Archive for the ‘paranormal’ 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 Blood Skull and Woman of the Woods on “Mountain Monsters”

June 5, 2017

 

When we last left Buck in the previous episode, he had gone solo to the “Three Rings,”  and encountered the mysterious “little girl.”  Well, it turned out that while Buck was momentarily distracted, she conveniently vanished. Meanwhile, ailing team leader Trapper re-entered the scene, and collected Buck and Huckleberry.  He directed them to collect Jeff, which Willy and Wild Bill did, pursued in their truck by the other team.  Jeff related that the rogue team had a building deep in the woods where secrets resided,  and Buck was sent by Trapper back to the shed where photos of the AIMS team had been found on the walls.  Stripping these pictures off the walls, Buck found the words, “Find the blood skull,  find the Woman of the Woods” painted on the walls.

The Rogue Team’s cabin described by Jeff was found by the rest of the team, and Willy and Wild Bill entered it, guns at the ready.  In a back room of the cabin, they found skulls decorating the walls and a topographical map of the dark forest.  Buck then called Huckleberry from the woods, relating that he felt a foreign object was the cause of Jeff’s frequent nosebleeds; Buck had remarked in a previous episode that he knew why Jeff’s nose bled, and he may have received this knowledge as ‘the chosen one” from the little girl during his “lost time.” Well, Jeff was reclined on a table, and in a gross scene the team used a forceps to extract what turned out to be a small skull-like object from his nose…there was screaming and blood. — Yes, the secret of the Dark Woods was not under Jeff’s nose, but up it!  Eww!

Meanwhile Buck had again been seeking the little girl by returning to places where she’d been seen, and spotted her again.  The girl pointed to a grapevine and stump “throne” within which was…the blood skull, seen but fleetingly.  Buck also caught a brief glimpse of the Woman of the Woods, who did not appear to have eyes, but rather flaming orbs or perhaps empty sockets. Returning to his truck, Buck found it occupied by the skull-masked figure who had earlier held him and two team members captive in a shed.  If all of this seems a bit Grimm to you, some say that the current story line has been a hillbilly re-construction of the Little Red Riding Hood tale…

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…

“The Haunted” on Monsters & Mysteries Unsolved

September 14, 2016


Ghosts and hauntings are not my usual stomping ground in this blog, and I have no intention of making such topics a routine consideration…but Halloween came a bit early to Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved in their S1/Ep08 installment called “The Haunted,” an investigation of ghostly phenomena that likely comes under the broad category of mysteries, so we’ll cover it as we have other considerations of the series.  I’ll try to organize the key segments presented, as the series usually bounces back and forth between one incident and another without presenting each to conclusion in a linear fashion, which I find frustrating.
A cornerstone of the hour was an investigation of a haunting in Mansfield, Connecticut where a woman called Amy Moore in 1989 got a bargain buy on a run-down house.  It turned out not to be such a bargain as there were reports of the walls vibrating, doors slamming, unexplained footsteps, and a door with a hook and latch leading to a third floor opening by itself.  House guests also reported unexplained sights and sounds such as growling and a flying water bottle.  When these incidents intensified over time, paranormal investigator Joe Gallant was called in.  Using multiple cameras and an EVP detector, the investigating team captured some EVP’s, but they were of poor quality.  

A second segment involved an investigation of a supposedly haunted “island of the dolls” in Xochimilco, Mexico.  The original owner of the island collected dolls to ward off spirits.  Following the drowning of a girl there, the haunting is said to have started with the dolls moving and emanating sounds.  An investigation was made by paranormal researchers, with their EMF detector showing that some of the dolls registered magnetism. While the dolls hanging everywhere were creepy, it was felt that their movements were more due to thermal changes and changes in water and moisture.  Beyond that, the power of suggestion takes over.  Sounds could come from intermittent battery operation of voice units still operative in the dolls, or be misinterpreted cries of passing cats and other animals in the environment.

England is reputed to have considerable hauntings, and so Muncaster Castle was profiled, reputed to be known for door handles inexplicably turning, and the cries of unseen children audible.  A team led by cognitive psychologist Dr. Jason Braithwaite positioned volunteers for a night in separate bedrooms of the castle, only one of which was reputedly haunted.  The volunteers, however, didn’t know which of their number was assigned to the “haunted” bedroom.  Only a third of the sample subjects reported feeling uneasy during their nocturnal stay.  Dr. Braithwaite expressed his belief that haunted experiences are all in the mind, and that the physical environment can trigger bodily reactions.

The overall tone taken by the hour was skeptical, with researcher Dr. Christopher French offering scientific explanations of paranormal experiences.  According to Dr. French, expectation is all, and ghostly experiences are essentially hallucinations, although they appear real to people having them.  The perspectives of Dr. Braithwaite were similar to this, holding that the power of suggestion can predispose haunting or ghostly experiences in the susceptible.

So there you have it…but you may want to keep the Ghostbusters in mind, just in case…

Geico Water Hazard Monster!

September 3, 2015

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Golf tends not to be especially thrilling as a spectator sport, but it could be enlivened considerably by making the water hazards truly hazardous, say by putting a Kraken into the water!  Golfer Bill in a recent Geico commercial is having a truly bad round when an enormous tentacle whips out of the water and ensnares him, the golfer flailing helplessly against its iron grip.

