The Cannock Chase Werewolf

The Werewolf of Cannock Chase

AN UNSEEN PRESENCE IN THE NIGHT

You may have heard of heard of Dracula, the Nosferatu and even watched the Underworld Lycan films, but there’s one monster that has been left out of the spotlight so far —the Werewolf of Cannock Chase.

That’s right: the Cannock Chase Beast, as it was originally known, is also a werewolf. And this isn’t just any old werewolf we are talking about here; we are talking about one of the most famous and well-documented cases in British history!

NOT A NEW PHENOMENON

To understand this creature, we must travel back through time to the year 1727 when a young boy was murdered in a small village outside of Staffordshire, England. His body revealed evidence of an attack by a creature with huge fangs and claws that tore out his throat and chest while he was still living.

This was not the only attack reported from this location; there were others before it and more to come after it too. During the 18th century, a shepherd named Thomas Bateman was returning home late one night when he claimed to have seen two werewolves fighting near Cannock Chase in the Midlands of England. He described them as “hairy and black as coal”, with extended claws and dreadful teeth. Bateman said that one of the creatures killed the other before fleeing into the darkness.

One hundred years later another sighting took place but this time it involved two people who saw their friend attacked by what looked like a wolf but turned into a man before their eyes! More sightings followed throughout history.

The Werewolf of Cannock Chase is a cryptid that has been said to be sighted in the area for many years. The creature is described as being roughly seven feet tall and having a human-like face and hands instead of paws.

This phenomenon has been reported by many people over the last decade, with some saying they saw it while driving along the road at night. However, there are no photos or evidence available as proof whether or not this creature exists.

In a recent report, a Cannock resident argued that they witnessed “a creature with the head of a wolf and the body of a man” walking through their garden during the month of July. Another sighting was made by two men who saw something they described as “bigger than a bear” while they were driving on the Cannock Chase road at night. The beast was said to be covered in fur and had red eyes. Perhaps most notably, another witness came forward with what they believed was photographic evidence: an image captured on camera after spotting something moving through woods during daylight hours.

There were many strange things happening at Castle Ring in the mid-1800s. The most famous of these is the account of a mysterious and terrifying presence that haunted the castle’s dining hall, where it was said to materialize and then disappear without warning or explanation.

THE MYSTERY OF CASTLE RING

A popular site for paranormal activity, the Castle Ring is a large circular earthwork in Cannock Chase. It is thought to have been constructed around 600 BC, although there is no archaeological evidence to prove this. It was first recorded by William Camden in 1607 and has become popular with paranormal enthusiasts due to its supposed connection with werewolf sightings.

Cannock Chase Castle RingThe Cannock Chase Post, a local newspaper actually ran a story in which it was suggested that the werewolf sightings could actually be a ‘underground stone-age throwback’.  The theory goes that the creatures could have lived and flourished for centuries in the old mines and caves under Cannock Chase hills.  It’s possible that they only emerge at night when the come to the surface to hunt for local deer amongst the stone age barrows and earthworks.

It is definitely true that there have been many cases of domestic pet disappearances in the area, particularly near to the old German War cemetery.

THE BEAST TODAY

The Beast of Cannock Chase has been roaming the forest for centuries, but if you’re determined to see it for yourself, don’t go looking for it on just any night of the month. It’s said that on certain days of the year, like Halloween and New Year’s Eve, you can see the werewolf’s glowing eyes—and even smell its stench—when you visit Cannock Chase in Staffordshire.

The werewolf of Cannock Chase remains a popular topic of conversation and folklore to this day. Stories and sightings continue to come in, and the beast has starred in an award-winning local film. Not in person – of course.

HAVE YOU SEEN THE CANNOCK CHASE WEREWOLF?

The Cannock Chase is a forest in Staffordshire, England. Along with its haunted abbey and cave system, it has gained notoriety for many legends over the years, including several ghost stories and one particularly chilling werewolf tale.

The Cannock Chase Werewolf began its life as legend but was later transformed into a local urban legend. Today, it remains one of Britain’s most famous werewolves.


Is a Zombie Apocalypse Really Possible

Is a Zombie Apocalypse Possible? Read this!

IS A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE POSSIBLE?

Hollywood loves Zombies. Actually, all film studios love zombies and why not? They look cool, they’re dangerous but beatable and, because they’re not really people anymore, it’s OK to blast them with everything from a flamethrower to a nuclear bomb. This means lots of acceptable thrills and gore which is what seems to sell movie tickets at the moment.

There’s been dozens and dozens of zombie movies and TV series and the most recent includes the Resident Evil series, I am Legend, The Walking Dead (TV) World War Z and, of course, Zombieland Double Tap.

These blockbusters have inspired an entirely new generation to dress up in rags, cover themselves with fake blood and stagger around groaning with their arms stretched out in front of them. Great fun of course but is a zombie apocalypse possible? I mean really possible?

The Original Zombies

The original zombies were supposedly dead people that had been brought back to life and turned into slaves by the power of voodoo magic. Modern movie zombies tend to be humans that have lost their humanity and often large parts of their bodies. The most common plotline involves some form of deliberate or accidental infection that transforms ordinary people into slathering monsters whose sole purpose is to attack non-zombies.

Zombie in the Bath coming back to Life
Zombie in the Bath Coming Back to Life (SSPL)

In some cases, the zombies are just as vulnerable as every other human and just as easily killed. However, other more inventive scriptwriters have suggested that nanobots or a hive-mind virus could invade every cell in the body making it possible to have animated corpses that didn’t need to breath, have circulating blood etc. This type of zombie is common in the TV series The Walking Dead.

So, is a zombie apocalypse possible? Strangely it would seem it might be. Researchers have described a few scenarios that, if not likely, are at least plausible.

Anger Management Issues

This scenario is the most common. Humans are exposed to a contagion that gets into our brains and changes the chemistry thus turning us into savage out of control monsters determined to infect as many non-zombies as possible.

There is a huge variation in what these transformed humans may be like. At the one end of the scale, we retain our personalities and brain functions but just become excessively violent and destructive. These are the zombies of the cult space western film ‘Serenity’ and known as the Reavers. In the film they are created when a widely administered drug – Paxilon Hydrochlorate – has unforeseen and disastrous side effects.

At the opposite extreme, the zombies are infected with a virus that completely takes over the body tissues and can only be destroyed by effectively destroying every part of the creature – preferably with fire or acid. Contenders for the contagion include viruses, brain parasites, aliens, fungus etc. It’s also been suggested that widespread neurotoxins could have the same effect.

While there is no known virus that could have this effect, chemicals certainly could. In theory, there is every possibility that a future genetically engineered virus could achieve the ‘zombie effect’. However, the zombies would still be people rather than living dead even if their brain functions had been altered. They would still need food, water and shelter and it is highly likely that they would die off in large numbers from violence, starvation, and extremes of temperature. Even if the virus made them more robust it would only be a matter of time. Finally, even if they could still breed it’s extremely unlikely that they would retain the parenting skills needed to raise a future generation.

Parasite infection

There are two distinctly different types of parasitic infection that could make a zombie apocalypse possible. According to a leading British newspaper – “Zombie outbreak IS possible – and only needs the evolution of Just ONE parasite to happen.” They go to add that a protozoan eukaryote parasite known as toxoplasmosa gondii can infect the brains of rodents and cause aggressive and zombie-like behaviour.

A UCLA study revealed that the parasite is much more powerful than previously believed. Wendy Ingham, who was involved in the study, says “Toxoplasma has done a phenomenal job of figuring out mammalian brains in order to enhance its transmission through a complicated life cycle.” Another disease that creates aggression in animals is rabies. People can already catch both rabies and toxoplasmosa gondii from animals. People with toxoplasmosa gondii rarely show the same symptoms as rats but a simple mutation could change all that. The Covid19 Pandemic has shown how quickly a new disease can spread and how slow it is to develop countermeasures.

