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Appalachian Groundsloths And Others Southwards

Appalachian Groundsloths And Others Southwards
Earlier in this week I received this message from Robert Kline at Global Warming and Terraforming (Now one of the other blogs permanently linked to this one):

HI Dale, Please see http://globalwarming-arclein.blogspot.com/2011/07/giant-ground-sloth-observed-in.html

These reports never identified the creatures as a ground sloth and the horns are unexpected. Yet I suspect that the ground sloth is the best explanation

Do you know of other reports out of the area?

To which I answered, I knew of allegations of Groundsloths around the Caribbean and West Indies alleged in two sizes, one a moderate-sized bearlike creature (say 6 feet tall) and the other described as the size of a small ape or monkey, about 3 feet tall and partly arboreal, both of which marked by having large claws. However, we shall be getting to those later on.Here is the material from the Global Warming Blog:

MONDAY, JULY 11, 2011

GIANT GROUND SLOTH OBSERVED IN APPALACHIA


As I have posted before, cryptids are typically local phenomena and it takes a lot for a patch of reports to actually surface.

This short collection of reports took me aback initially. The first is as good as it gets yet we can immediately state that it is:

Not a goat or ruminant in spite of having the horns. Those are clawed paws.Not a bear.Not a carnivore - the body is a bulky herbivore with some prospect of also eating grubs and the like.

Yet it resides in the southern


Appalachia which is natural refugia from the Pleistocene. Hibernation is unnecessary.

Quite remarkably, this is surely a remnant population of giant ground sloths. The horns are merely unexpected but certainly congruent with an herbivore needing protection.

Once you think ground sloth, the reports and observations fit and we can chuck the made up name been applied.

"SHEEP-SQUATCH"

Edited by: JMoore / WVGhosts.com Editor

"http://www.wvghosts.com/stories/story-Sheep Squatch-300.php"

I grew up in Gallipolis, across the Ohio River from

Point Pleasant. In high school I found an old scrape book of my mother's with several dozen clippings on the Mothman: I was fascinated that something "neat" had happened so close to the sleepy little town I loved, and I was hooked. I had to know more! It didn't take long for me to find "The Mothman Prophecies" and read it cover to cover.

I lost interest somewhat when I began to date and do the things high school kids do. However, when I returned from a seven year tour in the

United States Navy I rediscovered my interest in the Mothman. I decided that I would use the skills the Navy had taught me to try and disprove the Mothman stories. My logic being that if I tried, seriously and diligently, to disprove the stories, and failed, then I would have strengthened their credibility.

My new hobby took me into the woods and "hollers" around the TNT area and to the homes of what witnesses who were alive and willing to talk about what they'd seen. While I found a great many points of interest in my investigation -among them some interesting questions focusing on an Active Naval base in Point Pleasant which seems to have no official purpose or staff. I was not prepared for what I encountered along a creek bank north of

Bethel Church Road.

I was walking the creek bank trying to run down some tips provided to me by an acquaintance at a UFO investigation group who I considered a marginal flake, but which seemed to have some credibility in the form of "what are these guys really up to" venue.

As I walked the creek I heard something large break through the brush ahead of me and I froze. Logic told me that it was at worse a large dog or even a stray cow, as there is very little in the way of predators in Mason county. Still, I've been a hunter since my teenage years and I knew well that the WV DNR had been actively repopulating absent native species: it was wholly possible that I was about to become face to face with something which might consider me lunch.

What I saw emerge from the brush was a large, brownish-white creature: it's fur looked dirty and matted as if the animal did very little in the line of self grooming. I can't be sure if I was looking at a dirty white animal or a brownish animal with a white undercoat. It was late in the fall so it make sense that it might be putting on a winter coat. The creature moved on all fours as it breached the brush line and knelt to drink from the creek. It's front limbs, the only limbs I saw clearly, ended in what were markedly paw like "hands". It's head was long and pointed, like a canines, and it had largish horns: not antlers but single point horns.

I shrunk back into the brush and watched, afraid to stay and afraid to run. It drank for a few minutes, then cross the creek and continued on across toward

Sandhill Road. When I was sure it was gone, I turned and ran as fast as I could back toward the pond where I'd parked.

