State’s Urban Legends: Maryland

My favorite 19th Century author is Edgar Allan Poe, who is buried in Baltimore, Maryland. I’m thinking even Poe at his best couldn’t have come up with the urban legends we’ll find as we tour Maryland below.

The Snallygaster

MAryland's snallygaster

A snallygaster with his take-out order.

Legend says this creature is half-bird, half-octopus, half-reptile and half-robot. Legends suck at math.

But locals in Frederick County in the know swear this strange combination exists and call it the snallygaster.

It has razor-sharp teeth set in a metal beak and it will swoop down upon you from the sky, grab you up in its tentacles and off you go to be the main course in a snallygaster feast.

Bigg Lizz of Maryland’s Greenbrier Swamp

Lizz was a large woman, according to legend, and a slave who served as a Union spy during the Civil War. Unfortunately for Lizz her spycraft skills weren’t good enough to keep her alive.

Her master found her out. He had Lizz follow him out into the Greenbriar Swamp to “help” him bury his treasures. Once she finished digging a big enough hole, he had her stop long enough so he could cleanly decapitate her. Lizz had unknowingly dug her own grave.

Legend has it that is you are at that spot during the night you will see her ghost there, trying to lure you deeper into the swamp. You might not want to follow her. She might be looking for a little payback.

The Goatman

If it seems like every state has a Goatman legend, well you’re right. Just about all of them do. A half-man, half-goat that runs about killing young people, eats small critters and other goat-like activities.

But Maryland might be jockeying for the Goatman crown amongst its 49 sister-states. A federal agency was forced to deny – forcefully and publically – that it had not accidentally created Goatman at a Maryland research facility.

Legend has it that Goatman is a farmer seeking revenge after a group of teenager had killed his entire tribe (goats, not humans). The slaughter drove the farmer man and turned him into a teen-terminating goat monster.


About the author

Richard Paolinelli