The awfulness of “The Awful” must be beyond compare, as this monster is said to be the basis for many horror tales by the storytelling master, H.P. Lovecraft.
In 1925, Lovecraft traveled to the towns of Richford and Berkshire, Vermont, to investigate sightings of "a very large Griffin-like creature with grayish wings that each spanned ten feet." The “serpent- like tail equaled its wing length" and its "huge claws that could easily grip a milk can's girth."
The creature was first seen by several sawmill workers as they were walking across a bridge in the middle of town. The beast was sitting on a rooftop looking angrily down at the men. One man was so frightened that he had a heart attack. He recovered, but for weeks, he would awaken screaming in the middle of the night.
Spotted often over the next few weeks by farmers and their wives, locals were absolutely petrified. The Awful would fly over fields in the daylight, landing on roofs, and appearing to watch their actions as they went about their daily chores.
One witness claimed the creature was holding a little crying baby as it flew fifty feet over a field. No infants were reported missing in the area, so it was assumed to be a baby animal.
The creature was rarely seen after the 1920s, until two years ago. In October of 2006, H. P. Albarelli, Jr., wrote in the County Courier about a respected citizen of Richford who had recently seen The Awful appear from “nowhere and plucked a huge black crow” out of the top of a pine tree. The incredulous witness went on to say the creature circled his house three times.
After Albarelli’s article appeared, other witnesses reported additional sightings of the cryptid. One lady talked about a time when she was about ten years old, and she and her friends saw the monster “sitting in a tree near the Trout River.” The large winged beast watched them for several minutes. She said it had a strange beak, and reminded her of a pterodactyl.
A dowser in the Richford area, Edith Green, told Albarelli that people have been nervous about the Awful for a very long time.
Another older gentleman said that the creature has been seen often in the Gibou area for the past quarter century, even as recently as the previous month. The man also explained that locals felt “we don’t bother it and it don’t bother us, maybe with a few exceptions.”
One longtime resident of East Richford claims that the Awful has been seen recently around the Slide Road area. He added that “you can usually hear the thing before you see it.” It makes an odd, low screaming sound. When it is close enough, you can hear the flapping of its huge wings.
Mr. Albarelli is in possession of a “petrified jawbone” from an Awful given to him by a logger in the Richford area. It is “stone hard” and “bears a number of very large teeth.” At last report, he was attempting to have the jawbone examined by an expert from the University of Vermont.
References/Sources/For further information and reading:
Coghlan, Ronan. Further Cryptozoology. Bangor: Xiphos Books, 2007.
T. Peter Park Fri, 20 Oct 2006 06:36:32 -0700
Has the Awful returned to Berkshire & Richford? Written by H.P. Albarelli Jr. The County Courier (VT) Thursday, 19 October 2006 ...
Written by H.P. Albarelli Jr. Thursday, 30 November 2006