The Damned Story: In 1939, a mystery creature terrorized Glastonbury and surrounding areas, attacking livestock and pets. It was never caught or properly identified, and consequently, became a Connecticut legend: The Glawackus.
Hunters, farmers and eyewitnesses reported the fierce animal originally as a huge cat, but as it remained elusive, the descriptions became more detailed, which only embellished the creature’s fast-growing reputation. It was variously described as part-dog, part-bear and part-cat, but all terror!
Some details of the Glawackus, according to Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology, Vol. 1 —
Etymology: From town name—Glastonbury, Connecticut—plus “wacky.”
Variant Names: Granby panther, Injun devil.
Physical Description: Looks variously like a large cat or dog. Length, 4 feet. Height, 2 feet – 2 feet 6 inches. Black or tawny in color. Long tail, sometimes described as bushy.
Behavior: Emits blood-curdling screams.
Tracks: Like a puma’s.
Distribution: North-central Connecticut.
Gotta love the “behavior”!
According to Mysterious Creatures, after weeks of hearing the animal’s cries, finding odd tracks and only seeing glimpses of it, a full hunting party was organized to track down the Glawackus and solve the mystery. On Jan. 14, 1939, they set forth into the surrounding countryside, but despite a detailed search, nothing was found. Sightings continued for about another month before two miles of significant paw prints were found east of Glastonbury.
Over the next few months, Glawackus hunts became something of a local sensation, with groups exploring caves across northwest Connecticut and into the Berkshires. Here are some images from one such hunt in April of 1939, courtesy of a 1990 issue of the NSS News, a publication for the National Speleological Society—the bottom image staging an encounter with a “Glawackus” is priceless.
If you can’t read it, the captions says: “The Kill! Roger Johnson takes aim at the dreaded Glawackus in Twin Lakes Cave, Litchfield County, Connecticut. Photographer unknown.”
Apparently, the Glawackus was feeling the heat and went into hiding for about a decade and a half. In the mid 1950s, however, it resurfaced, again attacking animals and eluding capture or identification. This time, it traveled a bit, with sightings from Glastonbury all the way north and west to Granby.
Soon after that, however, the mighty Glawackus apparently disappeared altogether.
No one has ever come up with a definitive answer to the Glawackus’ identity, but many have speculated that it was either a rogue Eastern puma or other large cat that escaped from a local exotic animal collection. Others suggest that it may have been a fisher, which may be the likeliest explanation since the physical descriptions and behaviors are very similar, right down to the blood-curdling screams. Fishers were pretty rare in the state at that time, so that may have led to some of the confusion when first identifying the creature.
Despite not having been seen in decades, tales still persist of the Glawackus roaming the woods around Glastonbury. Misidentified animal or mythic creature? Only the Glawackus itself knows …
Our Damned Experience: We have yet to see a glawackus, but if anyone has any stories or experiences with the legendary beastie, or better yet, a photo, we’d love to know about it.
The only question I would have is, were molds of the tracks found in Glastonbury ever done? If so, does it compare to the Fisher Cat?
I’ll bet “Old Glawakus” was a FISHER, or maybe even a heavier MARTEN. I suspect that, due to the re-forestation of old farmlands, animals that once roamed throughout the Northeast and Canada began to return to the area. Animals that are “not supposed to” be native to Connecticut ARE appearing here, due to habitat loss elsewhere–as well as “re-stocking” of animal populations by the state departments of wildlife/fish and game in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York from mid-twentieth century until the present. Woodland animals don’t follow “field guides” and “wildlife manuals” or even “official departmental maps” when they decide to roam around, hunt or explore territory! They certainly do not take the time to acknowlege “state boundaries” or any political entity–local, municipal, county, state, federal–drawn on a human map…”woods is woods”, “forest is forest”, and as far as our wildlife denizens are concerned, that’s all there is to it! I’ve seen “Mr. Glawakus” myself, bounding across our front lawn and running up a tree–I thought he was a “river otter” or “mink”–then I found out I had witnessed Mr. Fisher–an animal I NEVER saw growing up on Briar Hill Road in the 1960’s–1970’s.
NOW, I see him and his buddies down on Gungywamp Road, in addition to OTHER animals, such as opossums, raccoons and the five million CHIPMUNKS I NEVER saw in my youth! Seems like we got more of these little striped rodent acorn-eaters–maybe because we don’t have as many pet dogs running around Briar Hill Road. Old Glawakus might be trying to stuff himself on “chipmunk snacks.”
This was finally solved! See the article in the Oct. 2012 issue of Glastonbury Life! 🙂
My father, James Rufus Williams, invented the Glawackus. He made the two “foot prints” in his basement workshop, strapped them to his feet and took a walk in a light snow, leaving paw prints as he went. I remember the hub-bub caused by his prank…the men showing up at our front door with their shot guns at the ready. This is all reported in The October issue of Glastonbury Life along with a picture of the foot print my dad made. It’s fun to think the story is still around all these years later. Shirley W. Homes
i live in glisten bury
i haven’t even heard about it but i always love paranormal. I take pictures of old and new grave yards and hang them but i think its kinda cool ill keep a eye out for it.
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