The Wahhoo

Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 11th, 2011

Reno Evening Gazette
Reno, Nevada

September 17, 1879

A Wahhoo Seen Near Wadsworth – A Party in Pursuit.

ED. GAZETTE – Report was brought to town yesterday that a wahhoo had been
seen in the mountains west of town. The night before, the people of Jones’
ranch had been aroused by the wahhoo’s long-drawn howl, which was likened to
a shrill fog-whistle. They saw the mountains illuminated as with an
electric light.

This they found was owing to the glare of the creature’s eyeballs. It sat
upon a neighboring cliff, and so brilliant was the light emitted that none
could gaze upon the creature, even for an instant.

This report, backed by authority, so excited our nimrods that a hunt was
organized immediately. Jake Lewis, J. W. Holbrook, Wm. Pierson and others
started this morning, and brilliant work is looked for before the close of

Anticipating that a lengthened hunt might prove necessary, the party laid in
provisions, of which the following is a summary: Whiskey, 200 rounds
ammunition, demijohn, 1 piece bacon, limes, 1 bottle whiskey, 1 box cigars,
50 rounds additional whiskey, more whiskey.

The result of the chase is awaited with breathless anxiety. A special
reporter accompanied the party, and full particulars will be given on their
return. Subscriber, Wadsworth, Sept. 17, 1879.


This is one of a series of stories this Reno newspaper ran in both its daily and weekly editions in late summer and early fall of the year. The wahhoo was alleged to combine features of a dog, a pig, and a cat and theorized to be a mysterious hybrid. As the letter above should tell you, its existence outside the imaginations of editors and readers is unlikely. The wahhoo is to all appearances a fabulous beast on the order of the jackalope or the sidehill dodger (with which the wahhoo has some characteristics in common). I have read a cryptozoologist or two who seem, albeit not entirely credulous, not wholly in on the joke either. In those days, if apparently no longer, Nevada had a county named
Wahhoo. I suspect all of this is an inside local joke whose true, underlying humor is lost to those who weren’t living in the Reno area in 1879. — Jerry Clark


Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

8 Responses to “The Wahhoo”

  1. flame821 responds:

    LOL considering the use of the term ‘nimrods’ and the copious amount of whiskey taken on the tracking expedition, I’d have to agree with you on this being a local in-joke. and only one piece of bacon? Whiskey fueled death match to see who gets the bacon? Although I would be grateful if anyone could tell me what a demijohn is? I’ve never heard that term before.

  2. dabode responds:

    Everything you need for a successfull expedition…even remembered the bacon!!!

  3. dabode responds:

    A demijohn is a container for fluids used in brewing…thanks wiki!

  4. Woodford responds:

    @ flame821 A demijohn is a type of jug.

  5. fuzzy responds:

    Demijohn? Haven’t you heard of Google? See here.

  6. flame821 responds:

    Ah, thank you Dabode and Woodford. I should have wiki’d it but just didn’t think to. Around here we call them carboys….no idea how they got that name.

  7. dogu4 responds:

    You’d think a demi-john would be a sort of small probably portable potty.

  8. ithilien responds:

    “nimrod” was a reference to the men as “hunters/woodsmen” please do a search as to the true meaning of the word.
    plus, how is this tale so utterly unbelievable? many instances reported of this creature seen with glowing (NOT reflecting) eyes, and strange lights on the ground and in the sky.

    assuming this story is bogus on what grounds? the fact that the county was named Wahoo is actually more grounds that these
    beings had been seen there before, and for quite awhile, to establish that as a place name. I’m going to check my Franzoni book and see if its listed.

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