Archive for the ‘unexplained’ category

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!

Expedition Unknown: Hunt for the Yeti

April 6, 2019

Expedition Unknown featuring Joshua Gates can provide a quality presentation of paranormal topics and investigations that are anchored with both science and history, and attractively mounted.   I tend to pass on episodes involving such things as treasure hunts, while pursuits of legendary creatures have me on board.  In one such episode recently presented titled Hunt for the Yeti — Everest Yeti Hunt, Josh started his journey in Kathmandu, heading high into the Himalayan mountains of Nepal to obtain scientific evidence of the Yeti.  

Hopping from one village to another, Josh wound up in a monastery reportedly having a Yeti scalp in their possession that had been there for 200 years, and kept in a closed and locked case.  After back and forth negotiations with the temple high lama brokered by a monk, Josh was allowed to see and physically examine the scalp, and even remove a single hair for later analysis.  A second monastery was later visited that at one time had claimed to possess a Yeti hand, one digit of which was stolen to have been later followed by the entire hand.  Today, only replicas of the hand reconstructed from photographs may be seen.  While the hand has been lost, analysis of the finger conducted later reflected human DNA, and the hand itself is felt to have come from the body of a deceased Himalayan climber discovered in the past.

There are an abundance of human eyewitnesses to the Yeti, and Josh at times through interpreters talked to a number of them, including a farmer who claimed to have lost over a dozen yaks to the Yeti, their remains being found torn apart.  Searching through the surrounding woods, Josh and his team did find yak bones strewn about in the woods.  Josh himself thought that he saw movement and perhaps a shape beyond a stream, but found nothing by the time he forded the raging waters.  The team did collect some scat and hair from suspected Yeti “nests,” and hopefully will be picking up on this story in the future.  Until that time, there are a variety of eyewitnesses but no conclusive evidence of the Yeti’s existence…

 

Mysterious Creature Stalks Canadian Moose?

August 5, 2018


Here we go again…another sighting of an alleged unknown creature, this one supposedly stalking a moose!  The encounter occurred July 29th in Gaspesie in the Quebec area of Canada.  As usual, only a blurry, indistinct, out-of-focus image of the creature (circled) is available for perusal.  It is said to resemble Tolkien’s Gollum or perhaps the Rake.  The thing spotted was said to have moved in an inhuman fashion, shaped like a hunched-over demon and about six feet in height.

Skeptics say that the thing was most likely a splat on the window of the vehicle from which the picture was taken, and it simply appears superimposed from there by the treeline.  It is not known if the moose suffered any ill fate from the encounter.  I for one would be more excited if the moose had appeared accompanied by a flying squirrel named Rocky who wore aviator goggles…

“Punished, As A Boy” on “The Terror”

April 10, 2018

To dispense with what the episode title refers to, it appears that when you’re “punished as a boy” on a 19th century British ship, you’re flogged on your bottom rather than on your back, complete with all of your shipmates watching for both pain and humiliation.  We do get to see this, unfortunately, complete with blood spattering, agonized grunts from the punished, and the man’s behind resembling raw hamburger following his ordeal.- – Hey, horror isn’t pretty!  

This is grim stuff, but things are getting pretty grim indeed, with the Tuunbaq creature shredding members of the expedition brutally and pretty much at will, leaving some as only bloody smears on the ice, removing part of another’s skull to expose his brain (“It looks like pudding!,” remarks the ship’s surgeon), and tearing two others in half to crudely reassemble their bodies together.  The Tuunbaq has also demonstrated that it can move onto the English ships pretty much at will, and escape unscathed.  We’re kind of at the stage now that we were in The Thing where the men realize that the alien is inside the camp, and they’re relatively ineffective at countering it.  Composure and discipline are beginning to fall apart, just as some of the men’s gums are starting to turn black from lead poisoning brought by their spoiling and badly- packaged tinned food.

I’m not going to go on about the many complexities and layers of character and plot going on in the story, which can be appreciated on a variety of levels; we limit ourselves to just a few paragraphs here.  But central to the story and ever growing in importance is the enigmatic and appropriately-named Lady Silence, the Inuit woman whose father was accidently shot by the English in an earlier episode.  She was seen engaging in some kind of interaction with the Tuunbaq, perhaps a ritual.  Is she controlling the creature, or what is the nature of her relationship with it?  Hmmm…we’ll just have to wait and see!

