Cryptozoology is the study of any unknown species to mankind. Without Cryptozoologist there would be many species that we still would not know existed today such as the mountain gorillas that jean Gooding spent 20 yrs of her life searching for. Often when we here of Cryptozoology we think of Sasquatch known as Bigfoot. Although each year many new species are discovered like new crabs or jellyfish, or new types of bugs, animals etc. The most famous Cryptids that many have tried to uncover are the Jersey Devil, Lochness Monster, Bigfoot also know has sasquatch, wildman, yeti and a few other names, Chupacabras, Thunderbirds, Mothman, Dover Demon and many other beast that have been sighting. Many people are still in search of lost worlds that may still have living dinosaurs as well. Our organization does try and cover all of these beast because its not always a ghost that's stirring in the woods behind your house there is many unknown creatures on earth we have not discovered and this is what makes it interesting is learning and finding something that still remains elusive. Although most people want to hunt these Cryptids down we must care for them and try and preserve them since most likely they are low in numbers and very intelligent species.

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I do have some theories of my own i would like to share about certain Cryptids.

1. Sasquatch i think is half ape and half man but i do not think they are possibly from this world i think think they are smarter, fast, stronger, and can outlive even us. I do not think they just hide in the woods i think its possible that this Cryptid may be extraterrestrial another wards maybe it uses vortexes as a means of disappearing maybe it comes to our planet to hunt or explore earth. Maybe we are its entertainment its a creature that can cover its tracks and it is real and it can kill you.  This not your normal primate if they can get to 11 feet in height then they are giants. My theory is though they do breed and have young they may have lived here for 100s of years if not 1000s but i think they were put here or they visit here and i do believe that they are omnivorous and eat both plant and animals as means for survival.

2. Mothman i believe is an ancient creature i believe that he is beyond a man that looks like a moth he has  not just been seen only in point pleasant he has been seen across oceans, Florida and some east coast states. I do not think he causes harm rather i think he exist on or in another time. If something exist on another plane or higher dimension then its able to see the future unfold as well as change its image or look from a person to a moth. This creature is painted on temple walls from 1000s of  years ago it is real.

3. Lake monsters i theorize in 2 different ways i think some of them are giant serpents or snakes and anacondas can get to 100 feet and seeing something that large would be called a monster. I do think some of the lake monsters you are seeing are prehistoric Bessie, champ, Ogopogo, Nessie are just a few but there is at least 15 lakes with monsters in them and they all look similar something with a long neck, large body and fins very prehistoric looking and probably very smart since they survived the apocalypses of that time era. They probably survived because they most likely sit at the bottom and come up for air a few times a year thus when we see them. They may not be seen often because most may migrate into the ocean like sharks if that's the case they are impossible then to find the ocean is vast. I do think occasionally that a lake monster will attack yes its happened.

4. Phantom cats in recent years there is giant cats being seen and its growing in popularity nobody finds the bodies of them but the sightings are more frequent then any other Cryptid this past year or 2 of 2002. I think what most are seeing is a wave of something similar to the hell hounds they are phantom cats or they are prehistoric cats making there way back into civilization all it takes is a few survive to slowly breed or a genetics company to clone a few. The point is that we got giant cats walking around yet not much evidence to support they exist so i believe they are phantoms.

5. The Jersey Devil i think is a rare and prehistoric bird or crossbreed. I think its intelligent or is deep in the pine barrens obviously there is more then one since its been sighted over 200 years. I think it most likely eats plant life and may not fly very well probably leaps and glides. I do not think its a harmful creature i just think its a prehistoric type of bird maybe it doesn't breed much perhaps its smart enough to hide. 

6. Chupacabras which did not start appearing until the last decade is most likely a cross species many alien species visit here is it possible a few of there pets got loose or were the experimenting with Dna? Although these creatures are called the goat sucker they have many other features part of them looks alien like big oval red eyes, hooves like a goat, dog like body, fangs for blood sucking. I cant say much but theorize that they are cross bred with alien Dna and some have been captured or found dead but the carcasses seem to disappear when sent to a school for studying.

Those are just to name a few below are some articles more in detail about a variety of Cryptids in myth and theory.


Sucuriju Gigante 
By Aaron Justice 

Webster's Dictionary states that an anaconda is a tropical snake that reaches about 30 feet in length and crushes it's victims. This is the accepted scientist view, except for the crushing part; anacondas suffocate their prey. However, natives tell tales of a creature called the Sucuriju, a giant monster resembling a snake but much larger. These are the tales that form the enigma of Sucuriju Gigante, the giant anaconda of South America. 

When the Pope gave part of South America to Spain and the other to Portugal in the Treaty of Tordesilla, the Spaniards explored this great continent of tropical forests. They came back with stories of enormous snakes which they called matora, or "bull eater". Some reports detailed them reaching over 80 feet in length. Colonel Percy Fawcett, who was sent to map out parts of the Amazon, claimed to have bagged a 62 foot long anaconda. As an officer of the Royal Engineers he was to write down his information meticulously. As he stated in his diary: 
"I sprang for my rifle as the creature began to make it's way up the bank and smashed a .44 bullet into its spine. At once there was a flurry of foam and several heavy thumps against the boats keel, shaking us as though we had run on a snag. We stepped ashore and approached the creature with caution. As far as it was possible to measure, a length of 45 feet lay out of the water and 17 feet lay in the water, making it a total length of 62 feet. It's body was not thick, not more than 12 inches in diameter, but it had probably been long without food." 
In 1925, Father Victor Heinz saw one of these snakes, most likely the anaconda, while on the Rio Negro of the Amazon River. He said that the visible portion was at least 80 feet long and the body was as thick as an oil drum. It was throwing up a wake as large as a river. 

Bernard Huevelmans, the father of Cryptozoology, records an encounter of an anaconda with a group of Frenchmen and Brazilians. 
"We saw the snake asleep in a large patch of grass. We immediately opened fire upon it. It tried to make off all in convulsions but we caught up with it and finished it off. Only then did we realize how enormous it was, when we walked around the whole length of its body it seemed like it would never end. What struck me was its enormous head, a triangle about 24 inches by 20. We had no instruments to measure the beast, but we took an arms length of string and measured it about one meter by placing it on a man's shoulder and extending it to his fingertips. We measured the snake several times and each time we got a length of 25 strings. The creature was well over 23 meters (75 feet) long." 
Scientists never regard eyewitness accounts as evidence, it would take a good documentary or a body to investigate, but a body may be impossible to get out of the jungle. First it is hard to travel through the Amazon rain forest, not to mention with an 80 foot long, several ton body. Photographic evidence may be the only one possible. Up until the late 40's there was no photographic evidence for the Sucuriju, but that came to a halt in 1948. 

The Diario, the newspaper of Pernambuco in Brazil, of January 24, 1948 published a picture with a headline 'Anaconda Weighing 5 Tons.' The picture shows a part of a giant anaconda that was caught by band of Indian half breeds. It was engaged in a siesta near a river with a bull half swallowed. The Indians tied a rope to its neck and tied the other end to a tree. The anaconda measured 131 feet long. Four months later the newspaper of Rio called A Noite Illustrada held a photograph of an anaconda slaughtered by Militia. It's length totaled 115 feet. Herpetologists accept neither photographs as good evidence for the larger than normal anaconda, which they accept a length of 35 feet. Unfortunately the first photograph offers almost nothing for scale except a hut in the background so it is easily dismissed as 'a normal sized anaconda ingesting nothing more than a capybara which is native to the area'. Then much more limpid evidence was produced in 1959. 

Colonel Rene van Lierde was piloting his helicopter over the Katanga province of the Belgian Congo. Suddenly a gigantic snake reared up as if to attack his helicopter. He lifted up and took several photos of the snake and continued his journey. His estimate of the size of the snake was about 40-50 feet, and that is the same estimation made by zoologists who later examined the photo. Even still, the largest scientifically measured snake was a 32 foot long reticulated python killed in Indonesia as the world's longest snake. Until one of these magnificent creatures is brought in, dead or alive, the Sucuriju will always be known as a cryptid. 

Selected Sources: 
Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World, Simon Welfare & John Fairley 
Claws, Jaws, and Dinosaurs, William J. Gibbons and Dr. Kent Hovind 


Jersey (Leeds) Devil

For over two centuries, the state of New Jersey has been haunted by the creature known as the Jersey Devil, or sometimes as the Leeds Devil.  Although strictly speaking it is a legendary creature, many Jerseyites have claimed encounters with it.  Their descriptions vary widely, however.  But perhaps before we discuss the Devil as a "real" animal, we should summarize the legends of its origin.

1) One version says that a Mrs. Shrouds of Leeds Point wished that if she ever had another child, it would be a devil.  She got her wish, and the child was born deformed and disfigured. She kept it in the house, but one night its arms changed into wings and it flew out through the chimney.

2) Another variation says that the Devil's mother was a young woman from Leeds Point who fell in love with a British soldier during the Revolutionary War.  The other people of Leeds Point cursed her, since the child was born of an act of treason.

3) In another legend placing the birth of the Devil in Leeds Point, the creature was said to be punishment by God upon the people of the town for their mistreatment of a minister.

4) The Devil's birthplace was Estellville.  A Mrs. Leeds became pregnant for a 13th time and wished the child to be a devil.  It was born not only deformed, but with horns, a tail, wings, and a demon's head.  After flying off, the Devil came by to visit its mother every day, and every day she told it to leave.  Eventually it did.

5) Mother Leeds of Burlington was a supposed witch.  One night in 1735, she gave birth to the Devil's child, who changed into a horrible winged creature and flew out the chimney after beating everyone present at the birth.

6) There are many other variants, as well.

A common fact binds the first four variants together--the use of the name Leeds, whether as the birthplace or the mother's name.  Atlantic County historian Alfred Heston says that a Daniel Leeds came to Leeds Point in 1699, and the Shrouds, the family mentioned in Variant 1, also lived in the town.  Prof. Fred MacFadden of Coppin College in Baltimore says that a "devil" was mentioned in Burlington records from approximately 1735.  All these facts seem to suggest that there is some basis in fact for the Devil legend.

Sometime early in the nineteenth century, the famous naval hero Stephen Decatur was firing several cannons when he saw a flying creature.  Sometime between 1816 and 1839, Joseph Bonaparte, the brother of Napoleon, saw the Devil in Bordentown.  In the winter of 1840-1841, many sheep and chickens were slaughtered by an unknown beast of prey.   In 1859-1894, there were several sightings of the Jersey Devil in the Leeds Point area.  Finally, in 1899, George Saarosy of Pearl River, New York saw a "flying serpent" he identified as the Devil.

In 1903, the American folklorist Charles Skinner related his belief that the Jersey Devil legends would cease with the turning of the century.  He couldn't have been more wrong.

