In the early 1990’s, I was a young airman working at Morbach Air base, a United States Air Force munitions depot in Germany near the town of Wittlich. Morbach has its own stories of monsters, werewolves and witches. The bomb dump itself and the surrounding area was thick with trees and brush and provided a habitat for woodland creatures including a local population of deer. Although rarely seen, we knew deer were present within the fenced-in area of the installation.
I was a munitions storage crew member and at the time I worked the night shift, transporting bombs and components to various locations within the area of the base. One night I was driving a forklift back to the “shop” from one of the farther storage locations in the base. As I rounded the corner, the headlights of my forklift shone on a bright white deer standing in the middle of the road back to the shop. A buck, white as a ghost and charcoal black eyes. I had never seen one of the like before nor since (in person). It looked at me as if I was no consequence and it slowly walked off the road with no apparent concern or apprehension.
For those few seconds it was in my view I was bewildered. Nothing really came to mind during that time… I just sat on the forklift and stared at it until it left my sight, slipping into the darkness of the woods. When I returned to the shop, I didn’t tell anyone. Was it an omen? Was it a spirit animal? The image of the ghostly white deer stuck with me for years, and still I have only spoken about this to a handful of people. I observed something special that night, yet I came to understand that there was no paranormal or supernatural aspect to this chance encounter, and that white (albino or leucistic) deer may be rare but they are very natural. However, in those few seconds it was an otherworldy experience.
Seeing “white deer” is becoming more common, and there are plenty of articles and photos online to demonstrate their increasing normalcy. Seeing such animals in the wild can be a mesmerizing experience, and in the past these animals were regarded as holy, magical and mythological creatures.
With the supernatural aspect that has been attached to deer of white persuasion comes a curse, not as far as the ability to for the animal to survive in the wild stripped of its natural camouflage, but for the unlucky hunter who happens to dispatch one. The “curse of the white deer” generally states that bad luck and or tradgedy will befall a hunter that kills a white deer. A more specific reference from Above Top Secret states the one who kills a white deer is cursed and “that he or a member of his family shall die within a year.” The ATS article gives the trail of tragedy that followed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire.
Sometimes the observation of animals with remarkably different traits can have attributes of a supernatural sort imposed upon them by virtue of gradually embellished tales passed down generations of storytellers. However, what if there were some deer that possessed some extraordinary or otherwise “supernatural” capabilities that are unexplained by today’s scientific standards? Could there really be “Spirit Deer?”
I received the following from an individual who contacted us through the National Cryptid Society Facebook page:
Do you have any information about the White Stag of southeastern Missouri? Legends my uncle and father used to tell me. I’m from Bollinger county Missouri, legend has it around there, there’s a white stag that has been shot multiple times with Rifles, bows, buckshot and slugs, and even stabbed at one point when a hunter knocked it down, but every time it’s gotten back up and lived.
Its supposed to be good luck to see it, but you can see every mark and arrow on it. From what i remember, its been seen for the past 100 to 150 years, and if i remember right, the Native Americans that used to live there and in the surrounding counties told similar legends, but i cant dig up any information on it, in legends from them or many people around the area, at least not the younger ones.
Upon responding to the above query I began looking at stories in southeast Missouri. What I found is that there have been many sightings of white deer in the area. The white deer in this area as well as any other area can fall into one of the three following categories.
- Albino: Albinism is the congenital absence of any pigmentation or coloration in a person, animal or plant, resulting in white hair and pink eyes in mammals. The white fur or body surface of albino animals is telling of the condition, but a more precise determination can be made by looking at the eyes of the animal. Due to the total lack of pigmentation, albino animals will have pink eyes. This is due to there being no pigment in the iris, and the color of the blood vessels under the surface shows through. John Bates, Wisconsin naturalist and co-author of White Deer: Ghosts of the Forest estimates the chances of an albino deer being born are around 1 in 20,000. Some sources say the odds are closer to 1 in 30,000.
- Leucictic: This condition is a result in pigment cell development that results in either the entire surface having a lack of cells capable of making pigment, causing the white-furred appearance in deer affected.
- Piebald: The term piebald designates a form of leucism, also a genetic condition but instead of the inability to produce melanin the pigmentation is repressed on some of or all of the body (If I remember correctly). A piebald deer can have dark eyes, while albino deer have pink eyes. Piebald deer may also have patches of dark fur with white, giving each one a unique pattern. Piebaldism is common in many animals, especially domesticated breeds.
