When most people think of New England what likely comes to mind is the Boston accent, good seafood, fall foliage, quaint colonial towns and sports dynasties that are the envy of the nation. There is much more to this interesting region than meets the eye, so here is a brief history of New England.
For centuries New England was inhabited by various Algonquin speaking Native American tribes, who left a rich history of oral traditions and stories about the region, despite being largely wiped out. New England was one of the first heavily settled regions in the New World, hence the name New England itself by the English that settled here in the 1600’s.
All of the New England states were part of the original 13 colonies, with the exception of Maine (which was a part of Massachusetts until 1820) and Vermont, which was technically an independent state known as the Vermont Republic from 1777 to 1791, when it became the 14th state of the United States. Today New England as a region consists of the states of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Over the centuries the region has changed greatly, from being largely rural to being heavily deforested and industrialized during the 19th century.
The terrain across the entire region varies greatly. The more heavily populated states of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts have extensive coastlines, as does Maine and to a much lesser extent New Hampshire. The northern New England states of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine have much smaller populations but are home to extensive mountain ranges such as the Green Mountains and White Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountains. All three also contain very remote areas and are densely forested with Maine being the most heavily forested state in the United States at 90%, followed closely by New Hampshire in second place at 81%.
All in all these areas have created ideal environments for hundreds of species of mammals, fish, birds and insects. From Great White Sharks off the coast of Cape Cod to the over 35,000 Black Bears in Maine alone, there is a wide variety of fauna. What about the possibility of Cryptids and unknown creatures lurking in the deep waters or remote forests? For centuries the stories have existed, so with Halloween right around the corner, let us take a look at some of these stories!
(Note, this isn’t a definitive list, just a general look at each state. If you are interested in a particular creature or incident I encourage doing further research!)
- The Lake Champlain Monster AKA “Champ” or “Champy” or “America’s Loch Ness Monster”, the most notable North American lake monster.
- The Lake Memphremagog Monster AKA “Memphre” large fish like creature seen hundreds of times on both the US and Canadian sides of the lake.
- Lake Willoughby Monster AKA “Willy” or the “Willoughby Wisp”, reports of giant eels in the lake dating back to the 1800’s.
- Grey Wolf sightings, throughout the state but primarily in Northern Vermont, closer to known populations in Quebec, Canada.
- The “Coonigator”, a bizarre alligator/raccoon hybrid allegedly seen in the forests surrounding Montpelier, Vermont’s capital.
- Cougar sightings across the state locally referred to as Catamounts or Panthers.
- Bigfoot/Hairy humanoid sightings such as the “Bennington Monster” of the “Bennington Triangle” area.
- Bigfoot sightings across the state including in the Bridgewater Triangle and “Monsterland” areas, as well as the rural areas in central and western Massachusetts.
- Grey Wolf sightings, specimen killed in Amherst in 2016.
- The Dover Demon, sightings in 1977 in the Boston suburb of a strange creature with a bulbous head and thin spindly appendages.
- The Gloucester Sea Serpent AKA the Great New England Sea Serpent 1817-1819, seen by hundreds of people up and down the Massachusetts Coast.
- The Scituate Sea Monster of 1970, a strange decomposing carcass that turned out to be a basking shark.
- The Frogman of Silver Lake in the 1950’s, described in local newspapers as a “Giant frog” or “Little frog men”.
- Pukwudgies, malevolent goblin like beings from Wampanoag folklore, allegedly still seen in the Freetown State Forest and the Bridgewater Triangle areas.
- Mountain Lion sightings, notable Beast of Truro case in 1982 as well as the 2016 Petersham horse attack incident, confirmed by DNA results.
- The Bridgewater Triangle, assorted strange creatures seen within this area including Thunderbirds & winged humanoids, giant black snakes and demon dogs.
- Bigfoot sightings in the mostly forested areas of the state, especially towards the Massachusetts and Connecticut borders.
- Sea Monster stories such as the “Block Ness Monster” carcasses found off of Block Island in 1996 and 2004, as well as the Sea Monster sighting of Teddy’s Beach in 2017, featured in a local news story.
- Bigfoot sightings in rural areas of the state, possibly stretching as far back as the curious “Winstead Wildman” case of 1895.
- Mountain Lion sightings, with a specimen killed by car near Milford in 2011, it’s origins being from the Black Hills of South Dakota.
- Sea Monsters such as the “Long Island Sound Kraken” story from 1895 or the 1909 Stratford lighthouse incident in which a bizarre creature was killed attempting to eat some chickens.
- Connecticut River Serpent, large serpent like creature reported in the Connecticut River famously mentioned in the New York Times in 1886.
- Dublin Lake Monster, singular questionable story of a lost diver describing hideous creatures in underwater caves in the lake, found days later naked in the nearby woods rambling on about the creatures.
- Devil Monkey of Danbury, dozens of reports of large baboon like primate seen in the town in 2001, even seen by the town fire chief.
- The Derry Fairy, a small green skinned humanoid creature with floppy ears seen in 1956, chased and tackled by local man until it’s screaming frightened the man away.
- Mountain lion sightings, DNA confirmed case in 2001 in the Ossippee Mountains found by a biologist.
- Gray wolf sightings, primarily in Northern New Hampshire, closer to known populations in Quebec, Canada.
- Bigfoot sightings, possibly the old logging tales of “Wood Devils” in Coos County, bears that scream at night in the mountains and famously the Hollis “Flea Monster” incident of 1977.
- “Wessie” the Westbrook Python, 2016, large exotic snake reported in 2016, spawning searches, the discovery of a suspiciously placed intact anaconda skin, all resulting in a “Wessie Fest”.
- The Casco Bay Sea Serpent AKA “Cassie”, sea serpent reported for centuries along in Casco Bay and along the Maine coastline.
- The Turner Beast of 2006, a strange canine believed to be responsible for the deaths of local livestock and dogs. DNA testing on carcass subsequently determined the creature was a wolf-dog hybrid.
- Gray Wolf Sightings, alleged trail camera photos of two wolves near the New Hampshire border taken in 2013.
- Bigfoot Sightings, Durham “Gorilla” story of 1973, the Meddybemps Howler, among others.
- Cougar sightings, alleged video of one filmed in March of 2019 on a frozen pond in Jackman.
- Spectral or Giant Moose, reports of a 15-foot-tall moose seen in the 1930’s as well as sightings of “ghost moose” or albino moose.
- The Wendigo, supernatural/hideous creature of Algonquin folklore.