Mongolian Death Worm: the Gobi Desert’s Killer Cryptid

Landlocked between Russian and Chinese borders sits the picturesque country of Mongolia. Most associate this part of the world with Genghis Kahn, Tuvan throat singing  or delicious cuisine. Encompassing the southern region is the Gobi, one of Earth’s largest deserts. The barren East Asian tundra spans across over half a million square miles. Temperatures here are extreme and range from 120 degrees Fahrenheit to well below freezing. Other perils include poisonous scorpions, seasonal flooding and fierce sandstorms. Despite extremely harsh conditions, many animals thrive here. Gazelle, bear, marbled polecats, jerboa, and highly endangered snow leopards inhabit the inhospitable terrain. Some say there is an unknown species also residing in the Gobi- a killer cryptid known as the Mongolian death worm.

Locals call the creature olgoi-khorkhoi, which translates to “intestine worm”, a name derived from its visceral appearance. Based on eyewitness testimonies, death worms are said to reach five feet in length with large spikes protruding from both ends. Indigenous people claim the invertebrates lay eggs inside of a camel’s stomach. Upon hatching, they absorb the color of their host’s blood and results in brightly saturated red-hued bodies. Simply brushing against the parasite results in excruciating pain and a near instantaneous demise. Reportedly, the soil-inhabitant can also kill prey from a distance, through shooting an electrical discharge or by spitting lethal venom. Those who are stricken by the deadly spray turn a sickening shade of yellow before perishing.

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The Gobi is one of the largest deserts on Earth and covers over 500,000 square miles.

Death worms live underground and create distinctive waves of sand upon the surface whilst roaming. For ten months of the year, they hibernate and then become active in June and July. Native Mongolians report seeing the creatures surface after heavy rainfall. If larger food sources are unavailable they will consume rodents and other types of vermin. It is believed the appendage-lacking brutes are exoskeletal and shed their skin when in danger. Researchers speculate it may be an amphisbaenidae, a carnivorous reptile better known as worm lizards. These burrowing saurians reside throughout sub-Saharan Africa, South America, and several Caribbean islands.

Westerners first heard of death worms in 1926 following the release of On the Trail of Ancient Man, a book written by American paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews. Four years prior to his publication, Andrews joined the American Museum of Natural History’s Central Asiatic Expedition. Government officials had alerted the United States institution of a terrifying legless serpent wreaking havoc in rural areas. Even Mongolia’s leader wholeheartedly believed in its existence. Prime Minister Damdinbazar publicly stated: “It is shaped like a sausage about two feet long, has no head nor legs and it is so poisonous that merely touching it means an instant death.” Such a prominent and highly respected figure speaking openly about a supposedly mythical breed greatly piqued the museum’s interest.

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Roy Chapman Andrews was an explorer and adventurer who inspired the character Indian Jones.

Prior to the group’s historic embarkment, a mandatory cabinet meeting was required. Professor Andrews and foundation representatives met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs as well as the Mongolian Premier himself. Permission for their extensive undertaking was only granted on the condition they would obtain a specimen of Allergorhai horhai. Upon both party’s agreement, the journey commenced. Throughout the 1920s a team scholars combed the Central Asian plateau in its entirety. While hunting for the enigmatic wriggler, Andrews became the first person to discover fossilized dinosaur eggs. Regardless of being unable to find evidence during their search, the archeologist stated every person gave a nearly identical description, down to the most “minute detail”.

Andrews was not the only explorer to seek the elusive ground-dweller. Ivan Mackerle, esteemed cryptozoologist and a leading expert on the Loch Ness Monster, traveled to Mongolia in pursuit of olgoi-khorkhoi. Mackerle visited the territory in 1990, 1992 and 2004 to interview nomads. An elderly woman shared several encounters she heard from local fishermen. When stalking prey, the creature will move half its body above the sand. Then their upper half begins to inflate and a toxin-filled bubble forms and is used to spew venom at unsuspecting victims. Although the questioned senior citizen appeared incredibly sincere, she admitted her information was based on others’ experiences.

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Nomadic tribespeople were terrorized by a creature called olgoi khorkoi.

One particularly intriguing account involved a small boy who was playing with his bright yellow ball, which unfortunately caught the limb-lacker’s attention. Gobi residents claim this particular color attracts the slithering beast. When the curious youngster approached it, he reached out and gently stroked the flesh. Within mere seconds the unsuspecting child was deceased. His parents soon discovered their son’s corpse and immediately recognized the post-mortem symptoms. Furious and grief-stricken, they decided to hunt for the slug-like perpetrator. Neither parent ever made it back to the village alive. Townspeople suspected they had been killed by the vengeful fiend.

During his final voyage, Mackerle became familiar with another layer of the centuries-old enigma. While visiting a Buddhist monastery he was warned of writhing executioners’ supernatural abilities. Monks believed the ferocious annelids were filled with evil energy. Stranger yet, they advised the investigator that a firsthand encounter would destroy him. In spite of brushing off their ominous words, Mackerle suffered from terrifying nightmares about wriggling crimson carnivores the same evening. Upon waking, he felt a burning sensation on his back. Covering his flesh were dozens of inflamed boils. None of these painful wounds were present hours earlier and could not have been inflicted by any known insects. Mackerle was convinced his affliction was caused by the wicked one’s spirit. In fact, the researcher was so traumatized by this incident that he never returned to Mongolia.

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Buddhist monks believe death worms were an evil entity that should be avoided.

Zoological director, Richard Freeman, was captivated by tales of the massive oriental grub. In 2005 his organization, Centre for Fortean Zoology, ventured to the eastern sector. Freeman soon learned the cryptid is very much real to nomadic tribesmen. His interpreter informed him of an entire village shifting positions after local inhabitants set eyes upon the terrifying scarlet monster. Over 1,000 miles of the Gobi were scoured by investigators in hopes of unearthing proof of death worms. Excursion members came up empty-handed but Freeman firmly believes verification has not come forward for strictly political reasons. From 1945 through 1990, Mongolia was under communist rule. Throughout the decades-long reign, authorities criminalized searching for the leech-entity. Those in power insisted aforementioned endeavors were a waste of resources since the animal “did not exist”.

Nearly a century after the initial quest for Mongolia’s murderous maggot, more questions than answers still remain. Countless individuals have embarked on nearly identical crusades only to return empty-handed. Scientists argue the geographic environment rules out any possibility of annelid or nematode presence. High temperatures and an arid setting do not support the theory of such lifeforms’ existence. If an unknown species is inhabiting the Gobi it’s more likely a class of burrowing lizard. Cryptozoology enthusiasts remain open-minded citing complications have hindered any discoveries. Given the desert’s precarious surroundings, a lack of human population and restrictions to the area, it’s entirely plausible an unidentified living organism has simply avoided detection. However, until conclusive evidence comes forward, olgoi-khorkhoi will remain a mystery.

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Death worms are thought to surface only two months of the year.

Do you believe the Mongolian death worm exists or is it merely a mythical legend? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this bizarre cryptid.

