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Fact or Fiction? A Guide to American Monsters

You might have heard of the Loch Ness Monster of Scotland and the abominable snowman of the Himalayas, but the U.S. also has its own share of “monsters.” Here are some of the most popular ones.



Location: Northern California, Oregon, Washington, other states

bigfoot1What it might really be: Apes, hoaxes

Bigfoot or Sasquatch is seen in forests of the Pacific Northwest, but “relatives” have also been spotted in Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas.

Ranging from 4 to 8 feet tall, these elusive creatures are reported to eat plants and roots, and almost never harm people. They’re often poorly photographed, but there’s no hard evidence of their existence.



Location: Atlantic and Pacific oceans, Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes

seaserpent1What it might really be: Oarfish, sharks, whales, flock of birds, driftwood

As long as mariners have sailed the oceans, tales of sea serpents have been told. Although many of these creatures have now been identified, some strange cases remain. Among them, on Feb. 5, 1985, brothers Bill and Bob Clark claim to have seen a 60-foot serpent swimming among seals in San Francisco Bay.



Location: Southern Texas, Puerto Rico

chupacabra1What it might really be: Coyotes with skin disease

Spanish for “goat sucker,” many people claim to have seen the chupacabra and/or photographed it and, in at least one case, to have frozen its carcass. While there’s
little doubt that something is attacking goats and chickens, most evidence suggests the animal is a common coyote with a skin disease that gives it a bizarre  appearance.



Location: Lake Champlain in New York and Vermont

champ1What it might really be: Misidentifications of common animals, hoaxes

With well over 300 reported sightings of Champ during recent years, some believe it might be a plesiosaur similar to “Nessie.” Like Loch Ness, Lake Champlain is more than 400 feet deep. Champ believers claim both lakes support fish populations large enough to feed a beast. Scientists cite the fact that plesiosaurs died out about 65 million years ago.



Location: New Jersey Pine Barrens

jerseydevil1What it might really be: Folklore, humans

With origins dating back to the 1600s, the Jersey Devil is described as “having the head of a goat, small arms with claws, leathery batlike wings, horns, hooves like a horse and a bloodcurdling scream.” Rewards have been offered for its capture, but none have been claimed. According to one outdoorsman who had covered himself with mud to fend off mosquitoes, a group of people saw him and ran away, and later claimed to have sighted the Jersey Devil.



Location: Point Pleasant, West Virginia

mothman1What it might really be: Unidentified flying object, traditional folk story

People who said they saw Mothman in 1966 claimed the 7-foot-tall winged creature with glaring red eyes gave them dreams about the collapse of Silver Bridge, which later occurred, killing 46 people. There have been few sightings in recent years, and most folklorists say Mothman is just a “localized urban myth” with no basis in fact.



Location: Montauk, Long Island, New York

What it might really be: A raccoon, dog, cat or rodent

The Montauk Monster was found dead on a beach in July 2008. Photos fueled speculation about the creature, including that it could be a mutant from nearby Plum Island Animal Disease Center. But we’ll never know for sure: By the end of July, the animal disappeared from the beach and has not been seen since.



Location: Western U.S.
thunderbird1What it might really be: Eagles, other birds

Legends of this amazing bird go back to Native American tribes that carved it on totem poles and sang of its great power and strength. The thunderbird was seen as battling the enemies of humanity and creating lightning storms by flapping its wings. In recent times, thunderbirds have reportedly been sighted and even accused of abducting animals.

86 Comments on Fact or Fiction? A Guide to American Monsters

  1. Disappointed // October 22, 2014 at 10:24 pm // Reply

    Thanks Boy’s Life
    You send this to 6-7-8 year olds. Monsters is the last thing they need to read about. He won’t touch the magazine now. He says “I thought the book was about Scouting, not monsters.”
    Come on guys!

  2. BlockHeadMcGrizz // October 22, 2014 at 3:49 pm // Reply

    I actually have a phobia of moths. The mothman would be my worst nightmare!!!

  3. that jersey devil thing realy CREEPS ME OUT!!!!! but it looks fake.

  4. some type of thing has to be true about them…

  5. Realistic mothman: fake but looks terrifying Bigfoot: probraly a guy in a costume or ape thunderbird fossil: just an eagle. Champ and sea serpent: I think it’s driftwood or whales jersey devil: guy in costume PLEASE THE MOTHMAN IS SUPER TERRIFYING AND ITS GONNA KEEP ME AWAKE ALL NIGHT!

