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Wednesday, July 20, 2022

The Green-Haired Monster of Trout Run Road

 The Green-Haired Monster of Trout Run Road

By Cole Herrold

Strange cryptid creatures are rather common when one digs deep into the pages of old newspaper articles. These encounters can be clearly fabrications of the writer's imagination, misidentifications, or, more interestingly, honest to god encounters with the unknown. These sightings range from mundane to grandiose, so it's difficult at times to wade through all the information. As time goes on, however, these cases eventually, which for a time seemed lost, are rekindled due to supernatural sleuths and Fortean researchers who then cull the accounts into books for all to enjoy. One such account describes an extremely aggressive encounter with a colossal creature that, while brief, is entirely captivating and, in such, leads one to ask more questions than what we can currently glean from the information available.

On Saturday, December 1, 1973, eighteen-year-old Michael Lee Findley was out on Trout Run Road in Hellam Township, York County, at 5:00 in the morning when he experienced an aggressive assault from a creature seemingly ripped from the pages of a Marvel Comic. The creature, which the December 4th article of the York Daily Record described as a "green-haired monster," proceeded to go and attack the young man. Findley would note that the creature was bigger than any man and was covered in shaggy hair and ran and walked bipedally. Findley was able to survive the assault and had managed to work his way to the York Hospital, where doctors had found long scratch marks on his face and a serious head injury that led to some memory loss which prompted an investigation by police. Upon telling the police about the attack, the officers proceeded to search the area but found nothing and would be quoted saying their investigation "did not reveal any facts relating to the same" in regard to Findley's testimony. The police coming back to him after finding nothing would attempt to convince him that his attacker was nothing more than a man in furs, but Findley knew that what he encountered was not that, and if it was," it was the largest man who had ever lived on the entire planet ."Findley also, as a boy, lived on a farm and was aware of the natural fauna of the region and was able because of this to rule out the usual suspects for such a case like a bear and cows, as some of the officers had claimed it could be. This account would seemingly be lost to Fortean history if it was not for the incredible research by Pennsylvania Fortean Researcher Timothy Renner, who would initially include this encounter in his mandatory book on Pennsylvania High Strangeness Beyond the Seventh Gate. Timothy Renner would later reach out to the witness and would discuss the encounter and, surprisingly, discovered some discrepancies between what the witness said happened and what the newspaper reported. One of the major discrepancies involved the appearance of the creature, which Findley would say the following, "I can’t tell you what it looked like," upon which Renner replied, "you can’t tell me what it looked like, or you don’t want to tell me what it looked like” Findley responded “oh I can’t” yet during the interview the witness would give little pieces of details describing just what he had seen, but the one element that he does not remember from his encounter is the creature's green hair. Renner noted that the witness was still disturbed by this encounter and that he, to this day, has the occasional nightmare that replays involving the attack, and that he was seemingly resistant to wanting to dive back into that morning. Renner would also go on to hypothesize that the newspaper added the description of the creature as green-haired as a way of dismissing the story.

Now with breaking down this case, we have evidence that something did happen to Michael Findley on that road, so an overall hoax or lie is unlikely to impossible, especially since the encounter caused serious head trauma, not something one would endure if they were perpetrating a hoax. Misidentification is also unlikely, seeing as with Findley's background, he is very much aware of the local wildlife and how they behave. We can rule out a bear also, as well as the attack seemed to simply stop, and if this was a bear, we would have more wounds and damage from the attack. So, we can see from this that the more skeptical or mundane answers are unlikely in this case.

While mundane answers do not exactly hold up in a case like this, there is another possibility that seems to be the conclusive answer to the encounter. This encounter is just one of the countless cases of aggressive sasquatch. This idea is also held by Timothy Renner after talking to the witness and seeing as York County is surprisingly high in the number of hominid sightings in the state, it would make sense. While the original newspaper source is clearly questionable based on what Renner gleaned from the interview, we do know that what the witness encountered was a colossal hairy man-like creature that walked bipedally essentially; this describes a sasquatch. Just why this creature seemed to attack Findley is anyone's guess, but it would appear that this could have been because the creature viewed Findley as a threat to its territory. If the creature viewed Findley as food, the creature clearly could have killed him, and this encounter would not have been published. Another interesting thing is the region that was attacked by the creature; in the behavior of primates such as chimps, when they attack, they tend to go towards the face and extremities, which is exactly what occurred here in this case. We have seen this behavior in other bigfoot reports when the creature becomes aggressive such as the case where a sasquatch slammed a woman's face into a car door. This behavior lends more towards the great ape theory of sasquatch and less towards a hominid origin.

One thing I feel that does need to be included in this breakdown is the claim of green fur. While Findley does not remember the creature having it, and Renner feels that the green fur was included solely to discredit the sighting, it is important to point out that sightings of green-furred sasquatch are not new. In French Lick, Indiana, there were sightings of a red-eyed green-furred sasquatch called Fluorescent Freddie, and many southern sasquatch reports often describe a greenish tint to the fur seemingly caused by moss, algae, or other plant life clinging to the creature's fur. This idea has even been used to rationalize sightings of the Bishopville Lizardman, seeing as some sightings depict the creature as having ape-like features but a greenish coloration. This is not a far-fetched idea as we have seen this in other animals; in March of 2022, a video surfaced showing a green furry slithering object trapped in a bucket in Thailand. This object turned out to be a snake that had moss growing along its body which gave it an altogether bizarre and Muppet-like appearance. So perhaps Findley had encountered a green-furred creature and, due to the trauma, had forgotten that piece or is trying not to remember the full depiction of the creature seeing as how the event affected him.

While this case appears to be entirely cryptozoological in origin, one cannot remove the other Fortean categories from the table. Perhaps this entity was some extraterrestrial who had wandered farther from his ship to the point that its origin seemed more earthbound. Perhaps this entity was some variety of faerie, seeing as the location the sighting took place has a reputation for supernatural and esoteric phenomena. Perhaps this being popped in from another dimension and, in its confused and terrified state, proceeded to attack what is conceived as a threat. All of these possibilities, needless to say, need to be included, and most of this comes entirely from the lack of information. Perhaps Findley saw more that morning than what was reported some strange light in the sky or the woods or heard some strange sounds or some other anomalous interaction that went unreported. While I'm inclined to believe this case is Cryptozoological in origin, there is a chance, as with most cases, that there just might be more to it. Yet until more information can come to light, all we really can do is speculate and hope that the next time the creature is encountered, it will be on much friendlier terms.

Quick Facts:

Species/Potential Species: Mammal, Primate, Hominid

Location: Trout Run Road, Hellam Township, York, Pennsylvania

Sighted: Saturday, December 1, 1973

Works Cited:

Beyond the Seventh Gate By Timothy Renner

York Daily Record December 4, 1973

Where did the Roads Go? Podcast. Seriah Azkath. “Beyond the Seventh Gate With Timothy Renner”. December 6, 2016. 

Friday, July 8, 2022

Fluorescent Freddie

 Fluorescent Freddie

By Cole Herrold

Some Sasquatch sightings are downright strange. Some are connected with UFOs like the Uniontown UFO-Bigfoot Incident or the Ohiopyle UFO-Bigfoot incident; some bigfoot seem to vanish or turn into balls of light; in between these more surreal encounters and classic sasquatch encounters, there are seemingly normal sasquatch encounters that are just one degree into the weird. One such encounter of a sasquatch of a different color was reported in French Lick, Indiana, and while it's not one of the most famous cases out there, this case is so rare it seems to only get mentioned in comparison to other cases even though there is more to the story.