For six years, it seemed that Charles Skinner's prophecy was coming true--there had been very few reported sightings of the Jersey Devil.  But all that changed in one week, January 16-23, 1909.  In that single week, literally thousands of people all over New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania saw the Devil.

The first sighting of this "flap" came early on the morning of the 16th.   That's when Zack Cozzens saw it by the side of the road as he was driving through Woodbury.  "I first heard a hissing sound," said Cozzens, "Then, something white flew across the street.  I saw two spots of phosphorous--the eyes of the beast...It was as fast as an auto."

On the other side of the Delaware River, in Bristol, Pennsylvania, liquor store owner John McOwen heard a scratching sound, and looked out the window to see something like a gigantic bird.  Later on that night, James Sackville, a patrolman, saw the creature flying and screaming. About the same time, the postmaster, E.W. Minster, was awakened by a sharp scream, and saw a flying monster with a long neck and a horse-like head. The next morning, the Devil's hoofprints were found in the snow.

Back in New Jersey, in the city of Burlington, the Lowdens woke up to find their trash half-eaten and mysterious hoofprints all around.  Many of Burlington's yards contained these strange marks.  Similar tracks--going up trees, over walls and rooftops, and disappearing in the middle of a field, were also found in Columbus, Hedding, Kinhora and Rancocas.  Dogs used to follow the trail seemed oddly reluctant to do so.

The next day, two hunters near Gloucester managed to find the Devil and track it for 20 miles, following its trail of hoofprints.  The prints were found throughout southern New Jersey.  That same day, a group of people in Camden saw it.  It barked and flew into the air.

Very early Wednesday morning (at approximately 2:30 AM), Mr. & Mrs. Nelson Evans, residents of Gloucester, were awakened by an odd noise.  Looking out their window, they observed a creature that could only have been the Jersey Devil.

It was about three feet and a half high, with a head like a collie dog and a face like a horse. It had a long neck, wings about two feet long, and its back legs were like those of a crane, and it had horse's hooves. It walked on its back legs and held up two short front legs with paws on them. It didn't use the front legs at all while we were watching...I managed to open the window and say, 'Shoo', and it turned around and barked at me, and flew away.

A Burlington police officer and Rev. John Pursell of Pemberton both saw the Devil.   Rev. Pursell said that the creature was like nothing he had ever seen.  The inexplicable hoofprints were found near Haddonfield and Riverside; the Devil was seen flying about near Collingswood. At the Mount Carmel Cemetery in Moorestown, John Smith saw the flying monster, as did George Snyder of the same town.

The next day, the Devil was seen flying above a trolley car near Clementon.  In Trenton, E.P. Weeden heard wings flapping and found more inexplicable hoofprints, which were also found at the arsenal in Trenton.  Trolley cars in Trenton and New Brunswick were supplied with armed conductors in case of a Devil attack, and churches in Pitman and many other New Jersey communities were filled with people.  Farmers on both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey sides of the Delaware found their chickens mysteriously killed, and the firemen of West Collingswood fired at the creature with their hoses.

In Camden, a Mrs. Sorbinski heard a strange noise, and looked outside to see the Devil standing there, its paws gripping her dog's back.  She hit the creature with a broom and it dropped her dog and flew off.  The police, hearing her screams, managed to fire upon the creature near Kaigan Hill.

The next morning, one of Camden's policemen, Louis Strehr, said that he saw the Jersey Devil drinking from a horse trough.  In Mt. Ephraim, the school was closed due to lack of attendance, for fear of the Devil, as were factories in Gloucester and Hainesport.   Later on that day, both Blackwood policeman Merchant and Jacob Henderson of Salem saw the Devil.
The last sighting of 1909 took place in February.

The next sighting after Leslie Garrison's sighting in February of 1909 was a vague report from West Orange of a "flying lion," seen in 1926.  The next year, a cab driver outside of Salem got a flat tire.  As he was changing the tire, a hairy creature, a beast that today would be called "Bigfoot," leaped onto the roof of his car and shook it.   The driver threw down his jack and tire and fled.

This incident probably served as the inspiration for an early episode of The X-Files, which presented their interpretation of the Devil.  However, these Bigfoot-types, as well as the feral person in the episode, bear no resemblance to the Jersey Devil of tradition.

The hairy humanoid version of the Devil put in an appearance at Uwchland, Pennsylvania (near Downington) in 1932, shambling out of some undergrowth and scaring John McCandless.   It also put in an appearance in Woodstown, New Jersey, in 1936.

1951 saw the beginnings of a second flap not nearly as large as that of 1909.  The Philadelphia Record recounted the story of a ten-year-old boy who saw a bloody-faced monster outside his bedroom window.  This was in Gibbstown.  The Gibbstown sighting gave way to new sightings of the Devil.  There were at least three reports of screams in the forest, although even witnesses to the Devil's appearance could not agree on it.   Reports varied from the traditional 1909 demon, a seven-foot Bigfoot, and a relatively short "caveman."

The police investigated sightings of mysterious pawprints in the snow, and found only a bear's paw on the end of a stick.  Soon, they posted signs proclaiming "The Jersey Devil is a hoax." The police arrested several freelance Devil hunters who took to the forest with shotguns and rifles.

Phillip Smith of Salem saw the Jersey Devil walking down a street in 1953.  On October 31, 1957, Department of Conservation workers found something odd in the Barrens -- the skeleton of a bird-like creature.  Locals quickly proclaimed the Devil was dead, and would be seen no more. Of course, the skeleton proved to be a Halloween hoax.

Mysterious bird-type tracks were found on the shores of Lake Atsion in 1960. Berle Schwed, one of the witnesses, said they were similar to a bird's.  And the next year, 2 couples in a car heard a screeching noise outside, followed by something heavy jumping on their car's roof and flying away.

In 1966, Steven Silkotch of Burlington County blamed the deaths of 31 ducks, 3 geese, 4 cats, and 2 dogs -- German Shepherds, no less -- on the depredations of the Devil.   That same year, Ray Todd and some friends saw a strange, faceless, scaly creature with black hair moving across a field near Morristown, New Jersey.  Todd was later driven to the Municipal Hall by a young lady who claimed to have seen a similar creature in 1965.

Jerseyite Joe Springer recalled years later how a man heard the Devil's screams in the Barrens in 1974.  In 1981, the Devil returned to Lake Atsion, and was seen this time.   And in 1987, a German Shepherd was found lying 25 feet away from its chain.   It was torn apart and partially consumed.  All around its body were strange tracks.

So what is the Devil, if indeed it exists?  This is not an easy question, as the descriptions of the Devil's appearance are not easily reconciled.  Some reports clearly describe a hairy humanoid or Bigfoot-type creature, while others refer to what may be simply erratic animals. Then there are the "traditional" sightings of a winged monster.

Most researchers concentrate on the Devil as it is traditionally described in New Jersey folklore.  In this case, there are several theories.  One, proposed in the heyday of the devil sightings, held that the Devil was a pterodactyl, which survived to the present day in caverns under New Jersey.  Another theory, advanced as a joke, identified the Devil as a "jabberwock." Another "joke" theory said that the Devil was something called an "astormundiakins."

Semi-serious theories held that the Devil was some type of bird.  One had it that there had been an invasion of scrowfoot ducks, but the traditional Jersey Devil was distinctly un-ducklike.  Another popular theory holds that it, like the "Mothman" of West Virginia, was a sandhill crane.  This theory seems most likely of the two.

Another, proposed by folklorist Jack E. Boucher, states that perhaps Mrs. Leeds merely had a deformed child, keeping it in the house and feeding it.  After she died, the creature escaped the house, raiding farms to get food.  Even after its death, the legend of the "devil child" lived on.  This is probably the most likely of all.

The Jersey Devil is one of many creatures for which we have no shortage of sightings, but which seems a biological impossibility.  Whether it proves to be a biological entity, some paranormal phenomenon, or merely an interesting footnote in folklore, the Devil is certainly a unique creature.

FORT, Charles
    1974     Lo! (pp. 539-841, The Complete Books of Charles Fort).   New York: Dover.

MCCLOY, James F. and Ray Miller

    1976     The Jersey Devil.  Wallingford, PA: Middle Atlantic.


    1998     The Jersey Devil of the Pine Barrens.  Strange Magazine Website.

SKINNER, Charles

    1896     American Myths and Legends.  Philadelphia: J.B. Lipincott.



The Dover Demon

On April 21, 1977, three 17-year-old boys were driving through the Boston suburb of Dover, Massachusetts, at about 10:30 p.m. The driver, Bill Bartlett, saw in his headlights an animal creeping along a low stone wall by the roadside. At first he thought it was a cat or dog, but as he came closer he saw that it was like no earthly creature he'd ever seen.

Bartlett said it had a large head the size and shape of a watermelon, with no visible features except for two round, orange eyes. The rest of its body was thin and spindly, with long, extended fingers and toes that wrapped around the rocks of the stone wall as it walked. It was between three and four feet tall, with peach-colored, hairless skin.

After his quick glimpse, Bartlett asked his two friends if they saw what they'd just driven past. As it turned out, they had been talking to each other at the moment, and didn't see the creature. They persuaded Bartlett go back for another look, even though he was so frightened he didn't want to turn around. They found nothing when they went back. Bartlett then headed home and made drawings of what he had seen (one of which is shown here).

That report alone would make for a pretty good monster story, but then something else happened. About two hours after Bartlett's sighting and a little over a mile away, 15-year-old John Baxter was walking home from his girlfriend's house when he saw a small figure walking towards him on the same side of the road. Baxter thought it was a neighborhood boy he knew, and called out the boy's name. He got no answer. The two walked closer together until Baxter saw the other figure suddenly stop. It then ran off down a gully and climbed up to the opposite bank. Baxter followed and got his first good look at the creature, which he said had a large, round head, a thin body and long, grasping fingers and toes. Baxter watched the creature for a moment, then became scared and ran away from it.

Baxter also drew pictures of what he had seen. Soon word spread of his and Bartlett's sightings, and when their stories and drawings were compared, it seemed that the two had seen exactly the same creature. By all accounts, Bartlett and Baxter had never met before, and there was no reason to suspect that they had conspired together on a monster hoax.

The day after the sightings, Bartlett told his 18-year-old friend Will Taintor about what he had seen. That night, Taintor was driving 15-year-old Abby Brabham home around midnight. Brabham claimed to see a creature matching the same description crouching by the side of the road as they drove past -- even though she had reportedly not heard about what Taintor's friend had seen. Taintor also caught a fleeting glimpse of the creature.

Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman happened to be living in the Dover area at the time of these sightings, and was among the first investigators to tackle the case. It was he who named the creature the Dover Demon, a name that was picked up by the press and has stuck with the creature ever since. Interviews with the witnesses convinced Coleman that their encounters were genuine, despite their youth and the weirdness of what they had seen. It has been suggested that the animal they saw may have actually been a newborn horse, but that seems an unlikely solution. The Dover Demon remains one of the most baffling and compelling of all unexplained creature sightings. 



The Native American Thunderbird

Information submitted by:
Cryptozoology Category

In the legends of native North Americans, the thunderbird is a powerful spirit in the form of a bird. Lightning flashes from its beak, and the beating of its wings is creates the thunder. It is often portrayed with an extra head on its abdomen. The majestic thunderbird is often accompanied by lesser bird spirits, frequently in the form of eagles or falcons. The thunderbird petroglyph symbol has been found across Canada and the United States. Evidence of similar figures has been found throughout Africa, Asia, and Europe.

More on the Thunderbird
by Steve Mizrach

Thunderbird and Trickster
Introduction The Thunderbird is one of the few cross-cultural elements of Native North American mythology. He is found not just among Plains Indians, but also among Pacific Northwest and Northeastern tribes. He has also become quite a bit of an icon for non-Indians, since he has also had the honor of having
automobiles, liquors, and even a United States Air Force squadron named after him. Totems bearing his representation can be found all over the continent. There have been a number of curious theories
about the origins of the Thunderbird myth - ones which I will show are probably wrongheaded. In this paper, moreover, I want to examine how the myths and legends of the Thunderbird tie into the
sacred clowning/trickster ritual complex of Plains tribes such as the
Lakota. I will show how the Thunderbird is intimately connected to this complex, and attempt to explain why. It is the intimate
association between these two traditions that may help explain some features of Plains culture and folklore. Aspects of the Thunderbird myth only make sense in light of these associations.
Plains Indians myth and folklore In order to understand Plains Indians folklore, we have to realize that their myths were not just
"just-so" stories to entertain, divert, or make inadequate efforts at
naturalistic explanation. Rather, Indian myth functioned in religious, pedagogical, and initiatory ways, to help socialize young people
and illuminate the various religious and other roles in society. Indian
myth was always fluid, and grounded in the present, which is what might be expected of societies which largely lacked static,
written traditions. Storytelling was an art which was maintained by the medicine people with great fidelity, because it was used to explain the development of certain rituals and elements of society.
(Hines 1992)

Some have looked at the Thunderbird myths through the same lens of understanding applied to European mythology. The Thunderbird is like the Indo-European dragon or ogre or Leviathan, a
huge monster who kidnaps virginal maidens, and who must be slain by the brave hero. Or the Thunderbird is simply treated as some kind of fantastic oddity, like the mythical unicorn or mermaid -
an impossible construction borne from the extremes of the imagination. Both these attempts at explaining myth lose the important point of seeing Thunderbird as a personification of energies in nature - those found in violent thunderstorms and such - and his crucial dual nature. Still, the Indians were not merely "mythmaking" in the pejorative sense. They no more literally
believed in a giant bird generating storms through the beating of its
wings, then Christians today literally believe in their divine being as an old man with a beard sitting on a marble throne. Thunderbird is an allegory; his conflicts with other forces in nature are then an attempt to allegorize relationships observed in the natural order, such as the changing of the weather. Like other Thunder
Beings, he is essentially an attempt to represent the patterns of
activity of a powerful, mysterious force in a way that can be understood simply and easily - sort of the way in which a weather map functions today. (Edmonds and Clark 1989) The Plains Indians believed that everything that was found in nature had a human representative in microcosm. Everything in nature often contained its own opposite polarity, hence the expected existence of beings such as contraries, women warriors, and berdaches. Because the Thunderbird in particular represented this mysterious dual aspect of nature, manifest through the primordial power of thunderstorms, it is not surprising that his representatives were the heyoka or sacred clowns, who displayed wisdom through seemingly foolhardy action. Western thinking has prevented us from seeing the reasons why Indians perceived this connection. Few anthropologists have sought to locate how Thunderbird may have been mythologically linked to Trickster.

The Nature of Thunderbird
In Plains tribes, the Thunderbird is sometimes known as Wakinyan, from the Dakota word kinyan meaning "winged." Others suggest the word links the Thunderbird to wakan, or sacred power. In many stories, the Thunderbird is thought of as a great Eagle, who
produces thunder from the beating of his wings and flashes lightning from his eyes. (Descriptions are vague because it is thought
Thunderbird is always surrounded by thick, rolling clouds which prevent him from being seen.) Further, there were a variety of beliefs about Thunderbird, which suggest a somewhat complicated
picture. Usually, his role is to challenge some other great power and protect the Indians - such as White Owl Woman, the bringer of winter storms; the malevolent Unktehi,water oxen who plague mankind; the horned serpents; Wochowsen, the enemy bird; or Waziya, the killing North Wind. But in some other legends
(not so much in the Plains), Thunderbird is himself malevolent, carrying off people (or reindeer or whales) to their doom, or slaying people who seek to cross his sacred mountain. (Erdoes and Ortiz 1984) Many Plains Indians claim there are in fact four colors (varieties) of Thunderbirds (the blue ones are said, strangely, to have no ears or eyes), sometimes associated with the four cardinal directions, but also sometimes only with the west and the western wind. (According to the medicine man Lame Deer, there were four, one at each compass point, but the western one was the Greatest and most senior.) (Fire and Erdoes 1972) The fact that they are sometimes known as "grandfathers" suggest they are held in considerable reverence and awe. It is supposed to be very dangerous to approach a Thunderbird nest, and many are supposed to have died in the attempt, swept away by ferocious storms. The symbol of Thunderbird is the red zig-zag, lightning-bolt design, which some people mistakenly think represents a stairway. Most tribes feel he and the other Thunder beings were the
first to appear in the Creation, and that they have an especially close connection to wakan tanka, the Great Mysterious. (Gill and Sullivan 1992)

The fact that Thunderbird sometimes appears as something that terrorizes and plagues Indians, and sometimes as their protector and liberator (in some myths, he was once an Indian himself) is said to reflect the way thunderstorms and violent weather are seen by Plains people. On the one hand, they bring life-giving rain (Thunderbird is said to be the creator of 'wild rice' and other Plains Indians crops); on the other hand, they bring hail, flood, and lightning and fire. It is not clear where with them worship and awe end, and fear and terror begin. Some Indians claim that
there are good and bad Thunderbirds, and that these beings are at war with each other. Others claim that the large predatory birds which are said to kidnap hunters and livestock are not Thunderbirds at all. Largely, I suspect that this dual nature of the Thunderbird ties it to the Trickster figure in Indian belief: like the Trickster, the harm the Thunderbird causes is mostly because it is so large and powerful and primeval. Origins of the Thunderbird Myth
Cryptozoologists like Mark A. Hall, having studied the Thunderbird myths of numerous tribes, and compared them to (mostly folkloric) accounts of unusually large birds in modern times, as well as
large birds (like the Roc) in other mythic traditions, suggest that there may well be a surviving species of large avians in America - big enough, apparently, to fly off carrying small animals or children, as has been claimed in some accounts. (Hall suggests the wingspan of such a species would be several feet longer than any known birds - certainly bigger than that of the turkey vulture or other identifiable North American species.) (Hall 1988) Such researchers feel the Thunderbird myth may have originated from sightings of a real-life flesh-and-blood avian which might be an atavism from earlier
epochs (a quasi-pterodactyl or teratorn, perhaps.) However, the big problem with this theory is that most ornithologists consider it to be quite farfetched. If such a species existed (a situation akin to the folkloric Sasquatch), it would be amazing that to this point it has remained unidentified and uncatalogued. A species of birds that big, unless it consisted of an extremely small number of members, would find it hard to avoid detection for long. Hall does suggest the possibility that maybe, like the mastodon, these large birds were hunted to extinction prior to the arrival of Europeans on the North American continent. Still, the other problem with his theory is that it ignores what Indians themselves have to say about the Thunderbird. They describe the Thunderbird as a spiritual, not just physical, being. It is not seen as just a large, fearsome predatory bird that people tell stories about. Rather, it's an integral part of Plains Indians religion and ritual. Only by ignoring this fact could we put our Western ethnocentric biases into effect, and reduce it to a zoological curiosity. The Thunderbird is much more than that; the Indian attitude toward it comes from more than just the mere fact that it is supposed to be really big. To understand
the origins of Thunderbird myths, it's necessary to see how they connect with other elements of Indian belief and ceremony - especially the Trickster complex - and see how they fit into the
structure of Plains Indian myth as a whole. Clowning around in Plains Indian culture Clowning, like the icon of the Thunderbird, could be found in almost every North American Indian
society. In every case, it involved ridiculous behavior, but on the
Plains it especially exhibited inversion and reversal as elements of satire. There were four types of clown societies on the Plains -
age-graded societies, military societies, the northern plains type, and the heyoka shamanistic societies. The behaviors of all sorts of clowns revolved around a few basic themes or attributes:
burlesque, mocking the sacred, playing pranks or practical jokes, making obscene jokes or gestures, caricature of others, exhibiting gross gluttony or extreme appetite, strange acts of self-mortification or self-deprecation, and taunting of enemies or strangers. 

(Steward 1991) The age-graded clown societies primarily consisted of older people who had been inducted into their ranks - groups such as the Gros Ventre Crazy Lodge or the Hidatsa Dog
Society. These clowns were assumed to simply be playing a role appropriate to their sodality, rather than receiving some
sort of supernatural inspiration. They carried out certain expected
ritual performances on proscribed days, such as the Crazy Dance or the imitation of animals. In contrast, the military clown societies
such as the Cheyenne Inverted Bow String Warriors, often carried comical or ridiculous weapons, but were also expected to show absurd bravery in battle, provoking the enemy into giving up its
discipline and cohesion with taunts and insults. Not surprisingly, they sometimes rode their horses backwards into battle. The northern plains clowns, found among tribes such as the Ojibway, wore masks which made them appear to be two-faced, and costumes of rags which made them appear comical. All of these three types of clown societies practiced a sort of conventionalized or patterned sort of anti-natural behavior. That is, they might do something which seemed strange or contrary, but under somewhat
regular conditions. You knew when they might do something weird - and there were times when they were forbidden to perform their antics. Further, they might often "give up" the clowning way of life,
and return to a non-contrary state by marrying and engaging in a more normal mode of existence. The heyoka were different in three primary ways from the other sorts of clowns. They were truly
unpredictable, and could do the unexpected or tasteless even during the most solemn of occasions. Moreso than other clowns, they really seemed to be insane. Also, they were thought to be more inspired by trans-human supernatural forces (as individuals driven by spirits rather than group conventions), and to have a closer link to wakan or power than other clowns. And lastly, they kept their role for life - it was a sacred calling which could not be given up without performing an agonizing ritual of expiation. Not surprisingly, these unique differences were seen as the result of their having visions of Thunderbird, a unique and transforming experience.