A second type of parasite is the fungus ‘Ophiocordyceps unilateralis sensu lato’ – also known as the Zombie Ant Fungus. According to researchers at Penn State University, the fungus doesn’t just impact the insect’s brain, “it invades an ant’s entire body, forming an interconnected 3-D network, forcing the ant to move.”

Let’s not forget Massospora cicadina fungus, which drugs its host with hallucinogenic agents and causes sections of their abdomens to fall off. This is much more like the zombies we see in movies and, at a human level, would be truly terrifying. So far there have been no recorded cases of this fungus infecting humans. However, in 2017, scientists from Virginia University were studying the fungus with a view to potentially finding new pharmaceutical applications for humans.

Bioengineering gone wrong

Like it or not somebody somewhere is fiddling around with human DNA and looking to create a better being. They will probably get it wrong many times before they get it right. The problem is what happens if their mistakes get into the mainstream population.

It turns out that scientists have been experimenting with stem cell research to regrow damaged sections of the human brain. It’s a short jump to imagine an army of brain modified soldiers wreaking havoc. However, unlike a contagion there is no suggestion that brain adjusted individuals could spread their adjustment to other individuals.

Zombie Genetic Mutations
Zombie Genetic Mutations (SSPL)

In theory it might be possible for DNA modifications to be spread through a self-replicating virus. Still, that’s just a variation on the virus theme.

Cyborgnetics

This is perhaps the most farfetched and yet strangely realistic scenario. Humans or perhaps an unknown extra-terrestrial intelligence develop tiny robots called Nanobots that are designed to invade the human body and essentially take over and control its functions.

These nanobots could be self-replicating and animate a human body long after the original consciousness was dead. The idea of nanobots is not new and scientist are actively working on developing these entities right now. The rogue release of these micro-machines could easily create a programmable zombie pandemic.

Is a zombie apocalypse possible? Cyborgs
Zombie Cyborg (SSPL)

Right now, it’s unlikely that this technology exists but you can be sure that there are scientists somewhere trying to make sure their country gets the technology working before their enemies do. An excellent novel called Gravity Dreams by L. E. Modesitt thoroughly explores the concept of nanobots and the impact that they could have on society.

Sorry to scare you …

So, it does seem that a Zombie apocalypse might be possible after all – although perhaps not quite as Hollywood would like to present it to the cameras. Of interest is the rather excellent guide prepared by the American Government’s CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) entitled: Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic

Is a Zombie Apocalypse Possible - CDC
Zombie Apocalypse Possible – CDC (SSPL)

http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/documents/zombie_gn_final.pdf

Of course, it’s just for fun … it is just for fun, isn’t it?


Ogopogo

Ogopogo - Nessie's Canadian Cousin?

Older than the Loch Ness Monster

Ogopogo is the name given to the alleged monster of Lake Okanagan in British Columbia, Canada. As far as Canadians are concerned this is the king of North American lake monsters. Ogopogo has also been referred to as the Nessie of North America but reports about the existence of a creature in Lake Okanagan significantly predate those relating to the Loch Ness monster. Modern reports relating to Ogopogo date back to 1850 but long before Canada was settled the Native Canadians, particularly the Syilx, already had oral histories referring to a similar creature. They believed that a supernatural beast called called N’ha-a-itk lived in the lake and had to be appeased by food or it would kill anyone who tried to cross the water. Today Ogopogo has become an integral part of local tourism and even has its own life-sized statue in one of the parks.

Ogopogo Uktena Legend First Nation Peoples
Ogopogo, Uktena,  N’ha-a-itk Legend First Nation Peoples (Shutterstock)

Okanagan Lake is roughly 70 miles in length (84 if you include the split) and has a surface area of ​​351 km² making it the largest of the lakes in the Okanagan Valley. It is located at an altitude of 342 m and was formed about 10 000 years after the end of the last ice age when retreating ice sheets revealed a natural dam. Its maximum depth is estimated at 232 m but many residents are convinced that in some places the depth is much greater. The surrounding area with its fertile soils have made it popular with fruit tree growers. Several cities have been built along the shores of the lake including Vernon, Penticton, Kelowna and Westside. Its southern most point is only 34 miles from the Canadian American border.

Famous Sightings

Reports regarding this monster are numerous and often detailed. One of the first took place in July 1890 when Captain Thomas Shorts, of the steamship Jubilant, observed a five metre long creature with a large ram’s head just off Squally Point. There were at least another dozen before 1935 and the Vancouver Newspaper wrote several sensational articles that made our famous monster. Among the many eye witness accounts there are of course many are hoaxes – but some facts are worth noting.

On 2 July 1949 Mr. Leslie Kerry took his friends, the Watson family, on a boat ride. While on the lake but still close to the shore, they noticed a long reptilian form undulating vertically under the surface. The body was about nine meters long and the observers stated that they saw a forked tail which moved up and down. They described it as being black and smooth with serpentine sections that rose above the surface about 2 meters apart. They weren’t the only witnesses. People standing at the water’s edge were able to see the creature with binoculars as it remained visible for near quarter of an hour.

On 23 July 1968 five young water skiers observed a bizarre creature. Sheri Campbell was the first to see the six metre long animal as it floated to the surface. She was so surprised and frightened that she dropped the rope and nearly drowned. Ogopogo, if that is what it was, suddenly swam away so fast that the youngsters in the boat could keep up with it.

It is rare for journalists to be witnesses to the appearance of lake-cryptids but this exactly what happened to Dick Miller, the editor of Vernon Advertiser, in 1959. Together with friends he was enjoying a short cruise when they all witnessed what looked like a giant snake following the wake of the boat some 75 metres behind them. They described it as having dark green or black coils that undulated vertically through the water at a speed of roughly 25 miles per hour. As it neared the boat it went underwater and disappeared.

On the 3rd August 1976, Ed Fletcher of Vancouver managed to take a series of five photos of the lake monster although they were not very clear and by his own admission he and his friends had been out on the lake specifically looking for Ogopogo.

During August 1968, an amateur film was taken by Mr. Art Folden. He and his wife were returning home along the lake shore and just south of Peachland when they noticed something big move in the water. He took a series of clips … only filming the object when it was clearly visible on the surface. At first Folden did nothing with the film until his brother persuaded him to publish it. Released in 1970 the film quickly became a media sensation. Not unexpectedly, the scientific community did their best to debunk the footage but it still remains some of the best evidence for the actual existence of Ogopogo.

Tourist Attraction

A significant tourism industry has built up around the legend of Ogopogo and encourages many people to visit the lake each and every year. Several organisations have offered substantial rewards for indisputable proof be it clear photographs or actual physical evidence that can be tested for DNA. Cryptozoologists believe that Ogopogo is either a giant snake or even a surviving plesiosaur. They are concerned that the development towns and marinas along the edge of the lake may have driven the creatures away.

Sonar Scan Underwater
Sonar Scan Underwater (C) Clint Pavenu

X FILES

The X-Files TV episode entitle ‘Quagmire’ featured a lake monster named ‘Big Blue’ which is believed to have been based on Ogopogo. (Season 3 / Episode 22). In 2005 a television series by National Geographic ‘Is It Real: Monsters of the Deep’ had several sections reviewing the evidence pertaining to Ogopogo. In general, marine biologists believe that if the creature ever existed it is now probably extinct. Cryptozoologist point out that this region of the USA and Southern Canada is vast, largely uninhabited, when compared to other regions, and has dozens of large lakes and countless smaller ones. The most recent photos of something unexplained in Lake Okanagan were taken in 2002. The most recent document sighting without photographic material was recorded in 2006. A video said to be of Ogopogo was taken as recently as 2011 but analysis of the footage suggests that the shapes are almost certainly logs … almost certainly.


