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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Happy Birthday Karl Shuker! (And Cryptozoologist of the Year)

I saw on Karl Shuker's blog right now that been award "Cryptozoologist of the Year" by Loren Coleman and the International Cryptozoology Museum (see here). And, today is also Karl's birthday!
Karl Shuker

Happy Birthday Karl!


Karl's two most recent books are Still in Search of Prehistoric Survivors and The Journal of Cryptozoology, Volume 4. 




Journal of Cryptozoology Volume 4

Now available - the 4th volume of The Journal of Cryptozoology. Currently the only peer reviewed scientific journal concerning cryptozoology.

Here is what you will find in this volume, from Karl Shuker's blog ShukerNature:

"An insightful examination by Paul Michael Donovan of the original occurrence and subsequent dispersal and gradual generalization in meaning of a famous cryptid term - 'bunyip.'
"An exhaustive and exceedingly valuable checklist compiled by Dr Charles G.M. Paxton and Adrian J. Shine of identities proposed over time for what must surely be the world's premier cryptid - the Loch Ness monster.
"A very pertinent application of DNA analysis by Dr Haskell V. Hart to alleged cryptozoological (bigfoot) samples, a practical approach that I anticipate becoming ever more important in this field.
"The presentation by Bruce A. Champagne of a very comprehensive, novel type proposal for water monsters."

You can get it here.
 
 
 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Valhalla Serpent - 111 Years Ago Today

75 years ago today, Pearl Harbor in Hawaii was attacked. Also on this date, 111 years ago, one of the most famous sea serpent sightings occurred.

While on the yacht Valhalla, two naturalists (Yes, scientists saw a sea serpent!), Michael J. Nicoll and E.G.B. Meade-Waldo, were fifteen miles east of the Parahiba River in Brazil on a research cruise when they spotted something strange around 10:15 a.m.
The Valhalla monster
Nicoll spotted the thing first, and asked Meade-Waldo, "Is that the fin of  a great fish?"

They both saw a fin moving through the water about a hundred yards away from them, which Meade-Waldo described as "dark seaweed-brown, somewhat crinkled at the edge." The fin was rectangular, about six feet long, and about two feet high.

Meade-Waldo grabbed some binoculars to see the creature better, and when he did, a long neck, "about the thickness of a slight man's body" rose out of the water. The neck of the creature, he said was "from seven to eight feet out of the water." The head and neck were the same thickness. He went on to describe it more:

"The head had a very turtle-like appearance, as also the eye. It moved its head and neck from side to side in a peculiar manner. The color of the head and neck was dark brown above, and whitish below - almost white, I think."

Nicoll also noted that under the water, they could see a "very large brownish-black patch, but could not make out the shape of the creature. They watched the creature for several minutes until the yacht moved too far away.

At 2 a.m., December 8, 1905, three crew members on the Valhalla may have seen the creature again, entirely submerged.

Neither naturalist knew what they had seen. Meade-Waldo had no theory, and Nicoll thought that they may have seen a species of mammal. "The general appearance of the creature, especially the soft, almost rubber-like fin, gave one this impression."

He did add, however, that he thought that "…This creature was an example, I consider, of what has been so often reported, for want of a better name, as the 'great sea-serpent.'"

Nicoll's original eyewitness drawing of the sea serpent

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Still in Search of Prehistoric Survivors: The Creatures That Time Forgot?

In 1995, Karl Shuker's book In Search of Prehistoric Survivors was released. Now, the book has been re-published, updated, and expanded, as Still in Search of Prehistoric Survivors: The Creatures That Time Forgot?

