The widespread popularity of fantasy franchises like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones suggests that, on some level, we all wish that dragons, giants, and other magical creatures actually existed.
While Nifflers, Thestrals, and Blast-Ended Skrewts may only be found within the pages of a Harry Potter novel, plenty of other mythical beasts have allegedly been spotted a lot closer to home than you might think. CashNetUSA's SavingSpot blog created a map highlighting the most famous magical monster in each state—an American edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, if you will.
Some slither, others skulk, and pretty much all of them have the potential to take your nightmares to the next level. You’ll probably recognize some of the better-known ones: New Jersey is home to the Jersey Devil, Texas claims the fanged Chupacabra, and Washington boasts Bigfoot, who seems downright charming compared to others on the list.
However, the majority of these creatures are rather obscure, and therefore all the more terrifying. The emaciated Wendigo from Minnesota kills with a glance, smells like a dead body, and will not hesitate to gobble you up. And good luck trying to outrun Illinois’s hissing, three-legged Enfield Horror, which can cover 25 feet in a single leap.
Pennsylvania’s Squonk, on the other hand, is almost too pathetic to be scary. Apparently, it’s so ashamed of its saggy skin and wart-covered face that it can cry itself into a pool of water and simply slip out of any cage. If you see it, maybe just compliment its twinkling eyes and send it on its merry way.
The Loch Ness Monster lives all the way out in Scotland, of course, but she’s definitely inspired a few Nessie-wannabes right here in the States. Nevada has Tahoe Tessie, an 80-foot-long possible plesiosaur, and Maryland’s Chessie calls the Chesapeake Bay home.
If you pay close attention to the details of SavingSpot’s accompanying online bestiary, you’ll see some clues about how these tall tales arose from fairly normal occurrences. Eyewitnesses first described Idaho’s aquatic dino Sharlie as a huge log, North Carolina’s Beast of Bladenboro resembles a bear, and Rhode Island’s vampire Mercy Brown was once a real woman—locals declared her a vampire after digging up her grave and realizing she hadn’t decayed at all. (For the record, she had only been dead for two months, and the winter temperatures likely preserved her body.)
Find out which mythical beast hails from your home state here.