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Every once in a while I’ll be going through my files and will  discover items that have never been resolved for various reasons, just crumbling away in the staid limbo of manila folders. Here are a couple of headscratchers that turned up recently.  While I also have a bunch of newer reports to share soon, I feel I should mention these oldies first, just in case anyone knows more:

Nashotah Bigfoot? July, 2006, Nashotah, Wisconsin report from three men driving on County C south of town described “something huge and brownish that turned to gray toward the back end” crossing the road in front of them as close as only six feet from the car. It was on all fours, had bigger legs than arms (or forelimbs) and its rear end was higher than its front end, giving it a posture “like a souped-up car” as it ran. They were sure it wasn’t a bear or a deer, and indeed, I’ve heard reports of Bigfoots running on all fours in just this manner.

The man who wrote me about it (second hand) in October, 2006, said he was investigating the incident for the BFRO (Bigfoot Field Research Organization) but it doesn’t appear on their site as far as I could discover. I sent him a recent email for an update and am hoping for a reply. I also have the name of the witness, but his contact info has changed.

I would say this sounded more like a Bigfoot than dogman, except the witnesses also said it had a 4-6 inch long tail.  They did not get a good look at its head. The driver said he’d also seen a large upright creature running through his back yard, and it was seven to eight feet tall. That by itself is not conclusive. I remain especially interested in this incident because of the “Hartland Hairy Thing” seen only two years ago in Hartland, Wisconsin, just five miles away. Both towns are about thirty miles north of Bray Road, Elkhorn.

Water Walker and Giant Swimming Animal: August, 2006, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was the date of an old Yahoo conversation I printed and saved from another group because of a question from John Scherf asking if anyone had seen the “Lake Michigan Water Walker.” He said that a strange figure was sometimes sighted sitting on the beach in the very early morning hours. It would then rise up and walk out onto the lake waters until it disappeared. (A person wading out to swim, perhaps?”

The page also included a note from friend and long time cryptid quester Kimberly Poeppey: “I saw a big animal swimming in Lake Michigan! It was as big as a car. It was swimming in the bay by the Art Museum.” She added it was winter and the animal was swimming around blocks of floating ice, leaving a large wake behind. All she could see was its “big, dark, back.” Lake monster?

Anyway, I feel better having given these three mysteries a fighting chance. I penned out a rough map, above, just to give some idea of their relative locations–all in S.E. Wisconsin. I’m no cartographer, but I added a few representative bipeds and quadrupeds in appropriate places for interest. And I’m far from done going through my files. I’ll post again if anything else shakes out.

 

 

 

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WerewolfofLondon

Sketch of Camberwell Old Cemetery creature submitted by eyewitness.

I’ve been waiting for many years for a report of a werewolf in London–just to quote the title of Warren Zevon’s famous song in a blog. One finally arrived a couple of weeks ago. And although the actual occurred 20 years ago on October 9, 1996 (the eyewitness says the date is etched in his memory), it’s a very compelling story. It includes a particular feature I’ve never heard before in any encounter, but that makes perfect sense in any encounter with an upright canine–werewolf or not.

The man, who asks that I refer to him as “Gary,” was 26 at the time and was on his way to meet a friend who lived on Underhill Road in southeast London. In order to walk there, Gary had to make a long trek heading southwest past  Camberwell New Cemetery and then down the entire length of Brenchley Gardens and around Camberwell Old Cemetery. He decided to cut through the older cemetery to save 20 minutes of walking time, even though it was already dark and the idea of walking through the cemetery at night was “freakishly scary” to him. He said he normally rode his bicycle to his friend’s house, but their plans for that evening precluded his usual means of transport.

He didn’t have a flashlight and the cemetery had no lighting system, so he could see only a few feet ahead of him as he made his way across the grounds. He was well into the middle of the graveyard when the movement of something very large and dark caught his eye. “I swear I saw what I thought was a dog, a big dog, move very quickly,” he said. He stopped and squinted into the darkness but decided his mind was playing tricks on him and started off again. He did not get very far.

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(Camberwell Old Cemetery used under Creative Commons Lic., website http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/4711520 )

“It was then in a flash my life changed forever,” wrote Gary. “It was so quick that I never had a chance–I thought that somebody had literally run into me and knocked me over…Something had grabbed me by my arm VERY tightly and smashed me to the ground. It was big, it was powerful, and it had extremely bad breath and it smelt cold and awful.

