Archive for the ‘urban legends’ category

Spring-Heeled Jack…

October 11, 2017

With Spooktober  here on Destination America, it’s time to delve into the archives a bit and consider a fairly obscure but historically interesting cryptid who reportedly terrorized London in the Victorian era.  He was called Spring-Heeled Jack for his supposed ability to execute astonishing leaps, capable apparently of clearing a house in a single bound.  

Now numerous images of Jack exist, ranging from the hideous to the almost dashing figure shown here.  Most reports describe him as appearing demonic, with clawed hands and prominent red eyes.  Jack also had the described ability to spew blue flames at his victims.  He was prone to attacking women and making off with children, with surviving victims suffering claw injuries and psychological trauma.  His first attack is said to have occurred in 1837, kissing and clawing up a woman who drove him off with her screams.  Numerous attacks were said to have taken place in 1838.

Jack’s escapades became the topics of “Penny Dreadful” fiction, and parents used to keep difficult children in line by threats of his appearance.  The last recorded sighting of him dates back to 1904.  Some have speculated that Spring-Heeled Jack was one of the inspirations for Batman, as you might see suggested by the figure above.  And with his last public appearance occurring over 100 years ago, perhaps this Victorian boogeyman is due for a revival, Steampunk being “in” and all…

  

The Pigman of Vermont!

February 20, 2015

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Men are such pigs, sometimes…or so I’ve been told, and can well believe, especially after seeing a recent episode of Monsters and Mysteries in America which dished up one monster and two mysteries. Season 3 seems to be running a bit short on monsters, and so is plugging in more “mysteries,” which in this trilogy included a ghost story and a paranormal segment. That floats my boat, however, as I like a little variety in my viewing diet!

Now the Pigman of Vermont is described as having a man’s body with a pig’s head; he’s massive, muscular, has claws for hands but human feet, and parades around naked. He makes squealing sounds that also carry a shrieking component, and has been seen in the “Devil’s Washbowl” area of Northfield, a place used as a lover’s lane by local teenagers. In fall of 1971, a group of teens at a dance went outside to the woods where they supposedly saw a kneeling creature eating roadkill. Inside a cave in the Devil’s Washbowl area, a type of nesting area has been found, together with bones that were mostly feline. In another reported episode, a couple were making out in their car when the guy went to answer a “call of nature,” encountered the Pigman, and was physically thrown into the underbrush. Their screams drove the creature away, allowing the couple to escape in their car although the guy bore claw-like scratch marks on his chest.  In yet another reported incident, a group of young people walking through the woods had branches thrown in front of them repeatedly and heard squealing, occurrences which encouraged them to flee the area.

Now stories of a “Pigman” supposedly date back to the 15th century, with one story maintaining that a young man handled his pigs with cruelty, meeting one night with a bad end at the claws of the Pigman.  His body was never found, and in one account had been eaten…I do so love stories with a happy ending!  One accounting for the Pigman’s existence holds that he was a physically deformed child living in a feral way…

A second episode was a kind of ghost story from Jamestown, North Carolina detailing the appearances of “Lydia the Hitch Hiker,” the spirit of a young woman woman killed in a car accident in the 1920’s who is now bound to the underpass where she died, still trying to make her way home.  In one accounting from 1924, a man picked up a woman of beaten appearance who rode silently with him, at one point indicating by gesture the home of her residence.  When the man approached the resident of the house to advise them that he was returning their daughter home, the woman present indicated that her daughter had died years ago.  Returning to his car, the motorist found that his passenger had utterly vanished!  Another appearance of the spirit in 1972 was reported, when two young men traveling in a car saw a girl sitting by the side of the road who appeared to have been in a car accident; they originally bypassed her, but returned to offer aid, at which time the passenger of the vehicle became severely alarmed by the figure, urging the driver to pull away.  As they did so, the figure supposedly shrieked, “Come back!” A song, “Bringing Mary Home,” may reflect the case, and an investigator found that the unfortunate spirit’s name may have been Mary rather than Lydia.– A good spooky tale!

The final segment focused on “Project Stargate” supposedly conducted at Fort Meade during the height of the Cold War in an effort to turn psychics into soldier-spies.  Recruits were supposedly capable of “remote viewing,” a controversial psychic phenomena where an individual can project his consciousness, in this case to spy on our enemies.  Exercises involved discerning a “target” in a sealed envelope.  Subjects were also asked to see into the future, with one participant reportedly foreseeing the attack on the USS Stark.  Research was also done by Stargate into UFO activity, with one participant in 1982 perceiving a 300′ long object.  In 1984 when asked to focus on coordinates, one remote viewer perceived an encounter with a race of aliens in the distant past of which we are supposedly the descendants, a thread often found in science fiction…

