(Editor’s note: The following was submitted by Charles Patrick of Amherst, Va., a southern Ohio native who hopes to relocate to Libby with his wife. Patrick enjoyed a story entitled “Crosswick Monster,” a public domain title published in 1968 by the Warren County Historical Society, and wanted to share it with readers of The Western News.)
As future prospective members of your fine community, we would like to share the following story, from the region of our youth in southern Ohio, with the brave people of Lincoln County. We share this story in the spirit of the season and since our living 2,000 miles away makes it impossible to soap all your windows or steal all your garden gates on Begger's Night, we provide this tale as a friendly way of saying – BOO!
We would, however, like to add our own modern part to this old folk tale by asking those braving the wild mountains to consider if the rifle they carry can stop a fast moving four-ton lizard. For while those involved in this tale 150 years ago had little concept of dinosaurs – science suggests today that ice, snow, and high altitude may have given little pause to some of these beasts … beasts very much like those described below.
So, to those among you still willing to brave the winter mountains of Montana, take heart, for as the ancient Vikings believed “Often luck will see a man through, if his courage hold.”
Waynesville on the banks of the Miami River in Warren County was settled before 1800 by members of the Society of Friends – who were known for their sobriety, honesty, reliability and truthfulness. The following newspaper story has been of interest for almost a century.
Although this is an old-settled neighborhood, and the primitive snakes, in the main, have long since disappeared, except the black, garter, rattlesnake, we are once in a while greeted by the report of some monster of this uncanny tribe.
For several years it has been reported that the track of one above town, of unusual size, had on different occasions been seen in the dust, where it crossed the pike. This new report, however, made the timid fearful, and is so well authenticated that the more incredulous of the big snake stories, are forced to lend an attentive ear.
About one mile north of this place is a little village called Crosswicks – where resides John Lynch who has two boys aged respectively, 13 and 11 years. These boys were at a small creek fishing yesterday.
After sitting on the bank for a short time they heard quite a stir among some old reeds, grass and brush from behind them, and on looking around, they saw a huge monster approaching them rapidly. They screamed and started to run, and the snake, or whatever it might be – for they never saw anything like it before – came close up to the older one, and suddenly throwing out two long arms, or forelegs, seized the boy in its slimy embrace, simultaneously producing two more legs, about four feet long, from … its body, and dragged the boy some 100 yards down the creek to a large sycamore, 26 feet in diameter at the base, hollow, and with a large opening in one side. Through this aperture the monster attempted to enter with the boy.
Three men – a short distance above where the boys were fishing – hearing their screams and seeing the creature yanking one off, hurried to rescue the child. They reached the tree soon after the snake, who failing to drag the boy into its den, became alarmed, unfastened its fangs and dropped the more than half-dead child to the earth.
Dr L. C. Lukens of Waynesville was summoned to attend him.
In the afternoon about 60 men armed with clubs, dogs, axes, etc., gathered around the sycamore tree to destroy its fearful tenant. They began chopping, when the formidable snake leaped from the aperture, threw out its fore and hind legs, erected itself about 12 to 14 feet, and with the velocity of a race horse, crossed the creek and ran up a small hill, climbed over a fence breaking it down, and continued north a mile until reaching a hole in a large hill under a heavy ledge of rocks.
Some of the men and dogs were so terrified at the beast’s first appearance that they only thought of getting out of the way. But the braver portion followed the frightful thing.
It will be watched for and killed if possible. It is described as being 30 to 40 feet long, 12 to 14 feet tall when erect, 16 inches in diameter, and legs 4 feet long. It is covered with scales like a lizard’s, of black and white color with large yellow spots. Its head about 16 inches wide, with a long forked tongue, and the mouth inside deep red. The hind legs appeared to be used to give an erect position, its propelling power in its tale.
The forgoing is vouched for by the persons whose names are given above (note left out for brevity, but available in the original) and many more can be given if necessary.
There is no record that this monster was captured – or seen again.