“This thing was now bearing down on me looking directly at my face, dribbling onto me and growling,” said Gary. But it was the creature’s next action that truly frightened him. It began to eagerly sniff his body, up and down, exactly as a dog would do. “I was convinced I was going to die,” said Gary. “I am afraid to say that as brave as I think I might be I was not, at this point, and shamefully I soiled myself.  As I lay there being smelled I was waiting for the bite, but that never happened. Just as quick as it started it was over and the beast was gone and sprinted off in a flash.”

It sprinted away on its hind legs.

The fact that the beast ran off just as the witness felt he was about to be killed conforms with the overwhelming majority of dogman reports I’ve received over the years, but only a small handful of those reports have involved any physical contact. Gary added that he had a theory about the dog’s extremely close examination of his body. He suffers from an illness that happens to be one of the many diseases dogs can smell in humans. “I truly believe it was this that the creature could smell on me,” he said. “I think if I did not suffer from this, I would now be dead. I know some animals can smell sickness and I’m sure they wouldn’t eat anything infected if they could help it.”

Gary isn’t positive that was the case, however. “Maybe it had no intention of eating me at all? Maybe I was in its territory and it was just scaring me to say keep out.”

But there was another weird aspect of the creature that he has never been able to shake off.

THE HAND

Since he and the creature were very close, and face-to-face, he had quite a good look at it despite the low level of light. Its fur was a dark color. The head reminded him of a German shepherd, he said, but its body was more the size and musculature of a Great Dane. He couldn’t see its eyes very well, and they evidenced no eyeshine or glow. (He mentioned that he took “artistic license” when adding the eyes to his sketch because he didn’t see their shape very well.) It did growl in a low tone as it smelled him in what he described as “deep nasal sniffs.” The creature’s breath was like rotten fish but with a weird sweetness to it.

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“Hand of Anthropoid Ape” Dover Publications 1979 “1491 Copyright-free Illustrations of Mammals, Fish, Birds, Insects, etc.”

When I asked Gary how it held him by the arm, he said it was not with a paw. “When it grabbed me (this is the horrible bit and makes my skin crawl) it was a hand that grabbed me–a big hand, humanlike. Its whole hand went around my arm in a viselike grip. I will argue til the day I die that it was a hand that grabbed me. I don’t care who thinks that’s mad. It seemed to me that it had long nails; if they were sharp I can’t confirm, but they were long and clawlike. If you had to grow nails to a similar length, they would protrude 5-6 inches from your hand with a slight inward curvature.”

I asked Gary whether the long claws tore any of his clothing, and he said he was wearing a motorcycle jacket that was open so he only had one small tear on the front of his t-shirt.

The incident was not something that Gary was able to just brush off. He had something like post-traumatic stress disorder that caused him to take six months off work. He’s still terrified of woodlands and the dark. Strangely, the incident also made him afraid of fog although he says there was none in the cemetery that night. Even as he drew the sketch, he said he had to stop every now and then because it was causing him to have flashbacks. He said he has never told anyone but his wife about this incident, and that he only wrote me because she encouraged him to do so to get it off his chest and “lay the demons to rest.” He also has not set foot in the cemetery again.

“Part of me wants to be rational and say it was a strong man in a costume,” he said, “but that’s my mind wanting to say, stop being stupid. But if that’s the case it was the best costume I’ve ever seen, [that must have been] worn by an Olympic athlete due to the speed and strength.” He also felt strongly that the creature possessed a keen intelligence as it interacted with him.

What might the creature have been? I tend to agree with Gary that it was probably not some human in an amazing dog suit. The fact that it had its jaws open as it exhaled puffs of nauseating dog breath in Gary’s face doesn’t sound like anything a person wearing a mask could pull off, and neither does its action of deep-sniffing his body as it held him down.

It did appear to have physical mass, weight, odor, breath, and all the requisite characteristics of a living, breathing animal. Its eyes did not glow as do the eyes of phantom hounds, for which England has long been famous. It seemed to act rather like any guard dog might: First surveillance, then a take-down, an inspection, and an all-clear.

