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Blue_Forest

via Mysterious Universe

Forests can be inherently spooky places. The trees with their twisted branches that can block out the sun to cast deep shadows upon the underbrush, the strange, unidentified sounds that sometimes emanate from the surrounding wilderness, the chilling howls echoing from far off in the distance, all of these elements can conspire to create a truly unnerving experience. For the most part, there is usually no real danger present and this eerie feeling is all in our minds, yet for one sinister wood in Transylvania there may be more to that prickling hair on your neck than just an active imagination. Long holding the image as the legendary home of vampires, ghouls and werewolves, the Transylvania region of Romania also has the distinction of harboring one of the most haunted, cursed, and indeed spookiest forests on the planet; a dark, sinister woodland full of all manner of unexplained phenomena and bizarre, unexplainable events.

Hoia-Baciu Forest lies west of the city of Cluj-Napoca in the Transylvania region of Romania, in an area that is actually not particularly remote and is fairly well visited and popular with those seeking outdoor recreation. The area is has also become popular among researchers from all corners of Forteana due to its unusually high amount of strange phenomena. Although the forest itself is a mere 1 square mile (3 square kilometers) in area, it nevertheless has a long history as a cursed and forsaken place, and also boasts a full spectrum of weirdness including ghosts, apparitions, spectral entities, disembodied voices, mysterious disappearances, unexplained physical effects on visitors, UFO activity, and magnetic anomalies, among others. It is hard to imagine anywhere else on earth that has concentrated such an intense amount of bizarreness into such a limited area of land, and this has earned the area the nickname of “The Bermuda Triangle of Transylvania.”

Hoia-Baciu Forest

Hoia-Baciu Forest

Locals have a long tradition of avoiding and fearing Hoia-Baciu Forest. Indeed the name of the forest itself derives from an unexplained occurrence. Legend has it that a Baci, which is the Romanian word for “sheep herder,” once guided a flock of sheep into the forest and never returned. Despite an immense search for the missing herder, no trace was ever found of the man or any of the 200 sheep he is said to have been with. It was as if they had just stepped off the face of the planet. The area quickly gained notoriety in local folklore as a place from which none returned. The people of the area also believe that the forest is the lair of the ghosts of peasants who have been violently murdered, and it is said that if one enters here with their own murderous thoughts, the forest will show that person for what they really are before exacting punishment. This ominous reputation as being a haunted, cursed place has long kept the people of the region from going anywhere near Hoia-Baciu Forest, and for a long time it was considered taboo or bad luck to even speak of it.

It is not hard to see why such legends and folklore have taken hold. The atmosphere of Hoia-Baciu Forest is certainly menacing, with its ancient, gnarled trees that are often said to appear to have screaming faces twisted into the bark and some of which display odd burn marks or mysteriously charred trunks. It is said that electronic equipment is prone to malfunction here and that compasses have the tendency to go berserk as soon as the forest is entered. There is also a thick, intangible air of dread pervading the murky forest. One of the most commonly reported occurrences of visitors to the forest are the inexplicably intense feelings of unease the place evokes, and it is not uncommon for people to experience a heavy sense of anxiety, excessive thirst, the sense of being watched by unseen eyes, fear, sudden, potent panic attacks for no discernable reason, and a strong desire to flee even in the absence of any particular danger.

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Visitors have also reported extreme migraine headaches or feeling disoriented, nauseous, dizziness, having a sense of lost time, or of having unexplained sharp pains in various parts of the body. There have been accounts of people in the forest losing consciousness only to wake up in a different area with no sense of how much time has passed or what had occurred during their period of unconsciousness. Others have described having powerful memories of their past come crashing into their mind, only for the memories to fade upon leaving the forest. On other occasions people have reportedly experienced astral projection, with their consciousness floating about as they look down upon their body upon the forest floor, only to come suddenly crashing back into their physical form. There are additionally many accounts of people feeling unexplained physical sensations such as sudden gusts of cold, tingling, tickling, or electric shocks. On occasion there have even been those who have entered the forest and suffered bizarre physical injuries such as nose bleeds, bruises, rashes, scratches, welts, and even burns for no apparent reason at all.

This pervasive cloud of foreboding, the feelings of being watched, and the mysterious physical sensations and injuries inflicted by unseen forces seem to tie well into the ghostly stories surrounding Hoia-Baciu Forest. A wide variety of apparitions are commonly spotted through the gnarled trees, and travelers tell of often hearing disembodied voices or laughter. Faces are known to suddenly flash into existence in front of startled visitors, in addition to appearing in photographs upon being developed when nothing out of the ordinary was seen when the pictures were taken. Disfigured, distorted faces have also been known to materialize out of the trees themselves as if they were growing or blooming from the branches and trunks. There are occasional reports of a thick black fog seeping through the trees and underbrush, as wells as glowing eyes floating about. EVP activity has also been reported in Hoia-Baciu Forest, with eerie unidentified voices emanating from the ether over radios or even cellphones.

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One of the most common forms of ghostly activity reported here is the presence of flickering, dancing lights that cavort among the trees and have no discernable origin. Often these orbs will blink into and out of existence without warning. These mysterious orbs of light have been studied by paranormal investigators using a range of scientific equipment such as infrared cameras and thermal detectors. It has been found that these orbs do not seem to produce any heat, as thermal imaging equipment has thus far failed to turn up any heat signatures for them. They also seem to be completely random in their activity, with no real rhyme or reason as to when they will appear or when they are most active.

Poltergeist activity is also allegedly rampant in the forest, with belongings such as cameras or bags being violently flung into the underbrush by unseen forces, as well as people being aggressively pushed around or thrown down to the ground. One such occurrence was captured on an episode of the TV show “Destination Truth,” when one of the crew was suddenly and violently attacked by an invisible aggressor. According to the crew, the man in question, Evan, was sitting in a clearing when there was a sudden flash of light and he was thrown across the clearing to the other side. The somewhat disoriented Evan then found that he had inexplicable scratches all up and down his arms, despite the fact that he was wearing a long sleeved shirt. He later reported that shortly before the incident he had heard strange female voices behind him before being blown across the clearing as if by a strong wind. The entire episode was captured on film and remains unexplained. The Destination Truth team was also able to capture the mysterious orbs of light on film during their investigation.

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Whether there are really ghosts here or not, Hoia-Baciu Forest is also well-known for its high number of unexplained disappearances. It is said that over 1,000 people have vanished without a trace within the forest over the years to never be seen again. The rare cases where these missing persons have been recovered are cloaked in weirdness. One such case involved the disappearance of a 5 year old girl who subsequently appeared 5 years later aimlessly wandering the forest. To the girl, no time had passed and she was wearing the exact same clothes she had been wearing 5 years previously. To add to the strangeness, her clothes were found to be in remarkably good condition, far from the wear one would expect from 5 years wandering the wilderness. Upon questioning the girl on what had happened to her it soon became apparent that she had absolutely no memory of where she had been or what had happened to her. Five other people who vanished into the forest also turned up later, only in these cases they were found dead. It was determined that all of these recovered bodies had died of suicide.