At least a dozen teenagers and adults, while out driving and wandering around the woods along a road three miles South of French Lick near a municipal works, began to encounter something that they never would have expected. The creature was an astounding 10ft tall, but this was not the most bizarre feature of the creature as instead of the traditional brown, red, black, or even white fur that was so common in other accounts but instead a vivid green and its eyes glowed bright red. The first and only named witness from what can be gleaned from newspaper and book sources was a 16-year-old official named Steve Dixon, who was a Springs Valley High School Student at the time of the sighting, yet not much is known from this sighting. The creature was investigated by Police Chief Oral Carnes, who searched the area after the initial sightings and having heard that the high school youths were entering the darkened woods with shotguns and other weapons but came up empty-handed both in gun-toting teens and monsters and felt that the whole green-furred monstrosity was nothing more than a hoax. One high school teenager said in the March 17th edition of the Indianapolis News, "You can't knock it if you don't go see Freddie yourself". The area where the creature was seen soon became known as "the Valley of the Jolly Green Giant". The road, over the course of several nights, turned into monster hunter central as cars lined the side of the road for the entire length of the "Valley of the Jolly Green Giant". Youths would enter the woods in pairs of two and three, calling out to the creature in an effort to coax the creature from hiding. One boy, a 16-year-old named David Noble, who had it would seem seen the creature during this time, had even called out to the creature saying, "We're your friends. Don't be afraid. We won't hurt you". Yet the creature never seemed to respond. After a quiet night with barely any interactions or sightings, most of the searchers left after 3 hrs. After this initial wave of sightings, the creature seemed to of dropped off the planet, and no one has since claimed to of seen the creature.

Now it is important to point out that French Lick, as well as Pope Lick and Big Bone Lick, makes up one of the corners of the Big Lick Triangle. This is an area of high strangeness similar to the Coudersport Triangle, Bridgewater Triangle, and, more famously, the Bermuda Triangle. So, it’s almost unsurprising that such a creature would be reported in this geographical Fortean hotspot.

While this case is exceptionally interesting, what are we to do with this creature in regard to an explanation. This creature could obviously be a hoax or a prank perpetrated by the unmotivated minds of high schoolers. The fact that there's only one officially named witness and very few details on this case adds a patina seen with other hoax cases or urban legends. Yet I must say that this case has a lot of other details seen in other Sasquatch cases that seem to indicate a wider range of phenomena.

One of the most comparable cases to this one is the Bishopville Lizardman case. Now the Bishopville Lizardman case is a mixture of two types of creatures reported the classic reptilian-type creature which attacked Chris Davies and the large primate-like creature seen around the same time. This primate-like creature also was reported to have grayish-green fur or skin, and some researchers feel even the reptile-type encounters might have simply been a Sasquatch-type creature covered in moss and with dried muddied fur which gave the impression of scales. Perhaps this is what we are seeing here as mud-covered sasquatch-type creatures have been reported before, and in these accounts, leaves and other debris often are reported clinging to the fur.

This case is one that I would love more information on. It's quick and brief, but it has all the earmarks of cases that are stone-cold classics like the Mill Race Monster, as it involves a strange non-traditional creature and a monster hunt. It's amazing that this case was not covered more intently, but perhaps at the time, the case was not treated as seriously or that the witnesses simply were not interviewed. Either way, this was a brief and obscure case that definitely needed to be brought to the attention of more researchers.


Quick Facts:

Species/Potential Species: Primate/ Hominid, Mammal

Location: French Lick, Indiana

Sighted: March 15, 1965

Works Cited:

Bigfoot Exposed: An Anthropologist Examines America's Enduring Legend By David J. Daegling

Cryptozoology A-Z By Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark

Mothman and Other Curious Encounters By Loren Coleman

Sasquatch the Apes Among Us By John Green

Weird Indiana By Mark Marimen, ‎James A. Willis, and ‎Troy Taylor

The Indianapolis News, Indiana, March 15, 1965

The Indianapolis News, Indiana, March 17, 1965

 

Hook Island Sea Serpent

 Hook Island Sea Serpent

By Cole Herrold

There are very few pieces of Cryptozoological evidence out there that have lasted the test of time. Often many of them are debunked, proved to be misidentified, or are examples of pareidolia. While we cannot expect clear photos for every cryptid encounter like the Sandra Mansi Champ photo or the Patterson Gimlin Film, there are some photos that just seem to be too good, and this leads into controversy. One of perhaps the most famous and controversial pieces of evidence of all time was a series of photos that were taken off Hook Island by Robert Le Serrec. These photos are stone-cold classics in the world of cryptozoology and are a toss-up as while many researchers feel the photos are hoaxes; others continue to think that there is something real and tangible just below the surface.

On December 12, 1964, Breton Photographer Robert Le Serrec might have captured one of the best pieces of evidence for the existence of an aquatic cryptid we would call a sea serpent. Le Serrec, his family, and his Australian friend Henk De Jong were shipwrecked on the Great Barrier Reef and decided that during this time that, they would purchase a motorboat and spend about three months on Hook Island. While out one day near Stonehaven Bay, Le Serrec’s wife noticed a dark form seemingly resting on the bay floor and proceeded to bring the figure to the attention of the rest of the party. The group, upon coming close to the object which at the time they thought was a mere 30ft but as they came withing shocking closeness they noticed in utter horror that it was a strange unknown creature. The group having more courage than arguably they should, proceeded to take a series of photos, each more interesting than the last. They were shocked at what was below the waters for the creature they photographed in the waters of Stonehaven Bay around Hook Island in Queensland, Australia, had an appearance similar to a black tadpole or American eel. The creature had eyes located either on the top or near the sides of the head with slit-like pupils and had an incredibly long smooth serpentine body that was black in color with brown transverse stripes. The most incredible aspect of this is that the creature, however, is not arguably its appearance, but instead of its initial 30ft length, the creature turned out to be an astounding 70-80ft long. One member of the party or another individual had managed to take a boat out towards the tail of the creature, and this gave a sense of just how colossal the creature was. It was in this position that they noticed a large pale region which they thought was a wound that was visible on the right side of the tail. Le Serrec and Henk De Jong were completely perplexed by this creature and, thinking that the creature was dead, decided that they would film it underwater. The two had just started to film the creature when the creature, in a sudden change of pace, began to move. The two watched in utter horror as the creature opened its mouth, revealing a white mouth and throat, and proceeded to move towards them; half expecting that they would be consumed by the colossal monstrosity, they began to swim back to the assumed safety of the boat and began to clamor ashore, and as they turned to look back into the water to see if the creature was hot on their heels they were surprised and relieved that the creature had disappeared. As the group was rationalizing their thoughts, they felt that the creature was resting in the bay because of the wound to its tail, which they felt might have been caused by a ship's propeller.

In March of 1965, Le Serrec, in Australia's Everyone magazine, came forward with the photographs of the serpent and proceeded to tell the tale of how he caught it on camera. It was around this time that the claimed photos and story caught the attention of Cryptozoologists Ivan T. Sanderson and Bernard Heuvelmans. Ivan T. Sanderson heard about the case in February of that year as Le Serrec had initially attempted to sell the photos to several media outlets, yet these outlets would not give him the price he had wanted. Sanderson, however, would later write about the photos in an article for True Magazine. After this, the case was written about by both researchers as well as other cryptozoologists years later, such as Loren Coleman and Karl Shuker. The general consensus is that the photos are more than likely a hoax; however, some researchers to this day do think that there might be something more to the footage.

Now there is some controversy over this footage, as with just about any cryptozoological evidence, and this deals much less with the photos themselves and more around Robert Le Serrec. As time went on, when researchers Loren Coleman and Bernard Heuvelmans investigated Le Serrec and the Hook Island Photos, they had found some issues with Le Serrec’s character and the possibility of talks of creating a hoax. In their books In the Wake of the Sea Serpent and Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep, the two-state Le Serrec was in great debt. In fact, during the time the photos were taken, Le Serrec had left France to go and avoid his creditors and that Le Serrec was even wanted by Interpol, and Heuvelmans, in general, felt that he was not very trustworthy. Heuvelmans would later discover as well that Le Serrec, in 1959, had allegedly told several friends in France that he was about to go away on an expedition and “another thing in reserve which will bring in a lot of money… it’s to do with the sea serpent”. Adding to these seemingly damning character traits and backstory, Heuvelmans, upon looking at the photos, felt that there were problems in regard to the anatomy of the creature since the eyes of the creature appear from what we can tell near the top of the head and not near the side or closer to the snout. Yet there are species out there with eye placements similar to the creature.

