, with several sightings being reported of a flying, 6 to 7-foot-tall creature with glowing red eyes. Within that same year, over 100 sightings were reported within the area, and many witnesses said it flew like a bat and screamed like an eagle. Despite these sightings dying off a year later, no one could confirm what caused those sightings to appear. Today, the Mothman festival occurs every year at Point Pleasant Virginia and is now a common feature in movies such as The Mothman Prophecies (2002), the Mothman of Point Pleasant (2017), and Mothman (2000).
The chupacabra is a legendary animal said to roam throughout the southwest US as well as Mexico and Puerto Rico and other areas. Often blamed for mysterious livestock deaths, the creature is described as resembling a hairless dog-like animal, a hairless bear, or a creature with spikes on its back. Most photographs of the creature were of dead carcasses that turned out the be coyotes with severe mange, but due to its influence has been featured in movies such as Indigenous (2014), Chupacabra Terror (2005), and Legend of the Chupacabra (2000).
As a small introduction to the wide range of monsters throughout the United States, these monsters continue to live in the backwoods of our homes and minds. As these legends grow and morph, why not take the opportunity to embody these monsters yourself with our HorrorDome Halloween masks and Halloween costumes for your next outing, film, or prep supplies for Halloween next year?