Creature Feature: Van Meter Visitor

A flying creature terrorized the small town of Van Meter Iowa for days. Seemingly out of nowhere it rose up from the mines and cut a swath of panic through the town. Descriptions of the monster defy belief. Said to be half man, half animal with large bat wings and a foul stench. Like a villain straight out of a comic book the beast was impervious to bullets and fired a red beam of light from its forehead. Sounds far fetched but to the people of that small town, including well-respected figures, it was all too real.

 

vanmeter2

“Vulture Honkers” Might just be the greatest thing I’ve ever read

The tale of Van Meter Visitor was lost for some time until records of the strange encounter were located in the town archives. It all started one night in 1903 when a man looked out his bedroom window and noticed an odd beam of light coming from the roof of the building next door. He went outside to investigate and watched as a dark shape jumped from one roof to the next, an inhuman feat due to the distance between the buildings.

The very next night one Dr. Alcott woke up to a bright light shining him in the face from his window. Fearing looters or other ruffians he took up arms and went outside to face the threat. Instead of robbers, he found himself face to face with a tall creature that walked on two legs and had large bat-like wings. The odd light was coming from a horn on the monster’s head.  The doctor fired upon the beast but the bullets seemed to have no effect, which caused the man to flee.

vanmeter1

Totally not Sauron from the X-men…promise 

There were several other sightings of the Visitor as it was being called. A guard for the local bank shot at it one night, a marksman saw it scanning the town and took aim at it only to be treated to an awful stench. People witnessed it climb down a pole in the same way a bird might, using its beak like mouth to aid in balance. It then left the town in the direction of the old mines where terrifying sounds began to emanate.

It was then seen again near the mine but this time it wasn’t alone, a second creature was with it and the whole town banded together to drive the monsters away. Armed to the teeth the townspeople of Van Meter opened fire and managed to drive the winged creatures back into the mine, where they sealed the entrance.

vanmeter3

Now that doesn’t look haunted by the soul of an angry humanized pteranodon 

And that was that. The people didn’t try to sensationalize and spread the tale, they buried it like they did the Visitor. Some of the buildings and locations found in the original reports can still be visited. Upon uncovering those reports and learning of the strange case, people have attempted to find an answer as to what the Van Meter Visitor actually was.

Once again there are those that think that it is another Alien sighting. Some think that it was mass hysteria or even a well-done hoax. The vast majority point out the connection between pterosaurs and the description of the Visitor. They then go on to suspect that it was, in fact, another cryptid known to the Native Americans as a Thunderbird. Some of the physical characteristics are the same and as far as creating storms, the bioluminescence from the Visitor’s horn could equal the Thunderbird’s lightening.

Since that has been the last sighting of the Van Meter Visitor, we may never know for sure what it was but it is none the less a fascinating case in cryptozoology.

Creature Feature: The Ningen

The ocean is vast and filled with mysteries. 71% of the Earth’s surface is water and man has only explored roughly 5% of the oceans. It seems every year brings a new discovery, a new life form previously unknown to us is dragged up from the dark waters. Sometimes old fisherman’s tales are proven to be true while some are left unfound at the bottom of the sea. Such is the Ningen.

Ningen

“We all float on…” 

Ningen, Japanese for “Human”, was first spotted sometime in the 1990’s. Massive, blubbery and white as snow, people were understandably shocked at the sightings. What disturbed them the most about the creature was its human shape. Often described as having long arms with five fingered hands, defined legs or tentacles and an obvious face with eyes and a mouth. One sighting involved a ship that at first thought they had encountered a submarine but further, inspection revealed organic movement and a color similar to smooth ice.

The Ningen has primarily been sighted in cold Antartic waters. Which understandably does lead some credence to the thought that the cryptid might actually just be oddly shaped ice. Ningens also seem to be nocturnal. While reports did come in before, interest in the creature didn’t catch fire until a post in 2007.

ningen2

Oh what would we do without you Digital Globe?

Someone claiming to be a government employee aboard a whale research ship posted on 2channel, a popular message board in Japan. The witness claimed to have sighted the creature, along with the rest of the crew, one day and frantically snapped pictures of the beast. The supposed photos were then kept from the public by the government, which some speculate have known about the creatures for some time.

