January 18, 2016 | Posted in WereWOOFS

SpectralMooseMaine is a wild state. With a little more than one million residents, it is definitely not one of the most densely populated states in America. The state is well-known for its wildlife preserves, game trails, and numerous camping sites, which leaves a lot of wilderness for strange creatures to establish a home and a reputation. Granted, Maine does not have any monsters or ghouls that stick out greatly, such as the Jersey Devil, but what the state’s mysteries lack in fame they make up for in numbers.

While it is not a unique creature, Maine has quite a few stories of Bigfoot sightings, some of which date back to the 1800’s. The first recorded word of Bigfoot was in 1873, published in a book by C.A. Stevens. At first the book was thought to be fiction, as it mentioned at least six encounters with a creature matching Bigfoot’s description. Most of these stories were the classic encounter, catching a glimpse of a tall, hairy humanoid that runs away when approached or it takes notice of the witnesses, but there was one or two frightening tales as well. The book mentioned a man being torn apart a few years before it was released, a death that most believed to have been caused by mountain lions. Yet, as the author pointed out, the poor soul’s body seemed to have been slammed violently against a tree trunk multiple times, definitely not something a mountain lion could do.

Aside from these early sightings, however, the encounters following are pretty typical of Bigfoot sightings. Most of them take place between Mt. Katahdin and Mr. Bigelow, and are usually reported by hikers and campers. There have been some sightings within peoples’ own yards, as well as along the highway, but oddly these reports peak in the 1980’s before dwindling significantly. Official reports now are scarce, but, as usual, one only has to venture into the dark corners of the internet to find numerous accounts of Bigfoot encounters.

But Bigfoot is not Maine’s only resident cryptid. One laughably-named creature is the Spectral Moose. Before you go and have a chuckle, the locals take this beast quite seriously. Because hunting is so prevalent in this area, it is considered severely disconcerting to have a potential prize vanish right before your very eyes. People who have had encounters with the Spectral Moose describe it as a dirty white color, silvery in color and sometimes glowing faintly, with a massive set of horns that would be any hunter’s dream to display over the fireplace.

The Spectral Moose appears randomly and haunts an area for about a year before disappearing again, sometimes for years at a time. Hunters often describe seeing the moose alone in the forest, though when they take a shot at it the creature simply disappears. It is uncommon for the moose to even let them get close enough to make a shot, however, maintaining a good distance between itself and the hunters. Legend says the moose’s senses are extra keen, giving it an edge over its clumsy human predators. But if the creature truly is some form of spirit or ghost, the hunters never had a chance anyway.

Skeptics, usually not hunters themselves, often argue that this so-called “ghost moose” is merely an albino moose, or a very rare moose with pale coloration. Scientifically, this is possible. There is a place in Ontario where an abnormal amount of white and silver moose live. The area is famous for it. But Ontario is a good distance from Maine. The odds of one of those making it all the way into Maine is slim at best. And there is one detail that makes it seem incredibly unlikely that the Spectral Moose is one of those.

The Spectral Moose is big.

One hunter by the name of Houston had an extremely good look at the beast. At the time he did not have his gun and was not actively hunting, so perhaps this is why. What he described though was coming to a stretch of bog. There was a herd of moose, sixteen in all, with the females grazing in a group and the males watching over them. He stated that there were three males, two were very large, healthy specimens. And the third, in his words, “made them look like pygmies”. He described the third moose as being of luminous white coloration, calling it a monster based on its height and the size of its antlers. The hunter turned away and when he turned back the third moose was gone. Not a trace of it remained. Surely no mere odd-colored moose could reach such titanic proportions?

Nobody knows what the Spectral Moose truly is, and nobody knows why it continues to show itself to outdoorsmen. It does not seem like it wished to do anyone harm, but it has certainly unnerved many people since the early 1900’s, and maybe even before then. The Spectral Moose is certainly a lot more interesting than your average sasquatch.

Moving away from ghost animals, there is one more mysterious creature that roams the forests and mountains of Maine. It is known simply as the Maine Mystery Beast, or the Maine Mystery Dog. For many years some sort of creature roamed the countryside, making appearances in Litchfield, Sabattus, Greene, Turner, Lewiston and Auburn, all small towns located in northeast Maine.

Similar to the chupacabra in the southwest, this shadowy creature would prey on pets and livestock, sheep, goats, cats, dogs, even bigger specimens like Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers. Often this mystery beast would tear the unfortunate animals apart, eating very little and leaving most of the remains to be discovered the following morning. People rarely caught sight of it, catching only glimpses of a black shape or glowing red eyes. Upsetting as the animal deaths were, it was the howls were the thing that made the locals fear the worst. They were unearthly sounds, shrieks from the pits of hell itself. They could not catch it, dogs would not follow its scent, but they could hear it screaming in the night.

That is, until it got hit by a car.

One evening a fellow was driving home when a cat streaked across the road. The cat made it to the other side, but the driver was astonished when his car jerked, as though he had hit something. Looking back, he saw a coyote dragging itself to the side of the road, mortally stricken. Or what he thought was a coyote, anyway.

The next day a woman came across the creature dead in the grass. At first glance one would think it to be a dog, but looking closer there were several differences. The stubby, rodent-like ears, the blunted snout, and the broad, oddly-shaped shoulders were all distinctly un-canine. One man photographing the deceased animal remarked that he thought it looked like a mix between a dog and a rat. It was described as having charcoal-colored fur, blue eyes, and blue lips.

Locals were convinced, of course, that this was the thing that had been terrorizing them for the past few years. The sudden absence of screams and howls from the woods seemed to confirm this, but there are several people who believe that there are more of this creature roaming the wilds of Maine. One man stated that the creature reminded him of something that one of his friends had shot while hunting. The animal that his friend shot had been dark-furred and seemed mostly canine, but neither of them had been able to identify it, much like the dead animal in the road.

DNA testing was done to see if the creature could be identified through science. It was confirmed that it was indeed half dog, as the mother’s DNA was clearly canine, but the father’s DNA could not be identified. Most assume that he was also of the canis family, either a coyote or a wolf. It could not be determined what kind of dog the mother was, either.

Whatever breed she is, it can be assumed that there are probably more hideous dog-mystery hybrids roaming the wilderness of Maine. At least for the townspeople of that area, the nightmare is over.