The Ozark Howler may be one of the lesser known cryptids in the world, but a lot of residents (especially hunters) of certain parts of Oklahoma, Missouri, and Arkansas are not unaware of this legendary creature. Named after the Ozark Mountains – a place that many claim it resides in – the creature is said to resemble a big cat but is reported to be as large as a bear; other sources describe it as a dog.
What’s certain, though, is that it more than lives up to its name, as it is said to produce an inimitable howl that many have claimed to sound like an otherworldly mixture of a wolf’s howl and the unique mating call of an elk. Night hunters might have a better chance of seeing it as it has been reported to be a nocturnal creature.
If artists’ depictions of the Ozark Howler pinpoint the exact appearance of this infamous creature, then it wouldn’t be farfetched to say that it’s something that H.P. Lovecraft himself wouldn’t hesitate to call his brainchild. While the renderings vary (eyewitness accounts of the creature differ, after all), they do have connections. For one, it’s not difficult to arrive at the conclusion that the creature’s size is massive, as magnified by its stocky and furry body that is carried by its thick, powerful legs.
A striking difference that some illustrations have is that they depict the creature as having two horns on its head that curve backwards. Certain drawings also opted to give it yellow, luminescent eyes, while a few give the creature long, sharp claws as well.
A photograph captured by a family living in Crawford County featured a big, cougar-like cat; this is despite the contradicting fact that wildlife officials have confirmed that there are no longer any active cougar populations in Arkansas. After the Crawford County sighting, it didn’t take long for the reports of big black cats roaming the mountains of the eastern parts of Oklahoma to spring up. A report claimed that the creature appeared in Arkansas River Valley, as evidenced by strange howls and a sighting of a large cat in the area. In 2011, the Ozark Howler was spotted in Newton County, Arkansas. A more recent sighting in 2016 claimed that the creature appeared at night in Lake Springdale, particularly at Pump Station Road, which is also located in Benton County, Arkansas.
Many scholars have been fascinated with the creature, and they have formulated equally interesting notions as to what the creature is. One notable theory connects it to English and Irish folklore, particularly Cu Sith, a huge mythical black dog whose presence is said to foretell the coming of death. This is all the more supported by earlier reports and beliefs of the Ozark Howler being able to bring death to anyone it stares at.
Historians in the area have even offered the notion that the Ozark Howler is actually a combination of the said Black Dog of Death and the Native American smilodon (the infamous sabre-tooth cats) that once lived there. On the other hand, crytozoologists lean more towards evolution in trying to pinpoint just what the creature is exactly. The theory that the creature is a different breed of mountain lion is plausible; others suggest that it could be a hybrid breed as well.