The post proved so popular that Mu,  a Japanese magazine with focuses on the mysterious, did a feature on the creature. It proved to be so popular that readers began hunting for more reports and managed to unearth more information on the elusive cryptid. This wild search eventually yielded a video of the alleged creature.

Sighting begins about 1:25 in

Possible explanations for the Ningen range from the ever popular Alien theory, which has an interesting tie in with USO sightings, to an albino whale and even a prehistoric sloth. The whale theory to me holds more water, pun intended because it seems to fit the supposed massive size of the Ningen. Though the human shape of the creature does give me pause and I can only imagine how unsettling it must have been to see it raise up from the dark waters.

Sources:

http://mysteriousuniverse.org/

http://cryptidz.wikia.com/wiki/Cryptid_Wiki

Creature Feature: The Mothman

(Read The Full Article Below) 

I live in West Virginia, and for some reason this state is a hot bed for strange encounters. From the previously posted Vegetable Man to the Flatwoods Witch, the mountain state is full of monsters, none of which are more famous than The Mothman of Point Pleasant.

It all started on November 12, 1966 with a town over in Clendenin. Grave diggers were working into the late hours when they saw something large take off from a thicket of trees. They swore it wasn’t just a big bird. It looked like a man, a man with wings.

artistic mothman

An artistic representation by Cathy Wilkins of…MOTHER OF GOD, I’LL NEVER SLEEP AGAIN!!!

After that, Mothman was seen numerous times in different places throughout West Virginia. Most of the sightings seemed to occur around an old munitions factory called the West Virginia Ordinance Works or as the locals called it, the “TNT”.

The TNT area was overgrown and dotted with storage buildings made of concrete and dozens and dozens of abandoned tunnels. It was also, in the 1970s, said to be so polluted that it could be labeled a disaster site. This actually ties in with a local legend as to the Mothman’s origins.

Some people believe that the Mothman was actually a bird that was mutated by the chemical runoff from the plant. Now, this theory doesn’t really hold much water since no chemical used in the creation of gunpowder has been known to cause genetic mutation. However, there are those who believe that to this day.

It was the TNT area that played stage to the closest look anyone has ever had of the Mothman. On November 15, 1966, four friends were cruising through the TNT. Roger and Linda Scarberry and Steve and Marry Mallette had no idea what they would come across that night.

As accounts go, it was Linda who spotted the creature first. She saw a pair of glowing red eyes further up the road. When the headlights washed over the creature, they all stared in shock. Over 7 feet tall, it stood on two legs. Its body was covered in a gray/brown hide and its wings were folded.

The four were horrified of the creature. Many who have claimed to see the Mothman state that it makes them feel scared, as if it were malevolent. Some even become sick at the sight with an illness that lasts for several days.

They turned their car to speed away and panicked as the monster gave chase. It rose up into the air with a 10-15 foot wingspan and followed right along with the car, which was supposedly going 100 mph.

scarberry newspaper cliping

An article from Athens Ohio about the Scarberry sighting

Where there were dozens and dozens of sightings, even a few encounters with the Men In Black (who were keen on having witnesses keep their mouths shut,) everything seemed to come to a head with the collapse of the Silver Bridge.

On December 15, 1967, the suspension bridge collapsed and sent 31 cars into the freezing water. Sadly, 46 were killed, and while 9 survived, they were injured. Many claim to have seen the Mothman flying over the bridge before it collapsed. After the tragedy, the sightings mysteriously stopped.

There has been a photo circulating around this case for years which at first glance adds some credence to Mothman being at the scene of the bridge but upon closer inspection the supposed image is just part of the bridge itself.

mothman bridge2

Just a metal connector at he bridge top

 

Now there have been tons of theories as to what the Mothman actually is. Anything from the previously mentioned mutated bird to a sand hill crane…

sandhill crane

Come at me bro!

and an owl…

barred_owl

What is an Owl’s favorite subject? Owlgebra

However it seems a little hard to confuse an owl with a 7 foot tall human like creature. There is another odd connection between West Virginia’s Mothman, with that of Cornwall England’s Owlman (which was seen in 1976). The two sound nearly identical in terms of appearance, and with the time-frame so close together it wouldn’t be a stretch to think that they might be one and the same. (The fact that they were seen so far apart could play into the idea of migration.)

Something that did stand out to me was the long held belief by people in and around Point Pleasant that the area suffers from a curse. Legend has it that a Native American chief called Cornstalk was murdered near where the town stands today. He was killed along with his children in an act of betrayal and cursed the land.

