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The Ozark Howler
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2006 3:29 pm    Post subject: The Ozark Howler Reply with quote

The Ozark Howler, also known as the ozark black howler, is a legendary creature that is purported to live in remote areas in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas.

The ozark howler is traditionally described as dark and shaggy, with a thick body and stocky legs. If the ozark howler has a tail, it is very short, like that of a lynx. However, the ozark howler is much larger than any lynx or bobcat, with a size more like that of a bear than of any North American cat species, even a cougar. This difference in size has not stopped speculation within the cryptozoological community that the ozark howler is simply a variant of an unrecognized population of the Eastern Cougar.

The record of ozark howler sightings contains many physical characteristics that do not match any known category of carnivore: bear, cat, dog, or weasel. For one, the ozark howler is described as having prominent horns. The call of the ozark howler is also unique, often described as a combination of a wolf's howl and an elk's bugle.

An anthropological approach to understanding the tradition of ozark howler sightings in the western Ozarks region pays less attention to a biological categorization of the creature than to its cultural history. Many sources place the ozark howler within the British tradition of dark dogs of death, known in literature through such fictionalizations as The Hound of the Baskervilles. Folk traditions that the ozark howler can be an omen of death, or that the ozark howler's call can itself be a cause of death, support claims that the ozark howler legends are extension of British fairy creatures across the Atlantic.

So, whether the stories of the ozark howler have any basis in reality, it seems clear that the ozark howler legend has a great deal of cultural resonance for locals who have grown up hearing stories about the creature around the campfire.

Chad Arment claims in his book Cryptozoology that the Ozark Howler myth is a hoax. According to Arment, he and many other cryptozoologists received email messages that made wild claims about Ozark Howler evidence. These messages were tracked down to a university student who had made a bet that he could fool the cryptozoological research community.

However, others point out that early stories of an Ozark Howler predate those email messages, and have continued long since. The story of the bet may be apocryphal, as no one can identify who the supposed "bet" was made with. Many have speculated that if there was a hoax, it was superimposed upon a genuine folk tradition which may, in fact, refer to an actual creature.
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