Melonheads; Devil Monkey; Blue Albino Woman…

March 8, 2014

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– – Hoo boy!  Monsters & Mysteries in America fed us some great stuff in a recent episode (S2/Ep11), even if some of it was a bit hard to swallow.  Mellonheads (not to be confused with “My Melancholy Baby” or Coneheads) are strange, mutant creatures sometimes mistaken for children; we all know what little monsters they can be!  In what sounds like a great plot for a low-budget horror movie, a diabolical Dr. Crow in depression-era Kirtland, Ohio of the 1930’s performed sinister experiments in which he mutated orphaned children into monsters. After years of abuse, these deformed and tormented children rose up, fought back, and took revenge on the doctor, burning down his mansion.  It’s uncertain whether the doctor was killed, or simply escaped to set up practice elsewhere.

At any rate, there are dozens of sightings of Mellonheads over the years, especially in Michigan and Connecticut, with a few sightings even reported in Florida.  In Trumbill, Connecticut a Mellonhead sighting was reported along a road locally called “Dracula Drive.”  Then in 1986 in Naples, Florida kids playing war games left two of their number duct taped to a tree…with friends like that, who needs monsters, right?  Anyways, a Mellonhead was heard approaching and was reportedly seen by one of the taped duo, the other one’s head being held at the wrong angle for a sighting although both heard the mutant’s approach.  Their emotional extremity gave them sufficient strength and incentive to break the duct tape, and they fled the approaching Mellonhead successfully…

…then we have the Devil Monkey, who has been sighted in the Appalachian Montains in the 1970’s, specifically in such locations as West Point, Kentucky where Wayman and Marva Morgan were troubled by something five to seven feet tall that killed and mangled their poor Sheltie dog and made noises while ransacking their garbage cans.  Further announcing its presence by a bad odor, the Devil Monkey was spotted by Marva Morgan through a window, and was seen to have sharp fangs and claws.  In Saltville, Virginia the parents of Scott Boyd encountered a Devil Monkey while in their car, when the creature raked at their windows and left lengthy scratches in rows of three along the sides of the vehicle.  Speculations were made that perhaps the creature escaped from a government research facility (like myself), or was mutated by heavy metal pollution in the area.

Last but not least in Topeka, Kansas we were brought tales of the Blue Albino Woman, not to be confused with Smurfette or Dr. Manhattan.  This entity is rather a witch with long white hair and pale, blue-tinted skin.  A former resident of Topeka, the blue one was tormented and buried alive by sadistic local hoodlums, a practice which ticked her off royally and cast her into payback mode.  Now she frequents Rochester Cemetery and chases people out, a plague upon the living bent upon settling old scores…sounds like a plan to me!  Hundreds of sightings have been reported in the area, among them one by James George, who while a boy taken clothes shopping encountered big blue in a store among the manikins.  More recently in 2013, a Jessica Streeter went to said cemetery with her boyfriend, intent on a little amore but instead encountering the blue avenger, who reportedly scratched at them and tried to choke her. The couple managed to escape, and the young lady later used some Irish/gypsy magic to seal and protect her home from intrusion.  A local historian speculated that the Blue Albino Woman may just affect those who are looking for her…she vants to be alone!

Momo, Shadow People, and the Van Meter Monster

December 30, 2013

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– – Monsters and Mysteries in America recently provided us with three nightmares after Xmas in a new episode, just the right antidote for the holiday season! Momo it would appear is a Missouri version of Bigfoot, described by those who have seen if not loved him as a long-haired beast covered in fur and emanating a stench! In 1972, “Missouri Momo” generated quite a commotion in the confusingly-named town of Louisiana, Missouri for several months. He was spotted by two boys and their mother, and is blamed for the disappearance of several dogs, which the creature apparently has an appetite for. The only physical evidence of Momo, however, is a plaster cast of a footprint showing a deep heel imprint and unusual toes…

Shadow people are reported to haunt Maryville, Missouri, with some claiming to have seen full-figure apparitions. These tall, dark creatures are sometimes reported with glowing red eyes, and one subtype apparently is seen wearing a brimmed hat. One person reports repeated, long-term encounters with a shadow person he calls, “the Cowboy.” So persistent and brazen was this entity that he knocked on the window of the haunted man’s car! Shadow people can sometimes be seen straight on, and in such encounters their appearance is especially ghastly, for they can appear bloodied, burnt, and mutilated. In some encounters, shadow people have verbally communicated dark desires to the persons visited that they abandon or harm family members…

Lastly, the Van Meter Monster was an unwelcome visitor to a town of the same name in Iowa in 1903 who ushered forth from a coal mine located across the town. The creature is said to resemble a large, somewhat humanized bat with featherless wings and the rather convenient feature of a light which emanates from a horn on the beast’s forehead; in my opinion, sketches make it look rather prehistoric, like a pterodactyl.  Townspeople of that day were alerted to the presence of the creature by the appearance of light at night, often projected from a height at a time prior to electrification of the town.  The monster was reportedly shot at by a number of individuals and not harmed by the experience, in one encounter casting a foul odor at the shooter. After several nights of such experiences, manly men of that day gathered firearms and dynamited the mouth of the mine which apparently served as a portal for the creature. The mine has remained closed since that time, with the bat-man unavailable for comment, evidently sealed within…what a great tale!

