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There’s a lot of weird out there….

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated by stories of the weird and the unexplained. No matter  how strange, or how unbelievable those tales may seem, they appeal to a deep part of me. Maybe a part that stretches back to a time where my ancestors sat around a bonfire, looking out into the dark, and telling about what they thought they saw out there. I think this love was what lead me to becoming a librarian in my adulthood.

Of course, a love of these stories also has to come with the desire to examine them. My husband complimented me years ago by saying he thought I was a good skeptic. Skeptics are always presented as hard-nosed types, that wouldn’t believe a Bigfoot if it walked out of the woods, and asked for a light. The Dana Scully’s of the world, so to speak. A good skeptic, of course, does no such thing. A good skeptic keeps an open mind, but also asks for extraordinary proof for extraordinary claims. So I try to keep to the path of the good skeptic.

Still, that doesn’t mean I don’t still love a good tale, even if these days I may look with a more critical eye then in my youth.

Here, I want to share some of my favorite cases of the weird. My goal is to present to you as many sides as possible to each report, and let you decide what you think about them. I’ll provide the links and material that I used to put each entry together so you can read beyond this little blog. Mostly, I hope I’ll also provide some fun, and maybe a chill or two.

So, grab a cup of tea. (Or a beer, no judging here). Lets see what’s weird out there.

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A Quick Aside

Man, I wish I was this cute……….

I’m sure you’ve noticed there’s been no new updates for a little over a year now. My bad folks. The truth of the matter is that I was accepted into Grad school and started in January 2020. For a time before that I was filling out financial aid forms, scholarship applications, etc. getting ready to go into grad school. And I kind of dropped the ball here.

I’d be lying if I said I’ll be updating regularly before I graduate, but I do promise to try and post at least 2 new articles per semester from now on. I know, that’s like 6 a year, but it’s better than radio silence. The plan is for me to be done in summer 2022. After that, I will go back to trying to update at least once a month. Which we all know I was so good at before, right?

So here’s my request: If you are reading this, and if you enjoy it, let me know. Comment, email, etc. You can just say Hi. You can tell me my theory on a case is total bull. (Which is welcome, just keep it civil and don’t make the baby bigfoot cry) I rarely get any responses here, and I’m not sure I’m not just sending these into the void. Which would be ok, and still fun, but if I know people are reading I know I should at least be somewhat consistent.

And when this is all done I’ll be an official Masters Degreed librarian which means I will have more responsibilities, and more power. MORE POWER TO BUY PARANORMAL BOOKS FOR MY SYSTEM! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Ahem. Sorry. Anyway, happy holidays and I’ll have a new article by new years. I promise.

“That’s Jesus. He will not hurt us”: The Piney-Woods Incident

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As someone who identifies as a skeptic, I’ve hoped my whole life that someday we’ll have solid, testable proof of some of these strange stories that I love so much. Obviously a UFO landing on the white house lawn would be pretty straight forward. I’ll take a handful of Bigfoot hair, tested and shown to be an unknown species through DNA testing.  Give me a psychic that can continuously show their ability under lab testing conditions, or a ghost that not only appears on camera but also leaves behind some of that ectoplasm that Peter Venkman got soaked in….something testable. Despite our reputations, skeptics  (as opposed to denialists) absolutely will accept evidence that challenges the accepted world view. It’s got to be good, testable evidence, but we’d be excited for it. I think there are a lot more people like me interested in these topics than is currently portrayed…..we need evidence, but we’re open to all kinds of possibilities.

Some evidence may not be so solid as a Whitley Strieber Gray knocking on the front door of the New York times, but still may be pretty good indication that something weird is up. Let’s say a small group of people report a UFO sighting. Then they suffer health effects that seem to be a form of radiation poisoning, with no other odd event save for the sighting. Sure, that’s not proof positive that what they saw was a ship with little green dudes in it, but it DOES point to the idea that they saw SOMETHING. Maybe they misunderstood what they were seeing, but something physical is happening to them likely caused by the event. There seems to be something real to the sighting.

I was rather surprised to find that there not only is a case that seems to follow the above script almost to the letter, but that it may be the only case of a UFO sighting that lead to a lawsuit against the US government.

I had never heard of this case, even in my long years of loving weird stories and sightings, until my adulthood.  The way I found it was almost as weird….an episode of the Adult Swim cult classic cartoon “The Venture Brothers.” I’ve been a fan of the show since day one, and own many of the DVD box sets. I also love director’s commentary.

Well, in the episode “Home is Where the Hate Is”, Hank and Dean are terrified by a shadowy flying object wreathed in red haze and fire that approaches their home. Just turns out to be their dad’s new super-villain arch nemesis stopping in for a meet and greet before he officially starts henching them. But in the scene, Dean turns to Hank and says “Hank, if the big man walks out of the burning cloud do not be afraid! That’s Jesus!”

At the time I thought it was just a funny non sequitur from the brothers Venture as the show is so famous for. But later watching the episode with the director’s commentary, one of the creators noted that the line was based on a UFO incident he had read about where a kids Grandmother told him basically the same thing.

Fascinated, I looked it up. Low and behold, I found the Cash Landrum UFO Incident.

The story starts on Dec 29, 1980 in the Dayton Texas area. Betty, Vickie, and Vickie’s 7-year old grandson Colby, had all headed out on a brisk winter evening. Apparently the two women were BINGO fans, and had been looking to find a game in the area. The night however was frustrating, as all their usual places were not holding games at that time due to the holiday season.

Around 9pm, the women noticed a light in the sky at some distance. They didn’t think much of it as they were fairly close to Houston Intercontinental Airport.  They were in a fairly low population area, although not completely devoid of homes and other cars. However the hour was late, and the night dark, and they recalled driving for quite some time before seeing another vehicle.

A short time after they noticed the light, it came back into view. Now it was much bigger and much brighter than it had been. As they got closer, they saw it was a diamond shaped object that was vertical in the sky above them. From the tip closest to the ground, a blue flame kept spurting. Even within the car, they could feel heat coming from it.

At this point Vickie told Betty to stop, fearing if they got any closer it would burn them. Colby was very frightened, and Vickie tried to comfort him by saying “That’s Jesus. He will not hurt us.” She was a born-again Christian and said later she thought that were witnessing the second coming and the end of the world.

They decided against turning the car around as the road was narrow and they feared getting it stuck in the mud on the side of the road. Instead, the adults got out for a better look. Vickie quickly returned to the inside of the car as Colby was terrified and started to cry, in order to comfort him. Betty remained outside the vehicle watching the object.

It was reported later by author Jerome Clark that “The object, intensely bright and dull metallic silver, was shaped like a huge upright diamond, about the size of the Dayton water tower, with its top and bottom cut off so that they were flat rather than pointed. Small blue lights ringed the center, and periodically over the next few minute’s flames shot out of the bottom, flaring outward, creating the effect of a large cone. Every time the fire dissipated, the UFO floated a few feet downwards toward the road. But when the flames blasted out again, the object rose about the same distance.”

This has been interpreted by some investigators to suggest the object was in distress, and trying to gain altitude while interrupted by some kind of malfunction.

Betty later reported the heat was so strong it made the metal of the car impossible to touch with her bare hands. She had to wrap her coat around her hand to get back into the car without burning herself.  Vickie also claimed that the heat softened the vinyl dashboard so much, that her hand left a print sunk into the surface.

The object finally made it higher into the sky, where the witnesses say it was surrounded by military helicopters that flew out of the night.  Now able to pass, Betty started the car again and drove away up the road. The women claimed they could see the object followed by the helicopters for a short time in the distance as they drove away.

The whole thing had taken roughly 20 minutes.

The sighting alone is interesting, especially with some of the detail the women reported. But what followed really made the case stand out.
Betty took Vickie and Colby home, and then returned to her own home. Overnight, they all started to experience similar symptoms with Betty having the strongest reactions. They all reported nausea with vomiting and diarrhea. This was paired with weakness over the entire body, burning eyes, and painful skin as if they had suffered sunburns.

The common report states Betty also developed large blisters all over her body, and hair loss. She ended up in the hospital for 12 days, starting on January 3, 1981. This became a pattern as she returned to the ER with symptoms several times.

Vickie and Colby were not affected as badly, although they also had the sores and hair loss.

The symptoms were similar to secondary damage to ionizing radiation, according to a MUFON report not long after the incident. However, several other doctors have pointed out that symptoms from radiation poisoning setting in so quickly would indicate a lethal dose that should have killed them all in only a few days. There has been an alternative theory that they were exposed to some kind of chemical from the strange object.

MUFON became involved because Vickie started calling government agencies to get answers, and was eventually directed to NASA scientist John Schuessler who had interest in the subject, and got MUFON involved as he looked into the case.

There was also a local policeman who claimed he and his wife had seen the military helicopters that same night, but not the UFO.

Eventually after being interviewed by personnel at the Bergstrom Air Force Base in summer of 1981, they hired a lawyer and sued the government for 20 million, complaining of long lasting health damage, pain and suffering.

However, in August of 1986, the case was dismissed, in part because they could not prove the helicopters sighted were in fact from the US Government, and no proof had been offered the object itself was owned by the government.

This case however, did not disappear. Several books were written on it, and its often sited as a case with concrete evidence. These women didn’t lie their way into documented health issues.

Did they?

That’s where it gets messy.

