I am informed by a correspondent that the Gowrow, a legendary creature of Arkansas, is a fake like the hodag. I can see where the hodag comes in, for an entrepreneur called Vance Randolf claimed to have captured a Gowrow and would charge people to see it. Having accepted their cash, he would go behind a screen to get it, only to emerge with his clothes in rags and a horrified expression to announce the Gowrow had escaped. The onlookers would scatter in panic. These incidents are said to have occurred around 1951.
Readers will probably know the same dodge was practiced with the Hodag.
But just because of one hoaxed capture, this does not mean the entire story of the Gowrow is fiction. It is supposed to be a large lizard or wingless dragon with tusks - somewhat formidable, I hear you say.
In 1897 a group of men were said to have captured a Gowrow, one losing a leg in the process. This group was led by William Miller.
Another account (1930s) speaks of a strange creature making noises at the Devil's Hill Cave (Boone County). E.J. Rhodes, who owned it, climbed down into it, but could not proceed due to narrowness. The party then lowered a flatiron on a robe. When they hauled it up, they found it contained teethmarks. They then lowered a stone on the rope. When they withdrew it, the stone was gone.
Whether mere tall tales lie behind this or a genuine creature we cannot say. Reptiles do not find the area round here congenial as a whole, but we cannot utterly dismiss its existence. It may be an exceptional reptile.
Thursday, 20 March 2014
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