Cryptid: The Weeping Squonk
Updated: Aug 23, 2020
Deep in the Hemlock forests of northern Pennsylvania, a curious cryptid is rumored to dwell. References to the mysterious Squonk began originating in the late nineteenth century, most likely due to the rising importance of Pennsylvania in the timber industry.
The earliest written account of the elusive Squonk is found in Fearsome Creatures Of The Lumberwoods: With A Few Desert And Mountain Beasts, written in 1910 by William T. Cox. This account was also reprinted in Jorge Luis Borges' Book of Imaginary Beings in 1969. In Cox’s book, he allots an entire chapter to this unfortunate creature, describing it as “always unhappy” and “the most morbid of beasts” (Cox, p.31). Local legends and folklore date back much farther than these accounts, and cultural references to this creature have continued into present day.
The scientific name for the Squonk is Lacrimacorpus dissolvens, meaning “tear”, “body”, and “dissolve” in Latin.
In local legends, the Squonk is reputed to be a fairly easy to track creature- one simply has to follow the sounds of their sobs and the tear strewn trail that they leave through the forest. They are most easily tracked on nights with a full moon, as their tears will leave a glistening trail on the ground. Squonk hunters will find greatest success on frosty, moonlight nights, as they dislike moving about and can often be heard weeping under the boughs of hemlock trees. To capture one is a far greater challenge, as a Squonk will literally dissolve into a puddle of tears and bubbles when greatly distressed, cornered, frightened, or surprised.
The Squonk has a justified reason for being so upset. Described as being both aware and ashamed of its appearance, “legend holds that the creature's skill is ill-fitting, being covered in warts and other blemishes,” according to Wikipedia. As a result, the Squonk spends most of its days hiding in the deep woods and wilderness and weeping constantly over its unfortunate appearance. Typically described as being a four-footed creature roughly the size of a beaver or an opossum, the Squonk is mostly nocturnal and extremely reclusive.
J.T Wentling is supposed to have coaxed one of these creatures into a bag. One day, while in the woods, he happened upon one of these creatures near its home and after observing it, decided to lay a trap for it. Snatching it up into his bag, he made his way back to the local village to show his friends the strange creature he had captured. On his journey home, he felt the bag suddenly lighten and noticed that water was dripping from the bottom. Upon opening the bag, all that remained inside was a puddle of strange liquid that appeared to be much like water, that spilled onto the soil at his feet. Cursing his ill luck, Wentling returned home with nothing more than a wet bag and his own words to tell of the strange adventure.
There is some debate over if the dissolving process is reversible. Some accounts say that it is, others believe the dissolving to be permanent. It would seem odd for a creature to have such a defense mechanism if it was irreversible, but this seems to be a question that only a Squonk could answer.
What do you think? Is the Squonk really so terrible looking?
That's all we have for this week - check back next week for another post! Each week we will cover something new that catches our interest- it may be a cold case, a mysterious phenomena, or something else entirely.
Anastasia & Loren
Wait To Panic podcast
Wait To Panic is a true crime and paranormal podcast where two friends take turns telling stories that just might make your skin crawl. New episodes are released every Sunday at 2 PM.
Cox, William T. (1910). Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods. Judd & Detweiler Inc.
Wikipedia Contributors. 2020. “Squonk.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. June 30, 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squonk#:~:text=The%20Squonk%20is%20a%20mythical,in%20the%20potential%20timber%20industry.
“The Strange Squonk of Northern Pennsylvania – Unexplainable.Net.” 2011. Unexplainable.Net. July 25, 2011. https://www.unexplainable.net/simply-unexplainable/the-strange-squonk-of-northern-pennsylvania.php.
Fearsome Creatures Of The Lumberwoods: https://archive.org/details/fearsomecreatur00coxgoog