Betty reported the most severe health issues. As it turns out, she had some pretty serious health issues to start with. Before the reported sightings, she had complained about some of the symptoms she later linked with the UFO.  When some of her medical reports were reprinted in the book that John F. Schuessler wrote on the subject, it came to light that doctors had diagnosed her with Alopecia Areata. This is an autoimmune illness that causes hair to fall out in clumps, sometimes completely.

But what about Vickie and Colby? Didn’t they lose hair too? Well, they might have, but in all the medical records that came to light after, there is no mention of this symptom. Not until far later, after Betty’s diagnosis, did that claim become part of the story. While there are pictures of Betty’s hair loss that I have found, but I can’t find any of Vickie with the same. In fact it appears the only post sighting medical condition on Vickie’s record is a cataract.

That’s part of the issue here. A lot of the symptoms claimed in retellings of this story don’t show up in the original medical records. It appears Vickie and Colby were only on record seeking treatment for eye irritation, that was diagnoses as basic conjunctivitis, and a sunburn.

Betty’s records show the Alopecia Areata, a swollen and sunburned face, and a headache. She apparently did return, but the records seem to indicate that nothing else was found. Betty did end up with heart issues and breast cancer later on. No link to her sighting or the after effects could be proven.

That of course doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but with the information we have that link can’t be made solidly. There are a few interesting points. They did not have radiation burns and sickness, but I find it interesting they all had sunburns. That doesn’t mean it was caused by the thing they reported, but I wonder if anyone has checked to see if the women were seen to have the before that night. A sunburn effect is something that has come up in other UFO cases. It’s not completely unreasonable to leave the possibility that what they saw caused the sunburn, on the table.

There’s also the possibility that they saw something earthly but unrecognizable to them, and that the health issues (while actually unrelated) were connected in their mind. As someone with chronic health issues myself I know how easy it is to find yourself scrutinizing even the smallest things in your day to day life looking for a connection to solve the mystery and give doctors a way to help you. It’s not such a huge leap that a big event that sticks out in one’s mind would even more likely be attached as an answer to a medical mystery.

Another interesting theory presented by researcher Curt Collins is that what the women might have seen could involve some extremely powerful military flares.  That doesn’t seem to be something that might cause a sunburn effect, but who knows.  Just the right circumstances may say otherwise.

So what are we to make of this case? I think it’s safe to say it’s not the magic bullet of evidence that a lot of enthusiasts make it out to be. No one is sorrier about that than I am. Not that I ever wished ill on these women, but had the popular reports of the after effects been accurate we would have a body of extremely rare and interesting evidence to look at. That does not seem to be the case.

However, I think we can say that this is still an interesting case. There’s something about how the women told their story that makes me believe at the very least it wasn’t a hoax. They may have seen something completely earthly that they simply didn’t recognize. They may have stumbled on a military craft that was not supposed to be seen by civilians.  They may have jumped to conclusions and attached meanings to things that were actually unrelated. But I don’t think they lied. I think they were honestly scared and confused, and I think they told the tale as they remembered it. (Let’s not forget how pliable memory is as well, for that may have a part in it).

Whatever they did see, Jesus didn’t walk out of it to take them to heaven. But I think that line really sums up the heart of this case: People trying to make sense of a weird thing using the framework they understand.

Websites

The Mufon Report on the Case 

Skeptoid Article 

The Paranormal Podcast Article

UFO Insight takes on the case 

Blue Blurry Lines Examines the case, and the Skeptoid Article

 

Books

The Cash-Landrum UFO Incident

John F. Schuessler

The UFO Encyclopedia: The Phenomenon from the Beginning, Volume 1: A-K

Jerome Clark

 

Media

This Paranormal Life Podcast

Oct 15 and Oct 22, 2018

Bigfoot Collectors Club Podcast

Aug 20, 2019

Skeptoid Podcast

Dec 3, 2018

Unsolved Mysteries. Season 3. Episode 19.

February 6, 1991.

 

Podcast Recommendations #6

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Adam and Matt are a couple of good ol’ southern boys who like to have fun on their show. Its one of the reasons I really enjoy listening to them. They’re good natured, and while they never mock their subjects, they also don’t take things so seriously that they drive them into the ground. There’s something warm about their show, like hanging out with a couple of buddies in a pub and telling ghost stories.

If I have any critique at all, its that they sometimes seem to go a little too hard on the folks who lean more skeptical. They’re never mean about it, and they do try and paint a line between skeptical (open minded, but evidence oriented) and cynics (don’t believe anything no matter what). They do sometimes seem to forget their own definitions though, and sometimes take a stance against positions of people like myself (who would fall under the skeptic category) I disagree with them on this, and sometimes on their conclusions. However, they’re never mean about it, and I do understand the frustration of feeling dismissed by much of the world at large. Its easy to forgive them when they get on the topic, because you can hear how hard they try to be fair about it even when I think they sometimes fall a little short of that goal.

Mostly I love them because they find the best topics, and don’t shy away from a few dad jokes an episode. I highly recommend the podcast.

The Frogmen of Loveland

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People have always had a tendency to humanize animals. Be it assigning our pets human traits, reading wild animals through the lens of human interaction, or dreaming of man-beast hybrids in our myths and fairy-tales, we can see this throughout human cultures around the world. There’s something about the blend of man and beast that fascinates us. Maybe it’s because we spend a lot of time trying to forget that humankind is just another type of animal.

Here in the USA you’ll find plenty of stories of things that aren’t exactly Fluffy but not exactly us either. Bigfoot and his clan would fall under this idea. So would the Dog-Men we’ve already looked at here at Neither Fish Nor Fowl. Today we’re going to look at a case even weirder, even more impossible than dog-men. Today we’re going to look at the strangest amphibians since The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Today, we’re talking Frogmen.

Specifically the famous Frogmen of Loveland, Ohio.

Sure they aren’t as famous as Bigfoot, but they are a hell of a lot weirder. Are they cryptids? Are they some kind of spiritual creatures akin to elementals or fairy? Are they aliens? Or are they just a story that got out of control. Well, before we can try to make sense of them, we’ll need to know their story first.

In May of 1955, an anonymous witness was driving in the area of Loveland, on a stretch of road that runs near the Little Miami River roughly around 3am.  According to the story, he saw a group of three figures huddled at the side of the road, which made him slow down, worried there had been an accident or other emergency.

In his headlights, he realized that the figures were not human. He described them as between 3 and 4-feet tall,  covered with leathery skin, and with webbed hands and feet. He also reported frog-like  heads, with wrinkles near where hair normally would be.

He watched them for a few moments, in surprise, until one of them raised an object the man claimed was some kind of wand that spat sparks into the dark air.
Completely panicked by this point, the witness speed away and did not stop until he reached home. He later reported his story to the police, who found nothing at the site.

That seemed to be the end of it, as no one else reported seeing anything like the odd little beings.

That is, until March 3, 1972. Police officer Ray Shockey was driving in the early hours of an early spring morning. Around 1am, he saw what he thought was a dog on the side of the road. With the hour being so late, he slowed down to get a look at the pup in his headlights and see if it was hurt or just a stray.

But then the dog stood up, its eyes illuminated by the car lights, and stared at Shockey for a moment. Then it turned and leaped over a guardrail.  The officer saw it go down an embankment and into the river that ran along the road. Officer Shockey said it looked to weigh about sixty pounds, and stood about three to four feet tall.  He described a textured, leathery skin and a face like a frog or lizard.

The officer was started and shaken, but he was a professional. He immediately returned to the police station to get backup to look for evidence of what he had seen. He returned to the scene a bit later with Officer Mark Matthews. They found some scratch marks on the guardrail, but that was all.

However that wouldn’t be all for Mark. On March 14, just 12 days later, Officer Matthews was driving in the same area when he saw what he thought was a large injured or dead animal on the side of the road. He parked and got out, meaning to get the animal off the ice-slicked road, when it suddenly lurched up into a crouching posture.

Matthews was shocked to see it was some kind of creature, 3-4 feet tall, with a frog-like head and leathery skin. His description matched Shockey’s almost to a T save for one detail. He claimed it had a long lizard like tail.

He drew his weapon and fired a shot at it. He couldn’t tell if he missed, or if it just had no effect on the thing. However, it did make it retreat over the guardrail and down to the river, where it vanished from his sight. Not eager to chance a confrontation, Matthews got back in his car and left quickly.

Apparently many years later, Matthews claimed he had seen a huge, but very real lizard that had run in front of his car….likely an escaped pet.  In 2016 he told a reporter for WCPO Cincinnati that he had not just shot at the creature, but shot and killed it. It turned out to be a huge iguana, likely someone’s escaped pet, and claimed he showed it to Shockey who confirmed that was what he had seen.

Matthews claimed that it was a writer who had interviewed him for a book on urban legends in Ohio who spread the story that he shot at the thing, but missed so it escaped.  Matthews said he had told him the full story.

The frogman vanishes again from popular lore after this, and for a long time it seemed that might be the very last it would be heard from. Then on Aug 3, 2016 a man named Sam Jacobs was playing Pokemon Go with his girlfriend near Lake Isabella.

They claimed they saw a “huge frog” down in the water which then “stood up and walked on its hind legs……The frog stood about 4 feet tall.”

Jacobs was able to get video and photos of the thing, but the quality is very low. It mostly shows two shining yellow orbs in the dark that look like flashlights…or very strange eyes.

