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Exploring American Monsters: Kansas

The state of Kansas is known for two things: an endless sea of golden wheat fields that stretch across the Great Plains, and it’s the starting point for the movie “The Wizard of Oz.” “The Wizard of Oz” (1939) was the first colour motion picture release, along with that year’s “Gone With the Wind.” However, it’s a little known fact that in “The Wizard of Oz,” when Dorothy Gale leaves a black and white Kansas for a Technicolor Oz, this wasn’t a stylistic theme. The entire movie was actually shot in colour; it’s just that Kansas is black and white.

Rim shot, please.

Kansas, bordered by Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, and Oklahoma, and is 82,277 square miles, 5.2 million acres of that covered in woodlands. Not a lot of space in Kansas for monsters, but there are a few.

The Dogman.

The Dogman.

Dogman

Michael was driving near Lawrence, Kansas, in August 2014 when a deer ran across the road. He slowed the car to a stop to make sure no other deer followed when he noticed something that froze his blood. “I saw red eyes looking at my truck,” he reported to the local news. “Like eyes shine when a deer looks in a light, but just a dark red.”

Michael picked up a flashlight from the cab of his vehicle, and shown it toward the glowing red eyes. What he saw, he couldn’t readily explain. “It was something like a dog,” he said. “The back legs were shorter than the front.” And it stood on its hind legs.

The animal was about the size of a Great Dane. The creature broke eye contact, and walked across the road on two legs. It took the beast three steps to cross the pavement. After it crossed, the creature dropped to four legs, ran into a field, and disappeared.

Flying dinosaurs.

Flying dinosaurs.

Pterosaur

In mid-2012, a husband and wife had just driven out of Hudson, Kansas (population 129), when they saw what they described as a dragon, according to livepterosaur.com. “There was a row of trees alongside the road on the north,” the husband said. “As we approached the end of the tree row, something huge took to the air. I said ‘what the hell is that?’”

His wife told him it looked like a dragon.

This wasn’t the only encounter. Sightings of flying reptiles with the wingspan of fifteen to twenty feet have been reported in Kansas over the decades. However, what the husband and wife saw that night remains a mystery.

Sasquatch.

Sasquatch.

Bigfoot

Although when I started this series, “Exploring American Monsters,” I promised not to cover well-known monsters like Bigfoot. However, Kansas has few monsters.

According to a study at Pennsylvania State University, 38 Bigfoot have been reported in the Sunflower State between 1921 and 2012.

One such encounter in Cowley County, Kansas, was reported to the Gulf Coast Bigfoot Research Organization on 14 September 2012. The reporting party was on an evening run with his dog when unearthly howls split the air. He turned, and saw a “dark hairy creature” run from a tree line, then stop to look at him. “It gave the most blood-curdling screams,” he reported to the GCBRO.” It looked to have breasts on its chest. I believe it was a female Sasquatch.”

The dog started howling, and tried to run toward the creature, but the Sasquatch bolted toward another line of trees. “It was hairy from head to toe. It had distinctive breasts, and its head seemed to fit just atop its shoulders,” the witness said.

The living dead.

The living dead. Kansas has a plan for that.

Zombies

Zombies?

Although no Kansan not high on bath salts has ever reported a zombie encounter, the state is prepared for that day.

In 2014, the Kansas Division of Emergency Management announced Octobers were Zombie Preparedness Month, with the backing of Gov. Sam Brownback.

“If you’re equipped to handle the zombie apocalypse then you’re prepared for tornadoes, severe storms, fire and any other natural disaster Kansas usually faces,” Devan Tucking, of the Division of Emergency Management, said.

So, to survive the zombie apocalypse, move to Kansas.

Next up: Kentucky.

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Jason Offutt is paranormal investigator, an author of several paranormal books such as “What Lurks Beyond,” “Darkness Walks: Shadow People Among us,” “Haunted Missouri,” and “Paranormal Missouri” and a teacher of journalism at Northwest Missouri State University.
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