A normal guard dog would probably not have trotted off on its hind legs, however. Nor would it have been able to encircle and grip Gary’s arm with a big hand.

Could it have been an actual werewolf–that is, a human able to change its physical form into that of a wolf, while retaining a few human characteristics such as hands rather than paws? While I’m not one that believes in Hollywood-style werewolves, there have been occasional reports of upright canids that do not seem like they could be natural animals simply walking upright. (My next book will address this aspect!)

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Dog paws may appear “elongated” when held in front as in a begging position (Dover Books 1979)

The hands Gary describes definitely fit that latter category. But I also hear from many witnesses that the creatures they saw had  definite, clawed paws that were simply elongated. When witnesses do report seeing human-like hands, there are often other characteristics such as glowing red eyes or a very humanoid body more normally  associated with tales of shapeshifters or phantom hounds rather than most contemporary sightings. English folk lore is rife with such creatures.

One other possibility is the creature known as the “man-monkey” that has been studied extensively by Nick Redfern in books such as Man Monkey: In Search of the British Bigfoot. While most sightings of this fur-covered, upright and primatelike beast have occurred in Staffordshire rather than London, in a forested area called Cannock Chase. But there have been several encounters with the creature in a German cemetery in Cannock Chase. But although the man-monkey explanation would explain the “hands” Gary witnessed, it doesn’t account for the very canine face that he drew.

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“Fanciful Orangutan,” Dover Books 1979. (This is not a close depiction of an actual orangutan, I think, but reminds me of man-monkey descriptions.)

Redfern notes, however, at least one similarly ambiguous creature encounter that looked like a gorilla from the front, but displayed a long, dog-like muzzle from the side. Redfern asks (p. 59) whether the creature may have been a “shape-shifting Lycanthrope” or a “weird chimera that possessed the unique attributes of several beasts.” In Memoirs of a Monster Hunter, Redfern wonders whether such creatures may be a remnant of England’s legendary Cormons, “emotion-sucking vampires from an unholy realm.” He explains, “These shadowy entities generated imagery of bizarre monsters and beasts in an attempt to generate high levels of stress and emotion in the person that saw them…” (p. 35).

As I pointed out above, however, the creature that toppled and pinned Gary was no mere shadowy entity. And, again, the physical attack he suffered is extremely rare in my experience. In the 24 years I’ve collected reports, there have only been a hiker in Quebec Province with a superficial skin tear, a young man whose loose-fitting, cotton shirt was clawed as he was chased near the shore of Lake Michigan in South Milwaukee, and a few scratched automobiles that showed creature contact. I’ve heard of other attack-type incidents reported elsewhere, but they still are rather few and far between compared to most encounters.

I do have another recently received report from England (northeast), however, that will be the subject of my next blog article once I finish my own sketch of it. This one did not involve an attack, but was as mysterious as the Camberwell Old Cemetery creature in its physical attributes. Whether they are weird natural animals on the loose, werewolves, Cormons, or man-monkeys, the upright hairy beasts of England are definitely not confined to London.

 

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Anyone who follows my blog or other social media knows I do a lot of radio. Talking to hosts and listeners about wolf-like creatures, Bigfoot and other weird phenomena is something I never tire of. However, with my latest book due at the publisher by summer’s end, I imposed a radio moratorium on myself for most of July and August. With that manuscript now safe in the hands of my editor at Tarcher/Penguin, I’m so glad to be back on the chat lines, starting this evening…

and then this Friday evening August 28, Paraversal Radio with Kevin Malak:

ParaversalRadioShow

Then Tuesday, September 1 at 9 pm Central with host Tim Maile on Fringe Radio;

http://www.fringeradioshow.com/12092013-tim-maile/

There are several more for early September, and also Art Bell’s new Midnight in the Desert Show, on a date I can’t yet disclose but will announce here as soon as I’m allowed!

http://artbell.com/

Looking forward to chatting about some of my latest findings and field work!

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Only a few days before Christmas, 2014, Phantoms and Monsters blogger Lon Strickler included a UFO sighting and close encounter report titled “Still…the Oddest Account I’ve Ever Read.” http://www.phantomsandmonsters.com/2014/12/stillthe-oddest-account-ive-ever-read.html It came from a man named Ken who sent Strickler his late father’s written account of seeing a UFO in Orange County, CA in 1996, just before spotting a bald, alien-looking being dressed in a light blue bodysuit as he was walking a few blocks away from his house.

