The following is an excerpt from my new book Wild & Wonderful (and Paranormal) West Virginia:
Devil Monkey sightings in the Appalachians can be traced back as far as the 1920s. Descriptions of the creatures vary; however, certain characteristics are commonly reported: dark hair with white hair on the neck and belly, a dog-like snout, pointed ears, and long claws and teeth. Some reports state that the creatures look like a wild dog from a distance. The size of devil monkeys vary greatly; witnesses have described the creatures being anywhere from three to eight feet in height. Sometimes tails are reported, but, again, descriptions vary.
A commonly reported trait among devil monkeys is aggressiveness. They are vicious predators who seem to be very territorial.17 During the 1930s, the deaths of livestock, cats, and dogs were blamed on devil monkeys in Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
A devil monkey story from West Virginia is recounted on the Kanawha Valley Mysteries and Legends website. The “McCorkle Devil Monkey” caused quite a stir among railroad workers doing repairs on a stretch of track, about ten miles long, between Julian and McCorkle during the 1940s.18
Puzzled workers began to report something that looked like a monkey in the woods. It would swing through the trees and scream at the workers. For the most part, the monkey kept its distance; one night, however, frightened workers fired a shotgun at the animal. A work crew was spending the night in a caboose when they were awakened by scratching sounds. One of the men noticed a monkey scraping a window with its long claws. It began to scream, making sounds similar to a bobcat. The worker retrieved a shotgun and went outside and fired at the animal. With this, the monkey disappeared into the woods.19
Over the next few years, more monkey sightings were reported. By the end of World War II, though, the strange creature seemed to have moved on.
Probably the best devil monkey accounts come from Smyth County, in southwestern Virginia. In 1959, a devil monkey was responsible for the attack of motorists! Paulette Boyd recounted the tale of an attack on her parents. They were driving early in the morning when something sprang toward their car window. A mysterious creature pressed its face against the passenger window, grasped the side of the car with its claws, and kept speed with the vehicle for a while. The animal had taffy-colored hair and a white underbelly and muscular legs. Its front legs (or arms) were shorter than the back legs. After the incident, Boyd’s parents examined the car—three scratches, down to the base metal, ran the length of the car.20
Several days later, two nurses in Saltville, Virginia were attacked by the vicious monkey while driving home from work. The monster ripped the convertible top from their car! Luckily, the pair escaped before being harmed. Locals formed a search party to look for the creature. Strangely, though, the dogs brought in to track the monkey refused to follow its trail.21
In 1973, a man was driving along a mountainous stretch of road between Tazewell and Marion, Virginia, with his window down. Little did he know, he was about to be attacked by a devil monkey. As he drove along, with his arm hanging out the window, something matching devil monkey descriptions suddenly rushed his car and swiped at his arm.22
Devil monkeys were sporadically reported in and around Smyth County, Virginia through the 1990s. Nearly 300 miles to the northeast, in Goochland County, Virginia, devil monkeys were spotted by a number of residents in 2010.19 Something similar was again seen in 2014 in Goochland.
In 2010, Lacie Hall, who lives in a small town in West Virginia, saw something that looked like a lemur run out in front of the vehicle she was riding in.23 Interestingly, some of the Saltville, Virginia area reports describe the creature as looking similar to a lemur.
In Dunkinsville, Ohio, in 1997…
Read the rest in my new book! Find out more about devil monkeys and a variety of other cryptids. A Kindle edition of the book is available for pre-order on Amazon for $0.99. The release date is set for April 3, at which point a paperback edition will also become available.
- Eberhart, Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology, 127.
- “Kanawha ValleyMysteries and Legends.” Kanawha Valley Mysteries and Legends. Accessed December 22, 2016. http://mysteriouskanawhavalley.weebly.com/.
- Chad Arment, “Virginia Devil Monkey Reports,” North American BioFortean Review2, no. 1 (2000).
- The Goochland Devil Monkey Official Sightings Blog, accessed December 22, 2016, https://goochlanddevilmonkey.wordpress.com/.