"It has been 21 years since the original publication back in 1995 of In Search of Prehistoric Survivors, considered by many to be Dr Karl Shuker's finest cryptozoological volume. Not surprisingly, then, in subsequent years there has been a growing, persistent clamor among his numerous fans worldwide for him to prepare a new, updated edition. Now, at last, he has done so -- and what an update it is!
"At over 600 pages long, with a  word count of almost 260,000 and more than 300 color and b/w illustrations, this is both a massively-expanded new edition of the original volume and a valid stand-alone book in its own right, because it contains many entirely new cryptids as well as updates for all of those previously included here. The result is the most comprehensive documentation and analysis ever published of those diverse mystery beasts that at one time or another have been postulated to be bone fide prehistoric survivors.
"But if these elusive beasts do indeed exist, could they really be creatures that time forgot? From sea serpents and lake monsters to living dinosaurs and surviving pterodactyls, from bunyips and behemoths to Nandi bears, devil-pigs, thunderbirds, and many, many more, read Dr Shuker's meticulous, objective, and always scrupulously scientific assessments of each and every cryptozoological case presented in this fascinating book, and judge for yourself."

You can get the book here.
 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Ohio Bigfoot Conference 2017

The 2017 Ohio Bigfoot Conference will take place May 20th.

Speakers so far are Lyle Blackburn, Thom Powell, and Jeff Meldrum. Recently there was an announcement saying there will be two more speakers and some special guests announced.

Tickets sold over the weekend. VIPs sold out in less than five minutes.

I will have updates as more speakers are announced.

Lyle Blackburn
Jeff Meldrum
Thom Powell

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Small Town Monsters - Mothman of Point Pleasant

Small Town Monsters announced their 4th film yesterday - The Mothman of Point Pleasant, coming spring 2017.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

OMGB Update

I have edited the final draft of my next book, The Ohio Monster Guidebook. Now, the only thing left is publishing. Currently I don't know if i'll self publish again or look for a publisher.Check back later for more, I'll have more  updates as it gets closer to being published.

The book covers many different cryptids seen in Ohio, like bigfoot, lake monsters, mothman, Loveland Frogs, Melon heads, thunderbirds, black panthers, dogmen, etc, etc. There's even a bit on UFOs.


The Lachlan Stuart Loch Ness Photo - Hoax or the Real Deal?

One of the most famous photos of a supposed Loch Ness Monster is the one taken by Lachlan Stuart on July 14, 1951.

The original story goes like this:


On that day, Stuart had woken up around 6:30 a.m. to milk his cow. He was about 100 feet above the loch and on the opposite shore from Urquhart Castle. He happened to look at the loch and saw what he at first thought was a motorboat.

He soon realized, however, that it was no boat, when a second hump appeared behind the first one. He called out to his wife and Taylor Hay. Hay and Stuart ran down to the shore, and now saw a third hump. The creature had changed direction and was moving southwards through the lake, about 50 yards from the witnesses.

Stuart had his box camera with him, so he took a picture of the three humps. Afterwards, a long neck with a head "like a sheep but without the ears" appeared. There is a tiny black dot in front of the first (furthest left) hump in the photo, and some say that is the head of the monster.
The photo

The creature had come closer to the shore by this time, so Stuart and Hay decided to move further back up through the trees to where they originally were. The monster then swam back out into the center of the loch and submerged.

Stuart said he thought each hump was about 5 feet long, with about 8 feet between each of them. He said the first hump stood 2 feet out of the water, the second 4 feet, and the third 3 feet. The neck was about six feet long. Stuart also said there was a "commotion" in the water about 15 feet behind the last hump, which he thought might have been caused by the submerged tail of the monster. He described its skin as "blackish" in color.

This is one of the most famous Loch Ness Monster photos of all time. But is it real?

FRERE'S CLAIM OF A HOAX

In 1984, Richard Frere in his book Loch Ness says this about the Stuart photo:

"I have no particular objection to hoaxers…and my chief reaction on getting first hand knowledge of the affair was surprise at how easily even experts can be duped. This amateurish invention was given the seal of approval by a leading zoologist as the 'most important picture.'"

