Friday, October 30, 2009

Ilya back home

Ilya, the manatee that made trips to the Chesapeake Bay and New England before being trapped in a tiny New Jersey creek, is back in Miami.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The ghosts of college mascots

In 1857, Pierson and Andy Lytle brought a Kentucky mule named Coaly into Pennsylvania to be part of a team of pack mules working on excavation and construction of the Penn State campus in State College. When the mule died in 1893, his remains were displayed in the Old Main building he helped construct. If this seems morbid, remember that the University College in London displays the preserved remains of philosopher Jeremy Bentham.

Over the years, the remains of the mule now known as "Old" Coaly were moved several times. When a fire damaged Old Main in the early 1900s, Old Coaly's body was moved into the basement of the Watts Hall dormitory. In the 1960s, he was displayed in the Agricultural Building, and his skeleton is now in the HUB Robeson Building.

But apparently, Old Coaly's spirit doesn't know of his resting place - or perhaps his stubborn mulish nature just keeps him bound to where he was. The braying of the mule is still heard in the hallways outside of his resting place in the basement of Watts Hall, and occasionally his form is seen standing in the corridor.

The Penn State campus in McKeesport is also home to an animal apparition, this time of a large sixteen-point stag named Duke. The stag is long dead, but a sixteen-point buck is still seen roaming around campus.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Phantom of O'Donnell Heights

In July of 1951, the east Baltimore district of O'Donnell Heights was prowled by a phantom. The black-robed, black-capped figure made his forays from a graveyard, jumping six-foot fences topped with barbed wire and leaping off of roofs in the manner of the British phantom Spring Heeled Jack, all without leaving a single track or trace. And for the two-week period the ghostly prowler patrolled the streets, late-night music was heard emanating from the graveyard's chapel.

The figure was reported to lurk underneath cars, calling out to young girls, beseeching them to "Come closer, my dear." He also apparently broke into old women's houses, and several people claimed that they heard him running on rooftops. Men armed with clubs, guns, and knives patrolled the streets, attempting to run down the phantom. At one point, they gave chase and the leaping phantom vanished in the graveyard. This was the last he was to be seen. By August, he had vanished as mysteriously as he had appeared.

According to an article on Maryland ghost stories appearing in the Baltimore City Paper, there were instances in which rooftop pipes and German Shepherd dogs were mistaken for the Phantom. There were also numerous instances which saw teenagers causing trouble and blaming it on the Phantom. By August, when the Phantom vanished, the police had begun arresting teenagers trespassing in the graveyard.

Whether the Phantom of O'Donnell Heights was a true Spring-Heel manifestation, a product of mass hysteria, or a real-life criminal given supernatural attributes may never be known.

As a reporter for the Baltimore Sun said on those hot nights during the Cold War,
The question of the prowler of O'Donnell Heights however, continued to be not one of phantoms, but of real people reacting to (and possibly creating) the unknown with their imaginations.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The horned skulls

It's one of the oddest and most-repeated stories of Pennsylvania's weird lore. A group of archaeologists working near an Indian burial mound in Sayre find many gigantic skeletons, 7 feet tall on average. Incredibly, a few of these had horns sprouting from their foreheads.

A good story, but not quite the way it happened.

In 1916, Professor W.K. Moorehead of Phillips-Andover College led an excavation team to Spanish Hill. Spanish Hill is a Native American site located in the center of town in South Waverly, Bradford County. This hill was the site of a Susquehannock village known to explorer Samuel de Champlain as Carantouan.

Soon after the Moorehead Expedition, in 1921, Louise W. Murray wrote an article about old Carantouan for American Anthropologist ("Aboriginal Sites In and Near 'Teaoga', now Athens, Pennsylvania"). Murray was a witness to the discovery of the horned skulls. In her words:
While the writer was present, one of the men in working a grave exclaimed, "There are horns over his head!" [Professor A.B.] Skinner said that indicated chieftainship. Later this was found to be a bundle burial, completely covered with antlers of Virginia deer. A passing visitor, however, heard the exclamation and attempted to verify it by interrogating a fun-loving Maine workman, and the story grew and was printed from coast to coast that one or more skulls had been found with horns growing from its forehead!
It is almost incredible to me that the story of the horned skulls has been repeated and retold for more than 90 years after the truth of the matter was known.

