The Vagabond has placed together several strange happenings in Etowah County. We have discussed such things as a Bigfoot roaming here locally and 12-foot giants found buried in Whorton’s Bend. The Vagabond actually has witnessed some of these strange happenings, including sightings of UFOs and aliens.
Earlier in the series we discussed Bigfoot sightings around the area. This week we will discuss the legend of a White Thang has been prevalent since the 1930s and 40s in Etowah County. Folks reported seeing a creature more than seven feet tall and covered in white hair. It has been sighted in many places out in the county. Unfortunately, there have been so many sightings that The Vagabond will not be able to publish but only a few.
Despite its size, the creature is known for its ability to move extremely quickly and for an eerie screech that sounds like a woman’s scream. Some have described the scream as sounding like that of a panther.
Many people have speculated that the White Thing is an albino Bigfoot or perhaps a large albino bear. Some have said that it looks like a bushy lion or a cross between a dog and a lion. Many have said the creature was white and slick with long hair. It had a slick tail, and down on the end of the tail a big ol’ bush of hair. Some say it is an animal that almost looks like a camel that can stand upright.
One person stated he sat up against a tree and fell asleep. When he woke up, the sun was just rising, and the ‘white thang’ was lying right beside him and was looking at him. He said that “it didn’t offer to hurt him or nothing.”
Sometimes the phrase White Thang is used to describe a humanoid, possibly alien figure spotted in caves or drainage ditches. The creature is described as having no eyes or ears and being completely white. A team of researchers has started a Facebook page called Alabama White Thang.
Almost all witnesses say that the creature makes a howl that will raise the hairs on your neck, is seven-plus feet tall with dirty white hair and weighs at least 600 pounds. It isn’t aggressive, but just wants to be left alone and is very elusive.
The White Thang stories that The Vagabond first heard came from Ball Play Swamp in the Hokes Bluff area around 1980 or so. That person said the stories his grandfather always told was looking “kind of like an albino Sasquatch or something….with the red eyes and long fingernails.” The first time he saw the creature, it was in the back of the woods and followed the Coosa River and ran across the river. The creature always came around whenever there was a hog killing or someone’s wake. It was not a panther, lion, goat, sheep, dog, deer, or any other known animal. Someone said that they have heard stories about this for years from their grandparents that lived in the Altoona area. The creature was well known around the area, and all the old folks told similar tales of what it looked like and how it acted and the fact that back then, you just knew the creature was coming around when someone died.
Someone who was 61 year old said that when they were a child, they saw it many times. This was when they had to draw water from the well to wash clothes in the evening for the next day wash. You could see the creature down near the edge of the woods. At night, you could hear it cry like a baby or scream like a woman, sending chills all over.
Many people have seen the creature close to Tumlin Gap in the Altoona, Aurora and Mountain Top areas.
Another person said that from family history, stories of the white thang have been around a long time. A popular tale in his family is in the 1930’s was about some uncle that had been coon hunting one night. All of a sudden the dogs came back whining with the hair on their backs standing up and wouldn’t leave their sides. The uncles started home, but when they looked back down the road behind them, they saw a “white thang” following them. The uncles ran the rest of the way home.
Recently on facebook, folks of the Etowah County area spoke about their experience of White Thang:
Devron and Terri Epperson: “I’m from Ball Play. I heard about it all my life but never seen it. I used to hear screams from the woods. Some of the old timers use too talk about it, especially around Kershaw quarter’s and Pollards Bend.”
Keith McKee: “I have heard of that myself in the Aurora area. It killed a calf and took it off. When I lived on Short Creek in Albertville, people up there claim to have seen it. I bet it’s albino cougar.”
Sharronda Hawkins Waldrop: “I lived at Ball Play for 12 years. I heard screaming in the woods the first year we lived there. The neighbors said it was coyotes, but it sure didn’t sound like it. That was the weirdest and scariest sound I have ever heard! It sounded like a woman being murdered! I have never heard of a white thang, but if I had, I would have moved a long time before I did from there!”
Lamar Stott: “I live in Ball Play and have heard it many times.”
Gina West: “I grew up in the Egypt Community, and I too have heard of this, mainly by the old timers and people that were raised there in Egypt and Aurora. I’ve never seen it but we also hear screams here at night.”
Deanna Lankford: “I have heard stories, but that was from my grandparents when I was little and do not remember the stories!”
Gina West: “I remember a story that went around when I was young about a white thing that years and years ago in the Littleton area where my parents now live, was suppose to have killed an old man bailing hay. He was found him shredded by his tractor. I have heard all sorts of tales!”
Eddy Arnold Smith: “My sister and I saw it when we were kids off Green Valley Road. It had to be around 1958-59. It was late afternoon in the fall and the leaves were almost all fallen. We were in the woods behind Green Valley Church about 1/4 mile from Pine Grove Cemetery. The description is very good. We were about 50 yards away. The creature was pale white, moving crouched over and making it less than feet feet in height. It was probably 80-90 pounds and made the high-pitched sound of a crying woman. We were scared out of our skin. It made no attempt to approach us or seem threatening in any way. It actually turned its head away from us. My children and now my grandchildren have heard this story many times. Yes, they think we were hallucinating, but they still love the story!”
Cheryl Archer: “I grew up in Rainbow City and remember my parents telling me about something that came down from the mountain behind us into their yard. I remember they said it screamed like a woman, too. I don’t think they saw it; they just heard it. That would have been in the 1950s. I never heard it called “white thang,” though.”
Darrell Battles: “It killed our hogs and goats years ago in Ivalee. The paws were bear-like but with an additional claw.”
Kay Daugherty Jones: “Seriously, I used to hear that thing ALL the time when I was a kid. It was very loud and creepy, like a woman screaming. I still live in Ball Play but haven’t heard it in years.”