The Russian Navy Divers who were Attacked by Aquatic Aliens [Lake Baikal Humanoids]

Located in southeastern Siberia, towards Mongolia’s border, sits the planet’s oldest and deepest lake. Nearly one-quarter of Earth’s fresh water is contained here. Astonishing depths of over five thousand feet have been measured in certain areas. A myriad of unique plant and animal species inhabit the frigid territory, many of which exist nowhere else in the world. Scientists estimate this massive basin formed as an ancient rift valley more than twenty-five million years ago. For centuries, Lake Baikal has been home to a plethora of unexplained phenomena. Locals claim countless peculiar UFO encounters frequently occur within this remote region of Russia. Some theorize an extraterrestrial base is lurking beneath the picturesque exterior.

One of the most bizarre reports occurred in 1982 during a routine Soviet military training dive. While navigating the foreboding aquatic realm, Navy personnel noticed anomalous figures swimming nearby. Perplexed, they watched in bewilderment as several curious creatures approached them. Despite being stationed at a depth of over one hundred and sixty-four feet, these humanoids wore no modern equipment. Each donned tight-fitting metallic suits complete with a helmet-like apparatus completely covering their heads. Upon closer inspection, troopers noticed the aliens were nearly ten feet tall. However, the colossal loch-dwellers soon disappeared back into the murky abyss.

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Seven Russian Navy divers were attacked by a group of hostile extraterrestrials.

Following this eerie run-in, the intrigued commander ordered his recruits to capture a subaqueous alien. Seven Scuba divers entered the glacial lake and began their harrowing descent. Soon after navigating an elevator of declining temperatures, multiple entities emerged. One frogman attempted to catch the unearthly specimen in a large net. At that moment, all hell broke loose for the unsuspecting flotilla group. Suddenly the nonhuman brutes fought back by shooting intense sonar waves from strange devices. A powerful force rendered every crew member unconscious and rapidly propelled them to the surface.

Catapulting upwards from extreme depths can have devastating effects on our bodies, resulting in a condition often called “the bends”. Three of the squadron were seriously injured but did not succumb to this affliction. The remaining fellows needed immediate transfer to a decompression chamber. Unfortunately, there was only one recompression chamber in the region and it was designed for merely two people at a time. Out of sheer desperation, four men entered simultaneously in an attempt to save their lives. Tragically, this last-ditch effort did not go as planned. Three individuals perished as a result of their superior’s hasty decision. Those who survived the terrifying ordeal would be left with life-altering disabilities.

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UFO sightings occur at extremely high rates throughout the Baikal area.

Following this harrowing catastrophe, KGB agents ceased further attempts of USO (Unidentified Submerged Object) acquisition. For decades the horrifying events which transpired remained hidden by high-ranking authorities. Vladimir Azhazha, former Soviet Naval officer and esteemed ufologist, declared Russian government executives recently released declassified files. In these documents, the Baikal aquanauts are described in great detail. Unsurprisingly, Navy commanders had been extensively monitoring numerous underwater vehicles navigating the lake. Such technological capabilities greatly intrigued them; if engineers could replicate the vessels’ inconceivable speeds, unprecedented militaristic advantages would be gained.

Throughout the eras, Baikal has been no stranger to mysterious UFO activities. During the late 1950s a TU-104 jet crashed into the lake after it was pursued by an unknown metallic vehicle. The frantic pilot radioed a distraught message to air traffic controllers informing them of this alleged attack. According to informants, all staff on duty at the time were forced to sign non-disclosure agreements. Numerous community fisherman attested to viewing the frightening areal attack. Anglers described how a silver flying saucer chased a plane until it plummeted into the water and disappeared from their sight. Despite considerable testimonies, no conclusive evidence or official records of this event have ever surfaced.

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NASA released photos taken from the International Space Station in 2009. Some believe they show a USO emerging from the water.

In April of 2009 the enigmatic Siberian sector made global headlines yet again. Astronauts aboard an international space station photographed two circular convection breaks, thought to be produced by enormous aquatic crafts. One was located near the lake’s center while the other was positioned towards Baikal’s southern end. Both appeared to be created by something ascending beneath the thick ice-laden outer layer. The pair of disk-shaped cracks were perfectly symmetrical and astonishingly measure three miles in diameter. These immense fractures were so precise making them impossible to manufacture or replicate. Certain researchers believe the NASA-produced images are evidence of spaceships emerging from the dark waters below.

Yet another unsettling occurrence took place in 2011 when an alien body was discovered. Footage shows one Irkutsk resident guiding the camera man towards a forested area. Atop the snow-covered ground lays a small extraterrestrial. It possesses an enlarged cranium, opaque grayish body and dark eyes blankly staring ahead. Something appears to have ripped off the creature’s right leg. Amid this expletive-laden footage, our winter-clad host explains how his dog sniffed out the captivating cadaver. Mere weeks before the chilling scene was filmed, dozens of villagers witnessed unidentifiable lights hovering above their homes. Conspiracy theorists speculate a UFO crash may be responsible for the macabre martian corpse. Viewers are torn regarding the authenticity of the video; some believe a genuine unknown species was uncovered while others blame crafty cinematic hoaxers.

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An bizarre video surfaced in 2011 which appears to show the corpse of a small extraterrestrial.

As time progresses, onlookers continue to be dazzled by the obscure skies. Intriguing incidents take place at staggering rates across the district’s vicinity. In this technological era where most people are never without their smart phones, more of these perplexing crafts are captured and shared via the web. One such example happened in October of 2016 while spectators observed extraordinary green flashes above their rural town. Bystanders and experts alike were baffled by the unusual scene. Such remarkable sightings and otherworldly happenings have even caught the eye of famed director, Steven Spielberg. The film tycoon intends to create a documentary titled “Depth 211” which will explore Lake Baikal’s baffling history.

Only four years ago, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev made a shocking announcement at the World Economic Forum. In his public statement he lamented how “the time has come” for the world to know the truth about extraterrestrials visitors. In fact, Mr. Medvedev believes aliens are already living amongst us and have been doing so for quite a while. Even more brazen, the political leader warned if United States officials refuse come forward with this monumental information, Russian representatives will do so themselves. Given recent ufology-related announcements and unveiled files, it is entirely plausible that the Kremlin is gearing up for full disclosure. Perhaps sooner than we may think the astounding truth of interplanetary beings will finally be acknowledged by those who have known all along.

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Lake Baikal has been home to a plethora of unexplained UFO activity for decades.

Do you believe that Lake Baikal is harboring an underwater base? Share your opinions in the comment section and let me know your thoughts on this fascinating topic!

