The Ultimate Guide to Pukwudgies! – Part 3 – Pukwudgies
“The Pukwudgie is also native to America: a short, grey-faced, large-eared creature distantly related to the European goblin. Fiercely independent, tricky and not over-fond of humankind (whether magical or mundane), it possesses its own powerful magic. Pukwudgies hunt with deadly, poisonous arrows and enjoy playing tricks on humans.” – Excerpt from Wizarding World – J.K. Rowling
The Ultimate Guide to Pukwudgies! – Part 3 – Pukwudgies
Okay, so here we are! This is the end of the Pukwudgie series and we’re going to talk all about these little guys!
Now, first off, you’re probably wondering how we went from part 1 to part 3. Well, it’s simple, actually. The Ultimate Guide to Pukwudgies! – Part 2 – Freetown Forest is a Patreon exclusive! It’s a deep dive on all things Freetown State Forest and the insanity that goes on there. We go into detail about ghosts, its connection to King Philip’s War and the Wampanoag, lots of murders, and satanic cults! Oh, and there’s some light swearing.
You can check out a preview here and the full post here. It’s available to all membership tiers and you’ll get plenty of swag and gifts, like a handmade Ouija Board, if you decide to become part of Slightly Odd Fitchburg!
It's also a really good idea to follow the site at the bottom of the page and on Facebook! That way you'll be able to stay up to date with every odd, new post as they come out! It will also make me feel super happy and give you the satisfaction of knowing that you're repairing my own feelings of inadequate self-worth, so thanks for that!
For now, though, let’s get into Pukwudgies! As usual, there’s a lot going on here.
A Certain Point of View
|"A certain point of view?"|
Yes, a certain point of view! We have to start off with one big fact: Pukwudgies are Native lore for many different Native populations. These tribes are the Chippewa, Algonquin, Abenaki, Mohican, and the Wampanoag. Those are five different nations and they span a whole lot of territory. In fact, Pukwudgies are part of the history of New England, southeastern Canada, and the Great Lakes. Naturally, this also means that the Pukwudgies from each of these specific groups get down in their own unique ways.
Great Lakes Pukwudgies
|They just look like pretty good lakes to me.|
The Great Lakes Pukwudgies are pretty much harmless. These guys are mischievous but not evil. They like to play tricks on human, but they’re never mean-spirited about it. Just think of the guy who puts a whoopee cushion on your chair rather than the guy who ties your shoelaces together to make you trip and fall into the fire pit on a drunken camping trip.
Northern New England and Canada
|Basically, this whole thing, in the green.|
Then we get to the Pukwudgies from northern New England. These guys cover parts of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and the south eastern parts of Canada, like Quebec and Ontario, eh? Once again, these Pukwudgies are mostly harmless. That doesn’t mean they won’t cut a fool, though. They get dangerous whenever a person disrespects them. Step to one of these hard rollin’ Puks in the ‘hood and you may just get a cap popped in you.
Southern New England
|Exactly this, only ignore Long Island, 'cause screw those guys.|
Then we finally get to southern New England. These are the Pukwudgies from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. They’re part of the Wampanoag tradition and they’re hardest Pukwudgies you can come across. They’re the mean little things that want to make your life miserable for no good reason. They play tricks on people and steal your damn children. They’ve even been said to sabotage groups of people into deadly traps. Hell, these things would probably steal your wallet, drain your bank account, then ask you for money the next day, just to be jerks.
These are the Pukwudgies that we’re going to be talking about! They live in the Hockomock Swamp and Freetown Forest and are part of the Bridgewater Triangle. They’re the ones we’ve been talking about in addition to the Wampanoag this whole time. They’re the meanest possible iteration of the things and they have to be the ones we learn about, but there will be a few references to their northern and western cousins thrown in.
Big Booty, Small Stature
As the celebrated anatomical expert and noted philosopher, Jennifer Lopez, states: “Big, big booty. What you got a big booty? (ooh) Big, big booty. What you got a big booty?” which brings us to the Pukwudgie’s appearance. You just can’t get very far without a nice figure in today’s modern, media rich society and the Pukwudgies are no different.
|Pictured: J. Lo.|
They’re said to be about knee-high to a human, or around two feet tall. They walk upright on two giant feet, if a little hunched over, like a Sasquatch. They have spikes running from their backs up to their heads, and look exactly like porcupines from behind. See them from the front, though, and you’re going to be looking at a human/troll hybrid of some sort. Imagine pointy ears, a mouth full of jagged teeth, and a giant nose or long snout. That’s a Pukwudgie.
