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Shunka Warak’in: Hyena of the Rocky Mountains



The Taxidermised Shunka Warak’in. Photo: Cryptid Wiki

The Shunka Warak’in is a hyena-like creature from Native American mythology that has been spotted in the Rocky Mountains. A museum in Montana claims to have one on display.

What is the Shunka Warak’in

For centuries, an unknown predator has been preying on domesticated animals throughout the plains of Montana.

According to Native American lore, the shunka warak’in is a non-wolf canid that sneaks into camps at night and steals dogs.

After a fierce encounter with the shunka warak’in, in which the Ioway tribe was victorious, they took pieces of its hide and incorporated them into sacred bundles worn during battle to make them impervious to attacks. Loren Coleman popularized the term after using it in his book, “Cryptozoology A to Z.”

Despite the creature’s resemblance to a wolf, it has been referred to by many other names, such as the Beast and the Rocky Mountain hyena.

Due to the absence of wolves in the state for a significant portion of the 20th century the appearance of a wolf-like creature was quite an event.

The shunka warak’in is notorious for attacking dogs, cows, sheep, and anything else that is easily accessible behind a fence. Unfortunately, the absence of a carcass has made it difficult to determine the creature’s identity.

Israel Ammon Hutchins, a settler in the Madison Valley of Montana, faced a problem in 1886 as an unknown creature was attacking his and his neighbors’ animals. The creature was dark and resembled a canine, producing a unique and terrifying scream at night.

One morning, Hutchins was alerted by his dogs’ barking and discovered the creature chasing his geese. The canid had a dark coat, high shoulders, and a slanted back. Hutchins attempted to shoot the creature but ended up accidentally killing one of his cows instead.

On a subsequent occasion, Hutchins aimed and shot the unknown creature, unintentionally killing one of his cows instead. In exchange for the dead animal, Hutchins received a new cow from a businessman and taxidermist named Joseph Sherwood, who mounted and exhibited the creature in his grocery store and museum in Henry Lake, Idaho.

Sherwood gave the creature the name “ringdocus,” although the reason for this name is unclear. Despite Sherwood’s passing, the ringdocus remained on display at least until the 1980s, after which it’s whereabouts were lost to history.

The only surviving proof of the stuffed ringdocus’s existence was a black-and-white photo published in naturalist Ross Hutchins’s autobiography in 1977.

Ross Hutchins was the grandson of the original ringdocus slayer. In the photo, the creature resembled a wolf, but it also had unique features such as a distinctive facial shape and back arch. The caption of the photo was Guyasticutus, which some believe was a humorous name given to a fake creature to sell tickets.

The legend of the elusive creature and its missing body persisted, and Lance Foster, a member of the Ioway tribe and a paranormal enthusiast, suggested that the beast could be a shunka warak’in.

A video telling the story of the Shunka Warak’in

Shunka Warak’in on Display

After Sherwood’s museum closed down, the taxidermy collection was donated to the Idaho Museum of Natural History in Pocatello and stored away. One of the taxidermied animals turned out to be the shunka warak’in, which was around four feet in length, dark gray in color with vague stripes on its flanks.

Eventually, Jack Kirby, one of Israel Hutchins’ grandsons, discovered this and managed to persuade the museum to lend it to the Madison Valley History Museum in Ennis, Montana.

Kirby personally took it there after visiting his grandfather’s grave to reunite the two cryptozoology legends. The creature, known as the Beast, has been the most popular exhibit at the museum for over a decade.

Have you ever seen a Shunka Warak’in? Let us know in the comments.

If you enjoyed this article you might also be interested in the Ozark Howler or the Palmyra Wolves.

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Nandi Bear: A Ferocious African Cryptid




An artist’s interpretation of the Nandi Bear. Photo: Cryptid Archives.

The Nandi Bear is a ferocious cryptid spotted in the highlands of Kenya during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Description of the Nandi Bear

A footprint of a Nandibear

The Nandi Bear is also known as the Chemosit, Kerit, Koddoelo, Ngoloko, or Duba. It has been described as as a carnivorous animal with a formidable build, possessing long legs exceeding a height of four feet, and a back that slopes downward. It is described as being highly aggressive in nature.

Nandi Bear Sightings

A drawing of a Nandi Bear encounter by A. McWilliams

A number of early 20th century authors mention the Nandi Bear in their work.

Richard Meinertzhagen claimed in 1905 that he was told by the Nandi people that the Nandi bear was once widespread when they first settled in the highlands of present-day Kenya, around the early 17th century.

The Nandi people believed that the rinderpest epidemic towards the end of the 19th century pushed the Nandi bear to the brink of extinction. Although the Nandi bear was never numerous, it was not uncommon prior to the epidemic.

Unfortunately, the population never fully recovered from the impact of the outbreak. During the colonial era, the Nandi bear was held responsible for the deaths of numerous native people, whose skulls were found crushed every year.

While the Nandi Bear was widely feared by the native population, it does not appear to have been known to Europeans or colonial officials until the beginning of the 20th century.

Prior to 1912, the Nandi reportedly killed a Nandi Bear after it climbed onto the roof of a hut, broke through, and killed everyone inside. Subsequently, the village inhabitants burned down the hut with the animal still inside. Geoffrey Williams had heard of a similar animal’s preserved skin in Kabras, but was unsuccessful in obtaining it.