Testimony of Black Elk: 

the heyoka and lightning
The Oglala Indian Black Elk had some interesting things to say about the heyoka ceremony, which he himself participated in. Black Elk describes the "dog in boiling water" ceremony in some detail. Healso describes the bizarre items he had to carry as a heyoka, and the crazy antics he had to perform with his companions. He also attempts to explain the link between the contrary trickster nature of heyokas with that of Thunderbird. "When a vision comes from the thunder beings of the West, it comes with terror like a
thunder storm; but when the storm of vision has passed, the world is greener and happier; for wherever the truth of vision comes upon the world, it is like a rain. The world, you see, is happier after the terror of the storm... you have noticed that truth comes into this world with two faces. One is sad with suffering, and the other laughs; but it is the same face, laughing or weeping. When people
are already in despair, maybe the laughing is better for them; and when they feel too good and are too sure of being safe, maybe the weeping face is better. And so I think this is what the heyoka
ceremony is for ... the dog had to be killed quickly and without making any scar, as lightning kills, for it is the power of lightning that heyokas have." (quoted in Neihardt 1959: 160)
Today, of course, Western physicists describe the dual nature of
electricity. An object can carry a positive or negative electric charge. The electron is simultaneously a wave and a particle. Electricity and magnetism are thought to be aspects of the same force, and as is well know with magnetism, it comes in polarities, with opposite poles (north and south) attracting. Though the Indians did not have access to our modern scientific instruments, they are likely to have observed some of the same properties in lightning. Thus it would have been intuitive to link the dual spiritual nature of the heyoka (tragicomedy - solemn joking - joy united with pain) with the dual nature of electricity. Thunderbird and Heyoka, the Sacred Clown It was believed among the Lakota and other tribes that if you had a dream or vision of birds, you were destined to be a medicine man; but if you had a vision of Thunderbird, it was your destiny to
become something else; heyoka, or sacred clown. Like Thunderbird, the heyoka were at once feared and held in reverence. They were supposed to startle easily at the first sound of thunder or
first sight of lightning. Thunderbird supposedly inspired the "contrariness" of the heyoka through his own contrary nature. He alternates strong winds with calm ones. While all things in nature move clockwise, Thunderbird is said to move counterclockwise. Thunderbird is said to have sharp teeth, but no mouth; sharp claws, but no limbs; huge wings, but no body. All of these things suggest
Thunderbird (and the heyoka) have a curious, paradoxical, contrary
nature. You could become heyoka through a vision of the Thunderbird, or just of lightning or a formidable winged being of power. (Steiger 1974)

While clown societies were found throughout the Plains, the heyoka, or sacred clowns, were usually few in number, but were found in almost every clan. Heyoka were contraries, often speaking and walking backwards. They acted in ridiculous, obscene, and comical ways, especially during sacred ceremonies. They were thought to be fearless and painless, able to seize a piece of meat out of a pot of boiling water. They often dressed in a bizarre and ludicrous manner, wearing conical hats, red paint, a bladder over the head (to simulate baldness), and bark earrings. The heyoka was thought to usually carry various sacred items - a deer hoof rattle, a colored bow, a flute, or drum. His "anti-natural" nature was thought to be shamanistic in origin -- and as a contrary, he was expected to act silly and foolhardy during battle (although this was found more among warrior clown societies such as the Cheyenne Inverted Warriors.) However insulting or sacrilegious heyoka actions might be, they were tolerated, since it was assumed they were acting on the higher and more inscrutable imperatives of the
Great Mystery. Heyoka were freed from all the ordinary constraints of life, and thus were usually not expected to marry, have
children, or participate in the work of the tribe. Despite their bizarre
acts (such as dressing in warm clothes during summer or wearing things inside out), they were trusted as healers, interpreters of
dreams, and people of great medicine. Whenever they interrupted the solemnity of a ceremony, people took it as an admonition to see beyond the literalness of the ritual and into the deeper
mysteries of the sacred. Like the flash of lightning, the heyoka's sudden outbursts and disturbances were thought to be the keys to enlightenment - much like the absurd acts of Zen masters in Japan.

(Hultkrantz 1987)
Thunderbird and Trickster
Part of the link between heyoka and Thunderbird comes from Iktomi, the Trickster figure. Iktomi is said to be heyoka because he has seen and talked with Thunderbird. Iktomi is the first-born son of
Inyan (rock), and is said to speak with rocks and stones. Like Coyote and other Trickster figures, Iktomi likes to pull pranks on people, but is just as often the victim of tricks and misfortunes. This
makes him at once a culture hero, and a figure to be feared and avoided. Iktomi was thought to be a hypersexual predator, one who frequently pursued winchinchalas (young virgins) who bathed in
streams, through various methods of deceit. Yet his pursuits and antics often wound up with him inadvertently getting hurt or winding up in trouble. Paul Radin suggests that Iktomi and other Trickster figures are akin to the Great Fool or Wild Man of European folklore, who often shows up in the Feast of Fools and other ceremonies where the social order is turned topsy-turvy. (Radin 1956) Jung, following his lead, claims the Trickster as an archetypal part of the collective unconscious; and his "crazy wisdom" as emblematic of humankind's earlier, undivided, unindividuated consciousness. Iktomi and other tricksters seem to be at the constant mercy of their desires; yet their blind luck always seems to protect them from the consequences of their missteps. He is dangerous primarily because he is so powerful, yet so rarely has the forethought or good judgment to use his power wisely. Radin and others proclaim him the representative of untamed, unpredictably wild nature, within the confines of culture. In other cultural traditions, thunder and lightning are connected with the unexpected. We talk about a
"bolt out of the blue." In American folk culture, there are a host of
legendary stories of mysterious cures or transformations wrought by someone being struck by lightning. It's at once dangerous, and a
symbol of sudden, shocking revelation and inspiration. It's also the
primary weapon in most pantheons of the chief sky god (such as Zeus in Greek mythology.) For the Plains Indians, thunder
and lightning symbolized the vast, uncontrollable energy of nature. It's not surprising, then, that the Thunderbird is connected with the strange, uncontrollable force of the Trickster figure, and his avatar, the heyoka. Significance of the Trickster Figure and "Contrariness" in Plains Society Psychological anthropologists, especially those oriented toward psychoanalytic theory and depth psychology, point to the Trickster figure as a sort of important cultural "release valve." He represents the "return of the repressed," the Dionysian aspects of life only temporarily held in abeyance by the Apollonian forces of civilization. The carnivals and feasts held in honor of fools in Europe, suggest some anthropologists, are "outlets," allowing people to invert the social order temporarily as a way of promoting its continuity in the long run (avoiding its ultimate collapse.) The ruler is dressed in peasants' clothes, and some ignorant serf is crowned king. Symbols of authority normally held in
extreme reverence are mocked and desecrated. Clowns and contraries in Plains societies do not just come out once a year, however. They are permanent parts of the society, and are seen as continual reminders of the contingency and arbitrariness of the social order. Long before French theorists came on the scene, the heyoka was reminding his own people about the social construction of reality. By doing everything backwards, the heyoka in a way is carrying out a constant experiment in ethnomethodology, showing people how their own expectations limit their behavior. Like a good performance artist, the shocking behavior of the heyoka is supposed to confront people and make them reconsider what they may have arbitrarily accepted as normal. It's to "jolt" them out of their ordinary frames of mind. 

More importantly, as a representative of Thunderbird and Trickster, the heyoka reminds his people that the primordial energy of nature is beyond good and evil. It doesn't
correspond to human categories of right and wrong. It doesn't always follow our preconceptions of what is expected and
proper. It doesn't really care about our human woes and concerns. Like electricity, it can be deadly dangerous, or harnessed for great uses. If we're too narrow or parochial in trying to understand it, it
will zap us in the middle of the night. Like any good trickster, the
heyoka plays pranks on others in his culture not to make them feel embarrassed and stupid, but to show them ways they could start
being more smart. The Account of John (Fire) Lame Deer: Heyoka and ASC Lame Deer calls the heyoka the "upside-down, forward-backward, icy-hot contrary." He describes in detail one particular heyoka trick which may give some clues to the nature of their antics. Apparently, they would grab pieces of dog meat out of a pot of boiling water, and fling them at a crowd of people, without being burned or harmed in any way. (Why dog meat? Lame Deer gives a clue when he says, "For the heyoka, he says god when he means dog, and dog when he means god.") Lame Deer suggests before doing this they chewed a grayish moss called tapejuta. I suspect that heyoka were able to perform this feat through going into trance, an altered state of consciousness, by utilizing this and other psychotropic plants on occasion. More importantly, I think they induced trance in others through their contrary behavior. Psychologists have noted that trance does not always occur through rhythmic repetition. Another way in which it occurs (the "paradoxical state") is through a sudden shock to the nervous system. Ethnomethodologists have often noted the blank, glassy stares and strange states produced by violating peoples' expectations - by, for example, getting into an elevator and facing the other people in it. It's in such "paradoxical states" that people often may assimilate new information quickly, without filtering. They also may be able to "abreact" psychological trauma. For these reasons, the heyoka may have been seen as a source of wisdom and healing. Lame Deer seems to suggest the power of trance is connected to the power of Thunderbird. As a paradoxical state of consciousness, it ties into the paradoxical energy of thunder and lightning. The crash of thunder can startle us and wake us up out of dreaming sleep. The trance of the heyoka comes from sacred power. He ties it all together in a way that's fairly succinct: " These Thunderbirds are part of the Great Spirit. Theirs is about the greatest power in the whole universe. It is the power of the hot and the cold clashing above the clouds. It is blue lightning from the sun. It is like atomic power. The thunder power protects and destroys. It is good and bad; the great winged power. We draw the lightning as a forked zigzag, because lightning branches out into a good and bad part... In our Indian belief, the clown has a power which comes from the thunder beings, not from the animals or the Earth. He has more power than the atom bomb, he could blow off the
dome of the Capitol. Being a clown gives you honor, but also shame. It brings you power, but you have to pay for it." (quoted in Erdoes 1972: 251)

The Thunderbird's association with heyoka clowns is not simply
serendipitous. The fact that the Thunderbird displays many paradoxical and contradictory attributes links it to Trickster figures and to the contraries of Plains Indians culture. This culture complex
probably resulted from Indian beliefs about nature and the ways in which thunder and lightning exemplified the manners in which it could be at once capricious, beneficent, and destructive. The Thunderbird's own link to the original Great Mystery suggests that the role of the sacred clown was seen as one of the highest in Plains society - like wandering fools in Europe, they were thought to be touched by the Divine power itself. Like Thunderbird himself, the heyoka was thought to be a conduit to forces that defied comprehension, and by his absurd, backwards behavior he was merely showing the ironic, mysterious dualities that existed within the universe itself.

