Local Legends: Lake Worth’s Cryptid


October calls for spooky stories! A big part of camping is telling stories around the campfire. Some of these are made up on the spot, some are passed down through family traditions, and some are based on local legends but they all typically have one thing in common – they are creepy. Let’s gather around the fire for some local North Texas legends! This first cryptid is supposed to “live” in a place that I really enjoy hiking at, fingers crossed that we don’t cross paths.

The Lake Worth Monster

Imagine you are hiking the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge you have seen bison grazing and multitude of ducks and cranes flying low over the water of Lake Worth. Your hike takes you over the land bridge to Greer Island and has run later than expected. The sun is beginning to set on a cold, short winter day. The plan is to make the loop before heading back to the parking lot. There is a rustle in the bushes a head of you but a couple hikers round the bend, heading off the island, they must have made the sound or maybe it was a rabbit. You hike on as the light fades, walking fast and making more noise than you prefer.

It takes a while to realize that the forest around you has gone quiet. When the fact does hit your sense, you stop in the middle of the trail. What is that, that thing, moving just up ahead off the trail? Through the trees you can just see movement, a bulky creature, almost a bear but you haven’t heard of any bears in the park. It looks to shaggy, to be a big cat even if there are rumors of mountain lions prowling through the area every so often. As the creature steps out of the trees and onto the lake shore you realize that the shaggy fur is not gray-brown as it seemed in the shadows but white with leaves and twigs caught up on it. In the next moment it stands to its full height. Taller than most men and its shoulders are twice as wide. You take an involuntary step backwards and step on a twig, the snap is loud in the too quiet dusk. The great shaggy head turns towards the sound, eyes bright, nostrils flaring. Without thinking you turn and run. Running harder than you ever have before, too scared to look back. The pounding of your feet on the trail and the gasping of your breath make it impossible to hear if anything is following. You practically fly down the land bridge and back to your car. As you begin to drive away and stars begin to flair to life you dare to glance at the island, on the edge stands a patch of white fur, the head raises up and a deep, haunting cry floats across the water on the night air.

If you want to read the accounts of the time the Lake Worth Monster was actually “seen” in 1969 check it out here. My story above is a dramatization that I felt pulled the reader in a bit more and was more fitting for a campfire story.

Let me know if you enjoyed this first campfire story, I’m working on collecting others from around the U.S. If you have a favorite campfire story that you would like to see featured, add it as a comment or send it to me via my contact page! Have a great weekend, be careful about those things in the woods.

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