Ozark Howler

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Ozark Howler
Sub groupingLocal Legend
Other name(s)Ozark Black Howler, Black Howler, Mountain Howler, Night Howler, Devil Cat, Hoo-Hoo, Nightshade Bear
CountryUnited States
Ozark Howler
Standard depiction of Ozark Howler
Ozark Howler Watercolor Painting

The Ozark Howler is a mythological creature that is purported to live in remote areas in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.

The Ozark Howler is typically described as being bear sized, with a thick body, stocky legs, and black shaggy hair, and as sometimes having horns;[1] the eyes of the Ozark Howler are said to glow red, even when there is no external light for them to reflect[2]. Its cry is often described as being a combination of a wolf's howl and an elk's bugle, it has often been rumored to be a death omen to those who see this creature. [3]

Anthropologists have speculated that the creature might be a misidentified or unrecognized big cat.[4] Historians have speculated that the creature might be a cultural variant of the dark dogs of death found in British folklore. [5]

Ozark Howler in art[edit]

Going beyond its roots in the traditional regional culture of the Ozark Mountains, the Ozark Howler has become a character in popular culture; as a result, artworks in many forms have been produced with the Ozark Howler as their inspiration.

In 2016, artist Helen Hawley produced a 12 inch monocolor fine art print of the Ozark Howler[6]. In 2014, Aliene De Souza Howell created a linocut of the Ozark Howler and sold it to benefit charitable causes[7]. Joshua Wolf has crafted the Ozark Howler as a foldable paper toy[8]; the Ozark Howler was the subject of a 2018 Inktober challenge on social media that resulted in the proliferation of images of the beast[9].

Two popular music bands have worked under the name Ozark Howler: The Ozark Howlers from Fayetteville, Arkansas[10], and Ozark Howler from London, England[11]. In addition, a band of musicians from Columbia, Missouri has adopted the name Boone Howlers, in reference to legends of the Ozark Howler from Boone County, where a natural spring called Devil's Den has traditionally been associated with the Ozark Howler. "Like the Ozark Howler, the Boone Howlers are sometimes hard to catch, but seeing them live is an unforgettable experience," the band writes[12].

Ozark Howler in literature[edit]

The foundations of folk beliefs about the Ozark Howler were first captured in print in a book of accounts, lore, and folktales about the Ozark Howler called Tales of the Ozark Howler by Saul Ashton[13] Ashton's descriptions of the Ozark Howler have also been used to inform the use of the Howler as a fictional character in a number of novels, including the Mason Dixon series by Eric R. Asher[14], Billy Bob's Howler by Ross Malone[15], and Hunt the Ozark Howler by Jan Fields[16]. A comic book called Tale of an Ozark Howler, written by Kelly Reno, featuring the creature as its main character, was published in 2008. [17] In 1973, the magazine Cryptic Universe published a science fiction short story about the Ozark Howler titled The Hair of the Black Howler[18][19].

The Ozark Howler has also been inspiration for poets, most notably as the title character of a collection of poems by Kansas City storyteller K.W. Peery [20] and of another collection of poems, Ozark Howler Verse, by Rufus Grey [21]; the Ozark Howler is also the subject of a poem in a collection by Vantar titled From the Abyss[22].


Cryptozoologists describe the Ozark Howler as a "cryptid", meaning that it is an animal that people have claimed to see, but whose existence has not been confirmed through scientific research; as a whole, cryptozoologists take a skeptical view of the Ozark Howler, but disagree about whether the Ozark Howler is an actual, physical creature, or merely a local legend. [23][24][25]

Chad Arment asserts 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.[26]

However, claimed sightings of the Ozark Howler appear to predate communications by the university student[27][28][29][30]. "There have been reports of medium-sized black cats in the Ozarks since at least the 1950s," writes George Eberhart in his book Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology[31]. Other sources date stories back to the 1800s[32][33][34][35].

