'The Curse of the Snallygaster' book released this week in Sykesville

The Town of Sykesville, after installing 10 outdoor murals depicting the legendary Snallygaster monster earlier this summer, has released its book to accompany it.

The monster is a dragon-like creature in American folklore that allegedly inhabits the Central Maryland and Washington, D.C., area, and “The Curse of the Snallygaster,” written by Gate House Museum Curator Jack White, is a new, Sykesville version of the mythical creature’s tale.

“The story is really cool,” said Downtown Sykesville Connection Julie Della-Maria on Wednesday, when the book was released at the Old Main Line Visitor Center and Post Office. “Jack did a great job.”

The tale of the Snallygaster is a flexible one, like many legends, and White’s version is one crafted with his intimate knowledge of Sykesville history.

“I heard this voice of this guy, the narrator, and I kind of just went with it,” said White, “and I made it up pretty quickly on the spot.

“It wasn’t like lots of reworking or anything,” he said. “I was trying to weave some Sykesville history in there, so I decided to work around the flood of 1868 and blame the whole thing on the Snallygaster.”

The book’s connection to the murals spread across Main Street makes it a kind of a scavenger hunt as well — as each artist got a section of the story earlier this summer to paint at various downtown sites, and the murals physically lead viewers through the story.

“The intent is, in a very fun way, to educate people about the history of Sykesville, to get them interested,” said Stacy Link, a member of the Town Council and the Downtown Sykesville Connection Design Committee earlier this summer. “There’s going to be a map to go along with it, too.

“Even if you never read the book, you can create the story on your own,” she said. “Or maybe you read the book and then see the murals, or maybe the murals lead you to the book — we’ve dreamed of having some sort of community art project to bring people in.”

The books are on sale at the post office and the DSC will offer an artist meet-and-greet at next week’s Harvest Festival, Della-Maria said.

Sykesville Snallygaster mural locations:

Vickie Thurston: Firehouse Creamery, 7610 Main St.

Dominic Jones: alley by Unwined Candles, 7542 Main St.

Melissa Hodge: alley by Norwood, 7556 Main St.

Goodloe Byron: Visitor Center, 731 Oklahoma Ave.

Gail Martensen: Woodside Home, 7541 Main St.

Wade Forbes: across from Visitor Center by Centennial Park, 7604 Main St.

Becca Crate: left side of E.W.Beck's, 7565 Main St.

Ben McCord: right side of E.W.Beck's, 7565 Main St.

Katie Giganti: Olde Towne Garage, 7415 Spingfield Ave.

Vivian Davis: Garden Gazebo, 7547 Main St.




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