Since this 2016 sighting, I have not been able to find any other references to anyone seeing the Frogmen. It seems the abnormal amphibians are back in hiding.

So, what do we really have here?

Going through the stories is a mixed bag. The original report from the 1950’s is pretty vague.  There’s no name, no identifying features in the tale that can separate it from plain old urban legend. Assuming the report was actually made, it’s also a year after The Creature from the Black Lagoon premiered on movie screens around the country.  Its possible that was an influence.  Perhaps we’re talking mistaken identity with the veil of movie influence drawn over it. Maybe it was a completely made up story using that movie as inspiration. We can’t say that it WAS either of those things, any more than we can say it WAS frog men with technology wands. There just isn’t enough to make an educated guess.

We have more from the 1970’s. Two named officers, both making reports that seem similar. Of course Matthews claims that he has a perfectly logical explanation, but its been suggested he actually made up the hoax story under pressure from superiors or to make people leave him alone.

While that’s not impossible, it’s not provable. We have to assume that the man’s redaction is truthful as we have no other evidence to the contrary. I’ve not been able to track down anything else from Shockey to support or contradict him.

It is possible that Matthews was telling the truth about his iguana but threw in the last part about showing Shockey the corpse to try and put the whole thing to rest finally. It is possible that Shockey saw something quite different. We simply can’t tell with the information presented to us.

The 2016 sighting does have evidence that can be judged: The photo and the video. Unfortunately these pieces point harder to hoax (either created by Jacobs himself, or sprung on Jacobs). The video moves around quite a bit, but it’s the camera doing the moving. The shining lamp-like orbs seem to be standing still, and while you can see a little ripple of light at the water level, that’s clearly the water moving. The Frogman is standing absolutely still. They eyes don’t blink, don’t move as the head turns, don’t sink into the water as it vanishes below. Until the very end when the lights turn in a still manner, and the lights “bob” as if walking away. I’ve seen that motion before…when Kermit the frog or any other Muppet is showing “Walking”.  It’s a very puppet like motion. Does that mean it’s 100% not a living thing? I can’t say that, but it’s very very very fake looking.

The there’s the light enhanced photos the news outlets released. They show a body-like mass under the head. It resembles a dummy with two lights installed in its head. The eyes are shining with an electric like light. They aren’t reflecting an out of frame light source, they are producing their own light. This makes little sense in biology as far as I can see, in the fact that eyes that produce their own light would leave the owner blind.

Maybe they aren’t eyes? Some animals have bioluminescent growths on their body….think of the angler fish that lures prey in with a glowing “fishing pole” growing out of its head. Its very possible, but bioluminescence generally has a very distinct look to it. To my eyes, these orbs match an electric light bulb more than say a glowing jellyfish light.

There’s also the problem of scale. The original video is pretty much pitch black save for the “eyes” but even in  the enhanced frame taken from the video, there is absolutely nothing to judge the size of the things around. It could be 20 feet tall, or the size of a barbie doll. There’s just no way to tell.

We cannot say for 100% that the incident is a hoax, but the evidence on this one seems to be working against it.

There are many possibilities on this story. Some are:

  1. The Frogmen are completely real and exactly as all four groups of witnesses reported.
  2. All the stories are hoaxes
  3. All the stories are mistaken identity
  4. The whole thing is an urban legend blown out of proportion by people re-telling the sightings and leaving out crucial details.
  5. Some combination of the above. For an example possibility:  the 1955 sighting and Shockey’s were completely accurate, Matthews shot an Iguana, and Jacobs is a hoax.

The Loveland Frogmen is a great story, whatever the truth of the matter is. It has a real feeling of a 1950’s invasion creature feature. Perhaps that’s why its stuck around so long. Since it seems to go in cycles, maybe somewhere in the 2030’s we’ll get a new sighting, this time with indisputable film, and DNA evidence. But until that happens I think it’s something that we’ll have to file away as a “Legend” rather than a report for now.

Still, keep your eyes peeled when you drive late at night near water. You may be the one to capture that vital evidence.

Websites

Weird USA Overview

Skeptiod Article

Snopes Looks at the Report of the Pokemon Go sighting

Crytopia’s Article on the case

Astonishing Legends Article 

Fox 19 article that includes the Pokemon Go video and the enhanced frame.

 

Books

It Came from Ohio . . . True Tales of the Weird, Wild, and Unexplained

James Renner

 

Media

Cryptonaut Podcast episode 1- Jan 4, 2018

Cryptid Technical Podcast- Feb 27, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Fire Enfolding Itself: The Betty Andreasson Abduction

Betty A Aliens

At first glance, the alien abduction phenomenon seems to have very little to do with religious experiences.  One seems cloaked in science trappings- with medical examinations, strange high tech crafts, and beings that seem to hail from other worlds. The other is the stuff of the mystic, with spiritual contact, and…well…often beings that seem to hail from another world. Right. That alone shows there is more connection between the two. Both have life altering effects.

Even if you’ve come to the conclusion that alien abduction is some other kind of physiological rather than physical event, people who have these experiences go forward with their perceptions, and often their reality changed. Isn’t that true of the religious experience? If you take the position that religion is purely psychological, the experience is real to the believer.  The effects are real.

In the same way the belief is real. Many hold their belief in UFO’s and alien abduction in the same way that people hold their deeply felt religious beliefs.

So it’s not that surprising when we see religion and abduction cross over more than the popular depiction of both would have us believe. There are examples all through the lore of UFO research.

Religious art like the 1350 painting “The Crucifixion,” shows odd objects in the sky that contain people that some folks see as early records of UFO’s. The 1980 Cash-Landrum Incident includes testimony that the grandmother told her grandson not to be afraid of the burning object hovering in the sky because “That’s Jesus. He will not hurt us.” as she was interpreting the event through her born-again Christian faith.  Whitley Strieber, as discussed in an earlier post, examined his experiences through his own blend of eastern mystic practice and Catholicism.

Perhaps though the most famous blend of faith and abduction is the case of Betty Andreasson-Luca.

This case was always one that held particular fascination for me, as it happened in my own home state of Massachusetts in the town of South Ashburnham. I got to speak in that town’s library back in March of 2016, presenting about mysterious incidents in Massachusetts, and of course covered the case. I was fortunate enough to talk to several people on the matter after the presentation- both those who believe what she experienced was real, and those who take a more skeptical approach to the case. It became obvious to me then, this is still a highly debated case.

The story starts on January 25, 1967 in the Andreasson household. Betty was a housewife, a born again Christian, and a mother with seven children. She was in the kitchen of the house she shared with her mother and father, when the lights in the house briefly seemed to experience a brown out- blinking on and off several times.  It was then Betty realized reddish light was spilling in through several kitchen windows. Betty went to see to her nervous children, while her father looked out for the source of the light.  He saw several small beings heading toward the house with a hopping motion. Before he could react, these five beings seemed to pass through the solid wood of the front door into the house. At the same moment, the family found themselves in suspended animation…all except for Betty.

Oddly, Betty’s dad was the only one who saw them hopping. Betty only reports them moving by floating a few inches off the ground.

The beings were very much like the typical grays we think of in alien cases, save for the face their huge eyes were white with a large pupil. They wore something like coveralls, and spoke telepathically.

Despite being afraid, Betty reported they were friendly and she conversed with them. They traded her a small odd blue book for a bible. They took her on board a craft where they did some medical experiments on her.

She returns to her family who are unharmed with no memory of this beyond the red light. She reported that she did not remember any of this until hypnosis many years later. The blue book vanished from the home a few days later.

Later, Raymond Fowler who wrote the books best known on this case, took Betty through hypnosis that suggested these beings have been taking her all her life.  Then the story gets much more interesting

He reports memories that in her youth she was taken. She reports that she is transported a great distance, in a glass chair filled with liquid that protected her. She talks about being brought through caves and strange adobe-like cities with tiny odd creatures that look a cross between a lemur and a snail. She is lead through areas that are all one color, witnesses an eagle like bird that bursts into flame and burns into ash, where a worm emerges like some odd kind of phoenix. She meets tall blond human like beings she describes as extremely beautiful in white robes. The beings test her, talk with her about things that seem like vaguely veiled evangelistic Christian theology, and then take her to pass through a glass gate to speak to “The one” who talks about her being a chosen person, because she loves the son.

 

Every experience she has seems colored by this religious undertone. In a different abduction event, she reports that she aided in the birth of a hybrid baby from a frightened human woman also on one of the ships.

To say I am abridging her story here is a bit of an understatement. Fowler literally had three books worth of experiences, and also used some of her reports in two additional books called “Watchers” and “Watchers II”.  There’s no really good way to describing how odd her story is. For every experience that seems to support her evangelical worldview, another seems to support the typical “Aliens are doing breeding experiments on us” narrative.

This extends to her family. Not only did Fowlers books claim this had been happening to Betty over the years, but also that her extended family had these experiences. Some of her children later claimed to also have later abduction experiences independent of Betty. And her second husband, Bob Luca, claimed to not only have been an abductee since childhood, but that the beings purposely pushed Betty and himself together as a union…perhaps to take an interest in any children they would produce together.

On a side note, if you have some time, Read Ray Fowlers first two books in the Adreasson Affair series.  Doesn’t matter if you believe the story, think its bunk, or fall in the middle. The story in all its detail is a good read just on its merits of a story.

