Archive for the ‘unidentified’ category

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…

 

Sea Creature Washes Up On Russian Beach!

August 17, 2018

We always get terribly excited here at Foxsylvania when any kind of globster washes up on any beach, anywhere. Set up some food stands and a good band, and you’ve really got something to break up the summer doldrums!



…the “sea monster” in question is described as being smelly and hairy, and at least three times the size of an average human. It washed up on the shore of the Bering Sea on the Pacific side of the Kamchatka Peninsula; from Russia with Love, Darlink! Although the unidentified thing appears to be from an animal with gray and white coloring, it lacks a defined head or other body parts other than a possible tail or tentacle. The creature is covered with tubular hair, which is hollow and similar to that found on a polar bear.

Some have speculated that the carcass could be the remains of a wooly mammoth that had washed up as glaciers thawed, while others suggest that it could be from an octopus or giant squid. The most likely theory, however, is that the carcass is indeed a globster, a term coined in 1962 to describe something that is not a complete animal, but rather the decaying parts of sea animals such as whales or sharks. Under the influence of time, the sea, and post-mortem predation, the remains of large sea animals often take on bizarre and unrecognizable forms.

So if you visit a beach and come upon a globster, resist the temptation to make a sandwich. It wouldn’t be good for you…

Death of an Unknown Montana Furry…

May 26, 2018

 

A rancher recently shot and killed an unknown wolf-like animal on his property near the town of Denton, Montana.  The animal was a young canid female, although it did not fit the profile of either a wolf or a domestic dog.  The presently unidentified canine differs from a wolf in having longer claws, shorter canine teeth, large ears, short legs, and unusual fur.

No, it’s not a dire wolf!  Some animal experts have suggested that the creature could be a wolf-dog hybrid.  The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department has sent DNA samples out for testing at an Oregon Lab, but it could be weeks to months before the results come back…

“The Terror” is Coming!

March 19, 2018

I love creepy stuff, and there’s so little of it that’s done really well!  For this reason, I’m really looking forward to The Terror, an upcoming horror series on the AMC network. Based on a novel by Dan Simmons and the ill-fated real life Franklin Expedition, The Terror looks like wonderful stuff indeed.  

Incorporating elements of the movies The Thing with Alien and the rich period atmospherics and fine acting of the Penny Dreadful tv series, The Terror has it all.  It kind of combines a real-life historical event, the Franklin Expedition, with a horror/fantasy overlay. This kind of thing has been done in a lot of sci fi/alternative history fiction, and has lately been seen in films like Abraham Lincoln:  Vampire Hunter.

Now the ill-fated Franklin Expedition was real stuff which was kicked off in 1845 when the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror left England in search of a segment of the Northwest Passage, a kind of 19th century wormhole which it was felt would convey trade to the Orient.  The vessels, advanced for their day, became hopelessly ice-locked in the Canadian Arctic, forcing their crews to abandon ship and walk in search of a settlement.  They faced slow and miserable deaths from exposure, starvation, and lead poisoning caused by their badly-canned food.  All 129 souls on board the ships died from their ordeal.

In the television horror drama, the Royal Navy expedition instead of finding the Northwest Passage discovers a cunning, monstrous gothic-style predator who stalks the crew in a game of survival which could impact the region and its indigenous people forever.  For a tale of frozen wastes, sailing ships, and Arctic monsters I’m booking passage on The Terror for sure!


“Chupacabra” on “Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved”

September 6, 2016

 

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A number of series have previously dealt with the subject of the Chupacabra, and Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved in their S1/Ep07 episode also gave the topic a go.   Attacks of the “goat sucker” reportedly first started in Puerto Rico in the mid-1990’s.  Since that time, reports of the creature have come from Cuero, Texas where rancher Phyllis Canion found exsanguinated chickens and reported sighting a hairless animal with a long snout and a strange gait.  An area sheriff in August of 2008 also recorded a strange creature on his dash cam that matched that description.  Other ranchers have found dead cattle on their ranches, and one had a video of a canid-like animal with short front legs, a long snout, and gray hairless skin.

Cryptozoologist Ken Gerhard has interviewed eyewitnesses of the creature, and examined the rotting remains of an unidentified animal hit by a car; some people seem to have all of the fun at their jobs!  This corpse was taken to Texas Tech, where it was examined by anthropologist Eileen Johnson, who pronounced it neither a wolf nor a dog, and found it to be more like a coyote.  

In that a living specimen can yield better and more complete information, a group assisted by a vet was covered in their efforts to hunt and trap a Chupacabra at night.  They set up motion camera traps baited with rotted deer meat and a hapless living chicken.  The motion detector camera detected nothing unknown, and even the chicken survived to see the morning.  

Now a neighbor of the previously mentioned rancher Phyllis Canion conveniently had another carcass of an unidentified canid, and part of its tongue was sent in for DNA testing while the bulk of the carcass was taken to a vet.  The biologist who tested the sample’s DNA found that the animal was a coyote/wolf hybrid.  

Other far out theories were also touched on, including the legend as mentioned by writer Nick Redfern that the Chupacabra was some kind of alien creature.  A supposed connection between the Chupacabra and UFO sightings was brought up.  A more mundane explanation was also offered that the Chupacabra was actually a case of mistaken identify, with a Rhesus monkey on the lam thought to be the cryptid.  Dr. Robert Baker, a wildlife geneticist, seemed skeptical of the notion that the Chupacabra was capable of living on blood, saying that they would have to have specialized organs to accomplish this.  

As with other unidentified and sought after but elusive creatures, people want to believe in them.  For some, the mystery lives on…

 

 

“Monsters of the Deep” on Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved

August 30, 2016

 

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The S1/Ep06 episode of Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved focused on unidentified and unconfirmed aquatic cryptids reported in Loch Ness, Scotland; Lake Champlain, Vermont; and Vancouver Island, Canada.  Reports of creatures in all three locations were largely based on eyewitness observations, occasionally accompanied by a blurry photograph taken at some distance.  

Sightings of the celebrated Loch Ness Monster date back to the 6th century, and the series touched upon two recent observations reported in 2003 and 2010.  Both were of course inconclusive, with one recent image discounted by experts as likely light reflections on the water.  The notion that the Loch Ness creature was a plesiosaur was also briefly considered, but dismissed by experts as being very unlikely.

Acoustics were used by a vessel profiled in the Lake Champlain segments that hoped to capture echolocation sounds.  While a couple of rapping sounds were heard, they were not thought to be bioacoustic in origin.  Likewise no confirming evidence was found of the creature reported to frequent the waters off Vancouver Island, Canada. 

As it was pointed out, any reported site of a water monster would not be comprised of a single individual, but rather have to have a breeding population of perhaps fifty or more specimens for a population to be viable and capable of continuing its existence.  Investigations will continue at all three sites profiled, likely for the foreseeable future…