Raka Otang - A South African Bigfoot

Raka - The South African Bigfoot

Raka … The epic poem by N.P. Van Wyk Louw tells the story of an innocent tribe’s struggle against the seductive corrupting, violent and invading force of Raka the Man-Ape that conquers, violates and debases the tribe. Raka wins … values lose.

 

The hunters set out the next day, They saw the wrath of Raka…
Koki’s broken body trodden into the clay, His spear crushed, his shield smashed.
Raka now always joins us in our alien dance, with desire from the wild chase and capture
And mating and screaming under force, Of mysterious and unbridled rapture.”

From: The Coming Forth of Raka

RAKA APE MAN

Across the sub-Saharan continent of Africa it is possible to find tales and legends of strange and primal apes that are at least part human. These creatures go by many names – Bili Ape, Bondo Ape, Chemosit, Kerit, Kikomba and of course … Raka! In general, all these creatures have several aspects in common. They are considered to be half man – half ape, they are predators; they represent both spiritually and in practice the darker side of humanity and they live in the shadows and are often only seen at night.

It is very important to point out that the central forests of equatorial Africa are both huge and dangerous. To put this in perspective, it is quite possible that more of the Amazon rain forest has been explored than the central and northern regions of Uganda, The Central African Republic, Niger, Rwanda, Burundi, Cameroon and the Congo.

“The porters huddle closer to the fire; the white man casts a reassuring glance upon his guns and pours himself a chota peg … on such a night prowls Kiret, the devil beast of darkness!”

Captain W. Hichens; Late of the Intelligence and Administrative Services, East Africa, 1937.

During the early 1900’s many western explorers, missionaries and colonial administrators based in Africa reported encounters with strange ape-like creatures. Alfred R. Potting describes such an event that took place in 1916:

“The man-beast seemed attracted to the fire and prodded at it with an acacia branch that it had wrenched from the tree to which we had secured our tents. Our terrified trackers had long since fled but Hawkins, Van de Merwe and I stayed behind with our rifles levelled at its barrelled chest. Although the size of a lowland Gorilla it resembled no ape in my guide. At last, tired of its tomfoolery it raised its domed head and with dark and wicked eyes it smiled revealing teeth that could have severed a man’s leg. Then it was gone to the bush from where it came. Later, as I lay awake, I asked myself – what animal smiles?”

Stories of these giant half-human creatures reached America in the 1920’s and soon the 1933 film, King Kong, featured a giant ape that falls in love with its sacrificial victim – actress Anne Darrow – hit the silver screen. Kong is clearly an ape but displays many human qualities.

In South Africa, Afrikaans writer N.P. Van Wyk Louw wrote an epic poem about a creature that was half-man half-ape entitled Raka. The poem tells the story of a tribe in Africa that is initially content with its own existence. However this is not to last and from the deep jungle (bush) and shadowy canyons (kloofs) comes forth Raka. His presence both frightens and excites the tribe to live and behave in a way that is no longer in line with their perception of civilization.

Koki, a warrior and spiritual leader prepares to fight the Beast and sets off to do so. He is defeated and dies a martyr’s death. The tribe sublimate themselves to the violent passions of Raka in order to survive but in doing so their culture, old beliefs and inherent nobility must die in their place.

At its most obvious the poem is a depiction of the battle between good and evil where evil triumphs. Much has been written about the poem and many people believe that it was a metaphor for the destruction of African culture by the overwhelmingly powerful colonial invaders. It is very possible that he based the story and even the name of the beast on a much older version of the story that he heard from the indigenous peoples of the Eastern Cape District.

Otang South Africa - Raka
Otang South Africa – Raka

As recently as 2009, wildlife photographer and environmentalist, Gareth Peterson, has been researching a mysterious bigfoot-like creature called the Otang that may live in the deep Knysna forests.  He has recently published a book on his findings entitle: Beyond the Secret Elephants.

The man-ape theme has persisted through the years and right across vast continent of Africa. Always the story is similar. It is a creature that has savage intelligence and a body that is half human half ape. The size of the creature varies but it is usually described as seven to nine feet tall and capable of walking on its hind legs like a man. It is a nocturnal predator that sometimes contents itself to raid livestock but at other times it will brazenly force its way into a settlement and cause havoc. Although not a demon or creature from another spiritual dimension it was believed that these creatures could be summoned and controlled by Witchdoctors or others that had made alliances with the “other world”.

Raka - Tsitsikamma National Park
Raka – Tsitsikamma National Park

As colonialists pushed their way into Africa and more-and-more Africans migrated to the newly built cities, the sightings and belief in these ape-creatures has faded. However, it is wholly possible that they did once exist and may still exist to this day hidden in the deep forests of Zaire, Uganda and even Knysna. Four main theories have been put forward to explain their possible existence.

The first is that they are a natural but very rare human-ape Hybrid. Educated geneticists will immediately point out that this is impossible as even the chimpanzee which is alleged to have 98% of the same DNA that humans do, is incapable of interbreeding due to a differing number of chromosomes (Humans 24 / chimps 23). However, recent research has shown that humans and chimpanzees separated in evolutionary terms much later than originally believed. In addition, it also appears that the two lines separated, merged and separated again at least once. Is it possible that there was an unknown species of ape that retained enough genetic similarity with modern humans to interbreed up until very recent times?

The second theory is based on human and Neanderthal evolution. The Neanderthal (or Neandertal) is an extinct member of the “Homo” genus that died out approximately 25,000 years ago. Modern man knows of their existence largely due to fairly recently discovered fossils and skeletal remains from Europe and Asia.

Why they disappeared is still a matter for conjecture, but it is largely believed that it was a combination of climate change and the population expansion of Homo sapiens (humans) into areas traditionally occupied by the Neanderthals. However it is estimated that modern day humans and Neanderthals shared a common ancestor approximately 500 – 800 thousand years ago and had 99.5% similarity in DNA.  Modern Caucasian people are believed to carry around 2.5% genes from Neanderthals.

Could it be possible that either a “form” of Neanderthal – or even a third (unknown) version of the “homo” genus – survived in Africa until recent years? There is significant evidence from tools and sites of habitation that Neanderthals survived in Europe until 24,000 years ago and yet no skeletal remains have been discovered that date earlier than 30,000 years.

A third theory is that these creatures are (or were) a very rare form of ape that has yet to be discovered or that became extinct in very recent years. The journals of early explorers of Africa often recorded strange creatures that have never been confirmed by science.

An exception to this was the Okapi. The historical record referred to it as the African Unicorn and early explorers described it as half-zebra half giraffe. The creature’s existence was finally confirmed in 1902 and given the name Okapi Johnstoni.

There were, and still are, thousands of these animals in the wild. In practice, a fully sustainable breeding population needs only be a few hundred individuals as long as the group has the full range of inherited genetic diversity. It is possible – although unlikely – that science will still discover these ape-man creatures in some remote and isolated ecosystem.

A final thought is this … as long as some people believe in and fear a creature then that beast lives on – if only in their minds.


Could the Jersey Devil Actually Exist?

COULD THE NEW JERSEY DEVIL BE REAL?

These days it seems as if every lake has a monster, every forest a bigfoot, every jungle a surviving dinosaur and every city has mutant animals living in the sewers. This is great for local folklore and tourism, but it has overshadowed the reality that some places – just a few of them – might really have something weird going on.

The Jersey Devil is one of the oldest and most persistent of the paranormal creature beliefs in North America dating back hundreds of years to even before the first European settlers arrived. This creature, often but not always, described as a horse-shaped devil with large bat-like wings and devil’s tail, is alleged to haunt the forests of New Jersey in the United States of America. It has featured in numerous reports including newspapers and even a Readers Digest book.