There were multiple issues however with the case that caught skeptical eyes. For one, the description of the beings that January night changed. Drawings of the visitors made after hypnosis in the 1970’s shows them with large eyes, and large pupils. Drawings made in the 1980’s by Betty show them with the more accepted ink-black eyes that by then were the accepted norm in UFO circles and pop culture.

Some of the details, like the beings wearing heavy boots, but floating to move, seemed odd. Why bother with heavy boots if your feet won’t ever touch the floor?

Of course the biggest issue was that more or less the whole story had come out of hypnosis sessions. Hypnosis recovery of memory is highly unreliable and contentious.

Then in 2007, the son of Bob and Betty named Robert Jr, accused his parents of being frauds. He claimed the whole story had been made up to sell books, and to get attention. This made a rift in the family public, and later Bob Luca claimed his son was a drug addict estranged from the family, who had died from a drug overdose. (Most of the links to these exchanges have become dead so it’s hard to get direct quotes from the letters)

Then there’s another side to the debate that’s of interest, if for no other reason than the fact we don’t get a chance to see it much. Because of the religious nature of this case, many people weigh in on the event from an evangelistic Christian point of view. These folks have no trouble believing Betty went through exactly what she says she went through. They say, however, that she got it wrong. These weren’t angelic beings sent from God, but demons.

This isn’t as uncommon as folks might think. Joe Jordan, a former MUFON investigator, has a whole following around this idea of UFO’s and Aliens being disguised demons come to confuse people and lead them away from Jesus.

The writer at the blog “Don’t Ask That In Church” gives a deep analyzing of the case, but the following passage I think gives a good overview of how they lay the case out. They are discussing the original encounter where Betty says to the beings “Are you of God?”

“The beings had no reply other than “Follow us.” At this point, they were able to overpower Betty’s will to a point and she prayed for God to show her the way, and she seemingly followed them. At no point did she ask Jesus for help, nor did she ask God in the name of Jesus to help or guide her. I think this is an important detail. Without Jesus, or appealing to God through Jesus, none of us have any hope. Only through Jesus, may we have access to the Father.”

So in other words, choose your wording carefully when dealing with beings like this. On a side note, it kind of reminds me of how rules about dealing with the Fae work in various cultural mythologies. Pretty interesting stuff….

There are other Christians who take Betty’s experience at face value…that the beings were from God and that Betty spoke to God. Its claimed in a few places that Betty was a conduit at church to make the pastor and his wife speak in tongues that translated into “Tho Shalt be Blessed Above Women” (I can’t find a source outside an article by a guy named Joseph Kerrick, so we’ll take it with a little salt since it doesn’t appear Betty herself reported this).

So what does this all mean?

Well, we have multiple possibilities. Some are:

  • Betty had a real UFO abduction experience exactly as described and the beings were from God, as the Evangelical Christian movement understands God, and took her at one point to see God. She is some kind of chosen one holy figure.
  • Betty had a real experience, but the beings were Demons that were tricking her to lead people astray from God.
  • Betty had a real experience, but the beings were simply of alien origin. In order to keep Betty calm and co-operative they somehow pulled her religious beliefs from her, and used them to make her believe they were part of those beliefs.
  • The whole thing was a hoax, put up to make money, get attention, and maybe push a religious agenda.
  • Betty honestly believes this happened, but it’s a product of her imagination. The kids that back her story do so because they have been raised in a home that supports this story. The memories brought out by hypnosis were created in the sessions by selective questioning and wanting to believe.

To me the interesting part of this case isn’t actually if its real of not. The interesting part is seeing how these two camps- The religious narrative and the Abduction narrative- come together. Even better, it’s fascinating to see how many WAYS it comes together. Every person, every group that looks at this case colors it with their worldview and that changes how they investigate it. Of course, that’s true of ALL of these cases.  There’s something so raw about it when religion gets involved however. It’s interesting to see how much the discussion about this kind of case doesn’t really come up with an answer to it, but rather shows us a lot more about how we as people think about things. There’s an interesting question of science and religion- can these things co-exist in the minds and hearts of people. While I know some would groan to classify UFO abductions as “science” (and I hear you guys, you have a point.) I think a case like this shows how people can in fact line seemingly opposed ideas up in their own worldview. If nothing else, that alone is worth considering.

 

Websites

Don’t Ask That In Church 

The Iron Skeptic Article

Another site from both a christian and abduction believer point of view

Ufo Casebook Interview with Betty,

Local News Report about the incident from 2018

A copy of the email claiming the incident is a hoax

 

Books

The Andreasson legacy

by Raymond Fowler

The Andreasson Affair

by Raymond Fowler

The Andreasson Affair Phase 2

by Raymond Fowler

Watchers

by Raymond Fowler

Watchers II

by Raymond Fowler

A Lifting of the Veil

By Betty Andreasson and Bob Luca

 

Media

Somewhere in the Skies Podcast

Nov 5, 2017

Paranormal Review Podcast

Sept 18, 2015

Secret Transmission Podcast

Aug 1, 2018

Betty on Transmissions Radio in 1979

Betty and Raymond Fowler on Mike Douglas Show in 1979

Hypnosis sessions and Interview with Betty

The Little Goblins of Kelly-Hopkinsville

Goblin Drawing

I’ve mentioned several times on this blog about my love for old classic sci-fi films. It’s no wonder then, that some of my favorite classic cases of the weird feel like they could have been lifted straight from an Ed Wood script. We already talked about the 1952 case of the Flatwoods Monster last year, and this case has a similar feel to it. This one however, gives you multiple strange critters for your consideration.

On August 21, 1955 there was a small gathering of people at a rural farmhouse owned by the Sutton family, located roughly about 8 miles north of Hopkinsville, Kentucky. They had guests that night, The Taylor family, in from Philadelphia. The farm house was isolated enough that it didn’t have access to running water- the family pumped water from a hand pump in the yard. At 7pm, Billy-Ray Taylor went outside to get a drink from said pump. He claimed he saw a disk shaped object come from the sky showing all the colors of the rainbow, before it vanished into a gully about half a mile away.

Billy-Ray excitedly rushed back into the house to tell the gathered folks what he had seen. The other adults however were not interested in his tale, and the matter was dropped.

By 8pm, the area had begun to grow dark. At this point, the family dog started to bark. At first it was insistent, and then it grew frantic. When one of the men poked his head out the front door he said the dog rushed to the farmhouse and hid under the house and refused to come out until morning.

The men decided to go out and have a look around, and armed themselves with the many guns kept in the house. This was rural Kentucky after all, and most households had multiple arms for hunting, driving off pesky wildlife from preying on crops and farm animals, and home defense. The Suttons were no exception to this, and were thoroughly armed.

Almost immediately the men saw a strange creature moving toward the house. They described it as “a luminous, three-and-a-half-foot-tall being with an over-sized head, big, floppy, pointed ears, glowing eyes, and hands with talons at their ends.”

The creature approached with its hands up as if surrendering, but the men were so scared they shot at it anyway. It didn’t fall however, it performed a flip and then scurried off.

The men were very close to the thing, and believed they must have hit it. They went looking for the being, and soon saw another one (or maybe the same one) sitting on the awning of the house. They shot it, and reported a metallic like “Ping” from the creature, but it simply hopped down, and also scurried off.

The men returned inside the house disturbed, to try and decide what to do. Soon another creature peered into the window of the house, causing the men to shoot out the window at it.

And so began the weirdest galactic siege we have on record.

The adults hid the children under the beds, the women in the house stood guard over them, and the men continued to open fire every time one of the beings peered in the window, scratched around the door, or climbed onto the roof. They claimed that up to 15 beings were present around the property, but that there were never more than 2 seen at one time.

Finally near 11pm, there was a lull in the onslaught and the household made a break for it. They got everyone into the 2 vehicles parked outside and drove frantically to the local police station to make their report. Police Chief Russell Greenwell later reported that they genuinely seemed frightened of something.

They brought 19 officers to the property to search after interviewed the families, but found nothing but some small property damage likely caused by the shooting. They left around 2am, but the family claimed that after they were alone again they spotted another of the creatures, and the appearances started again.  When dawn broke, the creatures made their final retreat into the fading dark, never to be seen again.

Greenwell would later say of the two families, “These were not the sort of people who normally ran to the police.” Officials stated later they did not believe any drinking had been involved in the incident.  The witnesses were deemed to be sane, and their stories stayed consistent, even years after the event occurred.

In the following days the United States Air Force dispatched officers from nearby Fort Campbell to investigate, but they found nothing in the way of evidence and quickly closed the case.

This case became a staple in UFO lore in America over the 1960’s and 1970’s, appearing in many books. There was even an entire book dedicated to it called “Close encounter at Kelly and others of 1955”

However, some investigators have other ideas about what might have happened.

The “battle” started at the beginning of the night. This is a time when great horned owls hunt, and in Aug they are particularly aggressive defending their nests in pairs. It is theorized that the families were attacked by these owls, and in the confusion, mis-remembered exactly what they saw.

Also, Great Horned Owls are big. Really big. The biggest can measure 2 feet from talon to head. When something that big is coming at you, with wings spread, it looks even bigger.