It is a fact, however, that many skeletons of Susquehannocks of unusual size have been found. Some were, indeed, over six and even seven feet tall. So perhaps at least the skeletons' stature was not exaggerated.

The Black Dog of Warfieldsburg

According to Ann W. Whitney and Caroline C. Bullock in Folk-Lore from Maryland, in 1887 two men on horseback were near Warfieldsburg's Ore Mine Bridge, in Carroll County, saw a large black dog on the other side of a fence. The dog passed through the fence, crossed the road, passed through a fence on the other side, and disappeared from view. Whitney and Bullock record that one of the men was amazed at the dog's size - apparently, the fact that it passed through two fences wasn't worthy of his mention.

They also record that a man was told that he could see a phantom dog if he stood underneath a tree near a bridge for an hour. He did so, and sure enough, the dog appeared. He stated that the dog then followed him for a little way. This is similar to the British black dogs, which often follow travellers. Another sighting which bears a parallel to British lore was one by a man driving a wagon down the road, who said that he saw the phantasmal dog dragging a chain. Barghest of the Yorkshire Moors is reputed to engage in just such a chain-dragging activity. This is also a feature of Cadejo of Central American lore, a black hound with hooved feet.

The black dog of Warfieldsburg can supposedly only be seen by an individual once. A cracking whip near the dog will make it vanish. This theory was unsuccessfully tested in the 1920s by one witness, whose whip passed right throught the dog.

The sadly deceased Mark Chorvinsky has recorded a sighting of a phantom hound near Warfieldsburg in 1975 ("Phantom Dogs in Maryland", Strange Magazine 19). Several people driving along the road heard a thud as the car impacted a large black dog. Some of the witnesses distinctly felt the creature underneath the wheels. Yet when the car stopped, the passengers "were amazed to see the dog standing on its huge paws. The beast bared its teeth, showing an ugly red mouth, then vanished as suddenly as it had appeared."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Urban Legends of Maryland, Part I: Pigwoman

In 1814, numerous people throughout the city of London, England reported seeing a pig's head silhouetted by gaslight from within the confines of a passing carriage. At times, they even saw a piggish snout protruding from the carriage window. The legend of the Pig Lady was born, and through discussions in various newspapers, the theory was reached that it was a wealthy young woman from Manchester Square - this was none-too-complementary to the young woman in question! St. Bartholomew's Fair in London exhibited the "Pig Lady", which was actually a shaved bear in a dress.

It is tempting, however, to speculate whether the English could have imported the legends when they settled Cecil County, Maryland, because legends of the Pig Lady exist in Elkton and Rising Sun, both in that county.

The Elkton variant has it that she was a survivor of a house fire who fled into the forest, eventually taking up residence underneath Pig Lady Bridge near town. Sometimes the squeals and grunts of a pig are heard, but usually she magically makes your car stall and then she comes out and kills you with an axe. This makes her yet another of the bloodthirsty half-humans of Maryland lore, and she takes her place in the urban legend pantheon alongside Bunnyman, Boaman and Goatman.

Oh, she's also sometimes supposed to be an inbreeding Dupont, which ties the legends of the Pig Lady in with those of the Devil's Woods in Chester County, Pennsylvania. I'm not exactly sure why she's haunting a bridge in Elkton, Maryland rather than her family's estate, the Cult House, but there it is. One wonders if this helped to influence the swinish look to the monsters in M. Night Shyamalan's The Village, filmed in the Devil's Woods.

The versions in Rising Sun make her a a denizen of Lover's Lane - well, sort of, as she attacks the cars of necking teenagers in the Rising Sun town dump, surely one of the most romantic spots I can think of. This Pig Lady bangs on the side of the car until the teenagers drive away in search of a spot where they can continue their amorous encounter in peace.

Or maybe she haunts another old wooden bridge. Sometimes passersby's cars will stall and they'll hear scraping sounds. Then when they finally manage to drive away they'll find the hoofprints of the Pig Lady indented on their car.