Sightings of this creature have been recorded in New Jersey for more than two centuries thus making it one of the more persistent monster mysteries.  New witnesses come forward almost every year and range from the sincere to the ludicrous.

What’s the Legend?

The origin of the New Jersey Devil usually involves a woman and mother called Mrs. Leeds.  The year was most likely 1735 when New Jersey was still a British colony and Mrs. Jane Leeds, a resident of Smithville, discovered that she was pregnant again and this time with her thirteenth child.  It must be remembered that this was a time when people believed in witchcraft and forests were dangerous places even without supernatural creatures.

Having already given birth to twelve children one would expect that she would have had a fairly easy delivery, but it appears that this was not the case and as the contractions started with an unusual viciousness she screamed out “Let it be a Devil”.

Why she should say this is peculiar and it has been suggested that she actually may have screamed, “It hurts like the Devil” or even “It hurts, it must be a Devil”.  One source states that she cried, “Enough of this pain, the Devil may have it.” Whatever she actually yelled out, her cry invoked a curse and the child was born a demon.

Some versions claim it was born normal and then transformed in front of the horrified woman while other versions claim it was born in the shape of the demon.  In both cases the demon grew quickly and escaped from the house before it could be destroyed.  In one variation of this story the monster first kills and eats everyone in the house before bursting out through the roof.

Further myths and legends surrounding the origin of this New Jersey monster include the curse of a starving gypsy woman who was turned away by the pregnant Mrs. Leeds as well as the possibility that the child was known to be illegitimate and thus cursed by the townsfolk.

Whatever the origin, a winged beast was soon being sighted around the region and the Pine Barrens became synonymous with a creature known as the Jersey Devil.  This monster attacked livestock and left their remains scattered in the woods.  There is even the suggestion that it carried off the occasional child, but no records actually validate this claim.

There is no doubt that those people living near the Pine Barrens were soon terrified. For five years the inhabitants had many visitations and had numerous incidents of livestock disappearing and buildings damaged.  So bad had the situation become that in 1740 a clergyman performed a ritual exorcism and overnight the visitations ceased.  However, there was a catch.  The exorcism would only be effective for 100 years.

Jersey Devil Black and White
Jersey Devil Black and White

The Jersey Devil was seen only occasionally during this hundred-year period and in all cases seemed almost oblivious to the presence of the people who witnessed it.  Two reports stand out:

“Whilst visiting the Hanover Iron and metal Works (near the Pine Barrens) to test the quality of the cannon shot, Commodore Stephan Decatur perceived a bizarre animal flying overhead. He at once fired a cannonball through the wing of the monster but was highly bemused to see it continue to fly away.

A further observation was recorded by Joseph Bonaparte who is recorded as having been the brother of the Emperor of France – Napoleon Bonaparte. The incident occurred while Joseph was a resident of Bordertown between 1816 and 1839. In particular it occurred out on the Pine Barrens while Joseph was hunting.

Why was the beast witnessed at all if the exorcism was still in effect? Jersey Devil enthusiasts and researchers believe that the creature’s indifference to the humans is the key to the answer.  In effect, humans had found the beast as opposed to the beast seeking out humans.

However, this placid state came to an end precisely when the clergyman predicted it would. Within weeks livestock began to disappear and people were once again terrified with monstrous visitations.  Mysterious tracks, those of a cloven hoof, appeared and all attempts to capture or kill the creature ended in failure. So often was the Jersey Devil seen by people that its existence became accepted as fact over the next sixty to seventy years.

The early 1900’s once again saw an intense spate of New Jersey Devil sightings and in 1909 it is alleged that more than 100 people witnessed the creature in a single week.  A particularly impressive, and possibly the longest sighting, was made by Mr. and Mrs. Evans on the 19th of January 1909. Woken by disturbing noises from outside their home, they peered through their window and observed the creature (Devil) for a full ten minutes.  Mr. Evans described the beast as follows:

“It was about three feet and 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.  My wife and I were scared, I tell you, but I managed to open the window and say, ‘Shoo’, and it turned around barked at me, and flew away.”

Over the decades that followed Devil sightings became progressively less.  This is perhaps attributable to advances in both technology and education.  Powerful electric lights, better cameras, less hysterical news reporting and two world wars contributed greatly to the demise of the legend.  In particular, a series of New Jersey Devil scams and hoaxes, that were subsequently debunked, led people to be predisposed to disbelieve claims rather than accept them.  An example of this took place during the early 1900’s

A particularly unscrupulous carnival man attached wings to a kangaroo and kept it in a dark room where he charged and entrance fee to see the Jersey Devil.  In the end he claim clean and admitted it was all a hoax.

During 1951 and 1952 the Jersey Devil made a significant reappearance in the Gibbstown and Paul Borough region.  For a period the residents of the area were again gripped by “Devil Fever” and newspapers ran sardonic stories claiming mass hysteria.

Harry Hunt, owner of the Hunt Brothers Circus, posted a reward of $100,000 for the capture of the Jersey Devil knowing full well that he stood to make ten times that by displaying to the public.  He wasn’t successful.

Although both the sightings and their intensity lessened, they still continued and one in particular stands out for its viciousness.

“In 1966, a farm was raided and 31 ducks, 3 geese, 4 cats, and 2 dogs were killed. One of the dogs was a large German Shepard which had its throat ripped out.” (Dave Juliano – The Shadow Lands)

Jersey Devil Black Artist's Impression
Jersey Devil Black Artist’s Impression

With regard to modern sightings, they occur on a strangely regular basis.  The most famous recent sighting was in 2015 when a man photographed what looked like a flying goat. Very few people seem to really believe the creature exists and the sighting continue and often from reliable and serious witnesses.  Is it possible that there really is a mysterious creature out there?

The key to the answer is the size of the Pine Barrens area where the Jersey Devil is supposed to live.  It’s a well forested area, 1,465.6 square miles in size and sparsely populated by people.  In fact, the area makes up just under 20 percent of the state of New Jersey.  A quarter of this area has been designated a national reserve and has been designated a United Nations Biosphere reserve.  Huge areas of the Pine Barrens have no easy access but are rich in wildlife and excellent quality water.

Given the size of the region, it is entirely possible that a creature could live deep in the forest and rarely encounter human beings particularly if it was reclusive, largely nocturnal and hibernated in winter.  For example, while most large predators can no longer be found in the area black bears are still very occasionally spotted.  Pine Barrens locals acknowledge that the Jersey Devil could easily hide in the forests but are still broadly sceptical that it exists.  Perhaps we’ll find out for certain one day in the future.


The Tokoloshe of Africa

The Dark Origins of the Tokoloshe

The Tokoloshe

It is true that many people in Africa are still reluctant to discuss the Tokoloshe as many believe that even using his name will call him to you and naturally trouble will follow.

In a sense all these creatures are “spirits-beings” and African writer and shaman (sangoma) Credo Mutwa gets around the problem by simply claiming that the Tokoloshe can take many forms. In a sense he is correct because while there are many spirits, they only really get given names when they are in our world. While all of these may be Tokoloshe – they are not The Tokoloshe.

The Tokoloshe is a most often a dwarf of approximately 3.5ft in height. He is always male and has sizable genitals. (In some cases his manhood is so long that he can carry it slung over his shoulder) He is often stocky in build with a potbelly that is said to develop from his taste for sorghum beer and sour milk which he steals.

Some descriptions claim that he also has two animal horns that protrude from the side of his head. He favours being barefoot and his feet and legs are said to be hairy although this should not be confused with fur. His eyes are said to be red and capable of seeing as well in the dark as during the day. His fingernails are said to be sharp and strong. Although he is ugly to men, he can cast a spell to make himself handsome to women.

