Archive for the ‘unidentified’ category

“Chupacabra” on “Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved”

September 6, 2016

 

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A number of series have previously dealt with the subject of the Chupacabra, and Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved in their S1/Ep07 episode also gave the topic a go.   Attacks of the “goat sucker” reportedly first started in Puerto Rico in the mid-1990’s.  Since that time, reports of the creature have come from Cuero, Texas where rancher Phyllis Canion found exsanguinated chickens and reported sighting a hairless animal with a long snout and a strange gait.  An area sheriff in August of 2008 also recorded a strange creature on his dash cam that matched that description.  Other ranchers have found dead cattle on their ranches, and one had a video of a canid-like animal with short front legs, a long snout, and gray hairless skin.

Cryptozoologist Ken Gerhard has interviewed eyewitnesses of the creature, and examined the rotting remains of an unidentified animal hit by a car; some people seem to have all of the fun at their jobs!  This corpse was taken to Texas Tech, where it was examined by anthropologist Eileen Johnson, who pronounced it neither a wolf nor a dog, and found it to be more like a coyote.  

In that a living specimen can yield better and more complete information, a group assisted by a vet was covered in their efforts to hunt and trap a Chupacabra at night.  They set up motion camera traps baited with rotted deer meat and a hapless living chicken.  The motion detector camera detected nothing unknown, and even the chicken survived to see the morning.  

Now a neighbor of the previously mentioned rancher Phyllis Canion conveniently had another carcass of an unidentified canid, and part of its tongue was sent in for DNA testing while the bulk of the carcass was taken to a vet.  The biologist who tested the sample’s DNA found that the animal was a coyote/wolf hybrid.  

Other far out theories were also touched on, including the legend as mentioned by writer Nick Redfern that the Chupacabra was some kind of alien creature.  A supposed connection between the Chupacabra and UFO sightings was brought up.  A more mundane explanation was also offered that the Chupacabra was actually a case of mistaken identify, with a Rhesus monkey on the lam thought to be the cryptid.  Dr. Robert Baker, a wildlife geneticist, seemed skeptical of the notion that the Chupacabra was capable of living on blood, saying that they would have to have specialized organs to accomplish this.  

As with other unidentified and sought after but elusive creatures, people want to believe in them.  For some, the mystery lives on…

 

 

“Monsters of the Deep” on Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved

August 30, 2016

 

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The S1/Ep06 episode of Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved focused on unidentified and unconfirmed aquatic cryptids reported in Loch Ness, Scotland; Lake Champlain, Vermont; and Vancouver Island, Canada.  Reports of creatures in all three locations were largely based on eyewitness observations, occasionally accompanied by a blurry photograph taken at some distance.  

Sightings of the celebrated Loch Ness Monster date back to the 6th century, and the series touched upon two recent observations reported in 2003 and 2010.  Both were of course inconclusive, with one recent image discounted by experts as likely light reflections on the water.  The notion that the Loch Ness creature was a plesiosaur was also briefly considered, but dismissed by experts as being very unlikely.

Acoustics were used by a vessel profiled in the Lake Champlain segments that hoped to capture echolocation sounds.  While a couple of rapping sounds were heard, they were not thought to be bioacoustic in origin.  Likewise no confirming evidence was found of the creature reported to frequent the waters off Vancouver Island, Canada. 

As it was pointed out, any reported site of a water monster would not be comprised of a single individual, but rather have to have a breeding population of perhaps fifty or more specimens for a population to be viable and capable of continuing its existence.  Investigations will continue at all three sites profiled, likely for the foreseeable future…

“Sasquatch Planet” on Monsters & Mysteries Unsolved

July 26, 2016

 

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The subject of Bigfoot is well-worn terrain on most paranormal shows, and the third episode of the Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved series sought to take us there yet again by examining Sasquatch evidence and encounters, and wound up taking a rather skeptical overall tone.  Steven Kulls, a former private investigator, had his own personal encounter with a supposed Bigfoot in 2011.  Returning to the location of his sighting in the Adirondack Mountains of New York with thermal cameras, a “bionic ear,” and a digital video recording system, Kulls and his team established a security perimeter but failed to discover anything.  They were quick to point out that their failure to discover Bigfoot didn’t mean that he wasn’t out there…

In Pocatello, Idaho a group of high school students saw what they thought to be a Bigfoot at a distance, taking video footage of the same as well as a photo of a footprint.  Their footage was examined by biological anthropologist Dr. Kathy Gonder, who thought that the creature filmed was massive and reflected fluid body movement, although she rather thought that the thing filmed was a bear.  One of the students in the group claimed familiarity with bears, however, and disputed that the sighting was that of a black bear.