Frere then wrote a letter to Alastair Boyd, which was printed in the "Nessletter" Number 88, in June 1988:

"Dear Mr Boyd,
"Thank you for your letter concerning Stuart's photograph of ?. As you say many years have hone by since 1951 but I happen to remember clearly a meeting at Loch Ness side, in the vicinity of the Whitefield cottage, with a man who represented himself as Lachlan Stuart. At that time I had a timber business and was in need of an additional horse for timber dragging. I had heard that Stuart had such a beast or could put me in touch with one and our meeting was arranged by a third party. I met with Stuart in early August. We discussed the horse but no bargain was struck, even after the woodsman had obligingly offered a dram from his bottle. Before we parted he took me down to the pebble beach, where, concealed within a clump of alder or hazel, I was shown on my promise of silence, three or four bales of hay (as supplied for horses) and some strips of tarpaulin. I was told that these were the 'humps' of ?. S was proud of his joke, in which he saw no harm, and he was greatly surprised that his photograph had come out at all, as it was taken 'near dark.' I did not enquire at what margin of the day it had been snapped. Stuart considered ? 'a load of nonsense' and poked fun at those who took it seriously. From this you can see that I did not participate in the hoax, although, perhaps, my silence until recently may be construed as that of an accessory."

So, we are left with two options - either the Lachlan Stuart photo of three humps in Loch Ness actually shows the back of the monster, or it is fake, made with bales of hay with tarpaulin over them.

As shown on the Loch Ness Investigation website here, the water in the area where the photo was taken is not that deep, so it wouldn't surprise me if Frere's account of the bales of hay and tarp are true. And it kind of makes sense, too. In his account Stuart says that he also say the head and neck of the monster. Why wouldn't he take a photo of that? Probably because it wasn't there.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fantastic (Cryptid) Beasts

Colin Schneider has a new post up on his Paranormal101 blog about the new movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and similarities between some of the "beasts" and cryptids from around the world… check it out!


Friday, November 25, 2016

Thoughts on Sightings of Loch Ness Monsters on Land



I'm currently reading Malcolm Robinson's book The Monsters of Loch Ness: The History and the Mystery. In the book, Robinson says he doesn't put much credence in sightings of the monsters on land around the loch, since most of them occurred in the "heyday" of LNM sightings, in 1933 and 1934. I disagree with him on this, and I will explain why later in this post. But first, lets take a look at the two most famous land sightings of "Nessie" from that time period.

THE SPICER SIGHTING (1933)

On July 22, 1933, Mr. and Mrs. George Spicer were driving along Loch Ness, between Dores and Foyers, when they spotted what can only be described as a "monster."

The sighting was first reported in the August 4 edition of the Inverness Courier. Later, Rupert Gould, author of The Case for the Sea-Serpent and The Loch Ness Monster and Others (one of the first LMN books, published in 1934), interviewed the Spicers about their sighting. Below is what Gould wrote about the sighting:

"They had passed through Dores, and were on their way towards Foyers when, and the car was climbing a slight rise, and extraordinary-looking creature crossed the road ahead of them, from left to right, in a series of jerks. When on the road, it took up practically the whole width of it.
"He saw on definite head, but this was across the road before he had time to take the whole thing in properly - it was in sight for a few seconds. The creature was of a loathsome-looking grayish color, like a dirty elephant or a rhinoceros. It had a very long and thin neck, which undulated up and down, and was contorted into a series of half hoops. The body was much thicker, and moved across the road, as already stated, in a series of jerks. He saw no indications of any legs, or of a tail - but in front of the body, where this sloped down to the neck, he saw something flopping up and down which, on reflection, he thought might have been the end of a long tail swung round to the far side of the body. The latter stood some 4-5 feet above the road. The whole looked like a huge snail with a long neck."

 After it crossed the road, the creature crashed through the underbrush and disappeared into the loch.

