Gowrow

Giant Lizard of Arkansas.

Etymology: From the sound the lizards make. Physical description: Length, up to 20 feet. Tusklike teeth.

Behavior: Makes an assortment of groans and hisses.

Habitat: Caves.

Distribution: Boone and Searcy Counties, northern Arkansas.

Significant sighting: Sometime before 1935, E. J. Rhodes heard a commotion in a deep cavern called Devil's Hole, 3 miles northwest of Myrtle, Arkansas. He crawled down 200 feet to investigate, but couldn't see anything. Later, when he lowered a flatiron on a rope into the cavern, something bit through the rope.

Present status: Only insubstantial rumors and folktales exist.

Possible explanations:

(1) Classic example of Ozark folk humor.

(2) A legend based on the Alligator

(Crocodylus acutus), which lives in the southern two-thirds of Arkansas and grows to 12 feet long.

Sources: Vance Randolph, We Always Lie to Strangers (New York: Columbia University Press, 1951), pp. 43-44; Brad LaGrange, "The Gowrow vs. Occam's Razor: An Exercise in Folklore," North American BioFortean Review 2, no. 2 (2000): 4-5, http://www.strangeark.com/ nabr/NABR4.pdf.

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