Complicating matters further is the fact that sightings of the Ozark Howler have been reported by people other than the alleged student hoaxer multiple times since the 1990s.[36][37]. Jason Offutt, in the book Chasing American Monsters, writes, "Many people have dismissed the Ozark Howler as a hoax, but Howler sightings stretch back to the early 1800s." [38]

According to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, two wildlife officers were immediately dispatched to Springdale, Arkansas to respond to and investigate a reported Ozark Howler sighting near Spring Creek around 9:00 P.M. in January of 2016. A driver called the AGFC hotline and reported a “bear-sized, shaggy haired, gray colored, unidentifiable beast which ran on four stocky legs” was seen crossing Pump Station Road near Lake Springdale in southern Benton County, Arkansas.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "'Ozark Howler' sighting at Devils Den? Game & Fish say photos are a 'hoax'". 40/29 News. December 15, 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Haunted Ozarks Author Calls Ozark Howler A Panther". Ozark Howler Information. December 18, 2018. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  3. ^ Ashton, Saul: "Tales of the Ozark Howler". 1936.
  4. ^ Strait, James; Moran, Mark; Sceurman, Mark (2008). Weird Missouri: Your Travel Guide to Missouri's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. p. 83. ISBN 1402745559.
  5. ^ "The Ozark Howler: Quintessential American Form of a European Plague Beast". The Ozark Howler Legend. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Ozark Howler Archival Digital Print". Sightings In Print. 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  7. ^ "Aliene de Souza Howell Linocuts". Aliene de Souza Howell. 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  8. ^ "Ozark Howler Paper Toy". SuperColoring.com. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  9. ^ "Ozark Howler Images". Ozark Howler Information. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  10. ^ "The Ozark Howlers". The Ozark Howlers. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  11. ^ "Ozark Howler: Greater London". Sound Cloud. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  12. ^ "Boone Howlers Live at The Station House". Facebook. July 28, 2018. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  13. ^ Ashton, Saul: "Tales of the Ozark Howler". 1936.
  14. ^ Asher, Eric R.: "Mason Dixon - Monster Hunter Volume 1", 2017.
  15. ^ Malone, Ross: "Billy Bob's Howler". Bluebird, 2014
  16. ^ Fields, Jan: "Hunt the Ozark Howler". ABDO, 2016
  17. ^ "When The Ozark Howler Was A Comic Book". Ozark Howler Information. December 27, 2019. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  18. ^ "Ozark Howler from Another Dimension". The Ozark Howler. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  19. ^ Godwin, Timothy: "The Hair of the Black Howler". Cryptic Universe, 1973
  20. ^ "Ozark Howler". Amazon. August 8, 2017. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  21. ^ Grey, Rufus: "Ozark Howler Verse: Poems of the Dark Beast", 2019.
  22. ^ "From The Abyss". Google Books. August 8, 2017. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  23. ^ "'Ozark Howler: Myth, Hoax, or Reality?". CCHeadliner. April 9, 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  24. ^ "'The Ozark Howler". National Paranormal Society. August 11, 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  25. ^ "'Zachary Mann on the Ozark Howler". Centre for Fortean Zoology. January 20, 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  26. ^ Arment, Chad: "Cryptozoology", page 14. Coachwhip Publications, 2004
  27. ^ "'Does The Ozark Howler Exist?". To Contrive and Jive. March 29, 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  28. ^ "'The Ozark Howler". Youtube. January 3, 2019. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  29. ^ "'The Ozark Howler". Remarkansas. November 29, 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  30. ^ "'Does The Ozark Howler Exist?". Cryptozo-oscity. October 17, 2009. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  31. ^ Eberhart, George M.: "Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology". ABC-CLIO, 2002
  32. ^ "'Monsters of Arkansas". McLarty Daniel. October 12, 2018. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  33. ^ "The Ozark Howler: Actual Cryptid or Elaborate Hoax". Exemplore. August 12, 2016. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  34. ^ "Exploring American Monsters: Arkansas". Mysterious Universe. March 16, 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  35. ^ "Monster of the Week: The Ozark Howler". Death Cookie. June 10, 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  36. ^ "'The Ozark Howler". Youtube. January 27, 2018. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  37. ^ "'Ozark Howler Threatens Kittens". Ozark Howler Network. December 12, 2012. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  38. ^ Offutt, Jason: "Chasing American Monsters: Over 250 Creatures, Cryptids & Hairy Beasts". Llewellyn Worldwide, 2019

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