As creepy as all of this is, it is still not the extent of the mysteries of Hoia-Baciu Forest. The area is well known for its frequent UFO activity as well. The forest’s reputation as a UFO hotspot is mostly thought to have begun in 1968, when a biologist by the name of Alexandru Sift, who was actually in the forest to study its many strange anomalies, snapped a series of amazingly clear photos of a disc shaped craft flying above the tree line over a meadow. This was quickly followed by more such photos, most notably the clear photos of a UFO taken by a military technician named Emil Barnea on August 18, 1968. Well into the 70s, Hoia-Baciu Forest became renowned for its intense concentration of UFO sightings and photographs. The most recent high profile UFO sighting to come from Hoia-Baciu Forest occurred in 2002, when two residents on the top floor of an apartment complex in the adjacent city of Cluj managed to capture 27 seconds of footage of a bright, cigar shaped object around 50 meters in length hovering over the forest. The UFO reportedly slowly made its way across the sky before disappearing into thick cloud cover. UFO activity in the forest is so intense that alien abduction is often offered as a possible reason for the many missing persons and cases of lost time reported from the area.

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The bizarreness of Hoia-Baciu Forest goes even further yet. One of the most unusual features of the landscape here, other than the strangely crooked, twisted trees and mysterious char marks on their trunks, is the presence of a circular area around 300 meters wide which is completely devoid of vegetation and which demonstrates high levels of electromagnetic activity and other anomalous readings. Investigations into this mysterious dead zone within the forest have turned up no rational reason for why no vegetation will grow there. Soil samples have shown there to be nothing out of the ordinary and indeed nothing to distinguish it from the soil surrounding the barren circle. So far it is a complete mystery as to why nothing will grow here. Electronics brought into the dead circle also often go haywire or stop working entirely due to the potent electromagnetic fields permeating it. In addition to these unusually strong electromagnetic disturbances, there are also magnetic anomalies, and other measurements have shown the circle to exhibit abnormal microwave, infrared and radioactive readings. Locals in the area point out this bizarre circular patch as being the epicenter of paranormal phenomena and weirdness in the forest, and it is claimed that it is here where the ghosts of the murdered peasants reside.

The variety and intensity of unexplained phenomena to be found at Hoia-Baciu Forest has perhaps not surprisingly spurred on various theories to try and explain what is going on here, running the gamut from the plausible to the absurd. One theory is that the forest holds a gateway or portal to another dimension, or brushes up against some thin spot between our world and another. It is postulated that this could explain the various entities and orbs frequently spotted in the forest, as well as the missing people and even those who have experienced lost time or seemingly teleported from one area to another. Others believe that there is some sort of alien base here that is causing the UFO sightings, orbs, and even hallucinations and abnormal readings on various measuring equipment. Another, more far out idea is that the forest was the real center of the lost Atlantean civilization, and that these mysterious, ancient inhabitants created various teleportation portals with which to travel anywhere in the world and indeed the universe.

The mysterious dead zone within Hoia-Baciu Forest

One of the more grounded ideas proposed for at least some of the weird goings on here is that perhaps the forest is a source of some sort of ultra-low frequency sound waves, which are basically sounds that are inaudible to the human ear yet can create some profound physical effects from their vibrations nonetheless. These sound waves have been known to create deep feelings of unease and disorientation in people who experience them, which are similar to the sensations reported within Hoia-Baciu Forest. Ultra low frequency soundwaves could also potentially be the root cause of the physical discomfort associated with the forest, such as headaches, nose bleeds, and nausea, and such sound waves can also possibly produce profound audio and visual hallucinations. Ultra-low frequency infrasound is actually produced in nature all of the time, most notably in relation to natural phenomena such as thunder, earthquakes, and erupting volcanoes. Is there some source of such sound disturbances emanating from Hoia-Baciu Forest? Such a theory could certainly account for many of the eerie phenomena of this place, but fail to really explain the poltergeist activity, apparent physical attacks causing visible injuries on visitors, or the bizarre circular area where nothing will grow.

Whatever the causes for the vast amount of paranormal activity of Hoia-Baciu Forest, there is no denying that there is something out of the ordinary going on here beyond our current understanding. The forest has drawn specialists in various fields from all around the world looking to try and find some hint as to what processes generate these various phenomena. Despite a growing body of evidence and documentation of strange happenings occurring here, no one has really been able to figure out just what is going on here or why it should be concentrated within the forest.

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In addition to researchers and investigators from both paranormal and scientific disciplines, the enigmatic Hoia-Baciu Forest attracts large numbers of people from all over the world, from all walks of life, ranging from people coming out of a morbid curiosity or in the hope of seeing something weird, to those whose beliefs could be considered fringe, and even allegedly Satan worshippers. The forest is very popular among wiccans, who see it as a place of power that can boost the effectiveness of their various spells and rituals, and imbue their charms with added potency.

Forests can indeed be eerie places but in the case of Haoia-Baciu Forest, there certainly seems to be something going on that goes beyond merely creepy. Unexplained physical effects, lost time, magnetic and other anomalies, UFOs, ghosts, there is certainly something amiss here. Are there forces at work here that lie beyond our current understanding of the natural world? What processes are in operation here to make this one relatively small patch of forest so saturated with the unexplained? Is this truly a realm bumping up against other planes of existence, or perhaps something even stranger? Hoia-Baciu Forest is an otherworldly and surreal zone that surely ranks as a place with one of the highest concentrations of Fortean weirdness in the world. Perhaps one day we will come closer to an understanding of what is happening here but for now the forest is just as deeply mysterious and inscrutable as it ever was.

Coast to Coast AM

Author, lecturer, and paranormal researcher Dave Schrader
discussed his lifelong immersion into the paranormal, including updates on “thought form” creatures such as Slender Man, Bloody Bones Man, and the Faceless. In pondering to what extent paranormal sightings are based on expectation, intention, and mental processes, he looked back at the famed Philip Experiment
 in Canada in 1970s, in which a ghost was deliberately conjured or created by a group. What they communicated with could be an invented form, or possibly a spirit that walked in and took the attention people were willing to give it, and this could pose certain dangers, he commented. The recent film, “The Apparition” (which Joshua P. Warren served as a consultant on), is based on the notion of creating a spirit using technology.

Schrader described a strange collection of creatures that may fit the idea of thought forms that become hauntings. He’s received an increased number of reports of the Bloody Bones Man or “Raw Head” who appears as a boogeyman-like creature whose skin is removed, and shows up in people’s bedrooms at night. “Is is because we put this out there, started to share it, and now it’s in the minds of people, especially at bedtime?,” he asked. Emerging from a website to create a paranormal image, a character called Slender Man has been described as a very tall thin man who wears a suit, has no eyes, no mouth, and no clearly defined facial features. Though he had fictitious roots and was featured in some games, now people are actually reporting seeing this being, and he’s taken on a life of his own, Schrader detailed.

Similarly, he continued, people have described a faceless being, with a blank flat countenance that has sometimes been seen before a tragedy or accident strikes, in the way that Mothman sightings were said to be harbingers. Schrader also touched on Old Hag Syndrome, Ouija boards (including theZOZO phenomenon in which numerous people are said to be in contact with the same entity), and some of the places he’s investigated. These locales include the Stanley Hotel (related video), Rolling Hills Sanatorium in East Bethany, NY, and the Waverly Hills Sanatorium, where he encountered a Shadow Person, who walked right through him.