ARTHUR GRANT'S SIGHTING (1934)

The other most famous land sighting of a Loch Ness Monster occurred in January 1934 (which Robinson mistakingly says occurred in Aug. 1933 in his book). While Arthur Grant was driving home on his motorcycle one night, he almost collided with a creature that was making its way across the road when it jumped out in front of him.

Some people think Grant's sighting is a hoax. Tony Harmsworth has said:

"The version I had heard, from the late Joyce MacDonald of Drumnadrochit, was that Grant had fallen off his motorbike near what is now the Abriachan nursery and when he arrived home his mother asked how he had damaged his motorbike. Grant came up with the story that he had been knocked off the bike by the monster.
"A fiend of his, possibly many years later, told Joyce's husband, Willie MacDonald that he had overheard the story and told a journalist. The account then appeared in the newspapers.
"Today we have no way of discovering who that friend was. A more recent version which I heard from Dick Raynor was that Arthur Grant and a friend were calling the newspapers themselves from a telephone at a local garage owned by Alec Menzies who had overheard one end of the conversation and also heard Grant turn to his friend after the call and say, 'They've swallowed it.'"

Was the whole thing a hoax. Like Harmsworth said, we have no way of knowing. Now, back to the subject of Nessie on land.
Grant's sketch of the "monster" - did he really see it?

MY THOUGHTS

Those are not the only sighting of monsters on land around Loch Ness from around that time. Robinson doesn't believe them since there haven't really been any (at least with any frequency) since that time. That would be a good reason, but I do have something to counter that.

At the time (around 1933), a new road was being build along the loch, so there was lots of blasting of the landscape to make it. If there are monsters in the loch, I bet they would be a bit disturbed by the explosions and things falling into the loch because of them, which may have caused them to go onto the land.

So, do I believe at least some of the land Nessie sightings? Yes.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Mothman… Sighted?

Saw this on the Mothman Festival Facebook page…

"A possible Mothman sighting took place in Point Pleasant yesterday, as it was reported from a caller to our local TV news station. Caller said he allegedly witnessed what he thought was the Mothman flying over route 2 in Point Pleasant. Here are the quick snapshots he took at the scene. What do you guys think?!"
(via Mothman Festival)

To me it looks like its most likely fake. Someone is probably just trying to hoax since the 50th anniversary of the Scarberry-Mallette sighting was a few days ago...

Friday, November 18, 2016

Mothman's Squeaking Sounds

In 1966, the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia was the site of lots of strange activity. During that year and throughout the next, there were sightings of UFOs, odd occurrences, encounters with Men in Black, and of course, the Mothman.

The first publicized sighting of the Mothman occurred on November 15, 1966. Two young couples, Roger and Linda Scarberry and Steve and Mary Mallette, were joyriding in the TNT Area outside of Point Pleasant that had served as an ammunitions site during the Second World War. They also happened to spot the Mothman. The creature followed them back to the town, and as it was chasing the car, the witnesses said it made a sound "like the squeak of a huge mouse."

While at the Mothman Festival in September, I was talking with Colin Schneider (another researcher of the unknown) about the creature, and he mentioned that he thought the mention of Mothman's "squeaking" was similar to a banshee. Below is why that could be important.

Banshee
Wikipedia says that "A banshee is a female spirit in Irish mythology who heralds the death of a family member, usually by shrieking or keening" (Emphasis mine).

Now, anyone who knows about the Mothman saga knows that it apparently ended after the Silver Bridge collapsed on December 15, 1967. The collapse of the bridge, spanning the Ohio River, killed 46 people.

Could Mothman possibly be connected to a banshee in some way? With the strange squeaking sound, weird electronic occurrences, other odd sightings, and death in Point Pleasant, I think this should be looked into more.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Werewolves in Ohio

MULTIPLE DOGMAN SIGHTINGS

Several young boys reported encountering a Dogman near Niles, Ohio in the late 1980s. During the first sighting, a boy and his friend, who were both around 12 years old, were playing in a field near the boy's home when they saw a strange figure running towards them through the trees. They took off towards the boy's house.

