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Strange Encounters with Bizarre Tunnel-Dwelling Monsters

Tunnels are inherently spooky places to begin with. Dark, claustrophobic, often damp, moldy, and old, there is a certain innate sense of foreboding and an unsettling atmosphere about these places that disturbs us on almost a primal level, and they make perfect locations for scary tales. These are places where mysteries reign and where we feel somehow out of place and alone no matter who we may be with. While tunnels may already seem unwelcoming and forbidding enough, there are on occasion reports that allow them to live up to their full potential of eeriness, and here we have accounts that seem to suggest something prowling about there in the inky black of these enclosed spaces, lurking and waiting there in the eternal gloom. While wandering through a tunnel may invoke images of ghosts and monsters, here are the reports that show that these fears may be well-founded indeed.

A very strange account comes from 1978 in Toronto Canada. Here within the dark confines of the various networks of tunnels and caves under this sprawling metropolis, a 51-year-old man known only as Ernest had a strange and frightening encounter in August of that year. The witness claims that he had been out searching the neighborhood for a missing kitten from a litter he had been raising with his wife, when he had stumbled across a tunnel entrance and decided to get a flashlight and investigate where it led, perhaps to even find his missing cat in the process.

He claims that he penetrated around 10 feet into the murk and suddenly came across a creature that looked somewhat like a long and thin monkey around 3-feet in height, with large teeth and covered in grey fur. The unsettling eyes which peered out of the darkness from deep sockets were described as being bright orange and slanted, and to make the whole ordeal even more horrific, Ernest reported that the creature actually spoke to him. He would say of the odd events:

I saw a living nightmare that I’ll never forget. It said, ‘Go away, go away,’ in a hissing voice. Then it took off down a long tunnel off to the side. I got out of there as fast as I could. I was shaking with fear.

Ernest would later grudgingly tell the Toronto Sun newspaper of his frightening experience after being encouraged by a friend to do so, and he refrained from giving his last name out of fear that he would be ridiculed. Staff from the Sun even went as far as to accompany Ernest to the location of his strange sighting in March of 1979, and they found that indeed there was the entrance to a cave at the end of a passageway between houses, which led into a narrow tunnel that dropped off into the gloom sharply and was surmised to lead to the unseen sewer system down below. When they investigated the tunnel they did not see any strange creature, but they did find the maimed carcass of a cat half-buried in the ground. When sewer officials were questioned about what Ernest had perhaps seen, an employee gave the rather ominous statement:

People who work on the surface just don’t know what it’s like down there. It’s a whole different world. Who would have thought a few years ago that people would live in sewers, and yet that’s what they found in New York a few years back. I don’t know what he (Ernest) saw down there. I’ll tell you one thing. If we could get in there, I sure as hell wouldn’t want to go down alone.

The so-called “Cabbagetown Tunnel Monster” is truly bizarre in that no other such report like it has come in, and it is hard to say what the creature in question could possibly be, especially considering that it allegedly actually spoke. Concerning the witness himself, friends and family said that he was an honest and reliable man, not prone to making up tall tales, and the Sun reporters who interviewed him said that he seemed earnest and honestly scared and reluctant to tell his tale at the time. What did he see down there, if anything? We may never know.

One idea of what the Cabbagetown Tunnel Monster could have been was not a tunnel dweller per say, but rather some cryptid from above ground taking refuge or shelter within the tunnel. The region where it was sighted has long had accounts from the natives of a race of smallish hairy humanoids that inhabited areas near waterways and were called the Memegwesi, and perhaps something like this could have found a home down in the tunnel.

A sketch of the Toronto Tunnel Monster

There have certainly been other reports of strange creatures apparently taking shelter in such places, such as an odd case mentioned in the book Monsters of Illinois: Mysterious Creatures in the Prairie State, by Troy Taylor. In May of 1963 there was a rash of sightings of a strange hairy wild-man in the area of Centreville and the outskirts of St. Louis, Illinois, in the United States. The sightings started on May 9 and escalated until the police claimed that they were getting around 50 calls a night from people who claimed to have seen the beast, sometimes right in their yards and with at least one report of the creature attacking a man, although police never did get a view of it themselves. Some reports mentioned that the fierce and bizarre beast had a habit of disappearing down into sewers or tunnels, and one such report came from a group of children, who claimed that a creature that looked “half-man, half-woman, and with a half bald head and half a head of hair” was often seen lurking around a housing project in St. Louis on 9th street and that it had a habit of plunging down into a tunnel on 12th Street. Unfortunately, the sightings dropped off and stopped by the end of the month, meaning we will probably never know what these people saw.