FAIR USE NOTICE: These Videos may contain copyrighted (©) material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available to advance understanding of ecological, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. It is believed that this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior general interest in receiving similar information for research and educational purposes.

Coast to Coast AM

George Knapp was joined by ufologist Grant Cameron
who discussed his analysis of government leaks into the classified world of UFOs. Historian and UFO researcher Richard Dolan appeared in the first half of the 2nd hour to talk about Cameron’s new book and aviator John Lear joined the conversation in the second half of the 3rd hour. Cameron observed that UFO revelations often follow a pattern where researchers examine the information, then it becomes discredited, and “everybody just drops the story” in search of the next big disclosure. However, he refuted the idea that these are patently false stories planted by the government and suggested that, in fact, they contain accurate information which is then smeared with disinformation via holes in the story that have been created ahead of time.

Furthering his thesis on these UFO disclosures, Cameron posited that the government is “putting the information out, but they are keeping the cover up going” by subsequently discrediting it. Additionally, he theorized that the era of UFO whistleblowers is over and anyone claiming to be such a witness is “working for them.” To that end, he said that, since the government would easily be able to identify any ‘anonymous’ whistleblower, then the person must be revealing these secrets at the behest of the ‘powers that be.’ Cameron also contended that “all leaked documents are phony,” because they are classified material and the government would swiftly arrest anyone who breached that official secrecy.

In the first half of the third hour, aviator John Lear joined the conversation to reflect on the Bob Lazar Area 51 revelations and how they may have fit into this plan of action by the government. He recalled how Lazar had been asked about his friendship with Lear during his second interview for the Area 51 job. As such, he surmised that the entire saga was initiated by the government, since they knew Lazar would eventually leak the information to him. While Cameron conceded that Lazar’s academic history has been shown to be false, thus allowing for the government to dismiss his tale, he noted that the notorious whistleblower passed numerous lie detector tests and his accurate information about Area 51 is what allowed for the story to be revealed.

Appearing during the first half of the second hour, historian Richard Dolan, who is publishing Cameron’s new book (co-authored with Scott Crain), called it “possibly the single best book, best I’ve ever read, dealing with inside government leaks from credible sources about the reality of the UFO phenomenon.” Regarding the theory that the government leaks accurate information and then discredits it, Dolan noted that it represents the ideal way of getting UFO secrets out to the general public without “destabilizing the whole system.”

Star People Encounters

In the first hour, Ardy Sixkiller Clarke detailed her research into Native American encounters with Star People. Since tales of alien encounters have been passed down for generations amongst Native Americans, she said that such stories are treated as normal events even in contemporary times. Clarke professed absolute belief in the veracity of the stories she was told by various Native Americans, who had these paranormal encounters, and stressed that they were “alert recollections” told to her rather than tales procured via hypnosis or a dream state. Over the course of her appearance, she shared stories of modern Native American UFO and alien encounters as well as insights into Skinwalkers and Sasquatch.

FAIR USE NOTICE: These Videos may contain copyrighted (©) material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available to advance understanding of ecological, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. It is believed that this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior general interest in receiving similar information for research and educational purposes.

Coast to Coast AM

In the middle two hours, scholar of Bigfoot history, Steven Streufert, shared history and analysis of the mysterious creature. He runs a used and antiquarian bookshop (specializing in “Sasquatchiana”) in Willow Creek, California, considered the heart of the historic “Bigfoot Country,”– the location is near where giant tracks were found in 1958, and “Bigfoot” subsequently became a household word. Willow Creek is also near where the famed Patterson-Gimlin film was shot in 1967, and Streufert has been involved in the Bluff Creek Film Site Project, which has traced the exact location of where Patterson filmed, in order to verify details about the creature, and its environment. He also participates in a Facebook group that seeks to promote the spirit of rational thinking and evidence-based Bigfoot research (in reaction to some of the more fantastical, insubstantial, or promotion-based claims made about the creature).

Streufert spoke about some of the ancient Native-American lore regarding Sasquatch, such as the beings speaking a language, as well as trading with, abducting, and even mating with humans, and producing offspring. One theory, he noted, is that Bigfoot are actually hybrids between humans and proto-humans. He also discussed the current Bigfoot DNA Project, spearheaded by Melba Ketchum, and a controversial case from last year when a hunter claimed he killed two Sasquatch in the central Sierra Nevada mountains, and now has “Bigfoot steaks” stashed in the freezer.

Last hour guest, cryptozoology advisor to Rue Morgue magazine, Lyle Blackburn, discussed reports of a strange beast known as the Fouke Monster that have circulated among the locals in southern Arkansas. In 1971, a family was reportedly attacked by a “big hairy monster,” and within a year, there were around 50 more sightings, with descriptions of an adult creature with a narrow build. The creature became popularized as the ‘Beast of Boggy Creek,’ when the low budget film The Legend of Boggy Creek was released in 1972, and became a hit. The movie was indeed based on some facts, Blackburn said, who added that he considers the creature to possibly be a cross between the foul-smelling Skunk Ape and a Pacific Northwest-type Bigfoot. In 1991, a large skeleton (missing the skull) was found in the woods near Jefferson, Texas that some believe could be a Bigfoot, he added.
Strange Surgeries

First hour guest, plastic surgeon Dr. Tony Youn recounted bizarre and unusual medical procedures. For instance, one plastic surgeon claimed he used the fat extracted from liposuction operations as biodiesel to run his car. Youn also touched on “body transmogrification” in which people have strange modifications such as the lizard-like tongue bifurcation, as well as a new weight loss strategy in which a doctor stitches a mesh patch on the tongue in order to make the act of eating uncomfortable.

FAIR USE NOTICE: These Videos may contain copyrighted (©) material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available to advance understanding of ecological, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. It is believed that this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior general interest in receiving similar information for research and educational purposes.

The following article is taken from famed Cryptozoologist Karl Shuker’s blog, ShukerNature.  No ownership is claimed over this article, it is being posted purely for educational purposes.  Please show Mr. Shuker support, as he is a great and brilliant man in the field of Cryptozoology!

 

The Green Drive Beast (© Sam Shearon)

In modern times, Britain – reputedly the world’s most haunted country – has seen more than even its fair share of monstrous creatures reported, beasts assuredly more supernatural than natural. So here, in no particular order, is my own personal Top Ten paranormal terrors of the zooform kind (i.e. seemingly preternatural entities superficially resembling corporeal creatures). Encounter them at your peril!

 

HORSE-MEN OF THE APOCALYPSE?

One late evening in 1994, the husband of correspondent Nicky Knott was driving home through King’s Lynn, Norfolk, down a lonely rural back road when he saw a large creature in a field to his right. As it moved closer, it seemed to be a horse, with equine body and four legs, but its observer was horrified to see that it had the face of a man! Terrified, Knott slammed his foot on the accelerator and sped away, and even though he was sure that the ‘thing’ was pursuing him he never once looked back till he reached home. Amazingly, this is not a unique case. Back in spring 1966, a creature fitting this same bizarre, man-faced, horse-bodied description was encountered in the road ahead as Margaret Johnson and her boyfriend John Farrell were driving past the estate of Lord Dillon in County Louth, Ireland, blocking their way for a couple of minutes and emanating palpable malevolence before abruptly vanishing. Could it have been a pooka – Ireland’s evil supernatural goblin horse?

