Archive for the ‘creature features’ category

Progressive’s “Motaur” Commercial

July 4, 2019

This is truly bizarre; cool and creepy at the same time, like some fiendish device created by Skynet to work towards the extermination of the human race.  We’ve all heard of Centaurs, those fusions of man and horse, and we know about Minotaurs, those hybrids of bull and man. Cyborgs are a fusion of man and machine, and apparently if we make the inorganic components those of a motorcycle, we’ve got ourselves a Motaur…word play intentional.

The Progressive commercial plays off of the close linkage between a biker and their machine, and the Motaur (played by Terrence Terrell) is literally fused to his, although in conversation with bikers he reveals that he sometimes wishes for legs with his machine components on top.  “For those who love to ride, there’s Progressive,” we are told by the announcer, leaving us to wonder if an ailing Motaur sees a physician or a mechanic…and how many miles per gallon does he get?!

The Ozark Howler…

June 7, 2019

The Ozark Howler as profiled on In Search of Monsters (Season 1, Episode 10, the Travel Channel) ranges in the dense forests of the Ozark mountains, and is a large feline-type creature traditionally described as having black fur and horns, and equipped with razor-sharp claws and teeth. In some accounts, he also sports glowing red eyes, with which it can give a “death stare.”  In spite of this, there are no reports of a Howler attack on people!  As his name would suggest, the Howler has a cry described as unsettling, uncanny, and terrifying.  A family in Missouri has recorded this cry, and it can’t be identified.  Some speculate that the loud and focused cry is a form of communication between other members of the species, suggesting that there is more than one individual member.

Game camera images also exist supposedly of the creature, images which a wildlife expert could not identify.  In 2015, other photos of an unidentified, horned creature were also taken that could not be identified (below).  These images appear to be of a smaller, less terrifying creature, and some regard them to be photoshopped although the photographer adamantly denies this.

The history of the Howler gets interesting, with witches known to have been active in the Ozarks once upon a time, and one such witch reputed to have had a horned familiar.  Is the Howler then a supernatural entity created by witchcraft?!  None less than Daniel Boone in 1810 described shooting and wounding a black, horned creature.  More mundane speculation is that the Howler is a black mountain lion, leopard, or jaguar.  Winters in the Ozarks are judged to be too harsh for a leopard or jaguar to survive, however…

The Ozark Howler should not be confused with the Midnight Rambler, which was a Rolling Stones song not heard often enough. As my mind moves in strange directions, however, I can imagine myself visited by the Midnight Rambler, a terrifying late-night cryptid who arrives uninvited and engages in pointless conversation when you only want to sleep. “Just get to the point, dammit…either that or kill me and end my misery, OK?,” I pleaded. (What passed for a grin moved momentarily across The Rambler’s face. He fed off human misery, and had no intention of ending my suffering.)  “Let me tell you about what I had for lunch yesterday,” he began as I pounded my head against the wall, and prayed for the sweet release of death that would escape me…

 

The Jersey Devil on “In Search of Monsters”

April 29, 2019

Strangely, The Travel Channel is home to a promising new paranormal series titled In Search of Monsters. In many ways reminiscent of previous such shows as Monster Quest, recent episodes of the series have stuck to the icons of cryptozoology such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and The Jersey Devil (Season 1, Episode 4).  Such topics are familiar ground to those of us with interest in the field, but the show is decently produced and at times interjects updated material and new perspectives on our old friends.

The Jersey Devil is one of the few cryptids with a backstory and time frame, based on Mother Leeds who actually lived and has living relatives.  Considered a witch of sorts, she was a healer and practitioner of pagan religion in colonial America who produced twelve children without a miscarriage or still birth, an unusual feat for the time.  The 13th child of Mother Leeds was a bit much for her to bear, however, so at its birth in 1735 the woman wished for it to be a devil. Words carry power, so the legend has it that the child, human-appearing at birth, morphed soon thereafter into an adult-sized, draconic-type thing with an elongated head, tail, and wings that flew around the room before escaping up the chimney to the Pine Barrens wilderness of New Jersey.

In the almost three hundred years since, numerous sightings of the Jersey Devil have been reported, including a great flurry of them in 1909 in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. As to how the creature has endured for three centuries, speculation exists that the beast is demonic, with a witch having basically invited possession of her child by the devil at birth.  The Devil has reportedly been hit by gunfire on several occasions over the years with no effect, so indestructibility and immortality characterize it.  

The episode went on to speculate on what natural creature the Jersey Devil might be, touching on theories that it’s a misidentified large crane, a bat, or most intriguing, a pterosaur that had somehow survived with a breeding population, all hidden in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey.  While less common, sightings exist into recent years, with a hunter unsuccessfully pursuing one in 2016 and promoting a paranormal investigation in 2018 during which time equipment showed elevated energy readings suggesting to them that something was nearby.  The elusive nature of the Devil again harkens to its potentially supernatural nature, so at one point the episode had a paranormal researcher bring in a priest/exorcist to “The Witches Well,” a site where in the 18th century a witch lured the Jersey Devil, resulting in both being trapped there.  The priest/exorcist couldn’t perceive the Devil there, but called the Well an “active place” where entities existed.  

Lastly, the Pine Barrens is home to a large body of water 130 ‘ in diameter called The Blue Hole where no fish or other wildlife exists.  Reputed to be a type of gateway, speculation was that The Blue Hole may be a type of portal through which the Jersey Devil as a transdimensional type of being enters and exits our world.  Swimming is forbidden there, and a good number of body recoveries of people who didn’t listen have occurred on site –Does the Jersey Devil lurk within those waters?!

 …just a reminder that Foxsylvania does not necessarily endorse any of the stories that we cover, we are for entertainment purposes only.  This fox loves a good tale, however (should it be any wonder?)…and if The Travel Channel wants to take us to freaky locations, I’ll be along for the ride!