The Unexplained Files…

August 29, 2013

20130829-074934.jpg  — The Unexplained Files, a new show on the paranormal, aired on the Discovery Science channel in my area August 28th. Running an hour, the series debut was comprised of two half hour segments which essentially represented territory previously covered elsewhere, one a pilot disappearance following his UFO report, and the second a summary of some Chupacabra sightings in Texas…

The UFO segment involved the disappearance of a young pilot in a small plane in Australia in 1978 following his radio reporting of being buzzed by an unidentified aircraft; no wreckage was ever found. The transmission ended with a metallic buzzing sound, with the inference made that an alien abduction occurred at that point of both pilot and plane. Pilot error has been officially ruled as the reason for the disappearance, although family and expert opinion were presented during the segment indicating that the pilot was not suicidal, and that the aircraft piloted would not long function if flown, say, upside down. The pilot’s transmission to a ground controller lasted for about seven minutes, however, and while agitated the pilot appeared rational and coherent, his last words rather disturbing, to the effect saying that what was hovering about him wasn’t an aircraft…(Twilight Zone theme plays)

Next came the Chupacabra stories, including footage shot through a deputy’s window as he pursued a canid creature with an elongated head and snout. There were also interviews with the woman possessing an alleged corpse, with independent DNA testing of the same matching no known species; the usual “coyote with mange” official explanations were given, although animals so afflicted are quite sick, and usually wouldn’t be expected to keep ahead of a jeep which pursued one at 45 mph over rough territory in another occurrence reported…the things are breeding, too, with pups seen along with adults. Don’t look to adopt one at PetSmart any time soon, however…

While this new series I found somewhat weak and drawn out, hounds of the paranormal are eager for anything that they can find these days.  Couldn’t they have gotten into more current mysteries, however…like what the deuce happened to Miley Cyrus?!  Anyways, next week’s episodes will reportedly include cattle mutilations; now that’s something I can really get my teeth into, ahahahaha!

 

Shadow People on “Weird or What?”

May 14, 2013

shadow – – Pity or perhaps envy William Shatner, who just can’t seem to get away from aliens and other unexplained phenomena; on the new Syfy show Weird or What?, the man best known for playing James T. Kirk on the original Star Trek series seems to be thoroughly enjoying himself!  The show makes for enjoyable viewing if only to see Shatner, who knows better than to take this stuff or himself too seriously.

An  episode of the show concerned parallel dimensions, touching also on crystal skulls and shadow people, who are the stuff of urban legends.  Speculation is lively as to whether the dark, featureless silhouette-type figures are spirits, aliens, or visitors from one of those alternative dimensions.  Commendably, a scientific explanation was offered by a credentialed individual that perhaps reported sightings of shadow people are really, after all, shadows, with the human brain hard-wired to see patterns in ambiguous stimuli presented to it.  Still, eyewitnesses reporting having seen such figures refuse to believe that they are a mere trick of the light.

As William Shatner himself has noted in an interview, the line between being amusing and intriguing is a fine one, and the show is successful in presenting weird stories in an entertaining fashion.  For a guy who’s 82, “the Shat” is where it’s at!

Western Kentucky’s “Goatman”

April 23, 2013

goatman– – Seldom are cryptids described as goat-like, but the “Goatman” of Western Kentucky is an exception.  As characterized on the Discovery Channel’s show, Monsters and Mysteries in America, the Goatman is reputed to have hypnotic powers of a sort, to be able to imitate voices, and to entice people to climb the Pope Lick railroad trestle to lure them to their doom.  

The Goatman is reportedly a hybrid creature, part man and part goat who is also associated with Louisiana, Maryland, and Texas.  Urban legends tell of the Goatman killing young lusting couples in parked cars as well as family pets.  Goats have traditionally been associated with Satan and satyrs, and the Goatman as might be expected from such linkage is also reputed to be a bit, heh, horny, breaking into houses and raping the occupants regardless of their sex.  This is not Gabby Goat of Looney Tunes fame, a one-time sidekick of Porky Pig.  Both Goatman and Gabby have an attitude, but that’s as far as the comparison goes.

Accounts of the creation of the Goatman vary, with some describing him as being a sideshow freak escaped from a circus train wreck, another considering him a genetic mutant or experiment, and still another regarding him as the product of a farmer’s unnatural attraction to his livestock…but such stories get my goat, Ahahahaha!