Cryptid Casefile: The Northfield Pigman
Updated: Sep 23, 2020
Type: Humanoid / mutant
Appearance: White fur, pigs face
Location: Vermont, USA
Abilities: Super strength & stealth
New England is full of lore and legends of monsters and high strangeness dating back centuries. Vermont is an unsuspecting rural state, but is certainly not void of reports of cryptid sightings, ghostly and otherwise paranormal activity. From the Bennington Triangle, reports of Bigfoot and most famously, Lake Champlains own cryptid, Champ, Vermonters are no strangers to the weird. In the quaint town of Northfield many locals believe that a foul man-beast stalks the dark woods and mountains surrounding their small village. What is this thing you ask? Residents of Northfield know him only by this one name... It is said this mutant creature is known to scare local kids and it is thought to be responsible for the mysterious disappearances & slaughterings of local livestock over the years. This is the story of the Northfield Pigman. You can read more about the Northfield Pigman in Joseph A. Citro's book, Weird New England!
The legend of the Northfield Pigman starts on the night of October 30th, 1951, during Northfields traditional "picket night" (a night of mischief for the kids in town). On this night, then 17-year-old, Sam Harris went out to cause mischief, armed with eggs to throw at homes, cars or other people. However after the night was over, Sam never returned home. Despite his parents calling the local authorities and an ensuing search party covering hundreds of square miles, his body was never found.
According to people who knew the boy, Sam was apparently known to have a tendency for animal cruelty and had a particular affinity for slaughtering pigs and dining on their entrails. To top it off, there were stories of him carving out pig skulls and would fashion them as masks. Some believe that on that fateful night in 1951, Sam became possessed by the Devil himself, and transformed into a pig-like monster that would later terrorize the town of Northfield. Others believe the Pigman is a separate entity that may be responsible for the disappearance of Sam Harris all those years ago.
The first notable sighting of of this creature occurred 20 years later. The year was 1971, the setting, was the cliche local high school dance. During the event a group of teens burst into the gymnasium where the dance was happening, frightened and crying, seemingly trying to get away from someone or something. It turns out they had snuck away from the dance to drink at a sandpit behind the school when all of a sudden this unearthly creature walked out from the tree line of the nearby forest. The kids described it as walking on two legs, naked, covered in white fur and it had the face of a pig. Terrified, the kids bolted from the scene and ran into the school seeking safety. Some brave students went to investigate, only finding partially full beer cans at the scene and no sign of the creature. It was then that the legend of the Pigman was born.
Word quickly spread around town, and other locals, who confirmed seeing a similar creature around nearby farms around the time when several disappearances of local livestock occurred. One farmer claimed to have spotted the creature rummaging through his trash a few nights earlier. This Pigman, if real could be a true cryptid, but it could be something more sinister – a deranged man, going around town terrorizing kids and killing peoples livestock and perhaps even killing people too. According to reports, before the Northfield High School dance incident, a local boy had gone missing a few months prior, causing some to wonder if the boy fell prey to the beast. Rumors also popped up that this Pigman, may have been the result of some satanic ritual involving the creation of a human-pig hybrid, though that's the least likely scenario. As the years went on, many have tried connecting the identity of the Pigman with Sam Harris, as his affinity for animal abuse, particularly towards pigs, along with his disappearance makes a compelling case as to who or what this creature may be.
The majority of the sightings of the Northfield Pigman in years since have occurred around a Class-4 (unmaintained) mountain road called Washbowl Road which cuts through an area aptly named the "Devils Washbowl." Being a native Vermonter, I've personally driven up there myself once and it is very remote. When you experience isolated wilderness its hard to deny the creepy, vibes it gives off. The only thing missing was a banjo playing somewhere in the distance. If you ever visit there, it's a sparsely populated road complete with an old abandoned house. There are a few houses there, but they're at least 1/2 to 3/4 miles apart, leaving plenty of room to feel cut off from civilization. There are also several caves in the area as well as a waterway. locals believe the Pigman resides in one of these caves and teens have been reported to occasionally hike up there, hoping to catch a glimpse of the notorious beast. Some have tried and gone on to regret going there in the first place.
During my research, I stumbled upon a post on Reddit dated to 2015 where a user recounted an alleged Pigman encounter from the 80's experienced by a family member. According to the story, hearing legends of the foul creature, this mans older sister and her friends, who were seniors in high school at the time, decided to conduct a stakeout in the Devils Washbowl. There were 3-4 couples or 6-8 people total that planned on camping in the local caves for an evening, hoping to experience something. They assigned one couple per cave to maximize their coverage of the area. As it turns out, while this mans sister and boyfriend were setting up their cave camp site they heard screaming from one of the other caves nearby. They dropped what they were doing and rushed to the scene only to find their friend curled up in a corner of the cave, scared out of her wits. Their friend was hysterical, screaming that her boyfriend was just dragged off by Pigman only moments before they arrived. Apparently it waltzed in, unfazed by their shouts and attempts to scare it off. The creature grabbed a rock from the cave floor and smashed it over the boyfriends head, and dragged him away. It's unclear whether this blow killed the young man or merely knocked him out. This was confirmed from spotting the rock, dropped by the Pigman which was covered in blood. The girls ran to the cars so they could rush to the police to report what happened. Meanwhile, the rest of the boys gathered their flashlights and makeshift weapons to hunt down the Pigman and avenge their friend, but quickly lost the trail. Allegedly search parties by the Police K-9 unit also could not locate the kidnapped high school senior. A couple days later they found the boys torn up clothes at a nearby abandoned farm house and after that the trail went cold. To this day, if the story is true, the boy was never found. Since this story happened in the 1980's, it's hard to validate if this story is true and further research would be required to prove its authenticity.
To date, the Northfield Pigman has never been caught on camera or otherwise. There are also many tall tales and conflicting information about the story of this wretched creature. Some believe it's just a local story to scare young children from not going out at night, or to not get int mischief during Halloween. The whole story could very well be a hoax, but if you do find yourself in the Devils Washbowl, in the dark woods of Northfield, Vermont, beware...
• A Halloween story to scare kids
• A feral or deranged man
• A Bigfoot/Woodwose type creature
If you have any personal experiences with Pigman, or other cryptids, parannormal phenomena, UFOs & aliens you want to share, please head to the contact page and shoot me an e-mail, or DM me on social media.
Thanks to my Amazon Affiliate partnership I'm able to provide links to great reads about fortean subjects. As mentioned and linked above, Joseph A. Citro's book, Weird New England is a great compendium of strange stories and encounters that have been reported in the the Northeastern part of the United States, including more info about the Northfield Pigman! If you follow through my link it helps me out and keeps the lights on. Thanks for reading! Buy it here (or click the book image)!