Ivan Sanderson felt that the photos were most likely hoaxed and felt that “the object was either a plastic bag used by the US Navy “for experiments in towing petrol” or a deflated skyhook balloon which had become covered in weed, or a roll of cloth which had been tied together in places." Heuvelmans had his own idea as to just what was the answer to the photos Heuvelmans thought that the creature in the photo was a carefully shaped expanse of plastic sheeting weighed down with sand into the form of a colossal serpent. When one looks at the close-up photos of the head, researchers like Darren Naish point out that one can see covering four certain portions of it as though someone had “placed handfuls of sand on top of the edge of the creature: exactly what you would do if trying to weight down a monster-shaped sheet of plastic." Yet Le Serrec would claim that this was because the creature had slightly buried itself in the sand. Other researchers later had pointed to a possible shoal of fish, yet there are several problems with this since there were close-up photos, as well as the fact that while fish shoals can form basic shapes, they do not stay in these shapes for long periods of time, and in such a complex shape, all of this tends to point to one of two possibilities either some sort of material shaped and placed as a hoax or a biological creature.

While Sanderson and Heuvelmans were very certain that the creature was a hoax, they both entertained as well the possibility that the creature may have been real. Sanderson, for example, later on, felt that "the creature might be a giant synbranchid or swamp eel. Synbranchids are long-bodied acanthomorph teleosts, mostly of freshwater and estuarine habitats, well known for their ability to breathe air and undertake terrestrial excursions”. Synbranchids, however, are exceptionally small, however, usually being about 60 cm long, so if the Hook Island photos are an example of this, it would be the largest example known. Heuvelmans, however, was arguably more certain than Sanderson that the creature was a hoax and said should this creature be authentic, it could be "some kind of gigantic eel-like selachian." Paleontologist and Cryptid Enthusiast Darren Naish felt the reason he chose this possibility is due to a possible connection to sightings of an incredibly long-bodied shark. Another possibility often pointed to for another answer to the Hook Island Serpent is mastodonsauroid temnospondyls, a Triassic and Jurassic amphibian, yet the problem with this hypothesis would be the creature's lack of limbs.

One cannot help but mention that Heuvelmans created nine different categories in which different sea serpent and lake monster sightings could be categorized as. Loren Coleman and Patrick Huyghe would also utilize and update this for their own book, fixing some of the discrepancies and problems with Heuvelmans original model. Of the original 9, however, there was one category of a sea serpent which curiously is very similar in shape to the Hook Island Sea Serpent but is described as the Yellow Belly. Essentially it is, as the name suggests, a yellow-bellied tadpole-shaped creature with brown stripes along the back and a tannish-green colored body. Some researchers feel that Le Serrec, if he hoaxed the serpent chose the design of the creature from this entry, yet this is not possible, seeing as how the publication of Heuvelmans book was four years after Le Serrec took the photos. Other researchers felt that Heuvelmans included this entry solely because of the Le Serrec photos, but obviously, this was not to be the case since the appearance does not match really. Heuvelmans based the Yellow-Bellied type of Sea Serpent on a sighting aboard the ship Nestor in 1876, which took place in-between the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Now I must say I have problems with the hoax aspect of the Hook Island Sea Serpent case. For one thing, to pull off a hoax of a creature this size, it would take a great deal of time and energy. With a hoax of this caliber, one would think that someone would have seen them creating it. Now granted, Hook Island is basically uninhabited with some exceptions and is a national park, so perhaps if this was a hoax, it was done in a much more secluded area to avoid notice, but by creating a creature in the water as large as the sea serpent, it would stand to reason that someone would have seen them stretching out the balloon or bag and packing it in the sand. Also, as with other famous pieces of footage like the Patterson Gimlin Film, there are always people who come from the woodwork to claim that they were involved or that they caused the footage, and with this set of photos, nobody, as far as I’m aware came forward, and Le Serrec continued to state the film and footage’s authenticity. We can add this even to Le Serrec’s family, who was with him during the filming; when infamous hoaxer Ray Wallace passed away, his family immediately released a statement saying that they hoaxed countless footprints and videos, yet in Le Serrec’s case, if he has passed away there’s been none of that adding to the overall strangeness of the story. Now again, Coleman and Heuvelmans stated that Le Serrec was a rather untrustworthy individual, and there are two ways to interpret this one can look at his claims and automatically dismiss them or that everything he experienced did, in fact, happen. The point of it truly is the following is that if a phenomenon is real, people of all sorts of merit can still encounter the unknown it just makes it more difficult to accept their claims.

In 2003 Le Serrec was said to still be living and currently residing in Asia. Once this was revealed, there was a sudden rush in attempting to interview him about the sea serpent, yet no interview currently has been conducted. I would love to hear his thoughts now since it's some 60 years later if he is still alive. Or if any of the others who were around with him during the photographing of the creature. While there’s currently no further investigation into this case, and for most researchers, the case seems to be closed, I think that there's enough ambiguity that would warrant a follow-up. Yet as with most older cases, chances are this will not be the case, but until then, we are left to ponder just whether or not this series of photos is authentic or not and it's a mystery that will last for countless years until an example is either captured or that other members of Serrec’s family finally come forward and claim either that it really is a hoax or that it’s the real deal.

Quick Facts:

Species/Potential Species:

Location: Pacific Ocean, Stonehaven Bay, Hook Island, Whitsunday Islands, Queensland, Australia

Sighted: December 12, 1964

Works Cited:

Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology By Michael Newton

Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep By Loren Coleman and Patrick Huyghe By Loren Coleman and Patrick Huyghe

Hunting Monsters: Cryptozoology and the Reality Behind the Myths By Darren Naish

In the Wake of the Sea Serpent By Bernard Heuvelmans

Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology Volume 2 By George Eberhart

Darren Naish "The amazing Hook Island sea monster photos, revisited" Scientific American November 23, 2013. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/tetrapod-zoology/the-amazing-hook-island-sea-monster-photos-revisited/. Accessed June 26, 2022.

Laura Rowton "5 Lake and Sea Monsters Supposedly Caught on Camera" The Paranormal Scholar. February 9, 2018. https://www.paranormalscholar.com/5-lake-sea-monsters/. Accessed July 8, 2022.















Thursday, July 7, 2022

Bluefield Frogoyle

 Bluefield Frogoyle

By Cole Herrold

Green seemingly reptilian or frog-like creatures are perhaps some of the most interesting cases in the world of the Fortean. Who does not love the Loveland Frogmen, either the wand-wielding parachute pants wearing 55' beings or the classic bipedal amphibians from 1972? There are tons of these reports, and each is unique in its own right. One such Cryptozoological Kermit occurred in Bluefield, West Virginia, and its visage and impact were so great that it affected the life of an at the time little boy for the rest of his life.