Expedition Skunk Ape: Searching for Florida’s Bigfoot

When one thinks of the Sunshine State three things typically come to mind: Disney World, spring-breakers and elderly retirees. Yet most vacationers never set foot outside the infamous amusement parks or pristine beaches. Just beyond major tourist destinations are millions of undeveloped wetland acres. Gators, Burmese pythons, wild boar and endangered panthers call the region home. Some individuals claim that there is another species inhabiting Florida’s swampy terrain, an unaccounted Bigfoot-like creature called Skunk Ape.bright-dawn-evening-1096038 Native tribespeople were familiar with this beast long before European explorers arrived. According to Seminole legend, a monstrous being referred to as ‘hairy man’ roamed the encompassing bush. Supposedly, in the early 1800s, one particularly violent battle between early settlers and a Skunk Ape resulted in several men’s fatalities. Encounters with the elusive cryptid continued for centuries but gained notoriety after a series of sightings occurred over sixty years ago. On December 22, 2000, Sarasota County Sheriff’s department received two mysterious photographs from an anonymous source. Dubbed the “Myakka Skunk Ape Photos,” these unnerving images depict a large bipedal hominid. Accompanying the peculiar portraits was a letter from the photographer. She identified herself as a senior citizen who snapped several pictures in her backyard and had concerns for the safety of her young grandchildren.myakkaape2 Witnesses describe the bog-inhabitants as having muscular bodies covered with red-tinged fur. They are estimated to reach heights of over seven feet tall and weigh a staggering four hundred and fifty pounds. Many who have experienced firsthand nocturnal confrontations recount glowing red eyes. Skunk Ape’s name derives from its unpleasant scent. Those within close proximity frequently report a strong foul-smelling odor, similar to methane gas or rotten eggs. Over three hundred and twenty observational reports have been filed with the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization. Washington, California and Florida, respectively, comprise the top three states where Sasquatch sightings most frequently occur.1My partner, Clint, and I traveled to an undisclosed rural Southwestern location in search of the reclusive animal. Our tightly packed truck more closely resembled a circus clown car than an expedition vehicle. With enough supplies to survive post-apocalypse, the journey away from civilization began. Idly peering out the passenger-side window, I realized this landscape was a stark contrast from my days on the Jersey Turnpike. A seemingly infinite mosaic of picturesque farmland and grazing cattle sprawled hypnotically. As the miles progressed, my mind drifted into daydreams of Skunk Ape. If this revered brute truly exists then it most certainly could thrive in such a remote place.2 Suddenly my cryptozoological musings abruptly halted as we made a sharp righthand turn. Completely covering the bumpy dirt road was a thick oak hammock canopy. Spanish moss hung from twisted tree limbs and created a hauntingly beautiful scene. In the distance we could see a quaint lakeside cabin; we finally reached the destination. Our fearsome protectors, two toothless senior chihuahuas, curiously inspected their new territory. While we unstrapped our canoe from the roof racks a back-woodsy looking woman slowly approached us. “Y’all taking that thang out on the water?”, she asked through her thick southern drawl. Confused, Clint replied we were planning to, and asked her if there was problem. The woman laughed and said, “Naw, it’s fine but I seen gators here bigger than that dingy”. It wouldn’t be long before we realized this lady wasn’t exaggerating.twoLater that night I sat alone on the front porch serenaded by a symphony of crickets, tree frogs and howling coyotes. Thousands of stars shimmered above casting an ethereal glow atop the water’s rhythmic surface. Despite the balmy and tropical evening temperatures, there was a deep chill which I could not ignore. An unshakeable sensation washed over me: something had been closely watching. Leering from the abysmal darkness a sentient presence could be sensed. Unexpectedly, a tree branch snapped from deep within the shadows. With my heart racing, I hastily gazed towards the tree line ahead. Dead dried leaves and palm fronts crunched beneath what sounded like two heavy feet. Frozen by a state of apprehensive excitement, I remained still and listened intently. The swift movements traveled further away until they eventually became inaudible.6On the following morning we ventured to a National State Park. Many bizarre and unexplained disappearances take place within these sites each year. Below the sun’s pleasant rays, we briskly walked towards a nearby thicket. With each step the scenery became more wild and dense. After hours of hiking whilst scouring for prints or hair samples, a popup thunderstorm quickly developed. Towering nimbus clouds shaded the area and cool gusts of wind provided much-needed relief from overly persistent misquotes. Onwards we noticed an unusual structure erected amongst the trees. In the middle of nowhere, miles away from any designated trails, stood a massive cage.4 Galvanized steel beams supported the peculiar enclosure. Weaved wire paneling wrapped around all four sides creating a barrier from the outside world. Standing about fourteen feet tall, this industrial cell starkly contrasted against the surrounding greenery. Lush foliage consumed the weathered metal and produced a dilapidated appearance. I couldn’t help but wonder what purpose the holding pen might provide. Perplexed, we cautiously turned to look at each other. At that precise moment we noticed an eerie silence radiating throughout the forest. Instead of chirping birds, rustling branches and buzzing insects, an ominous stillness engulfed us. It felt as if someone had pressed a universal mute button. Intense feelings of dread formed in the pit of my stomach.5Hastily we checked the time only to realize several hours had somehow passed. Both of us felt extremely disorientated and pulled out a trusted compass for guidance. Instantaneously, the device spun erratically in every direction when attempting to relocate our main route. By this point the dreary skies completely opened and colossal raindrops started plummeting down. For a lengthy period it seemed we were merely running in muddy circles. Thankfully, the distant parking lot slowly came into view. Relief ran through my veins once I spotted the truck: we were not going to be a chapter in one of David Paulides’ latest Missing 411 installments.8During my week-long expedition I searched for Skunk Ape by foot, car and boat. Although I was unable to find definitive proof of such a creature, I am more confident than ever about its existence. Take Florida’s cougar population for example. Millions of people reside here but few residents have ever set eyes on the rare felines. An animal with intelligence that parallels or surpasses humans’ could most certainly choose to remain undetected. After all, they inhabit inaccessible areas teeming with gators, poisonous snakes and deadly insects. Perhaps on a future voyage my luck may change. This quest for Swampsquatch is far from over and I hope to one day come face-to-face with these enigmatic jungle-dwellers.7Do you believe in Skunk Ape or have an experience you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments!

Mokele-Mbembe: Living Dinosaurs of the Congo

13792864_f520Within central Africa is a territory known as Congo Basin, a sprawling tapestry of dense jungles, flowing streams, flooded bogs and vast savannas. Over ten-thousand varieties of tropical plants cover the land, thirty percent of which are unique to this area. Inhabiting these five hundred million acres are a plethora of endangered wildlife including gorillas, elephants and chimpanzees. A total of four-hundred varieties of mammals call the region home. According to many indigenous people there is another elusive species that roams the deep Congo, a creature known as Mokele-mbembe.

In the Lingala language this name translates to “one who stops the flow of rivers”. Based on eye-witness accounts, the semi-aquatic monster is described as closely resembling a sauropod. It possesses a long snake-like neck which is supported by a round grayish-colored body. They can reach heights of over thirty feet and frequently pluck leaves from tall trees. Some allege there is a spike atop the ancient being’s head. Natives both revere and fear this enigmatic and territorial beast. Some claim Mokele-mbembe is supernatural in nature and should be avoided at all costs.

map_of_democratic-republic-of-congoWesterners first began catching wind of the unaccounted herbivore over two hundred years ago, a time when dinosaurs remained undiscovered. Explorers who traveled to the distant landmass heard legends from nearby citizens regarding an unidentified forest-dwelling animal. One early account occurred in 1776 when French missionaries discovered huge footprints in a rural location. These tracks were similar to the size of an elephant’s, about three feet in circumference, with long claw-marks present. Each church member was perplexed as to what could have created such bizarre impressions. An escorting priest then shared he previously encountered the source firsthand. According to the man of god, he observed a prehistoric-looking brute feasting on vegetation.