The one thing that sticks out in my mind about this encounter most clearly is the way it smelled. It smelled like sulfur. Now, don't think I'm screaming fire and brimstone here, I'm not. One of the biggest problems with the TNT area is the pollution from the manufacturing activities that went on there. The worst of this is the Red Water run off generated by the production of gun powder. The area was a navy ammunition plant at one time and made gunpowder. Red Water, the cause to this date of the brownish-red foam seen in many of the run off ponds, has a sulfur content that should concern anyone exposed to it. It makes sense that anything living in this area should absorb some measure of that scent if they are drinking from these water sources.

WHAT IS A SHEEP SQUATCH?

"Posted: 07 Jul 2011 03:21 PM PDT"

"http://naturalplane.blogspot.com/2011/07/what-is-sheep-squatch.html"

I RECEIVED AN UNUSUAL EMAIL A FEW DAYS AGO THAT, QUITE FRANKLY, I THOUGHT WAS A PRANK...THAT'S UNTIL I STARTED TO CHECK INTO THE CLAIM. FROM WHAT I CAN GATHER THERE IS A BIT OF LOCAL FOLKLORE WITH THIS STORY. REGARDLESS, I'LL POST IT SO YOU CAN COMMENT. IF YOU'RE FAMILIAR WITH THE CRYPTID, FEEL FREE TO RESPOND:

Mr. Strickler - I hope you can give me an idea of what I saw a few weeks ago while hiking with a friend in

Fairy


Stone

State Park in


Virginia. We had been on one of the trails for about an hour when we stopped for a brief rest and drink. This was my first visit to this park and I was pleased that the area we were in was secluded.

After a few minutes of rest we continued to walk along the trail when my friend suddenly stopped and pointed towards the right at large group of rocks. Something was moving around but it was about 50 yards away so we didn't get a very good look. We could see that it was light in color and was quite bulky. We stood frozen wanting to know what this creature was though I was getting more frightened by the second. As we started to walk the creature moved onto a rock where we got a good look at it. It looked like a medium sized bear but the fur was very light in color, almost a yellowish gray. The head was very strange also. There was a snout like that of a bear but the dark round eyes were set lower on the head. It was looking in our direction and we had no intention on sticking around to see what it was going to do.

We got back to the car and immediately left for home. I have read online that this area has a strange history, thus the name 'Fairy Stone'. The creature is unlike any I have seen or heard about before. I had made an inquiry to a local historian who laughed at me and said I saw a 'Sheep Squatch'. What is that? Thanks for you help - Teena

"###"

As I stated previously, I thought someone was pulling my leg. I had never heard of a 'Sheep Squatch'...that is, until I started to look for references.

Monstropedia has a brief history about a cryptid referred to as a 'Sheepsquach', which is also known as the 'white thing'. It is supposedly a white woolly-haired cryptid that has been reported throughout the southwestern region of

Virginia.

Fairy


Stone

State Park is located in the southwestern region of


Virginia.

This creature is described as "being the size of a bear, with completely white wool-like fur. Its front limbs end in paw-like hands, similar to a raccoon's but larger. The beast head is long and pointed, like a dog with long saber-like teeth and a single-pint horns like a young goat. SheepSquatch sports a long and hairless tail, similar to an opossum's and is reputed to smell like sulfur."

There have been a few reported sightings over the years. The counties with the most sightings of Sheepsquatch are from Boone, Kanawha, Putnam, and Mason. A large surge in sightings took place in

Boone


County during the mid-1990s.

In 1994, a former Navy seaman witnessed the beast break through the forest. The white thing drank for a few minutes, then crossed the creek and continued on across toward the road. The navy seaman observed the animal for a while, and then it moved on into the surrounding brush.

Also in that same year, two children observed the beast while playing in the yard in

Boone


County. They saw what looked like a large white bear, and it stood up on its hind legs, which made it over six feet tall. Startled, the beast ran away through the forest, breaking medium-sized limbs off of trees as it went.

Another encounter a year later involved a car. A couple driving through

Boone


County noticed a large white beast sitting in the ditch along the road. They stopped their car to get a good look at it. It was described again as a large white animal with woolly fur about the size of a bear. In this instance, it was described as having "four eyes". Then, it jumped out of the ditch and starts attacking the car. The couple drove off quickly, and when they got home noticed the large scratches on the side where the beast attacked.