“Want me to flex my magic for you, baby?”
That’s a quote from Sarah Rees Brennan, but it may as well be from a Pukwudgie because they’ve got magic coming out of their… well, I don’t actually know if they have any butts… That’s a weird realization.
|I can only assume that Sarah Rees Brennan has one, though.|
Anyway, they’re magic. Pukwudgies have the ability to turn invisible whenever they want! They can also make humans forget things, like why they’re in the forest, and confuse them with their powers. It doesn’t end there, though. These little scamps can also shapeshift! Just imagine tracking down a two foot tall porcupine thing and having it transform into a bear, instead!
Oh, and they can cause a person harm just by staring at them, like a death stare or something. That’s the kind of power that no one should ever have! Okay, maybe I should have it. But I would promise to only use it to smite my enemies and people in line in front of me at the grocery store. Okay, I’m lying. I’d use it on a daily basis. It’s just too much power for one person to wield and I’m actually glad that only Pukwudgies can do it.
Okay, so let’s take a look at the origins of the Pukwudgie. Just like most Native lore and Marvel movies, there’s always a prequel to explain where someone came from. The origin for these little fellers is set smack dab in Massachusetts, at least for the Wampanoag.
|"We're the guys who let you in, in the first place, remember?"|
There are a few different versions, but this one is the most fun, at least for me. It all starts with a friendly deity named Maushop.
Now, Maushop was what’s called a creation giant. That means that he was… well… a giant, and he created things. In this instance, he was the deity who created Cape Cod. That means that he was also probably rich and most likely just needed a place to park his yacht on Sundays.
Anyway, the Wampanoag got the warm and fuzzies whenever they thought about Maushop. He was their caretaker and always made sure that they were happy and had plenty of food to eat.
This angered the Pukwudgies. It turns out that they thought they were trying just as hard to make the people of the area happy but weren’t getting the recognition they deserved for it. Think of a younger sibling who’s finger painting doesn’t get put quite as high on the refrigerator as his older brother’s so he throws a tantrum. It’s pretty much the same thing, although not quite.
|Do you really want to anger these guys?|
Even though the Pukwudgies may have been trying to help, their need to play tricks on the humans always made their good deeds backfire. Sure, they got you coffee in the morning, but they also put black ink around the rim of the mug so you had to spend your entire workday looking like the joker. Sure, they ordered you a nice pizza and paid for it, but they also got it topped with nothing but anchovies and pineapple.
They were total monsters is what I’m saying. They would play tricks and scare people and the Wampanoag were somehow not grateful for it.
So the Wampanoag finally had enough of the whole thing and decided to go see Granny Squanit. She was Maushop’s wife, and they needed some guidance on what to do about them.
Her plan was simple. The men and women were to go around and collect every last Pukwudgie that they saw. Once they did that, they were supposed to bring them back to her and her husband.
That’s exactly what happened and Maushop tried to put an end to their trickery once and for all. He took all of those annoying Pukwudgies, wound up, and just threw them all as far as he possibly could. They landed all around New England and as far away as the Great lakes. If they were so far away and spread out then they’d never be able to get back together and cause any more mischief.
A job well done and the people satisfied, Maushop brushed his hands off, let out a contented sigh, and promptly went on vacation. No seriously, that’s the myth. He threw little elf things a few states away and took a sabbatical. Where a guy who already lives in Cape Cod goes on sabbatical is beyond me. Are the ocean front views and fresh sea air too stressful for him? Does he have a summer home at Super Cape Cod? Is he one of those weirdos that goes skiing? We may never know the answers to these questions.
What we do know is that, while he was gone, the Pukwudgies did the unthinkable. They actually emigrated from the rest of New England INTO Taxachusetts! That kind of migration is usually only seen in September when the new college students move in. These guys all got back together and made a beeline for the Bay State. That may just be the craziest thing that the Pukwudgies would ever do! We certainly know that it’s going to be the least evil thing they’d do from here on out.
Now that Big Daddy M. was far away, the Pukwudgies had a score to settle. Getting thrown clear across to Michigan has a way of souring your mood and they weren’t the simple pranksters they once were, oh no. Now they were mean and angry.