Horse-man (Richard Svensson)

 

BEWARE OF BIG-EYES!

During the mid-1950s, writer Joan Forman had spent time teaching at the school in the Kentish village of Goodhurst. One early morning during the summer holidays, when few others were there, she had awoken from sleep in her room, alone within the school building’s oldest section, and was shocked to see a grotesque creature crouching on the floor to the left of her bed, glowing slightly in the darkness and gazing at her with what she considered to be an unblinking stare of outright evil and obscenity. It was about the size of a large cat or corgi dog, but its most striking feature were its huge eyes, which she likened to those of a nocturnal lemur. She lay there, rendered immobile by its seemingly mocking, revolting stare for some time, before, with the onset of dawn, it slowly faded away, and the intense coldness that until then had filled the room vanished with it. Years later, she learned that her successor at the school also witnessed this entity, but in a different bedroom.

 

A WEIRDLING CALLED WOLFIE

One of the weirdest creatures ever encountered in Britain was nicknamed Wolfie by the Lawson children who first saw it, but it was like no wolf – or anything else, for that matter – ever reported. The Lawson family lived in Abbey House, Cambridge, from 1904 to 1910, during which time Wolfie was spied on many occasions by the children, and even once at close range by their father as it sped down a corridor. According to their descriptions, Wolfie superficially resembled a very large, brown-furred, short-eared hare but with some notable additional attributes – always running on its hindlegs, sporting a pair of flipper-like front paws, and equipped with a long bird-like beak. Wolfie was mostly seen on the ground floor and at twilight, or in the drawing room when lit by lamplight, but even when not observed its presence was readily evinced by the distinctive pattering sound of its footsteps. Wolfie was also encountered by Charmian, the daughter of the Sharp family, who moved into Abbey House in 1920, and in 1947 a mysterious “tiny doggie” was reported in the kitchen by the young son of Celia Schofield, a friend of the then tenant. Although Wolfie did not seem to be malign in any way, its zoologically impossible form, if described accurately, indicates that this inexplicable entity must surely have been paranormal rather than corporeal in nature.

Wolfie (Richard Svensson)

 

THE VAMPIRE CATERPILLAR OF EDINBURGH

Some zooform phenomena, like Wolfie, seem so bizarre that they defy belief, let alone categorisation, yet their eyewitnesses vehemently affirm that they were real. Another notable example is the entity that Godfrey H. Anderson claimed to have spied on 23 November 1904 while walking along a street in Edinburgh, Scotland. Suddenly, he saw a grotesque ‘something’ rise out of the gutter and spring up at the throat of a horse. According to Anderson’s description, cited in Creatures of the Outer Edge (1978) by Jerome Clark and Loren Coleman, the horse’s weird attacker was:

“[a] vague black shape about four feet long and two and a half feet high…[it was shaped] like an hourglass and moved like a huge caterpillar.”

The horse reared up in terror, and as it did so its assailant vanished.

 

LONDON’S HORNED DEMON CAT

One evening in October 1943 during a World War II bombing session inflicted upon London by German aircraft, air-raid volunteer Howard Leland took shelter inside a derelict house, but as he sat at the foot of its staircase he sensed a presence nearby. Shining his torch up the stairs, he was petrified to spy a huge tabby-striped cat sitting crouched at the very top, gazing down at him with demonic eyes – a cat whose skull sprouted a pair of sharp pointed horns! Rooted to the spot with fear, Leland could only watch as this monstrous entity leaped down into the room below, but it vanished before it landed, so that only its spine-chilling yowl echoed in the shadows. Leland consulted renowned clairvoyant John Pendragon, who placed his finger on the house’s precise location on a map, only for his mind to be filled with swirling images of hate-filled cats and an image of a man about to hang himself. Leland made enquiries about this house, learning that others had seen the horned cat, and, significantly, that it had once been inhabited by a practitioner of black magic, who had sacrificed several cats during one foul ritual, but had become deranged, hanging himself from the top of the staircase. Pendragon concluded that the giant horned cat was an elemental, conjured into being by the restless, fury-fuelled ghosts of the slain cats, and which may persist there indefinitely. For a full ShukerNature account of this scary (as opposed to scaredy!) cat, click here.

Horned demon cat (Tim Morris)

 

A BONELESS TERROR

There are many British folktales telling of encounters with an eerie amorphous entity, animate and sinister, variously nicknamed ‘Boneless’ or simply ‘It’. One moonlit September night during the 1950s, however, railwayman John Davies was riding his motorbike back home to his cottage in Derbyshire’s Longdendale Valley when he saw what appears to have been a bona fide Boneless crossing the road not far ahead. Moments earlier, he had felt an uncanny, seemingly reasonless compulsion to brake, and as he did so he spied what looked like a huge black slug sliding across the road and up the moor, making a scraping noise as its massive but near-shapeless form moved along. Up closer, it looked a little like a massive whale, and even possessed an eye-like structure, and Davies later learnt that it had been seen by others. One such observer was a friend of Davies, who had seen it sliding across the valley below Ogden Clough, where it was also observed on a separate occasion by another of his friends. Both of them were convinced that whatever it was, it was definitely evil, and both had fled in panic after spying it.

 

THE LEVITATING WHITE DOG OF RICHMOND PARK

Phantasmal Black Dogs are widely reported in Britain; less familiar, conversely, but by no means unknown, are comparable reports of preternatural White Dogs, of which the following is certainly among the most remarkable on file. One evening during the early 1950s, a soldier was returning to his army camp, based inside London’s Richmond Park, when he was startled to see several deer running past him in a panic-stricken state. He was even more startled, however, when he saw that they were being pursued by an enormous pure-white dog with huge teeth – but which, instead of bounding across the ground like any typical earthbound dog, was racing through the air, about half a metre above the ground! For another ShukerNature post re White Dogs (aka Fairy Hounds in Celtic mythology), click here.

Richmond Park’s levitating white dog (C. Martin)

 

A HARPY OF THE HIGHLANDS?

According to Highland legend, on the eve of the historic battle of Culloden in 1746, a hideous winged apparition called the skree appeared in the sky, emitting spine-chilling shrieks and hovering above a detachment of soldiers. It was said to resemble a monstrous bird but with a human head, black leathery wings, and burning red eyes – in other words, a Caledonian counterpart of the harpies from Greek mythology! Moreover, one of its claimed eyewitnesses was none other than Lord General Murray. Although this story is largely dismissed by historians, at least two additional skree appearances have been documented. One was on 22 May 1915, when this veritable bird of ill-omen appeared over Larbert railway station just as a major party of Royal Scots men and officers were about to board their train. So shocked were they by this grotesque entity that the men had to be forced to board at gunpoint by their officers; later that day, the train crashed, killing or injuring many of its passengers. Most recently, during summer 1993, a skree-like creature was reportedly spied on a mist-shrouded outcrop of rock by two lost hill walkers in Glencoe.

