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Archive for the ‘strange creatures’ Category

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witness sketch of the Man-Bat of La Crosse, WI, 2006

My favorite motto is “Always look behind you, always look up.” And there seems to be a lot more reason over the past few years to obey that second half of the saying.

Although they’ve proven quite controversial, many dozens of giant, flying, sometimes bat-like creatures have been spotted above the city of Chicago and its environs in the past few years by a variety of eyewitnesses. This isn’t entirely new. There have been similar reports from around the US for decades, such as those describing Point Pleasant’s Mothman, Tacoma’s famed Batsquatch and others including the creature I called the Man Bat that almost flew right into the windshield of a truck on a country road near La Crosse, WI the night of September 26, 2006. I investigated that one on site quite soon after it was seen, and also heard from other area people who’d encountered it. Overall, these and the other eyewitnesses reporting sightings across the country seem as credible to me as any other group of cryptid spotters, and I do believe this is a phenomenon worthy of investigation.

I could not help wondering, though, why some–again, FAR from all–of the Chicago flyers were appearing over popular tourist areas such as Lincoln Square, the Gold Coast and the Art Institute of Chicago. Most cryptid sightings occur in rural or at least liminal places; the outskirts of a city rather than the downtown, for instance.

The Art Institute sighting reminded me of something I’d written in a 2009 book titled “Mythical Creatures” for the Chelsea House series, Mysteries, Legends and Unexplained Phenomena, edited by my late, great and dear friend Rosemary Guiley. (The book includes the story of the La Crosse Man Bat on pages 33-34.) Also, my youngest son has an art degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), and had some first-hand knowledge of various projects people were working on.

Before I go any farther, I want to be clear; I’m offering this idea only for what it’s worth—and only as it may provide insight to some encounters with the sky critter phenomenon. There are other ideas and theories out there. I’m not offering a solution or even a suggestion that any particular individual has been involved with the origin of these unknown flyers in any known way. But let’s look at one chapter, “Mixed Up Monsters,” of the book mentioned above.

My research on  that chapter back in 2009 had led me to the various, publicly exhibited works of an art professor at SAIC named Eduardo Kac (pronounced Katz) who’d become famous for his claim that he had produced a rabbit/jellyfish chimera named Alba that glowed green under black lights. The exhibition intended to display Alba to the world never happened, however. And more importantly to our discussion here were another facet of Kac’s work involving remote-controlled, bat-like robotic figures complete with sonar. Many researchers have studied and written about these bat-bots.

One such writer, a Stanford student named Thomas Loverro, offered a paper in the Stanford Undergraduate Research Journal on Kac’s work, divided into sections titled telepresence, biotelematics, robotics and transgenic art. https://web.stanford.edu/class/sts129/essays/Loverro2.htm

These artworks were created not with brushes or chisels, but with the latest scientific equipment. Or as a Dec. 12, 2018 Chicago Reader article put it, “…SAIC’s Bio Art Lab, where art is life—literally.” This futuristic genre had garnered its own space at SAIC, a lab in the basement of the MacLean Center at 112 S. Michigan.

Loverro also wrote “… [Kac’s] 1999 Darker Than Night interactive exhibit, which is a culmination of the works examined thus far. It brings computers, robots, animals, and humans together and asks them all to communicate with each other. Kac placed a robotic bat (“bat-bot”) in a cave with over three hundred Egyptian Fruit Bats in a zoo. The robotic bat was equipped with the ability to convert real bats’ high-frequency calls to within the audible range of humans and also rotate its head, where the sonar microphone was located. Human listeners could then remotely, via a virtual reality headset, turn their head to control the bat-bot’s microphone and immerse themselves in the world of the bat.”

http://www.web.stanford.edu/group/journal/cgi-bin/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Loverro_Hum_2002.pdf

Kac’s “bat-bot,” then, literally hung out with living bats.

http://www.web.stanford.edu/group/journal/cgi-bin/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Loverro_Hum_2002.pdf

SO…it could be mere coincidence. But since Kac is a Professor Emeritus at SAIC, and is undoubtedly well known to a generation of art students and other artists, could it also be that some follower or admirer of his work may have seen some of the early Chicago Flyer reports, remembered the bat-bots and designed one with drone technology for some short flights above downtown Chicago? Over the Art Institute? Where there is an art-bio-lab? I emailed Kac at his SAIC address to see if he had any idea whether such experiments were being undertaken in the school or elsewhere, but did not receive an answer. It’s possible he never received my inquiry. And also very possible he has never heard of Chicago’s flying things.

