Archive for the ‘cryptozoology’ category

Spring-Heeled Jack…

October 11, 2017

With Spooktober  here on Destination America, it’s time to delve into the archives a bit and consider a fairly obscure but historically interesting cryptid who reportedly terrorized London in the Victorian era.  He was called Spring-Heeled Jack for his supposed ability to execute astonishing leaps, capable apparently of clearing a house in a single bound.  

Now numerous images of Jack exist, ranging from the hideous to the almost dashing figure shown here.  Most reports describe him as appearing demonic, with clawed hands and prominent red eyes.  Jack also had the described ability to spew blue flames at his victims.  He was prone to attacking women and making off with children, with surviving victims suffering claw injuries and psychological trauma.  His first attack is said to have occurred in 1837, kissing and clawing up a woman who drove him off with her screams.  Numerous attacks were said to have taken place in 1838.

Jack’s escapades became the topics of “Penny Dreadful” fiction, and parents used to keep difficult children in line by threats of his appearance.  The last recorded sighting of him dates back to 1904.  Some have speculated that Spring-Heeled Jack was one of the inspirations for Batman, as you might see suggested by the figure above.  And with his last public appearance occurring over 100 years ago, perhaps this Victorian boogeyman is due for a revival, Steampunk being “in” and all…

  

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“The Three Rings of the North” on “Mountain Monsters”

May 26, 2017

 

 

With an episode title like “The Three Rings of the North,” (S5/Ep6), you might think that Mountain Monsters was getting into some kind of Tolkienesque fantasy, but the rings referenced were of grapevine, and hobbits were nowhere in sight.

In the last episode of this increasingly strange series, a bloodied Huckleberry was left inside their base camp, and it seems that he claimed to have gotten into a knife fight with a creature he had driven off.  Huck understandably contended that they needed to fortify the camp, at which point Jeff walked off, saying that he needed some air.  “I’m falling apart here bad,” he told pursuing team member Buck, who was able to talk Jeff down and arrange another private meeting with him the next day.

During that meeting, Buck described his getting lost in the last episode, and hearing the “sickening cackle” of the “Woman of the Woods.”  Becoming upset in this recollection as well as a video left on his cell phone, Buck decided that he had missed something and needed to go back to the woods alone to search for clues.  Doing this without even a cameraman, Buck had another fleeting encounter with a little girl who seems associated with the “Woman of the Woods,” and left the site.  

The next day, the team met with their leader Trapper, and Jeff who had been serving as a double agent confessed that he was not a higher-up in the other organization.  An electrified fence was erected around their base camp, with blood found on trees outside the camp, presumably from Huckleberry’s knife fight with the mysterious creature in the camp itself.  Trying to continue his role as defector, Jeff met at night with members of the other team and was told that his tenure there was done; a scuffle ensued when Jeff insisted on hearing that from the other team’s boss.  Jeff was taken away by the other team, later managing to text the AIMS team to turn on the radio that Willy had stolen from the other team in the previous episode.  Listening to this radio, they heard that the other team was headed north to the “three rings.”  They headed north themselves on foot, eventually finding a large grapevine construction of three rings with torchlight illumination.  Jeff himself was wandering about the scene, apparently in a daze and holding a torch…

…the plot thickens, huh?  Not exactly gripping entertainment, but the show’s attempt to live up to their opening promise that “In the Dark Forest, the mystery ignites.”  At this point in the series, the cryptids are almost a peripheral consideration to the soap opera and mystery elements.

Huckleberry’s Predator…

May 16, 2017

Skipping now the “Superfan” episode of the previous week which basically served to recycle old material, S5/Ep5 of Mountain Monsters picked up with Jeff and Trapper being found in a barn by the rest of the AIMS team.  It turned out that Jeff was basically working as a double agent, working with “Harry and Stinky” of the other team to gather information.  Jeff advised his team mates to download video from a tripped trail camera, which they did only to find it password protected.  Jeff later supplied the password , and the video revealed an image of…the Black Wolf!