 

ON THE LOOSE IN LYTHAM ST ANNE’S

Highly-acclaimed graphics-fantasy artist Sam Shearon (click here to visit his spectacular artwork’s Mister-Sam Facebook page) has long been interested in cryptozoology, but little expected that in 2005 he would have the chance to investigate a truly bizarre beast in his very own hometown of Lytham St Anne’s, Lancashire. As I learnt from Sam when he kindly shared his files on this entity with me, it all began during late April 2005, in the town’s wooded beauty spot of Green Drive, when a mysterious snarling creature initially likened to a large collie with very big pricked ears, a sizeable mouth, light-coloured fur, and a strange lolloping gait was spied there. Other reports soon emerged, but descriptions of the beast became ever stranger, with one eyewitness comparing it with a surreal giant hare, and another describing it as “like a monster out of Doctor Who”! When word of this extraordinary creature reached Sam, he lost no time in interviewing a number of eyewitnesses, and then prepared a highly-detailed illustration of it, based upon their accounts, which appeared in media reports worldwide and is also reproduced here in this ShukerNature post with Sam’s kind permission. He also established a dedicated website for documenting sightings. Suggestions as to what the Green Drive Beast might be as put forward by the general public ranged from a lost greyhound or an escapee wallaby to a mystery big cat, or even a far-from-home chupacabra! A number of wildlife experts were also consulted as to the creature’s likely identity, but were baffled, eventually suggesting that it may be a muntjac.

Reeves’s muntjac (Margoz/Wikipedia)

Alternatively known as barking deer, muntjac are not native to Britain. However, escapee specimens from captivity of Reeves’s muntjac Muntiacus reevesi (native to China) have established thriving populations in several regions of the country, and are notable for their large, fang-like canine teeth – an incongruous feature for deer. In general appearance, however, these small, elusive bambi-like animals display scant similarity to Green Drive’s mystery beast. Eventually, sightings and interest in the Green Drive enigma faded, but in September 2007 a very old, mange-ridden fox bearing a superficial resemblance to certain descriptions of the beast was captured there, reviving interest, and later being dubbed by the media as the correct explanation. Yet how a very sick, elderly fox found two years after the classic sightings of a much more vibrant, larger creature can be deemed to be one and the same as the latter is as mystifying as the beast itself. In any event, Sam’s stunning picture of the 2005 Green Drive Beast remains as vibrant testimony of its erstwhile existence, regardless of its identity.

The Green Drive Beast, clearly no muntjac! (© Sam Shearon)

 

A LAKE DISTRICT DEVA?

While visiting the Lake District, Cumbria, in June 1922, theosophist Geoffrey Hodson claimed to have witnessed an astonishing being that he believed to have been a deva or nature spirit. According to his description of what he had seen, it was an enormous bat-like entity, brilliant crimson in colour with a human face and burning piercing eyes that fixed themselves upon him as its wings stretched out over the mountainside, before sinking into the hillside and disappearing. It later reappeared before him, but now in much smaller form, this time standing a ‘mere’ 3-4 m high.

 

It’s not every day that you encounter a malevolent horse-man, a demonic horned cat, or a murderous vampire caterpillar in modern-day Britain, but as can be seen from the above accounts, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility either! So next time you’re out and about, keep your eyes open – sometimes, the unknown and the inexplicable can be a lot nearer than you think!

Sam Shearon, primary investigator of the Green Drive Beast (© Sam Shearon)

Since the late 1800s, reports have surfaced from South America of a creature known as the minhocão.  The following article is taken from The Strangerest; no ownership is claimed over this article, it is being posted purely for educational purposes.

In the late nineteenth century, many sightings surfaced from South America of a creature called the minhocão. This creature was reputed to be similar to a huge earthworm. An article by Auguste de Saint-Hilaire in the American Journal of Science was the first published reference to this shadowy creature of southern Brazil. Its name, he said was derived from the Portugese minhoca (earthworm). Sainte-Hilaire recorded several instances, usually at fords of rivers, where livestock were captured by one of these creatures and dragged under the water. Instances he recounted took place at the Rio dos Piloes, Lake Padre Aranda, and Lake Feia, all in the province of Goyaz.

A possible parallel with the Brazilian beast was described in 1866 by Paulino Montenegro. He described a creature in the folklore of Nicaragua called sierpe. This animal was described as “like a large snake,” and lived in ponds called chaquites.

Legends of the Minhocão were nearly forgotten until 1877, when another article was written on the creature, this time for the German publication Zoologische Garten by zoologist Fritz Müller. He provided further data on the monster, including accounts of trenches dug by the subterranean creature which were so large as to divert rivers, and which destroyed entire orchards. This article also included, unlike Saint-Hilaire’s, an actual sighting of the monster. The sighting took place sometime in the 1840s near the Rio dos Papagaios in Paranà State.

A black woman going to draw water from a pool near a house one morning … saw a short distance off an animal which she described as being as large as a house moving off along the ground. … In the same district a young man saw a huge pine suddenly overturned … he found the surrounding earth in movement, and an enormous worm-like black animal in the middle of it, about twenty-five metres long, and with two horns on its head.

He also mentioned a sighting which took place in 1849. Lebino José dos Santos heard tales of a Minhocão which had been found dead near Arapehy, Uruguay. The creature was found lodged between two rocks. It was reputed to have skin “as thick as the bark of a pine-tree” and was armored with “scales like those of an armadillo.” One was also seen near Lages, Brazil in approximately 1870.

Francisco de Amaral Varella … saw lying on the bank of the Rio das Caveiras a strange animal of gigantic size, nearly one metre in thickness, not very long, and with a snout like a pig, but whether it had legs or not he could not tell. … whilst calling his neighbours to his assistance, it vanished, not without leaving palpable marks behind it in the shape of a trench …

Two possible theories were proposed for the identity of the Minhocão. One, which is generally the most popular, holds that the creature was none other than a surviving glyptodont (a prehistoric South American animal which resembled an armadillo). Another held that it was a large species of lepidosiren (serpentine South American lungfish).

Karl Shuker debunks the glyptodont theory in his discussion of the creature by pointing out that glyptodonts were not burrowing animals (in addition to their lack of adaptations for burrowing, such as massive claws, their well-developed defenses were evidence that they lived much of their life above ground and near predators) and that they were presumably not nearly as aquatic in nature as the Minhocão is supposed to be. In addition, he points out that, contrary to what may be thought, the armored carapace of the glyptodonts was not terribly similar to that of an armadillo.

He goes on to debunk the lepidosiren theory and to endorse an identification of the creature as a species of caecilian. Caecilians are wormlike amphibians native to Mexico and South America, among other places. They physically resemble earthworms, and unlike most amphibians, live their lives nearly entirely below ground. Two sensory organs on the animals’ head which, at times, resemble horns. Caecilia can also grow quite large (one Colombian species grows to nearly 5 feet).

The giant caecilian theory is certainly an enticing one and one which could yet prove to be true, although doubtless the creature would prove to be much larger than any known caecilian. In my view, though, Shuker’s dismissal of the lepidosiren theory does not sit well. This possible identity should not be ruled out entirely. Given the evidence, we may conclude that the glyptodont theory, although appealling, does not account for the sightings.

But the case may never be proven, as the Minhocão has not been sighted since the 1870 sighting recounted above. It may be that the creatures have become extinct since the “heyday” of reports, unless one considers certain reports, usually passed off as being of a Sucuriju gigante or giant anaconda, of horned water serpents.