What used to be funny tricks now led to death and misery. They started straight up kidnapping the children of the Wampanoag and never letting them see their families again. They would find people lost in the woods and lead them to their deaths rather than help them find their way home with some mirthful mischief thrown in. They would even go so far as to burn down entire Wampanoag villages just to torture them and kill as many people as they could. They had a score to settle and the Wampanoag cried out for relief from their beloved deity.
|"Sorry, can't hear you, bro! My yacht's too loud!"|
Maushop, for his part, knew what was going on. He just wasn’t ready to go home yet. He’s like the super-rich CEO who can actually decide that he’s having so much fun on his vacation that he can extend it for as long as he wants. He’s the guy who winters in Florida for longer and longer periods of time while his overworked manger has to put out all the workplace fires on his own.
He decided to simply send his five sons to take care of the Pukwudgies all over again. I can’t really find their names, but given the type of guy that Maushop was, let’s just call them Thad, Chad, Hugo, Maximillian, and his favorite, Theodore.
|Oh, you know exactly the type I'm talking about!|
So these five lads showed up to show the Pukwudgies what was what and, well, things did not go as planned. It turned out that five trust fund kinds are just no match for the fury of a wronged wild person. Thad, Chad, Hugo, Maximillian, and Theodore were all tricked, captured, and, just, brutally killed. Remember that the next time you see a young 20something on a yacht with his girlfriend Buffy and no student loans. That rich kid is just one angry species away from total annihilation. Workers of the world, unite!
Anyway, Maushop found out about his children’s deaths and went on a war path, literally. He cut his vacation short, boarded his private jet, and came back to Cape Cod to destroy the Pukwudgies. He and his wife killed as many of the little buggers as they could and chased them clear out of New England. Have you ever tried to stomp out an infestation, though? It’s never quite as clean cut as you want it to be.
Many of the Pukwudgies survived and attacked Maushop. Their revenge was swift and severe. They overwhelmed and destroyed him and he disappeared from the Wampanoag lore forever. It was a sad end for a god who was loved and adored by his people.
Now all that’s left of that mythical time are the Pukwudgies themselves. They may be far fewer than they were before, but they’re still around and they’re still evil. Long gone are the days of playing harmless pranks for the giggles. Now they know that their good deeds will never be recognized. They fully understand that they’ll never be as beloved as the long dead Maushop. Now they kill and torture for fun. Now they lead you astray and into a bear’s den. Now they burn down your entire village, just to make you suffer. Now the Pukwudgie is hardcore and there’s no god around that can protect you!
|Pictured: A Pukwudgie Scorned.|
Modern Pukwudgie Encounters
So, all of that is pretty old history. What about Pukwudgies in the modern era? Well, there's certainly no shortage of stories from the last few decades. In fact, one of them was written about in the Boston Globe. It’s the firsthand account of a feller named Bill Russo and it happened on a late night walk with his dog, Samantha, back in 1995. Here’s how they lay it all out for you:
“It was a late-night walk in a Raynham neighborhood silent and still, lost in sleep. Suddenly, William Russo’s dog, Samantha, began to shake and quiver — as he describes it, ‘rattlin’ like an old Chevy.’
Russo looked around, listened, and finally heard what was terrifying her.
‘Eh wan chu. Eh wan chu. Keahr. Keahr.’ A sort of high-pitched wail.
And then he saw it. Illuminated in the circle of a street light was a creature unlike any he’d ever seen: 3 to 4 feet tall, potbellied, big-eyed, covered in hair, unclothed. Later, as he struggled to make sense of what he’d seen, Russo realized that whatever it was, it was beckoning him:
‘We want you, we want you . . . Come here, come here.’
But he never saw it again.”
In fact, if you’re so inclined, you can watch ole Billy tell the story himself right here:
And that’s just one story from this time period. There’s another one from 1993 or 1994 from a woman named Joan.
Once again, she was walking her dog, Sid, on a Saturday morning. Also once again, her dog grew skittish and strayed from their usual path. Joan followed him and found him flat on the ground, just staring at something. She looked around and that was when she saw “a strange, troll like creature that was two feet high with pale gray skin and hair on his arms and the top of his head."
Joan also noted that the creature didn’t have any clothes on, so maybe he was still in party mode from the Friday night before, who knows. Either way, “…its eyes were a deep green color that it had large lips, and it had an elongated, almost canine like nose.”
The thing just stood there staring at her until Sid snapped out of it and dragged her back to the main trail. It doesn’t end there, though.