Again, this is all mere speculation and not a suggestion that any particular person, known or unknown, is involved. It doesn’t explain sightings in any other places, either, especially those in other states. But I do think it’s a good example of how in this day and age, investigators need to look outside the cave to explore all possibilities. At least knowing that bat-bots and other bio-mechanical-genetic “things” are being invented may help keep us looking up.

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I’d really rather stay on the viewer’s end of the binoculars when folks are discussing cryptid or unknown creatures, but this article “Do You Have a Werewolf Problem?” by the Trib’s Chris Borelli places me firmly on the “focus–zoom in–speculate” side of field equipment and monster tales. It’s a fun piece of writing (although I’m pretty sure I said the 60# deer left NO drag marks, and how is just turned 68 “nearly 70?”) but overall it’s a good representation of the last 27 years or so, and I’m very grateful to Chris, Chad Lewis, and Loren Coleman for their kind remarks and analyses. Stacey Wescott also created some inspired visuals that help tell my unexpected tale.

I would also be remiss if I failed to thank an alligator that recently kickstarted the whole thing by showing up in the Humboldt Park lagoon, sending Borelli in search of explanations.

The alligator also had impeccable timing as my new book, I Know What I Saw, was just released July 16 and I’m speaking and signing books in Chicago at The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square July 25, 2019 at 7 pm. And no, I was not the one who put the alligator in the water. But as I’ve learned from this occupation–and preoccupation–of mine, strangeness is everywhere, and once in a while it does you a kind turn or two.

Here is the link to chomp onLindaTribStone: https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-ent-linda-godfrey-cryptozoologist-0725-20190724-fcoddjwfwzg7fne6ljmldutaae-story.html

 

 

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“Running on 2 legs super fast” — An Upright Canine Sighting in SE Wisconsin Mid-August 2018,
 
In mid-August 2018, a young man and his buddy were sitting and talking in a Rock County park late one evening when something started up a continuous howl nearby in the woods. Carver-Roehl is the 2nd oldest park in Rock County, and lies about 20 miles west of Bray Road, between Avalon and Clinton on Hwy 40. It includes a small, historic grave yard dating back to 1843 and also the large, limestone outcroppings known as Carver Rock. The man wrote me said they saw a large, dark-furred canine with pointy ears running very fast in the woods about 100 yards away. It stopped for a couple of minutes — they felt it was observing them — and then went from a crouch position to two legs and ran away “super fast.” The man and his friend also left quickly. I’m not sure exactly which part of the 53-acre park they were in, but there are several entrances.
 
I’d like to add that the man was interviewed by producers for a recent Travel Channel show but wasn’t featured in the finished episode. This happens often, I’ve learned, usually due to time constraints. They told me he seemed very credible and truthful. I stopped by the park recently for a quick recon look and found it very well cared for with pavilion, outhouses, new play equipment and trails for hiking and skiing. I imagine it’s a lot spookier at night . I did also see a large, black pointy-eared dog running at me but it was with a woman and a large white dog. They were on the ridge behind the boulders in the photo below. As you can see in the next photo I wasn’t dressed for mosquitoes and was on my way to somewhere else, so I left the rest of the exploration for a 2nd trip.

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I Know What I Saw is now out to be seen! 

This week, starting 7-20-2019 also see Inside Edition.com‘s  rerun of their original vintage episode of the Beast of Bray Road, plus a more current interview they did with me a few weeks ago to update the old beast. Next week, watch for a full feature story in the Chicago Tribune in the online section and then the print version on that Thursday.

Also new indie film out this fall, RETURN TO WILDCAT MOUNTAIN; Wisconsin’s Black Panther Nexus.  (click to see trailer and watch for release news, or see Facebook @whitelhasa’s Return to Wildcat Mountain page.) 

 

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Coming up July 7 and 8th…I’ll be giving a talk at the local library on the 7th at 3:30 and then on the 8th a Q & A with my son, Nate, on our (mostly his) RETURN TO WILDCAT MOUNTAIN documentary on the scores of mountain lion sightings and the fact that in one Wisconsin area, over half are of black panther-like creatures, and officials say there are NO black mountain lions anywhere! First screening of the director’s rough first cut — told by witnesses including a former staff researcher of Florida’s Panther Project.

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Check out our 2.5 minute flyer on Return to Wildcat Mountain, Wisconsin’s Black Panther Nexus

 

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It has a cover! And can be preordered, and is totally written. It even has pages up such as  the publisher’s at https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/565784/i-know-what-i-saw-by-linda-s-godfrey/9780143132806/   Alas, the final production will take a few more months incubation at Penguin/Random House, but I’m hoping the results will be worth it. Also, there will be a documentary film launched at the same time of the book, with a trailer reveal to be announced. And it isn’t about dogman. Not that there’s anything wrong with dogman. Watch here for links to the trailer, hoping in a month or so. Happy New Year!!!

