Mythical Monday: Pennsylvania’s Tearful Squonk by Mae Clair

It’s always fascinating when I stumble upon a new creature in my ongoing searches for all things odd, mythical, or cryptozoological. Even more rewarding when I discover a beastie from my native state of Pennsylvania.  Today, I’d like to introduce the Squonk.

Doesn’t the name sound like something out of Dr. Seuss or Jabberwocky? I love saying it. Give it a try… “Squonk.” It makes me want to cuddle the poor thing.

As it turns out, the squonk could probably use a good cuddle— assuming you could get past its ghastly appearance.  A mid-sized animal that goes about on four legs, the squonk will never win a beauty contest. Its skin, which sags and flops on its frame, is covered in a mish-mash of warts, boils, and moles.

Illustration of the mythical Squonk, a creature rumored to haunt the hemlock forests of northern Pennsylvania

Illustration from “Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods” illustrated by Coert Du Bois and by William T. Cox, 1910 PUBLIC DOMAIN . By Coert Du Bois and by William T. Cox;Tripodero at en.wikipedia [Public domain or Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Said to favor the dense Hemlock forests of Northern Pennsylvania, this pitiful creature spends most of its time hiding and weeping, ashamed of its grotesque appearance. Bashful and retiring, it usually ventures out at dusk when it is less likely to be seen. On nights illuminated by a full moon it prefers to stay completely hidden, fearing it might otherwise catch a glimpse of its reflection in a pond.

Numerous hunters have attempted to capture a squonk, tracking the animal by the trail of its tears. All have failed. If cornered, or even frightened, the squonk will quickly dissolve into a puddle of tears.

How terribly sad is that?

Legend tells of a particularly clever hunter who was able to lure one of the creatures into a sack. He quickly tied the bag and hefted the beast over his shoulder for the stroll home. Halfway there he realized his burden had grown incredibly light. When he looked inside the sack he discovered nothing but liquid—all that remained of the woefully despondent squonk.

Although it’s not entirely clear from the research I’ve done, I tend to think the squonk reverts back to its physical form when the threat has passed—and most assuredly begins weeping again.

Given its pitiful existence, I hereby nominate this Mythical Monday as “Hug a Squonk Day.” Assuming, of course, you can catch one long enough to brighten the poor thing’s dismal existence!

35 thoughts on “Mythical Monday: Pennsylvania’s Tearful Squonk by Mae Clair

  1. If I could find a squonk right now, I’d hug it. I’d like to think we’d be good friends. i am so drawn to the idea of a being that morphs into nothingness or at least tears when in danger and then morphs back to physical form afterward. That’s taking animal behavior up a level. How fascinating. The squonk seems sweet, shy, and whimsical. I’d like to invite him into a story with me sometime. Have you found anything else close to a squonk or is he one of a kind?

    • He seems to be one of a kind, Flossie, which seems somewhat fitting. It seems that lumberjacks were most familiar with him, because of his chosen habitat. He would be a wonderful addition to a story. Perhaps that would even cheer him up, knowing that others wanted to read about him. The poor guy definitely needs a hug! 🙂

  2. The squonk reminds me of the Beauty and the beast. A warm soul under an ugly shell. I wonder if it ever existed. Can’t be just the result of people’s imagination even if it hadn’t all the characteristics mentioned in legends. Flossie is right – a good creature to be used in a story. Thanks for the fabulous info!

    • Good comparison to Beast in Beauty and the Beast, Carmen. I like to think with warmth and nurturing the squonk might not be so miserable all of the time. According to legend, when they ventured into the woods, lumberjacks would hear the weeping of squonks and find the trails of their tears. The sound must have been horribly eerie echoing through the trees.

      Glad you enjoyed the post!

    • LOL! My Mothman series of books started from a Mythical Monday post I did. Maybe I’ll take on the squonk next. Thanks to the suggestion, I’ve already got ideas spinning around! 😀

  3. Poor little squonk. I could probably think up an erotic happy ending for him, but I’m too busy writing Highlanders… It couldn’t be any worse than the dino-porn stuff, right?

    • Dino-porn stuff? Sounds like I’ve been out of touch, LOL. I think your readers would much rather have you concentrate on your highland lads rather than a squonk. You can always send him a virtual hug 😀

    • I completely agree, Daisy. I hate to think of it moping about the woods, weeping all hours of the day. As sad as squints are, it’s amazing they ever found the desire to mate and continue the species!

    • LOL. He definitely seems like he would be an “acquired sight.” Lovely to have you drop by, Sheri. And every time I see your new avatar photo, it makes me smile. Just love it!!

      • Aww, May is my mom’s birthday. May Day. I always considered it the first day of spring. And Miss Priss might have turned 18 but she looks like she’s got a lot of “spring” left in her step. I love the description of “cuddle bug.” So perfect for your pic! 🙂

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