A boy by the name of Robert S. would write in 2004 at the now-defunct About.com Your True Tales Paranormal Phenomenon. This encounter occurred in Bluefield, Mercer County, WV, after he had moved to the area as a boy. His family had moved into a house on Longview Ave; as a boy, he was noticeably and surprisingly fearless and was exceptionally curious about his new home. One of the things that piqued his interest as a boy was his neighbor's house, which was located two homes down from him. The house had long and huge hedges that surrounded the perimeter of the backyard. One day his curiosity got the best of him, and he proceeded to squeeze his way under the hedge; as he crawled under the greenery, he soon noticed that there was a layer of barbwire intermixed within; due to his size and age, he had no problem maneuvering through the wire. When he entered the backyard, he found a pond that was surrounded by Witching Balls. These witching balls were also darting the yard, and as he examined the confines of the yard, he noticed that someone had seen him from the window and he realized that if he were caught, he'd have to face repercussions and began to run back to the bushes and as he ducked and worked his way through the boughs a man came from the house running towards him and proceeded to yell at him “get out, get out”. Robert would describe the man as looking like” Allen Funt from "Candid Camera” and that he had “a white birthmark on his skin that looked like paint dropped on his head, and a sneaky grin". Robert proceeded to run back to his home after evading the barbwire and low-hanging limbs from the hedge, hoping that the walls of his home would provide him safety from his trespassing. This would not be the case, however, as the man ended up coming straight to his home, knocking aggressively on his front door, and then proceeded to tell his mother to keep him out of his yard.

Robert, for a time, did just that, but he was curious about this strange man, and as time went on, he watched his neighbor intently. He discovered that he and his wife were rather odd, to say the least, his wife would wear a tank top around her waist to show off the scars from where her breasts were removed, and on one winter day when he was out climbing a tree, he saw both the husband and wife sunbathing naked on their property in the snow. During the night, he could hear the neighbors singing Christian tunes for hours, and it was not at all peaceful but instead reminiscent of what one could imagine what playing the piano with a hammer would sound like. The peculiar nature of his eccentric neighbors was not enough, however, to dissuade him from approaching their property, and on one particular summer day, he would come to regret not staying his distance.

One summer day, he decided to go over to the hedges with his matchbox cars. While playing with the small mechanical vehicles, he noticed a rustling in the bushes. Curious by this, he turned to look at the shaking foliage and was surprised to see a face pop out and glare at him. This was no normal face; however, its visage to the young boy would only be comparable to a gargoyle, yet each feature of the strange entity was more perplexing than the last. Instead of human-like eyes, the creature had solid black pointed eyes that were bulging from a face that looked eerily like a frog's except that it had both teeth and ears that "flexed outward like the side of its head two big green gloves on” and a body similar in shape to a bulldog's. Its skin was a vibrant green in color, and while its arms and legs were not described in any great detail, it was noted that the creature had webbed feet that pointed inward as it walked. As it stared at the boy, the creature began to open its mouth and uncurl a loud hiss. Robert would describe this action in the following "He held it wide open as if to taste the air". Robert, as he stared at the creature, was completely paralyzed with fear and attempted to cry out for help, yet not a syllable was able to be uttered. Eventually, however, he was able to get control of his faculties and, at a speed that would rival The Flash proceeded to run as fast as he could back to his home and run straight to his mother. Upon seeing her, he, in excited and terrified bursts of energy, attempted to tell her about the anomalous amphibian that he had witnessed, yet all she could do was point to a series of "Childcraft books" and say, "See if you can show Mommie a picture of the animal." Upon scanning through the various tomes, the closest he came across was even more peculiar as the animal in question was an Australian marsupial namely a Koala and only this because of how the creature’s eyes appeared. Seeing the animal her son had said was the closest in appearance, his mother only laughed and said, "Son, those animals are only in Australia. What you probably saw was a dog". Disheartened by his mother's comment, he never spoke of the creature again.

Several years later, after his strange and eccentric neighbors had left the area, a preacher and his wife moved into their house. Robert was then hired by the couple to do some maintenance on the property, like mowing the grass and taking care of the home in general and on one occasion, he had to go down into the basement of the home, and while there, he felt extremely terrified of being down there as though there was some dark energy in that room. Robert proceeded to tell the preacher about his experience with the previous owners of the house and about the time the husband chased him out. The preacher explained that the man did this because a little girl in the area drowned in the pond, and the girl's family proceeded to sue the family. Yet Robert felt that there was some strange connection to the previous owners, the strange creature, and the dark energy he felt in the basement, but he could not figure out just how or what it could be. Robert's final remarks on the creature, however, were the following “I have never seen a creature like the one I'm about to tell you about since the day I laid eyes upon it, and till this point, I have never seen it again… Because of that experience, I have always been scared of the dark because I know there are monsters. I saw one."

With this case, there are several avenues to go down in analyzing this case. Perhaps the most obvious is the possibility of a hoax, seeing as this was an online uploaded report with no follow-up. The strange details in the case could be examples of elaboration to make the case seem stranger, and there are certain details that definitely seem unrelated and raise the question as to why they'd include that in the report. This almost seems like a slight wink towards absurdity, something a hoax claim would usually do. Yet with that said, there's a lot in the description that seems to be reminiscent of other more obscure cases that, to me, at least seem to point to something more tangible than a wild false narrative.

The next possibility still on the skeptical side would obviously be a misidentification. One could point to an exotic pet such as an iguana or basilisk lizard as being the culprit of what he had seen. The barbwire could possibly have been some idea of the couple's to keep the animal inside the area of the yard. Yet, with most cases of a reptilian or frog humanoid, there are problems with this; for one thing, the boy got a very good look at the creature, and upon trying to find something similar in a book, the closest he came to and only because of the eyes was a koala. If this was a reptile of any variety that we are currently familiar with, he would have found something similar, so I have to say that a misidentification is extremely unlikely. This unlikeliness is added to the fact that similar types of creatures have been reported elsewhere, often times in and around water.

Now this curious creature does appear to be a cryptid as from the very brief encounter that was described, it seems to indicate something that can interact with its environment and has a kind of behavior that is extremely similar to reptiles and amphibians, especially when the creature opened its mouth wide and taste the air. This behavior has been reported in other seemingly reptilian and amphibian cryptids, such as Lizardmen reports and the Franklin Township Frogman case. In comparison to other reported cryptids, this particular cryptid is actually very similar to another cryptid reported in New Kensington, PA, on February 28, 1981. This being known as the New Kensington Green Thing was described as a green-skinned entity with strange ear-like protrusions and webbed feet. The creature was seen by a group of boys who attempted to capture it but were unsuccessful, and it ran into a sewer drain. There are other similarly described small frog or lizard-like creatures reported elsewhere, and with this and the New Kensington Green Thing cases, I have to wonder if what these creatures are is the juvenile versions of larger cryptids. As a researcher, we go off the assumption that cryptids are, for the most part, biological in nature and origin, and if this is to be the case, there must be both a decently sized population and young. While with some cryptids like lake monsters and sasquatch young are reported with reptilian and amphibian cryptids, there are seemingly no reports in the record. Yet looking at cases like this, it could be that is exactly what we are looking at, and it would make sense as well. In nature, there are what is referred to as r and K-selected species; in r-selected species, such as sea turtles, there is no care for the young due to the fact that in species of this variety they tend to release a ton of offspring at once and very quickly whereas K selected species tend to raise young for longer periods of time and have fewer numbers of offspring. Some species, like certain dinosaurs, had intermediate traits between the two types of r and K selection. With aquatic humanoids or reptilian humanoids, it would seem that they would be either in the intermediate category or r selected, and if their behavior is like frogs or sea turtles, this could explain why there are never any reports of juveniles with adult lizardmen or frogmen yet why there are tons of seemingly unrelated reports of lizardmen, frogmen, and these frogoyles and green things. Yet, of course, this is all mere speculation.

