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The White Thing – An Albino Bigfoot?

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on November 5th, 2006

Mysterious "White Thing" Haunts Residents for Generations
Happy Hollow
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Linda Long
al.com Everything Alabama

The hour was late; the weather was warm. Back then, air conditioning for most folks meant an open window. Whenever her daddy worked the swing shift at the steel mill, eight-year-old Connie slept in the bed with her mother.

Restless in the heat, Connie was half-awake when she heard a sudden shrill scream like nothing she had heard before. She bolted to the window and peeked out. A gas light at the end of the front walkway gave her a clear view of something in the driveway a huge white creature, curled up in a ball and lying very still.

In my childs eye, it was huge, much bigger than me, even bigger than my dog Brownie, a collie mix, says Connie Horsley, now a grandmother of three. I screamed and looked away.

Connie’s mother scurried to the window to see what all the commotion was about, but the thing whatever it was was gone. In the distance, they could hear crying, a haunting sound of distress.

Ichabod Crane and the folks of Sleepy Hollow have nothing on the good people of Happy Hollow in Trussville. Ichabod is famed for fleeing that relentless headless horseman who made his famous ride on Halloween night.

On Happy Hollow Road, residents see the fabled White Thing year round. The fearsome creature is reportedly snow white and has a piercing scream, much like that of a woman in distress or a baby crying. He is reportedly as tall as a man with claws strong enough to scrape bark off trees, and as swift as the wind. White Thing sightings have been reported for at least 150 years.

Connie, a lifelong Trussville resident, grew up on Happy Hollow Road, back before urban encroachment had leveled trees and cut gaping holes through woods and mountain.

I’d heard about The White Thing all my life, she remembers. My granddaddy was a Baptist preacher. We would sit outside on his covered porch and listen to him tell stories. He’d talk about the Bible, and tell us Bible stories, and then hed go into these other stories.

Connie recalls hearing her grandfather tell how back in about 1949, a group of men formed a posse to track the White Thing down. The men later reported that from a distance, they could tell that when he stood on his hind legs, he was tall or taller than a man.

They followed it as far as Roper Hill then lost sight of it, says Connie. But they could tell which way he went because where he had scraped the sides of trees, the bark was peeled away.

The sightings, she says, would be the talk of the town. I remember Daddy and our neighbor, Mr. Walker, talking about what this thing left behind. There was a kind of rural area just past our house and after every sighting people out there would find dead cows, or chickens, or goats all with their throats slit.

Connie’s mother, Hazel Taylor, has her own memories of the creature that has plagued more than four generations of Happy Hollow residents. Taylor was born in Trussville and has lived there all her 70-plus years.

I saw it more than once Hazel says, and heard it many more times, even as recently as last November. Everybody who has ever heard it always described that same sound, that high-pitched cry of distress. It would make that one sound then it was gone. You might hear it one more time, far in the distance, that hair-raising wail.

Hazel says her first encounter with the White Thing was when she was 13 years old. She was lying across her bed, suffering from a headache, when she suddenly became conscious of a loud, heavy panting outside a nearby window.

I opened my eyes and looked out the window, and he was standing right there, Hazel recalls. I screamed, and my uncle jumped off the porch and chased it with a shotgun, but he wasnt able to catch up with it. As far as I know, nobody else ever got that close.

According to Hazel, loud, heavy panting and barking dogs all over the valley always signaled the creatures presence. Her dad and some of his friends, she says, experienced that spine-chilling panting sound a little too close for comfort the year he turned 18. The boys were walking home from a hunting excursion when they heard a panting sound behind them. They turned to find the White Thing headed their way.

Thats all it took to get those boys running toward home, Hazel laughs. They ran as fast as they could with the thing hot on their heels. As my dad told it, his cousin was so frightened and going so fast, he didn’t even wait to open the door. He just went right through it, knocking the whole thing off its hinges and right to the floor.

Hazel admits that some far-fetched tales of the creature have sprung up over the years. One story claims the White Thing crept onto a front porch, frightening a dog and cat so badly that both literally climbed the walls and clung there for several days.

But Hazel believes that in all likelihood, the creature is actually a panther-like animal that hibernates because its usually seen in the spring and fall. She also reasons there has most likely been more than one White Thing.