 

Very little information is known about the creature known as the Minhocão; what is it, you ask?  That’s up for you to decide…

Australia is known for its megafauna, most of which died out long ago.  Or did they really?  The following is an article called Giant Lizards of Australasia, the megalania prisca from The Strangerest.  No ownership is claimed over any of this material, it is being posted purely for educational purposes.

The animals usually associated with the Australian continent are koalas, kangaroos, wombats, and crocodiles.

There used to be other animals, commonly referred to as megafauna, that roamed this continent before being wiped out by plague or man. These were nightmarish versions of the creatures that exist in Australia today, 10-foot tall kangaroos that fed on flesh rather than vegetation, and at least as recently as 3000 years ago, giant lizards that dwarfed the Komodo dragon.

These lizards were megalania prisca, a reptile reaching 30 feet in length and weighing at least 1,000 pounds or more. The Komodo dragon is roughly the size of a lion, but megalania was bigger than an average dairy cow. Extinct megalania is listed with the many casualties of the Ice Age. Or is it extinct? Creatures matching it’s description has been sighted many times in the last century, and some sightings suggest that it lives also in New Guinea.

As recently as the late ’70s there have been megalania sightings. In July 1979, Rex Gilroy was informed of footprints of the creature found in a recently plowed field. Across the field were 30 or so tracks from what looked like an enormous lizard. Rain had ruined most of the tracks but Gilroy was able to make a plaster cast of one that had been preserved. The footprint looked surprisingly like something that might have been made by a Megalania.

Also in 1979 a sighting of megalania arose, this time by the best possible witness. Herpetologist Frank Gordon, after conducting some field work in the Watagan Mountains in New South Wales, returned to his vehicle. After starting his engine he saw, what he at first thought was a log, scampering off. It ended up being a lizard of some 30 feet or more in length.

Another incident includes a farmer who observed a gigantic lizard walking along one of his fields. It walked alongside a wire fence, so the farmer used a set of fence posts as a guide. His estimate of the beast was a length of twenty to twenty-five feet.

Megalania might not be constrained only to Australia–some sightings suggest it may live in New Guinea. A French priest in the 1960’s was traveling up river with a native guide in order to reach his mission. During the trip he spotted a large lizard lying on a fallen tree in the sun. He told the native to stop, but being badly frightened, the native continued the journey. The priest returned to the spot the following morning and measured the tree. It was 40 feet long, yet the lizard almost matched it.

The wilds of the New Zealand islands may also have a monstrous secret lurking within them. There are 90 species of lizards currently known in New Zealand. Most are not of any impressionable size and yet from Captain James Cooks’ first arrival in New Zealand, strange tales of large lizards have been passed down to fairly recent times. One of these lizards, the Kumi lizard, was apparently of impressive size.

When Cook arrived in Queen Charlotte Sound, in 1773, Tawaihura a local chief told Cook of an enormous lizard and gave him a drawing of the beast.
These giant lizards apparently lived in the trees and were greatly feared by the Maori.
There were also reports however, given to the early European settlers of a 5-6 ft lizard which the Maori also hunt and ate.

In 1875 a strange lizard like animal had been found in a flooded river in Hokianga.
The local Maori, out of fear of the animal, hacked it to pieces.
From the same area emerged the reported sighting of an 18 inch lizard, yellowish in colour which slid down into the water when discovered and was lost among the boulders of the Hokianga River.
1875 also saw Mr F.W Hutton present a paper “On a Supposed Rib of the Kumi”.
The paper spoke of the discovery of a ramus of the lower jaw of a pleurodont lizard from the Ernscleugh Cave in Central Otago.
The ramus seemed to give foundation to the at least sub-fossil existence of the Kumi lizard.
In the same cave a vertebral rib that also appeared to be from the same animal was found.

At the New Zealand Institute meeting of September 20th 1898 mention was made of a large, strange reptile allegedly seen near Gisborne.

Furthermore, in September of that same year, in Arowhana, a bushman working on a station was confronted by a 5 ft long gigantic lizard which advanced toward him.
The animal then subsequently fled into a Rata tree.
Lysnar, the owner of the station where the animal was sighted, and a party of men went in search of the animal.
They managed to photograph some footprints but did not come across the actual animal.

According to Aboriginal tradition, a ‘horny-skinned goanna bunyip” is said to have existed in New South Wales and elsewhere across Australia under a variety of different names in the long-ago Dreamtime. It was described as being of enormous size and smelling “terrible”. Their rock engravings and cave paintings across the continent clearly depict these and other reptilian monsters, but more on that matter later.

Aboriginal rock engravings depicting Megalania near Sydney and the central coast of New South Wales date as recently as 3,000 years-the age of some fossil fragments of the creatures found in various parts of eastern Australia, if not elsewhere.

We now turn to the north coastal and inland districts of New South Wales where Aboriginal people from most ancient times were well-acquainted with the giant monitors which they called “Mungoon Galli”.

However, they appear to have confused these up-to-30-foot-long reptiles with another, larger beast, which they claimed to have reached the astounding length of 50 feet! That such a monstrous form could still survive out there in those wilds seems preposterous, but there are Aborigines who claim they do!

Even if extinct today, perhaps long ago in ice-age times, and earlier, such a species existed. And, if so, perhaps its fossil remains may yet turn up. These monsters were monitors in every detail. Aborigines say their legs were as much as six to seven feet tall when standing and in the walking position. They had a massive head at least four feet in length and a long thick neck, much like a monitor’s, which reached a length of around 10 feet. The body reached about 20 feet in length, matched by a long thick tail of the same length.

“These monster-goannas once roamed the whole continent far back in the Dreamtime. Our people used to hunt these monsters in big parties, but hunters had to be careful; for if you were caught, these big fellas would pick you up in their mouths and eat you,” said one old Taree Aborigine to a researcher back in the early 1950s.

Like their smaller 30-foot counterparts, they were said to overturn trees of reasonable size. Even today, when a large tree is heard to fall in the forest depths by day or night, Aborigines will say it is the work of a “Mungoon Galli”.

Over the years some people have claimed to have found massive footprints of these creatures, but if so, no photographs or casts have been forthcoming. But there are genuine traditions of the monsters among the Aborigines, and until the terrain in which they are said to live can be explored properly, let us at least keep an open mind on the matter.

Aborigines say that strange noises heard near waterholes and certain forest areas near Taree and back of Kempsey are the sounds made by giant monitors, and they will not go anywhere near these places for fear of being caught and eaten by one of these reptiles.

There is a story from the Cessnock district about an incident said to have taken place in late December 1978. In a far paddock on his property, a farmer spotted a gigantic goanna-looking reptile ripping up a cow with its massive jaws and teeth.

The farmer (who did not wish his name to be known) was in a Jeep at the time. He raced off for the house and phoned up mates who, within the hour, descended on the property with their cattle dogs in pick-ups and Land-Rovers, armed with rifles. The location borders swamplands on the edge of thick-forested valleys and mountain country, and it was from there that the monster had obviously emerged.

By the time the search party arrived, all they could find was the half eaten cow, much blood, and many large indistinct tracks in the grassy ground. However, other squashed-about tracks and the marks of a massive tail could be seen on the swamp edge leading into the water. The dogs, as well as the men, refused to go any further.

