Mountain Monsters: “I am a Marine and I will get the job done”

This week, the Hillbilly Hunters set off to Pike County, in Kentucky, in search of the legendary Hell Hound.

gang with trap
This infernal creature was first reported as far back as 1939, and reports continued throughout the 1940s. They came mostly from the moonshiners who were working their magic, way back in the woods, in log cabins. There were so many reports of the beast that a bounty of $20 was posted, and incredibly, this generous reward was duly collected when a hunter managed to kill one of the creatures. Unfortunately nobody could identify the corpse, and sadly, no trace, either physical or photographic, seems to have survived.

The first four members of the Hillbilly Hunters arrive in this cattle raising area, and they soon ascertain the facts. Firstly, the Hell Hound is actually blue because of its nocturnal habits, and it seems to have some kind of mane. It is about four feet tall at the shoulder and between seven and nine feet long. It is a creature which seems to have lost all fear of Man, and is using the tractor trails through the cornfields to get closer to the farmers’ barns and outbuildings. A Hell Hound  then be quite capable of dragging off an adult cow.

drawing
The team are shown a Black Angus calf by the worried farmer who owns it. The poor animal has enormous wounds on its back, which seem to me like no  predator that I recognise. They appear to be symmetrical, and I think careful thought should be given to the idea that they may have been carried out with a knife by the member of some crazy cult.

A second farmer, Drew, shows us his video, which he took looking through a stand of trees towards a small barn, from which HH duly emerges. I do feel that experienced photo analysis from a person who has talents in this field might well be able to establish what creature this may be. I am clearly no expert in the wildlife of Kentucky but as an English outsider, I might even put suggest that what Drew saw was a very large wild boar.


The last two to arrive are the enfants terribles of the programme, Willy and Wild Bill, who now has some fluffy dice dangling charmingly from the mirror of his vehicle, put there by his mother-in-law.

diceThe two of them quickly make what looks to be an extremely strong trap from long lengths of local bamboo.

Wild Bill immediately steals the show as he mimes shaving himself with a macheté. “ I spent time or two trying to bust out of the old jailhouse, never figured I’d be building one.”

Quite extraordinarily, Wild Bill, having climbed the tree for the trap, then sees HH on the far side of the field. He sets off on the chase, brandishing his macheté. He gets a glimpse of him… “He’s a dandy big’un.” Is he fast? “ He can put her down the old canyon”. Bill measures his height and puts his hand out, “He stands about yay tall.”

marine

In the night hunt, the team hears growls and roars and they find where HH takes his cows to dismantle. It is awash with blood and fat and goo.

Standing next to a greenhouse which is brightly illuminated from the inside, they see the blurred shadow of an animal, presumably HH, come hurtling past them at huge speed. They chase after him, and three of the group manage to physically touch him, probably the first time he’s ever been literally in contact with Man. They may not manage to capture HH, but their determination remains as strong as ever.

“I am on his ass and I wanna get him.”
“I wanna put the old heat on his hide.”
“I’ll see if I can’t get his old hide on the wall. ”
But as Willy says philosophically though, “He lives to be hunted another day.”

The usual discussion then follows…

I gain fantastic enjoyment from the Big Six. Their program remains enormously entertaining, and is certainly the highlight of my viewing week. I try always to watch it twice, as on first viewing, you can miss many informative details.

I know from various sources on the Internet, that there are many people out there who seem to be ferociously upset by this program. As I’ve repeatedly said, I think the programme is marvellous. I do not think it makes anybody look like an idiot, either a local inhabitant, a Hillbilly Hunter or, hopefully, a reviewer.

And whether or not you believe in the Hell Hound of Pike County, Kentucky, there will always be doubt in your mind, because so many similar creatures have been seen across the world.

In one of my future blog posts, I will be talking about the Beast of Gévaudan, which ravaged the bleak highlands of central France some 250 years ago. It is an established fact that this animal killed many people, perhaps in excess of a hundred. Eyewitnesses, of course, varied in their descriptions, but none of them seems really  to be describing a known animal.


Here in England we have our very own Hell Hound, an enormous black dog, with red eyes, who is called “Old Shuck”. He is never a very nice doggy to meet with, as he usually foretells the imminent demise of the person who sees him.

beast_main

This charming little chap may well figure in another blog post in the future.

Above all, though, until next time, never forget the company motto, “I am a Marine and I will get the job done.”

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12 Comments

Filed under Cryptozoology

12 responses to “Mountain Monsters: “I am a Marine and I will get the job done”

  1. H.S. Plouse

    Take a bit of time to slowly scroll the film of the “HH” at the pump house, paying particular attention to the leg articulation. This is not a canine, a feline, a pig or a bear. The attack on the calf is also utterly unlike a canine’s attack (throat, belly, or hamstringing) or a feline’s (throat or snout, occasionally cervico-thoracic junction). I might note that I have been in touch with the individual on whose farm part of the “MM” hunts were held and he confirms that they were after something in the cornfield, tho’ what it was he couldn’t say, tho’ he does confirm the local legends about the “HH”. “MM” has a lot of hype and BS, but my sense is that the “HH” is a real beast, not currently known and I’ve asked permission to hunt it, albeit, with better gear and one hopes without all the hollering and jumping about. Your linkage of it to similar animals in England and France is interesting.

