Susquehanna River Monster

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on November 25th, 2014

Cryptomundian Ironhorse_Gunner submits the following encounter tale in regards to this story from 2009 here on Cryptomundo: Susquehanna’s Mystery Thing

I know this is an old thread. But came across it looking for something else, and I can state, emphatically, that not only have a seen one, I have seen it both on land and in the water and up close, from 10 feet away.

My background. I am retired military, an Engineer and Businessman and I have no reason to tell this story other than to say “we” did see it, clearly and know what it is. That is not to say it is the same thing everyone else saw, but I know plenty of other people who knew about these things and have seen them plenty.

I grew up in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland. I have spent a lot of time in the Forests and Deserts all over the U.S., Asia and the Middle east, other than this one sighting I have never seen any animal outside of it’s normal habitat (And who know’s, in this case it may be it’s normal habitat). My father was an outdoorsman, hunter and fisherman and we spent a lot of time on the Susquehana at the Conowingo Baja. I mean a LOT of time, and many nights. To this day I could take someone to the very spot that we, and others saw this animal.

People in the area already knew about it. Nothing unusual to see one. As you are coming towards the Baja there used to be a Dairy Queen, you would take a left and the paved road would change to a dirt road, in the 1970’s there was a house right where it changed to dirt on the left. There was a 93 year old woman living there in 1973 or 74, and she told us plenty about them, my father and our family had never seen one. They even had a nickname. At one time three were spotted at the same time by the residents back in the 60’s, they called them “The Three Nuns” and that is what the old lady told me in ’73 or ’74.

So one morning in July of ’74 my father, as usual wakes me up at 1 in the morning and says we are going fishing (He used to pull me out of school in the middle of the day to go fishing and hunting), he goes to his friends house and his friend Harold and his younger brother went with us, we took Harold’s car. My father decided this fishing trip would be a good time to drink some Jack Daniels and Harold agreed. I sat in the front with Harold driving and my father was in back with Harold’s younger brother, he was drinking Jack and in case we got pulled over didnt want to be in the front seat. I of curse at 11 years old or so was not drinking, at the time Harold was not drinking and Harold’s younger brother was not much older than me and wasnt drinking.

We went on down the dirt road, crossed the railroad tracks and the road is narrow on the water side so we crept on up to our normal fishing spot. It was just before a train bridge and embedded on the bank on the left was a concrete block, on the right on our side of the bridge is a bend the train comes around and just before that was where we always camped. It was an open area at the base of a small mountain and the Railroad kept stacks of railroad ties there. When we were camping we would build a fire out of railroad ties and they would burn all night. We were not camping this night, we just went fishing and around 4 AM we were sitting next to our spot when a train started coming around the bend.

It was very dark and when the train light started shining around the bend, something on the tracks got up and I yelled to my father to look, something is getting up off the tracks. It was obviously black and pretty large, at first my father thought it was a bear then Harold hit the headlights and it was obviously no bear. My father was afraid of nothing in the woods, but when Harold saw it get up for some reason he panicked and wanted to leave, in fact he was yelling for us to “Get the F out of there”. Instead my father hands me the flashlight and tells me to follow him, pulls out his knife, he always carried a large knife into the woods, fishing or wherever we were going, and still, Harold was going off the wall, Harold younger brother like me, wanted to know what it was.

This thing was only ten feet away, the train had it lit up, the car headlights were on it and I was shining a flashlight on it. My father and I were standing there looking at it and he yells to Harold “It’s a Walrus, what the hell is a walrus doing at Conowingo?”. I said I dont think thats a Walrus, doesnt look like a Walrus and isnt big enough”. Plus it didnt have tusks. (I dont know if all Walruses do or not but this definitely was no a Walrus). Harold is still in the car yelling, started backing up, his younger brother wanted to get out but Harold wouldnt let him.

My father started walking towards it and Harold was screaming that he was a crazy MF’r and he was going to leave us there. We were no more than 3 or 4 feet away and it was struggling across the road. We couldnt figure out what it was but it looked like a really big Seal. The difference was that instead of having a face like a Seal, that face like a Dog look, it had a flat nose. Later that day my father was telling my mother that it looked like it had got tore up on rocks or some big fish were hitting on it and maybe thats why it was out of the water. It had flippers, the shape but slightly larger than a Seal and a flat nose.