During the early nineteen hundreds a German Captain, Ludwig Freiherr von Stein, was visiting the remote district. Trusted Congolese leaders warned von Stein of an enormous reptile that lived nearby. Independent sources all recounted an identical character adding further validity to such grandiose declarations. Despite extensively searching the surrounding wilderness the respected commander was unable to find hard evidence of Mokele-mbembe. Von Stein interviewed many tribesmen and chronicled his findings. In 1959 science writer Willy Ley published this section of von Stein’s report:

“The animal is said to be of a brownish-gray color with a smooth skin, its size is approximately that of an elephant; at least that of a hippopotamus. It is said to have a long and very flexible neck and only one tooth but a very long one; some say it is a horn. A fews18spoke about a long, muscular tail like that of an alligator. Canoes coming near it are said to be doomed; the animal is said to attack the vessels at once and to kill the crews but without eating the bodies.The creature is said to live in the caves that have been washed out by the river in the clay of its shores at sharp bends. It is said to climb the shores even at daytime in search of food; its diet is said to be entirely vegetable. This feature disagrees with a possible explanation as a myth. The preferred plant was shown to me, it is a kind of liana with large white blossoms, with a milky sap and applelike fruits. At the Ssombo River I was shown a path said to have been made by this animal in order to get at its food. The path was fresh and there were plants of the described type nearby. But since there were too many tracks of elephants, hippos, and other large mammals it was impossible to make out a particular spoor with any amount of certainty.”

By 1932 news of the alleged saurian was spreading throughout Europe and the Americas. One British naturalist toured Likouala in hopes of catching a glimpse of the obscure giant. While traveling by canoe he began hearing intense and frightening sounds. These bellowing roars were completely different from any organism he had previously encountered. Although a lengthy investigation was conducted the thunderous source was never identified and the researcher returned home empty-handed.

canoe-krabi-landscape-1031798That same year Ivan T. Anderson, famed zoologist and biologist, embarked on a journey to the mysterious land. As he and his endemic friends leisurely paddled down a river they began hearing haunting noises, comparable to loud rumbles produced by an earthquake. Suddenly the water beneath burst into an eruption of bubbles and a gargantuan shape emerged. Anderson said its head alone was the size of a hippopotamus and resembled something that should have gone extinct thousands of centuries ago. His aboriginal companions were familiar with this primitive entity. They informed their traumatized companion that the mythical breed goes by the name Mokele-mbembe.

Less than two decades after this bizarre incident an equally intriguing sighting took place. One warm summer day a group of English soldiers went swimming at Lake Barombi in Northern Cameroon. As the men were cooling off in the picturesque oasis an enormous figure surfaced nearby. Terrified, the troop frantically swam towards land. Once safely on shore they watched in horror as a pair of massive reptiles emerged from the murky abyss. Each possessed scaly skin and long necks with the larger specimen bearing a horn. Observers were utterly perplexed as to what these strange amphibious habitants might be.

mokelerebAnother fascinating case involves a reverend named Eugene Thomas. Since the 1950s he had journeyed to Congo Basin repeatedly on various mission excursions. Over time the clergy built a sincere relationship with local residents. Twenty years into his frequent trips one group of pygmies recounted a disturbing tale. Apparently, not long ago,  abominable reptilian  beasts began to intrude on their territory. Fishing, a vital source of sustenance, became increasingly difficult with creatures’ constant interference. In order to protect themselves they made the decision to erect a spiked fence around their waterside settlement.

Soon after, a rogue vertebrate broke through the defensive barrier. Alarmed tribal members began to throw spears and fatal wounds were inflicted. Dozens of victorious warriors harvested its colossal carcass succeeding the slaying. That night a feast ensued and many men, women and children consumed its meat. Those who ate the flesh quickly perished of a terribly agonizing sickness. Remaining pygmies who had not ingested the tainted fare were horror-stricken and utterly terrified. Following this tragedy, frightened survivors drew the conclusions that Mokele-mbembe was a paranormal spirit. Interestingly, during the early 1980s, remains of a sharpened fence were found surrounding the village.

57c39dba4d22dca525cc4aad3bcfffa2Japanese trailblazers trekked to the exotic continent in 1988. Their goal was to capture footage of the fabled Congo inhabitant. Jose Bourges, a renown environmental official, led the expedition. While filming areal footage over Lake Tele, a videographer noticed something anomalous beneath the plane. He examined the strong wake and attempted to focus on whatever was creating this disturbance. Unfortunately, in his eager and excitable state, the cameraman did not initially remove the lens cap. Ultimately only fifteen-seconds of footage was captured. Viewers of the brief clip are torn: some believe it’s merely an elephant, others feel something entirely different was recorded.

Writer Rory Nugent visited Africa to study the world’s largest swamp. In December of 1985 he spotted a peculiar form moving across the lagoon. Closer inspection revealed it was in fact the legendary critter. Nugent moved his boat to get a better view and watched in fascination while taking several photographs. Before he could get closer look accompanying Congolese guides demanded him to stop at gunpoint. Back at camp they instructed him to destroy all the film which had been shot. Due to superstitious beliefs, locals felt that keeping the pictures would anger Mokele-mbembe and put them in great danger.    

beautiful-cascade-creek-460621Doctor Roy Mackal, biochemist and evolutionist, dedicated his life to the pursuit of cryptozoology. Mackal was determined to prove the existence of supposed African dinosaurs. Interviews were conducted with tribes throughout multiple nations. These groups had no communication with each other nor the outside world. However, each person shared identical descriptions of the creature ranging from physical appearance to behavioral traits. During another excursion he presented flashcard illustrations to dozens of residents. Some were familiar, such as hippos, others like American black bears were completely foreign. They recognized domestic inhabitants but could not identify overseas varieties. Shockingly, when shown a rendering depicting a brontosaurus, they positively identified the sketch as Mokele-mbembe.

Science teacher Peter Beach was determined to uncover tangible proof of the shy vegetarian. Whilst exploring a muddy shoreline in 2006 he stumbled upon abnormally large footprints with prominent claws present. Surrounding canopies with abundant foliage had been completely stripped at heights in excess of eighteen feet. Giraffes, the only reasonable culprit, do not occupy this part of the country. Perplexed, Beach took snapshots to document his peculiar findings. Plaster castings were made from the unique impressions. Further analysis of the tracks has brought forward more questions than answers.

images.jpegBy 2009 researchers once again undertook the quest for Mokele-mbembe. Credible informants relay that during dry seasons the cryptid hides in natural caves. Air passages are dug along the riverside and eventually dry out becoming similar to concrete. Such structures ensure they have ample air supply to last through lengthy hibernative states. Investigative parties located several of these formations along the muddy embankment. Implementation of a fish finder provided further fascinating discoveries. Numerous serpentine figures moved below the dismal depths. Experts were extremely baffled by the specimens’ astonishing size. Unfortunately, severe thunderstorms forced the team to abruptly abort their mission before definitive data could be obtained.

Much of the Congo remains unseen by human eyes. Earth’s final frontier is filled with dangerous predators, deadly insects, armed militias and extreme weather. Such factors cause much hindrance on further exploration of this rugged terrain. It was not until 1998 that the four-thousand pound Javan rhino was recognized. Only five years ago, in 2013, a quarter-ton pygmy tapir was positively identified. It’s entirely plausible that an unknown species is avoiding detection within the depths of Africa. However, until hard evidence surfaces we can only theorize and evaluate spectators’ testimonies. For now Mokele-mbembe will remain one of the world’s greatest mysteries.


