At the beginning of the 21st Century monsters still roam the remote, and sometimes not so remote, corners of our planet. It is our job to search for them. The Centre for Fortean Zoology [CFZ] is - we believe - the largest professional, scientific and full-time organisation in the world dedicated to cryptozoology - the study of unknown animals. Since 1992 the CFZ has carried out an unparalleled programme of research and investigation all over the world. Since 2009 we have been running the increasingly popular CFZ Blog Network, and although there has been an American branch of the CFZ for over ten years now, it is only now that it has a dedicated blog.

Monday, 26 May 2014

OLD SLIPPERYSKIN

If you look into the folklore of Vermont, you'll see one of the largest creatures is Old Slipperyskin, called by the Indians Wejuk.  He is usually described as a gigantic bear, but we will need to look further into this.  This huge animal was a pest to human settlers.  He would frighten people and animals, establish himself on a height and throw pinecones at passers-by, stampede cattle, drag trees through cornfields and throw stones at children.

He seems to have been particularly active in Essex and Orleans counties.  He was reported to have thrown pinecones at an expedition in 1759.

The story is told that Governor Jonas Galusha (1753-1834) had a plan which he regarded as both novel and ingenious to catch Old Slipperyskin.  He doused himself in a solution which stank of female bear and stationed a hunting party nearby.  He entered the woods and in due course he exited them rather quickly, with Old Slipperyskin in pursuit.  The hunters, who should have shot at the beast, instead fled, so the plan came to naught.

On another occasion a hunting party is said to have searched for him on the road leading to Elon Mountain.  Old Slipperyskin is said to have rolled a large tree downhill towards them and they perforce had to scatter.

Writer Joseph Citro says there might be descendants of Old Slipperyskin still around.

There are some features about Old Slipperyskin which may make us doubt that he was a bear.  First of all, he threw things, a task for which a bear's paws seem to me unsuited.  Secondly, he always stood on his hind legs, which is not something a bear will do for more than a short time.  He doesn't seem to have preyed on cattle, however much he annoyed them.  Although the tales told about him may sometimes be mere yarns, he does definitely seem to have existed, though the endeavors of more than one animal may have been laid at his door.  If he was a bear, he seems to have been a singular one.  The question that must be asked is whether he was something else and, if so, what.

In Vermont they drink Old Slipperyskin Pale Ale, which may be purchased at Jasper Murdoch's Alehouse (The Norwich Inn). 

Galusha House, residence of Jonas Galusha

No comments:

Post a comment