Although you've likely never heard of Bladenboro, you might be surprised to learn that it's home to a very intriguing North Carolina vampire-beast legend. In the early 1950s, locals reported a strange creature emerging from the woods and killing multiple livestock and dogs, leaving their mutilated bodies behind. This happened several different times within the course of a month but the strangest thing was that the creature seemed mostly interested in drinking blood. Thus was born the "Beast Of Bladenboro" legend that still thrives in the area.
The story behind the vampire beast terrorizing Bladenboro is a long and strange one. Between footprints, animal corpses, and eyewitness sightings, it's clear that there is some sort of mysterious beast in the area, and no one is really sure what it is. Mysterious animal deaths still crop up in the area from time to time, leading some to believe the beast may still be on the loose.
There are few myths about vampires in the United States, and this one is certainly memorable. Whether you yourself have spotted the cryptid or whether you just enjoy the legends, it's interesting to ponder what's lurking out there in the woods and why gruesome mysteries like this remain unsolved.
The first sighting of the beast happened back in 1953. On the evening of December 29th, a woman heard her neighbor's dogs causing a fuss outside at night. They were barking, and whimpering as if in fear, and she went out to check to see what the matter was. to her surprise, she reportedly found a large, cat-like creature that she thought was a mix between a lion and a bear. It slunk away into the darkness before she could get a decent look at it, however, leaving her reasonably shaken from the experience.
But that wasn't all. In some accounts of the incident, the dogs did more than just bark. The creature came prowling back, and ended up killing both dogs in a horrifying manner. Later on, there would be more sightings and more killings, but it was on that day that the Beast of Bladenboro was born.
There was one chilling factor that set the beast apart from an average bear or wild dog: it seemed fixated on blood. When dogs and livestock began turning up dead, local authorities found that the animals had been drained of blood with only few drops left in the corpses. While some of the victimized animals were horrifyingly mutilated, some bodies were found simply with bites and broken bones, and were flattened. One witness even recalls that it seemed the strange animal was drinking blood from one of the dogs it had killed.
Newspapers, as you might guess, latched onto the notion that there was a blood-sucker about, and began describing the beast as vampiric. This also gave rise to the notion that the beast might be something supernatural or mutated, as few animals in the world particularly feed off of solely blood. While this mystified and sensationalized the beast, it also frightened people, and they soon decided the beast had to be caught.
While the beast took down livestock including goats, pigs, and perhaps even horses, its preferred prey tended to be dogs, leading to further speculation that the vampire might be more cat-like than wolf-like, as cats are notorious enemies of dogs.
After the first sighting in December, the beast re-emerged and went on a rampage. On New Year's Eve 1953, Woody Storm found two of his dogs gruesomely killed on his property. Both had obviously been brought down by something large, as they were not exactly small dogs, and had been drained of blood. Over the next few days, reports came in from across the county, all reporting that dogs had been killed by some massive cat or bear or monster. The animal sometimes tore the dogs apart, drained their blood, or just dragged them off into the woods. A few of the poor animals were not found until later, dead and mutilated in the woods. But why did the beast particularly target dogs? Nothing's ever been proven.
The other telltale sign that the beast had been at work was that the bodies of its victims found were terribly mutilated. And not just a slashed stomach, either. The beast had decapitated its victims, or at the very least smashed their skulls to the point of flattening them. Many of the bodies later found in the woods were completely missing their heads, and one rabbit was found completely decapitated, but still warm, as if the creature had snapped off its head in one bite before fleeing. Dogs were often found with their lower jaws torn completely off, or smashed back to the point of being unrecognizable. This indicated that the creature was strong, and it cast serious doubt on later suggestions that the animal was merely a bobcat or stray hound.