It is said that he still dresses in a traditional manner similar to the clothes worn by witchdoctors or tribal chiefs and favours a cloak made of leopard skin although he will wrap himself in the skin of baboon if he is cold. He often wears a necklace of beads, stones, feathers and other magical objects that he has acquired during his life. It is common for him to carry a club (knobkerrie) made of a hard wood and to conceal a knife in his clothes. Around his waist you will find a pouch in which he keeps a strange potion with unknown properties.

Tokoloshe Mask from 1970 Soweto South Africa
Tokoloshe Mask from 1970 Soweto South Africa (C) Clint Pavenu

He is usually a very unpleasant character and his tricks can range from simple mischief to acts of violence and savage cruelty. He likes to visit women who are alone at night to have intercourse with them. Sometimes he is invited but just as often he is not.

However, there are also accounts of his generosity although these are rare. There is the story of an old woman whose husband had died, and she had no help to sow the crops or fix her home so as to be safe from the wild beasts. For seven nights she put out beer and milk which was always drunk and on the eighth day she found a Tokoloshe sitting on the step. He rubbed his stomach and thanked her for the beer and milk and asked what she needed doing. She told him politely, but he went away, and she was disappointed at his laziness. However, when she woke the following day the house and fence were mended, and all the crops sown. She put out beer and milk again that night, but it remained untouched.

Where do these creatures come from? The most commonly held belief is that they are “fully” spirit demons that can be summoned from the “other world” by witchdoctors or, on occasions, they simply choose to visit our world out of lust and a desire to cause mischief.

A second belief is that they are recreated out of the dead bodies of people and animals, given life and forced to serve the witchdoctor that created them.  Again, these are not the traditional Tokoloshe of Southern African folklore.

DARK ORIGINS

A third origin story from the 1970’s was a story told by an old African woman who was told it by her great grandmother.

“There was once a beautiful maiden that was so lovely that all who saw her admired her. Still, for all her loveliness she was wild, full of mischief and at times cruel to those around her. In due course she married an older man but soon became bored with his company. One day while he was away visiting a nearby Kraal (African village) she noticed a stranger sitting on the kopje (hill) behind the village.

Taking a large pot of her husband’s finest beer she went to him and offered him the drink for he was young and handsome, and she could see that he was strong and more a man than any other she had met before. In this she was correct for he was a great Sangoma (witchdoctor) from the other world journeying to meet his brothers. The woman was pleasant and the beer cold from sweating in the grass basket and so the Sangoma drank and presently became drunk. While in this state the woman seduced him and after he had fallen asleep, she left. When he woke, he remembered nothing of the event except for a pleasant dream and went his way. Sometime later the woman gave birth to a boy who from the day of his coming was strong and handsome.

As the years passed the child became a man but unions between this world and the other are rarely without mishap for it soon became clear that the boy was different. He had great strength, magical abilities and a will to lead others but he was also lustful, cruel, savage and vain. Although just one man he visited many huts. One day the men of the village decided that they should rid themselves of this problem and together they captured and beat him until his bones were broken then tied him to a tree deep in the forest to be eaten by wild animals. The pain he endured was terrible and finally the echoes of his screams reached the ears of his true father in the “other world” who came to see what the noise was about.

Burnt Tokoloshe Sangoma
Burnt Tokoloshe Healed

The great witchdoctor and teacher of all others at once recognised his son and freed him but was dismayed by both the damage to the young man’s body and the wickedness of his soul. The Witchdoctor tried to take his son back to the other world but was resisted. The young man pleaded for healing and a chance for vengeance – a chance to remain in this world. Seeing that his son was already lost to him the witchdoctor agreed and healed him as best he could, but the result was a dwarf of great ugliness.

Seeing that he had created a monster the Witchdoctor cast a great spell and lay commands upon the creature. To what was left of his son he said: “You were created from the act of seduction and so you will forever be a seducer of women.” As he spoke the dwarf’s manhood grew to an alarming size. “Because it was beer and milk that that created temptation you will forever crave these foods. Because you are half spirit you will have magic but not without limits.”

He then picked up the horns of an antelope and pressed them to his son’s head where they fastened themselves as if he had been born with them. “This is so that none shall confuse you with an ordinary man and because the men will want to beat you, I will say that you may beat any man that calls you without cause or even stands in your way.” So saying he gave over a knobkerrie (club) of the hardest wood and the gift of even greater strength. “But … because of the wickedness in your heart you are forbidden from going where you are not called by the wickedness of people. You shall only ever make sons and they will appear as you do so that all people will always recognise you and your tribe of descendants. And … because I am your father and I have saved your life you will always come when I summon you or any of my brothers do the same.”

Thinking that his son would reject these terms he asked for agreement which his son gave without hesitation. Realising that he truly no longer had a son he said: “I call you Tokoloshe – Avenging Spirit – and any that speak your name beware.” He then used a burning assegai to remove the boy’s heart which still contained good, and it turned into a bird that flew away.

Angry Tokoloshe
Angry Tokoloshe

The Tokoloshe then returned to the village and carried out his need for vengeance with carnal passion and unbridled savagery but it was not enough, and the hunger persisted and so it would forever. In time he had sons and they had sons and so the tribe of the Tokoloshe grew until every kraal in the world has one hiding in the darkness just waiting to be called by the wickedness of those that cannot control their desires.”

Unfortunately much of the history and memories of the African people were handed-down as part of an oral tradition that has left very little recorded in writing. (When compared to Europe) A few early colonists from the west did do their best to record what little they could but the new colonial authorities made little or no attempt to create records as they were far more concerned with disseminating their own beliefs and religion. It also suited them that the indigenous people had no “evidence” to refer to.

The result is twofold. Firstly, there are often gaps in many of the stories and histories. Secondly, as cultures merged – sometimes forcibly – the stories fused or split becoming new tales in the process. It is only recently that a serious attempt is being made to reconstruct the pre-colonial history and beliefs of Africa. The extraordinary book, ‘Things Fall Apart’ written by Chinua Achebe in 1958, explains this in detail.

With every new generation the belief in the “Other World” diminishes and fear of the Tokoloshe recedes but for many Africans still alive today they have no doubt that he exists. However, it is also fully possible the fear of the Tokoloshe is exaggerated somewhat – it depends on who you speak to.

For years the white community in South Africa and noticed that their maids tended to raise their beds by placing three bricks under each leg. The “belief” that was circulated amongst the “Whites” was that this was to stop the Tokoloshe getting into bed with them because it was now too high for him to reach. This practice is still continued to this day in some places.

However, given that he is an immensely strong and somewhat magical creature this always seemed like too little protection too late. It may be a classic misunderstanding. The maids did raise their beds but for two different reasons. Firstly, it made it much harder for snakes to get under the sheets and secondly it meant they could store their travelling trunks underneath. (In fairness, snakes were sometimes referred to as Tokoloshe and maids’ rooms were very cramped).

However, the two Zulu women who were interviewed said it was protection from the Tokoloshe. And explained that by putting themselves out of reach they were “telling” any passing Tokoloshe that he was “Not Invited”.

Several attempts have been made to explain the real origin of the belief in the Tokoloshe. Some of these include … It’s an excuse invented by women to explain adultery; it’s a Vervet monkey standing on its hind legs or even, it’s a species of water-baboon that is now extinct.

Still. perhaps it is what it is and always has been – A Tokoloshe!


Mythical Creatures - Dragon

Mythical Creatures with Real Origins

The Kappa (Salamander)

The Kappa or ‘river child’ is considered to be one of many suijin described by the Shintō belief system.  Belief in the existence of the Kappa is widespread and there are more than eighty other regional names associated with this creature. Stories of the Kappa are still used to warn children of the dangers lurking in rivers and lakes.  Kappa are said to take pleasure in luring people into the water. It is widely believed that the Kappa legends are based on the Hanzaki (Japanese giant salamander) that is known to use its powerful jaws to drag small prey into and then under the water.  These creatures can grow to one and a half metres and, while rearing up underwater, would be roughly the same size as a child.

kappa-cryptid-monster
Kappa Giant Salamander Japanese

The Kraken (Giant Squid)

This legendary sea monster is said to dwell off the coasts of Norway and Greenland and grow to gigantic sizes.  It appears in folklore around the world and was recently featured in the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ film franchise.  The size and depiction of this creature is a pretty fair representation of the mythological Kraken.  It has been suggested that the legend originated from sightings of giant squid that can grow up to 12–15 meters (40–50 feet) in length.