Using nearby fence-posts to line up the creature at the time of his sighting, the farmer estimated that it was a good 35 feet (10.6metres) in length, and nine feet or so tall on all fours, counting the great body of the creature. However, few people believed him. Some argued that he must have butchered the cow himself and manufactured the tracks. If this was so, he certainly did a good job. But there are some strange things happening out in those mountains, and I for one am not laughing.

Over the years, inhabitants of the Cessnock district have often talked about enormous 30-foot reptiles that they maintain inhabit the dense forests that cover the full extent of the nearby rugged Watagan mountain range. And these monstrous beasts have been known to stray from their mountain homes onto properties on Cessnock’s outskirts.

During the last week of December 1975, a Cessnock farmer, tending cattle on his property, caught sight of one of these reptiles moving in scrub nearby his barn. He said it was at least 30 feet in length, was of a mottled greyish colour and stood up to three feet off the ground on four powerfully built legs.

During the previous year of 1974, at least 10 detailed accounts of giant lizard activity reached reporters in Newcastle.
Mr Mike Blake does not think Megalania is extinct. During 1974 he was sitting on his farmhouse verandah one day with his utility van parked right in front of his house, situated near bushland outside Cessnock. Suddenly, from around the side of the farmhouse, one of these monstrous beasts walked around in front of his verandah between him and his parked utility.

Mike remained terrified and “glued to his chair”, as he said later, while the enormous beast turned and looked at him before moving on leisurely across a nearby paddock toward scrub. Mike compared the lizard’s length to his utility which was 18 feet in length. The lizard was at least 20 feet long and stood three feet from the ground.

For as long as residents of the Watagan Mountains have known of these giant lizards, so too have the inhabitants of the Port Macquarie-Wauchope district much further up the coast. Attacks upon cattle by giant goanna monsters are part of local folklore going back into last century.

Are unknown, Giant lizards and/or other megafauna still roaming Australia and neighboring countries?  In the Australian wilderness, it’s a big possibility, but in the end, you be the judge…

Over the years, there have been numerous reports of unknown flying creatures throughout Texas.  The following article is from The Strangerest; no ownership is claimed over this article, it is being posted purely for educational purposes.

The Mysterious Flying Creatures of Texas

For centuries, many of the Native American tribes who live in the western half of the US have told stories of creatures known as thunderbirds. Big (and fierce) enough to feed on full-grown bison, with wings so powerful that they could produce thunderclaps, the birds hold a special place in tribal lore.

But could thunderbird legends be based on animals still living in remote parts of America?

In 1890, two Arizona cowboys claimed to have killed a gigantic, featherless bird. Photographs (which disappeared long ago) are said to have shown a strange creature with an alligator-like head and a wingspan longer than the length of a barn. Some believe that the bird’s description matches that of the extinct Pteranodon (see above).

 
In the years since, sightings of similar flying “monsters” have been surprisingly common, particularly in South Texas. According to one terrified San Antonio eyewitness, an enormous, black creature with “stooped-up shoulders” flew over his car less than ten years ago. In 1976, three school teachers reported that their car had been similarly “buzzed.”

Yet another reputable witness claims he once saw two of the birds perched on a hillside. “These creatures were so huge they looked like the size of small planes,” he said. “All of the sudden one of them jumped off dropped off the top of the mountain, came down the front of the mountain and all the sudden these huge wings just spread out. I would say the wings were at least a 20-foot wingspan.”

 
 
 
While the above article was rather short, I think it provided interesting information, along with pictures.  Another article, from The UnMuseum, is being reposted below.  No ownership is claimed over any of it; it is being posted purely for educational purposes.
 
Pterosaurs in Texas
 
 

While driving his cruiser through the wee hours one morning 1976, Policeman Arturo Padilla of San Benito, Texas, spotted something unusual in his headlights. It looked like a big bird. A really big bird. A few minutes later Padilla’s fellow officer, Homer Galvan, reported it also. It appeared as a black silhouette that glided through the air. According to Galvan, it never even flapped its wings.

A short time later Alverico Guajardo, a resident of Brownsville, Texas, reported he’d heard a thumping noise outside his mobile home at about nine-thirty at night. When he looked out the door, he saw a monstrous bird standing in his yard. “It’s like a bird, but it’s not a bird,” he said. “That animal is not from this world.”

The sighting of the strange bird didn’t end with the reports from Guajardo and the two policemen. Two sisters told of seeing a “big black bird” with “a face like a bat” near a pond outside of Brownsville.

Reports of this creature continued to multiply in the early months of 1976 until finally a radio station offered a reward for the creature’s capture. Soon after, a television station broadcast a picture of an alleged bird track measuring some twelve inches in length. As the media hype increased, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department took action, fearing that hunters might mistake a large, rare and protected bird (like a whooping crane) for this mysterious creature. They made an announcement saying, “All birds are protected by state or federal law.”

At about this same time several Texas schoolteachers told of seeing the strange flying creature, with a wingspan of at least 12 feet across, while they were driving to work. One of them checked the school library and found a name for the animal: A pterosaur.

The Pterosaurs

Pterosaurs were an order of reptiles that lived and went extinct with the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. They were the first true flying animals that had vertebrae. Their wings were composed of a membrane of skin that stretched from the side of the body, along the arm, out to the tip of an enormously-elongated fourth finger, and then back to the ankle. Like a bat, they had no feathers.

Computer analysis of pterosaur fossils suggest that they were slow gliders, capable of making very tight airborne turns. A large pteranodon, with a wingspan of 30 feet, could turn in mid-flight in a circle only 34 feet in diameter.

So what were extinct pterosaurs doing in Texas in the 20th century?

Strangely enough, Texas hasn’t been the only place plagued by aerial, reptilian predators from the past. In 1923 a writer by the name of Frank Melland who worked in what was then northern Rhodesia, in Africa, told of a strange flying creature in his book In Witchbound Africa. According to Melland, the natives called this animal a kongamato. Its wing span was four to seven feet across and it had a long beak full of teeth. The wings were featherless and resembled those of a bat. Melland sent for some books he had at his home and showed a picture of a pterodactyl (a type of pterosaur) to the tribesmen. Melland reported that “every native present immediately and unhesitatingly picked it out and identified it as a kongamato.”

Melland wasn’t the only one to hear of this beast. In 1942 Col. R. S. Pitman wrote about reports he’d heard about a flying creature living in the same region as Melland’s kongamato:

“…the most amazing feature of this mystery beast is its suggested identity with a creature bat-and-birdlike in form on a gigantic scale strangely reminiscent of the prehistoric pterodactyl.”

Nobody has yet to find a living pterosaur either in Africa or Texas, however. Is it possible that what people were seeing was a very big, but conventional bird? The largest American bird is the California condor. With an impressive wingspan of over ten feet they would be large enough to explain some of the Texas reports. California condors, however, are a rare and endangered species and it seems unlikely that one would have wandered so far from its home on the west coast without being spotted and recognized by bird watchers for what it really was.

Bird of Legend

There is another bird, more legend than fact, that might fit the Texas reports: The thunderbird.

Thunderbirds are a part of Native American myth. These huge, supernatural creatures were supposed to have caused thunder by flapping their wings and lightning by blinking their eyes. Though such powers are obviously in the realm of legend, there are occasional reports in certain sections of North America of sightings of a giant birds that seem to fit the thunderbird description.