Just as weird was a report that appeared in the March 5, 1981 edition of the The New Valley Dispatch of Pennsylvania. According to an article by a Michael Burke entitled “Green Thing Sparks Rumors,” a group of youth exploring near Kensington, PA sighted a reptilian 4-foot-tall “dinosauroid humanoid” with a thin tail emerging from a sewer tunnel. The teens then allegedly chased the strange beast, with one of them even apparently grabbing the creature’s tail before it’s startled screech forced the boy to let go and it slipped away to scurry back down into the darkness. Was this another cryptid that was using the sewer system and its tunnels as merely a hiding place?

The appearance of the creature in question, that of some sort of reptilian humanoid, often called “Reptoids,” is a bizarre aspect of this report, but interestingly it is not the only report of such creatures utilizing tunnels for inscrutable purposes, and indeed many reports of tunnel monsters seem to involve something decidedly reptilian in nature. One breathtakingly outlandish report of such an entity lurking underground comes from 2008, when a woman from Anaheim, California, near Los Angeles, was allegedly out walking her dog when she came across a “greenish creature” staring up at her from down in a sewer drain. The woman claimed that she had then backed away as the beast began to crawl out into the night towards her.

The witness then frantically ran away to jump into the bed of a truck, after which she called her boyfriend in their nearby apartment and explained what was happening, begging for help. As she spoke to him, it seems that other similar creatures began to file out of the sewer and gather around the truck she was cowering in, and she screamed out in horror. At that instant, the boyfriend purportedly came onto the scene armed with a golf club, which he swung wildly at the outlandish alien creatures as he shouted at the top of his lungs. This was apparently enough to cause the strange intruders to flee back down into the sewer, and the boyfriend would describe them as being “very large, reptilian, with big, sharp teeth.”

The following night, the couple apparently heard strange, unearthly screams out in the dark, and when they went to investigate the next morning found the carcass of some animal that had been brutally maimed and mutilated beyond recognition, which was enough to prompt them to move away from the area. The location is interesting, as there was a rather odd report in the Los Angeles Times in the 1930s, in which a geological engineer named G. Warren Shufelt claimed to have uncovered a vast warren of tunnels under Los Angeles, California and its surrounding vicinity, which he believed to be the ruins of a lost civilization of reptilian beings.

In another report from the UFO.About.com forum, a witness from Carthage, Missouri claimed to have come across some Reptoids in March of 2004. The unidentified witness claims that he was out with a friend riding ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles) at a massive underground storage facility known locally as simply “The Underground,” which apparently consists of a spiderweb network of tunnels and caves that serves as storage for the Navy and also as a fallout shelter that can supposedly house nearly 50,000 people. According to the witness, they had decided to go riding into the caves, eventually finding themselves 8 miles deep into the network with no end in sight. At this point they allegedly saw a sign reading “Naval Authoritative Zone,” but they kept on going right past it.

After the sign the walls were said to be smoother and the ground paved and painted with a strange pattern which they at first took to be graffiti left behind by some thrill-seekers like themselves. Not long after this, they claim that they passed through some sort of “holographic projection” on the cave wall and found themselves in a new section with an intricate road system which somehow seemed very old to them. The area was also described as having a strange damp odor pervading the air, the lights had dimmed, and the temperature had dropped significantly.

The witnesses then noticed a pair of bizarre creatures standing around 30 feet away, which were described as looking like large, powerfully built bipedal reptiles of some sort. One of the creatures was apparently 7-feet tall and reddish in color, while the other was 6-feet-tall and a pale, whitish color. The unsettling sight elicited a scream from one of the witnesses, which caused one of the creatures to come towards them. The two tore off on their ATVs, plunging back through the hologram even as the bigger of the entities gave chase with frightening speed. One of the witnesses says that when he looked back he could see that the thing had raised its arm, which was tipped with a clawed hand holding some sort of device, which it fired to hit one of the ATVs and cause the engine to abruptly die. The witness would say of the chase:

We passed through the wall projection and I looked back and saw the thing raise it’s arm and it had a weapon of some sorts. It fired and hit the ATV my friend was on. The engine died and he stopped. I told him to jump on…and he did. I gunned it and then my friend said, “STOP!” I slowed down and he he said, “LOOK!”. I looked back and the thing had stopped at the graffiti on the cave floor/road. The ATV was on it’s side of the graffiti/symbol. It was obvious the thing would not cross the marking. I slowed more…we were now about 75′ feet away. I stopped and the three of us…Me, my friend and the creature/reptile/man thing just looked at each other…for about 15 sec. And let me tell you…that is a long time. Then I started to leave…It stayed there waiting and not moving until we were out of sight. As soon as we cleared the cave I got on my cell phone and called the Sheriff’s Dept.

The call did not do much good, according to the witness. The Sheriff’s Dept. allegedly simply told him that “Underground Security” would handle it and hung up. This “Underground Security” then converged upon them almost immediately, and the already puzzling case then takes on a rather ominous, conspiratorial vibe, with the witness saying of what happened next thus:

We were told to leave, not to tell anybody about this…that if I come back…The Navy would press charges. I was also told that I had 10 min to leave or I would be taken in. What can I say…we left. It has been 3 days since this has happened and I am still shaken. I am a powerful person, 6’4″ and 265 lbs and I have never in my life be afraid for my life…until this past Sunday. I lost my one of my two ATV’s. As far as I know…it is still down there. My friend will not talk about it and I have not heard anything from anyone about it. I did call the Sheriff’s Dept. and they said they never got a call from me. Well, that is my story…I have never had anything strange happen in my life and I am very very concerned about this. I can tell you this…I had an urge to kill the things I saw down there…I don’t know if that is a natural reaction as most people have a natural revulsion towards reptiles or because of my faith and the feeling of evil I had…or what. All I know is that they are real…and I wish I could do something…anything to combat or help against these things. Take care all and thank you again for letting me write this and share this experience.

It is a completely bonkers, off-the-wall account that I am not quite sure what to make of. Is this just a fiction put up on a forum to get people talking? Is this a hoax or is there any shred of truth to it at all? There is absolutely no way to be sure. Almost equally as completely far-out yet also oddly compelling is a subterranean Reptoid report sent in to the Phantoms and Monsters website by a witness from Gmunden, Austria calling himself “Gregor,” who claimed to be a trained geologist and told Lon Stickler a deeply weird tale indeed.

According to this Gregor, in May of 2011 he was exploring a narrow cave in the foothills near the east bank of Halsatter Lake when he began to hear voices in the dark. At first he dismissed it as his mind playing tricks on him or some sort of auditory phenomenon or hallucination caused by the caves, but they continued on, only stopping when he halted to listen. He continued crawling through the tightening passage until he came to a more open area where the walls were smooth and which was redolent with a strange rotting smell. Oddly the ground had a red iridescence to it when he shone his flashlight over it, and then he heard the voices again. The witness would say of what happened next:

At this point I was terrified and started to hurry back through the narrow cave. After I squeezed back several meters I was able to turn my head just enough to look back into the dark chamber.

A yellow light slowly made its way into the chamber from the left opening in the chamber – then there were several yellow lights following the first. As the lights moved through the opening into the chamber then back through the opening on the right I was able to see the beings. The sight sent fear throughout my body – I was actually paralyzed.

The creatures were humanoid in stature – but these were not human. Each varied in height but all looked the same – muscular lizards that walked upright like humans. There is not a better term I can use to identify these beings. These creatures wore dark colored full-body uniforms that extended and covered the feet. I couldn’t tell the exact color of the skin but each had a pronounced muzzle. The long tails were very prominent and swiftly swayed back and forth as they moved forward. The arms and legs were massive – I could detect the musculature through the uniforms. There were voices also – as if they were talking to each other. The voices actually sounded human though I could not detect the language. There were possibly 20 or more of these creatures as they walked single file through the chamber and into the other opening.

Gregor reported that he got out of there as fast as he could, and he claimed that he was in such shock that the trip back to his office was in a daze. When he was in a safe place he apparently wrote down the details of the whole surreal experience in his journal. Again, this is a case so infused with high strangeness that it is difficult to know what to make of it. Were these aliens? Inter-dimensional beings of some sort? A hallucination? A hoax? Lon Stickler himself speculated that this could have even been some sort of time slip, with the scene being from some point in the past or future. Who knows?