I almost choked on my eggnog–in a good way–as the story reminded me of a 2006 Wisconsin sighting that also involved a UFO and an muscoda1alien in a light blue body suit. And it’s a Christmas story, as well.

I visited and interviewed the nationally recognized, visionary artist Ellis Nelson of Muscoda for my book, “Strange Wisconsin,” not long after his sighting. Nelson is a semi-retired, self-taught metal sculptor. His front yard gallery on the edge of Muscoda teems with original versions of the Grim Reaper, various animals, and a stylized version of the UFO he saw fly overhead as he sat outdoors in his lawn chair one day that year.

It was August, and the yellow jackets were swarming. Nelson watched one of them as it spiraled into the sky, hoping to discover the location of its nest, when he noticed a silent, gray disk emerging from a large cloud bank. He watched the strange craft glide acrossmuscoda2 the sky and disappear in another group of clouds.

A few months later, on Christmas day, he was sitting inside his studio next to his home-made, sawdust-burning furnace, when a strange, female humanoid appeared only a little over a foot away. He had been dozing, said Nelson, but her presence jolted him awake. (Some may say this was therefore a dream-state experience but Nelson insists it was not.) Despite his surprise, he sat stock still and studied her carefully. She had white hair arranged in corkscrew curls, large blue eyes lacking pupils or whites but covered by a clear membrane, and she wore a form-fitting, light blue bodysuit accented with a red bowtie. Her mouth was a just a straight slit, she had no visible nose, and her head “bulged in back where it met the neck.” She was staring at his furnace, and he watched her for what he estimated was about 8 seconds.

He was then distracted by the sudden awareness that his drill press was lying on the floor, and when he looked up again, she had vanished. But so certain was Nelson about the reality of his experience that he wrote and signed an affidavit attesting to his truthfulness. He keeps this memento of the Christmas visitor sitting framed on his desk.

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The California alien was a bit different than the Wisconsin creature. Its eyes were small and round, and it wore big black boots. But the biggest difference between the two sightings is that the alien Ken’s father saw walked behind a garage, only to (apparently) re-emerge as a huge, glowing-red-eyed, Sasquatch-like being that ran to a nearby woods! That witness also reported a time gap of nearly two hours during the event, while Nelson wasn’t aware of missing any time.

The annals of UFO lore are rife with descriptions of small, slim aliens in body suits of different colors, but these two incidents with their respective connections to Sasquatch and Christmas set them apart in a scary, yet almost charming way.

Muscoda, however, has also been the site of at least one reported cryptid sighting—albeit over 60 years before Nelson’s drop-in guest. In 1941, two young men driving just north of the town had to brake to avoid a dark-furred, furry creature standing upright in the middle of the road. By the time they managed to stop the truck, the beast was right next to their window, well lit by a bright moon. It stood about five-and-one-half feet tall, and was not a bear, cow, deer or any other animal either man could identify. The story was told to me by the daughter of one of the witnesses, who said he spoke of it often over the rest of his life, describing it as “creepy.”  (“Hunting the American Werewolf”)

UFOs, body-suited beings and furred, bipedal creatures. Not so different than a flying sleigh, a white-haired man in a red suit and big black boots, accompanied by a slew of prancing, magical beasts with glowing red noses instead of eyes. And there it is: another example of the weird similarities between folklore and contemporary eyewitness reports as so many researchers have pointed out. A Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

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For 21 years, people have been telling me they’ve seen what they believe is Bigfoot around SE Wisconsin. Primate, not canine. Usually eight feet tall and 400-500 pounds. Flat-footed, bipedal, shaggy fur in either dark brown, reddish auburn, or light gray-beige. I’ve discussed many of these sightings in my books, and the witnesses keep coming.

A few weeks ago I heard from a Kenosha County woman and northern Illinois man who saw such a creature June 10, 2013 at a site in SE Wisconsin that I can’t disclose in deference to the property owner. On June 20, the same man was at the same place with two other people and they also all caught a glimpse of what appeared to be the same creature.