If you look at a great horned owl with its wings spread, you can kind of see how it resembles the top of the creatures described. The wings are the big ears, (and the tufts of feathers above the eyes also fit the bill depending on the angle you’re looking at). The talon tipped feet are the claw like hands, and the big yellow eyes are the….well….big eyes.

That’s not to say that this theory is proven. But it is persuasive when you try to image it in poor light, and panic.

Also, the time of year was in the middle of the Kappa Cygnids meteor shower, a possible explanation for the object Billy-Ray saw fall from the sky.

Its interesting to note that Project Bluebook looked into the case, and listed it as a hoax. The details of why are not easily available, but you apparently can see the notation in a lecture on the project. This was linked in the Skeptoid article on the subject that you’ll find below, but the link seems to now be broken. I will take the authors word for it for the moment.

Whatever the truth is about this case, it set into the popular imagination at the time beyond most other reports of the weird. Maybe because the creature-feature feel of it. This has certainly helped keep the story in the public eye, mostly through its adaptation into fiction and pop culture. The 1986 cult classic sci-fi horror comedy “Critters” is loosely based on the report. There’s a Pokémon based on the goblins. Not to be outdone by Point Pleasant, WV the local community celebrates the third weekend in August every year with a festival called “Kelly’s Little Green Men Days”. One of Steve Spielberg’s most famous unproduced scripts “Night Skies” was based on this case as well. Kelly-Hopkinsville isn’t fading anytime soon.

Who knows. Maybe some odd little spacemen really did make a rush at a small farmhouse that night. Maybe someday, you’ll see what you think is a shooting star come down from the heavens, only to find out yourself who might be riding that light.

Or maybe it was really owls. Either way,  we can say for sure that it’s a damn good story.

 

Web

Country Living Article

Kentucky New Era Article from 1955

MUFON Article on the subject

Mysterious Universe Article on the Case

Skeptical article

Another take by UFO Casebook

Books

The Kelly Green Men

By Geraldine Sutton Stith

 

Media

Thinking Sideways Podcast July 27, 2016

Astonishing Legends Podcast Episode 79-81 (Aug 2017)

Kentucky Educational TV Video

NBC News Report on the case from 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monstrous Birds and Flying Reptiles

Big Bird

I’m a huge fan of old monster movies. The cheesier they are, the better. There’s a good reason I was a card carrying member of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Info club in my teens. I especially loved the giant menace movies. Godzilla of course is an old favorite, but give me huge atomic grasshoppers, giant killer bunnies, or a prehistoric bird monster.

That last one always fascinated me, because it wasn’t that far off of actual animals that once existed here on the planet. Films like “The Giant Claw” and “Rodan” especially thrilled me because the monsters in them looked a lot like Argentavis, Moas, and Pterosaurs.

So what’s to be thought if evidence was to come to light that these giant monsters were not just the stuff of Sunday afternoon movies? What if some folks claimed that they saw giant flying creatures straight out of a museum….or even bigger than the biggest flyers we have on record. Would we have to, as the old films often ordered us to, watch the skies least we be their next victim?

Well, that’s exactly what we’re talking about today. Some people claim these huge creatures are not things of imagination, or our past, but very real and very dangerous.

On April 9, 1948 on a small farm outside of Caledonia IL a Mr. and Mrs. Robert Price reported to the local paper that they had seen a “Monster bird”.  They said it was bigger than an airplane, with a long neck and huge wings that flapped. They also reported seeing what they thought were feet trailing behind it. They watched it fly until it vanished on the horizon going toward the northeast.

A trucker came forward after seeing the report in the paper and claimed to have seen the creature on the same day. He had kept the sighting to himself afraid people would think he was crazy, or worse drinking on the job. He had seen it while driving his truck along a local route a few miles from the farmhouse, and described it the same as the Price family….except for noting he had not seen feet.

Not long after, a former army colonel named Walter Sigmund came forward with his sighting. He had seen it along with a Colonel Ralph Jackson, and a local farmer as they stood talking on a road in Alton Il. He said it was indeed as big as a plane, because he thought that’s what it was at first. He had just seen two planes heading northeast, and the bird was came following them. He realized it was alive when it flapped its wings.

A family came forward claiming their 12 year old son James Trares had seen the bird all the way back in January of 1948. He was playing outside when his mother said he came in quickly and said that there was a bird outside “As big as a B-29!” He claimed it was gray-green, and he had seen its wings flap as it flew toward the sun.

More reports came in that April. Most people saw it flying in the sky high above them. Most noted that they realized it was alive when it flapped its wings. Most also noted they thought it was the size of a plane…several compared it to a Piper Club airplane.

The last sighting in this flap came on May 5, 1948. Arthur Davidson reported to the police that he had seen the bird about 30 miles away from the majority of the sightings, in University City  MO. He claimed it was a grayish color, but oddly seemed to have its own illumination as it was seen around 9pm.  About an hour later a call from St. Louis reported an elderly couple The Stallings had seen the bird and described it as “As big as a house. Greenish-Yellow and bright, and bobbing up and down” with the same claim of self-illumination.”

Fast forward to 1971 and we find Police Sargent Thomas Downy (Of the Norton police force) was driving in Mansfield Mass. This was after his shift, and around 2am, so quite dark. It was summer, so he had his windows down. He was near the edge of the Hocomock swamp when he came across a huge winged creature on the far edge of the road. He claimed it was bird-like, nearly 6 feet tall, with a wingspan of around 12 feet. As he drew to a stop, the giant bird flew straight up into the air, flapping its wings a few times, and vanished into the trees over the swamp. Oddly the way he described it ascending seemed impossible, lifting straight up as if in an invisible elevator. Because of the darkness he didn’t get a great look at it, but he also claimed to hear absolutely no noise as it took off.

He called the sighting in, but his fellow officers found no evidence of the creature. However, he is only one of many in the area who claim over the years to have seen a huge bird like animal.

Back in Illinois in 1977 one of the most dramatic and famous reports came in on July 25. A ten year old boy named Marlon Lowe was playing outside his home in Kickapoo creek, when two giant birds swooped down and attacked him. Marlon claims one grabbed him by the shirt and lifted him several feet into the air in an attempt to carry him off. He described them similar to condors, with wingspans of over 10 feet. He was not the only witness, as family members were also in the yard and ran to his aid before the bird gave up and flew away.

This was not the only sighting either. On July 28, a local farmer named Stanley Thompson and his family watched a huge bird fly over his farm. The group thought at first it was a remote control plane. They reported it had a six foot body and wings over 10 feet long.

Multiple other sightings were recorded over the next few days. On July 30. A Dennis Turner of Downs IL reported seeing a huge bird perched on a telephone pole on Randolph Rd. It took off spreading its wings at least 6 feet across, and later the police found a foot long, partially eaten dead rat at the base of the pole.

Thursday Aug 11 saw the last official sighting in this group near Odin Il. John Chappelle reported a gray bird with a six foot body and a 12 foot wingspan was perched in a tree. He claimed it had flapped around for a bit before finding a branch that could support its weight.  His wife was quoted as saying it looked “Prehistoric” Although they defiantly described it as bird-like, I find that note interesting considering the second category of Thunderbird reports we see around the country, and around the world.

Cynthia Lee of Raleigh, NC claimed to have seen a Pteranodon like creature flying in the skies above her city on several occasions in 2017-2018. Her first sighting was when she was standing at a bus stop in North Raleigh. Lee said she looked up after something cast a huge shadow on the ground. She was quoted in the local paper as saying “It had a long tail with a diamond-shaped bulb on it. It was dark brown. It had this weird crest. I drew a picture of it.”

She saw a second one about a month later, almost identical, save for the fact that one had no crest.

The last she saw in January of 2018 while Lee was taking an Uber ride to work when she saw the same crested creature out the window. The driver did not see it.

She also noted a sighting by her family years ago: “My mother and uncle saw one too while they were playing outside of my grandma’s house when they were really little. They told grandma, but she didn’t believe it. I thought they were extinct.”

Much earlier in the areas history, a  man was driving on Interstate 540 in Raleigh late in March 2013, when he said he saw a “HUGE bird looking thing fly across the over-pass I was on, maybe 20-25 feet in front of my car and about seven or eight feet off the ground.” He reported the encounter on an online forum and titled his experience “I saw a Pterodactyl up close tonight.” He described it as “bat-like in a way … (with) a LONG tail with a spade at the end.”

Reports also surfaced from 1993, 2007, 2010, and 2012 all more or less describing a flying creature like the one Lee saw.

On September 12, 1982 in the Pennines, an area of England, a man named William Green came forward saying he had seen a flying animal at Shipley Glen woods. It was a large, grey colored creature, that flew in “haphazard” style and which possessed a pair of large, leathery-looking wings. The closest thing it resembled was a pterodactyl.

Back to our Massachusetts friends around the Hocomock swamp, there is a long stretch of claims that creatures that seem to be Pteranodons are flying in the area, along with the giant feathered birds.  In August of 2017, a group of fishermen in the area of the swamp reported seeing a prehistoric creature gliding above the trees, only flapping its wings occasionally. They described it as having a 16 foot wingspan, gray in color, with a head shaped like a pterodactyl, and a long tail with a fin on it.

There are also pictures that have made the rounds on the internet of cowboys in the mid-1800’s surrounding a dead pterodactyl (in one its nailed to the side of a barn). These have universally been proven to be created photos, but I admit I’m found of how cool they look.