Kraken Sea Monster
kraken-giant-squid

The Giant Sea Serpent (Oar Fish)

For hundreds of years sightings of sea serpents have been reported to various authorities and this still continues today. Over 1,200 sea serpent sightings have been officially documented.  In general, these beasts are described as snake-like with long low dorsal fins and of a huge size – usually exceeding seven metres.  Some creatures have been described as being 25 metres in length with a body width of over a metre.   Many scientist believe that these legends were based not on a serpent but on the Oarfish.  Oarfish are large, greatly elongated, pelagic lampriform fish belonging to the small family Regalecidae. The truth is that they do look like serpents and one of the longest that was captured did indeed measure 11 metres in length.

Sea Serpent Mythical
Giant Oarfish

The Mermaid (Dugong)

The conviction that there are Mermaids and Mermen living in the seas is one of the oldest beliefs to appear in human history and can be found just about anywhere in the world. Dating back to around 1000bc, the first stories appeared in ancient Assyria and tell how the goddess Atargatis transmuted herself into a mermaid out of shame for accidentally killing her human lover.  The most famous of all the mermaid stories is probably ‘The Little Mermaid’ written by by Hans Christian Anderson and published in 1837.  More recently the story was adapted by Disney Studious and is one of the most popular animated films of all time.  Researchers believe that the myths and legends behind these stories can be traced to the Dugong (Sea Cow) that could – in certain conditions – quite easily be mistaken for a human with a fish like tail.  Also, Sailors would find the skeletons of Dugong which, because of the flipper-hand bone formation looked remarkable human.

Mermaid Cave

The Unicorn (Narwhal / Rhino)

Of all the mythical creatures that people believed once existed, the Unicorn must is one of the most popular and mystical.  The unicorn has appeared on the ancient seals of the Indus Valley Civilization and has been featured in the natural history writings of the Ancient Greeks.  Unicorns are generally believed to be white, horse-like animals with a sing spiral horn that have magical abilities.  The fact that the Greeks believed that the unicorn really existed suggests that they were regularly receiving independent accounts of the animals.  Researchers now believe that these were description of White Rhinos from Africa.  At the same time sailors and explorers were regularly finding the spiral horns of the Narwhal and it probably didn’t take early artists long to combine the two and create the unicorn.  Rhinos and Narwhals are the only two living creatures to feature a centralised horn.

narwhal-unicorn-of-sea
Mythical Unicorn
The rhino as a Unicorn

The Dragon (Fossils / Komodo)

Myths and legends about dragons date back thousands of years and, in their various forms, can be found from the farthest reaches of China to the Highlands of Scotland.  There is something wonderful about a giant flying beast that is often magical and able to breathe fire.  How is it that these legends of such creatures appeared in so many places around the world?  Researchers believe that the answer lies in the accidental discovery of dinosaur fossils.  What would ancient peoples have thought if they discovered the skull of a T-Rex?  Here was absolute proof of a creature many times larger than any living beast.  Gigantic teeth blackened with age or could that be fire?  Of course Dragons must exist!  It also helped that stories of giant lizards – Komodo Dragons and Iguanas – were actually true.

Traditional Western Dragon

The Okapi (Giraffe Horse )

For centuries travellers in North Africa had heard stories of an animal that was half zebra and half giraffe.  Over time these tales spread across the Mediterranean to Italy, Greece and beyond.  Explorers search for the creature but encountered nothing but failure.  Finally, just as the creature was about to be awarded the status of myth it was actually discovered by Sir Harry Johnston, who first acquired an okapi specimen for science from the Ituri Forest.  Although the okapi has striped markings suggestive of zebras, it is most closely related to the giraffe. The okapi and the giraffe are the only living members of the family Giraffidae.

The Okapi

Cyclops (Elephant Skulls)

Greek and Roman mythology explains that the Cyclops were an ancient race of giants each of which had a single eye in the middle of his forehead.  Along with their sing eye, these creatures had protruding teeth and were said to be vicious and partial to human flesh.  The legend of the cyclops is believed to have originated when ancient Greeks discovered the skulls and bones of Deinotherium giganteum (really huge terrible beast) which was a relative of modern elephants. Skulls of Deinotherium giganteum have an extremely large nasal opening in the centre of the skull that could easily be mistaken for an eye socket and could well be the evidence used for tales of the terrifying one-eyed Cyclops.

Cyclops Eating
Elephant Skull misinterpreted as a Cyclops

Bigfoot / Yeti (Upright Bear)

Best described as half-man and half-ape, legends of these large hominids are common in almost every part of the World.  In the cold mountains Tibet they’re known as the Yeti (Abominable Snowman) while in the tropical jungles and ravines of Southern Africa they’re known as Raka. The Japanese call them Hibagon while Americans know them as either Bigfoot or Sasquatch.  Researchers are divided regarding these creatures.  Some believe that they are based upon actual cryptids and like the Okapi will one day be proven to actually exist.  Other researchers believe that the legends are based on bears that have taken to walking upright – in particular, a rare hybrid of the polar bear.  DNA tests on alleged Yeti hair samples recently revealed a new species of unknown bear could well exist and may have given rise to the Tibetan version of the legend.

An Angry Yeti - Mythological Creatures
Were Polar Bears once mistaken for Yetis

The Griffin (Protoceratops)

The Griffin is a legendary creature with the body, tail, and rear legs of a lion together with the head and wings of an eagle.  Its forelegs are also those of an eagle. It purportedly laid eggs in ground nests and defended deposits of gold located in wilderness areas. In 1993, Adrienne Mayor, a classical folklorist, proposed that the griffin legend came into being after the discovery of the fossilized remains of Protoceratops were found in gold mines in the Tian Shan and Altai Mountains of Scythia in present-day south-eastern Kazakhstan.  The hypothesis remains strongly contested but has also received a great deal of mainstream acceptance.

Mythical Griffin
Protoceratids fossil looks like a Griffin

Chupacabra Legend Monster

The Chupacabra Legend: 10 things you need to Know!

The Chupacabra Legend – 10 Things you need to know!

The concept of the Chupacabra is not new – only the name is.  Since humans established permanent Neolithic farming settlements and started the process of domesticating animals, (Circa: 10,000bc) their livestock has been attacked by predators. Many of these are now extinct but once included the sabre tooth family of felines, the enormous Short Faced Bear and much more recently – the Tasmanian tiger.  There are probably many more that have not made it into the historical and archaeological record.

 1.     THE CHUPACABRA LEGEND BEGINS

The Chupacabra legend begins in Puerto Rico, a densely wooded island in the Caribbean located south east of Cuba and adjacent to Haiti.  The attacks that brought the Chupacabra to the attention of the world took place around the Puerto Rican town of Moca on the western side of the Island in 1975. These were blamed on The Vampire of Moca, (El Vampiro) but later attributed to the Chupacabra. The name of El Vampiro was originally used because all the animals killed had been fully drained of blood.  Over time, the attacks became infrequent and were almost forgotten.