The forested region along the Allegheny Plateau of Pennsylvania seems to get more than its share of thunderbird reports. In 1969 the wife of a local sheriff spotted a huge bird sitting in the middle of a creek near their cabin. When it took off and unfurled its wings she estimated it was about 75 feet across. A more recent thunderbird account, a little further east, comes from the New Jersey coastline where in 1970 several people saw a flying creature with a “wingspread almost like an airplane.”

Texas Quetzalcoatlus

Could a thunderbird have a wingspan as large as an airplane? The largest known flying animal of all time was a pterosaur called the Quetzalcoatlus. It had a wingspan as big as a small plane (over 40 feet) and weighed about 190 pounds. Unlike many of the other pterosaurs, Quetzalcoatlus lived inland and probably fed on the ground like modern storks by hunting small vertebrates on land or in small streams.

The Quetzalcoatlus, interestingly enough, brings us back to Texas. The first Quetzalcoatlus fossils were discovered in Big Bend National Park, Texas, in 1972, just four years before the first sightings of the Texas “Big Bird.” Is there a connection?

Have there been pterosaurs hiding in Texas for the last 65 million years? Or could it be the publicity surrounding the discovery of Quetzalcoatlus four years before triggered the misidentification of large birds like the sandhill crane, brown pelican or the vulture? We may never know, because after the two-month flap of sightings in 1976, reports of the big birds dwindled. The pterosaurs, if they ever existed, seem to have gone back into hiding.

Perhaps not for forever, though. Six years later, on September 14, 1982, James Thompson was driving on a road near Los Fresnos, Texas, when he saw something large glide low over the highway just ahead of him. He stopped and stared at the animal that seemed to fly without moving its wings. Thompson reported the creature had a black or gray color. Its body appeared to be covered with a rough-textured skin. The wings, which were five or six feet across, had no feathers.

When he got home, Thompson looked up the animal in a book. The book said it was a pterosaur.

A Partial Bibliography

The Ultimate Dinosaurs, Edited by Katie Orchard, Parragon Books, 2000.

Unexplained!, by Jerome Clark, Visable Ink Press, 1999.
Copyright Lee Krystek 2003. All Rights Reserved.

 

What are the flying creatures reported in Texas?  Living dinosaurs?  Thunderbirds, of Native American legend?  Both?  Research it further, and you be the judge…

Perhaps one of the most well-known and fascinating creatures known in the field of Cryptozoology is Trunko.  While this Cryptid has supposedly been ‘debunked’ by Karl Shuker in 2010, many discount the findings, as they contradict what numerous people saw.  Below is an article from The Strangerest called What Was Trunko?, from 2009.  No ownership is claimed over this article; it is being posted purely for educational purposes.

On November 1, 1922, something incredible was observered by land owner Hugh Ballance – and at least a handful of additional witnesses – while standing on the shores of South Africa’s Margate beach, in the area known as KwaZulu-Natal.

What these individuals reported seeing that sunny afternoon was a spectacle which, to the modern eye, would seem to have been culled straight out of a Godzilla movie – although in it would be another three and a half decades before that particular atomic fire-breather and its friends would wage their mighty cinematic battles on the silver screen – yet just off the shores of Margate , in the churning depths of the Indian ocean, those onlookers swore they bore witness to what has been described as an epic battle between three gigantic beasts.

Two of the animals were easily recognized by the spectators as whales (probably orca), but the third member of this fracas was deemed utterly unclassifiable. A creature who’s equal has been seen by only a handful of men worldwide. A beast who’s very existence seemed to defy all of the rules of biology and Darwinian logic.

The witnesses stared transfixed at the sight before them as this battle of the titans raged for over three hours, resulting in the deaths of all involved. But as fascinating as the accounts of the battle are, the mystery doesn’t truly begin until later that same evening, when an unfathomably bizarre, 47-foot long corpse washed up on shore.

The creature had no apparent head, yet it bore a 5-foot long trunk, which seemed to just appear from its torso. As if that weren’t strange enough, the animal was said to have a 10-foot long, lobster or prawn-like tail, all of which was covered with what appeared to be a coat of 8 inch long, snow-white hair.

Amazingly, even after the eyewitnesses confirmed that the beached carcass was that of the creature which they had seen fighting in the sea, no official scientific expedition was launched to investigate the corpse. In fact, no real mention of the occurance filtered out of the KwaZulu-Natal region until the London Daily Mail ran a story on December 27, 1924 – over two years after the event!

Even years later, witnesses remembered the clash with incredible detail. They claimed that the creature – which came to be known as Trunko, due to its incredible elephantine appendage – fought a valiant battle against the lethal whales. Many witnesses even swore that they saw Trunko rise over twenty feet from the frothing ocean and use its lobster-like tail as an offensive weapon against its assailants.

A vocal minority of crypto-aficionados have posed the theory that Trunko may have been a living, breathing example of an aquatic-elephant. They claim that these creatures may have evolved back into marine animals – much in the same fashion as modern cetaceans – millions of years ago.

This theory postulates that after a multitude of generations this ancient precursor of the Mastodon would have lost its legs in favor of more useful flippers, and that over the centuries its body would have become more streamlined. This is yet another trait which would parallel this hypothetical animal with the genuine remains of Trunk, which is sometimes referred to as the Natal carcass.

On an even more bizarre note, there are some fringe researchers who have speculated that Trunko may even be extra terrestrial in orgin. This speculation is not entirely unlike the claims made by Ivan T. Sanderson regarding the “Tasmanian Globster”.

Unfortunately this account ends (as is too often the case) with a footnote which claims that after 10 days of rotting right beneath the noses of the South African scientific community, the carcass was washed back out to sea—and forever out of the hands of zoologists, marine biologists and historians—never to be seen again.

In 2010, Cryptozoologist Karl Shuker supposedly ‘debunked’ Trunko.  The following is the excerpt taken from Wikipedia:

 
On 6 September 2010, however, the long-awaited identity of Trunko was finally revealed. Karl Shuker announced that a hitherto-unknown photograph of Trunko had been discovered by German cryptozoologist Markus Hemmler on the website of the Margate Business Association, and Shuker recognised from this photo that Trunko had been nothing more than a globster, i.e. a massive, tough skin-sac of blubber containing collagen that is sometimes left behind when a whale dies and its skull and skeleton have separated from the skin and sunk to the sea bottom. The photo had been snapped by Johannesburg photographer A. C. Jones, who had visited Trunko’s remains while they were beached.[3] Three days later, Shuker revealed that he and Hemmler had independently discovered two more photos of Trunko by Jones that had been published in the August 1925 issue of Wide World Magazine. These close-up photos showed a classic globster, confirming Shuker’s identification of Trunko, and clearly revealed its white ‘fur’ to be exposed connective tissue fibres.[4] So it was the sight of two whales some distance out to sea tossing this globsterised mass into the air, a common practice, that had fooled observers on Margate Beach into assuming that it was alive. Instead, Trunko as a living, white-furred, elephant-trunked cryptid had never existed after all.

This explaination has been dismissed by others; for example, the ‘connective tissue fibres’ explaination does not make sense…They are obviously hairs.  That is our opinion, however; you be the final judge…