However, I was unable to locate any stories about the “White Stag” mentioned above, with the ability to shake off seemingly mortal wounds from hunters. I did find an article about a hunter that had killed a white buck in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. It was touted as the “Great White Buck.” But if you know of any tales or legends about a supernatural white stag in Southeast Missouri, please let us know in the comments below.
Other Strange Reports Involving Deer
NCS Case File #51: Shapeshifting Deer Man of Delaware
Submitted by: [anonymous]
Location: Near Hockessin, DE
“I was 7 or 8 years old and visiting my paternal grandparents with the rest of my family. They lived deep in the woods and I always hated it there, it felt like something was always watching, and was always eerily quiet. Like, not even crickets chirping.
My little brother and I shared a bed in one room on the ground floor. My brother would sleep at one end, his head against the window/wall, and I would be on the other, facing the window. On this particular morning, I woke up first. The sun was brilliant, making the room gold through the curtains. And there, a silhouette against the window, was a deer with the biggest rack of antlers I had ever seen. It was RIGHT there, like almost pressed against the window in profile. I stared in awe.
And that is when it changed.
In one smooth movement, it reared up on its hind legs and it was no longer a deer, but a man. There were only two men in the area, my grandfather and my dad, and it was clearly neither (not sure if that made it better or worse). Grandfather was very built for his age, dad had a gut. This silhouette was clearly younger, muscular but not in the “like a brick” way my grandfather was. It exuded strength. And scared the hell out of me.
It stared to the side for a moment, and then strode off with purpose.
Looking back, I want to tell myself it was just the imagination of a half-awake child, but I remember the awe and the utter fear I felt when the “deer” changed.”
This report led another reader to comment with their experience:
“A few years ago in what I think was 2016 I swore I saw what looked like a bipedal deer in Catoctin Mountain Park in Maryland. I live in Maryland, but not near that area. I was just there camping. It looked sort of like a deer, but was seemingly bipedal and very tall. It looked like it was going to fall over, too. Like it was unbalanced or spasming.
It was facing semi-away from me and was far away below me in a semi-forested area (I was on a large rock looking down at the forest) and after looking directly at it for a good 4 or so seconds and realizing I has just looked too long to be hallucinating it, I slowly backed away to where I couldn’t see it and crouched down for a bit. After what seemed like a while, I made my way over to look over the edge, still crouched down, saw nothing.
I quickly but quietly made my way back to the camp site I was at, and until now, never spoke of that sighting until now except when I told my family to convince them to never go back to Thurmont. They didn’t believe me, but they also agreed with me because they didn’t want to stress me out. I just now found this article, and while quite a few details of the description aren’t the same as what I saw, this sighting was 23 years before mine.
Since I saw it such a long time ago I don’t remember what its legs looked like, only that it looked like a deer standing unsteadily on two legs. Its face didn’t look too right either, I recall its one eye I saw being too close to the end of its snout. Also, I distinctly remember it having no antlers. Not sure if it was female, or just didn’t have any.
Anyway, when I saw it, from where I was standing, when I say it was facing “semi-away” from me, I mean it sort of had its back to me, but was facing diagonally to the right and was to the left of where I was standing. As I looked at it, it was turning itself to the left, but I recall it taking very small steps to do so, not rotating its center body at all to turn like a human would.
I had crouched down before cover before it had finished turning, and like I said, by the time I had built up the courage to take a peak over, it wasn’t there anymore, so I never actually got to see it move, so I don’t know if it was able to move fast like the cryptid in that report, and while that report is vague, it is closer to what I saw than this one, and also decently close to Maryland as well. Actually, this makes me feel a little better, because this makes me think what I saw may have been real after all… thank you for sharing this with me.”
NCS Case File #9: Bipedal Deer with Dog’s Legs
Submitted by MCCornflake1
“I’m not sure what it would be, but I can describe like it was yesterday. I was about 13 or 14, I was at my cousins house, and we were playing hide and seek outside. He lived in the more “woodsy” part of NE Ohio. His house had a creek that ran down one side of his property, and the driveway was on the opposite side of the house.
It was getting dark and I was the one searching. I heard leaves crumpling, and when I turned to look, I saw what looked like a deer on its hind legs. I clearly remember seeing “dog legs” running, but the rest of the body was straight up. And it ran with incredible speed, and I knew it wasn’t either of my cousins hiding. I ran as fast as I could back to the house, and my one of my cousins was running in too, he saw the same thing.
It still creeps me out to this day, because my uncle always told us how he saw weird things on that property.”