ExploreSouthernHistory.com - The Ozark Howler - AR, MO, OK
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - The Ozark Howler - AR, MO, OK
The Ozark Howler
Recent searches for the strange cat-like monster of
the Ozark Mountains have produced evidence that a
big cat (or cats) might be roaming the region.
Ozark Mountains
A strange cat-like creature
has been reported at points
across the Ozarks. Is it a big
cat, a monster or a legend?
Stream in the Ozarks
The Ozarks are a beautiful
and rugged region, known for
mountain vistas, folk culture
and running streams.
The Ozark Howler - Arkansas, Missouri & Oklahoma
Cat Monster of the Mountains?
Copyright 2012 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Update: July 18, 2012
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Ghosts & Monsters of the South
Rugged Mountain Terrain
The vast and rugged slopes
of the Ozarks are home to
many legends of ghosts and
monsters.
A Cougar in the Mountains?
Recent evidence suggests a
large cat like this cougar may
be loose in the mountains.
(USDA Photo)
Pedestal Rocks
The unusual rock formations
at Pedestal Rocks Scenic
Area are not far from places
where the Ozark Howler is
said to have been seen.
The Ozark Howler is the name residents and
hunters have applied to a strange creature
some say roams the remote forests of the
Ozark Mountains. The reports originate from
a vast area that includes parts of Arkansas,
Missouri and Oklahoma.

Some attribute the sightings to the presence
of an escaped big cat in the mountains, but
others say something more is behind them.
Eyewitnesses have come forward claiming to
have seen a mysterious cat-like monster in
the Ozarks, a creature unlike anything they
had ever seen before.

The mysteries of the Ozarks are part of their
charm. Folk tales of ghosts, monsters and
strange creatures in the region date back
hundreds of years. Unlike the well-known
Arkansas Wild Man of the 19th century and
the Boggy Creek and White River monsters
of the 20th, the Ozark Howler mystery is
complicated because eyewitnesses vary
widely in their descriptions of what they have
seen.

Some who claim to have seen the creature
describe it as a gigantic cat, bigger even than
a cougar. Others describe something far
more monstrous: a massive cat-like beast
with glowing eyes and horns protruding from
its head. Most agree that it is black or dark in
color.

Between 2005 and 2010, the Howler (also
called the Black Howler or the Devil Cat) was
spotted several times. A family living north of
Van Buren in the Boston Mountains of
Crawford County set out trail cams after
spotting what they believed was a cougar.
The images they supplied to a Fort Smith
television station appeared to show a big cat
similar to a cougar (mountain lion).

The problem is that wildlife officials maintain
there is not a breeding population of cougars
left in Arkansas. They do concede that it is
possible there might be individual big cats
living in the mountains, pointing out they
likely were once held as pets but escaped or
were turned loose by their owners.

At roughly the same time as the Crawford
County sightings, similar reports originated
from across the border in eastern Oklahoma.
Those sightings revolved around large dark
cats seen moving through the mountains.

Other reports from near Dardanelle in the
Arkansas River Valley described strange
sounds in the night similar to the laugh or
bark of a hyena. From higher elevations,
witnesses reported seeing what they
described as a large "stocky" cat.

Adding further confusion to all of this is the
fact that some researchers believe the whole
Arkansas Howler legend is a hoax, created
by an individual intent on exposing what he
considered the outlandishness of the
chupacabra reports that began making their
rounds on the internet in the late 1990s.

Researcher Loren Coleman and others were
able to conclusively point out that someone
using multiple aliases had spread a variety
of outlandish stories about the Howler on
websites and blogs. Much of this material
remains online today, as a simple web
search using the Google Search function at
the top of this page will show.
Please click
here to read Coleman's summary.
So is the Ozark Howler a hoax? The answer
to that question is a definite combination of
yes and no. Some people have undoubtedly
been involved in spreading false stories on a
large scale. On the other hand, stories of big
cats loose in the Ozarks have been part of
Arkansas woods lore for many years.

The most reliable accounts, like those of the
sightings in Crawford County between 2005
and 2010, revolve more around cougars than
they do monsters. The trail cam images
taken of the creature in Crawford County
definitely appeared to show a cougar.

Evidence from Newton County, Arkansas,
where the Howler was spotted in 2011,
seems to verify the possibility of a big cat or
two (or three or four) roaming the Ozarks.

The
SyFy Channel show "Haunted Highway"
focused on the Ozark Howler in July 2012.
Investigating the location of the Newton
County sightings, program investigators took
thermal images of an animal they thought
might be the Howler and also made plaster
casts of paw prints found where an animal
had taken meat the show producers had left
out hoping to attract the Howler.

The thermal imagery turned out to be of a
raccoon or possum, but a wildlife biologist
consulted by the show intriguingly identified
the paw prints as possibly being from a
puma or cougar. They were too big to have
been left by bobcats, which are well known
residents of the mountains.

So is the Ozark Howler a real monster, a
hoax or a real animal like a cougar? The
evidence seems to point to the latter. While a
big cat living in the Ozarks may not be as
flashy as a monster with glowing eyes and
horns growing out of its head, the possible
presence of such animals in the mountains
is equally intriguing.