Maybe the idea of a murderous, swine-faced humanoid sounds to you like a reject from the Saw movies or something out of an Insane Clown Posse song, but the stories have been around for generations.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Warren spook wolf

In his book American Myths & Legends (1903), Charles M. Skinner gives this account of a lupine creature he called "The White Wolf of Venango":
On Cornplanter's reserve in Venango County, Pennsylvania, lived an Indian family named Jacobs; big, athletic fellows, full of hard sense and afraid of but one thing: the white wolf. For to see the wolf was "bad medicine"; to chase it, death. There was never a doubt as to its being a real wolf; it had eaten too many hens and sheep and killed too many dogs to leave room for any question on that point. Yet traps would not catch him; dogs in packs could not bring him to bay; bullets either missed him or glanced from him. A young member of the Jacobs family engaged to guide a party of hunters through this region, and all went well until they had reached the head of the Clarion. On breaking camp at this spot Jim Jacobs took no part in the preparations. He smoked a silent pipe and said that the others must go on by themselves; for he had seen the white wolf, and that meant bad luck. They joked and gibed him without moving him in the least. He finished his pipe, told them by what trails they could reach McCarty's trading station, bade them adieu, struck into the forest labyrinth, and went home. He was killed in an accident soon after.

The hunters, scoffing at Jacobs's superstitions, kept on. They got the help of a trapper, who kept a number of dogs, and decided to leave the deer to their liberty for a time and hunt down this hoodoo. After much luring and watching they came upon the fellow's tracks and on a quantity of pheasant feathers, for he had left his lunch in a hurry, and presently, near Baker's Rocks, they saw him: white as a polar bear, three feet high at the shoulder, bristling and snarling. The eyes of this beast seemed to shoot red fire. Four rifle-shots rang out, and the wolf was gone, with the dogs in hot pursuit. In an hour he was overtaken again, and again the guns were emptied. The animal leaped over a cliff, sixty feet, into a stream, almost at the moment when the shots were fired. No blood was visible, no splash was heard. The dogs found no scent. It was the last time that the white wolf was seen, but in a few months every member of the hunting party was dead.
An examination of Henry W. Shoemaker's essay "Wolf Days in Pennsylvania", found in Extinct Pennsylvania Animals, Vol. 1: The Panther and the Wolf (1917), reveals some corroborating information: Jim Jacobson (Shoemaker refers to him once as Jacobs, and from then on as Jacobson) was born Samuel Jimmerson Jacobson in Potter County. Shoemaker later says:
In 1865, several wolves were killed by the Faddy boys, Seneca Indians, on the Cornplanter Reservation in Warren County. Wolves were plentiful on Cornplanter's Reservation and on Kinzua Creek as late as 1870 ... Jim Jacobs, the old Seneca elk hunter, was conspicuous among the redmen who hunted the last wolves in Warren and McKean Counties. According to some authorities, this mighty Nimrod was killed by a train near Bradford in 1880, although John C. French of Roulette, Potter County, declares that he saw him on the Seneca Reservation alive and well in September 1881.
Jacobs(on) was still alive at the beginning of Skinner's tale, although it is noted that he died shortly after. Given this statement by Shoemaker, we can possibly date the tale of the white wolf to the late 1870s or even 1880. After this, we are left with determining where, exactly, the story may have taken place. Unfortunately, that's much easier said than done. The only "Baker's Rocks" I could find were the Baker Rocks near Wrightsville in Warren County.

Gyantwachia, or Chief Cornplanter, was a war chieftain of the Seneca Iroquois, who as told in several sources, inhabited this area of Pennsylvania, later sharing it with the Lenape; after they were crowded out of the Delaware Valley, they moved westward and were allowed to settle here by the Iroquois. It should not go unnoticed that it was the Wolf clan, the Munsees, that settled here. The Cornplanter Reserve mentioned by both Skinner and Shoemaker was most likely a reference to the Cornplanter Tract or Grant, which was destroyed in the construction of the Kinzua Dam and is now almost wholly beneath the waters of the Allegheny Reservoir (Lake Kinzua).

