Snallygaster

Dubious Flying Reptile of Maryland.

Etymology: Popularized in 1909 by George C. Rhoderick Sr. and Ralph S. Wolf Sr. of the Middletown (Md.) Valley Register and possibly derived from the Pennsylvania German Schnelle Geiste ("fast ghosts").

Variant names: Gyascutus, Sizzlehisser, Snol-lygoster.

Physical description: Dragonlike reptile with huge wings. Long beak. Sharp claws.

Behavior: Makes screeching noises. Said to have a taste for human blood.

Distribution: Frederick County, Maryland. Present status: Occasionally used for regional Hairy biped sightings, the term Snallygaster now seems to refer to any monster.

PP'ossible explanation: Tongue-in-cheek fabrication by the Middletown (Md.) Valley Register and other local newspapers, perhaps in response to Jersey Devil reports three years earlier.

Sources: Timothy L. Cannon and Nancy F. Whitmore, Ghosts and Legends of Frederick County (Frederick, Md.: Cannon, 1979); Mark Chorvinsky, "Our Strange World," Fate 48 (September 1995): 22-24.

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