Now while this creature does appear to be a cryptid, it's not the only possibility of its origin of existence. The next possibility, as unlikely as it sounds, is that this entity could be some sort of demon or supernatural entity. While this seems like a clear departure from sanity, I say this for the following reasons, and it's entirely in regard to the Robert S. neighbors. In myths, there are entities known as familiars, and interestingly enough, familiars often take the forms of owls, crows, cats, and for this possibility, frogs. These entities often change into intermediate stages of a demonic entity, and the animal they appear as to the witch who owns them. Robert was quick to point out that the neighbor's behavior was rather eccentric, and so it's possible that some of this could have been due to practicing Magick of some sort or another. This, too, added to the strange drowning of a girl in the couple's pond, could all be connected to them summoning some sort of entity, and on this particular day, Robert had happened to see it. Or alternatively that the couple was attempting to rid their property of some malevolent entity as witching balls which were seen in their backyard traditionally were used by farmers to scare witches and other malevolent entities away. This could be the more likely option since if they were malevolent magicians of some sort, the husband would not have told Robert to get out, and he would be in the basement being used in some arcane ritual. Again, there’s not much to go on and certainly not much to connect without wild speculation, but it should be noted that even towards the writing of his encounter, Robert felt there was some connection to all the strange things with the couple, the creature, and the house. Or, more than likely, they are all separate phenomena.

The Bluefield Frogoyle is an interesting addition to a wide pantheon of seemingly aquatic-looking cryptids. The fact that it was seen so close to a pond, albeit in someone's back yard, is interesting as depending on the layout of the house and the yard, one has to wonder just how the overall setup of the area is. There is a hypothesis that I've been a firm supporter of proposed by Cryptozoologist Rob Morphy that aquatic humanoids may migrate from one watery locale to another. I find this extremely likely since oft times these creatures are not seen regularly in such locations and often disappear for exceptionally long periods of time only to occasionally reappear. Often times in some locations, there are islands and rocky areas that rise out of the water; these would be ideal locations for the creatures to live momentarily as they go from water source to water source, and it could also explain how and why similar creatures are seen in completely different locations in the US and if these creatures have life cycles like an amphibian then there will be all sorts of different stages reported hence why someone might see a frogman or Fishman and someone else in a different location might see an Armless Horror or Charles Mill Lake Monster whereas others might see Frogoyles or Green Things. Obviously, this is just a theory based on the pattern of sightings of these types of creatures, yet it's interesting to think about. Either way, this is a fascinating case and one that I'm sure we will more than likely never find a definitive answer to but until the day we know this is a hoax or a real creature, it's best to stay away from the strange property in Bluefield.

Quick Facts:

Species/Potential Species: Reptile, Amphibian, Paranormal Entity

Location: Bluefield, Mercer County, West Virginia

Sighted: Undisclosed

Works Cited:

Monsters of Virginia by L. B. Taylor Jr.

Mack Maloney's Haunted Universe By Mack Maloney

Strange Tales from Virginia's Mountains: The Norton Woodbooger, the Missing Beale Treasure, the Ghost Town of Lignite and More By Denver Michaels

 

 

Old Yellow Top

 Old Yellow Top

By Cole Herrold

In the annals of sasquatch research, there are tons of cases involving evidence or behavior that seem to indicate a biological species. These behaviors and features are so specific that they match known scientific examples of other animals. One of perhaps the most interesting features reported in some sasquatch reports is what seems to be examples of piebald individuals. Piebald in organisms is simply having two alternative patches of color fur, and it is something seen in a variety of animals. So its extremely interesting and adds a unique patina of credibility in this series of sightings.

The first reports of this manimal, known as Old Yellow Top, Yellow Top, or its original name PreCambrian Shield Man appeared in the North Bay Nugget but were made famous through John Green’s Sasquatch: The Apes Among Us after Rene Dahinden gave him the clippings. The very first sighting of the creature occurred either in September 1906 (some reports state 1907), where it was seen by a group of men building the headframe at the Violet Mine near Cobalt, yet further information on this initial sighting went seemingly unreported or was lost over the course of time. During this time, however, the creature continued to roam the area, being seen by the countless miners who worked in the area. All of the accounts of the time, which were more like whispers, described the creature in the same way as approximately 7ft tall with dark brown/black body hair and a mane of pale yellowish head hair.

On July 27, 1923, the second documented sighting of the creature was reported in the Nugget. On this occasion, Mr. J. A. MacAuley and Mr. Lorne Wilson claimed that they had seen the creature while working on their mining claims which was located Northeast of the Wetlaufer Mine. The two prospectors were taking test samples from the area when they encountered what they initially thought was a bear picking at a blueberry patch. Wilson wanting to scare off the animal, proceeded to go and throw a stone at the creature and expected it to simply wander away, yet this was not the case. “It kind of stood up and growled at us. Then it ran away. It sure was like no bear that I have ever seen. Its head was kind of yellow ad the rest of it was black like a bear, all covered with hair”.

On April 16, 1946, the creature was seen once more roaming around the cobalt mining camp. The creature was seen by a woman and her son who lived near Gillies Depot while they were walking the railroad tracks on their way into Cobalt. The anonymous woman said that she spotted a dark hair-covered creature with a "light head" lumbering off the railroad tracks into the woods near Gillies Lake. She was unable to get a clear look at the creature but did notice that it walked like a man. It's from this sighting that it was believed that if this was the same creature as seen in 1906 that it was over 40 years old.

On August 5, 1970, 27 miners on their way to work the graveyard shift at Cobalt Lobe were riding a bus when the bus suddenly went out of control and almost plunged down a nearby rock-cut. The bus driver Aimee Latreille who had been driving this bus route for 4 months, said that he was startled by a dark form that walked across the road in front of him. None of the miners or the driver were hurt in the accident. Latreille would comment, "at first I thought it was a big bear. But then it turned to face the headlights, and I could see some light hair, almost down to its shoulders. It couldn't have been a bear". Mr. Latreille said he did not know if he would continue to drive the bus after the incident. "I have heard of this thing before but never believed it. Now I am sure". One of the miners on the bus got a brief glimpse of the creature, and Larry Cormack said that the creature “looked like a bear to me at first, but it didn’t walk like one. It was kind of half stooped over. Maybe it was a wounded bear, I don’t know”. Mr. Cormack initially did not believe in the existence of the creature even though his father had talked about it when he was younger. Throughout this time, there were two other occasions where the creature was said to of come out of the woods and scared bus passengers; when it does this, it waves a club in the air. The creature (if the same one) was nearly 70 years old when it was last seen in the area.

While these are all of the official documented accounts that appeared in the newspaper, there was allegedly a photo taken on July 18, 1923, of the creature. The photograph shows a dark fur-colored being standing in a wooded forest. The creature has a yellow fur-covered head which gives it a rather Muppet look. Not much is known about this photo, and outside of it appearing on the Encyclopaedia of Cryptozoology Wiki, I have not been able to find the original source from which it originated. There are some concerning elements of the photo that do seem to indicate that it is a hoax, but until further information can be found, the photo remains inconclusive. This colored photograph, if authentic, would be one of the earliest photographs of a sasquatch, second only to the 1894 photo and captured right before a 1940s photo.

Some theories for the creature from the time were that it was a Pre-Cambrian man who lived in a cave near the area. Another theory, one of which was popularized by the author of the August 5, 1970, article of the North Bay Nugget, was that this entire encounter was a hoax either by the driver or from some "reveller from the Open Cut Saloon working off a big head." The problem obviously with this is that while the 1970 encounter might have been a hoax yet, it is unlikely since there's been a history of a similar specifically described creature in the area for at least 70 years, as well as the fact that there were multiple witnesses of the creature as it crossed the road.

This case is an example of what Cryptozoologists Loren Coleman and Mark A. Hall would refer to as Marked Hominids. These creatures are similar to the traditional sasquatch in overall appearance, yet they have more human attributes than ape-like features. These types of creatures tend to exist in the subpolar regions of the world. The main feature that distinguishes them are different colored patches of fur, arms that do not reach below the knees, flat buttocks, visible genitalia, and protruding stomachs with splayed-toed feet which reach 10-14 inches long and 3-5 inches wide with a narrow curving impression.

