The Cross-eyed Crud. - [Fearsome Critter] - Kansas city, Missouri.
• About this critter: A slippery, seldom seen cross-eyed serpent, something like a cross between a catfish and an Eel. it stalks & surprises sailors, fishermen, and baseball players. - Said to be a 'miscreation' of the Missouri river where it dwells underneath the surface crud.- Not much else is confirmed about the critters appearance, other than that it is cross-eyed. - it's a sly. slippery one, that only rises from the muck, only when and if it wants to be seen. - According to legend, a man named 'Sammy Vandy' was able to catch the crud by beating it in a wrestling match underwater.*
• History: Theres really not much to be said about the crosseyed crud sadly, it was only described incredibly briefly by Vance Randolph in his book "We Always Lie to Strangers: Tall Tales from the Ozarks." [published 1951.] - in it, he mentions that Kansas City folk would tell big tales & stories about a River Monster while at Jonny Kling's place. (Klings was a baseball player for the cubs from 1900-1913.) - Vance doesn't even mention what the Crud might have looked like, only mentioning it as "some kind of monster found in the Missouri River" an afterthought when referring to a few other critters such as the 'hickelsnoopus' & the 'ring-tailed tooter' (which he was also unable to find more information about.) - So, I'd suppose it's just one of those critters that lacks any concrete information & its lore is likely lost to time. - Unless you're local and able to do further research, to try and find more information about this one would likely be a proverbial snipe hunt indeed.
[The one and only mention of the critter in the book.]
• Clipping of a newspaper ad for Vance Randolf's collection of tall-tales and Ozark folklore: 1951's "We Always Lie to Strangers: Tall Tales from the Ozarks."
...However, it is worth note that the Missouri River IS home to various mysterious monsters, serpents & dragons, As well as giant catfish have in fact been caught!! - so it could have simply been jokingly referring to one of those!
The crud might also have something to do with various reports of 'cross eyed fish' from folklore, for instance the "cross eyed bass" spoken about in big joe mufferaw tales & songs
The Crosseyed-crud was also one of many critters alliterated about in Lenwoods Lexicon of Lumberwoods Lore (2019) - the first to describe it as a sea serpent-like creature.
*Dedication: This design is dedicated to Prof Ryan Harmsen, who illustrated & wrote about his take on the crud in his "Encyclopedia Americana Monstrum" (2022) - a book of extremely limited print which he was good enough to send me a personal copy of! - He even illustrated me riding the crud once (as it was my personal favourite of the many critters they've illustrated.) - As such, this incredibly mysterious critter holds a special place in my heart. - Please Do check out more of Ryans works as well when you have the chance!
~ Sticker Art by @SamKalensky part of my Fearsome Critters collection of stickers! Check my shop for many more!! ~