The squonk as illustrated by Coert Du Bois from Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods.
The Squonk is a mythical creature reputed to live in the Hemlock forests of northern Pennsylvania. Legends of squonks probably originated in the late nineteenth century, at the height of Pennsylvania's importance in the timber industry.
The legend holds that the creature's skin is ill-fitting, being covered with warts and other blemishes and that, because it is ashamed of its appearance, it hides from plain sight and spends much of its time weeping. Hunters who have attempted to catch squonks have found that the creature is capable of evading capture by dissolving completely into a pool of tears and bubbles when cornered. A certain J.P. Wentling is supposed to have coaxed one into a bag, which, while he was carrying it home, suddenly lightened. On inspection, he found that the bag contained only the liquid remains of the sad animal.
The "scientific name" of the squonk, Lacrimacorpus dissolvens, comes from Latin words meaning "tear", "body", and "dissolve".
Mario Bava's 1971 film, Twitch of the Death Nerve (aka Carnage), written by Bava, Giuseppe Zaccariello and Filippo Ottoni, features dialogue around the 10-minute mark describing the squonk and its attributes.
Michael Chabon's novel Wonder Boys contains a reference to the main characters, Grady Tripp and Terry Crabtree, "speculating for hours on the meaning of a certain enigmatic question in the lyrics to 'Any Major Dude'".
The third track on Genesis's 1976 album A Trick of the Tail is "Squonk". The song recounts the legend of the hunter who captured a squonk, as described above, and the creature is described as having a retiring disposition.
A 2002 short story by Glen David Gold entitled "The Tears of Squonk, and What Happened Thereafter" alludes to the myth and gives the name to the deceitful clown of the story, who cries "heedless crocodile tears".
A 1996 short story by Nancy Springer titled "Byrd Song" centers around an outcast girl who meets a squonk, and was published in Bruce Coville's Book of Magic.
Rapper MC Frontalot mentions the creature in the song "Scare Goat", with the lines "Got a Mongolian death worm at my house, right next to Squonk and the Aqueous Mouse..."
A Pittsburgh, PA–based performance art collective is known as Squonk Opera, though they profess that they named themselves "after a description of a jazz saxophonist's playing as a 'squonk-fest', rather than the legendary creature of the same name".
In a 2013 episode of Lost Girl titled "Fae-ge Against the Machine" Bo rescues a teenage squonk (who looks like a normal teenage girl other than the fact that she is constantly crying) from a dark Fae who was selling her tears.