The Bunyip

An urban legend in Connecticut that describes a creature called The Bunyip. The Bunyip was described to the informant as a weird mix between a platypus and a frog. It eats children. It dwells in swamps, rivers, lakes, marshy areas, etc.

Informant heard about this legend growing up in Stanford, Connecticut. They are aware of the legend dating from Australia, so it’s likely from Aboriginal or Eurpoean colonizers’ legends. But it somehow made it to Fairfield, Connecticut. Informant lives near a reservoir, so the legend was particularly scary to them, as The Bunyip was said to live in lakes and watery areas. Growing up, the informant would see pictures of the Bunyip that would illustrate the monstrous creature and it would scare them.

This legend is one that is geared towards scaring children, which is a common theme among legends. This one seems to not be driving the children to do something specific, rather just to put the fear of something bigger than themselves into them. It’s was really interesting to have an informant who lived close to where this specific legend was said to occur, because it meant they had a really personal connection to it, especially when growing up. So I could understand exactly what this legend was doing to the people that heard about it. It created a lot of fear. My informant said they were worried the creature’s “paws would go over the top of the hill” that was right next to where they lived. I had fun collecting this one because it’s a big, unnatural monster, so it was fun to think about it in relation to other legends like the Loch Ness and such, which helped me understand how these types of legends come to be so popular and effective at creating certain feelings and narratives.