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.
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 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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