So what are we dealing with here?

Plenty of possibilities, which include….

  • These are real animals, survivors of extinction that managed to hang around hidden all these years.
  • These are supernatural creatures…perhaps the ghosts of the animals that once roamed the area.
  • These are trans-dimensional creatures, slipping through holes in our reality, especially in paranormal hotspots.
  • These are real, but misidentified animals that are known to science already. The Sand Hill Crane is a big contender here as it’s a huge bird, nicknamed “The pterodactyl crane” because of how it looks in the air. Condors, Eagles, and other naturally large birds are also often looked at as possibilities. Pair this with the fact that many people are notoriously bad as judging size and distance, perhaps reporting them far bigger than they actually are.
  • These folks are making up hoaxes
  • These folks are absolutely telling the truth as they experienced it, but have been victims of a hoax pulled on them.

 

 

I’ve always held that the Big Bird types were some of the most science-friendly cryptos. We know huge flying animals have existed. From the fossil record, to the recording of more recently extinct fliers like the Haast’s eagle, there is plenty of scientific and historical evidence to the fact we have shared the planet with such animals.  Its not impossible (although admittedly very improbable) that a small scattering of Pteranodon-like animals may have survived to breed and exist in wild places that most people never see. Much like our friend the coelacanth once did. It’s slightly more likely that a population of huge thought to be extinct feathered bird of prey in fact survived the same way.

Whatever the truth of the matter…..long hidden feathered fiend, or popular hoax….we seem to have a long buried fear of death from above in our souls. Maybe it’s a leftover instinct,  from ancient history when we were much smaller, much hairier, and much more tasty to monsters in the sky.

 

Web

Article on flying reptile sightings in Wisconsin

Skeptical Article about some of the Thunderbird Photos around the internet

Sightings in North Carolina

An examination of a piece of footage that made the rounds in 2015

Basic Overview of some strange sightings over the years

Skeptical look by Smithsonian Magazine 

 

Media

Cryptozoology News report on a sighting in 2017

Monster Quest: Thunderbird Episode

Lost Tapes: Thunderbird

The Falkville Close Encounter

Metalman2

When one thinks of aliens these days, there is an almost universal picture that comes to mind. We see variations of it in all our media. Just have a look at the cover of Whitley Strieber’s “Communion”.  Fast forward through “Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind” till those little beings stream out of the musical mother ship with their tall spidery squadron leader.  You get the idea. Alien mostly means a little being about the size of an older child, with no hair, gray skin, absurdly thin arms and legs, and huge black eyes shaped like footballs.

This image is so embedded in our pop culture, that’s it’s easy to forgot that so many close encounter reports throughout modern history do not by any means stick to this expectation. “Aliens” come in every shape, every color, and every possible evolutionary line imaginable. Aliens that look like plants, aliens that look like a jellyfish and a human had a forbidden love child, aliens that look like helmeted insects. All of these and more have made the pages of UFO lore over the last 100 years or so.

Not surprisingly, Robot or machine-like entities are often reported. This makes a bit of sense when you consider how dangerous not only long term space travel would be, but also how risky first contact is.  There’s the danger of attack of course,  but also the danger of more passive effects meeting a completely alien life might hold. After all, just look at the history of our own earth when one group of people who have had generations to build immunity to a particular infectious illness meets a population never before exposed to these germs. The end result is often the same kind of genocide that weapons of war would have brought.

Now keep in mind in this scenario, we are the possibly germ ridden aliens. Why not send an automated explorer first to gather the data, and not be at risk of contracting or infecting.

With this in mind, I bring to you a fairly famous case in old UFO lore. Its known by many names, but I’ll be using the Falkville Close Encounter here.

On the evening of Oct 17, 1973 in Falkville, Alabama, the local sheriff Jeff Greenhaw was getting settled for the night in his home.  He received a call around 10pm from a woman who would not identify herself, claiming a strange object had landed in a local field. She seemed genuinely terrified, and Greenhaw set out to investigate perhaps thinking it might be a downed plane.

Greenhaw grabbed his equipment, that included a Polaroid camera for photographing evidence, and drove out to the site. When he arrived he found no evidence of a UFO, Plane, or any other kind of vehicle. It was simply an empty field.  Still he was determined to do his job, and drove around the field several times, shining a light into the center to see if he missed anything.

After several rotations, he suddenly saw a figure illuminated in his headlights about 75 feet up the gravel road he was driving on.  He said it was clearly humanoid, but oddly small, some reports stating it was around the size of an older child.

Greenhaw got out of the truck, with his pistol on his belt and the camera still around his neck by a strap, and headed toward the figure to see if it was someone who needed help. It appeared to be dressed in some kind of metallic silvery suit, that he realized as he got closer wasn’t just clothing the body but was also covering the head.  There seemed to be some kind of antenna sticking out of the head/helmet, and the being was moving with slow jerky motions that seemed mechanical.

Greenhaw was quoted as saying “It looked like his head and neck were kind of made together… he was real bright, something like rubbing mercury on nickel, but just as smooth as glass. Different angles give different lighting… when I saw him standing in the middle of the road I immediately stopped the car and asked if he was a foreigner, but no sound came out of his mouth.”

Greenhaw then took 4 pictures of the being with the camera, thinking this was something extremely strange and wanting proof.  It was then the being turned and suddenly with speed it had previously shown no signs of, raced across the field where Greenhaw lost sight of it.

Greenhaw raced back to his truck to give chase, catching sight of it again.  He reported later “(He) ran in a bizarre way… seemed to have springs in the feet for propulsion, could cover about three meters in every way… He was running faster than any human I ever saw.”  The sheriff chased it at around 35 miles an hour, due to the state of the road being little more than dirt and potholes. Eventually he ran into a ditch and the being disappeared from sight, this time for good.

Unfortunately for Greenhaw, this was not the end of the affair for him. He went public with his pictures, and the end result was nothing good. He was seriously ridiculed by his fellow townsfolk and the media.  Several months later he was fired from his job, which was followed by the end of his marriage. As if this wasn’t enough, his home eventually burned to the ground.

MUFON studied the pictures and declared them most likely a hoax. If they were, Greenhaw had seriously misjudged how he might use such a story. He got no financial gain, and a lot of heartbreak because of it.

There was another case that had occurred on Oct 11, only a few days before Greenhaw claimed to have his encounter, where two men  fishing on the Pascagoula River in Mississippi claimed to witness a UFO and being that at least had a passing resemblance to what Greenhaw claimed to have seen.  These Pascagoula abductees had been featured on TV, and became national celebrities. Some have speculated that Greenhaw wanted in on a piece of that, and set up the event. If that’s true, it backfired pretty badly.

So what have we got here? Well, there are many possibilities as always, including:

  • This happened exactly as reported. A UFO touched down, dropped off a robot or a being in a protective suit, and then later picked up the occupant somewhere out of sight of Greenhaw or any other witness.
  • Greenhaw was hoaxed, but wasn’t in on it. The un-named woman sent him to the place where they had a tin-foil covered person waiting for him. Perhaps several placed along the way to give the illusion that they were running very fast through the dark field.
  • Greenhaw hoaxed the whole thing himself hoping to cash in on the UFO fad.
  • This wasn’t a hoax, but a misidentified person. The way the suit appears is similar to asbestos fire suits of the time. Maybe some kind of secret military craft did crash, or another accident happened and what Greenhaw saw was a responder. This one seems the least likely as no wreckage was found, and the figure did not act in a logical way that fits this idea.  Why wouldn’t they talk to the sheriff, maybe show ID and tell him this was outside his jurisdiction and send him on his way.
  • This is not extraterrestrial, but some other kind of Paranormal event. Some have suggested that we may be dealing with a cross dimensional being, or some kind of haunting.

When it’s all said and done, it’s up to the reader to decide what they think.  If it’s truly a hoax…either played on the good Sheriff, or one he created, the end result was a story of tragedy. Some can use their tale, be it spun or accurately reported, to make gold out of a pile of coal. Unfortunately for Greenhaw, it appears he seems to have missed the mark, and made a weird situation far far worse by deciding to go public.

And there’s the trick. Its impossible to tell how people will react to such tales, and what the end result would be.  Why was the Pascagoula story a success for its tellers, while Falkville was such a disaster? Was it just fickle fate?  Was it how the locals saw each group involved… or was it something else? Some say the strange being may have had a hand in Greenhaw’s fall somehow.

Who can tell? It’s all speculation.

Websites

A very good overview of the case from Cryptopia
A Skeptical look at the case that examines the theory that a hoax was played on Greenhaw

A skeptical look from a slightly different view   

Media

Cryptonaut Podcast  Episode 18

April 2, 2018

Books

Beyond Earth: Man’s Contact with UFO’s by Ralph Blum

 

 

Werewolves of London…and Elkhorn…and Wexford……

beast

I have a real soft spot in my heart for the weird reports. Sure I love a good Bigfoot story, and I was drawing the Loch Ness Monster at age 4. Many people would say those were unbelievable enough. But if you tilt your head and suspend your disbelief, you can kind of see how maybe…just maybe….they could be out there.  A small group of mating aquatic prehistoric animals that survived after the great extinction of their kind? Plausible if not highly unlikely (Especially when we’re looking at the ocean Vs. a landlocked body of water.) Some kind of missing link in humanities evolutionary chain that managed to survive? You can at least see how that MIGHT be true, even if it’s not really likely to be true.  Gray dudes with big black eyes that buzz the planet in their fancy flying rides? I mean, even the great skeptic Douglas Adams could at least humorously imagine the idea.