Edmonds, Margot, and Clark, Ella E., Voices of the Winds:
Native American Legends,
Facts on File, New York, 1989.
Erdoes, Richard, and Ortiz, Alfonso, eds., American Indian
Myths and Legends, Pantheon
Books, New York, 1984.
Fire, John, and Erdoes, Richard, Lame Deer: Seeker of
Visions, Washington Square Press,
New York, 1972.
Gill, Sam D., and Sullivan, Irene F., Dictionary of Native
American Mythology,
ABC-CLIO Inc., Santa Barbara, 1992.
Hall, Mark A., Thunderbirds: The Living Legend of Giant
Birds, Fortean Publications,

The Exmoor Cat
by Davy Russell, Editor
POSTED: March 98

An "alien feline" was blamed for the deaths of hundreds of sheep throughout the thickly wooded, rolling hills of Exmoor, England since the 1980's. Killings and sightings reached a high in 1983, and was responsible for the destruction of 200 farm animals in 1987. Among the more recent attacks was a sheep found in August 1995, who had its throat ripped out, and skin torn from ear to shoulder.

Descriptions of the Exmoor Beast indicate that it is a large, cat-like animal, either black or dark gray. It has a long tail and stands low to the ground. John Milton reported dark green eyes as the cat ran across the road in front of his car. The "cat" has also been known to jump 6 foot high fences.

Investigations of the Exmoor creature have ruled out all possible theories including foxes or wild dogs. The way in which sheep and other domestic animals have been killed suggest that a large cat was responsible. Cats attack at the neck of their prey, often breaking it, or tearing out the throat. Dogs, on the other hand, attack from all angles including the back and legs. Foxes are unlikely predators of sheep because they are too small and lack the strength to bring down a comparatively large animal. The problem with the cat theory is that there are no native big cats in the Exmoor region of England.

Those who have researched the Exmoor Beast suggest that it is a prime example of micro-evolution. The cats (there appears to be more than one) are believed to be descended from an escaped black puma, which mated with a leopard, and created a new species of cat. Due to the confinement of the gene pool, the rare black colouration of the puma became a "common" trait for the Exmoor cats. Because of the adaptability of pumas, the new species was able to fit in to the non-native environment.

I am not aware of any human attacks or killings which have been associated with the Exmoor cat. The behavior of these cats are similar to the panther in that they are nocturnal, live in forests, and are highly secretive. If you have any more information on the Exmoor Cat or any other "Alien Feline", please E-Mail us at:


More On The Legend of the Jersey Devil
Within the past centuries, the image of New Jersey has changed drastically. Being one of the original 13 colonies, New Jersey has been through the development of the United States from the very beginning. New Jersey's role has changed as well- it went from farmland to industry, from small towns to cities. Its location is ideal, since it is not only on the coast of the Atlantic but it is centered between cities such as New York City and Philadelphia. New Jersey is now the most densely populated state in the nation.There is only one thing overlooked by an outsider- despite its over seven million residents, New Jersey still has a large amount of land that is not developed. North Jersey's cities are contradicted by South Jersey's wilderness- in particular, a large stretch of forest known as the Pine Barrens.

If you know anything about the Pine Barrens, you might know about its most infamous resident. And even if you had no idea about the Pine Barrens, did you ever wonder why New Jersey's hockey team is called the Jersey Devils? Deep in the heart of South Jersey lies a huge span of dark, desolate woods. These trees give off an eerie feeling- as if you are constantly being watched. The plants are so dense it is often times hard to follow a path, and you never know what kind of wildlife is concealed in the brush. You have no idea where they are, but they know exactly where you are... Herein lurks the Jersey Devil.

The legend of the Jersey Devil has existed for over 250 years, since before the birth of our country. It has terrorized, puzzled, and intrigued New Jersey's population since the 1700's. It is a mystery that has been passed down from generation to generation and still remains unsolved. Two centuries after the legend's origin, we still only have myths, theories, and horrifying recounts of sightings. 

So what is the legend? The story begins in 1735 when a Mrs. Leeds of Smithville was pregnant. This was to be her thirteenth child, and Mrs. Leeds was feeling old before her time. As her labor began one stormy night, she cursed the unborn baby during a fit of painful contractions, saying, "Let this child be a devil!" Mrs. Leeds soon forgot her curse when a beautiful baby boy was placed in her arms by the midwife. Suddenly the baby's body started to mutate, and Mrs. Leeds watched in horror as the baby's face elongated to resemble a bat or horse, and long, dark wings sprouted from his shoulderblades. His legs grew long and thin and his pudgy feet hardened and formed into hoof-like extremities. Fear gripped all in the room as long claws grew from the baby's fingertips and his blue eyes yellowed. The creature before them now showed no resemblance to the baby it had been just moments before its transformation. The beast let out an ear piercing scream and then turned, burst through the roof of the cabin and flew off into the night. 

That is the most common and widely accepted version of the legend, however there are several variations to the story. Let's start with the name Leeds. There are two names of the Jersey Devil's mother- Mrs. Leeds and Mrs. Shourds.Carrie Bowen, a local of Leeds Point, once asserted that the name was Shourds, and the actual house that the creature was born in was the Shourds house. According to Atlantic County historian Alfred Heston, both names are possible. 

Heston's research showed that both a Daniel Leeds and a Samuel Shourds lived in Leeds Point around the time of the legend. Heston also discovered that Shourds had lived directly across the river from the Leeds house. This fact adds to another variation- perhaps the Jersey Devil had been an illegitimate child who was cursed by the townspeople before birth. 

The father of the Jersey Devil has always been a disputable topic. Some do not believe that either Mr. Leeds or Mr Shourds were the actual father. In fact, they do not believe the Jersey Devil has a human father; they believe the creature to be a product of Satan himself, mixed with human flesh to give it a body. 

Another variation of the story of the Jersey Devil's creator is that it was the direct result of a curse from a gypsy. This variation states that Mrs. Leeds/Shourds had denied food to a starving gypsy, who then placed a curse on the pregnant woman. Still another variation says that Mrs. Leeds/Shourds could have been involved in witchcraft (there are even reports of a witch trial held around this time period in Mt. Holly, NJ). It is also believed that the Jersey Devil's mother could have been cursed by locals because she fell in love with a British soldier, and because of the time period (before revolutionary war) was shunned. 

There are also several variations on the events of the Jersey Devil's birth. Some say that the creature was born as a devil and never resembled a human. Other variations also say that before the Jersey Devil flew off into the Pine Barrens, it killed and ate all people present in the cabin. It has also been said that (assuming it did not kill all in the room) the Jersey Devil would return to its home for years and sit perched on a fence. After a while, Mrs. Leeds/Shourds, not knowing what to do with her deformed child, "shooed" it away, and it never returned. 

The other variations of the legend involve the date and location of the birth. Instead of 1735, it has been dated as 1778, 1850, 1855, 1857, 1859, 1873, and 1880 (setting it later in time would disqualify several sightings so 1735 is most widely accepted). The birthplace also differs. Besides the commonly accepted Leeds Point, it has been placed in Estellville, Pleasantville, and Burlington. Leeds Point has remained the most popular birthplace due to the fact that it has a physical supposed birth house out in the middle of the woods. (We've seen it, it's incredible!) 

It is believed that the Jersey Devil may have had a name. Smith J. Leeds is the supposed name of the baby that became the beast. While on an excursion to Leeds Point, I found a gravesite with the name of Smith J. Leeds, belonging to someone who had died within two years of birth. The rumor of the name has never been proven. 

Regardless of which legend is believed, all versions have a common result- a winged creature set free to roam the Pine Barrens for the rest of its lifetime. Immediately, the creature decided to do what every baby does, regardless of its species- it decided to explore its surroundings and make itself known

The Jersey Devil began to roam New Jersey boldly as soon as it was born. Immediately, the Pine Barrens were explored and the residents were terrified. They could not believe their eyes as an unknown winged serpent appeared all around the Pine Barrens, seemingly unaffected by human presence. 

The first five years after its birth were so horrific that in 1740 a bold clergyman decided to exorcise the Jersey Devil, banning it from the humans. The people of the Pine Barrens received instant relief as the sightings suddenly ceased. The legend lived on, and was passed down from each generation with a warning that the exorcism would only last for 100 years, and that those who live in the Pine Barrens in the 1840’s should be prepared for the creature’s return. 

During the exorcism period, only two sightings were recorded. These two sightings do not contradict the exorcism - it was humans who encountered the beast in the woods, not the beast who found them. In both cases, no harm befell any humans or their possessions. 

Both sightings came from highly reputed figures during that time period. The first, which occurred sometime between 1800 and 1820, involved naval hero Commodore Stephan Decatur. Decatur was visiting Hanover Iron Works, where he was testing cannonballs to ensure high quality. One day, while out in the Pine Barrens, Decatur noticed a strange creature flying overhead. He immediately fired a cannonball through the beast, and was shocked when the creature continued flying, completely unaffected by the gigantic hole the cannonball had created through its wing. The second sighting was made by the former King of Spain and brother of Napoleon, Joseph Bonaparte. Joseph Bonaparte resided in Bordentown and believed to have seen the Jersey Devil while hunting between 1816 and 1839. 

In both cases, the Jersey Devil did not seek out any human contact. It was merely observed while existing peacefully in the Pine Barrens. The people of New Jersey experienced no strange losses of livestock, and all seemed peaceful and calm during the Jersey Devil’s exorcism. This would all change.In 1840, the Jersey Devil reappeared with a vengeance, right on schedule. The Jersey Devil’s first act was a raid on livestock, and as a result many people lost a large amount of sheep and chickens. 1841 was a continuation of this raid, but this time the Jersey Devil left more evidence - during its livestock theft it screamed chillingly and left unidentifiable tracks. All attempts to locate this creature were unsuccessful. 

The return of the Jersey Devil brought panic along, and the residents of the Pine Barrens were once again gripped with fear, just as their ancestors had been 100 years before. In 1858, W.F. Mayer of New York was visiting Hanover Iron Works (the sight where Decatur had seen the creature) and noticed how odd the Pine Barrens residents acted. They seemed constantly nervous and uneasy. When Mayer commented on a storm, one resident mentioned something about seeing a Devil, and was hushed by other residents, fearing that the Devil could be listening. Mayer also noticed that no resident of the Pine Barrens would ever dare to venture outside after dark. 