Another sighting briefly covered was that of a Canadian woman who in 2007 heard a screaming creature off a deer trail, hearing it running and breaking branches.  She fled to her vehicle following this uncomfortably close encounter.  A mammalogist and anatomist pointed to such aggressive behaviors as being typical of the great apes.

Dr. Joe Nickell, an author and investigator, felt that Sasquatch and Bigfoot are basically major myths that show analogues in other cultures, and have basically migrated between cultures.  Mammalogist and anatomist Dr. Sarmiento echoed this, feeling that belief in Bigfoot fills a void, a need to believe.  In summation, most of the experts presented felt that available evidence for Bigfoot’s existence falls far short of the standard of proof required.  Needed are bones, a carcass, or clear and convincing camera trap evidence…

“Alien Encounters” on “Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved”

July 1, 2016

 

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The good news is that at last there’s a new paranormal show airing new episodes, but the jury is still out on “Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved,” which debuted on the Destination America channel with a first episode titled, “Alien Encounters.”

Now don’t get me wrong…I really want to like this show, but I’m not sold yet.  There are some things that I liked, such as the inclusion of actual astronomers, astrophysicists, and other credentialed people on the show.  The episode simply didn’t have a great flow or direction to it, bouncing around episodically and unevenly from one UFO sighting to another without much unity to it in a manner I found unsatisfying.  Some of the material was old, familiar stuff; considerable time was spent on Roswell, for example, without adding anything new to what we’ve already heard many times before.

Reference was made to the “Phoenix Lights” sightings in 1997 when a large, delta-shaped object was witnessed flying in a mile-wide formation by hundreds of people in Arizona, with more individual lights later seen.  Aspersion was cast upon the official explanation of the lights as being “military flares.” Also covered was a December 1980 incident at Rendlesham Forest in England where strange lights were seen on successive nights and investigated by the military. Another 1975 incident from Pensacola, Florida involved a former U.S. Marine pilot on a training flight who observed a round, red object with defined edges that moved unlike anything he had seen before or since.

To me the most interesting segments of this show involved the efforts of special effects photographer and movie maker Doug Trumbull, who is taking powerful investigative equipment in a specially modified vehicle to locations deemed favorable to UFO sightings. Perhaps through his efforts and others like himself, more credible investigations may be performed.

In my area, Monsters and Mysteries Unsolved airs Thursday at nine p.m. on the Destination America channel, which is kind of paranormal central for shows of this type. Spread the word, and hopefully upcoming episodes will be more satisfying…  

Bigfoot of Wood County: The Phantom of the Forest

April 5, 2016

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Not to be confused with the Phantom of the Opera, the Phantom of the Forest as presented in S4/Ep11 of Mountain Monsters is yet another Bigfoot clone standing about 6-1/2′ tall and weighing in at about 500 lbs. with brownish gray fur.  First seen by the Shawnee Indians in the 1700’s, the Phantom is reported having a special attachment to deer, and by some accounts has been seen riding them despite the obvious weight overload that would be involved.

Traveling to Wood County in West Virginia, the AIMS team first met with “Dan,” a farmer, who described an encounter where he heard gunshots following which he saw a number of dead deer, the apparent victims of poachers who were in a truck.  The eyewitness then saw a Bigfoot at the tree line who charged the poacher’s truck, lifting it up on two wheels and causing them to beat a hasty retreat.  During their first night’s investigation, the team saw a bent-over tree, then heard a crash with a tree being thrown down near them.  They felt themselves being observed, and shortly thereafter heard gunshots apparently aimed in their direction, presumably by the poachers.