2.      THE ATTACKS RESUME

During the period between1992 and 1995 a spate of attacks on animals occurred around the Eastern half of the island.  So frequent were these incidents happening that Puerto Rican newspapers El Vocero and El Nuevo Dia regularly began to report the killings.  As yet no single creature was suggested as the culprit, but the attacks were identical to those that had occurred at Moca in 1975.  (It is worth noting that both these newspapers had a reputation, at this time, for focusing on the sensational.) It is fair to say that even from the start there was scepticism amongst the more educated levels of Puerto Rican society who attributed the killings to stray dogs which were a serious problem at that time.

3.      NAMING THE BEAST

Although the creature (or creatures) now called Chupacabra may have existed for millennia, they came into mainstream awareness after a series of peculiar attacks on livestock in and around several Puerto Rican towns and especially near to the village of Canóvanas during the months leading up to October 1995. The beast seemed to actively target goats and when the bodies were found they, like those of Moca, had been drained of blood.  It didn’t take long for the locals to start calling it ’El Chupa Cabra’ or literally translated – The Sucker of Goats.  The name stuck and was soon being quoted in the media.

4.      THE FIRST EYEWITNESS DESCRIPTIONS

It is believed that the first description of the creature was provided by Michael Negron, 25, who discovered an agile, erect, two-legged creature hopping animatedly in the dirt outside his house.

“It (the Chupacabra) was about three or four feet tall, with skin like that of a dinosaur,” he said. “It had eyes the size of hens’ eggs, long fangs, and multicoloured spikes down its head and back. “

During this time other people saw a similar creature and a clearer picture of the beast emerged.

Sketch of the Chupacabra

The “original” Chupacabra of popular and more recent reporting is a mysterious creature that is described as being about 3ft (36 inches) tall and has aspects of its appearance that are distinctly reptilian such as flaking scales and short spines protruding at intervals along the length of its backbone.  However, its skin is said to be leathery and mottled purple and black. The hind quarters of animal somewhat resemble those of a kangaroo and people that have reported seeing it claim that it can leap fair distances.  Facially it has the snout of a canine predator but with a huge mouth equipped with two distinctive “sabre” teeth. Its eyes are said to glow orange or red. Some reports add that it has a forked tongue and will make hissing and screeching sounds. Its scent, which is apparently strong, is fetid and faecal in nature (not sulphuric as is often reported). Reports claim that it is also capable of walking on its hind legs.

5.      THE FIRST OFFICIAL HUNT

It was apparently during August of 1995 that a major attack occurred in Canóvanas itself and resulted in the death of approximately 150 animals. It is worth noting that the town of Canóvanas is only 5.5 miles from the border of the El Yunque National Forest of Puerto Rico.  It is the only tropical rainforest of the USA and is 28,000 acres in size.  The majority of the very first official Chupacabra sightings and animal attacks were located near to this “preserve”.

The first executive search for the Chupacabra was organised on the 29th of October 1995 by the Mayor of Canóvanas, Jose “Chemo” Soto, and repeated at regular intervals. Several of the hunters claimed to have shot at a creature but no actual body was found.

6.      MEDIA HEADLINES

As the animal attacks continued the story started to become more important to the media and the Daily Courier of Yavapi County, Arizona, ran a commentary on the 21st of November 1995 entitled: Goatsucker: Puerto Rican Vampire – Animal Deaths Remain Mystery.

0n the 8th of January 1996 APTV ran a detailed story including video interviews and pictures of the tracks left by the creature.   A description of the injuries differs from many of those described elsewhere on the internet.  However, this is clearly one of the original sources.  Title: Puerto Rico: Mysterious Creature Terrorizes Countryside. Summary: Story No: 20630Date: 1/8/1996 5:00:00 AM Source: APTV. A quote from the article reads:

“Eyewitnesses accounts differ as to what the creature looks like, but they all agree that it attacks at night, bites its victims in the throat and sucks them dry. Local veterinarians say in each of the cases studied the cause of death were two deep puncture wounds under the right side of the neck. The wounds were about the diameter of a drinking straw and three to four inches in length. Experts say the wounds are not compatible with the bite of a dog, a monkey or any other carnivore. Police are taking the reports very seriously because of the great number of sheep and cattle lost, but they say they have no idea what kind of creature is responsible. Some witnesses claim there’s more than one roaming around the island. They say they resemble some type of ape.

From a sound-bite originally in Spanish: “They are two big animals, as big as a man. I saw them from afar, they looked like big apes, but I couldn’t distinguish their features.”

The full video report is available at: http://www.aparchive.com. Search for the story number.

By the 24th of January 1996 the Chupacabra was a big enough story to make it into the mainstream media and in particular the “Inter Press Service English News Wire” which ran the story: Puerto Rico: Vampire Monkeys Seize the Spotlight.

A quote from the article reads: “Seemingly from out of nowhere, a new figure has erupted in Puerto Rico’s national mythology — the ‘Chupacabra,’ a vicious monkey that can run upright on its legs, slaughter goats and suck the blood from its prey.”

Radio stations and other media in Puerto Rico had already been reporting the attacks but as the various news announcers started referring to the creature as the Chupacabra the story could focus on a single name that people could relate to.  The result was the spread of low-grade mass hysteria and soon any kind of attack on any animal was the work of the Chupacabra! This phenomenon is common and well recorded.

7.       COMING TO AMERICA

By May 1996 reports of strange animal attacks were being reported on the mainland of America.  CNN ran a story entitled:  Monster (the Chupacabra) accused of killing farm animals in Florida.

“Ever since the death of more than two dozen goats, chickens, and geese last week, residents (mainly Hispanic) of the Miami suburb of Sweetwater have whispered the name of what they say is the killer … Chupacabra.“

Since this time there have been literally hundreds of reports relating to the Chupacabra from Arizona (USA) to Bolivia.  In almost all of these cases the actual wounds inflicted do not match the original findings of the Puerto Rican veterinarians

Again, news reports about the events were often written before the scientists had a chance to examine the bodies. (Headlines such as: “Dog Attacks Chickens” is unlikely to sell many newspapers.  However, “Chupacabra Massacre in Stupidville” probably will.

8.      CHUPACABRA ARE NOT HAIRLESS COYOTES OR DOGS

Naturally, and unfortunately, every self-proclaimed paranormal expert seems to have jumped onto the Chupacabra bandwagon and added their own exaggerations.  Some claim it’s an alien – probably inspired by the 1987 film “Predator” about a somewhat similar creature living in the central South American jungles.  Some claim it’s a living dinosaur.  Others even claim it’s a giant mutant vampire bat.

There have even been claims by people that they have filmed, captured or killed a Chupacabra (Even kept its head in the freezer.)  Again, to the best of our knowledge, these claims have turned out to be false.  The most recent “sensationalist” reports relating to the Chupacabra originate from the town of Cuero in Texas (USA)

The Chupacabra Legend - Hairless Dog
Hairless Peruvian Dog – By Paradais Sphynx – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30279012.

Yet again, the attacks have almost no resemblance to the original Puerto Rican events when scientifically scrutinised and it is now widely believed that the animals captured are coyotes suffering from a “mange-related disease” that seems to be prevalent in the area.

9.      FEATURED ON THE X-FILES

A version of the Chupacabra was featured on the hit 90’s TV series – The X-files.  Entitled: El Mundo Gira it was watched initially by 27 million people and by now that number is estimated to be well over 100 million.  The programme was aired first in 1997, just after the second wave of attacks occurred in Puerto Rico.  However, in this version, the Chupacabra is linked to aliens and a mysterious fungus.  This opened the door to the idea that the Chupacabra could be an alien or a diseased human, maybe animal.  However, this was not the Chupacabra described by witnesses in Puerto Rico.

10.    DEBUNKING OLD LADIES IS A SOFT TARGET

Various researchers have tried to track down the Chupacabra with little success.  One even concluded that one of the first witnesses had been influenced by the film ‘Species’ which features a vaguely similar creature and had recently been released.  In particular, one woman admitted she had recently seen the film and after that the researcher gave up and went home.  Perhaps she had been influenced by the movie but, in reality, her description was quite different for ‘Sil’ the hybrid monster in the film.

