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.