Do you think it’s possible that dinosaurs still exist? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

Living Among Bigfoot: An Interview with Tom Lyons

Throughout my entire life I have been drawn to all things Sasquatch-related. Watching the infamous Patterson-Gimlin Film as a young child filled me with both horror and intense intrigue. When most of my peers pursued typical teenage endeavors, I was listening to the Sierra Sounds or researching native ‘wild man’ legends. Over the last two decades I have watched countless documentaries, seen dozens of TV shows and read a myriad of Bigfoot books. By far the most compelling story I have come across in my lengthy investigation is a firsthand account recounted by Tom Lyons.


This week I am honored to be sharing an interview with Mr. Lyons, a Kindle Bestseller and author of the riveting series Living Among Bigfoot. Ten years ago he moved from Wisconsin to the vast wilderness of Idyllwild, California in hopes of living more healthfully. After settling into his quaint countryside cottage several terrifying events suddenly occurred. At first the former skeptic believed someone was messing with him. All of this would change once he came face to face with a creature which he never thought existed. Tom’s previously normal life would soon be turned upside down. Living Among Bigfoot chronicles the repeated Sasquatch encounters which he has experienced. 

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DTCH: Can you tell me a little bit about what your life was like in Wisconsin?

TL: Well, my life was certainly nothing out of the ordinary. I worked at a grocery store chain called “Piggly Wiggly” for years after high school while developing various business ideas. Once the internet became prevalent, one of those ideas ultimately evolved into an online business. I’m not going to give too much away on the business (as I eventually sold it), but I will say that anti-virus software was the initial product upon which the business was built.

DTCH: Why did you decide to move to that specific part of California? Had you visited the town before?

TL: I know it sounds sorta silly, but no, I hadn’t visited Idyllwild prior to my move. I had read great things about it and it was at a time in my life where I was enthusiastic about taking a shot in the dark so to speak. The major advantage of making your income from the web is that you can work from virtually anywhere.

DTCH: Why have you now decided to share your story with the world?

TL: I’ve listened to quite a few podcasts where people courageously share their encounters and in some cases the government has even warned them not to. They inspired me to share mine but I’d still prefer to maintain my private life, hence the pen-name. I’m quite the introvert.

DTCH: What do you feel the motivation is for officials who continue to conceal information from the general public?

TL: I get into all of that later in the series, but either way I don’t feel it’s possible to answer that in short form.

DTCH: Do you think full disclosure on this topic would be a good thing? How would society handle such news?

TL: This is something that I still feel very torn on. A large part of me doesn’t appreciate the deception, but another part of me believes certain things are better left alone by certain people, if you catch my drift.

DTCH: Can you describe the physical appearance of Bigfoot? Is the Patterson-Gimlin Film an accurate representation?

TL: All I can really tell you right now is that multiple types do exist, some of which look quite different than others. However, I will say that ‘Patty’ reminds me of what I came across in Idyllwild in terms of looks, but the movement was really quite different (that’s not to say that the one I saw isn’t capable of such motion), and I’m certainly not trying to discredit that video footage as it is obviously very impressive.

DTCH: On the topic of Patterson-Gimlin, do you feel that footage is legitimate?

TL: I do feel it’s legitimate.

DTCH: Do you have an estimated number of what the North American Bigfoot population might be?

TL: That’s a question that still baffles me to this day, but if I had to take a stab at it, I’d say many thousands if you were to include all members of each species.

DTCH: Was there a strong odor that the creature produced?

TL: I’ve come across many strange and even grotesque odors while outdoors, but in Idyllwild I was never able to indisputably isolate the creatures as being the source of the strong odor. As for other regions, you’ll have to read on!

DTCH: Would you say Bigfoot is more human-like, more ape-like, or a 50/50 combination?

TL: To put it simply, I think it’s something else entirely, but I’ll get more into that later in the series.

DTCH: Cultures around the world all have their own legends and versions of Sasquatch: Skunk Ape, Yeti, Yowie, etc. Do you think other parts of the country or world also have Bigfoot?

TL: They absolutely do. 100%.

DTCH: Do you still live in that area? If so, do you continue to encounter the creature?

TL: I no longer live in that area. I skipped around for quite a few years after leaving the region.

DTCH: What are your thoughts on the theory that Bigfoot produces infrasound?

TL: Other creatures possess similar abilities, so why can’t a creature such as this? They are insanely impressive in a multitude of ways.

DTCH: With today’s available technologies why don’t we have more evidence such as photos and videos?

TL: I’m begging for someone to find the courage to whip out an iPhone and aim it at one of these things when close enough to even attempt a quality shot. Believe me, if you see one of them that close in person, you’ll know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. I believe someone out there does indeed have the necessary composure for such a task, however the time frame they’d have to do such a thing is incredibly small and with how terrifying it is to be in that situation it doesn’t surprise me that no one has any footage of the things.

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The fourth installment, Living Among Bigfoot: Unexpected Visitors, will be released on April 15th and can be purchased on Amazon. For those with any interest in cryptozoology, the outdoors, or a love of suspenseful mysteries, these books will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. I would like to thank Mr. Lyons for sharing his insight and answering my questions. You can find him on Instagram and Twitter for more information about the series.

Bigfoot: a Global Phenomenon

In the world of cryptozoology, Bigfoot is one of the most well-recognized specimens. Countless TV shows, books, documentaries and Youtube accounts have been solely dedicated to the pursuit of this mysterious hominid. Yet the Pacific Northwest is not the only location where these supposed forest dwellers reside. On nearly every continent across the globe, countries share corresponding versions of the same entity. Eerily similar legends have been passed down for centuries and speak of an unknown species.


Sasquatch

Inhabiting the vast wilderness of North America is a creature commonly referred to as Bigfoot. Native Americans spoke of such beings hundreds of years before the infamous Patterson Gimlin Film was released. Indigenous Salish people called him “Sasq’ets” which means “wild man” or “hairy man”. They believed Sasquatch was an interdimensional traveler who possessed the ability to move between spiritual and physical reams.

Based on video footage and observational reports, the cryptid is described as bipedal with an ape-like appearance. It has an incredibly muscular frame which ranges from six to ten feet tall. Dark fur covers most of the body and ranges in color from a reddish brown to dark black. Others who claim to have seen the beast say it possesses a pronounced brow bone and a tapered cone-shaped head. Those within close proximity often report a foul smelling odor comparable to garbage.

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A still from the Patterson Gimlin Film, one of the best-known pieces of Bigfoot evidence.

Mapinguari

Much of South America is filled with lush jungles, abundant food sources and a temperate climate. Many believe this terrain is an optimum environment to sustain a hominin population. Below the equator they are called Mapinguari, meaning “roaring animal” in Spanish. These hominals have brightly saturated fur and share a number of similarities with their American counterpart. Certain tribal narratives depict them as massive monkey-sloth hybrid. Ancient lore claims weapons are unable to penetrate its tough hide and even bullets cannot slay the elusive one. Biologists propose this creature may in fact be a giant ground sloth, a species thought to have gone extinct over ten thousand years ago.

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The Amazon rainforest covers over two million miles. Is it possible that an unknown species is living in the South American jungle?