    • Thank you so much for these interesting ideas. France has had a huge number of these wolf like monsters. “Like a wolf but not a wolf.” I intend to do blog posts about as many of them as I can, because I can translate the French. The Beast of Gévaudan is well known, perhaps, but the twenty or thirty others are trapped in French websites, which few people can read. The accepted idea is that they must be wolves and the witnesses were just so terrified that they just presumed them to be monsters. Again, many thanks for your interest.

      • H.S. Plouse

        Thank you for your responsive comments. The key is the “like a wolf but not a wolf” description. Actually, the limb articulation, the mane, the general body configuration, and the method of attack (as well as the confusion regarding the nature of the beast) of the “HH” and similar animals are all suggestive of a hyaena-like animal (and some of the 18th C. depictions of these animals are far more hyaena-like than wolf-like). I’m not suggesting that the animal IS a hyaena, but I am suggesting that whatever it is has hyaena-like features (actually size-wise – and in multiple other ways – it corresponds quite well to the Hyaenodon gigas; Please note, those animals went extinct 20 million years ago and, even if they had somehow survived, they would have had 20 million years of evolution since then, so whatever it is would NOT be a Hyaenodon, but, at most, a distant, if lineal descendant). Anyway, my contact with the locals in Kentucky suggest that there may well be more there than just folklore and human suggestibility. I might note that I spent some time, in my youth, living near the West Country moors, with their “black dog legends”, but, until your commentary, had not connected these Old World animals to these New World manifestations.

  2. Thanks for your interest! I would agree with you. It is very easy to dismiss “locals” and what they say they see. The evolved hyena idea is also very worthy of consideration. One final quick point is that the artists of past centuries were sometimes a little lazy. They would pass off a depiction of the Beast of Gévaudan as, for example, the Beast of Cinglais. Another trick was to retreat to heraldry, and just copy a heraldic animal rather than use a direct witness description.

  3. H.S. Plouse

    Speaking of Heraldry, you might take a look at the medieval “Heraldic Tyger” (NOT the “Bengal Tiger” which also shows up in later Heraldic devices), which bears some resemblance (both physically and temperamentally) to these rampaging French beasts (which some, back then, actually called a “tiger”, meaning, perhaps, to thereby invoke the mythical/Heraldic animal, not the “tiger” we think of). And, as long as you are looking at medieval monsters, consider the “Wodewose”, which would seem to be “Bigfoot” by any other name. These things are not the creation of the internet age.

  4. Chris

    Mountain morons

    • Fair comment, but they are now into a third series, with another network directly copying the format of the original show.

    • H.S. Plouse

      No question, the show has, in our American vernacular, “jumped the shark”, going from an interesting exploration of local folklore to a seemingly scripted, 3rd rate “Mystery of the Bigfoot” serialized story. That’s a shame because the original premise (i.e., that these Appalachian woods are chock full of cryptoids, the mystery of might well be solved by hunting them as tho’ they were, in fact, real creatures) was compelling. The necessity of competing with at least two, entirely derivative shows (one set in Alaska and the other in our southern swamps, both peopled with “colorful” local characters), appears to have driven the “MM” producers to substitute hype and clowning around for serious investigation. So now the “Hell Hound” (which I have come to believe is, in fact, a real beast, possibly related to such animals as “The Beast of the Gard”, etc.) has been reduced to Bigfoot’s coon huntin’ dawg.

      • Yes, I’m sorry to say that I agree with you about Mountain Monsters, which has now disappeared from our screens, I suspect temporarily. We do have the southern swamp programmes although I don’t really like the people involved with these very much. I am still working away at the Beasts of France, although I have now found out that you can add England, Wales, Portugal and Italy to the list. Still, it keeps me thinking! And thanks a lot for your interest, by the way.

      • H.S. Plouse

        If it is any consolation, Mr. Knifton, as a consequence of “MM”, I did have the opportunity to speak with one of the individuals on whose farm their original “Hell Hound” hunt was held. These large, unknown canids (as your own efforts suggest), like large, unknown felids (I recall, particularly, the legends popular around Dartmoor back when I was living in England and the similarity of those animals to the “MM’s” “Wampus Beast”) and large, unknown primates (such as my reputed Sasquatch “neighbors” out here in the PacNW), are fairly ubiquitous. As an anthropologist, I was trained to look for things which seem to be “universals” across multiple, diverse cultures. It is not illogical to believe, when such a “universal” is found, that there may be an underlying reality (however distorted it may have become with time and retellings). Let’s just say that the same creature which gives rise to the Appalachian “Hell Hound” (to which the locals apparently give real credence) may, in fact, account for such things as these French “beasts” which were “like a wolf, but not a wolf”. I do know that my own training in comparative anatomy caused me to sit bolt upright when I saw the “HH” at the pump house and, unless that was a well-informed piece of CGI, then I think we are dealing with a real animal related to the ancient hyaenodonts (an animal which answers to almost all the issues around both the “Hell Hound” and creatures such as the “Beast of Gevaudan”). I only regret that “MM” has elected to pursue ratings instead of these folkloric animals.

  5. Thanks again for your comments. Tonight sees the début on our satellite TV of the Alaska monster hunters. I do hope that they don’t avoid the opportunity for a little serious considered research in their efforts to become short lived stars of the ratings. (But I’m not holding my breath)

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