The Dwayyo

From Ghosts and Legends of Frederick County by Timothy L. Cannon and Nancy F. Whitmore

On Saturday evening, November 27, 1965, near the woods of Gambrill State Park, "John Becker" went out in his yard to investigate a strange noise. It was getting dark, and he had started back to the house, when he saw it – something moving toward him.

"It was as big as a bear, had long black hair, a bushy tail, and growled like a wolf or a dog in anger."

As it got closer, it stood up on its hind legs and attacked him. "Becker" fought the creature until it ran into the woods, leaving him, his wife and children in horror.

Deciding to remain anonymous under the alias John Becker, he filed a report with local state police, telling of an attack by a mysterious monster that he called a Dwayyo.

Sensing a good story, Frederick News Post reporter George May wrote a series of articles on the monster, and soon newspapers throughout the area were carrying the story.

These articles spawned a rash of calls and letters to the newspaper, ranging from the absurd to the furious.

Several University of Maryland students wrote that they had investigated the origin of the unknown creature and had traced its ancestry to the upper Amazon River and the Yangtze River plateau. They also reported that they had seen several of the creatures on campus late at night and found them friendly and fun loving.

The County Treasurer’s office received an application for a Dwayyo license from a "John Becker" accompanied by the one-dollar fee. The license was issued and mailed in care of George May, Frederick News Post.

An Adamstown woman called the paper and insisted that "this trash about the Dwayyo be stopped." She said her daughter was being treated for a nervous condition because of all this talk about the Dwayyo.

The Frederick newspapers also reported other "sightings."

Several hunters saw a strange black beast roaming the woods. An Ellerton woman reported that residents of that area had heard something cry like a baby and scream like a woman for several months. A Jefferson woman said that she saw a strange dog-shaped animal about the size of a calf chasing some cows on a farm near her home.

However, investigations by local and state police turned up nothing substantial on the John Becker-Dwayyo story.

By mid-December, the story started to fade. There had not been any sightings for several days, and it was suggested that the Dwayyo had moved on to another area.

For some people, the Dwayyo was a reminder of the Snallygaster – possibly even hatched from a Snallygaster egg. To others it was merely a case of premature Christmas cheer.