Today I am sharing a story from Mark Pollard, a good fiend and historian. I love stories about animals and even cryptids as I have found a few from Georgia.
In the 1790s, militiamen on patrol in the Cumberland Mountains stumbled across a creature that “had only two legs, and stood almost upright, covered with scales, of a black, brown, and light yellow colour, in spots like rings, a white tuft or crown on the top of its head, about four feet high, a head as big as a two pound stone, and large eyes, of a fiery red.” When one of the men attacked the thing with his sword, “it jumped up, at least, eight feet” and then landed, spewing “a red kind of matter out of its mouth resembling blood, and then retreated into a Laurel thicket turning round often, as if it intended to fight. The tracks of it resembled that of a goose, but larger.”
The newspapers that reported this was the Hampshire Gazette on Sept. 24, 1794, the Knoxville Gazette,Aug, 30, 1794 and the Baltimore Daily Intelligencer. so this creature the Cheeklaceella has an almost Cherokee sounding name.
I found a story in Myths of the Cherokee by James Mooney about the Snake Man
“Two hunters, both for some reason under a tabu against the meat of a squirrel or turkey, had gone into the woods together. When evening came they found a good camping place and lighted a fire to prepare their supper. One of them had killed several squirrels during the day, and now got ready to broil them over the fire. His companion warned him that if he broke the tabu and ate squirrel meat he would become a snake, but the other laughed and said that was only a conjurer’s story. He went on with his preparation, and when the squirrels were roasted made his supper of them and then lay down beside the fire to sleep.
“Late that night his companion was aroused b y groaning, and on looking around he found the other lying on the ground rolling and twisting in agony, and with the lower part of his body already changed to the body and tail of a large water snake. The man was still able to speak and called loudly for help, but his companion could do nothing, but only sit by and try to comfort him while he watched the arms sink into the body and the skin take on a scaly change that mounted gradually toward the neck, until at last even the head was a serpent’s head and the great snake crawled away from the fire and down the bank into the river.”
Other books and earlier commentators scoffed at the idea. The stories of this monster did not resurface.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/nam/cher/motc/motc057.htm Page 305 Chapter 57. The Snake Man