The Legend of Deerman

A series of articles by Dave Clarke of the Star Courier has revived interest in the legend of the Deerman. The legend is local to Kewanee, Illinois. It tells of a creature, with the upper body of a deer and the lower body of a man, that lurks in the woods, occasionally popping up to scare lovers parked on moonlit nights or people wandering around alone. Supposedly if you see Deerman three times you die.

Clarke credits Jerry Moriarity, the editor and publisher of the Star Courier during the '50s and '60s, with popularizing the legend of the Deerman in his column "Mostly Malarkey."

Half-human/half-animal creatures are a staple of local legends. Some of the other famous ones that I know about are Mothman of West Virginia, the Owlman of Cornwall, the Goatman of Maryland, and the Lizard Man of South Carolina. I'm sure there must be many others. (Thanks, Joe)

Cryptozoology Folklore/Tall Tales Urban Legends

Posted on Fri May 25, 2007


And let us not forget the Bunny Man of Virginia. (Okay, he was just a murderous lunatic in a bunny suit, supposedly, but the name fits in, doesn't it?)
Posted by Dave  on  Fri May 25, 2007  at  12:22 PM
Rip off of Herne the Hunter, the antlered ghost of British forests.

And the inventor of this is called 'Moriarty'? Aye, right.
Posted by Renquist  on  Fri May 25, 2007  at  07:27 PM
Worth noting here is the story of the early-19th century French biologist, Georges Cuvier, who spent much time classifying animals into families. So when a student disguised himself as the Devil and threatened to eat Cuvier, the scientist was skeptical noting "You have horns and hoofs and are therefore an eater of plants."
Posted by Phred22  on  Sat May 26, 2007  at  01:43 PM
Don't forget the Centaur, half man and half deer, of Greek mythology.
Posted by John Farley  on  Sat May 26, 2007  at  02:43 PM
The centaur is half-horse,half-man.

If you want a list,here goes:

Beast of Bray road(wolf-man)
Loveland frogmen
Lizard men of scape ore swamp
Bigfoot(not really sure if that counts)
mermen(yes,they're cryptids)
Posted by J  on  Sun May 27, 2007  at  05:47 AM
I've lived in Kewanee nearly all my life and I've never heard of the Deerman. However, I haven't read any newspapers recently, the Star Courier included, in a long time. And I didn't live during the 50s, either.
I think it's interesting that you've found about something so strange in my hometown that I never knew about.
Posted by RT  on  Wed May 30, 2007  at  08:38 AM
Dude, to that RT from Ktown, if you've ever been to Johnson's and if you're from my hometown, you know what that is, you should have heard about deerman, have you been hiding beneith a rock your whole life, what a looser.
Posted by JenKonie  on  Sun Mar 23, 2008  at  10:24 PM
Oh, RT!!! Where have you been? I married a Kewanee native, and within the first month of our dating, I had heard the whole tale of Deerman, and how he lurks in the woods in and around Johnson's Saulk Trail park (a beautiful state park in Central Illinois). We know to keep watch for Deerman, and so do both of our grown daughters! He is out there....just waiting...for some unsuspecting person LIKE have been warned!
Posted by Jean Wilmarth  on  Fri Oct 31, 2008  at  10:33 AM
Locals round my parts say they been seeing this deerman on vorhees road. They say hes on the bridge just past the devil barn. Zach wilson claims to have seen him twice.
Posted by Carter Oltman  on  Thu Feb 12, 2009  at  07:49 AM
So y'all wanna know the truth about DeerMan? & I only know this cos I worked @ Johnson's for years. So back in the day, there was a michevious park ranger who wanted to play a trick on friends and stuck a stupid deer head on and went around the park scarring them. "Hunters" even set up a trap near the ranger's house and found a human in it! HUH! That explains deerman. Someone got a wild hair you know where and was just having fun. There's not much else to do in and around Kewanee.
Posted by Ktown Born  on  Thu Feb 12, 2009  at  12:20 PM
people around my town say that there is a bridge out on vorcheese road some people say The Carter 3 has seen several ass goblins running around the bridge also people have seen deerman out there..! i saw this video on a phone there was nothing on it though just someone yellin out a window about how much he wants deerman to skin him
Posted by zack wilson  on  Thu Feb 12, 2009  at  05:51 PM
What on earth is an ass goblin?
Posted by Ktown Born  on  Thu Feb 12, 2009  at  08:26 PM
We were responding to a request from Neponset seventh grader Gus Block who asked the newspaper to
Posted by Dallas Courier Service  on  Thu Jul 02, 2009  at  11:23 AM
There's also supposed to be some sort of pig woman who is a serial killer round here, apparently with a preference for backpackers.
Posted by freshie  on  Fri Aug 21, 2009  at  04:29 PM
I am MIDGE! I ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!! I go off topic ALOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY FOR OFF TOPIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by MIDGE  on  Tue Oct 20, 2009  at  05:05 PM
I also worked at Johnson's park and lived in the area. Rumor has it that Deerman was helped along by the seepage in the old nuclear dump near Sheffield IL. Jerry McClure (the ranger at Johnson's park) would never do anything that silly. Deerman is probably still there and who knows what kind of siblings this vile beast may have spawned since the late 1900's.
Posted by Hoge  on  Mon Jun 21, 2010  at  12:06 PM
Tom here. 3rd generation Kewanee-ian now living in AK. Deer Man is totally real, is all I can say. That's why we moved to Alaska, he was going to get us!
Posted by Tommy Polowy  on  Wed Oct 20, 2010  at  02:55 AM
I was born in Kewanee in 1964 and lived there until 1969, but visited my relatives weekly. We often went to Johnson's Sauk trail to picnic at Johnson's lake.
I remember before they re-paved the roads (when it was an old gravel road) their was an old cement tunnel that always had "Beware the deerman" spray painted on.
I asked my older cousins and they told me about the legend. Scared the crap out of me for years!
Long live the Deerman!
Posted by Crusher  on  Sat Jan 22, 2011  at  06:58 PM
Ahhh the ledgend of the Deerman!! I actually just Googled "The Deerman" because my son is playing an Xbox game and one of the dudes you can pick is "The Deerman".. lmao

This story was told over many illegal beers and campfires at Johnsons and out at the canal.. I remember the spray painted warnings "Beware of the deerman".. it totally creeped me out!! Last time I was home I saw one of those signs and it still creeped me out at 40 yrs old! lmao

long live the Deerman! May his legend live on to scare another generation and many more after that!!
Posted by Sharon  on  Fri Apr 08, 2011  at  11:48 PM
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