William T. Cox's
“ F E A R S O M E   C R E A T U R E S   O F   T H E   L U M B E R W O O D S
( 100th A N N I V E R S A R Y   H Y P E R T E X T   E D I T I O N )

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From the Editor: With the reprinting of folklore comes the views common to its time period. Eldredge’s support of the snoligoster for killing an alleged “evil-doer” mirrors his contemporaries in casually excusing murders committed against African Americans. Eldredge’s victim is given no detail beyond that of an “outlaw negro” and he dismisses his death as “good work.” Such generalities, common today as yesterday, seldom produce any real truth.
(Dorsohastatus caudirotula.)
          In the cypress swamps of the South, and particularly in the region about Lake Okechobee, Florida, woodmen tell of a strange and dangerous animal known as the snoligoster. This creature is of enormous proportions and is credited with a voracious appetite. Worst of all, its appetite is only appeased by the eating of human beings. In form the snoligoster resembles a huge crocodile, but it is covered with long, glossy fur and has no legs or fins, except one long spike on its back. A person naturally wonders how such an animal can manage to travel through the water and mud of the swamp region where it lives, but nature has provided it with a means for driving itself along. On the end of its tail are three bony plates much resembling the propeller on a steamboat. These revolve at a terrific rate, driving the animal like a torpedo boat through mud. They serve other purposes as well, for when a snoligoster catches an unfortunate pickaninny, or even a fullgrown negro, upon which it delights to feed, it tosses the victim up and backward so as to impale him upon the spike fin, where several may be carried until sufficient for a meal have been collected. The snoligoster's tail is then driven into the mud and revolved until a hole is scooped out and the victims scraped off the spike and tossed in, whereupon the snoligoster beats them into batter with its rapidly revolving propeller and inhales them.
          Mr. Inman F. Eldredge, of De Funiak Springs, Flordia, while hunting for an outlaw negro in the swamps, had a most unusual experience. He caught sight of the negro, dead and impaled upon what at first appeared to be a slender cypress knee, but which presently began to move away. It was then seen to be the spike on a snoligoster's back. Eldredge's first impulse was to shoot the strange beast, but upon second thought he concluded that it was doing a good work and was entitled to live on. The very report of such a creature inhabiting the swamps would deter evil-doers from venturing into these wild places to avoid their pursuers and escape justice.
Page Fiftteen.

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Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods, With a Few Desert and Mountain Beasts
Written by William T. Cox ● Illustrated by Coert Du Bois ● With Latin Classifications by George B. Sudworth
(Washington: Judd & Detweiler, Inc., 1910) Original Text and Illustrations Public Domain License.
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