In 1859 the Jersey Devil was seen in Haddonfield, and then remained unseen until the winter of 1873 - 1874, where it was seen periodically in Bridgeton and Long Branch. The creature continued to raid livestock and was believed to "carry off anything that moved". In 1894 the Jersey Devil made appearances throughout New Jersey, visiting Smithville, Long Beach Island, Brigantine Beach, Leeds Point, and Haddonfield. 

In 1899 the Jersey Devil raided Vincentown and Burrsville, and then decided to expand its horizons and head for New York. The creature made its first out-of-state appearance in Spring Valley, New York, where a resident was repeatedly losing sheep and hearing "ungodly" screams. At one point, the resident spotted the thief, and described it as a "flying serpent". This resident’s report would be the first Jersey Devil sighting ever to be published in the newspapers. 

The creature remained in New York for a brief period, where it was sighted at Hyenga Lake (rumors had it that a strange creature that could fly, swim, and run became a frequent visitor). Eventually, the Jersey Devil decided to return to its home state, but not without leaving strange tracks in New York’s marshes. 

By the turn of the century, the Jersey Devil’s existence became a common belief in New Jersey and its bordering states. The people believed that an eerie, supernatural creature lived in the Pine Barrens. The people also believed that the sightings and tales would soon die out, and that the legend of the Jersey Devil had run its course. Soon they would realize that they were sadly mistaken. 

The 1900's started off with a major bang for the Jersey Devil legend. In 1909, the largest batch of Jersey Devil sightings ever recorded occurred, in which the Jersey Devil was seen by over 100 people in the time span of a single week. This week, January 16th through January 23rd, has been justly named Phenomenal Week. During this time, a wide range of people throughout the Delaware Valley spotted the winged beast. Some sightings were seen by large groups of people at once; other sightings were made by residents who were awakened in the middle of the night to strange noises in the darkness. 

The huge amount of sightings caused New Jersey to enter State of Emergency precautions, with all residents instructed to be in their homes before dark and to secure all animals at night. Newspapers were filled with detailed sighting accounts, although many articles seemed mocking in tone. The people of the area were terrified - especially those living deep in the heart of the Pine Barrens

The Jersey Devil became New Jersey's Official Demon in the 1930's, recognizing the history of the legend and its importance in New Jersey history. This creature is also the namesake of the state's hockey team, the New Jersey Devils. 

During the 1900's, however, the legend was scarred by the marks of scam artists attempting to make money off of the people's fear. One man in particular went to extremes to create a very elaborate hoax. This man obtained a wild kangaroo, painted stripes on its fur, attached "wings" to its shoulderblades, and kept the creature in a dimly lit cage, charging all curious visitors a fee to take a peek at what he claimed to be the Jersey Devil. When the visitors approached the cage, a man sitting behind the kangaroo (armed with a long stick with a nail in one end) would smack at the creature, causing it to lunge forward and shriek in pain - frightening all who saw. Eventually, the man came clean on his hoax, and since then the Jersey Devil has not been taken as seriously as it had been before. 

At one point, the charred remains of a strange creature were found somewhere in the Pine Barrens. These remains were unidentifiable by the Department of Wildlife and Conservation - they had no record of any such creature on file. Some believed these remains were those of the Jersey Devil, and thought the legend was finally put to an end. But once again, the Jersey Devil returned. 

In 1951 - 1952, the Jersey Devil came back to New Jersey for the Gibbstown - Paulsboro invasion. This invasion, though on a smaller scale than Phenomenal Week, caused quite a stir in the area and sent many people into a panicked state. Posses were formed, who attempted to track the creature. Yet still no dog would follow its trail; instead they wimpered and turned away. Because the legend was no longer taken seriously, mass hysteria was blamed for the cause of the uprise. 

Around this same time, newspapers started refusing any sightings accounts, believing that they were just attempts at gaining recognition and attention. The Jersey Devil legend was beginning to die. Sightings still continued to trickle in, and have remained steady throughout many years. Sightings as recent as this year have been reported... 

Check out the bibliography!

The Jersey Devil James F. McCloy and Ray Miller, Jr. 
Phantom of the Pines James F. McCloy and Ray Miller, Jr. 
American Myths and Legends Charles Skinner 
The Tracker Tom Brown, Jr. and William Jon Watkins 
Mother Leeds' Thirteenth Child NJN Video 
Brigid's Charge Cynthia Lamb 
Copyright © Laura K. Leuter 1999, 2000, 2001

The Hunt for Lake Monsters 

Deep, dark lakes all over the world are homes to what may eyewitnesses report as plesiosaur-like creatures. Are we finally closing in on them? 
On several expeditions, international teams of explorers have set out from the shore of a dark, deep lake in search of a monster. It's been spotted by hundreds of people since the 17th century, but has eluded capture and conclusive identification. Some believe it is a large animal from the era of the dinosaurs that has somehow survived the extinction that wiped out all of its contemporary behemoths. Others think it is nothing more than an illusion - misidentified schools of fish or logs bobbing is the waves. Using state-of-the art sonar equipment, a fleet of sixteen boats will ply the cold waters of the lake hoping, at last, to prove the reality of the mysterious creature.

No, the lake is not Loch Ness in Scotland, and the monster is not "Nessie." The body of water is Great Lake at Ostersund in central Sweden, and the creature is known as Storsjöodjuret. There are many parallels in the stories of the two monsters, of course: they live in deep, largely unexplored lakes; eyewitnesses describe them as having horse-like heads atop serpentine necks. But these are certainly not the only lake monsters of legend in the world. There are literally hundreds of lakes around the globe that, according to eyewitnesses, are homes to elusive sea serpents. They are routinely sighted, if fleetingly, by boaters, fisherman, and vacationers, and occasionally somebody comes up with a fuzzy, inconclusive photo. But, like Bigfoot, no clear, indisputable photos, film, or video exist of the monsters - and no one has come even close to capturing one. There have been attempts to find the Loch Ness Monster using sonar, without success.

Where They Are

Here is just a partial list of lake monsters seen in many parts of the world: 
  • The Loch Ness Monster. Affectionately known as "Nessie," this is the most famous of all lake monsters. There are many Web sites devoted to Nessie, but the best place I've found to learn all about it is The Legend of Nessie. Its listing of sightings is exhaustive, and many of the best photo evidence can be found here.
  • The Altamaha-Ha. This creature lives in the Altamaha River near Darien, Georgia. It has been sighted numerous times, at least since the '60s, by fisherman and other witnesses.
  • Champ. Lake Champlain in northeast New York State is the home of Champ. Most sightings describe a 15- to 25-foot creature with a "long sinuous neck" and a dark-colored body with one or more humps. Go to Champ Quest for more information.
  • Lake Van Monster. In June of 1997, video was taken of some kind of creature in Lake Van in eastern Turkey. A brief story and QuickTime movies of the video footage can be seen at this CNN news story.
  • Memphré. Lake Memphrémagog, which straddles the U.S.-Canadian border about 70 miles east of Montreal, is the home of Memphré. The earliest sightings of this creature, which resemble those of Nessie, date back to 1847. Jacques Boisvert has created a Web site devoted to the creature.
  • Nahuelito. Descriptions of this creature in Argentina's Nahuel Huapi Lake in Argentina vary from that of a giant water snake with humps and fish-like fins to a swan with a snake's head. Witnesses estimate its length at anywhere between 15 to 150 feet.
  • Selma. Lake Seljordsvatnet in Norway is the site of eyewitness accounts of this whale-like creature since 1750. This Official Website details many of those accounts.
  • Ogopogo. Native Americans called it N'haaitk, and it makes its home in Okanagan Lake in British Columbia. Many accounts are related at Unpublished Stories of Ogopogo.

What They Are

No one knows for sure what these creatures are - or even that they really exist. Like UFOs, there are many sightings, but no definitive proof. And, like UFOs, many of those sightings are probably misidentified natural phenomena. Large logs, unusual wave patterns, and even other animals like otters have been mistaken for the monsters. And when it comes to photographic evidence, the parallels to the UFO phenomenon continue: there have been many hoaxes as well as many tantalizing examples that are not easily dismissed.

For cryptozoologists - researchers who study and hunt for such unknown, legendary, or supposedly extinct creatures - and others who believe the animals are real, the consensus seems to be that the Loch Ness Monster, and perhaps many of her cousins that fit the same description, is a plesiosaur. Plesiosaurs roamed the oceans of the world during the late Triassic period (about 213 million years ago) to the Cretaceous period, dying out when all other dinosaurs did about 65 million years ago. As far as science knows, none have survived. Yet it's certainly possible that some have.

Why Are They So Elusive?

For a creature like the Loch Ness Monster to have survived in the lake for so long, there obviously must be more than one. The animal cannot be a 65 million-year-old plesiosaur. There must be enough of them to breed in order to continue their lineage for all these millions of years. Scientists theorize that there would have to be between 20 and 100 or more animals to be able to survive. And although most of the lakes in which the creatures are sighted are deep, with this many creatures, it's surprising that they are not seen more often.

Why aren't they? In an article for Strange Magazine called Rogue Nessie, Kurt Burchfiel speculates that the loch may actually only contain one or so animals - that they occasionally may enter the loch from the ocean as juveniles, feed, get too large to leave, and live out their lives there. Another reason they elude detection is that they may simply be hiding. New Loch Ness Mystery describes how George Edwards of the Auxiliary Coast Guard discovered a huge underwater cavern in Loch Ness. Edwards suspects that the cavern could be part of a large network of caves where dozens of Nessies could live.

We may be closing in on these sea serpents. The proliferation of home video cameras increases the chances that conclusive photographic proof for one or more of these animals will appear. And with more explorations taking place using high-tech equipment, like this month's in Sweden, we may finally get the evidence for the reality of these great creatures. 

Invisible Sasquatch
by Davy Russell, Editor
POSTED: 29 February 00

There are those who claim to have encountered the sasquatch, but have never seen it. They hear it breathing behind them, and turn to find nothing. They hear it following or walking beside them, but nothing is there. For centuries, Native Americans attributed supernatural abilities to the sasquatch including telepathy and the power to become invisible. It appears that Native Americans were not the only ones to find themselves in the presence of an invisible sasquatch. Reports of the unseen hominid continue today.

In his book, Unexplained!, Jerome Clark relates a strange incident that occured on the evening of November 3, 1977, a rare encounter with what some claim to be a possible invisible bigfoot was reported on a reservation in North Dakota. A bigfoot-type creature was spotted throughout the afternoon and into the evening. Locals, along with the police, staked out the area to search for the mysterious creature. A rancher named Lyle Maxon reported a strange encounter, claiming he was walking in the dark when he plainly heard something nearby breathing heavily, as if from running. He shined his flashlight on the source of the sound only to see nothing there. Startled by the incident, he pondered the idea that sasquatch might be able to become invisible when frightened or pursued.