The sportscasters in the face of this spectacle are unflappable, commenting in whispered tones about how the golfer’s five iron may not be enough club to handle this situation; he’s gonna lose a stroke on this one!  More of the Kraken then becomes  visible for inspection, and it is truly a beast of Lovecraftian proportions; now this is a sporting event!  Still nonplussed, the sportscasters continue to comment in whispered tones; it’s what they do

I’d pull up a chair and pay to see golf matches like this!  With quicksand, scorpions, and rattlesnakes, perhaps we could also lend new meaning to tired old golf course “sand traps.”- – Now that’s entertainment!

Bigfoot of Ashe County: AIMS Erupts…

April 27, 2015

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Well, it was Round Two with the infamous Cherokee Devil on the S3/Ep08 installment of Mountain Monsters. The AIMS team met with “Aaron,” a supposed Bigfoot expert who maintained that there had been 12 sightings of the Cherokee Devil in the past 3-1/2 years, following which encounters seven of the people involved had simply disappeared! For the Devil to manifest himself, the witness has to be alone.

As team members Buck (pictured) and Huck had experienced previous encounters detailed in the last episode, they decided to venture out at night themselves without the knowledge or approval of the rest of the team. Heading to the shack in the woods where Buck had earlier supposedly been stashed by the creature, they found backwards writing on the walls, and heard scratching sounds. Team leader Trapper was not pleased to hear of their exploits the next day, and the assembled group returned to the shack, almost failing to find it as it had been camouflaged, presumably by the Devil. A spooky dude appeared outside of the shack who made the team members appear eloquent by comparison, and it was ventured that he was one of the seven who had seen the creature and completely disappeared. He did exactly that while the team was checking out reversed writing on the rear of the shed, so there wasn’t much character development there.

Well, the master plan was to use Buck as bait, placing him in a protective cage on the bridge trap that had been constructed but unused during the previous episode. Buck however took it upon himself to sneak out undetected late at night to go one-on-one with the Devil, who he felt would not appear if the trap was set, being that the Devil could read minds and all. The episode was reminiscent of The Blair Witch Project as Buck went first to the shack and then to the bridge trap by his lonesome, all the while thoughtfully video-journaling his thoughts for our convenience…


As the youngest member of the AIMS team sat alone on the bridge trap, the Cherokee Devil apparently manifested itself to him, although we in the viewing audience saw nothing; this is a low-budget show, after all. Buck was apparently able to drive the beastie off by uttering the Cherokee word for “leave,” a trick apparently communicated to him by the little Cherokee girl whose ghostly presence had been perceived in association with the Devil. – – Wasn’t that convenient?!

 

Bigfoot of Ashe County: AIMS Under Attack!

April 21, 2015

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The S3/Ep07 of Mountain Monsters was a strange business indeed, getting into the Cherokee Devil, a kind of Bigfoot with alleged mind-control abilities.  Like a Jedi Master of Star Wars fame manipulating the mind of an Imperial Storm Trooper, this Bigfoot we’re asked to believe used his powers of mental dominance to befuddle and manipulate two members of the investigative team of “West Virginian Sons.” Clearly, he wasn’t the droid that they were looking for…

Now this Bigfoot from North Carolina was first spotted in the 1600’s, stands a whopping 8-1/2 to 10 feet tall, weighs in at about 800 lbs., is black to gray in color, and has prominent eyes.  Interdispersed with the usual coarse and questionable humor, the team first interviewed a furniture maker called “Liz” who spotted the creature and was mentally dominated by him, loosing four hours of time when she regained conscious awareness in a different location later.  

On the first night’s investigation, the team found “Honeysuckle Domes,” nests of sorts used by the creature.  They heard something large in front of them, and when team member “Buck” led the way, he vanished and was found later sitting down in a broken down shack in a kind of trance state.  “He told me not to move,” muttered Buck about his encounter.  The team took Buck to a safe location, where he later said he was sick and confused, sleeping badly that night.  The next day, Buck related that the Cherokee Devil Bigfoot had pulled him by the elbow and tossed him in the shack, showing team members some nasty bruises on his left upper arm and shoulder. Buck also maintained that he saw a Cherokee girl appearing with the Bigfoot.

The team believed that Bigfoot was trying to hide something in the woods, later finding a totem pole type object.  “Huckleberry” then fell, becoming agitated and then zoning out when he got up.  They bundled Huckleberry away in their truck, where he muttered spooky things like “It doesn’t matter,” and “I know who’s gonna die.”  When leaving the spaced-out Huckleberry alone in the truck for a few moments, he wandered off…

…Buck had rejoined the team by then, and in searching for Huckleberry claimed that he had seen the mysterious Cherokee girl again.  The team sought out the totem pole that they had found previously for answers, but found it was missing!  A short while later they heard Huckleberry scream, and found the rascal nearly naked and muddy (not a pretty sight) holding the totem pole. Tackling him in a body of water, the shock of that seemed to restore him while doing nothing to enhance his appearance. 

With enough freakiness for then, team leader Trapper decided to pull the team out, regroup, and come back again another time.  Such repeat encounters usually don’t go well either, and are equally unrevealing.  The season finale is upcoming for those of stout hearts and strong stomachs…groan!