Interestingly enough, there is a Shawnee myth about the Waupee which could explain the Mothman. The legend tales of a lonesome man who fell in love with a star maiden. They had a son and were invited to the star chief’s home in the sky. There they took the gift of a hawk feather and spread their great wings to soar across the sky.  (While a beautiful story, it doesn’t fully explain the creature. However, it goes to add credence to the idea that this being has been seen before. Myths and legends were often used to explain the explainable, after all.)

My take on the Mothman is one of hope. The creature itself ended up breathing life back into the town of Point Pleasant after the book The Mothman Prophecies and the movie with the same name came out. The little town used the monster to put themselves on the map and have become a mecca in the cyptozoological scene. While sightings have all but died out, in one town at least, the hope that something is out there is still strong.

mothman festival

Stay frosty

Sources:

http://www.roadsideamerica.com

http://cryptidz.wikia.com/wiki/Cryptid_Wiki

https://www.prairieghosts.com/

Creature Feature: Devils of Son Doong

Read The Full Article Below

There are stories all over the world about monsters living right under our feet. They dwell in caves and come up to steal our children or wait until we wonder into their lair. That fear of things below is ingrained into our DNA and is one that crosses cultures, creeds and nationalities.

For years residents around Son Doong cave in Vietnam have talked about strange, human like snakes. These reptilian creatures dwell down deep in the cave and have been said to kill those unlucky enough to venture to far.

reptilianul-din-pestera

Evidence or pareidolia? possibly even Old Greg

Ever since the cave become popular among tourists for it’s beauty and unique features, unsettling reports have started to come in about half glimpsed beings in the shadows. While most of the sightings are sporadic and little more than word of mouth or second hand rumors, a video surfaced in 2015. Allegedly it is the only recorded sighting of what some are calling the “Devils of Soon Dong Cave.”

Now as I said before the concept of a monstrous race living in the subterranean darkness under us is nothing new. In the western world and in Christian mythology, there is the concept of hell and the demons that torment there. Even in the biblical creation myth, Satan tempts as a snake that walks like a man. Japan has depictions of the turtle like kappa.Even artwork featuring the courts of hell(Yomi) in Shinto show reptilian creatures.

shinto-hell

Ah the old family BBQ!

I can believe that there are some sort of creatures out there that could be responsible for these sightings. The connections are there that some version of them existed in the past and was enough to fill our ancestors with instinctual terror. Try not to remember any of that the next time you go cave diving.

Stay frosty out there.

Sources:

 

Creature Feature: The Melonheads

Something strange is said to stalk the woods at night. Small bodies, large misshapen heads, evidence of a tragic secret some would say. Others, talk of feral madness and inbreeding to levels that would make Wrong Turn look tame.

goonies-monster

“I only dropped you once…ok twice…look it was a couple of times but still!”

Called Melonheads by those who have claimed to see them. They have been sighted as far back as the 1800’s and in three states (Michigan, Connecticut, and Ohio). Described as around the size of a child and suffering from a huge swelling of the cranium, a medical condition called Hydrocephalus. Stories as to their origin abound but the most popular center around a fringe doctor named Crowe.

It is said that Dr. Crowe had saved the children from the streets but in truth took them to his country estate as test subjects. He injected chemicals into their brains which caused the large melon like shapes and lead to madness. After years of abuse the Melonheads rose up against the doctor and killed him by hanging him from a chain and burning his house down around him.

Another origin tale echos Dr. Crowe by stating the children were escaped mental patients who burned down their asylum to live in the woods. There they resorted to cannibalism and murder in order to stay alive. Eventually they began to breed with each other and commit incest, which lead to the mental retardation and Hydrocephalus.

melonhead

Hello, I am elder Melon and I would like to share with you this most amazing book!

Most of the sightings are localized to certain areas in all three states.

  • Michigan- They are said to live in the woods around Ottowa County and near Felt mansion. (Which is where many claim the insane asylum was)
  • Ohio-  The Melonheads are said to stay around an area called “Crybaby Bridge”. Several locals claim to see mutilated animals in the woods there on a regular basis.
  • Connecticut-Has a long history with the Melonheads as well. Most sightings have been reported around Fairfield County but reports have come in from nearly ten towns as well.