We are not stupid enough to paint it as the same one for over a 100 years. Still, she adds, it was wonderful fun to get scared out of your wits as children. My granddaddy loved to entertain the children, and he told wonderful stories.

What is the White Thing? Is it an albino Bigfoot? A big cat? What do the readers of Cryptomundo think?

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster.


27 Responses to “The White Thing – An Albino Bigfoot?”

  1. jasonpix6 responds:

    COOL STORY, WHITE BIGFOOT? FOR SURE, I’VE heard of many white bf reports. Here is a look into bf’s closet, black, dark brown, brown, light brown, brownish-red or reddish brown, reddish, gray, and WHITE… if a tight gene pool of bf thrive there, then they all may come out the same color.[white]. Most mammals have a gene that can cause there hair/fur to change color acording to their environment. Lots of animals have turned white, due to their white surroundings..The artic fox turns white every season,.not that I think bf does this. Like the title of the article, it’s probably an albino, and like I said above, an albino gene pool can and will keep reproducing albinos.

  2. mystery_man responds:

    Interesting article. I have heard of other cases of supposed alibino Bigfoots and seeing as other animals can develop the condition, it seems perfectly plausible. Whether that is what this thing is or not is another story. The long, wicked claws that can hack up tree bark is not a usual Bigfoot attribute, is it? The theory that it is a panther-like animal would fit in with that attribute. I even think an albino bear is a possibility. A lot of these spooky stories have a kind of urban legend feel to them, so getting to the grains of truth can be hard. Until more sightings and/or evidence comes forth, I’m going to keep an open mind on this one, but refrain from saying that it is an albino Bigfoot just yet.

  3. mememe responds:

    Well yes this is a interesting article and a entertaining story, but alas that is all that it is in my opinion . A good fable and tall story told of a evening to frighten and entertain the kids. It’s a local fable which has grown over time and in detail and to try to read more into it than that, does not give you facts, just assumptions or maybes.. One to keep for halloween night.

    Makes me think of the film Darkness Falls , perhaps this is the Tooth Fairies other job ?

    nighty night. Watch out for the Boogey Man.

  4. captiannemo responds:

    Growing up in the back woods we had a mountain lion get up on our roof and scream like a woman and kill our chickens.We had a bear try to bust our kitchen door to get in. We had a snow white horse named nightmare that came out only at night.

    Yet my father would go hunting at night by the moonlight. He would tell of areas, creeks and hollows he would not go and would back his way out of. No small animals, no cricket sounds and sometimes on the wind you would catch a whiff of something you couldn’t put your finger on.

  5. oldbutnotstupid responds:

    There is something about this that just doesn’t sound right. I like the albino bear idea, but the clawing at trees etc. is not the big guy sorry. Maybe his cousin the abominable snowman is vacationing in the USA. Anyone check with imigration lately. This is not the bigfoot we all know.

  6. shovethenos responds:

    Neat stories. Loren has written recently that he thinks the Ozark Howler was a hoax, but there seems to be a fair amount of sightings. And this is in the general vicinity of the alleged habitat. The story is similar too. Except for the color, but that could be albinism.

  7. mystery_man responds:

    Yeah, I read in a book awhile back about the Ozark Howler too. Curious to know whether that was part of the hoax it was claimed to be. A little off the topic, my apologies.

  8. joppa responds:

    Small town Alabama ??? Sounds like Boo Radley.

  9. busterggi responds:

    150 years and no one’s ever seen a female or juvenile or any other colored critter of the same type?

    Nope, its folklore now. Though there may have been a real critter that started it we’ll never know.

  10. kittenz responds:

    Probably the tale got started when someone saw an unfamiliar animal and snowballed from there into popular myth. “Heavy panting? Shaggy white coat? Long claws?” – it does sound like a Shaggy Dog Story. Could have been a big shaggy dog like a wolfhound. Could have been lots of different things. Probably wasn’t a Bigfoot of any stripe (or color lol).

    Panthers do not hibernate BTW.

