Lance Foster (hengruh) wrote,
Lance Foster
hengruh

Shunka Waraki'n/ Shunka Warakin/ Ringdocus update

Back in the 1980s I became aware of the Ioway story of the shunka warak'in, an animal in Iowa that was hyena-like, that they killed and put its skin in their medicine bundle. In the 1990s I learned about an animal that matched the description and was killed in Montana in the 1880s and put in a museum in Idaho from my friend Rae Ellen in the Forest Service when we both worked there. The shooter called his animal a Ringdocus. I wondered if it might be the same animal that was always rare but became extinct like the Passenger pigeon did. I wrote to Loren Coleman about it in the 1990s, and he wrote about it in his book Cryptozoology A to Z (1999). Since then it has become part of the cryptozoology world, and more and more have become aware of it. Finally the mounted animal was rediscovered and placed in a museum in Ennis.. I saw it there. It is similar to a wolf but is different enough (the mount is old and distorted, and it has faint stripes on its hindquarters) that DNA should be done to see if it is really a wolf or if it is something different. Of course then the amulet in the Ioway collection could be tested, and see if it is a match. Maybe we might find there is a new species of cryptocanid. Recently the show "Mysteries of the Museum." But like all things that are merged into pop culture, it takes on its own life, and distortion comes about like in a show I saw yesterday on "Haunted Highways". Of course they didn't know how to pronounce it and oddly they didn't appear to have visited the museum while they were there to see the animal itself! Now people seem to think of it as a "werewolf-like creature" that is ripping apart livestock in Montana, and a lady even said she saw one. Funny thing though is that she lives in Ennis which is where she could have seen the mounted animal. Anyways, it is interesting watching this mutate. It is weird to have been an integral part of a pop culture meme from the very beginning.

You can see more about my journey with the Shunka Warak'in on my Paranormal Montana blog.
Tags: cryptozoology, shunka warak'in
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