There are a few weird creatures in the field of Cryptozoology, but I’ve heard of some really odd ones. With that said, let’s have a look. Here’s number one: Sometimes a monster is described as being so incredibly strange that one can do very little beyond than relate the facts – chiefly because the available facts are so strange and near-unfathomable, in terms of what they might represent. A perfect example of just such a uniquely weird case dates back to the 1950s. In terms of the location, all we know for sure is that it was somewhere in the vicinity of Falls City, Richardson County, Nebraska. As for the witness, we know him only as “John Hanks,” an admitted pseudonym that the man in question chose to use to protect his real identity. When you read the details of his experience, you will undoubtedly realize why the man was determined to protect his real name from prying, inquiring eyes. It’s a case that was carefully investigated by one of the world’s foremost experts on bizarre, flying beasts, Ken Gerhard. Even Gerhard, for all the cases of flying anomalies he has investigated, finds the entire affair baffling – which is saying something!
It was late one night, at some point in the latter part of 1956, said Hanks, when he came face to face with a true giant; a creature in excess of nine feet in height, one that was humanoid in shape, but which most certainly could never be termed a member of the human race. That much, at least, we can ascertain from Hanks’ description. Ken Gerhard says, with a great deal of justification, that “[Hanks’] description of the creature sounds reminiscent of something out of an H.P. Lovecraft story.” Ken is not wrong in suggesting that Hanks’ monster would have found itself right at home in the pages of one of the legendary horror maestro’s novels. In fact, Gerhard is right on target.
Hanks’ nightmarish thing had a pair of fifteen-foot-wide wings that, rather oddly, appeared to be made of bright, shining, aluminum! Not only that, the wings appeared to be strapped to the creature; almost grafted onto its body in definitive cyborg-style. If that was not nearly strange enough, the robot-birdman displayed numerous, multi-colored lights that spanned the entire undersides of both wings. Whether for illumination, display, or something else, Hanks didn’t know. Even stranger still, if such a thing is possible, the winged man-thing had a “panel” attached to its chest and which, Hanks assumed, was some kind of control mechanism that allowed the creature to land, take-off, and soar the heavens above. Some, having read the above, might consider and conclude this case to have been nothing stranger than one involving a brilliant, eccentric inventor who had managed to create a portable contraption to allow people to take to the skies in amazing, novel, and previously unheard of, fashion. Of course, the height of the figure – around nine feet – effectively rules out such a possibility from the outset, but it would be a scenario at least worth considering. Except for one critical component: the creature’s terrifying, unforgettable face.
Described by the witness as being nothing less than “demonic” in appearance, it had skin that was akin to weathered, battered, brown leather. Its eyes were large, staring, evil-looking and “watery.” The only noise it ever made was a malevolent hissing sound that, hardly surprisingly, sent chills throughout Hanks’ entire body. Whatever the true nature of the monster that stood before Hanks, it didn’t hang around. In mere moments it was airborne, and within a few more seconds it was lost from view; never again to return and plague the people of Falls City in general and the pseudonymous John Hanks in particular. Much to his eternal relief, one strongly suspects.
Now, to our next weirdo-monster: If, like me, you’re a fan of the writings of the late Linda Godfrey – and particularly her werewolf-themed book, The Michigan Dogman, then what I’m about to share with you now is likely to be of deep interest. It’s an old newspaper story – dating back more than a century – that is eerily reminiscent of some of Linda’s findings. And, it demonstrates that when we dig into the past, we can sometimes find fascinating tales that have a direct bearing on the present. The story in question was published in the pages of several newspapers, including the Pittsburgh Press on May 3, 1905, and the Rake, Iowa Register on June 15, 1905. The Register’s article has the eye-catching title of “Dog With a Human Face.” Its sub-title: “Strange Monstrosity Seen By Many Persons In Colorado Hills — Attempt Capture In Vain.” According to the newspaper staff, an unidentified creature had then recently been seen “roaming the hills” of Buena Vista, Colorado, and specifically in the vicinity of Wildhorse – a station on the Colorado Midland Railway.
The Register reporter continued that “a prominent ranchwoman” driving across the Arkansas River had the shock of her life when something terrible loomed into view. As she crossed one particular bridge, the woman was shocked to see a “monstrosity” standing in the road. It was terrifying enough to cause her horse to panic, “almost throwing her from the rig.” Interestingly, the Register said that the river was “where the animal has its lair.” As for the creature’s physical description, it went like this: “It was about the size and build of a full-grown greyhound and of a drab color, its glistening sides being covered with black spots as large as silver dollars.” Its eyes were set close together and its pointed ears stood tall. But, then came the most remarkable part of the story: the long-tailed animal “had an almost human face, and a bristling red moustache ornamented the proper place upon its physiognomy.” There’s not much that can be said about that! A real-life Dog-Faced Thing!
Now, to a real-life dragon-type creature: One might be forgiven for thinking that sightings of large, winged monsters only ever occur in the skies over large forests and jungles, and above remote mountains. Not so. In fact, far from it. In 1984, just such an unearthly beast was seen soaring over the capital city of the United Kingdom: London! The specific location was Brentford, a town situated within west London. The day on which all hell broke loose was hardly of the kind one might expect to associate with a monster. There were no dark and stormy skies, no thunder and lightning, and no howling winds. Instead, there was nothing but a warm, pleasant, sunny day in March.