  11. CRH responds:

    Northern Ontario has had it’s own version, named “Old Yellowtop”. Reported three times over a 60 year period, the man-ape creature was described as short, completely hair-covered with a flash of dirty yellow hair on the top of its head. What’s curious about this is how the same distinct feature was described in three separate instances over such a long period of time. The area where it was seen, the Tri-Towns of Cobalt, New Liskeard and Haileybury, is certainly rugged enough. The creature was also dubbed ‘the Precambrian Shield Man’ after the geologic area. First seen in 1916(?) and last seen in 1970.

  12. bill green responds:

    very interesting new article about a white sasquatch. very informative. bill

  13. BadState responds:

    I’m surprised Hazel, who woke to find the creature looking in her window, didn’t provide some kind of description. All we get is white fur and long, sharp claws. The line “when it stands on its hind legs it’s as tall as a man” sounds like it isn’t always on its hind legs, so not likely a sasquatch. Do they have wolves in Alabama?

  14. One Eyed Cat responds:

    What ever it is, I have to say either a ‘tight’ gene pool, or one extremely long-lived creature!

    I am a transplant to Alabama so my knowledge of wildlife is limited, still I believe either wolves or coyotes does exist here. Although, my next-door neighbor claimed one of her daughter’s family have seen a black panther.

  15. kittenz responds:

    Coyotes definitely inhabit Alabama. Alabama is also within the historic range of the Red Wolf, including the black phase of that animal, although it is thought that none exist there now. To my knowledge no white or albino Red Wolf has ever been reported. Alabama also within historic times had a population of grey wolves, and they are sometimes white or whitish colored. But all of those canids tend to be about the size of a fox terrier up to about the size of an average German shepherd dog.

    One type of canid that is very common throughout the American South is the big ole farm dog. Farmers, townspeople, and backwoodsmen alike have historically kept big dogs for hunting, guarding, and working stock. In olden times especially, people usually left their dogs loose outdoors at night. Dogs being dogs, they will go off hunting by themselves at night.

    A big dog, standing on its hind feet, can be a lot taller than a man. I think that is what probably started these tales.

  16. Rillo777 responds:

    I have heard reports here in Indiana of Bigfoot clawing up trees. But this is the first I’ve heard of a white bigfoot. Maybe I’ve just missed that part of the lore somehow. Could it possibly have been an albino bear? Never heard of them before either (polar bears excluded, of course) but this story, given the time element of 100+ years might be very interesting for someone in the area to look into.

  17. mystery_man responds:

    Albino bears certainly do exist. There are also grizzly and polar bear hybrids, although one of those would have no business being in this area of the world. I think this story is a bit on the campfire story side, but if I had to guess what the sightings were of, I would say an albino bear. Sharp claws, tearing up tree bark, bears sometimes get up on their hind legs. Someone who was confronted with the sight of a large white bear on its hindlegs might think they were seeing a strange creature indeed.

  18. Dolouren responds:

    Can the “White Thing” be a Wendigo?

  19. Bigface responds:

    I used to live in Decatur Alabama and Birmingham which is close to Trussville. I never heard tales of The White Thing in B’ham, but in Decatur everyone knows of it. I always heard that it mostly inhabited the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge. It’s either described as North Alabama’s albino bigfoot, or a ghostly figure. I do know a few people who claim to have heard it, but no one really takes it seriously, probably just a crazy sounding bobcat on the refuge or something.

  20. jayman responds:

    An entertaining local folktale, but nothing to do with Bigfoot IMHO.

  21. Maohk Kiaayo responds:

    White Panther. When it looked like it was standing it was really clawing one of the trees that the party found. The scream sounds like a panthers scream to me.

  22. Mnynames responds:

    My problem with dismissing this as folklore is that the sightings have continued, one having taken place last November. To me, that means ongoing activity that could, and should, be investigated more thoroughly. I do agree though that if this thing looked in her window, she should be able to give a better description of it than white and shaggy.

  23. shaneloo responds:

    I live in Walnut Grove, AL and this thing has been sighted for years in a small community close to me called Moodys Chapel. This thing has been sighted as far as I know back to the early 40′s. I have heard several stories of sightings of this thing from many different respectable people. All have said about the same thing. Very tall, big body, white hair all over the body. Very fast running, and it has a horrible scream that sounds like a woman’s scream.