This is, to me, one of the most interesting cases of a sasquatch-type hominid, for it's similar to what biologists experience with natural animals. Occasionally in nature, a team of biologists or ecologists will encounter a piebald animal or an animal that they would nickname or have some special relationship with, and from this, they can track and study the species more. The fact that almost 70 years Cobalt sighted Old Yellow Top is akin to animals of that kind. It's a shame that there was not more research done on the creature before its death since no reports of this particular creature have been sighted in the area since then. If researchers and scientists had the chance to do more research in the area and the chance to follow the creature and monitor its behavior, perhaps some of the problems researchers experience now in regard to the study of these creatures, but unfortunately, its something that will remain in hindsight and the past.

Quick Facts:

Species/Potential Species: Primate/ Hominid

Location: Cobalt, Ontario, Canada

Sighted: 1906-1907, 1923, 1947, 1970

Works Cited:

The Bigfoot Book By Nick Redfern

Cryptozoology A-Z By Loren Coleman

Sasquatch the Apes Among Us By John Green

The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates by Loren Coleman and Patrick Huyghe

Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology - Volume 2 By George M. Eberhart

“Old Yellow Top” Encyclopaedia of Cryptozoology. cryptidarchives.fandom.com/wiki/Old_Yellow_Top. Accessed July 2, 2022.

"Pre Cambrian Shield Man Seen by Two Prospectors" North Bay Nugget, 27 July 1923

 "'Old Yellow-Top' Reported Seen in Coleman Township" North Bay Nugget, 16 April 1947

 "Third Appearance by Pre Cambrian Shield Man" North Bay Nugget, 5 August 1970

Saturday, June 25, 2022

The Supernatural Slacks of Ecuador

 The Supernatural Slacks of Ecuador

By Cole Herrold

As time goes on, we are getting more and more paranormal evidence caught on camera. With this paranormal photographic surge, we have captured some of the best evidence for the existence of Aliens, Cryptids, and Ghosts, yet these entities are seemingly mundane as compared to some of the footage captured over the recent years. One of the most ridiculous yet interesting pieces of footage comes from Ecuador, and it shows not a South American Sasquatch or similar supernatural humanoid but a pair of spectral slacks running around on their own, free of any owner.

A girl named Magaly was out in the rural streets of Ecuador playing and recording her pet rabbit. As she filmed the small animal, she noticed that the animal began to look towards the right and then hop further away. She continued to record and seemed to not notice anything, but the rabbit was not the only being to realize that something was off as a little boy looked on in the same direction as to where the rabbit had looked. Magaly, however, not seeing whatever the other two did, simply ended the video and did not think anything else about it before uploading it to YouTube. However, as the world began to look at what was originally thought to be a cute rabbit video, they soon noticed something bizarre that was caught along the right side of the video. Those who caught this paranormal photobomber were perplexed, for this was not some classic ghost photo or some Ecuadorian Bigfoot but a, both comically and eerily enough, a disembodied running pair of white slacks with a belt. Now I know how difficult it can be to simply describe the video when its something that does need to be seen to understand, so in the Works Cited, there is a link to what I believe to be the original upload of the video, so I highly recommend viewing the clip before reading my breakdown.

Now in the video, we see at the 4-second mark that this strange white pants-like anomaly starts to wander out from around a building and run or jog in a rather bizarre way along the sidewalk. The pants do not make contact with the sidewalk, and there are no noticeable shoes, socks, or obviously feet, and yet they do leave a shadow as they move, indicating that something physical is there moving. The pants jumping leaping sort of motion is bizarre and rather whimsical and brings to mind the scene in James Whale’s The Invisible Man where Jack Griffin chased a girl while invisible, wearing only a pair of pants and joyfully singing. Now, as you watch the figure move past the 8-second mark, the figure seems to of disappeared. Whether this is due to the low lighting or from actual dematerialization is difficult to tell as we do not see the figure move past a shadowy section from the tree part of the difficulties with this is also the fact that the video ends at the 11-second mark. Other than this, there's not too much to break down in regard to what's being shot in the video.

Now just what is the reason that a pair of pants were caught running on camera? We do need to take this footage with a grain of salt as there is obviously the possibility of the footage being doctored either through CGI or double exposure, or some other form of technological trickery. Yet the reason I feel that there is something more physical than CGI is the fact that both the rabbit and boy at least noticed the pants as they ran along the sidewalk. The same goes for the fact that there was a shadow from the pants, so both of these concepts imply that there was something physical that was captured on camera. This does not, of course, rule out a hoax, as there is always the chance that the pants could be puppeteered by strings from the top of the building, yet none can be seen from the footage and that certain sections of the pants do seem to follow the movements of someone running. 

Another possibility is that what is being seen is a genuine video of a spirit. Ghosts appear in countless forms and guises, and one of the most common types of apparitions are those that appear in the manner in which they died, such as the ghost of Anne Boleyn, who manifests without her head, so perhaps in this video what we are seeing is the spectral apparition of someone who was separated from the waist and the torso and that now the spirit appears as a running set of spectral slacks. Of course, the problem with this is the fact that there also were no feet or reported and also that there is no history, at least that I have found, of someone who suffered such a fate.

Another theory that I sort of mentioned/joked about early on is that perhaps what was being reported was some sort of individual, either with supernatural abilities or through some sort of technology, managed to make themselves invisible. This could explain as to why the pants seem much more physical than what one would expect from a traditional ghost video. It also could explain just the absolute insanity, which is the video overall. Scientific advancements are made every day, so it's completely possible that some individuals found the key to invisibility through technology or found some way to make themselves invisible without the aid of tech through some serum or something similar.

Another possibility that I feel I need to mention is that perhaps even though the object running does appear to be a pair of pants with a belt that perhaps this is some sort of technology. There have been cases of seemingly sentient or ambulatory pairs of pants that run on their own fruition. Some of these pants seem to be interconnected to UFO and extraterrestrial cases so perhaps what we are seeing is some kind of extraterrestrial technology or even some as-yet-unknown earth technology reminiscent of the pants from the Jimmy Neutron “When Pants Attack” episode.

Another thing I feel I need to also mention is the concept of the Tsukumogami. In the lore of Japanese Yokai, there is a belief that when an object reaches its 100th birthday, they come alive and develop humanoid features. Some of these objects also come about when a human spirit fuses with the object and transmogrifies, as seen with the legend of Hokusai, the ghost lantern. These entities spring about from the idea that all things have a spirit or soul, and if this is something universal and not just something described in the Shinto belief of Japan, then it's possible that, that is what we are seeing here.

Another thing that I feel needs to be mentioned is the idea of a haunted object. Traditionally haunted objects are not incredibly mobile as many move slowly over a long period of time or have quick, jerky movements, but this is not universal, especially when one looks at how Poltergeist activity happens. Perhaps this pair of pants was haunted by its previous owner or had some sort of spectral energy attached to it that allowed it to move about on its own. Needless to say, if this is the case, then this was one of the best-captured pieces of evidence of such a phenomenon.

As with all photographic evidence, especially the ones captured in modern times, we have to be extremely skeptical. With the advancements in technology, there are also the advancements in hoaxing, and so with cases like this, we have to accept that that could always be a possibility. Now with that said, I do find this footage interesting. I think that it should be looked into more thoroughly and that perhaps there are other similar phenomena or examples of this phenomenon elsewhere. Until that day, when more information comes to light, this piece of evidence is incredibly interesting and strange and will be hypothesized about until it is confirmed to be real or found to be a hoax.

Quick Facts:

Species/Potential Species: Paranormal Entity, Scientific Experiment

Location: Ecuador

Sighted: 2020

Works Cited:

Clint “Ghost Pants Caught Running Down Sidewalk Before Disappearing” Gater 98.7. August 6, 2021. https://gaterrocks.iheart.com/featured/clint/content/2021-08-06-ghost-pants-caught-running-down-sidewalk-before-disappearing/. Accessed June 23, 2022.

“Pants walking by themselves." July 16, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2rwU-h6F2c. YouTube.

Paranormal Caught on Camera Season 5 Episode 7. Travel. 2022. 