This thing went to the edge and dropped right off, slid down and plopped into the water and was gone. The whole time Harold was yelling and hollering and blowing the horn and as soon as we got in the car Harold threw it in gear, backed up full speed, with my father yelling for him to stop before he drove us into the river, he backed up to the crossing then hit it full speed up that dirt road. We made it to some closed gas station, but barely. When we pulled in smoke and steam was pouring out of the hood. My father waved someone down who went and got a cop. The cop got us a tow truck and filed a report, my father told us everything he saw. If those Police Reports are around today in some archive, it would be there.

The cop left, the tow truck took the car and terrified Harold and the rest of us started walking and walked to the old ladies house. By this time the sun was coming up and when we got to the ladies house she was standing out on the porch smoking a cigarette. 93 years old if not older and lived alone. We went into the house and I sat on the couch next to the door, Harold was still shaking in his boots and my dad told her what we had seen and she told Harold he could calm down it was just one of the Three Nuns, they are out there all the time. But that was the first and last time we had seen one.

I am of the opinion it was a member of the Sirenia family. I say this for several reasons. First and foremost at least from the 1970’s it seemed like everyone who lived there knew these animals were there, it was no secret and some of these people were old and had lived there all their lives, by old I mean some of these people were in their 80’s and 90’s and knew from when they were young they were there.

Secondly, in the 70’s when I was growing up, more than once Manatees, along with Whales and Sharks and everything else came into the Baltimore Harbor. Although if one were spotted it was usually a big deal to the residents of Canton, it was not considered unusual.

Third, in 2009, Illya the Manatee was tracked from Miami, entering the Chesapeake Bay then entered the Susquehana.

In my opinion, if someone finds one, gets a picture of one or whatever, they will find that it is nothing special in the Susquehana and it most likely will not be some unknown mammal, or new find, but more than likely a wayward member of the Sirenia family.

I have no idea why this particular one was on land and laying across the railroad tracks. I am not an expert on Mammals, or Ocean creatures or anything else. There isnt much I have not seen in Forrests and Deserts around the world, but never anything that wasnt supposed to be there. But I can say this unequivocally, I saw it, on land, from 3 or 4 feet away, lit up with bright lights and there is no two ways about it, they are or were there.

See also: Susquehanna’s Mystery Thing

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, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.


4 Responses to “Susquehanna River Monster”

  1. cryptokellie responds:

    This event was well documented in 2009 and can be seen on the website. Nothing new or even unusual here.

  2. Craig Woolheater responds:

    Where on the website is this event documented?

  3. cryptokellie responds:

    Go to the site and type manatee in the search engine. Several article titles will appear. Choose the one about the manatee…

  4. PhotoExpert responds:

    Hmmm, interesting!

    I know this area extremely well. The story seems very credible. I know exactly where they were fishing at that time in 1974. And it is a good fishing spot. Everything in the story seems accurate, although the trains do not run by this spot any longer. They probably did in 1974 as the author stated they did.

    The only problem I have with the story is the author’s conclusion. I do not think it was a manatee or a member of the sea cow family that they encountered. Because I do know the layout of the land there, to get from the Susquehanna River to those train tracks, there is a sharp incline to the railroad tracks. I would say in some places as steep as 50-60 degrees or more in spots. I doubt if a manatee could make that climb with it’s bulky weight. Sure, maybe it came up from the river using a different route and then made it’s way down the train tracks. Yes, the 2009 is true and made local news in the area at that time. However, that manatee was spotted in the water, not on land. Because of the terrain and that steep incline, I would have to rule out manatee.

    However, it may have been a seal. Although rare in sightings, the lower Chesapeake Bay has been know to have a seal or two show up on very rare occasions. I have personally seen a seal one time in the lower Chesapeake Bay. The Susquehanna empties into the Chesapeake. Could a seal have made it’s way that far up the Susquehanna? Yes, that is a possibility. Could a seal have made that climb up the steep slope to the train tracks? Yes, that is a possibility.

    Since the author stated that the creature was illuminated, I would like to know what the tail of the animal looked like. That would tell us if it were a seal or manatee.

    I believe the account described by the author and believe what was seen that night in 1974 was a seal, given the evidence and knowing intimately, the layout of the land at that specific location.

    I can tell you I will be looking around the next time I go fishing there.




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