  24. tlalucky responds:

    It is interesting to note parallels between these phenomena in Alabama and the “Kelly-Hopkinsville” incident (Kentucky, 1955; see e.g. Wikipedia, Kelly-Hopkinsville encounter):

    – Strange creatures approach isolated houses in the rural U.S. at night;

    – They cause panic amongst humans; who reach for their weapons;

    – Dogs also panic and hide;

    – The creatures are described as “white” or “silvery”; “a ball” or “oversized head”;

    – The creatures approach windows;

    – Only one or two creatures seem to be involved: one in Alabama; at the most two are seen simultaneously in Kentucky;

    – The creatures do not actually harm humans;

    – The creatures emit unusual noises;

    – Humans search but are unable to locate the creatures, footprints, paw prints, vehicle tracks, signs of landing of aerial vehicles, droppings, garbage etc.

    – There are reports of scratching or talons;

    The major difference is that in Alabama large mammals are blamed, while the Kelly-Hopkinsonville incident is generally considered a close encounter with extraterrestials.

    One possibility is to think sideways, and seek alternative explanations. For Kelly-Hopkinsville large owls have been suggested, notably by a French commentator, Renaud Leclet, in a paper “What is the real nature of the Kelly-Hopkinsville entities?” (for link, see Wikipedia, Kelly-Hopkinsville encounter). He suggests the Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus), which grows to 25 inches in height, with a 60 inch wingspan, capable of making a variety of calls or shrieks.

    It is also interesting to return to the Alabama stories, thinking of large owls:

    “as swift as the wind” – they hunt live prey;

    “a loud, heavy panting” – could a child mistake the beating of the wings of a large bird for “panting”?;

    “claws strong enough to scrape bark off trees” – owls hungry enough to approach inhabited houses for food would be quite capable of tearing bark off trees to get at bugs or beetles;

    “when he stood on his hind legs” – owls stand upright on two legs; Renaud Leclet reports cases of large walking owls which were mistaken for humans.

  25. CryptoHunter133 responds:

    Hmm…interesting article.

    But it simply seems to be merely a fable, told and confused over long ago.

    White and large, eh? Possibly a large cat, although the albino bear theory is quite more tasteful. Claws strong enough to scrape bark off trees-I’m sorry, but that doesn’t sound like Bigfoot.

    Yes, that “Albino Bear”theory is indeed a possible answer.

  26. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    tlalucky,

    The Kelly-Hopkinsville creatures also reportedly had large elephant like ears and wore tight fitting silver jumpsuits, so very different in appearance. I will concede though that both of the stories share elements of many, many other “night visitor” stories.

    Back to the cryptozoological angle. In my opinion although the story, at best, is likely local folklore grown up around some actual encounters with an unidentified animal (felid, hominid, or other), this doesn’t mean that encounters with white descendants of the original “white thing” haven’t helped keep the story alive. In fact it would make sense that, in an isolated population, albinism would occasionally crop up as even distantly related individuals carrying the gene eventually produced offspring. As albinos, these animals would naturally “stand out” more than their darker colored kin, and therefore would be more likely to be seen.

    In fact, depending on the isolation of the area and any man made or natural barriers to movement, it could even be a population of some known animals that, in its isolation, occasionally produces some albinistic individuals for the same reasons mentioned above that then inspire these stories.

    Interesting though, no matter how you slice it.

  27. slinger responds:

    I just read this discussion, and I would love to add to it.

    I’m from Springville Alabama, a town about 18 miles east of Trussville, and I grew up with stories about “The Shiny Gorilla” as it was known where I live. I even had the luck of seeing it once! But that is another story. :( Back before the mass exodus from Birmingham, like 20 years ago. The woods around Springville covered and went into 3 counties with most it uninhabited. There are lots of stories and lots of people who routinely see a white ape looking creature even today! I remember a report in a local news paper about a old lady in Ashville who saw a white ape tearing into her garbage! I grew up hunting, camping and exploring most the woods around that area. Just so everyone does know there are mountain lions, coyote, and even a few small black bears. I believe the hunt clubs brought in the mountain lions and coyote in the 60′s to hunt. But anyway if anyone else has anymore stories about spotting a white ape in alabama I would love to hear about it.



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