Continuing our scream season celebration of the delightfully disgusting and marvelously macabre, we offer you this excellent excerpt from The Weiser Field Guide to Cryptozoology, by Deena Budd (also the paranormal editor at BellaOnline -check it out!):
The awfulness of “the Awful” must be beyond compare, as this monster is said to be the basis for many horror tales penned by the storytelling master, H.P. Lovecraft.
In 1925, Lovecraft traveled to the towns of Richford and Berkshire,Vermont, to investigate sightings of “a very large Griffin-like creature with grayish wings that each spanned 10 feet.” The “serpent-like tail equaled its wing length” and its “huge claws…could easily grip a milk can’s girth.”
The creature was first seen by several sawmill workers as they were walking across a bridge in the middle of town. The beast was sitting on a rooftop looking angrily down at the men. One man was so frightened that he had a heart attack. He recovered, but for weeks he would awaken in the middle of the night screaming.
Spotted often over the next few weeks by farmers and their wives, locals were absolutely petrified. The Awful would fly over fields in the daylight, land on roofs, and appear to watch people as they went about their daily chores.
One witness claimed the creature was holding a little crying baby as it flew 50 feet over a field. No infants were reported missing in the area, so it was assumed to be a baby animal.
The creature was rarely seen after the 1920’s – until recently. In October 2006, H.P. Albarelli Jr. wrote in the County Courier about a respected citizen of Richford,Vermont, who had seen the Awful appear from “nowhere and plucked a huge black crow” out of the top of a pine tree. The incredulous witness went on to say the creature circled his house three times.
After Albarelli’s article appeared, other witnesses reported sightings of the cryptid. One lady talked about a time when she was about ten years old; she and her friends saw the monster “sitting in a tree near the Trout River.” The large winged beast watched them for several minutes. She said it had a strange beak and reminded her of a pterodactyl.
A dowser in the Richford area, Edith Green, told Albarelli that people have been nervous about the Awful for a very long time. Another older gentleman said that the creature has been seen often in the Gibou area of Montgomery for the past quarter-century, even very recently. The man also explained that locals felt “we don’t bother it and it doesn’t bother us, maybe with a few exceptions.”
One longtime resident of East Richford claims that the Awful has been seen recently around the Slide Road area. He added that “you can usually hear the thing before you see it.” It makes a low screaming sound. When it is close enough, you can hear the flapping of its huge wings.
Mr. Albarelli is in posession of a “petrified jawbone” from an Awful given to him by a logger in the Richford area. It is “stone hard” and “bears a number of very large teeth.” At last report, he was attempting to have the jawbone examined by an expert from the University of Vermont.
from The Weiser Field Guide to Cryptozoology by Deena Budd.