Guffins (also known as Guphins, Guffun, or Creatures of the Highline) are mythological creatures referenced in New York City folklore. Described as ground-dwelling and slow-moving, Guffins are claimed to dwell in hidden sections on and below the Highline, a public green space along the west side of Manhattan. Most sightings occur in the early morning or late evening, except during the changing of the seasons when they are known to appear during the day. Local residents refer to them as "The Wild Wanderers."
The first Guffins sightings were reported in 1849, shortly after street level train tracks were added to Manhattan's west side. It is thought that they may have been attracted to the area because of the trains, which make sounds similar to vocalizations Guffins are thought to produce.
Guffins are described as shy but friendly according to zoobotanist Dr. John Wayne. There are no reports of Guffins attacking humans. Interactions are rare, because the Guffin is most active at night.
Guffins typically shy away from humans, however they are known to be more bold during the fall period of their migration. They are attracted to shiny objects and mechanical devices. They are reported to regard cameras with particular fascination. There exists little photographic evidence, except unverified instagram photos and YouTube videos. This may be due to the fact that Guffins are very well camouflaged to their environment.
They are described to be covered a hair-like material which resembles the plants of their environment. However they can also be covered in thick skin which resemble brick or cement. Drawings made by people who claim to have seen them show them with one, two, or zero arms. It is generally reported to walk slowly in herds, mimic human behavior, love cameras, explore the city after dark, build “nests” out of wild grass, twigs, and leaves from the highline, and emit whistle sounds from locations that are hidden from view. Accounts of the creature regularly describe an "eerie silence prior to the encounter, an appreciable stillness in the park that commonly surrounds these creatures.”
Though no concrete evidence exists to support the assumption, Guffins are believed to live in small family groups, building communal nests in secluded, abandoned places beneath the High Line. Nests will likely be lined with the same types of natural and man-made matter with which they themselves are covered. They are reported to travel in small herds or family groups.
Local reports have described “ritualistic behavior” from the Guffins, as their appearance has usually involved moving from one end of the Highline to the other in a slow, seemingly deliberate fashion. When sighted, they appear to be fascinated by all manner of objects, and to the untrained eye, their choices may appear random. Closer inspection reveals, however, that their interest draws from passing humans’ relationships with the space, which is supported by changes in their rituals over time. As human attention has been pulled to and from different sites along the High Line, so has Guffin interest.
Local government officials have started a search for the monster and its existence. The hope of spotting the Guffins remains a highlight for many tourists visiting the Highline. Many apartment complexes and businesses along the Highline boast about being close to sightings. Generally the scientific community attributes sightings of the creatures to hoaxes or misidentification.