Yowie

Roaming the immense Australian outback is an intriguing fellow by the name of Yowie. Fables recounted by Aboriginal elders chronicle a primitive type of anthropoid. Oral recollections date back thousands of years and match reported Homo sapien-primate depictions. Ancient cave paintings have been found which depict the so-called “bush monster”. In relation to their American cousins, Yowies are also fairly large and can reach a staggering height of twelve feet. Primordial facial features are present including a broad, flat nose.

Queensland, New South Wales and eastern Australia each have distinctive myths pertaining to the critter. Regional names include Quinkin, Jurrawarra, Puttikan,  and Gulaga. In 1876 an article was featured in the Australian Town and Country Journal which featured an “unearthly animal” called the Yahoo-Devil Devil. While some feel that Yowie is sentient, others argue that it’s a dangerous predator which should be avoided. Cryptozoologist are perplexed as to where this mammal originates from due to the territory’s isolated location.

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Aboriginal cave paintings in Australia depict an unknown creature.

Chimiset/ Nandi Bear

Lions, hippos, elephants, giraffes, gorillas and crocodiles are some of the wildlife that Africa is renown for. Lesser-known is Nandi Bear or Chimiset, which translated means “devil”. It is often depicted as a huge upright baboon with aggressive tendencies. Others say they more closely resemble hyenas with red hair and short tales. Various tales warn that numerous deaths of livestock and men can be attributed to the brute. Author Frank W. Lane wrote, “What the Abominable Snowman is to Asia, or the Great Sea Serpent is to the oceans, the Nandi Bear is to Africa. It is one of the most notorious of those legendary beasts which, so far, eluded capture and the collector’s rife.”

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Africa is said to be home to the Chimiset, a baboon-like Bigfoot.

Yeti

Another infamous hominid is said to roam the picturesque snow-covered Himalayan Mountains. Yeti, or Meh Teh to locals, first entered Western society’s vocabulary during the nineteenth century. A United Kingdom representative named BH Hodson adamantly stated that his assistants were attacked by a monstrous beast in 1832. Fifty-seven years later, L.A. Waddell, a British army major, discovered massive footprints while trekking a high peak in Sikkin. Sherpas informed him that they belonged to a Yeti, a fearsome behemoth who often attacked humans and feasted on the ravaged corpses.

According to Nepalese citizens, this entity is called “rakshas” which translates to demon in English. Religious mountain dwellers worshipped Yeti as a God and were said to use its blood during sacred ceremonies. A Buddhist monastery in Pangboche was supposedly in possession of a Yeti hand. Tom Slick, an oil tycoon and explorer, planned an expedition to take photographs of the appendage. He stole a fragment from the specimen after monks denied his request for a sample. Tests performed on the smuggled bone showed that it was “near human” but not fully human.

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A supposed Yeti footprint is captured on film during a 1951 Everest expedition.

Skunk Ape

Nearly 2,000 square miles of southern Florida is covered by a freshwater marsh known as the Everglades. Residents include endangered panthers, massive alligators, seventeen-foot pythons and apparently a hairy humanoid. As the name implies, this nomadic breed is known for producing a strong stench. Seminole tribespeople spoke of identical creatures in respected stories long before spring breakers and Disney enthusiasts migrated south. Skunk Ape, also called Swamp Ape or Swampsquatch, gained popularity amongst the masses after a series of sightings began to occur over sixty years ago. One of the most notable occurrences lead to the infamous Myakka Skunk Ape photographs which clearly capture an unknown species.

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An elderly woman captured these images in her backyard near Sarasota, Florida.

Almas

In addition to the infamous Death Worm, Mongolia is further known for a different type of cryptid. Observers affirm the upright-walking hominins more closely resemble people rather than apes. Some speculate that Almas are directly related to humans. Investigators propose that one of our distant ancestors may have survived extinction. If that is the case, it might be possible that a small population could survive in isolated areas. Illustrations of this unique biped can be found in a traditional Tibetan medicinal book. According to British anthropologist Myra Shackley, the encyclopedia “contains thousands of illustrations of various classes of animals (reptiles, mammals and amphibia), but not one single mythological animal such as are known from similar medieval European books. All the creatures are living and observable today.” Artists depicted Almas as a flesh-and-blood living organism.

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Almas illustrations are found in a Tibetan medicinal book.

Yeren

Rural Central China is home to its own type of Sasquatch. Yeren, or “wild-man,” resides in remote mountainous regions of western Hubei. The enigmatic primate closely resembles Bigfoot in both appearance and size. According to researchers, the unknown breed’s lineage can be traced back to Gigantopithecus Blacki. Hundreds of respectable individuals have declared they have seen a Yeren. In fact, Chinese government officials conducted an extensive search after copious amounts of sightings had occurred. Evidence gathered included footprints and hair samples which were sent in for analysis. However, just as the studies completed in the United States, results were inconclusive.

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A statue in China depicts a Yeren mother and her young.

Orang Pendek

Hailing from Sumatra is a smaller hominoid that goes by the name Orang Pednek. A community of pygmy-like Bigfoot are said to reside deep within tropical foliage. According to eyewitnesses the coat displays a wide spectrum of color variations. Shades of gray, yellow, orange, brown and gold have been observed. Footprint castings reveal a divergent big toe akin to opposable thumbs. Debbie Martyr, a former newspaper editor, spent over fifteen years in Indonesia studying this secretive vertebrate. She allegedly experienced close encounters on several occasions. Multiple common Sasquatch traits have been noted including a crested head, long canine teeth and a prominent brow ridge.

Resident Indonesians revere this “short person” and leave various offerings in attempts to happily coexist. For locals, Orang Pednek is an integral part of daily living. Perhaps such testaments are not so far-fetched. In 2004 scientists unearthed the remains of an unknown type of human predecessor while exploring a cave in Flores. Publications quickly dubbed the skeleton “Hobbit” due a tiny adult stature of three-feet. Might it be plausible that a surviving community of Homo floresiensis is responsible for the Sumatran sightings?

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A Homo floresiensis skull in comparison to a modern-day human.

For hundreds of years nations around the planet have experienced Bigfoot firsthand. Intriguingly, most of the aforementioned native groups had no way of communicating with one another. Throughout recent decades an increasing number of credible eyewitnesses have come forward. Ancient drawings, endemic folklore and direct encounters all reference an equivalent being. Perhaps society will one day uncover the truth about these reclusive creatures and learn precisely what our ascendents were expressing all along.


These creatures are only a small selection of the dozens of examples that exist. Let me know if you would like to read about additional types of Sasquatch in the future! 

El Chupacabra: Science Fiction or Undiscovered Species?

Chupacabras will always hold a special place in my heart. They are the namesake of this blog and one of the few cryptozoological critters that supposedly inhabit Florida. Many believe that the emergence of such an entity is a relatively new phenomenon. Yet tales of such cryptids date back to many centuries ago and are shared amongst several different cultures worldwide. In fact, the Ancient Mayans wrote of a monster by the same name in 1400 BCE. 

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Ancient Mayans wrote of a creature that went by the same name.

Chupacabras first entered mainstream attention during the mid-1990s. A farmer in a rural Puerto Rican town discovered eight of his prized sheep dead. Each had three strange triangular puncture wounds on their chests and were completely drained of blood. Throughout the following months several other locals reported similar slaughterings of goats, sheep, chickens and pigs. When the media got a hold of these bizarre stories they dubbed the creature “El Chupacabra,” which is Spanish for the goatsucker.

