The Monsters of Marion County

The West Virginia wilderness creeps with tales of unknown beasts roaming the land.

Marion County boasts many monsters of its own, which can make your next trip one to remember around the campfire, the fishing stream or the dinner table!

River Monsters

Here in Marion County we love our rivers, and so, apparently, do beasts of all kinds! Check out these tales of the terrifying from the Monongahela River!

  1. Monongy

MonongyWhile driving along the roads of Marion County, make sure to keep one eye on the Mon River!

You may catch a glimpse of Monongy, a half-man, half-fish creature named by the local Native American tribes. Records of this creature go back to the French-Indian War, when British soldiers reported seeing strange aquatic beasts.

In the 1930s-1950s, a frantic search for Monongy even involved a task force from the police.

While some say Monongy’s existence has been covered up, others say this manly monster still roams the river— and you can spot him if you take a good look!

  1. Ogua

OguaThis terrifying beast of the Monongahela has also wiggled its way into folklore since the Native American days, but no one seems to know exactly what it is!

Tales of a 20-foot-long turtle creature haunt the dreams of folks who know this beast is capable of coming on land to crush deer whole.

Others speak of a giant beaver-like creature, covered in reddish-brown fur and capable of whistling or screeching loudly as it munches on mammals.

Whatever this creature’s looks like, be sure to keep an eye out for any mysterious monsters haunting the Mon River shores. You may even hear him scream!

For the truly brave at heart, rent a pontoon boat at Wood’s Boat House and go monster-watching with the whole family!

  1. The Rivesville River Monster

Rivesville RiverOne dark night in 1983 settled the legend of the Rivesville River Monster.

Local coal miner John Edward White’s night channel catfish adventure took a turn when he encountered a large serpentine fin and tail thrusting out of the water toward him.

Times West Virginian reported other fishermen encountering the same kind of monster that year. Some gave a description that sounded like Ogua, including the reddish-brown color and the razor-sharp teeth, while others thought this creature must be unique to Rivesville!

Whether it’s one of the Ogua species or a special Rivesville edition of river monster, you’ll have something new to fish for when you visit one of the docks down Rivesville way!  

After you survive your tall-tale adventure, stop by Underwood’s Country Kitchen to grab a bite to eat and swap stories with the old timers. Or head to the Paw Paw Fair this July to hear more stories about the local folklore!  

  1. The Grant Town Goon

Grant town goon2When you walk into Grant Town, you may hear about the coal mining community, the good food or the quiet atmosphere to raise a family in. But if you came looking for a local legend, just wait!

The local Bigfoot-type creature known as the Grant Town goon has been making celebrity status since its first sighting in the 1970s.

Those who have seen its furry face say it lives in the woods and coal mine waste areas around the town.

Take a trip to the outskirts of Marion County to see if you can spot our local Sasquatch! For the latest in goon-sighting news, stop by Cafe Diem and track his path while grabbing a delicious snack!

  1. The White Thing

Sheepsquatch-1You’ve heard of Sasquatch, but have you heard of Sheepsquatch? West Virginia has many tales of white wooly creatures in the wilderness— including in Marion County!

This West Virginia legend had a hankering for horseflesh back in the day!

Down in the southern part of the state, a young girl encountered the creature while riding her favorite mare home from church, then woke up to discover her horse eaten up except for the bones!

The terrible white thing was smaller than a horse but larger than a dog and covered in white fur. This creepy canine-like monster screamed like a woman and ran on all fours.

The White Thing was spotted in Marion County near Rivesville and the old Monongalia Coal Company. People who saw him say he was attracted to the fireworks on the Fourth of July.

Make plans to monster watch this Fourth of July at any of our local fireworks displays, including at Palatine Park, Fairview and Mannington! Who knows when he will appear again?

Just remember when you search for this monster to use horsepower from a car instead of an animal friend!

Collected Tales

Coffin HollowWhile Marion County has plenty of priceless tales of monster myth, the county’s greatest treasure is the woman who brought them to life.

Ruth Ann Musick, educator and folklorist at Fairmont State University, believed Marion County and West Virginia had folklore the world needed to know about. She spent years collecting stories of the magical, the mythical and the unexplained to shed light on tales from around the state.

While she may no longer be with us, her stories are. Take a trip to the Ruth Ann Musick Library at Fairmont State University or Kerri’s Korner Bookstore to buy her collected tales: “The TellTale Lilac Bush” and “Coffin Hollow.”

You can also visit the Frank and Jane Gabor Folklife Center at

Rachel Ellis

Rachel Ellis

Fairmont State to learn more about the folklore of the area and Ruth Ann Musick’s contributions to the field. While there, check out the center’s Fairy Garden and Celtic Garden for more mythical beings!

Don’t forget to keep an eye out around Marion County for our monsters! You may have a tale of your own to tell!

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