The man who kicked off the firestorm of controversy was Kevin Chippendale, who, at the time, was walking along Brentford’s Braemer Road. As he did so, Chippendale’s attention was drawn to something strange in the sky. It was some sort of large, flying animal. Not the kind of thing you see every day, to be sure. And in a decidedly synchronistic fashion, it all went down in the skies directly above a local pub called The Griffin. It was the imagery of a legendary griffin of ancient mythology that Chippendale most associated with the thing he briefly encountered. It was winged, fork-tailed, and sported mean-looking talons and a dog-like muzzle. Chippendale could do nothing but stare in awe. And in shock and terror, too.
For vast numbers of the human population spiders provoke a sense of creepiness and dread. Sometimes, for people with arachnophobia, outright terror. And that’s often as a result of an encounter with a small spider. Imagine, then, encountering a spider the size of a dog! You think it couldn’t happen? It’s time to think again. For decades, accounts have surfaced of giant-sized spiders, ones that easily rival anything conjured up by the world of Hollywood. The largest known spider is the South American bird-eating spider, which goes by the name of Theraphosa blondi. One particular specimen, a twelve-year-old named Rosi, has an impressive leg-span of just under twelve inches, making her the largest, living spider on record – ever. That does not mean nothing larger than Rosi exists. It simply means we haven’t formally classified it or them. But, more than a few people claim to have seen such things.
In 2001, English cryptozoologist Dr. Karl Shuker heard a fascinating story from explorer Bill Gibbons, who spent a great deal of time investigating reports of the Congo’s most famous monster, the long-necked Mokele M’Bembe. The story dates back to 1938 and the experiences of a pair of explorers, Reginald and Margurite Lloyd. While negotiating a jungle pathway in the heart of the Belgian Congo, they saw something very strange step out in front of them. Their first thoughts were: was it a small crouching person, or a similarly crouched monkey? To their eternal horror, it quickly became clear it was neither. What it actually was, was a gigantic spider, one that had legs which spanned four-feet! Reginald Lloyd, realizing the enormity of the situation – never mind the enormity of the creature – quickly reached for his camera. Unfortunately, the beast raced across the track and vanished into the undergrowth before he could capture what would, most assuredly, have been a priceless picture. The pair was in doubt about what they had encountered, however: a truly giant, eight-limbed monstrosity.
The amazing account of the Lloyd’s does not stand alone: the local Baka pygmy people have longstanding stories of these goliath spiders, which are said to be far rarer today than they once were; although, reportedly, one of their tribespeople saw such a terrifying thing in 2003. As for the lairs of the beasts, the Baka maintain they create something akin to huts, which are fashioned out of leaves and vegetation. They are also skilled weavers of massive, thick webs, which they build to ensnare their prey, which can include anything up to about the size of a small antelope. Moving on to the United States, there is the 1948 report of William Slaydon, his wife, and grandchildren – which eerily echoes the report coming out of the Congo a decade earlier. The location was Leesville, Louisiana, and the family was walking to a nearby church for an evening of worship and prayer when their journey was suddenly interrupted – and in horrific fashion. As the Slaydons strolled along the road, to their horror, a giant spider – described as being “the size of a washtub” – surfaced out of a nearby ditch and raced across the road. Never again did the family walk that particular stretch of Louisiana road.
And finally…Is it possible that the southwest region of the United States is home to giant-sized insects that feed upon us, the human race? Such a thing sounds not just unlikely and incredible, but just like the kind of scenario presented in the classic 1954, sci-fi move, Them! It’s a movie in which massive, radioactive ants terrorize and slaughter the people of a small New Mexico town, and threaten to do likewise to not just the rest of the country, but to the entire planet, too. Which brings us to an important question: might truth be stranger than fiction? Yes, just possibly. Danielle B. is a woman who, for a number of years, lived in the New Mexican town of Aztec – which, just like the far more famous New Mexican town of Roswell, has a crashed UFO legend attached to it. It’s a legend which dates back to March 1948, when, reportedly, a near-intact flying saucer and its crew of diminutive dead pilots were found. But, according to Danielle, she encountered something far stranger at Aztec than deceased extraterrestrial dwarfs and a wrecked flying saucer.
It was on one particular day in May 2004 that Danielle decided to spend a few hours hanging out in Aztec’s Hart Canyon – which, curiously enough, is exactly where the alleged UFO is said to have fallen to earth, back in the 1940s. It was also where Danielle had an encounter with something far worse than aliens. On what was a warm and sunny day, Danielle found a place to sit, where she could read a book, and have her snacks and drinks at hand. It was a perfect way to spend a day off work. Or, for a while it was, at least. All was normal for a couple of hours. That is, until Danielle noticed a small, black helicopter approaching her in the distance. Far more correctly, she assumed that it was a helicopter.
Certainly, at a distance that’s what it appeared to be. But it was no normal helicopter: there was no “thud-thud” sound that one associates with the fast-moving blades of a helicopter. And, on top of that, it appeared to be carrying below it a small calf, held tightly in place by thick ropes! Most definitely not the kind of thing you see every day. When the helicopter got close to Hart Canyon, however, Danielle could see that the helicopter was actually nothing of the sort. It was a large, obscene-looking insect of around four meters in length. The presumed rotor-blades of the helicopter were actually the fast-beating wings of the monster-creature. As for those ropes, they were nothing less than powerful-looking black limbs.
Danielle could only stare – in a mixture of awe, fascination, fear, and horror – as the huge creature flew overhead, dropped the poor calf on a nearby peak, and then swooped to the ground with frightening speed, pounced on the animal, and viciously tore into it. In less than half an hour the giant insect was done with its feasting and took to the skies. Danielle had been too shocked to flee the area at the time; the result of which was that the terrible event was forever embedded in her memory. What a gang of monsters!