 

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This sightings report arrived last week via e-mail, and is yet another example of eyewitnesses around the globe claiming to have seen werewolf-like creatures. I haven’t received any from Finland before this, so it was a welcome surprise. Both the witness and the person who wrote the story out for her desire anonymity, so the writer refers to her friend by the pseudonym, “Aino.” She also included a map of the general area. In her own words:

I wanted to tell you a werewolf sighting my very good friend had when she was a kid. This happened in Finland. I will tell the story in as much in detail as possible, but I don’t want to reveal my friend’s identity. What I can tell about my friend, she doesn’t like to share her encounter with others. I’m one of the few – if not honestly the only one – to whom she has told her story. I have known my friend “Aino” for almost 20 years. She has told me this story a few times and it never changes.

This incident happened when Aino was 8-9, so around 1995-1996 in North-East Finland. I have added here a map of the sighting’s location.

finlandsightingmap

Her family has lived in the same place for 300 years. The house is big wooden house with two entrances on both ends of the house. There’s an old barn and a shed in the front yard, and a traditional old Finnish sauna next to a lake. The house resides next to a lake, surrounded by hay and rye fields. In a small distance, there’s a thick spruce forest. The area is very, very rural with only a few tens of people living in it. Most of the forest and the nature overall around the area is untouched. If it matters, my friend’s family back then had a horse, cats and also apparently chickens. She’s told me that when she was young, they had many animals like cats, chickens and goats. I can assure that they had horses and cats back in 95-96, but I assume they also had chickens when this incident happened.

As the house and the area is old, there’s lots of unexplained activity in there. She also saw a leprechaun inside her house when she was 6 years old, and that sighting lasted for many minutes. As the bodies of dead ones were stored in the shed over the winter for a burial in spring, there are ghosts and other entities there for sure. Her grandfather passed away in front of the stairs leading to the second floor, and my friend says she always felt uneasy around that spot – a way before she was told how her grandfather had died on that spot.

Because my friend has seen and experienced things in the house and around it, she kind of brushed the encounter off as one of these odd phenomena, even though it really scared her (as did the leprechaun). Even today, she’s sensitive to unseen things and has a keen sense of people, being able to tell their true nature and past with one glance only.

It was daytime during summer, if I recall the season correctly. My friend and her mother were at the lake shore next to a sauna, her mother doing some housework there and Aino playing and helping her out. Aino’s mother asked her to fetch a bucket from the house, and Aino ran through the short hay field, where they used to cut hay for their horse. It’s about 50-60m (59-65yd) long naturally formed pathway from the sauna to the house. She ran to the house’s right side, where the pathway to sauna through the field begins, but stopped at the corner of the house abruptly. She said there was a grey werewolf standing in the front yard, in a broad day light. It looked exactly like a classic werewolf, with a hunched posture, grey fur, wolf’s head, standing on its hind legs. It didn’t see my friend or make any sound. Just stood there. If I recall right, my friend said that he was lighter grey in color.

Naturally Aino got really scared! She slipped hastily inside the house from the right side’s door (they have another door on the left side of the house). She sought the bucket while hunching down, scared the werewolf would see her. She found the bucket and stayed in the living room, squatting under a window, too scared to go out. She waited for a few minutes, because she couldn’t let her mother wait for the bucket for a long. She peeked out from the window to the front yard, but didn’t see the wolf anymore. She carefully looked out from the door, too, scanning the whole yard carefully, because she was scared the werewolf was still hiding somewhere. When she couldn’t see or hear anything unusual, she took off and ran as fast as she could back to her mother. She didn’t tell her mother about this, as she thought mother wouldn’t believe her.

I have been interested in the paranormal and cryptozoology for 27 years. I have read about many experiences taking place in Finland, but this is the one and the only werewolf experience I have encountered here. I’m interested in to find out if there are other encounters like this in this country. I know werewolves were a big thing in Estonia during The Witch Craze.

I love the fact that this family had lived in their house for 300 years, and also that this was the first upright canine story I’ve heard that happened near a sauna. Finland does have some history with werewolf beliefs, as the writer says. Here is one brief site https://www.werewolves.com/vironsusi-the-werewolves-of-finland/  for starters.

Finland also has a long history of sharing their great outdoors with natural wolves that–like any wild animal– can be frightening at times. Although most wolves avoid human contact, in 1976 some packs were daring enough to threaten children walking to school in one eastern location, and vehicles had to be provided to keep the students safe. The surrounding  regions of Scandinavian and Russia are similarly associated with both mythic and modern day representations of wolves. Thanks to our Finnish friends for sharing their own story here.

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