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The Crawfordsville Monster
Grouping Cryptid
Sub grouping Atmospheric beast
First reported 1891
Country America
Region Crawfordsville, Indiana
Habitat Air

The Crawfordsville monster is the name given to an unidentified flying creature that was allegedly sighted in the skies of the small town of Crawfordsville, Indiana.[1] in 1891.

Some contemporary cryptid resources list the Crawfordsville monster as being a serpent or dragon, others label it an atmospheric beast.



The story of the Crawfordsville monster was first published in the Indianapolis Journal in September 1891, and was later picked up by the September 10 Issues of the Brooklyn Eagle. It has since become part of local folklore[2] and has been investigated by prominent anomalous phenomena investigator Charles Hoy Fort.

Much of what is currently recorded about the creature comes from interviews conducted by Vincent P. Gaddis, a journalist working in Crawfordsville, and member of the Fortean Society.[3] Gaddis contends that the monster was a living creature, and not a mechanical UFO.[4] (Page 61-2)

All the reports refer to this object as a living thing -- in other words, one of the hypothetical atmospheric life forms that would figure in early theories about unidentified flying objects.
Vincent Gaddis


There have only been two reported sightings of the Crawfordsville monster, both during the 19th century. The first alleged sighting reportedly occurred at 2AM on 4 September 1891 when the creature was seen circling a local house before flying away to the east, returning some time later and then flying out of sight. It was witnessed by Methodist pastor Reverend G.W. Switzer, his wife, and two men working to hitch a wagon. It was this sighting that was initially reported by the press.

The second alleged sighting occurred on September 6, 1891, when the atmospheric creature reportedly flew over the town and was witnessed by over 100 people.[3]


Descriptions of the creature vary, with some accounts suggesting that it had no head, and others describing it as having glowing red eyes and hot breath. Accounts generally agree that it is a large rectangular creature, possibly eel like in appearance, with several undulating fins down the sides of its body. It was estimated to be twenty feet long and eight feet wide.[1] Witnesses at the second appearance described the creature as writhing and squirming, and as producing a wheezing sound, as if it were in pain.[3]

Charles Fort

The case of the Crawfordsville monster was investigated by Charles Fort, who first encountered the story in the September 10, 1891 issue of the Brooklyn Eagle. At first Fort believed witness Switzer to be fictitious, but ultimately Fort came to find him and correspond with him.[5] Fort included references to the creature in his 1931 book Lo!.

Popular culture

The monster has been adapted as a fantasy games monster under the D20-Modern gaming system,[6][7] where it is classified as being an ooze-based creature that resembles an amoeba.[8]

In Crawfordsville there is an annual tour in downtown about the creature and other mysterious happenings in the city on October 31.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's story The Horror of the Heights contained similar creatures.


  1. ^ a b Clark Jerome (2003), Unexplained: Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurrences, and Puzzling Physical Phenomena (Second edition), Visible Ink Press, ISBN 0-7808-0715-4
  2. ^ Foundation of paranomral studies in Indiana: Folklore, (October 2006)
  3. ^ a b c Gaddis Vincent (1967), “Mysterious Fires And Lights”, David McKay Company Inc., Asin B0007DY65A
  4. ^ Clark Jerome (1993), Encyclopedia of Strange and Unexplained Physical Phenomena, Thomson Gale, ISBN 0-8103-8843-X
  5. ^ The Eye's Behind: The Crawfordsville Monster, (October 2006)
  6. ^ D20-Modern: Menace Creatures, The Crawfordsville Monster, (October 2006)
  7. ^ World of Sulerin - Monstrous Index: Crawfordsville Monster, (October 2006)
  8. ^ D20-Modern: Menace Creatures, The Crawfordsville Monster, (Image), (October 2006)

External links



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