Miniwashitu, also known as the Water Monster of the Missouri River, is a terrifying hairy beast that supposedly travels the Missouri River in central North Dakota. This bipedal creature seems to be similar to West Virginia's Sheepsquatch - the Miniwashitu is 7-8 feet tall, has tough bison-like hide and fur, has a single eye and a single bison horn set above this eye, elk-like hooves, human hands, and a jagged and spiny backbone much like a Chupacabra's. Natives to the area, such as the Mandan tribes, would say that the Miniwashitu would control spring breakup by smashing the river ice as the temperatures would rise and the creature was more active in the warming temperatures.
A legend of the Dakota nation tells the story of Miniwashitu; a Missouri River monster of terrifying appearance and effect. Author Melvin Randolph Gilmore, one-time curator for the North Dakota State Historical Society, wrote about Miniwashitu in 1921:
"It is said that in the long ago there was a mysterious being within the stream of the Missouri River. It was seldom seen by human beings, and was most dreadful to see. It is said that sometimes it was seen within the water in the middle of the stream, causing a redness shining like the redness of fire as it passed up the stream against the current with a terrific roaring sound.
miniwashitu-featureAnd they say that if this dreadful being was seen by anyone in the daytime anyone who thus saw it soon after became crazy and continued restless and writhing as though in pain until he was relieved by death. And it is said that one time not a very great many years ago this frightful being was seen by a man, and he told how it appeared. He said that it was of strange form and covered all over with hair like a buffalo, but red in color; that it had only one eye in the middle of its forehead, and above that a single horn. Its backbone stood out notched and jagged like an enormous saw. As soon as the man beheld the awful sight everything became dark to him, he said. He was just able to reach home, but he lost his reason and soon after that he died.
It is said this mysterious “Miniwashitu” (water monster) still lives in the Missouri River, and that in springtime, as it moves up-stream against the current it breaks up the ice of the river. This water monster was held in awe and dread by the people"