On January 31st, 1897, the Arkansas Gazette reported on a “horrible monster” terrorizing Searcy County.
Called the gowrow based on its horrifying roar, the beast had been slaughtering cattle until a posse tracked it to its cave, littered with human and animal remains, and killed the beast with several volleys of rifle fire, but not before the twenty-foot long, fearsomely tusked gowrow ripped the leg from a posse member.
Folklorist Vance Randolph documented tales of gowrows dating to the 1880s, claiming the species was born from soft-shelled eggs the size of beer kegs and recounting a spelunker’s encounter with the beast in Boone County’s Devil’s Hole cave.
A Mena man claimed to have captured a gowrow and would offer to exhibit it for a quarter a pop, but would stagger from behind a curtain in torn clothing and claim the beast had escaped when it came time to show it.
Gazette editor Fred Allsopp was likely correct when he wrote “It was a great fake, probably without foundation in fact.” To learn more, visit the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.