The Tale of the Crying Devil
Central Kentucky News
From Our Files for Sept. 22, 2013
100 Years Ago — 1913
T.T. Dean, who lives in the Ebenezer section of Mercer County close to the Kentucky River has reported that a strange bird has been alarming his neighborhood. It is about the size of a turkey gobbler and has an unearthly and frightful cry that once heard will never be forgotten. It always appears at night and he said it chills his blood and makes him feel like praying whenever he hears it. Even his dog and family cat run under the house and hide when the bird cries. His young daughter, when she hears the unearthly screams, wants to get in the bed under the covers. And, a large flock of turkeys that have been roosting contentedly in the yard, now try to crowd on the porch to roost as close to the house as they can get and can hardly be driven off. Mr. Dean said he has not been able to get close enough to kill it yet but hasn’t given up hope. He said it reminds him of a bird that about 25 years ago terrorized the Bohon section. The people then gave it the name of the “Crying Devil.”
and from Forgotten Tales of Kentucky, by Keven McQueen
In December, the bird got caught on a trout line’s hook and drowned in the Kentucky River. It reportedly “resembled a huge duck,” had a wingspan of five and a half feet, weighed twelve pounds and had three toes on each foot. W.M. Bunton had a taxidermist preserve and mount the once-proud Crying Devil and displayed in his home. Perhaps the stuffed specimen still exists in someone’s attic, awaiting the scrutiny of ornithologists. Apparently, the bizarre bird had no mate or offspring, for the community has remained untroubled by the Crying Devil’s call – and let us be grateful for that!