Friday 25 September 2009

The strange Tale of the Turkey Hollow Varmint.

A 7-foot-long predatory cryptid from the Brushy Mountains

killed a hunting dog and pursued local residents in Turkey Hollow,

Wilkes County, North Carolina in November 1944, according to the North

Carolina journalist John Harden . He chronicled the story in his book

“The Devil's Tramping Ground and Other North Carolina Mystery Stories”

(Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1949, 1980). ( chapter on "The Strange Killer of Turkey Hollow" pp. 147-154).

The story is as follows:

One cold November day in 1944, Slim Davis and his friend Code Frazier

set out deer hunting near Moravian Falls and Pores Knob, with Code's

50-pound black hound Jule. As they followed a narrow wagon road up

Turkey Hollow, Code showed Slim some scars on Jule's leg and ears, made

some time earlier by an unknown assailant. She had a long ragged scar on

her leg from shoulder to knee, and her ears had been slit in a dozen

places, either by a fang or a claw. "I don't know what done that," Code

told Slim, "but whatever it was, it's the only thing that ever

whipped Jule." A dog hadn't given Jule these wounds, he added. "Whatever

done that whipped every dog in the country--and Jule twice." Code said

that he had been working in an apple orchard near that very spot in

Turkey Hollow when Jule first jumped it. He had found poor Jule limping

home an hour later, bloody, severely hurt, from her encounter with the

"varmint."As Slim and Code were talking that morning, Jule suddenly ran off--and

then a thin whine sounded down on the slope below them, followed by a

long drawn out baying, as they approached a cliff called the Devil's

Smokehouse. Then they heard Jule yelping in a frenzy of excitement. They

heard Jule running and yelping in pursuit of what they thought must be a

fox toward Snaggy Mountain and the Devil's Smokehouse. Code's grim voice

then snapped them back to reality. "That's no fox, either," he said.

"That's the varmint she's after again." A few minutes later, Slim and

Code stood just below the Devil's Smokehouse rocks, a 50-foot cliff

running a quarter of a mile east and west, across the rim of Turkey

Hollow. Then Jule's hunting sound reached its highest peak--and abruptly

ended.Slim and Code looked for Jule, but never found her. Code's dog was never

seen again that November day in 1944. Arthur Edsel, Raymond and Willard

Lane, Galen Hood, and Reid Anderson helped in the search for days. They

covered the whole area by foot, inch by inch, but never found a trace of


Did they ever find out what the "varmint" was?, Harden asked.

“No, but there was a story of how it chased the Lane boys out of Turkey

Hollow the next night after Jule disappeared. Then Reid Anderson said

that it jumped into the road in front of him as he was coming through

the adjoining Shandy Hollow two nights later. Reid said it looked like

it was seven feet long. He took a few shots at it with his .38 but

seemed to have missed. After that the varmint retired, as far as anyone

knows.” (p. 154)

There was no further description of what the creature looked like but Harden thought it might have been a "panther".

One interesting thing in the text is that it says "Whatever done that whipped every dog in the country--and Jule twice.". This implies that other dogs had been attacked and Jule wasn’t the only dog to be injured. There are no further details and Harden did not seem to have interviewed any other residents. Could it have been a Big Cat? Sounds most likely. North Carolina certainly seems to be the place for lots of strange cryptid sightings!

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