But the weird ones…the ones that make you sit up and go “That’s literally impossible.  Nature doesn’t work like that” now those I really love. Mostly because it’s always struck me that they are the least likely to be hoaxes and made up stories. Misidentified things? Absolutely. A hallucination? I totally can see that. A lie? I doubt it, if only because most folks when lying want to be believed. They will stick to something that at least feels true, that can be seen in the listeners mind without too much effort.

Dogmen are flerkin’ weird.

These creatures have been reported all around the world for thousands of years.  We of course have canine headed gods from ancient Egypt that seem to resemble the critters. The ancient Greeks reported finding islands of dog headed men, and this theme is repeated in texts of both religious natures and exploration reports in the medieval and renaissance periods.

But more interesting to me, is the more modern swath of reports that claim that humanoid dog-like creatures are still roaming around in various parts of the world…..including right here in the USA.

Despite the title of this entry (I honestly couldn’t help myself) they are generally not reported as werewolf like. Most of the time the report is simply of a large creature much like a Bigfoot, but with dog or wolf like features. However there are some rare reports that have them starting on 4 legs and appearing to be big but normal dogs, and then standing up on their hind legs and subtly shifting their posture and their basic body shape to go forward on two.

While reports of this kind in the USA have been around since at least the late 1800’s, they seem to have really picked up in the last 40 or so years. You can find reports from all over the country, but two places have been labeled “Hot Spots” for these critters by those who claimed to have seen them, and the ones who investigate those claims.

In Wexford County Michigan, a story has circulated since 1887 that a bipedal wolf-like creature returns every ten years to wreak havoc. This thing is said to be seven-feet tall, blue-eyed, or amber-eyed with the torso of a man and a fearsome howl that sounds like a human scream. There’s scattered reports and folklore from the area over the years, but the modern interest in the Dogman came in 1987 when a local radio DJ named Steve Cook wrote and played a song on air about the Dogman legend, as an April fools day treat. There was an unexpected side effect however when people started to call in and claim that they in fact had seen the Dogman themselves.

A man named Nick Gluchman reported that while driving to the hospital in the early hours of December 2, he saw a very tall figure running on two legs on the side of the road that appeared to be covered in “a pile of fur coats”. He approached it carefully to try and use the cars headlights to illuminate it, and when he was roughly 100 feet away it stopped and faced the car.

He went on to say “All of a sudden it started rising. I could see massive legs, gigantic calves and thighs, hairy butt cheeks, no  tail. It was still facing north, torso bent forward at the waist, about eighteen inches. I couldn’t see its head yet, now I’m really scared, must be a Squatch…Its legs were still bent at the knees, still leaning forward and already over six feet tall. I was mesmerized. It turned around to face me, it was no Squatch! Let me say at this point it never stood totally erect or stopped leaning forward throughout the experience. It had no facial hair although the head was covered in hair, all around face was clean. No wolf head. Wolf ears with a tuft like a lynx, large eyeballs, slightly jaundiced with what looked like red spider veins surrounding pupils….It had a short muzzle, maybe an inch and a half, not like a dog all skin, not covered in hair. Bright pink, human-type mouth, two or three times wider than a person’s, outlined in red like lipstick. No hair on chest, two nipples visible, sparse hair on stomach, all pink. Super six-pack abs, no visible reproduction organs. Very long arms, with very long fingers that tapered to points, arm in begging position like a dog but out to side…. The torso was short…this animal was a lot more legs than torso.”

Nick then goes on to say that it was snarling at him, and giving him a look of hate. It then jumped the barrier at the side of the road, and ran at high speed into the woods.

He claimed his wife was in the car with him, but asleep and did not wake up to see any of what transpired.

More recently, another vehicle report came to light from Feb of 2009. Laura Love of the Shelby, MI area, reported that a friend was giving her a ride home on a late night when the unthinkable happened. As she reported “We were on US-31 Northbound, around the Rothbury area of Oceana County, on the expressway. Being February, in Michigan, the roads were naturally snowy, with scattered patches of ice and bare pavement. There was a small pickup truck in front of us, about 5 car lengths ahead of her car, when all of a sudden, we saw something on 2 legs dart out from the left, just in front of an overpass. It ran across the 2 lane highway and hit the back of the small pickup in the rear quarter-panel, causing the pickup to fishtail. Luckily, the driver of the small pickup regained control but they didn’t stop to see what collided with their truck. If anything, it seemed to pick-up speed and get the heck out of there. My friend and I watched in utter astonishment as the creature finished running to the right and disappeared into the weeds and trees along the highway. It didn’t even break stride after it hit the truck. We looked at one another, sat in silence for a moment, and then I said, “Did you see….?” She said, “Yea. I saw it….”

She went on to describe it as around 7 feet tall, running on two legs, and with pointed ears. She noted a mane-like tuft of fur around the neck, and that it was covered in long dark hair, with a head that reminded her of a collie.

There have been multiple sightings in this area over the years it seems. Another was reported in the woods in 2016 to the website for the podcast “Dogman Encounters” claiming to have seen something very similar to Love’s sighting while having a smoke break after snow shoveling. The witness claimed the creature growled at him, and then leap away into the trees and vanished.

Elkhorn, Wisconsin is about 400 miles from the Michigan Dogman’s stomping grounds, but if the witnesses are to be believed, he seems to have a cousin in the area. The Beast of Bray road, named for the road in Elkhorn most associated with sightings, is described pretty much identically to the Michigan critter.

On October 31, 1999 a woman by the name of Doristine Gipson was driving along Bray road in the evening when she glanced down to change her radio, and felt her car jostle as if she had hit something. She stopped, got out, and looked to see if anything was there. The road was empty. Looking toward the side of the road, she suddenly saw a dark, hairy form racing toward her. The figure was quite bulky like a weight lifter, and hard to see between the speed it moved and the darkness all around them. Startled she retreated to her car. She jumped in and was attempting to drive away when the beast jumped onto her trunk. However, it was too wet for the creature to hang on and it fell off onto the pavement. She returned later that night, to see if she could see any evidence but never made it out of her car the second time, as she had spotted a large form on the side of the road moving to follow the car. She sped away and later told a neighbor about it, showing her the scratch marks on the car. The story spread from there which caused another woman to come out and claim she had seen the same thing in 1989.

Lorianne Endrizzi, who was 24 at the time, “was rounding a curve on Bray Road and saw what she thought was a person kneeling and hunched over on the side of the road. When she slowed down, she took a closer look at the figure on the passenger side of the car. She was no more than six feet away from it at the time. The sighting lasted for about 45 seconds and she stated that she clearly saw a beast with grayish, brown hair, fangs and pointed ears. “His face was … long and snouty, like a wolf”. She also said that it had glowing eyes that were not reflecting her headlights, as it was on the side of the car when she got a look at it.

All this got the attention of a local reporter Linda Godfrey, who ended up covering the story. She became fascinated by it, and as of 2019 has written multiple books and articles on the subject.

Sightings around Bray Road seemed to die down in the early 2000’s but they aren’t quite dead. Reports can still be found on various websites and subreddits. To add to the mystery, while Bray Road seems more quite these days, the Dogman phenomenon seems to have spread from the area out to many parts of the USA. So much so, that there are whole podcasts dedicated to recording reports such as “Dogman Encounters”

In August of 2015, a report was made to Linda Godfrey, about a New Jersey man who was walking his dog at Worthington State Park in the middle of the afternoon.

He spotted two figures near a pond in the distance; one lying on the ground and the other crouching over it. As he watched, the crouched figure rose onto its hind feet. He quickly pegged the prone figure as a dead deer, but tried to make out what the other animal was.  Its large head featured tall, pointed ears and a long muzzle, and he described its torso and upper legs as “densely muscular,” with a thin waist. He noted that it walked on its toe pads as a canine does, and estimated the creature weighed something over 200 pounds and stood at between six and seven feet tall.

The man and his dog backed carefully away until they were able to safely retreat.

I’ve been hearing Dogman reports from all over the country the last few years on the various podcasts I enjoy. Monsters Among us has at least one every few episodes. The whole idea intrigues me.

So what is going on here? We have multiple possibilities that include:

  • Dogmen are a group of humanoid canine animals who have so far managed to avoid detection by modern science. Perhaps they are an evolutionary branch that seems inconceivable but is simply unknown at this time.
  • They are sometime entirely much more supernatural. They are some kind of forest spirit, or demon, or other paranormal unknown.
  • They are supernatural creatures that shift between a wolf-like form and a Hybrid form. Occasionally we get a report of a full human form as well. Very few reports claim to have seen this kind of change.
  • Dogmen are misidentified known animals like bears that frightened people have mistaken for something else in the dark, as most reports are at night.
  • The stories are urban legends that were mistakenly taken seriously.
  • The reports are hoaxes, either made up by those reporting or hoaxes that fooled those who reported into thinking a paranormal encounter occurred.