Another case which is hard to categorize originates in the rugged Cascade Mountains of Skykomish, Washington, where there is a long abandoned train tunnel called the Cascade Tunnel, where there reportedly dwells a hulking beast with shining yellow eyes. One account of this creature was written of in Brad Steiger’s book Real Monsters, Gruesome Critters, and Beasts from the Darkside, in which a witness called “Dave” tells of a frightening encounter within the tunnel. The witness says that he had gone to the tunnel to investigate the reports and take some photos, and that when he was about 40 feet in he had seen the glowing yellow eyes of the creature himself, remarking that no normal animal’s eyes shone like that. The eyes apparently belonged to an indistinct, massive shadowy figure standing out in the dim murk that was reported as standing at least 9-feet tall.

Startled, Dave fled to his truck in a panic, and as soon as he got in he claims to have heard a loud, metallic bang from the tunnel entrance, which was enough to send him roaring off in his vehicle. A few days later, Dave went back to the site with some other people who were curious as to what he had seen and they would also see the yellow eyes peering from the darkness. None of them would ever go back. Was this a Reptilian humanoid of some kind? Was it a Bigfoot using the tunnel as a shelter? Was it a ghost, spirit, or some other supernatural entity? Interestingly, there have been Bigfoot reports from that very same area, but the glowing eyes seen here seem to be a remarkable detail.

Not all purported tunnel monsters are humanoid, and one of the weirder reports I’ve come across concerns what appears to have been giant spiders under the throbbing metropolis of Tokyo, Japan. Utilities workers under the city streets in the 1970s allegedly were passing through a tunnel when one of the workers caught his foot on a thick bunch of what seemed to be spiderwebs. Shining his flashlight about, he caught in its beams the sight of a massive web stretched out over the ground, which was peppered with the skeletons and partially desiccated corpses of rats and cockroaches.

Within this mass of webbing, which spanned several square meters, was found to be a funnel-like opening measuring approximately 25 cm (about 10 inches) in diameter, although there was no sign of its occupant. The workers left, and would later speculate that this must have been the lair of some enormous funnel-web spider, yet considering the size of the opening it would have been far larger than any currently known to exist. It is unknown what happened to this web, and the story lingers in the realm of speculation and mystery.

Also from the dank subterranean tunnels of Tokyo are the many reports of outsized rats far larger than normal. In a previous article on Mysterious Universe I said of these giant rats thus:

Like many large cities, Tokyo is infested with rats. They are everywhere. Above and beyond the usual vermin, there have  been accounts throughout the years from under the neon lit streets  of Tokyo that speak of rats far larger than normal. Sporadic accounts from sewer workers and others working underground have described rats that are the size of dogs lurking in this dark netherworld of tunnels under the city.

One such account was told by a tunnel worker who described seeing something rummaging through a pile of refuse. The worker took the creature to be a cat at first, and could not figure out why a cat should be down in such a deep part of the tunnel system. He went closer to investigate and that was when the thing turned to him and revealed itself to be a very large, cat sized rat. The worker described how it showed no fear as it sniffed the air and leisurely sauntered off into the darkness.
Another report describes a group of workers doing routine maintenance work when they shone a light on a rat they explained as being as big as a medium sized dog. The startled workers shouted out in surprise, whereupon the creature hurried away. One of the workers had the feeling the thing was injured, as it seemed to exhibit a limp.
Various other reports have similarly described rats the size of cats or dogs roaming sewer systems and unused subway tunnels. Such accounts have spawned theories of genetic mutations caused by chemicals or radiation. However, one rat expert has said that since their growth plates don’t fuse properly after puberty, even common black rats have the potential to grow to frighteningly large proportions if they live long enough and have access to enough resources. Could one get as large as the ones in these reports with enough time and food?

It would seem that there are plenty of deeply strange and disturbing things said to inhabit the dark places of our world, hiding from the light and remaining out just past the periphery of the explained. When reading such reports tunnels become even scarier than they already are, shadow-worlds where monsters lurk and where we are perhaps not meant to go. Although we will likely never know just how real any of these cases are or how much truth they hold, we can still probably agree that dark, lonely tunnels are creepy, and that these stories, whether true or not, may make one think twice about stepping into one.