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Stories of El Chupacabra received mainstream attention after eight sheep were killed mysteriously in Puerto Rico.

These attacks quickly spread to other counties including Brazil, Columbia, Argentina, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and North America. Witnesses describe the fanged beast as around five feet tall with enormous glowing red eyes. It has a solid build with a reptilian-like appearance and sharp quills running along its back. Some say that the creature is green and hairless while others recall fur covering the body. When El Chupacabra is nearby there is often a foul odor present, similar to many reported Sasquatch sightings.

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Chupacabra sightings occur throughout South America.

One of the most infamous encounters with this legendary animal happened to a Puerto Rican housewife named Madelyne Tolentino. In August of 1995, she saw the being outside of her Canóvanas home. According to the woman, it was a four-foot tall bipedal being that resembled an alien and moved like a kangaroo. Each hand had three clawed fingers. Instead of a snout there were two small air holes and spikes covering its spine. During this confrontation there were three other observers present: Tolentino’s mother, ex-husband and his coworker.

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Madelyne Tolentino’s sketch of what she witnessed outside her window. 

At the time of this incident one hundred and fifty farm animals, including pets, died from mysterious puncture wounds. All of the bodily fluids appeared to have been sucked out. Similar to many cattle mutilation cases, these cuts appeared to be created by something with laser-sharp precision. Even modern-day surgeons would have difficulty replicating such lacerations. UFO sightings frequently occur within close proximity to where the cryptid is spotted. For these reasons some speculate that El Chupacabra is an unknown species of extraterrestrial.

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Are Chupacabras related to extraterrestrials?

Others feel that misidentification is to blame. Predatory cats or mangy coyotes could be responsible for this legendary beast. In the United States, carcasses of alleged Chupacabras received DNA testing. Blood analysis revealed common mammals such as dogs and raccoons to be the perpetrators. Some of these animals have parasitic infections which cause a loss of fur and an odd appearance. Conspiracy theorists believe that our government is to blame and the creature is the result of secret genetic experimentation projects or a biological warfare weapon.

Many supposed sightings are misidentified dogs, raccoons or coyotes.

Despite the FBI completing two thorough Chupacabra investigations, we are still no further to solving this mystery. Possibilities range from an elaborate hoax to a legitimate living breed worthy of scientific merit. With 15,000 to 18,000 new species discovered on Earth each year, it’s entirely plausible that an unidentified carnivorous species might be roaming the jungles of Puerto Rico. Until a definitive answer is found cryptozoologists will continue the pursuit of this legendary animal.

Missing 411: Hundreds of Strange Disappearances in our National Parks

Each year hundreds of people go missing in United State Parks and National Forests. Most investigations are eventually solved through reasonable causes: foul play, drowning, suicide or an animal attack. Others aren’t quite so easy to dismiss. Many of them are not merely perplexing but outright disturbing. The Missing 411 books take a deeper look into these specific situations which seem to defy all logic.

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Author of the series, David Paulides, is a private investigator who served as a Los Angeles police officer for over twenty years. One day he stumbled upon some shocking information from a park ranger. They informed  Paulides about a series of bizarre missing persons cases happening within the National Parks. According to this source, these individuals go missing under very unusual circumstances. Law enforcement officials and park service management were doing everything in their power to keep these events concealed from the general public.

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Author of the Missing 411 book series, David Paulides.

When Paulides attempted to obtain a list of missing people in Yosemite National Park he hit the first of many roadblocks. He was told that there is no such document because the Department of Interior does not keep any record of missing people within their park systems. To obtain this information would cost him $34,000. A list missing persons for the entire United States park systems was a staggering $1.4 million. Paulides did not oblige and instead filed hundreds of Freedom Information Acts. Some were accepted while others were denied for unknown reasons.

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As the investigation progressed the more mysterious it became. One of the first things that was discovered were the presence of “clusters” throughout the country. These locations are hotspots where individuals disappear at surprisingly high numbers. Concentrated areas are present in many states including California, Colorado, Washington, Georgia, Michigan and Arkansas. Fifty-two clearly defined geographic regions have been identified.

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A map showing the disappearances in the United States. 52 geological clusters have been identified.

After meticulously researching thousands of cases, odd similarities and patterns emerged. Certain baffling parallels were seen repeatedly despite the incidents transpiring thousands of miles from each other. Some of the common links are difficult to rationalize and not easily dismissed. These perplexing characteristics leave far more questions than answers.

  • Search dogs behave strangely. Oftentimes these canines cannot pick up a scent, or simply don’t want to. In other instances they begin tracking only to lay down and stop searching as if the person had vanished into thin air. Cadaver dogs are unable to locate a corpse.
  • The body is found in an area that has searched before. In many instances the missing appears in a location that has been thoroughly searched dozens, if not hundreds, of times. It is not uncommon for the deceased to surface on a main trail that is utilized by hikers on a daily basis.
  • Travel uphill instead of downhill. The missing is often found at high levels of elevation, such as mountain peaks. Frequently the victim will travel an astounding amount of miles through treacherous terrain in a time period which seems humanly impossible.
  • Weather-related phenomenon. Shortly after the individual goes missing, the forecast takes a drastic turn. Torrential rain, lightning, fog, sand storms or blizzards occur which delay search parties.
  • Missing clothing. Shoes, pants, shirts and jackets are often removed, even by children who are too young do so themselves. Paradoxical undressing cannot explain why a person would do this in a temperate environment. Clothing that is found is sometimes neatly folded.
  • High amounts of plane crashes. Search planes and helicopters seem to crash at abnormally high rates during these specific cases.
  • Extreme ends of the intellectual scale. On one side there are well-educated people such as doctors, psychiatrists and physicists. Others have disabilities such as autism or Down Syndrome.
  • German ancestry. Those with German heritage appear to go missing at much higher rates.
  • Boulder fields and granite. A high number of men and women vanish in boulder fields or areas with huge quantities of granite. Yosemite National Park is the largest of all clusters and also happens to be the biggest source of granite on Earth.
  • The victim is retrieved near a body of water. Another common factor is the presence of water. Bodies are often discovered near oceans, lakes, rivers, streams or swamps.
  • Berry picking. Strangely, this is a reoccurring theme shared amongst several cases. Those who are picking berries seem to go missing at higher rates.
  • Not feeling well or being tired. Prior to the disappearance, friends and family state the victim had informed them that they were not feeling well or tired.
  • Being last in line. One of the most recurrent of all traits are those in a group who happen to be the last in line. Others who were with the missing report seeing them mere seconds before and suddenly they had vanished without a trace. No one ever reports hearing any sounds such as a gasp, scream or an animal.

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The NPS employs over 20,000 Americans and brings in an annual revenue $92 billion. If patrons knew what was really happening within the park systems it could have devastating financial consequences. Paulides has never stated who (or what) he believes is responsible for these incidents and merely presents the facts. Readers are left to derive their own conclusions based on the information presented. Theories as to what is taking these park-goers include Bigfoot attacks, alien abduction, thunderbirds, secret underground government bases or cannibalistic wild men. Whatever the source may be, it’s probably best to avoid being last in line the next time you visit a National Park.

