Tuesday, September 8, 2009
The story of the Snallygaster
The Blue Ridge Mountains are home to Maryland's own version of the more famous Jersey Devil, the Snallygaster (derived from the German schnellegeist or 'fast spirit'). The Snallygaster was first sighted in 1909, during the major 'flap' of sightings of its New Jersey cousin, although traditions of it reputedly dated back much further. The creature was winged, beaked and clawed. A James Harding saw the creature, and claimed it had one eye and the features of a tiger and a vampire. In 1932, George Danforth and Charles Cushwa, two revenue agents, saw the beast lying dead in a moonshine still. Its body was destroyed. Perhaps its fate - drowned in homemade whiskey - was an indicator of the whole story's origin.