Friday, June 24, 2022

The Awful

 The Awful

By Cole Herrold

Flying cryptids are perhaps one of the most mysterious entities reported. Be it the strange flying invertebrate-style organisms such as the Sky Amoebas or Atmospheric Jellyfish or the seemingly Predator teched-out Hampton Sky Rays or the colossal Thunderbirds, they have captured the imaginations of millions and expanded the perspectives and mindsets of those lucky enough to have encountered them. Yet of these creatures, perhaps the most unique is the chimeral critters that appear to of been pulled straight from the pages of Myth. One such creature in the dawn of the 20th century was said to frequent the skies and roofs of countless buildings in Richford and Berkshire, Vermont, and proceeded to strike terror and eldritch-style nightmares onto the towns' populace. The wave of terror this creature caused was added in strangeness only by the description of this creature which, just like its name to those who had the fortunate or unfortunate enough chance of encountering it, was just plain Awful.

Rumors of the Anomalous airborne apparition first gained fruition in the early 1900s and was initially sighted at dusk by two to three sawmill workers who, upon crossing Main Street Bridge near the Canadian border, noticed a strange figure spotted atop the Boright building at the corner of Main and River street. As the group looked up at the building, expecting to see a robber at worst or a maintenance man at best, they were instead greeted by a strange-looking avian abomination that they would describe thusly "a very large Griffin-like creature with grayish wings that each spanned ten-feet." The creature possessed "a serpent-like tail that equaled its wing length" and "huge claws that could easily grip a milk can's girth." The creature, from its perch, stared down at the men as the men stared up at the creature, and it was at that moment that panic ensued. The men had no words for the creature except that it was Awful; as they stared in utter terror at the monstrous mutant, one of the men felt a sharp pain issue up his arm and chest, ultimately collapsing to the ground. This alerted his companions, who, upon looking at their friend, realized he was suffering from a heart attack. The group, no longer concerned for the strange creature which was still leering at them from the top of the building, reached down and proceeded to lift up their friend and, as quickly as possible, returned to his home. The man managed to survive the heart attack, but he had not escaped from that moment near the Boright Building. For weeks afterward, his wife and children woke up in the middle of the night to hear him screaming in his sleep as though his dreams were being terrorized by some sort of eldritch abomination. What these dreams were about, no one really knows as either the man never spoke of them, or they were lost over time.

Right after this encounter, the creature was seen by countless farmers and villagers, and it was during this time that the creature officially received its name, The Awful. The villagers were in utmost terror by the sight of this creature and its strange, bizarre behaviors. The creature frequently flew over the farmer's fields and would land on the farmer's roofs and watch them as they worked throughout the day or would look through windows at those who were not out doing chores or errands.

Two weeks later, after the initial sighting, the Awful was seen flying about 50 feet above a Berkshire field near Lost Nation road. As those lucky or unlucky enough to have seen the creature this time noted, they heard a strange crying sound accompanying it that they knew was not from the creature. The creature during this flight was not alone, for there, wrapped in the creature's talons, was a small wailing baby. An immediate search of the area for a missing child in the area, however, turned up empty, and so the villagers felt that they must have been mistaken and what they most likely heard and saw was a small animal of some sort; most felt a sheep.

The Awful's reign of terror would not end there, however, as the next major sighting of the creature would occur just a short time after this potential child abduction. Farmwife Oella Hopkins was out hanging her laundry out to dry in her yard when she began to hear her dog bark madly behind her. Curious at just what was disturbing the animal, she looked up to see what her dog was barking at, and upon looking towards the direction of where the dog was faced, she saw the Awful perched on her porch roof gazing down at her. Terribly frightened by the horrid visage of the grinning Griffin, she ran into her house and proceeded to, in childlike and slasher victim style to, hide under her bed. When her husband came home, the creature was gone, and having discovered his wife under the bed, he attempted to coax her out, but she refused to come out for several hours. After this sighting, the Awful seemed to make itself scarce, and sightings that were once so rampant started to slowly dwindle away to a mere trickle.

In 1925 while reports of the Awful were practically nonexistent, word of the flying freak of nature spread and eventually reached the ears of non-other than the infamous cosmic horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. H.P. Lovecraft heard about the monstrosity while visiting with some friends in Southern Vermont and, upon hearing about the creature during this visit, decided to go and take a quick road trip up to Richford and Berkshire to investigate the claims. While there, he managed to talk to many of the eyewitnesses, and he was convinced that the locals he had interviewed were "not in the least mistaken about what they had witnessed." Lovecraft would later return to his friends in the southern portion of the state but hearing about this bizarre beast was enough to put his imagination and writing prowess into overtime. Lovecraft would later write, "The Awful became ample sustenance for my imagination" and "over time, the creature became the basis for many of my own fictional inventions." In 1927 Lovecraft wrote, "entering Vermont for the first time, there is a sense of mystic revivification." He continued, "Something in the contours, something in the setting, has the power to touch deep viol-strings of feeling which are ancestral if one be young and personal if one be old.". It's from this that Lovecraft, upon pondering the beast, felt that there certainly was some sort of esoteric reason for the creature being there, be it a pre-concept Keelian Window area or some other supernatural methodology not unlike that which he would write about extensively. Yet while the creature gained the attention of one of the greatest minds in horror literature, it had almost immediately after 1925 vanished, there were no more sightings of the creature for countless years, and many had thought that the creature had either died, moved on, or if this was mass hysteria that the towns had returned to their senses. None of which would forever be the case, as, at the beginning of the 21st century, sightings of the creature would return with a fury not seen since the original 1900-1925 flap.

On October 19, 2006, H.P. Albarelli wrote an article entitled "Has the Awful Returned to Berkshire & Richford," and in it, he detailed a second flap of sightings of a similar or the same flying monstrosity that was reported almost 80 years prior. Most of these witnesses had startlingly similar interactions with the creature as it seemed once again primarily focused on flying around local buildings and watching any in its path. A few weeks prior to the publication of the article, a man Albarelli claimed was a "solid citizen" who chose to remain anonymous out of fear that people would have thought him insane “reported seeing an unbelievable-looking winged monster. The thing swooped down from nowhere and plucked a huge black crow from the upper branches of a tall pine tree. I didn’t believe my eyes, but when the thing circled my house…well, then there was no denying it." On this occasion, the creature reenacted its most famous habit of being an observer, at best a stalker, at worst a predator of humans as once this witness returned to his home and the creature began to fly around his home, the creature continued to do so at least three times as though it was looking for the man. Yet another witness to the creature said, "I remember my grandfather once talking about that thing, but I thought it was just a story, a tall folk yarn…What I saw was no yarn. Yarns don't fly, and stories don't look like that. What I saw was real. And I hope to high heaven I never see it again."

A follow-up article entitled "The Awful sighted again; relic produced" was then released on November 30, 2006, with even more sightings, some modern and some which took place years in between the original flap and this sudden resurgence in Awful sightings. Lisa Maskell, a former resident of Montgomery Center, said that when she was 10 or 11 years old, she saw it near the Trout River while out with friends. The colossal cryptid creature, she said, was nestled in the boughs of an old tree near the river, and as the group approached it, they noted that the creature was looking right at them. They described the creature initially as being incredibly large with huge wings and a long, strange beak. She also would go and describe the creature as “Big, Scary, and Fascinating” She says when she saw a picture of a pterodactyl a few years later, she immediately thought it resembled The Awful.

An unnamed "60-something-year-old man" claims it has been seen often and recently in the Gibou area of Montgomery. He says that the creature had been seen in the area for about 25 years and was well known to residents. The man also felt that the creature was not particularly aggressive towards humans as the residents of the area developed a unique approach to the creature stating, "We don't bother it, and it don't bother us, maybe with a few exceptions."