 


The Terror – – Go for Broke; Gore

March 26, 2018

 

Watching The Walking Dead Sunday night,  I was unexpectedly treated to an unannounced and unadvertised preview of The Terror.  Quite a change of scenario, but I’ll take two hours of horror over one any night!

“An adventure for Queen and Country!”

Probably, not everyone will be able to get into The Terror because of its period drama aspects.  The pilot episode (Go for Broke) was mostly set-up and mood-setter, and some will be turned off by the rather trudging pace initially prevalent.  I love this kind of thing, however, and enjoy its attention to detail and atmosphere.  It’s all there; the dim  lighting, the creaking of the great wooden ship, and the magnificent desolation of the arctic.  Life was far more elemental in the mid-nineteenth century in a way that we early 21st century folks can only dimly imagine.

Executive producer Ridley Scott brings a touch of Alien space horror to this tale, however.  All of the elements are there; combine a bunch of superstitious sailors in close quarters in unknown and dangerous situations, and you’re bound to get a body count.  Even the first episode, Go for Broke, brought us death, disease, delusion, and even a “space walk” in the form of deep sea diving.  

The creepiness factor slowly started to ramp up in the second episode, Gore.  Locked in ice, the two ships send out expedition teams to seek the best passage through the ice, one of which meets with severe mishap when the tense group spooked by a night storm shoots an Inuit man in the company of his daughter.  A member of this team shortly later is seized and carried off by a creature that they think is a bear, but most likely is a Tuunbaq.  Taken back to the ship, the Inuit male succumbs to his injuries, his daughter advising the commanding officers (who profess that they want to help despite having shot her father) that they must leave or will vanish…

The sci fi/horror themes of malfunction, isolation, and paranoia that factored into such classics as The Thing are beginning to kick in here, and I’m on board for this arctic nautical nightmare!

 

“Haunted Cabin” on”Terror in the Woods

December 11, 2017

 

The Haunted Cabin episode of “Terror in the Woods” (S1/Ep8) was basically a ghost story, but with a side order of cryptid thrown in.  The story was pleasantly scary and creepy, and I like that!

In deepest Kentucky in the Red River Gorge, a rustic cabin sat in the woods on an abandoned logging road that married couple Bill and Charisse chose as kind of a retirement retreat.  Bill held the fort while Charisse worked hard for the money at a city job about two hours away.  Now Bill was a college grad, not some yahoo, and he put up a security camera outside the cabin.  One night around two to three a.m., said camera picked up a sporadic green mist that seemed to morph in and out.  We, the viewers, were shown the actual footage, and it did look like a floaty mist to me! Alerted by the security camera, Bill went outside and thought that he saw a ghost…

…other creepy things then transpired.  Bill’s TV and Playstation came on twice by themselves!  Now Bill was suitably creeped out by this. I mean, would you want ghosts messin’ with your PlayStation?! They’d stay on it for hours, and leave slime all over the console and controllers, for cripes sake! Bill then did what any sensible person would do, and spent the night in his car.

A week later, Bill’s trusty security camera showed a ball of white light that seemed to come out of the ground and which floated along the area; ghost alert! Viewers were also shown this footage. Bill trucked into town, speaking to and showing locals the footage; not surprisingly, they thought it ghostly.

Now comes the Bigfoot alert; walking outside his cabin in the woods, Bill hit a tree with a branch, and thought that it was answered with other knocks. Bill experienced fear and panic, since ghosts and Bigfoot make for a full paranormal schedule. A friend later visited him, and they found strange footprints with four digits and hooked claws; pictures were taken of this, which viewers of the episode were again shown.

His wife later returned to join Bill, and things went smoothly for a time until they heard howling and barking of a guttural, hellhound nature. They tried to record the commotion, but the sound stopped. Later when watching a ghost show on television, the two decided it would be a kick to casually try and summon a spirit themselves. Be careful what you ask for, because a loud knocking then came to their door, although nothing was there when the door was answered!

So our protagonist again went to the nearest town, showing the locals and woodsmen his latest videos and pics of the strange footprint.  Not surprisingly, they couldn’t explain them but agreed that they were freaky.  It was learned, however, that the cabin Bill and Charisse had bought was built for an ailing daughter who died in the cabin.  The cabin has since continued to be plagued by paranormal activity…spooky!