At a night meeting with Jeff, Buck was told that “something big” would be going on by a high rock wall.  Buck became lost in the woods, sending the rest of his teammates by phone to the designated location. Willy and Wild Bill rappelled down the wall in order to listen, with Willy managing to steal a radio of the other team to facilitate this process.  On the radio, it was heard that Jeff was down and bleeding. Fearing that he was gunshot, Willy and Wild Bill hastened to that location, finding Jeff down with one of his gradually-worsening nose bleeds.  Meanwhile still lost in the woods, Buck heard the laughter of the “Woman in the Woods,” wandering off in a daze for ninety minutes before being located by his cameraman.

Meanwhile Huckleberry shared his impression of being stalked by a creature in the woods, following it back to their base camp cabin.  He entered the cabin alone, and was later found there in a bloodied condition by his now-reunited team mates.  “It knows we’re here,” remarked Huckleberry at the end of the episode, which will be continued next week in this endlessly drawn-out saga…

The “Black Wolf” Mountain Monster Saga Continues…

May 3, 2017

 

 

The Black Wolf, according to the visitor to the AIMS base camp in the previous episode, has been around for 200 years, and is the spirit of a Shawnee shaman who takes their spirits to the afterlife, kind of like a Grim Reaper.  As Jeff is apparently at least part Shawnee, it was speculated that the Black Wolf was some kind of legendary spiritual entity there to collect Jeff.  Once again, the Black Wolf was not revealed in S5/Ep4, but only more complications and plot twists.

Going out at night close to the base camp, the team found a scent post and claw marks on a tree.  They later found another tree construction (a medicine circle) with a dead black rabbit in the center of it.  The next day, Willy and Wild Bill constructed a maze trap with multiple snares within it to capture the Black Wolf.  A paw print was found in the woods that seemed to suggest an animal presence.

Meanwhile, Buck and Huckleberry went to meet Jeff in the woods, finding him standoffish.  A scuffle ensued over Jeff’s phone, which he originally claimed was turned off and had no reception in the woods, but which rang nonetheless during the encounter.  Following a scuffle over who he was talking to, Jeff stormed off.  Pursued, his nose was found to be streaming blood although no blows had been landed. 

The rest of the team decided to stake out the farmhouse where Jeff was staying that night, observing him to leave in a truck with two people.  They pursued the truck at a distance, eventually finding Jeff at the previously discovered medicine circle, which had been lit on fire together with the ill-fated deceased rabbit.  When Jeff and his companions had left, a trip wire was triggered to draw then back.  Jeff alone returned in the truck and walked around the vicinity of the trip wire while shadowed by Buck.  When Jeff doubled back it appeared that Buck would be discovered, a fate he avoided by hiding in the bed of the very pickup truck that Jeff was driving.  This truck with Buck as cargo then drove off, but was pursued by the rest of the team until it stopped by an old barn.  Deciding to venture within the barn, they discovered Jeff with team leader Trapper within, and the others wondering what was going on. – – Such high tension! –Can you stand the suspense?

This ended the episode, which again failed to reveal either the Black Wolf or the Woman of the Woods.  One hopes that this tiresome tangent of a tale isn’t dragged on too much longer…

Mountain Monsters: Secrets of the Dark Forest

April 26, 2017

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There’s a lot of repetition and drawing out of story lines in this bargain basement reality show, and if you were hoping to see “the Black Wolf” or “The Woman of the Woods” in this episode, you were likely to be disappointed…

Team researcher Jeff had been acting vaguely as if possessed recently, showing the others a video with a creepy voice recording, and relating how he had awoken in the Dark Forest alone with his clothes beside him.  The team in response followed GPS coordinates to the Dark Forest in Lee County, Virginia.  There they found Bigfoot signs such as broken branches, and ran across a reticent man they questioned who denied knowledge of anything but advised them not to go into the woods.  Of course they did (at night, no less), finding a deer head hung in the woods and perceiving something to run past them.  At that point, Jeff inexplicably got a nosebleed, and the evening’s festivities were called off.

Meanwhile, team members Willy and Wild Bill had been building a base camp shelter.  In the daytime, the team heard a high-pitched squeal, and pursuing it found what appeared to be wolf tracks by a river.  A tree-structure sign marker (pictured) was found near their camp, with Jeff later collapsing and being termed a security risk by team security member Huckleberry.  