Unlike Bill’s encounter, Joan is still visited by the Pukwudgie. She’s seen the thing three times since that Saturday morning and it’s always just outside of her bedroom. According to her, she’s fully awake and has all of her senses about her. She’ll see the creature just outside of her window, staring at her while she’s in her bed. Does she like it? Maybe a little. Does the Pukwudgie like it? Well, you can’t do something three different times and still pretend you’re only trying it out. That pervy little Pukwudgie is a freak!
Okay, one more story from the 90s and then we’ll move on. This one happened to a paranormal investigator named Tim. Tim was out in the forest in 1997 when a ball of light suddenly appeared in front of him. Being the “paragator” that he is, Timmy followed it and ended up in a thickly wooded area, way off the beaten trail.
He tried to turn around and get back on track, but then he saw it. It was “a two-foot tall, manlike creature making its way towards him.” Needless to say, this “paragator” (yes, I just coined that term and I’m sticking with it! Loren Coleman doesn’t get to coin ALL the terms!) made like all the trees around him and got outta there!
|Please don't come after me. We good?|
Just like Joan’s encounter, though, that wasn’t the last he’d see of it. A few years later, Tim was in a parking lot near that same forest. He looked into the tree line and, lo and behold, that same Pukwudgie was right there, just staring at him. They sure do stare a lot, don’t they? Maybe it has to do with that whole magical staring thing they have going on.
Anyway, Tim’s car’s engine suddenly revved up on its own accord and his radio turned itself up at the same time. It was as if the Pukwudgie took control of his automobile and that was all he needed to convince him to peel out of that lot with great vigor.
Don’t take my word for any of this, though. You can see it for yourself all over the YouTubes. Here’s one video taken by a feller, name o’ Pete, down in Georgia.
Okay, I don’t know if that’s his name. I’m just making the assumption that it is and that would be how he introduces himself. I feel kind of bad about now. He’s probably a lovely fellow. Oh, right, the video:
It’s tough to see, but take it for what you will. There are plenty more of them to check out.
Here’s a video from the aughts. This crew was out shooting a DVD for something called “Picture Yourself Ghost Hunting,” which is a real book series that you can buy right now. Everything was going all fine and dandy when this woman, Maureen, decided to go and get possessed by a Pukwudgie. She gets all manhandled and stuff, so it might be triggering for some people:
I have to admit that the best part of that was the guy yelling about the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost in his New England accent. It just adds a whole… let’s call it “flair” to the video.
Then, finally, there’s this trail cam footage that’s supposed to have a Pukwudgie in it. It’s not the best quality, so you might have to use your imagination. In fact, I think that’s what the person who uploaded it was doing:
Yeah, I don’t know, either. The person who captured it sure thinks it’s real, though.
This is just an infinitesimally small sampling size of the videos and stories out there. If I were to share them all, I’d probably be copy/pasting half of YouTube.
Pukwudgies in Pop Culture
Of course, there are also plenty of examples of Pukwudgies in pop culture! Someone actually told me that there’s a movie about an orphan boy who finds out that he’s really wizard and that it’s his destiny to defeat the man responsible for killing his parents that has a Pukwudgie in it!
Now, I’ve seen all the Star Wars movies multiple times and I don’t remember a single instance of a Pukwudgie in them! Well, unless they’re talking about Yoda.
|Boom! Harry Potter burn!|
Yes, this entire entry only exists so I could make that one joke about Harry Potter being a rip off of Star Wars. Deal with it.
How to Survive a Pukwudgie
So, this brings us to the ultimate question: how do you survive a Pukwudgie? Well, simply put, you only have one option: run! You’re never going to outsmart a Pukwudgie and you’re certainly never going to out magic it. If you find yourself alone in Hockomock Swamp, or off the beaten trail in Freetown Forest, keep looking over your shoulder. Listen very intently to the noises around you. You never know when a Pukwudgie is following you. You never know when one is staring at you. You certainly never know when one’s natural inclination for pranks convinces it to lure you to your doom, just for fun.
Pukwudgies are mean and Pukwudgies are angry. They’ve been wronged by both the gods and the human race. They still have a score to settle. Never let a Pukwudgie get the better of you because it will be a fatal mistake. Oh, and above all, never send your five trust fund sons to fight the Pukwudgies for you!
Actually, you know what? Do just that! We could do with a lot fewer polo shirted rich kids in the world!
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|Seriously, it really does help.|