The Crosswick Monster

I know, I know … talking about Cryptids usually causes people to roll their eyes and start thinking about more pleasant topics, like the best ways to watch paint dry. We’ve all had to sit through one too many stories about someone seeing “Bigfoot” but by the time they grabbed their cellphone to take a video or picture, the creature was gone. Or, maybe (depending on your geography) it was tales of the Chupacabra, The Jerzey Devil, The Loch Ness Monster, The Yeti, the Yowie, or the most mysterious of all cryptids, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, otherwise known by her stage name Lady Gaga. 

I can’t blame you for thinking that after a while, all these stories sound the same: Someone is off doing something when they either hear a strange noise or see something strange off in the distance. They pull out their camera, only to catch a low-resolution image of something that could be an odd shaped log floating in a certain Scottish loch (lake) or it could be Lady Gaga rehearsing for her new underwater music video for a song called “Eau, Ewww, Ewe”. We’ll never know which one it was.

Anyway, every once in awhile a story comes along that is different than the rest … and one of those stories is about a … thing … we now refer to as The Crosswick Monster.

Welcome to Crosswick

Today, Crosswick is considered an unincorporated community located in Wayne Township, Warren County, Ohio – or a small group of homes that exist just outside the village of Waynesville. To those few who actually live there, I am sure it’s a lovely place. For the rest of us, there’s probably not that much to do, other than pull up the area on Google Maps for a quick game of “Is that a road or a driveway?” 

But, if you were in Crosswick and you wanted something to do, Waynesville is just a minute or two down the road, so I guess there’s theat.

One day, toward the end of May in 1882, two young brothers, Joe and Ed Lynch, were in Crosswick doing whatever it was that 11 and 13 year-old boys were doing in Crosswick at the time (which appears to be fishing in the Satterthwaites Run, a small creek that runs through the area). They heard an odd noise behind them and went to investigate only to discover…

The Crosswick Monster

… a rather large, snake-like lizard thing. Even though the boys tried to run away as quickly as they could, the thing was able to grab Ed in its mouth and knock him to the ground. Joe began to scream as he watched his brother being dragged along the creek toward a hollowed out tree.

 Joe’s screams got the attention of several men who were nearby, the reverend Jacob Horn, George Peterson, and Allen Jordan. All three men saw the monster once they arrived within seconds of each other. The thing finally let go of the boy and scampered even deeper into the Sycamore tree and out of reach. One of the men scooped Ed into his arms and carried him to safety as the others ran as quickly as they could to Waynesville to fetch Dr. L.C. Lukens.

As the good doctor was attending to the boy, the three men gathered as many men as they could, armed with axes and pitchforks and a few trained hunting dogs, and they headed toward the hollowed out tree. They began hitting the trees with their axes, they thought that the monster would scamper out the same hole it had retreated into. The monster, however, had other plans. It leapt to the ground from somewhere much higher on the tree, startling the men. It stood on its two hind legs, balancing itself with its tail and hissed. Several of the men backed away in terror, but when the monster began running down the creek, a few of the braver men followed.

Even though they followed the thing for over a mile, the monster eventually eluded its pursuers after entering a small hole or cave in the side of a hill. The men tried to find any other places it might try to escape, but if there were any, they were unable to find it. In fact, that was the last they saw of it.

Several witnesses claimed the monster was at least 12 feet long and covered with reptalian scales. It’s foot long head featured a greenish forked tongue. 

And thus the legend of The Crosswick Monster began. After this, men would tell lates of hearing the creature somewhere behind them as they walked in the nearby area, or parents would tell their kids to behave or else the monster would get them, or around the campfire they’d tell even wilder stories.

The Crosswick Legend

Part of what makes this cryptid story so different from the rest is that it doesn’t start with a single witness, but anywhere from thirty to sixty people who saw it and gave similar descriptions. Even people who didn’t see the creature itself were able to give indirect testimony, such as the doctor who was able to describe the wounds young Eddie got from the thing. This fact alone seems to set it apart from other cryptids who only seem to be spotted when someone is alone (and with a rather low-resolution camera).

All we know for certain is that there was some sort of animal or creature, perhaps something that wasn’t at all familiar to all of those who saw it. This was the 1880s, after all, so doing a Google Image Search would not be a thing for over another decade. Searching through picture books was, technically, possible, but that would require someone to travel to the nearest city and spend what would likely be countless hours searching book after book and therefore isn’t something anyone was likely to do. The question that remains – what, exactly, was it?

There has been much speculation as to what this creature could have been. Some say it sounds like a perentie or a komodo dragon, however neither reptile grew to quite that size (and weren’t known for being seen in that area). Other possibilities include the crocodile monitor and the asian water monitor, but those theories have the same problems. 

Still, we can’t rule out any of those possibilities. First off, even though a perentie does not grow to be larger than eight feet long, there’s nothing to say that a genetic abnormality didn’t occur causing this one (if that is what it was) to be longer than usual. Secondly, it’s also entirely possible that even though everyone said it was at least twelve feet tall when standing on its hind legs, it’s always possible the creature was a bit smaller – the discrepancy coming from either slight exaggeration or from guesswork. It isn’t like anyone pulled out a tape measure and took an accurate reading.

These lizards being native to other parts of the world can’t, necessarily, rule anything out, either. While rare, keeping exotic animals as pets or putting them on display in zoos, museums, or the occasional cabinets of curiosities is still within the realm of possibility. 

The true identity of The Crosswick Monster will likely always remain a mystery and your guess is as good as mine. Personally, I think it was Old Man Jenkins wearing a lizard suit, and he only got away with it because there were no meddling kids.

Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top