By: Kyle Dempster
In the wilds of Maine in the North Eastern United States, the Penobscot tribal nation tells the tale of a creature hiding in the heights of Mount Katahdin.
The Pamola, with wings and feet of an eagle, the body of a man, and the head of a moose, is described as being a Thunderbird much like the Mothman. This creature is said to be angry with those that approach its home atop the mountain.
With a height of 5,269 ft (1,606 m), Mount Katahdin could hide a creature like this without much trouble. The legend has become so ingrained in the local culture that a peak has been named, "Pamola".
Some describe the creature as a cold-weather spirit or one that can cause cold weather, yet the legends say the beast only inhabits the mountain top during the summer. This confuses me a bit, but that's what cataloging cryptids is all about, I suppose!
Should you be curious to meet this beastie yourself, summoning the Pamola seems possible by offerings of fat and oil while calling out his name, "Pamola!" Just be sure to refer to him as, "Partner," lest you never live to tell the tale of the encounter as told below:
"They relate that several hundred years ago, while a Penobscot Indian was encamped eastward of Mount Katahdin on the autumn hunting season, a severe and unexpected fall of snow covered the whole land to the depth of several feet. Being unprovided with snow shoes, he found himself unable to return home. After remaining several days in the camp, blocked up with drifts of snow, and seeing no means of escape, he thought that he was doomed to perish; hence, as it were through despair, he called with loud voice on Pamola for several times. Finally, Pamola made his appearance on the top of the mountain. The Indian took courage, and offered to him a sacrifice of oil and fat, which he poured and consumed upon burning coals out of the camp. As the smoke was ascending, Pamola was descending. The sacrifice was consumed when this spirit got only half way down the mountain. Here the Indian took more oil and fat, and repeated the sacrifice, till Pamola arrived at the camp, and the Indian welcomed him, saying : " Yon are welcome, partner," Pamola replied : " You have done well to call me partner; because yon have called me by that name, you are saved, otherwise you would have been killed by me. No Indian has ever called on me and lived, having always being devoured by me. Now I will take you on the mountain, and you shall be happy with me." Pamola put the Indian on his shoulders, bid him close the eyes, and in few moments, with a noise like the whistling of a powerful wind, they were inside of the mountain. The Indian describes the interior of Mount Katahdin as containing a good, comfortable wigwam, furnished with abundance of venison, and with all the luxuries of life, and that Pamola had wife and children living in the mountain. Pamola gave him his daughter to wife, and told him that after one year he could return to his friends on the Penobscot, and that he might go back to the mountain to see his wife any time he pleased, and remain as long as he wished. He was warned that he could not marry again, but if he should marry again, he would be at once transported to Mount Katahdin, with no hope of ever more going out of it. After one year the Indian returned to Oldtown and related all that had happened to him in Mount Katahdin, and the circumstances through which he got into it. The Indians persuaded him to marry again, which he at first refused, but they at last prevailed on him to marry, bat the morning after his marriage, he disappeared, and nothing more was heard of him; they felt sure that he had been taken by Pamola into Mount Katahdin, as he had told them." - This version of the legend comes from Eugene Vetromile's 1866 collection The Abnakis and Their History. http://www.native-languages.org/penobscotstory2.htm
Other notable facts:
Pamola apparently resides atop the mountain only in the summer... but is a "snow creating" spirit. Strange!
Pamola is believed to be an evil spirit hence why people stay away from the mountain.
Some refer to Pamola as a God of Thunder
New England Legend Podcast made a connection to the Greco-Roman goddess Nike. They also called out the connection to angels and cherubs
Well, there we have it, folks. A cryptid I had no idea even existed. I've always enjoyed learning about the things that go bump in the night.
New England Legend Podcast: https://open.spotify.com/episode/2OhWM7rrHWkm0sczmp4yKl?si=4dmjMZhdTfCdyEhar3z0AA
Story from above: http://www.native-languages.org/penobscotstory2.htm