The next day, the team returned to the general area, finding what they called a homemade silencer commonly used by poachers to mute gunshots.  They also found a handwritten note tacked to a tree stating, “Something’s stalking me,” and signed “Ernie.”  Meanwhile, “Wild Bill” in a used police cruiser that he had picked up met with “Willy,” and together the two constructed a “Pyramid trap” to cage the Bigfoot.  Also that day, “Buck” and “Jeff” met with the poachers by their invitation, keeping an armed “Huckleberry” in the background as backup.  The poachers claimed sighting the Bigfoot, said that he had torn up their buddy pretty badly, and announced their intentions of killing him.  “Buck” took the poachers to task for being poachers, which resulted in a Mexican standoff of sorts with guns, and colorful language being exchanged before the poachers departed in their vehicle, issuing threats. 

 On their final night’s hunt, the team following their usual procedure split to flush the beast towards their trap, but Buck, Jeff, and Huckleberry came under fire from the poachers.  In a cornfield, Buck was grabbed from behind presumably by the Bigfoot, and fell, losing his radio.  When the team reunited by the trap, they found it in the process of being knocked over by a heavy equipment operator, who claimed that he had been paid $1,000 to demolish it that night by people he didn’t know were poachers.  Allowed to leave, the heavy equipment operator a short time later radioed the team on Buck’s dropped radio, mocking them and relating how much he had enjoyed knocking over their trap…

Having been outwitted both by the Phantom of the Woods and the poachers, the team was again fruitless in their quest, but seemed to take comfort in thinking that eventually the Phantom would catch up with the poachers, and clean their clocks.  The episode was really more about the conflict with the poachers than the Bigfoot…

 

Bigfoot of Lee County: Raven Mocker, Parts I and II

March 16, 2016

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Once again, we are off to the Bigfoot races on the S4/Ep08 installment of Mountain Monsters, the Raven Mocker. First seen by Cherokees in the early 1700’s, this Bigfoot variant is described as standing 7′ tall, weighing 500 lbs., and having black fur with all-white eyes. Where it gets freaky is that this Bigfoot is a kind of shape-shifter that can enter the soul of a raven, seeing from the aerial perspective of that bird, like the warg or “skin shifter” on Game of Thrones. Furthermore, they could change into any animal. Before a kill, the Raven Mocker is said to call out like a raven. They are said to consume the hearts of men. — Creepy, huh?

Well, our “hard-core hunters and trackers” first interviewed “Mike,” an outdoorsman who reported seeing a wrenched-off deer’ s head hanging in a tree. In the same vicinity, he reported seeing 16″ footprints, plus smaller ones apparently those of a human female! This raised the unanswered questions of whether the Bigfoot shape- shifted to a human female (a really bad date), or traveled with a human female who had a thing for big, hairy guys.

During their first night’s hunt, the team saw a tree structure, heard humming and then an “evil laugh,” perceived something running, and saw a number of humanoid-shaped stick constructions hanging.  The next day, they found raven prints, and when team member “Buck” made a raven call, tree knocks were heard in apparent response.  A bow hunter named “Scott” was interviewed who reported seeing a dead buck with a broken neck.  He produced a photo showing a blurry dark object against a dark background.  During the daylight hours, “Willy” with the assistance of “Wild Bill” had constructed a “steel cage raven wing trap” which was baited with deer meat.

During their final night’s hunt, the team followed their familiar tactic of dividing into two groups with the hopes of driving their quarry from different directions towards their trap.  One group found broken tree limbs and apparent wear to logs.  Things became freaky and the usual confusion ensued when team member “Huckleberry” claimed to feel the touch of hands on his back, and heard “Buck’s” voice imitated; the Mocker mocking, I presume.  A nasty foot trap was encountered in the ground, together with a deer head lodged in a tree, and a constructed structure on the side of that tree.  Team member “Jeff” claimed that he saw a face in front of him, with a ball of fire coming out of its mouth.  This was supposedly captured on a thermal camera image, which was again less than revealing…

Contending that they had found something that was “not human” and “supernatural,” the Raven Mocker saga was continued in another episode airing two weeks after the first.  Seeking guidance from recovering team leader “Trapper,” the team was admonished to go back to their “Native American roots,” and seek answers from where there was physical evidence of the Raven Mocker.  Returning to the woods in Lee County, Virginia at night, the team encountered again the “burning man” style tree structures, as well as footprints in the mud that were smaller and appeared to be those of a woman.  They heard mocking-type laughter, and then team member “Huckleberry” was brought down by a grapevine-type snare trap.