This video, alas, does NOT show the Bigfoot, but it features the first two witnesses on site, describing their experiences. Please keep in mind that the creature was in motion when they spotted it and that, between the two of them, they separately saw it doing several different things. There is also some reference to the other, later sightings which will all be more clear when I get the final report written up.

The video was made by my friend and colleague Jay Bachochin of the WPI or Wisconsin Paranormal Investigators at http://www.WPIhuntsthetruth.com. I called on Jay and fellow member Al Dunski to collaborate with me on this field investigation, and the video also takes you along with us as we scout the area and retrieve a trail cam (which came up empty, as often happens). We hope to keep filming as the investigation progresses and we continue to survey the area, place trail cams and search the fields for footprints and other possible evidence. As you can see, it’s a rural area, mostly farm fields but with some nearby water and plenty of game (watch for the shot of the generous dollop of deer scat). Perhaps most importantly, it is also the site of previous cryptid encounters by unrelated individuals.

Just to be clear, there’ll be no brandishing of rifles, no crazy cage contraptions, not even a weird noise in the distance, just us starting our actual investigation. (I did almost fall into a pond but Jay didn’t film it because he stopped filming to help save me from a dunking.) So please enjoy the scenery as we lay the groundwork, and who knows what may happen next time out as we interview the second set of witnesses!

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There’s nothing that should be covered up about Nick Redfern’s new book on government cover ups of anomalous creatures. In Monster Files: a Look Inside Government Secrets and Classified Documents on Bizarre Creations and Extraordinary Animals, Redfern uses the Freedom of Information Act along with some Class-A sleuthing to tease out possible plots by governments world-wide to find Bigfoot, turn cats into robo-animals for surveillance purposes, and engineer human-animal hybrids.

My own main take-away from Redfern’s book is the sure but uneasy realization that that topics most likely to be ridiculed by the authorities are also the very things the government privately seems to consider most interesting.

For instance, the word “Yeti,” which is the name for a creature similar to Bigfoot in Nepal, has become almost a standard synonym for “joke” in today’s media, and is often used in police logs in a denigrating manner when people dare to report sightings of unknown, upright animals. And yet, Redfern demonstrates over and over again that our government has had a long and abiding interest in these creatures for many decades, beginning with a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Nepal in 1959 that decreed any photographs or other evidence found of a Yeti must immediately

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be turned into the local authorities, and that any news reports were required to undergo government scrutiny before release to the public. Redfern includes a photo of the document lest anyone doubt.

Redfern has found equally appalling scenarios and cases of government programs involving other “extraordinary animals” from werewolves to dinosaur-like creatures. There’s a lot more to some of these cases often dismissed as mere conspiracy theories than I, for one, ever knew. He also follows certain common threads, such as the appearance of orb-like lights that seem to link many of these closely surveilled phenomena.

Readers of my work know that one of my abiding interests has been the fact that mysterious, sometimes phantom creatures keep appearing to thousands of sane and credible people for unknown reasons. Monster Files points us in many new directions in the search for these reasons, and may just begin to explain some of those  “Unexplainables.”

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Partly because it’s National Poetry Month and partly because a fan sent me some surprising poetry centered around unknown creatures, I give you a sample of the work of Jacob Gene Lenhardt of Menasha. This is not sweet or sentimental work, nor is it some sort of disguised sighting report. It is dark, a tad disturbing and I think it comes from some interior place that witnesses occasionally hint at but seldom know how to express. I found myself responding to these lines on a visceral level, and thought some of you might appreciate the chance to do so as well.

Poetry, I remind you again, is the most personal and subjective form of writing and not everyone’s cup of Starbuck’s. But if you’re game for a quick alternate look at the unknown, read on:

 Street Lantern
The snow apes that frequent our
mill-pond are losing their hair; it gets
caught in clumps when they
crawl under the barbwire
or gathers in the
basement drain during
spring floods. It’s because
of the shit I dump
in there to keep them
away or kill them off
but it only makes them
dumber and stronger
throwing up all over
and bleeding internally.
When I’m reading
my daughter a story at twilight
it gives me a stomach-ache
to see her eyes widen
over my shoulder
dancing with those
faint green lights;
I have to leave the room
to tell my mom
not to go out there
until the ship is gone.
Jacob Gene Lenhardt, by permission

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