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Upstate Legends & Lore

Upstate Legends & Lore

Tucked away in the mystical, foggy wild woods of Upstate New York, you'll stumble upon a land filled with supernatural wonders and a deep cultural history. In this mysterious world of cryptids and famous local legends, lies various frightening creatures of all kinds; from the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hallow to the Pine Bush Aliens or the infamous Sasquatch of the Adirondacks - there is a treasure trove of folklore that has captured the imaginations of generations.
No one's ever managed to uncover concrete evidence about these mysterious creatures, but we're here to dive into their backstories and figure out if there's any truth to the tales. Whether you're a true believer or just someone who loves a good spooky story, Upstate's creepy folklore is bound to keep you on your toes, constantly questioning these unsolved mysteries.


The Sasquatch lore in Whitehall runs deep, with numerous residents claiming sightings of Bigfoot dating back to the 1960s. Remarkably, even the town's law enforcement officers have gone on record to share their own experiences of encountering the elusive creature in the area. With such a rich history intertwined with Bigfoot, Whitehall has embraced its reputation as a Sasquatch haven, giving rise to annual events like the Sasquatch Festival and the Bigfoot Half-Marathon, inviting enthusiasts to celebrate and explore the mystery of this legendary cryptid.


Champ, the legendary Lake Champlain creature, has captivated the imaginations of Vermont & Northern Upstate residents for generations. The legend traces its roots to the indigenous Abenaki people, who shared stories of mysterious beings inhabiting the lake even before Samuel de Champlain's arrival. Numerous sightings have been reported, with the most famous being the 1977 photograph taken by Sandra Mansi, depicting a large and unusual lake creature. While some experts attribute Champ to a type of large fish, there are ongoing reports of enormous, snake-like creatures, sometimes reaching lengths of up to 35 feet, which defy simple classification. Whether Champ is a real creature or a legend, it undeniably holds a cherished place in Upstate's folklore and cultural heritage.


In the 1960s, a bizarre and unsettling phenomenon plagued the woods of Kinderhook, New York. Over a span of several years, at least six witnesses had eerie encounters with a floating, enigmatic blob-like creature that sent even armed men fleeing in terror. The first reported incident, dating back to 1962, involved a 10-year-old boy and his 7-year-old cousin, who heard an eerie high-pitched whistle in the woods and caught sight of the creature. However, it had no discernible eyes. Two years later, an unnamed man was hiking through the same woods when he was confronted by a large, white floating blob that terrified him into leaping over a pond. He later returned with a skeptical friend, armed with shovels and pitchforks, but both abandoned their weapons upon encountering the ghostly figure. Subsequent reports, spanning from 1964 to 2017, described a similar entity, often referred to as a "white blob" or an apparition resembling the Virgin Mary, which could both float and tramp. The Kinderhook Blob Monster remains a perplexing mystery in the annals of cryptozoology, haunting the memories of those who crossed paths with it.


The Hudson Valley, particularly Pine Bush, New York, has long been associated with unexplained aerial phenomena, earning a reputation as the UFO capital of the Northeast. This rich history of UFO sightings spans back to the early 20th century, with documented accounts of mysterious airships in 1909, cigar-shaped objects with colorful lights in the 1950s, and metallic craft encounters in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The region's most notable advocate for UFO research, Ellen Crystall, brought attention to the area with her 1991 book "Silent Invasion," which encouraged witnesses to share their experiences and ignited public discourse about UFO activity. Crystall herself experienced close encounters with strange lights in the skies, eventually leading her to Pine Bush, where she encountered large triangular UFOs that landed in a field, leaving behind burned areas and impressions in the soil. During the 1980s and '90s, wedge or boomerang-shaped UFOs were frequently reported, characterized by their angular appearance. Sightings declined in the early 2000s but saw a resurgence in 2020, with over 150 UFO sightings reported in upstate New York, hinting that the extraterrestrial visitors may be returning to the Hudson Valley. This area remains a captivating and enduring hub for UFO enthusiasts and those intrigued by the unexplained.


For over 70 years, the tale of Beamoc, a two-headed fish in Roscoe, New York, has fascinated both locals and fishermen. Beamoc resides in Junction Pool, where the Beaverkill River and Willowemoc Creek meet. The story goes that Beamoc grew a second head because he couldn't decide which way to swim, defying the norm for fish. Beamoc remained hidden from anglers for about 50 years until an extraordinary encounter. On the opening day of Trout season, Paul Dahlie, the director of the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum, hooked Beamoc. The fish even leaped out of the water, but Beamoc's clever use of one head to cut the fishing line allowed him to escape. Beamoc remains a symbol of wonder and mystery in Roscoe, and anglers hope for the next sighting during trout season.


In Washington Irving's 1820 short story, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," set in the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town (now Tarrytown, New York) in 1790, a peculiar legend surrounds the infamous Headless Horseman. This eerie character is said to be a decapitated Hessian soldier, a ghostly figure galloping through the countryside after losing his head to a cannonball in battle. The tale centers on Ichabod Crane, a superstitious schoolmaster who becomes entangled in a love triangle with the wealthy farmer Baltus Van Tassel's daughter, Katrina. Ichabod's rivalry with the town rowdy, Brom Bones, leads to a series of pranks. After attending a harvest party at the Van Tassels' homestead and facing rejection from Katrina, Ichabod encounters the Headless Horseman on his way home. In a terrifying chase, the Horseman hurls his severed head at Ichabod, who mysteriously vanishes from Sleepy Hollow. The story leaves the true nature of the Headless Horseman and Ichabod's fate open to interpretation, but the legend persists, with some believing Ichabod was spirited away by supernatural forces, and others suggesting that Brom Bones was behind the haunting.

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