In the second sighting a few years later, a teenager on the opposite side of town saw a "large dark figure" following him. The figure would move from tree to tree, peeking around at him. When the creature realized that the boy had noticed it, it began running towards him. Like the other witnesses, the boy ran out of the area.

"A CROSS BETWEEN A DEER AND A BEAR"

Two people driving to West Virginia from Marietta on December 11, 2003, spotted a strange creature looking at them from beside the highway. The creature "looked like a cross between a deer and a bear" and stood about six-and-a-half feet tall. The witnesses said it had extremely thin legs that "almost looked unstable holding up its huge body." The torso, neck and head of the creature were covered in long black fur, but the legs were not. The witnesses could not see the creature's feet because it was standing in two-inch tall grass.

The creature had large, red eyes and a snout that was long and slender. It watched the witnesses as they drove by.

A FISHERMAN'S SIGHTING

In 2004, a fisherman saw an "extremely hairy person" hunched over behind a bush. Before he left the man saw the creature's face, which he said looked "like a mix between a dog and a human."

TRUMBULL COUNTY SIGHTING

A witness driving in a very isolated, forested, and hilly area in Trumbull County on the night of March 1, 2006, saw a very large "creature or animal" in his headlights. The creature was on all fours, and the witness guessed that it was about six feet long from head to rump (not counting its bushy tail). The creature was at least three feet high when on all fours.

The creature jumped into a ditch, and the witness stopped and shined his headlights at it. He said was a "beautiful" gray and white color and had a face like that of a wolf. The creature did not make any threatening moves, but the witness said that he felt the thing "looked inside of him." The creature ran into the woods and disappeared.


This post is excerpted from my book The Ohio Monster Guidebook: A Look at the Buckeye State's Most Mysterious Creatures. I am done proofing the book and am planning on editing the final draft next week.

Mothman - 50 Years

50 years ago today, the sighting that would make Mothman, Point Pleasant, West Virginia´s flying monster, famous occurred.

On November 15, 1966, Roger and Linda Scarberry, along with their friends Steve and Mary Mallette, went for a drive through the ¨TNT Area" just outside of Point Pleasant. What they saw that night would change their lives.

That night, as they were driving through the TNT Area, going by the old "igloos" that had been used to store ammunition during WWII. When they neared the old generator plant (which is not there today), they saw the Mothman.

They described the creature as man-shaped, six to seven feet tall, with red eyes, and wings. They also said the creature didn't appear to have a head. The eyes seemed "hypnotic" when it looked at them. Linda Scarberry described the creature as "flesh colored with ashen wings." When they first spotted the creature, it had one of it's wings stuck in guide wire by the road and was trying to free itself.

Not surprisingly, the witnesses were terrified of what they were seeing, but Linda Scarberry said it seemed like it was scared as well. After it freed its wing, it shuffled off towards the generator plant.

Roger Scarberry sped out of the area, and on their way out, they spotted the creature again, standing on a hill by the road. It then took off into the air and flew along with the car, flying at speeds around 100 m.p.h. As it was flying along with the car, the witnesses said the Mothman made a strange squeaking noise, described as "the squeak of a huge mouse." I will have another post on that subject later.

By the time they reached the town, the creature left. They decided to tell the authorities what they had seen. As they were heading back they saw the body of a dead dog by the road, and then saw the creature jump out at them, fly over the car, and disappear.

They told their story to the police who returned to the area. When the police went out, the body of the dog was gone. The police did not see the monster, but when they turned on their radio, they heard a "strange garbled sound screeching out at high volume, as though someone were playing a tape recorder at fast-forward speed."

That was the first encounter with Mothman, and there would be many more within the next year. Also during that time, other strange electronic occurrences happened, along with UFO activity, Men in Black encounters, and lots of other weird stuff, all around Point Pleasant and the surrounding areas in West Virginia and Ohio.