In fact, Shoemaker refers to the following:
Edwin Grimes, while hunting in the Kinzua Valley in 1860 with Benjamin Main, killed a record grey wolf. The hide sold to the veteran wolfer LeRoy Lyman who pronounced it the biggest he had seen in his long experience in the forests of Northern Pennsylvania. John C. French, in commenting on the size of the Kinzua Valley wolf, says Edwin Grimes, Sam Grimes, and Ben Main agreed that the grand daddy wolf was at least two inches higher at the shoulder than average wolves and one inch taller than the largest they had ever seen. Continuing Mr. French said: "The wolf was not measured, but it must have been seven feet long without the tail. Ben Main, who was 5 feet 8 inches tall, could not swing the carcass free from the ground by taking an ear of the wolf in each hand and lifting the head at arms' length about his own; but Edwin Grimes, who stood 6 feet 2 inches, could just do so.
"Spook wolves" of the type mentioned in this tale infested northern Pennsylvania, with Shoemaker also recounting a supernaturally-charged white wolf from the Sugar Valley in Clinton County and also a number of werewolves from Wayne Township, also in that county. Given the fact that he elsewhere says that the spook wolves of the northern counties were usually gray, it is tempting to wonder whether the huge wolf killed in 1860 near Kinzua was given supernatural attributes and served as the basis of Skinner's story. If so, it was in Warren County, not Venango.

Cryptozoologically, it's most tempting to wonder whether the skin purchased by Lyman is still in existence.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Chesapeake manatee trapped in New Jersey

The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a story on October 17 about the manatee Ilya, which was last seen near a refinery along the Arthur Kill in northern New Jersey. Story here.

Ilya is the same individual seen in the Chesapeake Bay several times, and then near the mouth of the Susquehanna River. He later wandered into waters off of New England.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Delaware River whales, sharks and monsters

From the Universal York blog, this post on a whale displayed in a York County barn belonging to one Samuel Spangler sometime in the first half of the 1800s. The whale is described as having been caught in the Delaware River. This wouldn't be unheard of.

The Philadelphia Inquirer (December 6, 1994) reported that a 30-foot right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) dubbed "Waldo the Wrong-Way Right Whale" was found in the Delaware between Philadelphia and New Jersey. Wildlife officials managed to point it back towards the sea, but in early 1995 the whale had returned and was beached temporarily at an oil refinery near Pennsauken, New Jersey. "Waldo" was last seen in waters off Canada.

In April, 2005, NBC's Today carried reports on a beluga whale that had been seen around Trenton and Beverly, New Jersey. The animal was identified as one called Helis, whose native territory was in the St. Lawrence River. Helis had left the Delaware Bay around April 18, but by the 29th he was back in the river near Burlington Island. He was later seen near the Walt Whitman Bridge moving south. There were a few reports of the beluga from the Schuylkill River, but I don't know whether these were confirmed. By the end of the month, he had again moved out of the river.

The New York Times (May 1, 1922) reported that a 12-foot shark "said to have been of the man-eating variety" was killed by Joseph Fletcher in Tacony, Pennsylvania.

Several species of sharks live in the Delaware Bay and may make their way up the river; the Tacony shark is most likely to have been a bull shark. Other dangerous species such as the hammerhead and thresher exist in the Bay, but these prefer open waters and would not likely be found upstream. The bull shark is also the likely culprit in the attacks at Matawan, New Jersey in 1916.

The book Totally Bizarre Pennsylvania mentions a sighting of a supposed sea monster near the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in August, 1975. Peter Evangelidis reported that he and his girlfriend were along the river at Penn's Landing when he saw what he first thought to be a "bunch of black inner tubes or tires floating down the river, about 30 yards out" but that was moving against the current of the river. After a moment there was a violent splash and "this sleek head of an animal that should not have existed sprung its head out of the dark river no more than 30 feet from us". A canal cuts across Delaware, joining the Chesapeake Bay to the Delaware Bay. Evangelidis wondered whether the Chesapeake Bay sea serpent, Chessie, could have made it through the waterway and into Philadelphia. 1975 also saw reports of both sharks and whales from the Delaware, so it conceivably could have been one of these.