Another incident occurred in 1999, this time a couple of campers were in the

forest of

Boone County at night around a campfire. They heard an animal snorting and scuffling around the camp, but it did not come into the light of the campfire. All of the sudden, the SheepSquatch appeared out of the darkness and charged at the campers. They jumped up and ran back to their house; all the while being pursued by the SheepSquatch. It stopped at the edge of the forest, however, and let out a terrible scream. Then it just turned around and headed back into the woods. The next morning, the campers examined their campsite and the trail home. It was torn up, they said, "like someone had tilled it up for gardening".

I STILL DON'T KNOW WHAT TO THINK OF TEENA'S SIGHTING BUT I DOUBT IS WAS A 'SHEEP SQUATCH'...POSSIBLY A LIGHT-COLORED BEAR. I'M REALLY AT A LOSS FOR ANY OTHER EXPLANATION.

"Here is a link to another reference to this cryptid - West Virginia's Weird White Monsters: Sheep-Squatch...Lon"

"Comparable goat skull"

Posted by arclein at 12:02 AM

--I assume the anomalous "Horns" are merely the ears, and that different forms of striped markings around the face produce the "Sabertoothed" and "Four-eyed" effects.

Now John Keel had published portions of a letter from a teenaged boy who said he saw light-colored groundsloth creatures in a swamp in upstate New York some years prior to this, but nobody thought much of it at the time and there have been no other followup reports from that area. On the other hand, George Eberhart's "Mysterious Creatures" mentions reports of "Yehos" (Devils) in several variant spellings throughout the West Indies in generally the two sizes I mentioned, "Bear" and "Monkey", and these reports are from the widely scattered islands including Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Trinidad and even Gran Bahama. One thing stands out about the creatures: they are armed with large claws that can leave horiffic wounds and for that reason I presume they are probably survivals of the smaller forms of groundsloths. Primates (monkeys and apes) do NOT have claws: neither are these creatures really very much like bears. In addition, there are also the reported hairy lizard-shaped "Cave Cows" in Belize that Ivan Sanderson counted as surviving groundsloths, and then there are other reports in that size range in Ecuador (on the Brazilian side), possibvly in the Mato Grosso and possibly further south. The "Bear" and "Monkey" sized creatures fade out indefinitely into Brazil but it seems they are "still" sometimes "referred to under the old name of Su. "And once again the hunters emphasise their terrible claws, even saying that the claws are characteristically red in fresh blood whenever the monster is discovered.

Largest of late-surviving Cuban Groundsloths, Megalocnus

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megalocnus

"The ground sloths of the extinct genus "MEGALOCNUS" ("Great Sloth") were among the largest of the Caribbean ground sloths, with individuals estimated to have weighed up to 90 kg (200 lb) when alive. Two species are known, "M. rodens" of Cuba, and "M. zile" of Hispaniola. Subfossils of "M. rodens" indicate survival well into the Holocene, prompting speculation that they may have survived in the montane forests of the Cuban highlands until the 15th or 16th century. However, the most recent AMS radiocarbon date reported is 4190 BP, calibrated to c. 4700 BP. This is similar to the most recent date reported for a Hispaniolan sloth, 4391 BP, calibrated to c. 5000 BP, for the small and probably arboreal "Neocnus comes", and some 1200 years after the earliest known date for human occupation of Cuba, 5140 BP, calibrated to c. 5900 BP."

[--Incidentally, "Speculation" my eye. We have found their bones from colonial-age trash pits which are quite unlike the native ones, and in association with bones of domesticated animals introduced by the Spanish, such as pigs. "The Spanish settlers were EATING them!. "-DD]

Of the persisting groundsloths, we have several species that are at parallel sizes in North and South America, and in the Caribbean, but NOT closely related. Of the ones pictured here, the "Bear" one is about human height and about 50 pounds heavier: the "Monkey" one weighs 50 to 100 pounds and is about 3 feet tall. "A couple of the Puerto Rico Chupacabras cases sound like the "Monkey" one, and the descriptions DO specify CLAWS."

Best Wishes, Dale D.

Incidentally for an older posting on the groundsloths of South America, a mention of the ones in the West Indies and an explanation why the Mapinguari is NOT one of the groundsloths, see the blog posting More on Mapinguaris and Ground Sloths,

http://frontiersofzoology.blogspot.com/2011/07/more-mapinguaris-and-ground-sloths.html

Still one of the blog's more popular postings and featured on the sidebar.

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