Sunday, July 12, 2009

Monster Hunters!

The Facebook group for fans of Monster Hunter International is loosely themed around regional groups of Monster Hunters, some with their own unique patches. Here's what I'm thinking . . . . what are the monsters you'd be hunting if you were a regional Monster Hunter? So, sure, I'd probably have to kill vampires and werewolves, but being in southern central Illinois, I'd probably encounter things you wouldn't see in Texas or Utah or Transylvania:

  • Piasa Birds. These American dragon/gryffins were said by the Illini tribes to be giant birds with four legs, huge talons, scales like a serpent, huge fangs, red eyes, and antlers like a whitetail deer. "Piasa" means "bird that devours men." That's the kind of name that avoids comical Scooby-Doo style misunderstandings: "There's a Bird-That-Devours-Men behind you!" We know what the Illini thought they looked like because the tribe thoughtfully painted a life-size Piasa bird on the cliffs overlooking the Mississippi just north of St. Louis, near Alton. Today they're just an old myth preserved as a few big signs and a local high school sports mascot . . . but my grandmother claims to have seen one to this day.
  • Mud Monsters. The Murphysboro Mud Monster was first reported in 1973; it was a strange, Sasquatch-like monster thought to roam the forests and swamps of southern Illinois. It was supposed to be about seven feet tall with white fur all over its body, and left tracks about a foot long and three inches wide. It was known for its blood-curdling screams, which could send anyone running fear in the woods at night. The only actual attack attributed to the Mud Monster was later blamed on dogs, so my guess is that these creatures are actually fairly peaceful. I'm picturing small Mud Monster camps throughout the Shawnee Forest and in the swamps along the Mississippi. I bet the reason they seemed to appear suddenly and then disappear again after two weeks in 1973 is simple: that was one Mud Monster, a rebellious young hippy one who insisted on seeing the world and making friends with humans. After two weeks of trying, he moved on to Los Angeles, got a bit part on one episode of Star Trek, and became a producer. Nobody has ever really questioned him since.
  • Zombie Mary Todd Lincoln. 'Nuff said.


Anonymous said...

I have see that Piasa bird painting on the cliffs outside Alton dozens of times, but never thought to see what the fuss was about. Thanks for the link!

Anonymous said...

Hit her in the head with a bronze watermelon,no more zombie Mary Todd.
Rey B.

Anonymous said...

MoMo the Missouri monster was along about the same time as the Murphysboro Mud Monster - other than being brown instead of white, you'd think they were maybe one and the same.

Don said...

I'm not familiar with MoMo . . . I'd bet they were very similar, if only in the amount of alcohol and darkness involved in seeing one, and the resemblance of their eerie cries to, say, raccoons fighting in a treetop or a bobcat trying to sound ten times its size (the first time you hear two raccoons going at it in a treetop, it's best to have someone along who can tell you what the sound means so you don't pull a Scooby Doo, because it IS that frightening and if it's close it sounds like it's coming from all directions at once.

Anonymous said...

Chupacabra down here in Texas. Mostly south, but working its way up toward Houston from what I heard years ago. Might also get the occasional zombie 'round these parts. We are but a stone's throw from Louisiana, and who knows what kind of voodoo that they do.