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A Quick History of the Gowrow

Cryptids and Urban Legends

By Scarlett HolderPublished 2 years ago 3 min read
"The Gowrow," Department of Arkansas Heritage

The Gowrow is one of a lesser known cryptid, but is a popular tale among the locals in Northern Arkansas. From that area myself, I have never heard of the cryptid, but it definitely won’t stop me from using a twenty foot lizard-like monster to scare my nephew into coming in before dark. (Trust me, I need all the help I can get!)

And maybe that was the whole point of the Gowrow. Something made up by the mothers of the secluded area to make sure that their children returned home before sundown.

However, some seem to think otherwise.

The first recorded sighting of the Gowrow appeared in an article of the Arkansas Gazette published on January 31, 1897. The article was written by Elbert Smithee with an illustration of the cryptid provided by Elmer Burrus. Smithee received the information for his article from a traveling Little Rock businessman by the name of William Miller.

Miller reported that he had been passing through the tiny town of Blanco in Calf Creek Township, Searcy County on business, when he heard the locals talking about the slaughtering of their pets and livestock. They blamed the incidents on the local cryptid called the Gowrow. Miller had then decided to form a group who tracked the Gowrow to a cave littered with animal remains, and even, what he claimed to be, human skeletons. It wasn’t long before the group heard it surface from a lake nearby.

After a long tussle where it uprooted trees, killed several horses, and tore a man’s leg off, Miller’s group managed to kill the creature and examined its remains. The Gorrow neared twenty feet in length, had large, clawed, webbed feet, short horns along its back, and a long tail ending with a blade. Miller then went on to claim that he had sent the body off to the Smithsonian Institution, but it had never arrived. The entire encounter had been dismissed by Fred W. Allsopp, editor of the Gazette at the time, as “a great fake, probably without foundation in fact.”

That encounter alone sounds like something out of a fairy tale, and, considering that the story comes from the hodgepodge of Ozark myths and legends, it needs to be taken with a grain of salt. It sounds like the kind of thing my mother would tell me as a warning to not stay out too late. If someone had walked up to me and told me the same thing, in all seriousness, I wouldn’t believe it. I would write it off as someone seeking attention.

But this wasn’t the only recorded encounter.

Vance Randolph, an Ozark folklore research collector, discovered added information that possibly dated back as early as the 1880's. He was led to believe that the Gowrow was actually an entire species of creatures that hatched from soft-shelled eggs the size of beer kegs. Which is horrifying when you take into account how large beer kegs are.

Another report of the Gowrow came from someone from Polk County. He had claimed to capture a Gowrow by feeding the cryptid so many dried apples that it became too large to escape into its burrow. He then would show his capture to anyone willing to pay a quarter, but he never had to prove that he had caught an actual Gowrow. For when he gained a large enough audience, he would appear out from behind a curtain in tattered clothing, claiming that the Gowrow escaped. I bet he had earned quite a few quarters before word got out.

In the end, the Gowrow may remain just as elusive as the Lochness monster or Bigfoot. Maybe somewhere deep under the exaggerations of the stories, there is some truth; although, then again, maybe it is just an old wives tale.

Anywho, real or not, the fact that a 20 foot lizard monster could be wandering around would make even the bravest adult return home before dark.

urban legend

About the Creator

Scarlett Holder

I enjoy writing and love all things supernatural, paranormal, and creepy. I love it so much, in fact, that I even investigate it. Let me share some of my more interesting findings and other whatnots!

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    Scarlett HolderWritten by Scarlett Holder

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