Lions, Tigers, Skunk-Apes…Oh my!

Urban legends are a form of modern folklore and vary throughout different cultures and regions. According to the Thrillest, in the U.S., each state has its own history with specific urban legends; here are a few you may not be familiar with.

Skunk Ape

Florida’s own version of Bigfoot is a four hundred fifty pound skunk-ape hybrid that is speculated to stand at a height of 5-7 feet. The Skunk Ape’s odor is reportedly similar to “sun-baked animal carcass” or “rotting garbage.” Its diet consists mostly of berries and small animals, but it does occasionally go after farm animals and wild boars. In the Florida Everglades, there is a Skunk Ape Headquarters — tourists can visit to learn all about the urban legend, take swamp tours and even take part in a hunting expedition. While the origins of this urban legend are unknown, many people believe the Skunk Ape originated in the mountains and found its way south in search of swamplands. Another possibility is that the tale was used by pioneers to discourage people from harming the wilderness.

Massachusetts: The Curse of Giles Corey

Legend has it that Giles Corey — yes, the man who was pressed to death in “The Crucible” — cursed Salem in the last moments of his life. Corey was a farmer living in Salem, who was accused of witchcraft along with his wife Martha. He refused to confess to the crime and was subsequently executed. For centuries, it has been believed that his ghost appears in Howard Street Cemetery before tragedy strikes. Howard Cemetery is one of the three significant cemeteries of the Witch Trials of 1692. Mysteriously, George Corwin, the police chief who presided over Salem’s Witch Trials, died in 1696 of a heart attack. Up until 1991, when Salem’s sheriff’s office moved to a new prison in Middleton, every police chief died of a heart or blood related issue.

New Mexico: Chupacabra

Originating out of the southwest U.S. is the mysterious legend of the Chupacabra, a beast with glowing eyes that is the size of a bear. It also has spikes on its back, can fly and most importantly, it sucks the blood out of people and animals — super scary. The lore is very popular in New Mexico, and the state is the location of some noteworthy Chupacabra sightings. For instance, in the summer of 2017, a treasure hunter discovered what he claimed was a “genuine Chupacabra skull.”

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