Holy Saint Martha! As impossible as it may seem, January is gone forever and it's time once again for another long over-due installment of our world famous Monster of the Month series. Today, we thought that we'd keep it local and focus on a creature that's straight out of the Green Mountain State. Just as Florida has the Skunk Ape, just as Illinois has the Mad Gasser, just as Idaho has whatever monster Idaho presumably has (possibly potato based)...so too must Vermont have a monster to call its own. However, since most everyone is familar with the lake dwelling Champ, we decided to showcase another unnatural beast. Submitted for your approval: the bloodthirsty Goonyak!
While there are a couple variations on the story of Goonyak, they all date back to 1976, and seem to have originated from the Craftsbury region. The physical description remains consistant, though. Goonyak stands out in the crowd of shaggy Bigfoot-types thanks to his sheer size and predatory ferocity. It was said to be eight feet tall, strong enough to rip barn doors from their hinges, and posessed six inch claws which it used to skin its prey. In one version of the story, Goonyak is killed by a farmer, but only after taking ten shots to the chest. In another version, it's a game warden who manages to slay the monster. Afterwards, pathologists at UVM dissect the enormous corpse in some clandestine laboratory. No one can say what terrifying secrets spilled forth from Goonyak's innards.
In researching the beast, Vermont author Joe Citro found no evidence to support the tall tale. Both the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and UVM have denied Goonyak ever existed, but we like to think that UVM President Daniel Fogel keeps the remains inside a secret vault and (in between budget reviews and meetings with the alumni association) stares at the clawed hulk in mute horror.
But don't take my word for it!
You can read about it in a book.
Or you can read about it in this book.
Or, better still, read about it in both books. They're both excellent.