It is a startling scenario to image walking in the woods and being surrounded by curious 6-8 foot tall, 500 pound bigfoot creatures and not being able to see them or even know they are there. Perhaps it is the sasquatch’s gift of invisibility that has prevented its confirmed discovery for so long.

Obviously, the invisible sasquatch theory lends no further scientific credibility to the existence of the hidden man-ape. When attributing supernatural abilities to bigfoot, it becomes a paranormal entity and not a biological one. As a paranormal creature, bigfoot is easily caught up in trans-dimensional portal theories and ties with UFOs and extraterrestrial visitation. Skeptics suspect that it is only superstition and fear of being in the woods alone that causes the idea that an invisible sasquatch is nearby, making the strange noises one hears and breaking twigs behind them.


Loveland Frog
In May 1955, a man reported an unbelievably strange sight while driving home at 3:30 a.m. in Loveland, Ohio, northeast of Cincinnati. He claimed to have spotted three bipedal reptilian creatures standing by the side of the road, and pulled over to watch them from his car for about three minutes. One of the froglike beings carried some type of bar or wand above its head, and sparks were shooting out of the device. The driver notified Loveland police of what he had seen, although no evidence of the creatures was later found.

Almost twenty years later, in March 1972, an unnamed Loveland police officer was driving on Riverside Road at about 1:00 a.m., traveling slowly because of ice on the road. Up ahead he saw an animal standing at the side of the road, which he first thought was a dog. As the cruiser's headlights fell on the animal, it rose upright from a crouching position, showing itself to be three or four feet tall with leathery skin and a head like that of a lizard or frog. The beast looked at the officer momentarily before jumping over the guard rail and heading for the Little Miami River down below. The officer returned to the scene with another policeman a few hours later, and they found scrape marks on the embankment where something had apparently slid down to the river.

Two weeks later, another unnamed Loveland policeman reported a very similar encounter. Driving on the same road, he saw an animal lying in the middle of the pavement, which he thought was either dead or dying after being hit by a car. He got out of his car to clear the animal to the roadside, when suddenly the animal jumped up and the officer saw that it was a strange froglike creature. It began to flee, limping as if it were injured, and headed over the guard rail towards the river. The officer shot at the monster as it went down the embankment, but apparently did not hit it.

Neither of the officers filed an official report of the weird creature, but word of their sightings leaked to the press, and the modern legend of the Loveland Frog was soon spread far and wide. A farmer in Loveland also claimed to see a froglike creature in March 1972. Investigators began to speculate on a connection with the 1955 sighting of reptilian creatures, and the possibility of a secret race of lizard men inhabiting Ohio's rivers. Some have suggested that the officers may have actually seen a Nile monitor lizard or a large iguana, which can be over six feet in length. But if so, these reptiles would have to be escaped from a zoo or otherwise transplanted to the area, since they are not native to the region.

Abnormally large reptiles and reptile men have also been reported in other parts of the country, including the "Lizardman" of Wayne, New Jersey, and the "Giant Lizard" of Milton, Kentucky. The most celebrated successor to the Loveland Frog in recent years was the Lizard Man craze that swept Bishopville, South Carolina, in 1988. A man reported that a 7-foot reptilian beast with red eyes and three-fingered appendages chased his car along a country road at over 40 miles per hour. A large number of other sightings followed, and police officers discovered three-toed tracks. But ultimately, the only hard evidence the Lizard Man left behind was the fattened bank accounts of local bumper sticker and T-shirt vendors.


El Chupacabra

In 1996, disturbing reports of livestock mutilations (Phantom Surgeons series by Amber Hearn May 97) began to surface from the island of Puerto Rico. Many of the dozens of goats, cows, and small pets that were victims in these mutilations were reported to be completely exsanguinated. The animals were also reportedly mutilated with surgical prescision, as if a laser were used to cut the flesh.

The citizens of the small Caribbean island were frantic. Within days, pleas for help were sent to local Puerto Rican and US authorities. Later, when questioned by investigators, the islanders would explain that the animals died because of El Chupacabra. In English, the words translated into a bizarre title that would soon join the ranks of Bigfoot, Nessie, Spring-heeled Jack and The Mothmen. El Chupacabra, "The Goatsucker."

A solid description of The Goatsucker is somewhat difficult to come by. Depending on where you go or who you speak with, El Chupacabra may be described as insect-like in appearance with large red eyes or mammalian with dense brown fur and the face of a baboon. The Chupa may have wings and fly around like a bat or hop like a kangaroo and reek of sulfur. The variety of images for the infamous vampire creature are many and tend to cheapen the existance of such an animal.

 However, the most frequent descriptions are those of a lizard-like creature standing four or five feet tall that walks upright on powerful hind legs, has large-red glowing eyes, sports four large fangs, and spinal quills that can also serve as wings. It is said to use its fangs to suck, in vampire fashion, blood from its victims. Some of the Puerto Rican animals supposedly victimized by The Goatsucker had one to four puncture marks on their necks. Any trace blood left on the bodies refused to coagulate even days after discovery.

Some more incredible theories state that the large red glowing eyes possibly emit laser beams which the creature uses to stun its intended victim and then later as a scalpel-type beam to cut away the soft fleshy parts of the corpse for consumption.

Sound hard to believe?

Then pay a visit to American Lighting and read Dr. John Mantle Green's scientific look at the Goatsucker mystery. Dr. Green, a Biologist with a Ph.D. in plant sciences, M.S. in Botany and a B.S. in biological sciences, presents highly interesting hypotheses on the evolution and origin of a Chupa-type creature with "real" animal examples to help explain his position. Very fascinating read!

 The debate of whether or not El Chupacabra actually exists has done nothing but bolster the Goatsucker's fandom in Latino communities. With the steady decline of tropical rain forests, the believed natural habitat of The Goatsucker, on Puerto Rico and Central America, El Chupacabra may be in search of better hunting grounds. Over the last two years there have been an increase in sightings of Chupas in Central, South, and North America. It would appear that The Goatsucker is on the move to a neighborhood near you. Yikes!

Don't panic yet, though. Oddly enough, these sightings have been localized to heavy Latino populated areas such as Miami and Tuscon, with the notable exception of a sighting in Moscow! Find out more by visiting LatinoLink, featuring a Boston Globe article about chupacabramania. Or stop by El Chupacabra Online, a very colorful site of Chupacabra references, pictures, and sounds. Plus, you can also order your very own Chupacabra T-shirt there and be - as they coined - "the envy of all your friends"! Even CNN couldn't resist El Chupamagnetism: Mexico's Bloodsucker: Myth or Reality?

We now know that El Chupacabras are very popular lizard-like creatures with glowing red eyes, may possibly be furry, have strong legs to hop around with and, then again, maybe have spikes on their backs with which to fly around. Or maybe, all of the above. We also know that they enjoy a steady diet of blood and are somewhat shy but have an affinity to Latinos (this is fairly consistent).

What we don't know is where they come from. Theories of the origins of Chupas range from the first steps in alien colonization to US genetic manipulation of existing species to just simply freaks of nature or living fossils. You can find more details about the origins of The Goatsucker at Chupacabra Phenomenon, where we will find a March/April 1996 UFO Magazine article by Jorge Martin, Editor OVNI Evidencia. OVNI Evidencia is Puerto Rico's own prestigious UFO research magazine. Martin believes that the US is conspiring to keep the truth secret about Chupacabra events in Puerto Rico. The Chupacabra Homepage by Tito Armstrong will further your understanding of Chupas greatly. It is a neat page containing editorials, sightings info, historical timeline, theories and research information about El Chupacabra. Well worth the visit.

On the disbeliever side of the river, "Irregular" Jonathan Speaks' Found Irregularity is a somewhat skeptical view of chupacabras, featuring Bob Buck's "scientific" presentation on Chupacabra existence.

If you would like the Chupacabra Wav. file (it's hilarious), you can find it in it at the Art Bell Homepage. While there, take a look at some Chupacabra look-alikes and read a timeline of Chupa events.

Until next time, THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE. Wayman .


Bigfoot of North America 
If the Himalayas of Asia has it's Yeti, the Pacific Northwest of America has it's Bigfoot: A hairy, ape-like, biped that stands seven to nine feet tall and weighs between 600 and 900 pounds. 

Bigfoot, or as it's often called in Canada, the Sasquatch, is mentioned in several native American legends. In fact, the term "Sasquatch" is Indian for "hairy giant." The first sighting of a Sasquatch by a white man apparently came in 1811 near what now is the town of Jasper, Alberta Canada. A trader named David Thompson found some strange footprints, fourteen inches long and eight inches wide, with four toes, in the snow. 

In 1884 the newspaper, Daily Colonist, of Victoria, British Columbia told of the capture of a "Sasquatch." The creature was spotted by a train crew along the Fraser River. The crew stopped the train, gave chase, and captured the animal after following it up a rocky hill. The creature was given the name "Jacko" and was "...Something of the gorilla type, standing four feet seven inches in height and weighing 127 pounds. He has long black, strong hair and resembles a human being with one exception, his entire body, excepting his hands (or paws) and feet are covered with glossy hair about one inch long...he possesses extraordinary strength, as he will take hold of a stick and break it by wrenching it or twisting it, which no man could break in the same way." 

The description of Jacko is so much like that of a chimpanzee, and so unlike later Bigfoot reports, that some have suggested the animal actually was a chimpanzee. If brought back by a sailor from Africa, the animal might have escaped or been turned loose. There is also the strong possibility that the entire story was a hoax. Newspapers of that era often printed hoax stories to amuse their readers (perhaps not unlike some tabloids sold today). 

Rumors about the Sasquatch continued through the end of the century. Then, in 1910, the murder of two miners, found with their heads cut off, was attributed to the creatures, though there was little supporting evidence that the killing wasn't human in origin. In any case, the place of the murders, Nahanni Valley, in Canada, was changed to Headless Valley, because of the incident. 

The year 1924 turned out to be a banner year in Bigfoot history. Three major sightings occurred: According to a Canadian lumberjack named Albert Ostman, he had been prospecting near Tobet Inlet when he was captured by a family of Bigfoots. The father and daughter guarded him while the mother and son prepared the meals. The family was vegetarian and ate roots, grass and spruce tips. After about a week Ostman was able to slip away. He didn't tell his story to anyone till 1957, fearing people would think him crazy. 

The second incident in 1924 involved a group of miners near Mount St. Helens, Washington. The story goes that the miners spotted a Bigfoot and shot at it, apparently killing the animal. That night their cabin was surrounded by the creature's friends. They proceeded to throw stones at the building, pound on the walls and climb on the roof. The attack continued till dawn. The next day the miners packed up and abandoned the mine. The place is now called Ape Canyon (years later a miner came forward swearing he'd been the one throwing rocks at the cabin as a joke). 