BEYOND THE HYSTERIA

There is a fairly plausible theory that the Chupacabra is actually a large monkey or ape of some kind with a skin disease.  Possibly it was native to the jungle of El Yunque National Forest, or more likely introduced from Africa. Desperate and ill it took to attacking local livestock for food.  A hairless chimp or Mandrill would fit the description quite well.  Equally, it is possible that the creature is something else altogether more paranormal.

Unfortunately, the Chupacabra has been so thoroughly adopted by all forms of media that the true mystery has been lost.  It has featured in thousands of online articles (often copying each other without any serious research), in films, TV programmes and the printed media from books to magazines. However, very few of these actually investigate the Puerto Rican events that took place between 1992 and 1997.


Pinky Pinky South Africa

What the Heck is a Pinky Pinky?

The name may sound amusing but to many people it represents fear, hatred and torment. This creature is more than a myth – it’s a belief and it’s always out there – waiting for its chance!

Apparently half man – half woman, Pinky Pinky is a creature whose origins may date back centuries to a time when it was known to the Zulus as the “Umdlwenguli Obomvu”.

Today she, or perhaps he, is a creature that has migrated to the cities and makes regular appearances in African townships from one end of South Africa to the other. Sightings tend to happen in clusters and Pinky Pinky is usually found hiding in places where young girls are likely to be alone such as school toilets or at the edges of rural woods.

At best, this creature is a molester of prepubescent and pubescent girls and, at worst, a savage, murderous, rapist. Pinky Pinky is almost unknown in “white” South African society which is often, but not always, dismissive of such claims. However, for young African girls this creature is much more real and believable. It’s a terrifying figure that features often in nightmares and occasionally in reports of sexual abuse. Both pre and post apartheid authorities have, at times, taken reported sightings of Pinky Pinky very seriously. Headmasters have closed schools to protect their pupils from this so called “myth”. Official police investigations have been carried out to ascertain if “there really might be something to this ‘bloody’ Pinky Pinky business.”

Descriptions vary but those that are consistent describe a pink-skinned, feminine man, of late middle age who dresses in a mixture of both male and female clothes. If a person surprises this creature then they can see its face which is human but ugly, mottled and often bald. If it sees a person looking then its features blur so that all someone can see are two pink-coloured eyes. Its alleged victims say that it tries to corner a girl and then speaks to her in a musical woman’s voice and asks if the girl “will play” or “be friends” with Pinky Pinky”.

Other versions claim that Pinky Pinky will tell the girl all about herself and where she came from but the girl can never remember exactly what she was told. Pinky Pinky then demands payment for her story. If the girl cannot pay then she is abused or even raped by the monster. In most cases Pinky Pinky only shows herself to girls that are on their own. It is for this reason that many teenage African women insist on visiting public toilets with other women.

A Little Known Monster

Very little has been written about Pinky Pinky although a group of students from AFDA in Johannesburg did start to make a film about the creature in 2005 using a vacant building at the UNISA (University of South Africa) campus in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Source: Debashine Thangevelo, Tonight, September 26, 2005, Independent News and Media.

Today Pinky Pinky is generally believed to be an “urban legend” that emerged as a result of political unrest and social anxiety. The rape and abuse of women and pubescent girls is still unacceptably high in South Africa and it would be understandable for this fear to focus on a particular “monster” such as Pinky Pinky. To put this in context:

“A study by Interpol, the international police agency, has revealed that South Africa leads the world in rapes. A woman was raped in South Africa every 17 seconds. This did not include the number of child rape victims. It was estimated that (during their lifetime) one in every two women would be raped. Between 28 and 30 percent of adolescents reported that their first sexual encounter was forced.” Source: Rape statistics South Africa – 9 January 2008, www.rape.co.za.

However there is an even older and darker element to the creature Pink Pinky. Journals of 19th century settlers and explorers of Africa often record the tales of strange beasts and creatures still unknown to science.

Pinky Pinky ElfPinky Pinky Elf Creature: These creatures are said to live deep in Africa’s jungles.

After discussing the Pinky Pinky creature with a number of African South Africans it seems that the legend and belief originated from three sources that have become entwined. The first source of the story lies in albinism – a genetic disorder that manifests itself as a lack of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes. These “pink people” were, and still often are, seen by African culture as abnormal and slightly magical. Sadly, many of these unfortunate people have been subjected to terrible atrocities due to their condition. As recently as December 2008 the British Newspaper, The Sun, ran a story entitled: Welcome to Albino Island” and proceeded to explain that a refuge for African Albinos had been established on Ukerewe Island in Tanzania. The article begins:

“With their milky white skin, wispy hair and haunting, pale eyes, they are called “the living ghosts” by locals. And the vulnerable albinos of Tanzania in East Africa have more than insults to fear. They are being hunted down and hacked to death to satisfy a growing demand for their body parts and blood to use in black magic. It is the stuff of nightmares.”

Source: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/woman/real_life/article2017493.ece

Some evidence suggests that in many places throughout Africa albinos were driven from their families and made to establish a nomadic existence on the edges of society. These people were forced to survive by whatever means possible and in the process may have become the forefathers of the Pinky Pinky creature. Living Ghosts!

The second source starts with the arrival of “white” explorers and settlers in Africa the legend and fear appears to have convulsed into a new form. There is no doubt that the powerful newcomers often (but not always) abused their position of power and ran their farms in the manner of feudal chieftains. It was not unusual for a young African maid to find the middle-aged owner of the farm (or his sons) creep into her room and demand his rights.

The third source refers to hermaphroditism. This is a genetic condition that results in a person having both male and female genitalia. These people are far more common than mainstream information channels suggest. The genetic diversity of the people of Africa is vast when compared to the relatively narrow genetic ancestry of those from the West. (See the Post Ice Age Bottleneck for more information) Unfortunately, hermaphrodism was often seen as just as abhorrent as Albinism. These are the true African Transsexuals and it is a subject that is still considered taboo in many African cultures.

A Reason to be Scared!

Finally, it would seem that headmasters of schools in the troubled townships of South Africa deliberately resurrected the Pinky Pinky / Tokeloshe myth to try and make sure that vulnerable young African girls between the ages of 6 and 16 always travelled together in groups thus drastically reducing the potential for assault and abduction by the Tsotsi gangs that had become so prevalent during the 1980’s and 1990’s. So great was the overarching fear of violence at this time that Pinky Pinky became a lightning rod for all that was wrong with Apartheid South Africa and occasionally resulted in believable mass hysteria.

Pinky Pinky may or may not be a real creature but there is no doubt that young African women have a great deal to fear from other forms of personal violence. So do albinos and it is tragic that two such vulnerable groups should be entwined in such a strange paranormal manifestation.

Pinky Pinky AlienPinky Pinky Alien Connection

Alien Interventions

Researchers have noted the similarities between the Pinky Pinky hysteria of South Africa and the spate of alleged alien abductions that took place elsewhere in the world during the 1980’s. One observation worth making is that the ‘alien abduction’ phenomena peaked during the late 1980’s. Across the world countless individuals came forward to the media with claims that they had been kidnapped by aliens usually described as grey or pink humanoid figures. Not surprisingly these people were treated with more than a little suspicion and in some cases quite cruel ridicule. UFO crazies, lunar loonies and X-file nutters were all some of the terms used to describe them. However, there are some similarities between the Pinky Pinky hysteria and these so called abductions. The aliens were transgender, the abduction often involved sexual aspects, the aliens would explain what they were doing but the subjects could never remember what they were told, there was often extreme pain and it was usually single individuals that were taken from remote locations. The two paranormal phenomena may have absolutely nothing to do with each other but the similarities are just a little bit creepy.