Hailed From the Elk River Banks Near Pineville, MO, Comes an American Horror Story

Stories, as we all know, can come from two places: truth and myth. So, after you’ve finished reading this story, you’ll need to decide whether what you’ve read here is real or fiction.

Either way, this story begins on the Elk River banks just west of Pineville, MO. Locals in the area are familiar with a variety of forest creatures from;

  • Hawks to owls
  • Rabbits to squirrels
  • Armadillos to possums
  • Fish to otters
  • Bears to deer

Nothing really out of the ordinary, except for what locals call the horsap. A small illusive but fearsome creature, rarely seen by locals. But the story goes, it stands no taller than two feet and lives along the banks of the Elk River.

Horsap Creature

Although locals describe this creature as small, it’s not well-known how it got its name. It has a distinctive screech that often echoes in all directions. But generally only heard after dark during the last two weekends in October, which only adds to this American Horror Story.

Some locals talk of having encountered the creature as appearing horse-like with appendages that do not appear to leave behind hoofprints. According to one local, Harper Gladlock (fictitious names were used to protect local residents), he heard the creature’s harrowing shriek late one evening on the Friday before Halloween two years ago.

Mr. Gladlock reportedly knew the creature was nearby because of how loud it sounded and hearing something moving about in the shrubs along the Elk River banks. So he wandered down to the river bank in search of it and was frightened by someone or something charging him from the bush with a snarling grumble.

Although the horsap didn’t continue to pursue Mr. Gladlock, he reportedly looked over his shoulder at the last moment. Unfortunately, he only saw a small, deformed creature that looked much like a miniature horse with flippers. 

The next day Mr. Gladlock returned to the river-side to look for tracks from whatever he encountered but only reportedly found drag marks in dried mud that looked more like feathers with 4-inch talons on end.

Scottish Gaelic lore talks of a similar creature, the aughisky or ech-ushkya (pronunciation: each-uisge). English translation, the water horse. Perhaps this tiny creature isn’t as vicious as the mythical creature the Scots portray, but one thing makes this story eerily creepy. Where does this creature go for the other 50 weeks out of the year?

Myth or Legend, Book Your Haunted Float to Decide

To decide if this story holds water, book your haunted weekend stay at Lazy Days Campground today; call (417) 223-3498. There are only two weekends left to book a haunted float trip down the Elk River.

Tickets are available for purchase online. The first haunted float launches at 7:00 pm, with the last raft pushing off at 10:00 pm.

  • Friday, October 21
  • Saturday, October 22
  • Friday, October 28
  • Saturday, October 29
  • Sunday, October 30
  • Monday, October 31

Wicked Hauntings of the Elk River Waters between Pineville and Noel, MO

Are you a ghost hunter? Do you love to have the wits scared out of you? Are you a thrill seeker looking for a unique haunting this October? Then look no further; you’ve stumbled across a wicked haunting of paranormal activity. 

Each year, on the eve of October 1, the Elk River of Southwest Missouri is said to be fraught with lore by locals living between Pineville and Noel, Missouri. They tell a bizarre story of someone, or something cursed, that haunts the Elk River waters. 

Locals that grew up in the area, like the Lazy Days Resort & Campground owners, tell a story passed down from one generation to the next. But, it’s no ordinary ghost story! Instead, it’s strangely twisted, like many other urban legends.

So before we continue, know this, paranormal activity is often wrapped up in a shroud of confusion. So if you’re expecting answers, you will need to book a float trip to investigate this haunting for yourself. 

Historical Notes

Weather forecasts in the late 1800s were only reported as far as 48 hours and generally provided to the local post offices using the telegraph. In 1847 the town was known as Maryville, before Pineville became incorporated in 1873. 

But according to history, the Pineville, Missouri, post office was established on September 11, 1849. Nearly 24 years before becoming incorporated, there was no record of the town of Maryville, MO, anywhere in the public record.

Adding to the confusion behind this story was the U. S. Congress of 1898, which had not approved wide-scale dissemination of weather forecasts west of the Mississippi. That means there is no evidence of the story you are about to read.

Haunting of Elk River

It all began on the eve of October 1, 1898, while two teenage boys were canoeing down Elk River, fishing at dusk. The weather that day was remarkably perfect and made for an excellent evening for Fall fishing, at least so they thought. 

The two young men launched on their fishing trip toward Noel, MO, from the Elk River public access point in Pineville, the seat of McDonald County since 1847. They had just passed where the I-49 bridge now sits when they heard what could only be described as a haunting banshee howl. The dusky skies quickly disappeared behind a dense fog.

As the two became more alarmed by the unearthly howls from the nearby pine forest that echoed across the waters, they reeled in their last cast and began paddling toward the shoreline. All while hoping not to encounter whatever was lurking nearby.

The boys looked upriver toward the town of Pineville, which disappeared into the fog bank. The day turned to night, and temperatures dropped nearly 40 degrees in seconds. Engulfed by the mist, the last five miles of their journey would haunt these two young men forever!

Upon their return to town, the two ran to the Pineville sheriff’s office, uncertain that anyone would believe them, and nearly flush with fear, they tried to tell the story simultaneously. Finally, sheriff Jarrett, supposedly at the time of the incident, separated the two boys. With remarkable accuracy in detail, they recounted their experiences exactly.

They spoke of a figure that walked down the center of Elk River but couldn’t be sure it was human. Then it would disappear for nearly five minutes before re-emerging behind them and looking more ghostly than human and floating rather than walking. Almost seven times, both boys reported feeling a bump alongside their boat, nearly turning them over as if something wanted them in the water.

Although, there is no official record of any kind. Sheriff Jarrett took nearly 168 reports from townspeople who heard a screeching howl every Friday and Saturday evening in October. But no one else reported any sightings of ghostly figures, strange beings on the river, or peculiar weather patterns.

If no evidence of such a story was recorded, does that mean it’s simply a local legend? Of course, but isn’t it worth investigating for yourself? Could it be that something wicked haunts the waters of Elk River? If so, what or who is it? Does it want to harm people, or is it just a restless soul looking for peace?

Haunted Discovery

To discover what those fright night shrieks and shrills are all about along Elk River, book your haunted weekend stay at Lazy Days Campground by calling (417) 223-3498 today. Haunted float trips will continue every weekend for the entire month of October. 

Tickets are available for purchase online. The first haunted float launches at 6:00 pm, with the last raft pushing off at 10:00 pm.

  • Friday, October 7
  • Saturday, October 8
  • Friday, October 14
  • Saturday, October 15
  • Friday, October 21
  • Saturday, October 22
  • Friday, October 28
  • Saturday, October 29
  • Sunday, October 30
  • Monday, October 31