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.

Friday, 29 May 2015

WAMPUS - THE WORD

The story of the legendary Wampus Cat of various parts of the United States is treated elsewhere on this website.  However, John Hairr in his book Monsters of North Carolina, points out that the term wampus or wampus cat can be found used for a variety of unknown creatures as well as the classic Wampus Cat.  He is not sure where the term comes from, but he thinks it may be of Scottish origin, because of  the considerable number of Scottish settlers in regions where it is used.  Scots was in the Middle Ages a separate language from English, but now has merged with it.

This must remain in the realm of uncertainty.  There is a North Carolina word wampus meaning crooked and also an odd person, perhaps somewhat thuggish.  Scots itself, as far as I know, does not have wampus but I cannot vouch with certainty for its non-existence.  It does have a verb wampish, to wriggle.

However, I think the most likely origin of the word is from catawampus which was used to mean a scary creature or being, perhaps preternatural.  This is possibly a word of American origin, perhaps just made up.  Beyond this, I cannot go.

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