The following day, the team met with local researcher “Jeff,” who told them tales of the “Woman in the Woods,” an old barefooted woman who wears a cloak, and is supposedly followed by death.  They were advised to confront her in a Native American way.  As a lure, the team decided to take from the woman some of her possessions, and they rounded up some of the tree structure figures.  After gaining possession of these, a handprint was found on “Willy’s” arm, meaning that he, like “Jeff” and “Huckleberry” who had earlier been touched, had presumably been marked for death by the “Woman in the Woods.”

Well, the team then constructed several Native American styled huts, protecting them with sage and accessories like dream catchers, snake skins, and turtle shells. They put on “warrior faces and battle uniforms,” which meant quasi-Native American garb and rather badly applied “war paint.”  The men marked for death assumed places in separate huts and performed protective ceremonies, after which time a Bigfoot roar was heard together with tree knocks.  “Jeff” the team researcher seemed to be targeted, with his dream catcher jerked and the roof of his hut brought down upon him.  In a daze he was led off by someone in a cloak, and found by the pursuing team members at the base of a tree, bloodied and freaking out.  Following a bit of a hysterical reaction, “Jeff” related that the “Old Woman of the Woods” had shown him how and when he was going to die, and then told him that he was free.  This presumably got the rest of the marked men off the hook, and his associates seemed to feel that “Jeff” had taken one for the team. – – Are you not entertained?

Perhaps more merriment and mystery will follow in the next episode, when we are promised the Phantom of the Woods…

Bigfoot of Wirt County; The Ash Man

March 8, 2016

  

The Bigfoot Edition of Mountain Monsters continued on Ep07 of S4 with the Ash Man, a 600 lb. Bigfoot who stands about 7′ tall, is 3′ wide at the shoulders, and has blackish gray fur.  The creature was first described in the 1700’s by the Shawnee Indians, with the label Ash Man attached as the Native Americans described him as seen through the smoke and ashes of their cooking fires.  Team member Huckleberry had an encounter with the creature 46 years ago in 1969, and felt himself shaken and scarred by the encounter and its aftermath.

The team went to Wirt County, West Virginia, conducting the investigation and hunt on Huckleberry’s lands and farm.  During their first night’s investigation, the team found a nesting area and multiple piles of stacked rocks, a Bigfoot sign.  Huckleberry felt shaken by such discoveries, and couldn’t continue further at that time.  The following day, Huckleberry and Jeff were out in the woods when a small log was thrown at them, and they found a footprint and handprint, presumably those of the creature.  Rob, a hiker, was interviewed, reporting an encounter with a 7′ tall creature with black hair.  The eyewitness produced a picture showing something large and blackish seen through trees.

Meanwhile, trap maker Willy and “Wild Bill” had constructed a rather large “wooden fortress” trap.  That night, bacon was cooked as bait, with “Wild Bill” serving as cook for the affair, complete with a ludicrous chef’s hat that he managed to catch on fire during the proceedings yet wore the remnants of during the following hunt.  The team split into two groups at that time to flush the Ash Man out, and Huckleberry’s group found itself the recipients of large branches and rocks thrown from above in their general direction.  While dashing through the woods in pursuit, “Wild Bill” managed to get himself knocked to the ground by a blow from a tree limb.  “Do I still have all my teeth?,” he asked.  “Yep, they’re both still there,” quipped a team mate.   Via radio they called for reinforcements from Willy’s group, and the usual yelling, waving of guns, bad camera angles, and wild ATV ride followed as the creature was flushed in the direction of the trap.

Arriving back at the trap, the team found that the Bigfoot had apparently been caged only temporarily, with a large hole torn through the 14″ logs of its construction.  “We shook him up,” proclaimed Huckleberry.  One might say, however, that their plans to catch the Ash Man had gone up in smoke…