What do you mean by That’s Not A Deer in the mountains near you????




Anyone who spends decent amount of time in Appalachia knows the Not Deer. If you’ve gone on the Blue Ridge Parkway at night, you’ve probably seen him.

Now: keep in mind if you don’t live in an area with a lot of deer, deer are freaky bastards on their own. They’re really big, extremely agile, move surprisingly quietly, and are extremely durable. It’s not unheard of for someone to hit a deer and total their car. Once I heard a story of a man who hit a deer on accident and decided to take it home and least get some good meat out of a bad situation. On the drive home the deer woke up and absolutely shredded the inside of this man’s trunk. They’re very cute but you definitely don’t want to mess with one. Just keep that relationship in the back of your mind. 

Anyway, the Not Deer is more or less what I’d call a folk cryptid. Everybody has their story about it. They’re all somewhat similar. You’re in a car at night, in a rural, heavily wooded area, and probably a bit lost. It’s not wildly uncommon to see a opossum crossing the road, see blips of little animals with your headlights. You see a deer. So you/your friends go “Oh! Deer!” and slow down in case it leaps in front of you. 

Then you see it more clearly. There’s just something wrong about it. There’s something about its eyes. You feel your stomach get heavy like a rock, the hair on your neck raise. You sense intelligence that you shouldn’t. It doesn’t move like a deer, it moves like a… oh god, what is that thing? Whatever that thing is, it’s not a deer and we need to leave. You hit the gas and get the hell out of there.

A group of my friends got lost on the Parkway once and reemerged with a chilling story. They aren’t the kind of folks to lie or over exaggerate. Among other freaky stuff that happened, the driver claimed she saw a deer in the road. Then she noticed the deer was on two legs. 

I have a story about the Not Deer from two summers ago. I lived deep in the Appalachia mountains at the time, unlike the foothills I’m in now. I was wandering in the woods, probably two thirds of a mile from my house at that point, as one does when they live two miles down a twisting dirt road with the nearest town (and therefore things to do) thirty minutes away, when I heard brush moving. I knew it was probably a harmless animal- a possum, or a deer, maybe a particularly destructive rabbit, and I turned to look.

well. hm. it was a deer in the way that a graveyard is a playground. you can treat it as such, I guess, but it won’t feel the same.

it was about thirty feet away from me, staring. wild deer don’t stare at random people to begin with- they just run away. she was breathing hard and making a low rumbling sound. I didn’t really know what to do, and I hadn’t really thought about the dangers of going near wild animals even if they are “harmless” deer, so I went towards her.

I swear to god, this thing’s eyes blanked out and it took a couple jerking steps forward, moving really strangely? and I flinched, because what the hell, and then she ran off to the side while staring at me until she was about fifty feet away. it was deeply unsettling in a way that I can’t explain and I know that that thing was not quite a deer.

I sprinted all the way home.

I’ve seen something like this myself. I would say “The joints went the wrong way” but it was more that there might have been more or less joints than you’d expect? The bends were not where the bends go. And the shape of the face was wrong in a way I’d describe as: You have a friend who only draws wolves. They’re really, really, really good at wolves. You want them to draw a deer. They try their best, and neither of you are exactly pleased with the results. There was also an issue of scale – like you gave a deer the proportions of a moose.

I’ve heard “Deer” comes from “Deor” which just means “beast” or “quadruped” so… it was definitely a Deor, but 100% not a Deer. 

I collect spooky stories from other people and a friend once told me about driving back from a “ghost hunt” out in SE Oklahoma, seeing what they described as “like a deer” that stood in the middle of the road, and refused to move. So when one of them got out to go shoo it away by hand they all realized, about the same time… that it was only almost a deer. They described the collective reaction as wildly disproportionate to what they remember having seen – which was just … not quite a deer?

They said there was about fifteen minutes of foot to the floor speeding before they all, right about the same time, felt a change in mood come over them and they began to sob like “little scared kids”. It was only weeks later that they were like “You know… deer don’t look anything like that.”

“it was a deer in the way that a graveyard is a playground” is such a great line.