Cryptober day 3 – The Spectral Moose of Maine

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October 4, 2020 by Bret Kramer (aka WinstonP)

Many strange creatures are said to stalk the woods of Maine, but none is quite so famous as the so-called Spectral Moose.

While the above moose was spotted in Sweden, eliptonists have collected several accounts of Maine’s “spectral” moose dating back to the 1880s:

  • 1891 – A guide named Clarence Duffy claimed to have spotted an exceptionally large white or very light brown moose near Lobster Lake; while he is initially disbelieved, other hunters spotted a similar looking creature soon after however. One attempted to shoot at it, striking the creature with little effect. In fact the moose charged at him, forcing him to take refuge in a cave.
  • 1892 – A New York sportsman named Howard Van Ness saw the moose near Norcross, Maine (about 50 miles from Lobster Lake) and fired at it several times. He too was chased off by the creature.
  • 1895 & 1899 – Again spotted by hunters, one of whom claimed to have fired at it five times without effect. The later sighting was covered by the New York Times.
  • 1901 – Spotted near Chairback Mountain.
  • 1906 – A bicyclist encountered the moose while riding from Sherman to Macwahoc. The creature charged him, and he climbed a tree for safety.
  • 1908 – The moose was spotted with a herd of other moose near Chesuncook Lake. (Yes, that Chesuncook.)
  • 1917 – A larger than average white moose was seen near Mt. Katahdin.

Later accounts can be found online, including several in the 1930s, but looking at this survey of Spectral Moose sighting, these seem to rehashing of earlier encounters.

Most of the accounts described a similar creature, a pale tan or white moose about twice the size of a normal moose, with a great rack of antlers. Bullets seemed unable to effect it. It also seemed able to pass through marshy ground as quickly as it traversed dry land; likewise heavy undergrowth did little to slow it.

At least one tale of the spectral moose (unsourced) claimed that a group of hunters shot, killed, and skinned a white moose only to discover it vanished by morning.

(A special shout-out to my favorite white Moose, Christine McGlade.)

Don’t say “I Don’t Know”

Tomorrow we will look at one of Massachusetts’ most famous, but very little seen, Cryptids…

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