The Cryptid Zoo: Piasa

The piasa is a variety of American dragon from the Mississippi River valley, described as a winged beast the size of a calf. It is covered with scales that are green (possibly mixed with areas of red and black) and has horns on its head that are compared to the antlers of a deer. It has a long tail that is at least twice the length of the rest of its body, and its face looks strangely human. This beast prefers human flesh. Sometimes it is classified as a bizarre sort of mermaid, since it is supposed to inhabit a whirlpool and can go underwater.

Since the piasa is often sighted in the same areas as the thunderbird, some researchers think it might be a thunderbird that has been obscured by folklore. Although the Illini Indians have many older tales of piasa encounters, modern sightings have become quite rare.

You can find out more about the Piasa from the following sources:

Blackman, W. Haden. The Field Guide to North American Monsters New York: Three Rivers Press, 1998. Pages 96-97
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Brookesmith, Peter, ed. Creatures from Elsewhere. London, Chartwell Books, 1989. Page 21

Clark, Jerome and Coleman, Loren. Cryptozoology A-Z. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999. Pages 201-202

Newton, Michael. Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology: A Global Guide to Hidden Animals and Their Pursuers. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2005. Pages 65, 119, 206, 372-373

Rose, Carol. Giants, Monsters and Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend and Myth. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2000. Page 293

Wikipedia, The. Piasa

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The text on this page is copyright 2005 by Jamie Hall. Please use proper citation if you are using this website for research.