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The Santer, also referred to as the Wampus, is a mysterious feline reported below the Mason-Dixon line. It is commonly seen in western North Carolina. It is rarely dangerous to mankind, but a frequent predator of livestock. The origin of this creature likely came from tales of lumberjacks in the 19th and early 20th centuries.


It is said to have a long body covered with reddish, sometimes gray, hair, its head is large and bald with small eyes, it also has long legs and a tail, and has eight hard knots in its tail, which makes them look like a string of beads. It can swing it's tail with plenty of power and skill — enough to knock out a cow or a hog with one slap. And obviously this tail can be effectively used in combat.

It lives mostly in wooded swamps in the neighborhood of small villages where cattle and hogs are kept. It is a remarkably fast animal, but is rarely seen. Its cry is a piercing, baby-like wail, that makes even dogs too scared to attack.


The Santer has been reported to have preyed on livestock and local pets. It was also said to have attacked children. It was first reported on in the September 4, 1890 issue of the Statesville Landmark. A police officer by the name of Mr. Fettle claimed to have shot at it while it was after a dog. Its tracks were said to have been seen the next morning. The Santer had also allegedly eaten seven pigs and fifteen cows. A hunting party was made to catch the creature but it was neither seen nor heard. However it's tracks were found and said to have been 8 inches long and 4 inches wide. It's hind tracks were said to be similar to a bear's.

In a different newspaper's October 4, 1890 issue, a possum hunter named Abe Harbin heard the Santer which scared his dogs to come back towards him. Another man named Adam Lentz claimed to see what he said was "only a glimpse" of it. This sighting was enough for him to say it wasn't quite as big as a cow. On a Monday night, it visited two widows' house, rearing up against the door and growling.

On March 17th, 1897, the Santer was sighted at Roaring River where it was allegedly eating the cats around the area. In a May 5, 1897 newspaper article the Santer of this area was suggested to be an escaped lynx from a circus that was exhibited the year before.

In the June 9, 1897 issue of the Elkin Times, the Santer was reported to have been captured. It resembled a large shepherd dog but no one seemed to know what it was. It was said to have feasted on cats and dogs before its capture.

On May 31, 1899, it was reported to have eaten twelve chickens. The woman who sighted it claimed it had a gray appearance and was between the size of a cat and a dog. Accounts of the Santer continued until the 1920s.


Newspapers of the time sometimes created stories to attract sales. The Statesville Landmark was especially accused of this until other accounts of the Santer came to be. Like many other Fearsome Critters, the Santer is most likely a tale invented by lumberjacks.