The above is the photo Evangelidis took of the creature.

Annville pythons doing better

From the Lebanon Daily News, October 18, an update on two pythons found in Annville this summer, as posted on Cryptomundo on August 4 of this year.

Jellyfish found in quarry

The Lancaster Intelligencer Journal/New Era reported on October 16 that freshwater jellyfish had been found in an unnamed quarry in Lancaster Township on October 11. An online comment on the story says that it took place at the Wabank Quarry on Wabank Road.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mountain lions in the Poconos

The Pocono Record has recently run two articles on the mountain lion in Pennsylvania here, and here.

The 1874 extinction date is a bit odd, as there's no less than 22 cougar kills after the Hawk Mountain (Berks) kill that year, placing the date at 1917 at the earliest.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Of nightmares, ghosts, UFOs, and pythons

Over on the CFZ blog, Neil Arnold has an interesting post on some sort of ophidian nightmare. The story's pretty neat, and not altogether unlike the experiences that take place in a hypnagogic or hypnapompic state with the crushing sensations. Sure, there are differences (for instance, Neil reports the ability to move) and I find it very interesting that while Neil's girlfriend didn't see the apparition, she experienced the same phenomenon.

In the past, I've done a lot of thinking on these hallucinatory states and how they may account for a lot of the stranger creature sightings out there. For those who aren't familiar with the terms, they refer to a type of hallucination that is sometimes experienced either when falling asleep (hypnagogic) or immediately upon waking (hypnapompic). These nearly always occur in conjunction with sleep paralysis, where a person's mind and body don't "sync up" in their states of wakefulness which results in an inability of the muscles to move although the surroundings can be perceived normally. This state of neither sleep nor wakefulness results in imagery from dreams being seen in normal surroundings. Through means not necessarily explained, the hallucinations can occur in conjunction with sensory phenomena, such as a feeling of being pricked by needles. Obviously, some researchers have connected this phenomena with many of the ghost sightings and UFO abduction stories out there.

I myself have had experiences at least twice with similar states. Once, in about 1995, I awoke quite late at night to find myself unable to move, with a black silhouette of a man, his arms held rigidly at his sides, standing in a corner of my bedroom. After a few moments, he vanished. On another occasion, as I lay waking up, I distinctly felt someone sit on my bed and place their arms on my shoulders.

This phenomena, I can vouch, is indeed very disturbing and frightening.

These states aren't fully understood. Personally, I would not at all doubt there could be variants of the phenomena where the individual is fully mobile. Likewise, given the physical sensations sometimes associated with the hallucinations, I wouldn't rule out the possibility that through some psychosomatic mechanism the marks associated could manifest on the body.

Perhaps these hallucinatory states don't even necessarily occur with sleep, perhaps it's possible to have them during waking hours, as well. To bring this to a more Fortean context, perhaps through some unknown mechanism the hallucinations can manifest physically and lead others to have experiences with an image ripped from someone else's dream.

Who knows?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Unexplained animal aggression... and the CFZ?

So, we all know that last week, the latest expedition to Sumatra in search of the orang pendek returned. Soon after their return came news of an earthquake and flooding that hit Sumatra - and a city where they had been, according to Richard Freeman. Within the next few days, Adam Davies, who had been on the expedition, became ill. There's an interesting post on Cryptomundo about some things that've been going on in the last few days. And I have some personal experiences with this, which I'll post about after this story.
Perhaps you have noticed some clumping of certain news that seems to stir up non-human animals and people.

At the end of September, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit Sumatra killing hundreds, while the day before an 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Samoa, triggering a tsunami that flattened whole towns and killed hundreds of people. Tidal forces were showing themselves to be powerful leading into October.

If you have been watching the skies, you may have noticed the Harvest Moon in the North; 2009’s Full Moon occurred on the 4th, Sunday, worldwide, at 06:10 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Did you hear what else happened recently?

1. In the first incident since the fatal tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo on Christmas Day 2007 (Full Moon was on December 24, 2007), a man got into the grizzly bear exhibit at the same zoo on September 26th. He was found “conscious but unresponsive” and taken into custody by paramedics.

