Far from the city lights that shimmer about its mouth in downtown Pittsburgh, the Monongahela River arises more than 200 miles to the south among some of the most remote reaches in the Appalachian Mountains. Some of its tributaries descend out of forests so old and large that only the most intrepid hunters have seen them.
Given its sources, it's hardly surprising that the river has inspired more than its fair share of lore—including monster lore.
Historian Glenn Lough once postulated that tales of monsters that lurked in the Monongahela were first invented by indigenous peoples to frighten Europeans away from their camps and were recycled by settlers to impress new residents.
They were later taken up by the thousands of immigrants who arrived in the valley to work at mines and factories along the river in such places as Fairmont and Morgantown.
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