“Power Thru Overtime” Jack Links Commercial…

March 15, 2019

Subtitle: “When meat eaters ruled the seas…”
(Scene: In a commercial we are shown a Viking longboat on a wine-dark sea, the sky likewise brooding and elemental. But what is this? Only one Viking warrior remains conscious trying dutifully to ply the oars, her crew mates passed out from fatigue or perhaps mead. She is weary, for the hour is late…but fortunately, the warrior has a powerful ally in Jack Links Beef Jerky! She bites off a healthy mouthful (not at all daintily), and is empowered! Bigfoot appears in the stern of the longboat, and begins to lay down a powerful and quickening beat on his massive drum to set the rhythm for the lone rower. She is empowered, and roars lustily, the very model of a Viking shield maiden! A raven perched on the railing joins in the cry, and the sleeping crew begins to show signs of life. — On to victory for Odin, mighty warriors!

We then flash to the office habitat of our modern female warrior, successfully fighting the battle of after-hours office fatigue with her Jack Links Jerky. Empowerment is delivered, and Bigfoot enters the office to break the wand of the custodian’s vacuum, because sometimes only destruction will express the mood!- – Rawrrr! – –Meat will apparently deliver this one through overtime just as it delivered the Vikings past treacherous seas. It is good to know that their unconquerable spirit lives on!

“Emotional Support” Blobfish…

January 8, 2019

I’m not unsympathetic to the idea of Emotional Support Animals, although some people have pressed the limits of what may be considered such an animal, and where it may be appropriate to take them.  As a case in point we have a Credit Karma commercial where a female passenger on an airline notices a male in the same seat row sporting a blobfish on his lap, who he introduces as Harold, an emotional support animal that he enlisted when his credit rating caused damage to his self-concept.  The woman advises the man that he can gain tips on improving his credit rating from Credit Karma, a thought which so excites the man that he accidentally drops Harold on the aircraft floor.  “He’ll be all right,” reassures the man.  “He’s a bottom feeder!

Now blobfish are real, a deep sea creature found in waters 2,000 to 3,900 feet deep off mainland Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand.  A few years back, they were voted “the Ugliest Animal in the World.”  Blobfish are easier on the eyes if you see them in their natural habitat, since the appearance that people associate with them is caused by decompression damage as the specimens are brought to the surface.  So be kind to the blobfish, as you’re not seeing them at their best.  Harold could certainly not live out of water, even while he appears to move slightly during the commercial.

Sadly, no one claims blobfish as their spirit animal.  These guys just can’t seem to get a break.  And when it comes to emotional support animals, I’m inseparable from my inner fox

“The Masked Singer,” American Edition…

January 3, 2019

Aha, I just knew that we were going to be able to sneak some compelling furry images and characters onto mainstream television soon, and with The Masked Singer on Fox (- -how appropriate!), our time may have finally come in 2019!

 

Now for those of you not in the know, The Masked Singer is a new reality show (for the U.S., anyways) in which celebrity contestants perform and compete entirely clad in costume head-to-toe, concealing their identity. Most often those costumes are of animals, monsters, or other fantastic life forms with the contestant’s group of twelve including among others a unicorn, a deer, a hippo, a French poodle, a pineapple-man, a lion, and my personal fave, a rabbit! For the first night, six contestants competed on a paired basis, with the lesser voted contestant of each match-up relegated to the bottom three, and the weakest of that group unmasked and sent home. Victors in the matches included a Peacock winning over a Hippo, a Unicorn beating a “Monster,” and a Lion defeating a Deer. The Hippo, a real-life football athlete, ranked lowest and was sent home.

 

The show kind of blends American Idol with The Gong Show by way of a furry convention. Some of the costumes are elaborate and impressive, and dependent on their individual gifts and the bulk of their outfit some of the contestants incorporate a little choreography into their stage presentations. All of the contestants are supposedly well-known figures in music, comedy, or athletics, and the identity of each will ultimately be revealed as the weaning-out process continues. Popular in Asia and originating in South Korea, the American version of The Masked Singer is certainly different, even if it’s not for everyone…

Yuletide Horrors…

December 19, 2018

Since Christmas has been pushed on us since October, it’s only fair to bring a bit of Halloween to the merriment with tales of The Wild Hunt. Traditionally associated with Germanic folklore, notions of The Hunt have since spread and been adapted across Europe, and may even have resonated in North America…

The Wild Hunt stretches attempts to explain it a bit, but basically involves a group of spectral or supernatural huntsmen who ride in frenzied pursuit of unknown or unspeakable prey, or portending a catastrophe such as war, plague, famine, or a second Trump administration. The Huntsmen are traditionally led by a god such as Odin, a historical figure such as Theodoric the Great, a figure drawn from religion such as Satan, or at least a really bad dude. The cohorts of the Leader of the Hunt have been seen as elves, faeries, demons, or spirits of the dead. Their bestiary consists of horses (often spectral) and large fierce canines of the hellhound-variety.

Now riders of The Wild Hunt might be glimpsed as a vision or passing mist in the midwinter sky, and such was seldom regarded as a fortuitous thing, portending calamity to the observer at the very least. Unfortunate observers might have their souls sucked from their bodies by the Riders especially if they obstructed or attempted to interfere with the procession, while by some accounts they might also be rewarded if they helped in some way.

Celtic conceptions of Cernunnos, the bestial Lord of the Hunt, may have been influenced by Wild Hunt mythology. He’d give Santa a ride, but he ain’t no reindeer…

And in North America, the mythic concept appears as Ghost Riders (In the Sky), also a haunting song that may help in visualizing the spectacle. — So have yourself a scary little Christmas!