2. Five raccoons “gang attacked” up on a woman on Saturday, October 3rd, and left her with serious injuries from bites. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said 74-year-old Gretchen Whitted in Lakeland, Florida, was suddenly attacked when she tried to shoo the animals away from her front door. “When she fell down, they enveloped her,” said Judd, who warned the public to be alert to the aggressive raccoons. “She’s literally bitten and scratched from face and the chest all the way down through the legs.”

3. Sunday afternoon, October 4th, a Mossy Head, Florida woman was airlifted to a hospital with injuries sustained from an emu’s claw while trying to corral the large flightless bird. The woman was injured while attempting to corral a group of emus for transport to an animal shelter.

4. Thirty-seven year old Kelly Ann Walz of Ross Township, Pennsylvania was killed by her pet bear. It happened her home Sunday night, October 4th. Officers say she was cleaning the bear’s cage when the three-hundred fifty pound bear mauled her. State officials say Walz threw a shovel full of dog food to one side of the cage to distract the bear while she cleaned the other side of the cage, but the bear still attacked. Others saw the attack and called for help, at which point a neighbor shot and killed the bear.

5. At 1:00 am, October 5th, a man suffered “significant” arm injuries after allegedly sneaking into the tiger enclosure of the Calgary Zoo, Alberta, Canada. The Siberian tiger, named Vitali, attacked one of the pair of 27-year-old men who scaled the zoo’s 2.4-meter-high fence near the west public gate early on Monday morning. Rosemarie Siever of Edmonton, was visiting the zoo with her husband, Charles Macdonald, the day after, and hearing about the attack, said not breaching safety enclosures is common sense. “He’s a moron, that’s all I have to say,” she said.

Humans seem to be out of whack too.

Or maybe it all is just a bunch of coincidences. Or not? Do you recall the recent wave of other cat attacks?

Like I’ve asked before during times like these, were any cryptid encounters recorded anywhere too?
I can't think of any real notable cryptozoology the last few days, other than a find of Bigfoot tracks in Oregon, but there've been a few UFO sightings recently. I myself saw this past Thursday night a series of three lights which I at first took to be an airplane tailing a helicopter, but both continued at steady rates of speed. I suppose it could have been one of the triangle UFOs often reported.

I've noticed the last few days that my dog (a beagle/basset mix) has been unusually aggressive. Nothing big, but she's been jumping at people and biting your legs and fingers more than normal. She's also been more restless than normal. Mindi and I had assumed it was because she's currently teething, but given this, maybe it's not. Also, my in-laws' dog has also been aggressive, which isn't normal for him. I don't know if it could have anything to do with it, but as I'm writing this, we have some really severe winds here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Insert clever Oz-themed pun here

On the CFZ News blog, I found a link to this recent story:
ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Authorities say a woman was killed by her pet black bear as she cleaned its cage.

State police say 37-year-old Kelly Ann Walz was mauled to death Sunday evening by the 350-pound (160-kilogram) bear.

The Morning Call newspaper reports that a state Game Commission spokesman says Walz kept the bear inside a steel and concrete cage near her house in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Officials say Walz threw some dog food to one side of the cage to distract the bear while she cleaned the other side. At some point the bear turned on her and attacked.

The bear was shot and killed. No information was available about who shot the bear.

Game officials say Walz also owned a Bengal tiger and an African lion and had licenses to own them.
Serves the stupid fool right for having a bear, lion, and tiger...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Chupacabra in Maryland... not...

WHITE PLAINS, Md. - Mulder and Scully from the "X-Files" may be needed in Charles County.

A man who speaks fluent Spanish, but little English, went to the County Sheriff's Department to report that he had seen something bizarre last month in the White Plains area.

"A brownish type animal that he described as a chupacabra, which is a mythical animal in the spanish culture," spokeswoman Crystal Hunt says.

Chupacabras are usually described as doglike creatures, but the man in this case says the animal walked on long arms like a monkey. When the report was made Sept. 19, county investigators searched the area and found nothing. A farmer in the same area reported finding several dead kittens in a nearby barn that day, but there's nothing indicating a link to the strange creature.

