Mitchell River Monster?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 2nd, 2006

Editor Lee Murdock of Fly Fishing Magazine brings to our attention North Carolina’s Mitchell River Monster. Noting a North Carolina author who is writing about unusual sightings in the Carolinas, Murdock writes…

Mitchell River Monster

What caught my eye about this one was the mention of one of our area’s delayed harvest rivers coupled with the word monster:

"One of the most compelling and frightening of the stories is that of the Mitchell River monster, a strange, unnaturally tall, violent creature that appears beside a calm stream – or, sometimes, next to Poplar Springs Road."

The Mitchell River is located in Surry County near Elkin, North Carolina. I did a quick search but was unable to find any other information on the subject. Leave me a comment if you know the story behind the Mitchell River Monster. We might need to get noted Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman on the case. Of course, it might simply have been one of the staffers who was having a bad day and forgot to shave.

Ha. Of course, I’m not one to shy away from a cryptozoological challenge. And perhaps there’s a Cryptomundo reader out there who knows more? First, let me reveal my thought processes as I ponder this tidbit crossing my desk, via this blog.

Okay, picking up my handy copy of The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep, I flip to the pages listing every one of the 1000 lakes, lochs, loughs, ponds, creeks, streams, and rivers in the world that have been reported to have a cryptid in it.

Under "North Carolina," there’s no listing for Mitchell River. The three listings are diverse. There’s Tlanúsi, a Giant Leech or Serpent seen in Hiwassee Creek, near Murphy, North Carolina. At French Broad River, lore of the Dakwa abound. Indeed, both of these freshwater monsters are known more from Cherokee tales via recent reports. The one modern account I find was noted first by cryptozoologist Mark A. Hall, where in 1981, some fishermen saw a dragon-like animal the size of a car, in Lake James, North Carolina.

None of these three seem to overlap with this Mitchell River Monster. Actually, let’s pull back from the visual word imagery found in the "river" + "monster" association. Wait a second. The account says the thing is an "unnaturally tall, violent creature" that "appears beside a calm stream – or, sometimes, next to Poplar Springs Road."

That sounds like this Mitchell River Monster might not be a cryptid that would necessarily be "in" the water, as much as perhaps a cryptid that might be standing "near" the water.

I think we have to throw out the two well-known Mystery Cat candidates of North Carolina, as well: the Santer and the Beast of Bladenboro. The Santer, a giant gray cat with stripes, has been seen, since the 1890s, in Iredell and Wilkes counties, near Roaring River, Elkin, and Piney Grove, North Carolina. Okay, at least that’s in the same area, near Elkin. The Beast of Bladenboro is a black Mystery Cat that killed dogs and other pets beginning in December 1953, around Bladenboro, North Carolina.

But these are clearly felines. They don’t seem to match the micro-description of the Mitchell River Monster.

That leaves the obvious. If the Mitchell River Monster is tall, and is seen next to a stream and a road, even by a future fly fisherman, then maybe this is all about a hairy hominoid, a Carolina Bigfoot ?


Perhaps there is no more famous Sasquatch clone in North Carolina than "Knobby." In 1979, people around Carpenter’s Knob, near Toluca, Cleveland County, North Carolina, reported seeing the creature. Where it was seen is reflective of the same types of locations as the Mitchell River Monster. Knobby "roams the back roads and branch banks" of the area, we were told.

Knobby got the attention of several carloads of searchers who combed the area in 1979 looking for what eyewitnesses claimed was a 200 pound, six-foot-tall, dark, hairy animal with a small head and flat face.

Could there be any relationship between the Mitchell River Monster and Knobby? What really is the Mitchell River Monster?


Lee Murdock has added an update to his item, here.

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.

4 Responses to “Mitchell River Monster?”

  1. youcantryreachingme responds:

    How far apart are the locations, and what terrain is between them?

  2. youcantryreachingme responds:

    Now if you had been talking about Mitchell River in Australia

    “one of the rainforest gullies contains the Den of Nargun, the home of a mythical Aboriginal monster said to have consumed young people who strayed too near the entrance of its cave. The Den is in fact a cavern of huge stalagmite and stalactite formations often fronted by a curtain of mist which overhangs the entrance due to the water which falls from the ledge above. It is situated in the bed of Dead Cock Creek, within a pink sandstone gorge”

    I kid you not.

  3. cor2879 responds:

    Interesting article, Loren

    A lot of people probably don’t realize it but Bigfoot sightings are fairly common here in North Carolina (as much as they are anywhere in the eastern US)

    Also if you look back on traditions and legends of NC there are some interesting tidbits. I don’t remember the specifics but I know that I have read before about colonial or pre-colonial legends about hairy wild men in the NC mountains.

  4. ninagirl responds:

    My husband and I live in North Carolina and came across a book that talks about the Mitchell River Monster, and thought you might be interested in it. The book is called “RoadSide Revenants” by Michael Renegar, (pg 121-126). I always thought Monster Quest would look into it. But whoever goes looking for it be careful. It is reported to have very long claws, a wolf -like face and red glowing eyes!

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