Looking in the woods for additional marker-type signs, the team found sharpened branches and multiple trip lines.  Headlights were seen, causing the team to hunker down, at which point Jeff wigged out further, running off and leading them on a merry chase.  They found him in a trance-like state being pointed at by a small girl, who then conveniently ran off.  Jeff became combative when they tried to bring him around, but eventually came to himself.  Another strange noise was heard, and the team headed back to their base camp, finding someone sitting there who said that the noise they had heard was the Black Wolf.  The episode ended on this note, presumably with more to follow on the big bad wolf in the upcoming installment…

“Mountain Monsters; The Rogue Team Rises, Part I”

April 9, 2017

 

I’m not crazy about reviewing episodes of the Mountain Monsters series, but having gotten over two thousand views of my old reviews the day that the new season opened, will bow to the undeniable popularity of the series and continue to chronicle it, at least for a time.  The season opener featured not a single monster hunt, but rather picked up with the mysterious rivalry between the two teams of Bigfoot chasers that increasingly dominated and closed the previous season.  The mood was kind of like a low budget Spy vs. Spy mystery rather than a serious or directed cryptozoology show, but if you have interest in this strange series, read on.  If you’re not a follower of the series, the following will make little sense and may best be skipped.

With that disclaimer, the fourth season left us with a number of unanswered questions; would the AIMS team members ever lose weight, visit a barber, or catch up with their arch-rivals, the Rogue Team? – – Well, after a nine month hiatus, Episode 1 of the fifth season found the AIMS team reconvening minus team member Buck, who Huckleberry located and then went with to locate the truck that poachers had used to destroy one of their traps in a previous episode.  The suspicion was that the poachers were in league with their nemesis, The Rogue Team. They eventually located the truck, which had been stolen a year previously, but was now back in possession of its rightful owner, who gave Buck and Huck the name of a farm where the poachers were believed to hang out.  

Going to the referred Miller farm, Huck and Buck were given directions to the poachers’ camp.  Jeff  had by then united with them, and called team leader Trapper, who wasn’t happy that Buck had acted independently.  Team members Willy and Wild Bill then united with their associates, and they located the camp of the poachers, who said that they were hired to tear down the trap of the AIMS team, but had no connection with the Rogue Team.  

The production crew team had caught an image of the Rogue Team vehicle, indicating that they were still being watched.  A message was received to meet the Rogue Team at designated coordinates, which they elected to do despite being unable to reach Trapper.  At an after-dark meeting, the Rogue Team appeared, wearing hooded jackets and halloween-type masks.  With Willy and Wild Bill watching from concealed positions at some distance, the team members who directly met with the Rogue Team representatives had their hands zip tied, hoods placed over their heads, and were hustled into a truck to be taken to an undisclosed location.  Part II to be aired in a week will presumably detail their fate, together with that of team member Trapper, whom previews suggest went off to a meeting with the Rogue Team independently…

“Werewolves in America…”

November 5, 2016

 

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A recent episode of Werewolves in America airing on the Destination America network covered several classic werewolf tales, most of which we’ve heard and seen packaged elsewhere.  The Beast of Bray Road in Wisconsin has been seen more than 100 times, with a flurry of sightings in 1989 of upright wolf creatures.  In fall of 1989, for example, a local bar manager when driving home saw an animal on the road holding road kill.  It locked eyes with her, and she barely got her car restarted in time to escape the creature.  Animals have been reported found suspiciously dead and dismembered by the creature.  A sanitation worker reporting a sighting in 2006 described the creature as standing about 7′ tall, and looking like a wolf on top of a bear’s body.  

Slidell, Louisiana features the Cajun Werewolf, perceived as a person who’s been cursed.  Such creatures may be set forth by the swamp as a warning.  In Chauvin, Louisiana a 13-year-old boy went hunting on All Saint’s Day despite admonitions not to, encountering what he described as a dog shaped in human form which chased him. Werewolves have also been reported in Montegut, Louisiana where they are also seen as cursed souls.

The town of Holly near Detroit, Michigan reports “the Man-Dog of Holly,” also known as the Michigan Dogman. Described as a spirit-based creature rather than one of flesh and blood, over 500 sightings of the Dogman have been reported, including one reported in 2005 by a repo man seeking out a vehicle late one night.

Whether sighted in the old or new world, werewolves and their legends continue to fascinate and intrigue us…