Edith Green, a dowser in Richford who approached Albarelli after the initial report, told him that the Awful was reported well before the article and after the initial sightings from the early 1900s and 1920s and that "folks were very nervous about it." Another longtime resident of Richford also came forward about the creature; this witness claimed that he had seen the creature recently around Slide Road and said the following about the beast "You can usually hear the thing before you see it. It makes a low screaming sound. When it's close enough you can hear the flapping of its huge wings which sounds like fat blankets being shook out".

Unlike other chimeral cryptids, the Awful potentially does have some evidence for its existence. A logger from Richford approached Albarelli upon reading his article and proceeded to hand him what the logger claimed to be a petrified jawbone of an Awful. While no photos of the jawbone were released, Albarelli stated that the object was stone hard and appeared to have several large teeth. While nothing conclusive has been released about the object so far, nor has any further development been made on it, Albarelli did state that he is attempting to have an "expert from the University of Vermont" to come and study the object but as far as we know this has not occurred yet.

Now sightings of the Awful once again have seen to of dropped off to nothing. There have been no reports of the creature since 2006, at least to my knowledge, and so we are left to wonder just what was flying around the towns of Richford and Berkshire. Breaking down this case, the best way to start is to look at the possibility of a hoax and go from there. In this case, the hoax possibility is certainly likely as while rumors of the creature are claimed to of existed going back all the way to the 1900s, there has been, at least to my knowledge, no written record of the creature in newspapers or in journals since Albarelli wrote about the creature in 2006. The fact that Albarelli wrote about and seems to be the only person to of written about the creature in some 106 years tends to lend to the idea that the Awful was nothing more than a kind of hoax, specifically a piece of yellow journalism. This would make sense when looking back at the colossal history of news-oriented cryptid and monster sightings; even the most mundane creatures made the papers going all the way back to the 1700s as monsters of any sort were big news, and if the Awful was as rampant as Albarelli claimed it was it should have at least once been included in some document before 2006. Albarelli also claimed Lovecraft wrote about the creature in the mid and late 20s again; I have been unable to find the original source, so there are two ways to interpret this one either there is such a source, and its just difficult to find, or viewed as the most likely it was just yet another layer to the story to give the creature more background and what better way than to have a famous horror writer track down and investigate a unique monster.

Now with all that said while the possibility of a hoax does seem likely. An email interview with Albarelli claimed that he did not perpetrate a hoax and that he, outside of the fact that Lovecraft did mention the creature, had no reason to include him. Which, if he's being truthful, means that the Awful was kept very much under wraps in the local area; this is something we do see with local folklore, so I'm willing to entertain that possibility.

So if Albarelli did write about actual accounts, just what exactly was the Awful. Now going the Cryptozoology route, Griffins have been reported elsewhere, so the Awful is not exactly original. The most famous example of this is the Brentford Griffin which I had recently covered and has many of similar traits to the Awful, but unlike the Awful, it was primarily seen in the 80s with some possibilities of being around much earlier. There have been other flying quadrupeds that one would compare to a griffin or a hippogriff reported over the years, such as a flying lion reported in West Orange, New Jersey, in the 1920s. Another similar creature would be Scotland's tri-legged Beast of Barrisdale.

Now I must say that some of the reports of the Awful and some details do not seem to indicate a Griffin-like cryptid, but other species of cryptids reported. There are two to be specific; the first would be the Jersey Devil, and the reason I include it into the fold of possibilities is the following details. The Jersey Devil during January 1909 plagued New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and also allegedly New York though sightings are slim. Now the timing of this colossal flap of sightings is in a perfect window of time for when the original Awful sightings took place since they started in the early 1900s and continued into the 1920s. Interestingly enough, when looking at Jersey Devil reports matches the amount of sightings of other flying creatures seen in other states, almost following a pattern. There are also details in behavior such as the watching people from rooftops and the landing on rooftops in general that is a frequently described Jersey Devil behavior. Even some of the descriptions of the Awful, which would be strange for a Griffin, would make sense when comparing it to the Jersey Devil, such as a serpentine tail, since this is something that we hear in those reports and even the pterodactyl imagery is something that occurs with Jersey Devil sightings as well.

The other cryptid also that could be what the Awful is, is a classical Thunderbird. The classic Thunderbird, which is a colossal eagle or condor-looking creature, is a common cryptid reported in almost every state, yet the name now also has come to take in pterodactyl and pterosaur sightings too. Yet, for the sake of the Awful, with the exception of Lisa Maskell's sighting, most if not all of the sightings involve more traditional bird-like features such as talons, beak, grayish feathers, and aside from the serpentine tail and assumed secondary set of legs there's nothing to indicate anything more extraordinary than a colossal bird. Even the abduction of a small child or animal, depending on your viewpoint, is something that has been reported countless times in Thunderbird encounters and legends, so perhaps the Griffin description was a more exaggerated telling of just what the witnesses saw.

As for other Fortean possibilities, the next major possibility is that if the witnesses are accurate in their description that this creature is a Griffin is that it could have come from another dimension or be a faerie animal. These possibilities are sort of catch-alls to explain the absolutely strange description of the creature, and with these possibilities, just a simple answer as to the countless esoteric/magical and/or evolutionary lineages in which this creature could have been created from. For if this creature is a faerie animal, there are countless appearances such creatures appear as, and flying creatures are exceptionally common, whereas with other dimensions, evolution is infinite, and some of the restrictions that exist in our world's evolutionary lines are completely removed in others.

Now there's one final possibility, and I touched on this with the Brentford Griffin as well, and that is a demonic connection to Griffin-like creatures. Now in one case, a man by the name of John Luck had cursed himself and, upon doing so, was assaulted by two colossal griffin apparitions which lifted him into the air before promptly dropping him on the ground upon which he was taken into the home of a neighbor to heal. As the day continued, however, he became wild and aggressive and began to growl, and this grew into such a violent outburst that a priest was called in to exorcise whatever evil had attached itself to Mr. Luck. This did not end the same way as how films like the Exorcist or the Conjuring would depict such an action, and the next morning Mr. Luck had died, his body contorted into countless positions and his face in a state of absolute terror. Now I mention all this not just because of the entities in Luck’s case description are almost identical to Griffins but also that in the Awful case, the man who suffered the heart attack and survived had continuously been plagued for weeks by nightmares seemingly caused by his interaction with the Griffin something that might be evidence of the creature's supernatural and nefarious origin.

Griffins and Griffin reports, in general, are fascinating and perhaps the most bizarre as they are just a portion of encounters with creatures ripped from the pages of Myth. What are we to make of these sightings as the Griffin is part of a full pantheon of other mythological beings like dragons, Cyclops, Minotaurs, Centaurs, Satyrs, and Pegasus that have been frequently reported not only in the United States (though there does seem to be a higher concentration) but around the world? Is it that what we are seeing is some lifting of the veil and that such creatures are denizens of the faerie realm, or are we seeing some window into another dimension where the old gods, titans, and monsters live and breathe? It's hard to believe that these could be cryptids from our world as with Griffins; they defy the natural evolutionary processes that we build the foundations of organisms on, yet science is an ever-changing medium for what once was considered laughable, or heresy was soon discovered to not only be possible but a fact and perhaps if Albarelli is truthful and the jawbone of the Awful is real we just might be on the verge of a whole new understanding of how our earth and its fauna can be and is something that I look with great interest for.

Quick Facts:

Species/Potential Species: Mammal or Avian

Location: Richford and Berkshire, Vermont

Sighted: 1900s to 2006

Works Cited:

Chasing American Monsters By Jason Offutt

A Guide to Sky Monsters By T.S. Mart and Mel Cabre

The Vermont Monster Guide By Joseph A. Citro

The Weiser Field Guide to Cryptozoology By Deena Budd

H. P. Albarelli “Has the Awful returned to Berkshire & Richford?” The County Courier October 19, 2006

H. P. Albarelli "The Awful sighted again; relic produced" The County Courier November 30, 2006