The final sighting came also from the region of Mount St. Helens when a prospector complained to a forest ranger that he'd been woken in the middle of the night when stones were thrown at his cabin. Peeking outside he saw Sasquatches and "they was screaming like a bunch of apes." The man hid under his bed till morning came. Going outside he found the cabin surrounded by big footprints. 

Interest in Bigfoot began to pick up in the United States in 1958 when a bulldozer operator named Jerry Crew found enormous footprints around where he was working in Humboldt County, California. Crew made a cast of the footprint. A local newspaper ran the story of Crew and his footprint with a photo. The story was picked up by other papers and ran throughout the country. It was the picture of Crew holding the "Bigfoot" that made the name stick. 

In 1967 Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin, Bigfoot buffs, announced they'd captured Bigfoot with a movie camera. They filmed a few seconds of a an ape-like creature, apparently female, moving across a clearing near Bluff Creek in northern California. While the film is not perfectly clear, there is no mistaking the creature in the film for a common animal. The movie shows either a real Bigfoot, or a man in a clever costume. Nobody has ever proved the film fake, though some viewers were suspicious about the unnatural stride the creature had. One scientist who viewed the film, John Napier, of the Smithsonian Institution, admitted, "I couldn't see the zipper, and I still can't." 

Scientists have a right to be suspicious of Bigfoot evidence. Two known hoax films exist. A controversial carcass, the "Minnesota Iceman", was thought to be a hoax, too. In addition, hoax foot prints have been made from fake wooden feet and altered boots. One company even produced a set of oversized plastic strap on feet that you could use to fool your friends and family. 

Putting on a gorilla suit and wandering through the woods, in Bigfoot country, is probably not a good idea no matter what fun you'd have scaring people. The local people often carry guns and one researcher, Grover Krantz, of Washington State University, thinks that the only way to ever prove scientifically Bigfoot exists is to shoot it so the body can be examined (Krantz does not recommend that anybody but experienced "big-game" hunters should attempt to bring the creature down as a typical deer rifle might not be heavy enough for a clean kill). There's even rumored to be a million dollar reward for the first real Bigfoot carcass found. 

Some local authorities have moved to protect Bigfoot. In Skamania County, Washington, it is illegal to kill a Bigfoot under penalty of $1,000 fine and five years in jail. The Sioux Indians, who called Bigfoot "Taku he", have forbidden hunting of him on their ground. 

The best evidence for the Sasquatch remains the many footprints that have been found. Typically these run from 16 to 18 inches long and about 7 inches wide. There is no foot arch and the heel has a distinct double ball that might suggest an adaptation to handle great weight. 

Is there really a Bigfoot? Well, despite the many tracks and a large number of sightings nobody has ever found a carcass. This is strange if you believe there are enough of these creatures in the forests and mountains of the Northwest United States and Canada to sustain a breeding population. They must go somewhere when they die. 

Was the first Sasquatch, Jacko, a chimp? (Copyright 1996 Lee Krystek) 

If they are alive, what do they eat? Ostmans story tells us they were vegetarians, but the diet he describes seems inadequate to meet the needs of such large creatures. Glenn Thomas offered a story that might explain the creatures feeding habits. Thomas was walking through the woods when he spotted a family of Bigfoots in a clearing. They were digging through a pile of rocks and eating the small animals they found underneath. (Mostly woodchucks and marmots) Investigators returned to the spot later and found some 30 holes dug. Some of the boulders shifted weighed 250 pounds. 

If you travel to Humboldt County, California, you may want to look for Bigfoot yourself among the forests and mountains in one of the many state or federal parks found there. If you don't see him, though, don't dispare. You can always visit the town of Willow Creek in the center of the county. It has declared itself the capital of BigFoot country and in the center of the village stands a wooden, life-size carving of the creature.


The MothMan

The Mothman (originally called the Bird, but later named after a Batman villain) is most known for his appearance preceding the collapse of the Silver Bridge in Point Pleasant, WV. Most of the research has been collected in John Keel's The Mothman Prophecies. The creature is usually tied in with M.I.B. but seems to be a lot more frightening.

The Mothman is usually reported as a huge winged creature with two glowing red eyes where its shoulders should be, and no head. Others report seeing a humanoid face. It has often been said to fly vertically without flapping its wings and easily catch up to speeding cars to harass its victims.

The behavior of the Mothman seems to indicate that it likes to cause fear. Often, it will paralyze its victims with the glowing red eyes, and generally those who look into them often have eye damage afterwards. It tends to sneak up on the usual targets - lovers in cars, old ladies looking out the window. As expected, it mutilates pets. Its last known place of refuge was the abandoned TNT plant in Point Pleasant, where people would often gather to witness or hunt it. The Mothman had its biggest showing amidst one of the largest paranormal outbreaks in history - when UFOs and M.I.B. flooded Point Pleasant. The Mothman's appearances often occurred with whispers, high pitched screeching, and general bumps in the night.

Theories? The strangest theory to come up is The Chief Cornstalk Curse. Chief Cornstalk was an Indian who was captured by white Americans in the 1700s and used to advance their war efforts. When a soldier was killed, the Chief was wrongly accused and was murdered - it is rumored that eight shots went into his body before he went down. And before his last breath, he cursed the land:

"I was the border man’s friend. Many times I have saved him and his people from harm. I never warred with you, but only to protect our wigwams and lands. I refused to join your paleface enemies with the red coats. I came to the fort as your friend and you murdered me. You have murdered by my side, my young son.... For this, may the curse of the Great Spirit rest upon this land. May it be blighted by nature. May it even be blighted in its hopes. May the strength of its peoples be paralyzed by the stain of our blood.”

Given the events surrounding the Mothman, it seems as though it is connected forever with UFOs, so the alien theories will never stop. Some people have reported the Mothman as a gigantic bird flying impossibly through the sky, or even as a spaceship. Experts have claimed it is merely a large sandhill crane. Throughout history, the Mothman has been sighted before major tragedies, sometimes prophecies were given by mysterious forces, often too cryptic to be of any use. Is he some sort of angel, or something quite the opposite? It's said if you seek to understand the Mothman, he just may seek you. Perhaps I've written enough...

Some Famous Cryptid Photos


 Some species of living reptile can achieve an immense size. Crocodiles are the largest and most dangerous of these.

Crocodylus porosus the Indo-Pacific crocodile is an awesome beast. The largest specimen measured by an expert was twenty eight feet in length, but larger individuals almost certainly exist. James Montgomery, a rubber tapper in northern Borneo saw a specimen measuring over thirty feet in length on the Sagama River during the 1950s.

The local Seluka people believed it to be 'The Father of the Devil' and threw silver coins into the river to appease it. This provides an irresistable parallel to the hordes of treasure said to be gaurded by so many European dragons. Today the Ibad people of Sarawak venerate 'Bujang-Senang' - the 'King of the Crocodiles' - a twenty five foot specimen who haunts the Lumpar River and is a known man eater.

The Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus), is worshipped by many tribes throughout Africa. It grows to over twenty one feet in length, but reports from Central Africa's Congo rainforests suggest it may rival It's Indo-Pacific cousin in size.

Between them, these two species account for more human deaths than any other vertebrate, with the exception of man himself. They will also kill lion, buffalo, giraffe and even sharks!

Giant constricting snakes make good prototype 'worms'. Python reticulus - the reticulated python reaches thirty three feet in length and can take on prey as large as a leopard.

The anaconda (Eunectos murinus), is not as long, reaching a maximum recorded size of 23 feet, but is far more massive in girth and weight. It is amphibious in nature and extremely aggressive.

The worlds largest lizard is the komodo dragon (Varanus komodensis). Discovered in 1912 on a handful of tiny Indonesian islands it can reach twelve feet in length. This giant monotor lizard has serrated teeth containing a virulent bacteria that causes wounds inflicted by the fangs to rot and fester. If an animal survives the initial bite its wounds will seep and stink - the smell leading the giant lizard to it. Chinese pottery, hundreds of years old, has been unearthed on Komodo island suggesting that the ancient Chinese may well have ben familiar with this gigantic reptile.

However, in Australia, an even bigger monitor lizard existed until the end of the Pleistocene epoch. Megalania prisca grew to over thirty feet in length and was the continent's supreme terrestrial predator. Reports suggest that this terrifying creature may still stalk the wilder parts of the continent.

From the 1830s onwards white men have been reporting what the native Australians have been reporting since times immemorial. Most of these sightings eminate from New South Wales. The most important was made by a professional herpetologist called Frank Gordon in 1979. Gordon, who had been conducting field work, returned to his land-rover. On starting his engine he was astonished to see a nearby 'log' rear up and lumber away. The 'log' was a thirty foot lizard!

Explorer John Blashford-Snell did some important work in Papua New-Guinea concerning a mythical animal called the Artrellia, which he hypothesised as being a giant form of Salvador's Monitor (V. salvadori) which can grow to a greater length (although a smaller bulk) than the Komodo Dragon.

Victorian author, Charles Gould, postulated a similar reptile inhabiting central Asia. Gould's hypothetical 'dragon' had ribbed 'wings' like the South East Asian flying lizard (Draco volens), and a constricting tail.

The problem with all the above animals is that they live only in the tropics. Dragon legends are universal and thousands of them come from temperate or even sub arctic areas!

In 1979, Peter Dickinson offered a unique theory in his book 'The Flight of Dragons'. Dickinson's idea was that dragons evolved from large carnivorous dinosaurs like Tyrranosaurus Rex. They developed large, expanded stomachs filled with hydrogen gas.

The hydrogen evolved from a mixture of hydrochloric acid in the digestive juices mixed with the calcium found in the bones of their prey.

This lighter than air gas allowed them to fly. They controlled their flight by burning off excess gas as flames.

Other ideas are even more esoteric. Many people have commented on the parallels between modern 'alien abduction cases' and the folk legends of people kidnapped by elves and taken to fairyland.

Both have elements of missing time and memory. Both feature 'implants' - high tech probes on the part of the aliens, and magic silver pins inserted by mischevious elves. They seem to be the same phenomenon, adapting to, or filtered through the collective sub-conscious fears of mankind. What were once elves and pixies are now bug eyed aliens. Could this not be the same for dragons?

There seems to be some analogue between UFOs and dragons. Both are often seen near water and both seem to be cross cultural. They both seem powerful and 'above' mankind. UFOs outpace places and seem to defy all attempts to capture them (Roswell shenanigans excluded!) Early dragon legends portray them as beasts of god-like power and universal consequence.

It was only later that the tales of more mortal dragons and dragon slayers emerged. These can be interpreted as allegorical tales signifying Christianity's triumph over paganism. (Can anyone really believe that a puny knight on a his figurative mouse of a horse, being able to triumph over a mighty reptilian dragon?)