Date of Discovery
The Ozark Howler sightings date back to the early 1800s in some southern regions of the United states. The earliest legend comes from Daniel Boone’s encounter with this creature. Legends say Boone fired a few shots at the creature, some say he took it home as a trophy, but little evidence supports that. The most recent sightings came in 2015 when a local resident claims to have photographed the Howler at Devil’s Den State Park.
Devils Den State Park
An imposing icon in the Arkansas Ozarks, Devil’s Den State Park boasts beautiful natural scenery and structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The park contains a system of caves and underground rivers, as well as trails to surrounding forests that offer hikes and horseback riding opportunities. Lake Devil, a CCC-built dam spanning Lee Creek, also attracts fishing and boating enthusiasts.
The Ozark Howler “Howler” has racked up a list of names such as Howler and the Ozark Black Howler. Some of these creatures’ lesser-known names are the Hoo-Hoo, the Nightshade Bear, and the Devil Cat. This creature is known to live in remote areas in the Ozarks. Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas are the four states that make up the Ozark area and have the most sightings of the Howler.
The notable howl is described as eerie, violent and loud. A mixture between several creatures but none specific enough to know its true origins.
These creatures are typically a bear sized being, with a thick and stocky build. It’s covered with black shaggy hair, and in some reports has prominent horns near their ears. This “Howler” has glowing red eyes and the cry of a wolf’s howl, elk’s bugle, and the laugh of a hyena. Often some sightings claim this creature is a large ‘’cat-like’’ monster, but the size of a bear. Still have shaggy hair, but the tan color of a mountain lion or puma. This version does not come with horns, however. Also the “cat” version of the Howler as orangey-red glowing eyes, but the growl of a big cat rather than a true howl.
This creature has origin tales from Arkansas to Missouri, Oklahoman and Northern Texas and back, all pointing to the 1800s as its true origin date. Many believe this was a hoax to fool the cyptid community from early American folklore, while others have determined the Howlers real. Some claim this is a lost branch of the mountain lion line mix with and unknown ‘big cat’ breed. This missing link from Howler to a big cat has scientists scrambling to match the species and close this unknown link.
Mythology and Lore
Some legends state the Howler to be a growling demon stalking its prey across the country or mountainsides. Others report the Howler appearing in the distance just for a look at the passer-byes before disappearing again. The 1800s versions of the Howler telltale of people being attacked and killed; while recent tales to match. Most sightings have become passive walk byes with some strange howling or growling.
Scientists have spent years research breeding populations of big cats in the Ozark area, as well as thermal imagery in hopes of catching a reading of this creature. Many large-scale efforts have been brought to sighting location’s in multiple states, only turning up minor evidence the Howler could have been there. Paw prints and dark hairs are the only traces past blurred out pictures and local tales. This, however, does not stop locals, researchers, and cryptid hunters from searching out the Howler. Many still comb the area in hopes of seeing this creature.
The Ozark Howler Hoax
Adding even more confusion to this creature’s tale in the late 1990s hoax. Convinced this and other legends were a hoax, an Arkansas student made it his mission to prove the cryptid community wrong. This person flooded websites and blogs with outlandish sighting stories of the Howler, as well as other legends. This made researching and proving the truth of the Howler, to be massively difficult. Scientists have since launched full investigations to get to the bottom of the Howler legend. Chad Arment even states in his book Cryptozoology that the Ozark Howler is definitely a hoax, but there is no further evidence presented.
In 2015 News Leader ran a story from a tipster, John Meyers who sent in photos that were meant to be the Ozark Howler. However, the pictures were thought to be heavily photoshopped and barely resemble the Howler legend.
John was quoted in News Leader saying “Met some family in Devil’s Den State Park this weekend for some camping,” the tipster wrote. “We were up near Yellow Rock trail head this morning and saw this thing chase a squirrel up a tree and I have never seen anything like it. It had short black fur, a broad nose and horns like a young deer but it moved like a cat and had a long tail. Don’t know what else it could be but the Howler. It was yelping and scratching at the tree and I got this pretty good photo when it stopped and turned to look at me. Wish I had video or more photos but it disappeared too fast….You can give me a call I’m an electrician so usually available to talk for a minute.”
The Search Continues
Today many still search for the Ozark Howler across the States, others have written this creature off completely. Unfortunately, we will have to make our own choice as to what we believe over this creature’s truth. Hopefully, in a few years, the cryptid community will be able to say for sure what is truth and what is false information. Thus giving Howler hunters a set origin and behavior to match the creature they so long to capture. This is one creature that real or not, has dug deep into American folklore of the Ozark region. It is doubtful the Howler will ever be free from humans searching it out, but it is a fun, albeit potentially dangerous, way to spend your time traveling the Ozarks.
Modern Pop-Culture References
Books & Literature about the Ozark Howler
- Tales of the Ozark Howler (1930) (2019)
- Ozark Superstitions (1983) (2018)
- The Hair of the Black Howler
- Hunt the Ozark Howler (2016)
- Billy Bob’s Howler (2014)
- Ozark Howler (2017)
- Ozark Howler Verse (2019)
Movies about the Ozark Howler
- In Search of Monsters (2019- ) The Ozark Howler
Explore Southern History
Unlock the Ozarks
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