A menagerie strange and elusive creatures from around the world
Most of us are familiar with the stories and legends surrounding such mysterious and elusive creatures as Bigfoot or Yeti, The Loch Ness Monster and Chupacabras. But there is a host of lesser-known yet equally enigmatic creatures that have been spotted around the world — spotted often enough that they have been given names. They’re weird, they’re evasive, and they’re very often dangerous. Here are some of the world’s strangest crypto-creatures:
The Jersey Devil
Background: The creature known as The Jersey Devil has been roaming the pine barrens of New Jersey since 1735. Sightings are still reported today. It has been estimated that more than 2,000 witnesses have spotted the entity over this time. Panic over alleged sightings has sent terror through towns and has even caused schools and factories to temporarily shut down. Most researchers believe, however, that the Jersey Devil is mere legend, a mythical beast that originated from the folklore of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Others, of course, disagree.
Description (from an eyewitness): “It was about three-and-a-half feet 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.”
Encounter (from Strange Magazine): “A Mr. and Mrs. Nelson spotted the animal cavorting on their shed for ten straight minutes; police officers filed reports of shooting at it, and even a Trenton city councilman (name withheld in the source material) claimed an encounter. He had heard a hissing sound at his doorstep late one night. When he opened the door, he found cloven hoofprints in the snow. These bizarre footprints were turning up all over the New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Delaware region. Animal mutilations, occurring at random throughout the area during the week, were blamed on the Jersey Devil.”
Background: As recorded in John Keel’s seminal book The Mothman Prophecies, The Mothman sightings began to be reported in 1966. The red-eyed winged creature was dubbed “Mothman” by a newspaper reported since the “Batman” TV series was at the height of its popularity. Sightings continued and fervor escalated over the following months, coinciding with a bewildering array of strange activity – including precognition, odd prophecies, UFO sightings and encounters with bizarre “Men in Black.” It’s one of the most puzzling and fascinating periods on record of paranormal activity focused in one geographic area.
The creature itself has never been explained, although skeptics laughably suggested that it was a miss-sighting of a sand crane.
Description: Approximately seven feet tall; has a wingspan over 10 feet wide; gray, scaly skin; large, red, glowing, and hypnotic eyes; able to take off straight up in flight without flapping its wings; travels up to 100 miles an hour; likes to mutilate or eat large dogs; screeches or squeals like a rodent or electric motor; likes to chase cars; likes to “nest” in remote, unpopulated areas; causes radio and television interference; drawn to, and protective of, small children; has some mind control powers.
Encounter: “It was shaped like a man, but bigger, said witness Roger Scarberry. “Maybe six and a half or seven feet tall. And it had big wings folded against its back. But it was those eyes that got us. It had two big eyes like automobile reflectors. They were hypnotic. For a minute, we could only stare at it. I couldn’t take my eyes off it.”
Background: From Australia comes the legend of the Bunyip. The Aboriginal stories say they lurk in swamps, billabongs (a pool linked to river), creeks, riverbeds, and waterholes. They are said to emerge at night and have been heard to make terrifying, blood-curdling cries.
Furthermore, say the tales, the Bunyip will devour any animal or human that dares venture near its abode. The Bunyip’s favorite prey is said to be women.”
Description: Some describe the Bunyip as a gorilla-type animal (like Bigfoot or the Australian Yowie), while others say it is half animal, half human or spirit. Bunyips come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Some are described to have long tails or necks, wings, claws, horns, trunks (like an elephant), fur, scales, fins, feathers… any combination of these.
Encounter: From The Moreton Bay Free Press, April 15, 1857: “Mr. Stoqueler informs us that the Bunyip is a large freshwater seal having two small paddles or fins attached to the shoulders, a long swan-like neck, a head like a dog, and a curious bag hanging under the jaw, resembling the pouch of a Pelican. The animal is covered with hair like the Platypus, and the color is a glossy black. Mr. Stoqueler saw no less than six of the curious animals at different times, his boat was within 30 ft. of one, near M’Guires point, on the Goulburn and fired at the Bunyip, but did not succeed in capturing him. The smallest appeared to be about 5 ft. in length, and the largest exceeded 15 ft. The head of the largest was the size of a Bullocks head and 3 ft. out of the water.” (Note: even if it is a seal, this is an unknown creature.)
The Loveland Frog
Background: The Loveland creature case was first investigated thoroughly by two OUFOIL (Ohio UFO Investigators League) investigators, who spent several hours with the two officers who saw this strange-looking creature. The first account took place on a clear, cold night on March 3, 1972.
Description: Three or four feet tall, weighing around 50 to 75 lbs., its body looked like looked leathery textured skin and had a face resembling a frog or lizard.
Encounter: While driving, Officer Johnson (named changed) saw something lying in the middle of the road. It looked like some kind of animal that had been hit and left to die. Johnson got out of his car to put the animal over on the roadside until the game warden could be called to pick up the carcass. As he opened his car, the door apparently made some noise which caused this thing to raise up in a slight crouch position (like a defensive lineman). The eyes were illuminated by the car headlights. The creature began to half walk and half hobble over to the guard rail. However, this time the creature lifted its leg over the guardrail and while doing this, kept its eyes on Johnson. As the creature went over the guardrail and down the embankment, Johnson took a shot at it but missed.
Background (from Fortean Times Online): “The Popobawa first appeared on Pemba, the smaller of Zanzibar’s two main islands, in 1972. The Popobawa instructed its victims that unless they told others of its ordeal, it would be back. The island was in uproar as men went about announcing that they had been sodomized.
After a few weeks, the Popobawa departed. There was another period of attacks in the 1980s, but nothing more until April 1995 when the winged beast swooped on Zanzibar’s largest island. Last year, there was widespread fear in Zanzibar concerning the return of the Popobawa. The name is derived from the Swahili words for bat and wing.
Description: A dwarf-like creature with a single forehead centered eye, small pointed ears, bat wings, and talons.
Encounter: “Mjaka Hamad was one of its earliest victims. He knew it was not a dream because when he woke his whole house was in uproar. ‘I couldn’t see it. I could only feel it. But some people in my house could see it. Those who’ve got the spirits in their heads could see it. Everybody was terrified. They were outside screaming Huyo! It means the Popobawa is there. I had this bad pain in my ribs where it crushed me. I don’t believe in spirits so maybe that’s why it attacked me. Maybe it will attack anybody who doesn’t believe,’ he warned.”
The Dover Demon
Background: Dover, Massachusetts was the location of the sighting of a bizarre creature for a few days beginning on April 21, 1977. The first sighting was made by 17-year-old Bill Bartlett as he and three friends were driving north near the small New England town at around 10:30 at night. Through the darkness, Bartlett claimed to have seen an unusual creature creeping along a low stone wall on the side of the road – something he had never seen before and could not identify. he told his father about his experience and sketched a drawing of the creature.
A few hours after Bartlett’s sighting, at 12:30 a.m., John Baxter swore that he saw the same creature while walking home from his girlfriend’s house. The 15-year-old boy said its arms were wrapped around the trunk of a tree, and his description of the thing matched Bartlett’s exactly. The final sighting was reported the next day by another 15-year-old, Abby Brabham, a friend of one of Bill Bartlett’s friends, who said it appeared briefly in the car’s headlights while she and her friend were driving.
Description: The eyewitnesses described it as being about four feet tall on two legs with a hairless body and rough-textured skin, long, spindly peach-colored limbs, a large watermelon-shaped head that was nearly as big as its body, and large glowing orange eyes.