I’m inclined to think the reality of these critters is more likely a combination of several of the above. In the areas where Dogmen stories run wild and attract tourists, it makes sense to don a costume under the cover of darkness and scare the hell out of a few of the curious for fun or profit.  While they aren’t known to do it for long distances normally, bears can walk for quite awhile on their hind legs, and they have the snouted faces often reported in these cases. Of course, who hasn’t heard a spooky tale that was supposed to have happened to the tellers father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate. Urban myth has a habit of shifting to seem like it might have in fact happened.

Some of these reports however don’t seem to fit well into those theories. Many are first person, some are in areas that are isolated where a hoaxer would have to wait days or months to happen across a person to scare, and many describe the Dogman doing things that a bear would have trouble doing on all fours, never mind the hind legs.

So what does that leave us? As with the best of these stories, it seems to me that it’s a big question mark. That doesn’t mean we’re talking about a crypto, or something all together paranormal…..but it also might be exactly that.

Best I can do, is leave it to you to decide what you think.

Web

Skeptical look at the cryptid

Huffington Post Article

Linda Godfrey’s blog on looking for the creatures.

Some accounts

Media

Dogman Encounters Radio (Podcast)

Into the Fray Radio episode 185. (Podcast)

Blurry Photos episodes 220 part 1+2 (Podcast)

Monster Quest : Wisconsin Dogmen Part 1

Wisconsin Dogman Part 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Enfield Horror

Enfield_horror_head

(Picture from the Cryptopia Article. See Link Below)

Growing up I read a lot of books on the strange and spooky. It got to the point that our local library would just put whatever new ghost or UFO books they had gotten in aside for me.  Because of this, I gathered a wealth of strange stories that I liked to share with those willing (and sometimes those willing to put up with a 11 year old telling them all about Mothman). Unfortunately as an adult, it’s often hard to remember what book I originally found the story in. Such is the case with the Enfield Horror (also sometimes referred to as the Enfield Creature or Enfield Monster). I’ve known the story since I was a pre-teen but where I first heard it is lost to the mists of memory and history.

It’s one of those stories that once you hear it, you don’t forget it simply because it IS so damn weird. I was delighted to have it resurface in my life when catching up on one of my favorite podcasts “The Cryptonaut Podcast” and discovering they covered the case in January of last year. It has all the flavor of a 1950’s creature feature.

Our encounter starts on April 25, 1973 in the town of Enfield, Il. A young boy named Greg Garrett was playing in his yard that evening, when he rushed back into the house and startled his mother and father by being nearly hysterical. He claimed that as he played he was attacked by a strange creature that wasn’t like anything on the earth. It was gray, about 5 feet tall, and stood on three legs in a tripod formation. He said it was slimy, had small arms, huge red eyes, and big claws on his feet.  The thing jumped at him and stomped on his feet with its own, the claws shredding the boys shoes. Greg managed to jump away and then fled to the safety of his house.  When his parents investigated, they found nothing to be seen.

Roughly half an hour later, at the home of nearby neighbor Henry McDaniel, the two children of the house were waiting for their parents to come home when they heard a scratching sound at the front door. Thinking it was a stray dog or other animal, Henry Jr. and Lil opened the door and saw what they described as “A Monster”.  They slammed the door in its face, and then claimed that it went around the side of the house where it tried to gain entrance through a window that held an air conditioner. Just as it started to try and push the unit in to climb through, the parents pulled into the driveway and the sounds outside stopped. The terrified children immediately rushed their parents in tears, telling them about the creature.

Trying to calm the children down, they then heard the scratching sound at the door again. McDaniel later said he assumed the children had seen an animal and had added monstrous features to it in the poor light, and in their fear. He opened the door to scare away whatever critter had scared his kids so badly.

What he saw scared him badly.  He later reported ““It had three legs on it, a short body, two little short arms coming out of its breast area and two pink eyes as big as flashlights. It stood four and a half feet tall and was grayish-colored… it was trying to get into the house!” He slammed the door, rushed to the closet to grab his .22 pistol and a flashlight. He told his family to stay low in the next room, and then opened the door to find the thing still there.

McDaniel said he shot the thing 4 times at point blank range. He said he knew he hit it because it made a hissing sound like a cat, but that it did not react otherwise.

It only turned, and then jumped away covering a distance of around 50 feet in only three leaps. It then vanished into the brush.

McDaniel called the police, but all they found was some minor damage to the siding of the home, and some tracks that seemed to belong to an animal with six toe pads.

Roughly 11 days later, McDaniel claimed to have another encounter with the thing at his home. He awoke in the early hours of the morning to the howling of his neighbors’ dogs. He grabbed his gun, and stepped outside to see the same creature, although now at a distance.  He later reported “I saw something moving out on the railroad track and there it stood. I didn’t shoot at it or anything. It started on down the railroad track. It wasn’t in hurry or anything.”

The local press got a hold of the story, and the area was suddenly caught up in a whirl of monster hunting fever, much to the dismay of local law enforcement. One of these amateur monster hunting parties claimed to have seen the thing exactly as McDaniel had described, but adding that it was hairy. They found it hiding in the underbrush, and fired at it. Their shots also had no affect and it bounded away and out of sight.

Rick Rainbow, news director of local radio station WWKI, was the last person to report a sighting. He was out with a group of friends looking for the thing, and spotted it near an abandoned house not far from both the McDaniel and the Garrett homes. They described it much as McDaniel had, and apparently made a sound recording of it screaming.

Investigator Loren Coleman came into town just days later to write an article for Fate magazine on the subject. He claims to have heard the recording and said it screamed like a Banshee.

I say claims, because as far as I can tell, this sound recording has never been made available to the public. There is no solid evidence it exists, besides heresy.

There were a rash of UFO sightings in the area around the same time, and some have speculated that this thing was related to them…..either from one of the craft, or perhaps having entered our planet or dimension by the same means as the unknown objects.

There was also a report that a Kangaroo had escaped from a private zoo in the area around a year earlier, and that this thing may have in fact been that escaped animal. As Kangaroos sit back on their tails, it’s possible a person unfamiliar with them would see that as a third leg, p[particularly in the shadows of oncoming night. McDaniel dismissed this idea in an interview only a month or so after his sightings.

Greg Garrett later changed his story when being interviewed by Western Illinois University researchers, saying his report was a hoax “to tease Mr. M and have fun with an out of town newsman.” According to the report put out by the school, there had only been three detailed eyewitness accounts: Garrett, McDaniels, and Rainbow. The hunting party that had claimed to see it, later admitted to being heavily intoxicated on their expedition. (For those of scholarly interest you can find this report under the title A Critical Examination of the Social Contagion Image of Collective Behavior: The Case of the Enfield Monster by David L. Miller, Kenneth J. Mietus and Richard A. Mathers. This was published in The Sociological Quarterly, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Winter, 1978), pp. 129-140.)

One of the other facts that bothers researchers is the lack of evidence in the case. Despite reports of weird tracks, and the howling sounds recorded, very little has come to the public. Multiple commentators on the case note a lack of basic evidence like photos of the tracks or the damage the beast was reported to cause. We have no picture of shredded shoes. We have no recording.  There is a newspaper article from the time that shows a screen door with a pretty nasty hole in it. Of course if any of the above surfaced that would not be undeniable proof, but it would seem to be more than just second hand stories.

So what are we dealing with here? Well, multiple possibilities come to mind. Among the most popular are:

  • The Enfield Horror was some kind of unknown thing: An Alien, an inter-dimensional being, a demon. It was just as weird and indefinable as it was reported.
  • The Horror was a known animal, but not native to the area and therefore misidentified, perhaps that escaped Kangaroo.
  • The Horror was a known animal that was local, but was still misidentified due to darkness and hysteria.
  • The horror was a complete hoax. Each witness made up a story….likely with McDaniel making his first, and the others following after his story went public. Greg Garrett’s story for example was said to have happened before the McDaniels sighting, but was only reported after McDaniels made the papers.
  • The horror was a hoax, but the witnesses didn’t know this. Someone else created the hoax with a costume, prop, or other means and simply used it to scare the witnesses for an unknown reason.
  • The Enfield Horror was a hoax, but the hoax was a professional one put on by the government to study mass hysteria or other psychological reactions. The Western Illinois University who sponsored the paper I sited earlier in this blog, was in on the hoax. The witnesses were genuine in what they reported.

If nothing else, the story of the Enfield Horror has a quality that makes it a real classic in crypto-history. Assuming for a moment there is a mundane explanation for it all, it still makes for a great story. You could easily imagine a Tales from the Crypt comic, or a Spielberg style suspense movie made from it. This may be why it’s lasted as long as it has in the circles of those who love the weird. It sounds absurd, it SOUNDS like a hoax. There’s nothing about it that seems biologically possible by the rules we live with in the world. Yet, these are the qualities that make it stand out. It’s so impossible, that it seems silly anyone would try to hoax with it. Who would believe that a three legged monster out of a comic book who howls, shreds sneakers, and tries to scare kids like a boogeyman could actually have been running around an American state? You’d want to try to hoax with something a little more plausible…even in the realm of cryptozoology. A bigfoot hoax makes sense, but this……

Yet here we are. People claimed this happened. I have to admit, as much as I love this story, I have no idea what to make of it.

Maybe that’s the thing that makes it the most fun of all.

Websites

Mysterious Universe Article

Prairie Ghost Article

Cryptopia Article

A scan of “The Reading Eagle” from 8/27/1973 – A local paper that covered the story.

 

Media

Cyroptonaut Podcast  episode Jan 21, 2018