Creature Feature: The Riverside Monster

A long drive in the rain, the Santa Anna River welling up over the road. Suddenly the radio goes to static and the car begins to sputter. Out from the underbrush, a thing, long and lanky with glowing eyes crosses into the headlights. The Riverside Monster is up from the waters.

Riverside monster
Also called the Brain Tickler Of Riverside, the creature remains a headscratcher to this day. 

The sighting occurred on November 8, 1958, near a bridge over the Santa Anna River in California. A man named Charles Wetzel nearly ran the creature over with his car when it leapt in front of him on a partially flooded road. He would later describe the cryptid as having long arms and legs that seemed to stick out from the sides of its body. The skin seemed scaly and he described it as being “leaf-like”, which some have taken to thinking the creature was camouflaged in some way. Wetzel claimed it had no ears on its oddly round head and the eyes shined in the dark. Another disturbing feature he was able to make out was the protruding mouth.

The Santa Anna River is the purported habitat of the monster.

The Riverside Monster attempted to reach through the windshield of Wetzel’s car with one of those impossibly long arms and the frightened man drew a pistol from his glovebox. He then thought better of using the gun and possibly making his situation much worse should he miss, Wetzel decided to hit the gas instead. He ran the cryptid over and with its gurgling screams still in his ears, he drove to the nearest police station. Officers there took note of the long scratches on his car and the oil like substance across the hood and underside. When they investigated the scene, there was no sign of anything amiss.

And, other than one scared motorist on the same stretch of road claiming to see a dark shape the very next night, that was that for sightings of the Riverside Monster. The creature shares similarities with other monster sightings. One being the Dover Demon, though there are marked differences such as size and facial features. The other being a local legend about Lizard Men that supposedly dwell in a cave system under California.


(If you enjoyed the Riverside Monster, please feel free to check out other fascinating cryptids under the Creature Feature category.) 

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3 thoughts on “Creature Feature: The Riverside Monster

    1. There is always that possibility, our universe is a wide and wild place. I’ve always been partial to it being some sort of underground creature, up from the caves nearby.

  1. My son saw this monster about 20 years ago. It would have been around 2002. We were down the backside of the mountains from Big Bear Lake, CA, more or less south or southeast of Apple Valley. We were with many friends camping in the desert. There was a large hill of boulders he was playing on with other kids that night.
    He turned around and there it was roughly 5 to 7 feet from him. It took a swipe at him, he ran down that steep, boulder-hill very quickly. He told me then that he saw a really tall alien or monster.
    He described it as: super skinny-limbed and obviously not human. It’s skin was shiny, almost metallic looking, like snake skin, but not metal. It was bent at the knees, so not fully upright, but was still about 3 times his height. He was at least 4 feet, so this thing
    was big. He said the eye sockets had to have been concave, because he did not see it’s eyes. They were shadowed. He described the face as long. IIRC, he may have said it was slightly snoutish.
    On this same night, he saw the “dark sky watchers.”. They stand on a distant ridge and look at the sky left, then up, then right. Then they hunch down like werewolves, run at 60 mph, and stand and do it again. They fit the given description for dark sky watchers. When standing, they look like they wear sombreros and capes.

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