Hunt says investigators poured flour on the ground in the area of the sighting, so if the animal returned, it would leave visible tracks. They also set several traps in the area. But Hunt says "to date, nothing has been found."

There have been no additional sightings.

Anyone with any additional information is asked to call the Charles County Sheriff's Office at 301-932-2222.
Stop calling Bigfoot and mystery canines, etc. Chupacabra, people! Sheesh, the Chupacabra is fast becoming the modern Jersey Devil. Let's just throw every unexplained sighting into one big heap...

The bull-beggar in Virginia

In Ghost Stories From the American South, W.K. McNeil recounts a folktale gathered from a man by the name of Mart Rankin:
I was batchin' then, up there in Virginia. Been out on my horse, and my little dog had followed me. When I got to the lane -- guess I was about two hundred yards from the end of it -- I spied two men. They was walkin' together purty fast, keepin' step. I watched 'em. They had four times as far to go as I did. I kept on watchin' them an' never took my eye off of 'em till they got to the lane. Then the little old dog jumped a rabbit, and I turned to look.

That quick they disappeared or turned into somethin', one. They was a black thing about the size of a sheep thrashed around an' took up through the field, tearin' up brush heaps where there wasn't no brush heaps an' makin' a lot of noise. It didn't look like nothin' I'd ever seen. Don't know what it was, but they had turned into it..
Another book of folktales, Virginia Folk Legends, recounts a tale gathered from Mrs. R.V. Brayhill:
My grandfather Pernell had a large farm and in those days the farms all had to be fenced and the cattle run outside [the fence]. And between his farm and the Crysel farm was a haunted woods. The road was a narrow wagon road going through a thick pine forest between the two farms, and often people had seen and heard things as they pass[ed] through this pine thicket. My mother and my Aunt Bittish said that often as they went over this road at night that they would hear the most pitiful cry, as if someone were in distress, and then an animal that resembled a big black bear would brush by them and then it would suddenly vanish.

And one time the fence around the farm caught fire about three o'clock in the morning. And Aunt Bitty saw the fence burning and she come running over to my father's to get him and my brothers to go help put the fire out. And as she was coming through the pine forest there was something that looked like two men came running behind her, and as they passed her they suddenly disappeared. Bitty said she was scared almost to death, but it was closer to my father's than it was back home, and she was through the haunted woods. So she came running to my father's for help. The family left the haunted farm and went to another community.
A last bit of information regarding this is contained in An Encyclopedia of Fairies by Katherine Briggs:
Its meaning is unspecified, but it did not perish with the 16th century, for there is still a Bullbeggar Lane in Surrey, which once contained a barn haunted by a bullbeggar, and traditions of a bullbeggar who haunted Creech Hill near Bruton in Somerset were recollected by Ruth Tongue from oral tradition in 1906 and published by her in County Folk-Lore (vol. VIII, pp. 121-2). In the 1880s two crossed bodies were dug up in quarrying operations, and crumbled to dust when they were exposed to the air. For some unexplained reason they were supposed to have been a Saxon and a Norman, and after this finding, Creech Hill had a bad name and was supposed to be haunted by following footsteps and a black uncanny shape. A farmer coming home late one night saw a figure lying on the road and went to its help. It suddenly shot up to an uncanny height and chased him to his own threshold. His family ran to his rescue and saw it bounding away with wild laughter. Another night traveller was attacked on Creech Hill and held his own from midnight to cock-crow with the help of an ashen staff. This bullbeggar was considered a bogy or bogey-beast rather than a ghost because two bodies were found.
While I'm not certain where in the state these stories were gathered, in Accomack County there is a Bullbegger Creek. This is on the peninsula of Virginia on the eastern shores of the lower Chesapeake Bay. Sightings of Bigfoot and so-called "devils" have surfaced from the adjacent regions of Maryland's Eastern Shore.

Not Pennsylvania or Maryland, but close enough to be irresistible. Just by virtue of the name, I'll be needing to keep my eyes open as to things at Bullbegger Creek.