Owl-Witches & Werewolves of the Everglades 

Covering nearly 2,000 square miles of southern Florida is a freshwater marsh known as the Everglades. There are tales that this area is home to a number of mysterious cryptids. Supposed inhabitants include Skunk Apes and anacondas so large that they can swallow alligators whole. Indigenous tribes speak of some lesser-known creatures. According to the Seminole, ominous owl-witches and werewolves roam the swampy land. 

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Stigini, also called Ishtikini or Stikini, are sinister shape-shifters which usually resemble a massive great horned owl with dark menacing eyes. During the day they appear as ordinary people but once the sun sets they transform into a nine-foot tall feathered being. The metamorphosis occurs through vomiting their souls and internal organs each evening. By night they hunt for victims so that they can eat mortal’s hearts to take on their appearance. These entities are essentially zombies whose sole existence is the consumption of human flesh. 

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Although the translation of Stigini means horned owl, they can also take on the appearance of other animals. On rare occasions they resemble bear, wolves or coyotes. Certain Seminole groups warn that speaking their name aloud puts you at risk for turning into one. In certain cases only revered tribal elders are permitted to tell these stories. Other communities treat the mysterious lore more casually and even use the fable to frighten children into behaving.

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Similar myths are shared by various cultures around the world. In Mexican folklore the Lechuza is a large and magical bird who seeks revenge on those that have wronged her. West Virginia has legends of Mothman, a mysterious winged humanoid who is said to be an omen of impending doom. Greek mythology spoke of Strige, a wicked vampiric screech owl forced to live in an upside-down world. Other Native Americans believed that Thunderbirds had supernatural strength and powers.

Hatcko-tcapko, also referred to as Long Ears, is a werewolf-like beast. They wander the desolate marshlands by moonlight. Eyewitnesses accounts state that these beings are donkey to ox-sized and has a fusion of both deer and wolf features. As the name may imply, its ears are enormous and pointed. Long thin legs support their oversized hooked paws. At the end of Long Ear’s grey fur covered body is a bushy horse tail.

Those who encounter this creature describe smelling a foul odor when they are within close proximity. Similar to many reported Bigfoot encounters, this putrid scent is a frequent sign of its presence. Seminole were cautious to never get too close to Long Ears because of his ability to infect people with deadly diseases. Despite Hatcko-tcapko’s horrifying appearance and dangerous nature, he is not believed to be malicious.

Florida’s monsters of yesterday have been replaced with viral modern day alternatives: cannibals, zombies and living dinosaurs. Indigenous people could have merely been describing their own bizarre encounters in an era before the internet or cable TV. Roughly 200 species are going extinct each day on Earth. It’s entirely plausible that unknown animals lived in the Everglades centuries ago. What’s even more intriguing is the possibility that some may have survived.


If you’re ever had any strange encounters in rural Southern Florida feel free to share your experiences. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Mothman: Legitimate Cryptid or Urban Legend?

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In the world of cryptozoology, Mothman is one of the most mysterious and intriguing creatures. Many described him as an enormous humanoid with massive wings and large red eyes. Although it’s been over fifty years since the first sighting the legend remains just as strong to this day. Recently the unknown entity has had a resurgence of popularity after a number of sightings have been reported out of Chicago. Many wonder that if such a being exists then what exactly is it? Theories range from a misidentified barn own to a paranormal entity or even an extraterrestrial visitor.

Initial Encounters

The first of numerous sightings began on November 12th, 1966 in the small town of Clendenin, West Virginia. On a crisp autumnal night five gravediggers witnessed a man-like figure ascend from a nearby tree. Three days later Roger and Linda Scarberry were out driving with another couple. While traveling down an isolated road known as “TNT Area” they witnessed a seven-foot tall flying creature with glowing red eyes. When Mr. Scarberry sped off the being flew alongside the vehicle before taking off into the darkness. The group immediately went to the authorities. Each person was privately interviewed and all four people had identical stories and matching recollections of the events that had transpired. According to the Deputy who spoke with the group, their eyes were filled with a terror that couldn’t be faked.

The Silver Bridge Tragedy

Just one year after the gravedigger’s encounter occurred, Point Pleasant was struck by tragedy. The Silver Bridge, a main route into the small town, collapsed unexpectedly during rush-hour traffic for unknown reasons. Forty-six people sadly lost their lives after crashing into the river. That morning various locals saw a strange creature perched atop the bridge. Some believe that this entity was trying to warn of the impending doom while others feel that Mothman was responsible for the disaster.

Untimely Deaths

Mary Hyre was a news reporter for the local paper and wrote and column called “Where the Waters Mingle”. She was also very close with author John Keel, author of “The Mothman Prophecies” which would later become inspiration for the highly fictionalized Hollywood film. Hyre felt that her involvement with The Mothman investigation drew interest from the Men in Black. Her first encounter occurred in 1967 when she was working a late night at the office. A man entered the room who she described as having “large hypnotic eyes and not dressed for the weather”. Oddly, the stranger said nothing and simply placed a pen on her desk before exiting the building. After this experience the perplexing stranger began to follow her.

Soon Hyre had yet another run-in. While walking to her car a different man came towards her and instructed her to stop researching the Mothman topic or there would be consequences. Local townspeople also reported being approached by these men who claimed to be friends of Hyre. They wanted to obtain information about their UFO sightings and other paranormal events. On February 15th, 1970 Hyre died suddenly at the age of 54. She believed that the creature was a prophetic figure that had come to warn of upcoming catastrophes.

Many other individuals who researched Mothman had strange and untimely deaths. One such person is Fred Fried who was at the time working on a documentary about the relation of UFOs and Mothman. He died of a heart attack at the age of 53 and his film was never released. Donald North, a Point Pleasant native, witnessed the entity in the same spot as the Scarberrys. Not long after, he died as a result of a car accident. Jim Keith was a conspiracy writer who was studying the connection between Mothman, the CIA and the MIB. During a routine knee surgery Keith died on the operating table at the age of 50. Before this procedure he had said: “I have this feeling that if they put me under I’m not coming back”. To date there are 84 mysterious deaths that appear to be connected to Mothman.

Possible Explanations

There are a multitude of explanations when it comes to this enigmatic being. Since a  number of sightings occurred in the TNT Area some speculate that the region itself may in fact be responsible. During WWII the location was utilized for weapon manufacturing. After the war ended these explosives were stored in bunkers and the 8,000 acres of land were turned into a wildlife conservatory. It wasn’t discovered until the 1980s that the land had been contaminated by explosives byproducts. Given the severity of the situation the TNT Area was added to a federal list of hazardous waste sites. Some theorize that this chemical concoction seepage contributed to the evolution of a mutilated subspecies.

Others wonder if there is a UFO/ alien link to the Mothman. In John Keel’s book he states that eyewitness reports describe glowing orbs, energy fields and lost time. If this is the case it would also explain the Men in Black’s involvement. There are those who feel that creature is paranormal in nature given its ominous warning of approaching death. People who encounter this being describe it having telepathic abilities. Skeptics are convinced that it’s merely an urban legend or an elaborate hoax. However, if this were the case one has to wonder if a person would be capable of such trickery for over five decades.

Until the truth is disclosed everything is ultimately speculation. Perhaps with today’s available technologies there is a better chance of capturing hard evidence. What do you think about Mothman? Share your thoughts in the comments!