  6. Really Cool!

  7. The mothman is freaky I searched these the montauk monster is cool.

    :O :O

  8. Mothman is so cool and so creepy at the same time.

  9. I wish they would show a picture of the thunder bird. not some drawing.

  10. i think they are creepy!

  11. Champ is my favorite….too cool!

  12. They are all my favorite.

  13. my favorite cryptid (who is not listed) is the kraken!

  14. Personally, I believe that mothman is real, as most of these are, in my opinion.

  15. I have done much native american and american folklore research before this came out, and these legends are very fun to learn about. Now, some are to good to be true like Moth man, but there are good explanations. Like, where did the native Americans get there gods? Plus there are true document on giant eagles that died out a long time ago, there could have been survivors, like Champ as a plesiosaurus. Something to think about!

    • One interesting thing about Native Americans is that whenever they drew pictures of animals, they would divide them into two groups, one group with only real, physical animals, and one with only spiritual (mythical) creatures. But the Native Americans also believed in Bigfoot, and when they would draw pictures of Bigfoot, they would always put them in the group with real animals.

  16. that mothman picture is so fake

  17. Peguinoboy1 // October 6, 2014 at 9:25 am // Reply

    I would really like to see more talk about cryptids. I would also like more pictures on them. This is the one thing in a LONG time that got me on Reply if you agree!

  18. Monster Hunter // October 4, 2014 at 6:21 pm // Reply

    Look I think the Montauk Monster is real and the goverment is covering it up I mean HELLO it says A LOT OF PEOPLE SAW IT AND THAT THE DEAD BODY WENT MISSING!!

  19. MC'sforever // October 4, 2014 at 3:17 pm // Reply

    This stuff is awesome! I actually saw a dragon once! How come THOSE weren’t in there?
    Plus, they’re not monsters, they’re mythical creatures. I’m guessing that having ‘monster’ as a title would be a little harsh.

  20. I think I heard Bigfoot once

  21. I thank that your monsters are cool.

  22. Awesome very good job. Love Othman LOL.

  23. those monsters are so cool i wish i could see one in person!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. mothman has a story. a scary story. it is scary on lost tapes

  25. Love them.

  26. awesome!!!!!!!

  27. i wish they would show a real picture of the montauk monster, that would be cool.

  28. I have heard of all of these except Montauk Monster, Jersey Devil and champ. my favorite is chupacabra

  29. Thunder scout 123 // September 25, 2014 at 10:02 pm // Reply

    Thunder bird is so awesome and its wings make lightning storms with a flap of its wings.In other words it’s OP.

  30. I like Mothman

  31. the jersy dessert is very famous were I live I think I saw it in a field when I was little

    • montauk man123 // October 2, 2014 at 5:19 pm // Reply

      I love the montauk monster and I love boys life magazine. Dont you think its misterious
      how the montauk monster just disepiered without a trace? it like its just got up and walked away

    • I like dessert, but I never had any in jersey

  32. I love the cupacabra

  33. i think they are real i used to ”hunt” for bigfoot

  34. i think they are all real except for thunder bird

  35. Budder Lord1029384756 // September 24, 2014 at 7:39 pm // Reply

    I herd of all, the mothman and Jersey Devil are real creepy, I also herd of the Montauk Monster story too.

  36. All of this is awesome!

  37. All of this is awesome I have a group and we try to look for evidence of these creatures!

  38. my favorite is moth man soo cool

  39. MiningTheMinecrafter // September 24, 2014 at 7:33 am // Reply

    Mothman is boss!!!

  40. Tell me about it! I never expected that they would ever include cryptids in Boys Life!

  41. thunder bidr is asome!

  42. I heard of all of these except that mot auk monster

  43. How do you find monsters

  44. I knew them all

  45. Some are really creepy.

  46. tobywonkienobie // September 21, 2014 at 6:20 pm // Reply

    champ seems the most real! he is also my favorite!

  47. cyborg killer 45 // September 21, 2014 at 2:27 pm // Reply

    What’s so mysterious about a big ape?! [by ape i mean bigfoot]

  48. Some of these pictures do not look real.

  49. wow i never knew about alot of these cool things

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