As far as my take on these strange little cryptids go,I’d have to say it isn’t likely these poor souls are out there. If they were I would hate to classify them as “creatures” since all stories point to them being human. Every state with hills seems to have a sort of backwoods myth like this.

Stay frosty out there

Creature Feature: Lamb of Tartary

Full Article Below

You know making clothes the old fashioned way was really a pain. Remember going out to the fields and pulling down the fresh lambs growing from tall stalks and sheering them? What, you don’t remember that? Surely you remember opening up the long pods to check on the naked baby lambs inside for next years harvest, No? Then you must not have had a Lamb of Tartary.

lamb-plant

Looks like a fine crop, I’d say

Dating well before the 16th century, this fascinating little cryptid was documented in Central Asia. The people there claimed the creature was both an animal and a plant. It’s life cycle started as a tall stalk which acted like an umbilical cord to the soil. Pods would then grow, filled with naked lambs and soon they would reach maturity at the very top of the stalk. There the Lamb of Tartary would sway back and forth to eat the grass around it until the food was gone. Without grass to eat it would die of starvation. The locals would come to shave it and drink it’s honey like blood.

In 1887 a writer named Henry Lee caused a stir with his book The Vegetable Lamb of Tartary. The book sparked a debate on what parts of the creature were animal and what parts were plant and ultimately listed the cryptid as a fable for the cotton plant. Reasoning that the local people had no idea of “cotton” but knew well that “wool” came from sheep.

cotton-and-wool

They do look pretty similar

There is also strong connection between the Lamb Of Tartary and a Jewish myth called the Yeduah. The Yeduah was said to be a sheep that grew from the ground by a long stalk and only by severing the stalk could the Yeduah be killed. It’s bones were then said to be used in religious divination. Stories about Yeduah were sometimes very violent. The creature was said to sometimes swing down from the stalk and snatch people up.

My thoughts on this strange creature are pretty mixed. I agree that it is most likely allegory for the cotton plant but the strong connection between the Lamb of Tartary and the Jewish Yeduah give me pause. Seems very odd that something from Central Asian myth could show up, almost perfectly mirrored, in old Jewish folklore.

Stay frosty out there

Sources:

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/

http://cryptidz.wikia.com/wiki/Cryptid_Wiki

Creature Feature: The West Virginia Vegetable Man

Full Article Below

YOU NEED NOT FEAR ME. I WISH TO COMMUNICATE. I COME AS A FRIEND. WE KNOW OF YOU ALL. I COME IN PEACE. I WISH MEDICAL ASSISTANCE. I NEED YOUR HELP.”

These are the strange, fragmented words a man named Jennings Frederick claimed to have heard from the mouth of a monstrous creature. Frederick was a bow hunter and on a hunt outside Fairmont, West Virginia (on a hot day in 1968) he heard an odd sound. This sound, like “a high-pitched jabbering…a record running at exaggerated speed”, would lead him to an event that would change his life.

Frederick came across the creature, which he described as being much taller than himself but skinny as the stalk of a river reed. It’s body was skeletal and green like a blade of grass but it’s eyes were sickly yellow. From it’s hands stretched out thin, impossibly long fingers that ended in wide suction cups. From the cups were needle like thorns.

veg-man

We’re going to need more ranch over here!!!

It spoke the above words to him in that same fast paced jabbering before lunging at him and sticking those thorns deep into his hand. The creature was strong and as blood was drained from his body, those eyes began to flash from yellow to red in such a way that Frederick felt hypnotized. The pain faded the longer he held the plant like creatures gaze. Then, as abruptly as it attacked, the Vegetable Man shot off and up a hill at inhuman speeds.

Not long after that Frederick heard a deep humming, which he later concluded must have been the entity’s ship taking off. Frederick kept this account a secret from everyone until he finally broke down and told the story to Gray Barker.

Gray Barker will be the subject of another post later on since he is a controversial figure in many paranormal accounts from West Virginia. He is credited as coining the term “Men In Black” as well as having connections to both the Mothman and Flatwoods Witch cases.

My own take on this possible encounter is one of non-commitment. There was never another sighting of any creature that even came close to this thing since the original in 1968. To me there isn’t really much to go on to form an opinion either way. In any event it, the odd case of West Virginia’s Vegetable Man is an interesting addition to our increasingly strange world.

Stay frosty out there

Sources:

http://www.cryptopia.us/

http://ufozone15.blogspot.com/