CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — Mothman, Bigfoot and …Sheepsquatch? Although it may not be one of West Virginia’s most well-known cryptids, the Sheepsquatch is still one of the most unique cryptids in West Virginia folklore.
What is it?
The physical appearance of the Sheepsquatch varies between accounts, and is usually described as either:
- A large creature that walks on two legs, similar to a bigfoot or sasquatch.
- A four-legged creature larger than a dog, but smaller than a horse with sharp teeth.
However, the Sheepsquatch is almost always described as having white fur and horns, and stories usually describe the creature as aggressive, with some accounts detailing how the Sheepsquatch would eat horses and other farm animals.
Sheepsquatch and “white thing” folklore
The name “Sheepsquatch” and “white thing” are sometimes used interchangeably to describe the creature in folklore. The term “white thing” is probably most notably featured in White Things: West Virginia’s Weird White Monsters, a book by Kurt McCoy filled with stories about white, hairy monster encounters in West Virginia.
Sightings of Sheepsquatch are far-reaching. The West Virginia Tourism website says sightings of the creature have been reported in the Point Pleasant “TNT area,” and Marion County Tourism reports sightings of Sheepsquatch as far north as Rivesville.
West Virginia Ghosts, an online repository for West Virginia ghost stories, credits the first stories of Sheepsquatch to the book “The Telltale Lilac Bush,” a collection of West Virginia folklore by Ruth Ann Musick published in 1965. One of the stories in Musick’s book titled “The White Thing” tells the story of a woman who encountered a white beast while traveling home from church on horseback.
According to the story, the creature charged at the woman, but retreated back into the trees after she fled on her horse. Once she got home, the woman left her horse outside and went into her house, but the next morning she found her horse dead, with most of the flesh torn from the horse’s bones.
However, whether this is a story of the Sheepsquatch or just another story of a white monster in West Virginia is unknown, and the original story in Musick’s book makes no note of any sheeplike qualities about the monster other than its white fur.
Clio, a website where people can document local historical and cultural sites, also describes the story of a Croatian immigrant who encountered the creature on his way home from work in Marion County in 1929. According to the story, Frank Kozul took a shortcut through the woods after working at the Jordan 93 mine. During his walk home, he claimed to be attacked by a “beast about the size of a large dog with white hair, a bushy tail, and sharp teeth,” though it didn’t leave any signs of injury on Kozul after he escaped.
This story is another example of encounters with white monsters being attributed to the Sheepsquatch, despite the original story not making any reference to any sheeplike features of the creature. Are these stories of Sheepsquatch, or possibly another creature entirely? You can read about more reported sightings of the Sheepsquatch on the Cryptid Wiki.
Sheepsquatch in pop-culture
Although not as popular as Bigfoot or West Virginia’s Mothman, the Sheepsquatch has found itself represented in TV shows, video and card games.
Season 1 episode 12 of the show “Mountain Monsters” focuses on the Sheepsquatch of Boone County. During the episode, a team of West Virginia monster hunters constructs a razor-wire trap in an attempt to capture the creature. The first episode of the show “Monsters and Mysteries in America” also contains stories about the Sheepsquatch.
Players of the adventure survival game Fallout 76 can also fight the Sheepquatch in-game, and there’s even a Sheepsquatch plush toy for sale on the game publisher’s website, although it is currently out of stock.
The trading card game MetaZoo released a playable Sheepsquatch card only a few months ago in its Seance set. MetaZoo is a trading card game made for cryptid and ghost story lovers, with each card based on a different ghost story, cryptid or local legend.