There were rumors that a Boer had shot a Nandi bear, but was unable to retrieve the carcass. C. W. Hobley wrote of this story.

Similarly, a farmer from Uganda named K. R. Williams supposedly unintentionally poisoned a young Nandi bear while setting out bait for hyenas.

Williams described the animal as being much larger than a spotted hyena, with the same yellowish fur, and a head similar to that of a bear. However, when he returned to his camp to retrieve a knife for skinning the carcass, actual hyenas had dragged the Nandi bear’s body away.

In 1905, while on the Nandi Expedition to the Uasin Gishu in western British East Africa, Geoffrey Williams wrote of his experiences with the Nandi Bear.

He observed an animal of around 5 feet in height sitting upright like a zoo bear, with small pointed ears and a long head, about 30 yards away.

The creature then ran away with a sideways canter towards the Sirgoit Rock. Williams quickly took a snapshot of the animal with his rifle, but missed it.

He claimed the Nandi bear was larger than a typical zoo bear and heavily built, with thick fur covering its forequarters and all four legs. The hindquarters were relatively smooth, and the color was dark.

Williams could not recall much about the ears, but mentioned that they were small, and the tail, if any, was tiny and barely noticeable.

Engineer Dennis Burnett and his wife Marlene reported the most recent documented sighting of the Nandi bear in February 1998.

While driving along the Koru-Kisumu road near the base of the Nandi Escarpment during a rainy evening, they saw a large animal crossing the road.

Upon reversing their car, the couple observed the animal for about fifteen seconds. Although they initially thought it was a bear, they soon realized that it was “an enormous, shaggy hyena – resembling a Striped Hyena but significantly larger.”

Theories about the Nandi Bear

Bob Gymlan of Bigfoot hunting fame has posted a detailed video telling the history of the Nandi Bear.

In 1923, Charles William Andrews proposed that the Nandi bear might be a surviving species of the extinct Chalicothere. Louis Leakey later suggested in the 1930s that the Nandi Bear’s descriptions matched those of the Chalicothere, despite chalicotheres being herbivores.

The Chalicothere hypothesis was eventually abandoned. In 2000, paleontologist Louis L. Jacobs stated that if Chalicotheres still existed, they would have been discovered, much like the giant forest hog. Jacobs concluded that if there was any truth to the Nandi bear story, it could be a description of gorillas passed down orally across the continent.

Zoologist Reginald Innes Pocock argued that the Nandi bear sightings were actually misidentified spotted hyenas. The British Natural History Museum also stated in 1932 that many reports of the Nandi bear were nothing more than spotted hyenas.

Paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson claimed that the Nandi bear turned out to be honey badgers, which zoologists had been aware of since 1776.

Have you ever seen a Nandi Bear? Let us know in the comments.

If you enjoyed learning about the Nandi Bear you might also be interested in the J’Ba Fofi: A Giant Congolese Spider Cryptid or the Tikoloshe, a South African Cryptid.

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Squonk: The Saddest Cryptid




The Squonk as featured in Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods by William Cox. Photo: Wikipedia

The Squonk is said to be the ugliest creature in the world. It is so ashamed of its appearance that it will hide from anyone who approaches and, if caught, it will dissolve into a puddle of tears.

The Legend of the Squonk

The rock band Genesis wrote a popular song about the Squonk

The first mention of the squonk in written history is in William Cox’s 1910 book “Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods, With a Few Desert and Mountain Beasts.”

Cox describes the as the ugliest animal in the world and claims it is aware of its unfortunate appearance.

Cox claims that the squonk used to have a wide distribution and preferred habitats with plenty of desert vegetation on high plains. As these areas changed into swampy, lake-dotted regions, the squonk was forced to adapt to the water.

Due to its low intelligence, the squonk constantly searched for food by swimming in the marshes, and over time developed webbing between its toes, but only on its left feet that were submerged in water. As a result, it could only swim in circles and could never return to shore, leading to thousands of squonks dying from starvation, as evidenced by fossil bones found in the lake bottoms.

Cox also claimed that the squonk can only be found in the hemlock forests of Pennsylvania. It is said to be shy and reclusive, and can be seen mostly during twilight hours.

It is covered in a loose and warty skin that doesn’t fit properly. The squonk is known to be perpetually unhappy and often weeps due to its distressing appearance, leaving a trail of tears that can be followed.

The best time to search for a squonk is during moonlit nights, as it tends to stay hidden in its hemlock dwelling, afraid to catch a glimpse of itself in a reflective pool.

Sometimes, the sound of a softly weeping squonk can be heard, which sounds like a mournful call resembling that of the cross-feathered snee.

A Mr. J.P. Wentling had a disappointing experience with a squonk near Mont Alto. He captured the squonk by mimicking its crying sounds and tricking it into hopping into a sack. As he carried it home the sack suddenly became much lighter. Wentling unslung the sack and looked in. He found that the squonk had dissolved into tears and bubbles.

Squonk Meme

A variation of the squonk meme that has become popular in recent times.

The squonk has become a meme in recent times, with many internet users feeling like they can relate to the poor little creature. The squonk has even featured in one of our paranormal meme dumps.

Have you ever seen a poor little squonk in the wild? Let us know in the comments.

If you enjoyed this article you might also be interested in the story of the kushtaka or the Central American Whintosser.

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