The world of cryptozoology certainly has plenty of odd, often surreal sightings reports of all manner of creatures ranging from the somewhat plausible to the patently absurd. There seems to be no end to the well of strangeness that erupts from such accounts, yet there is still typically a certain creature, animal, monster, whatever you want to call it, at the root of these reports. However, there are also those accounts that take a dive right off the deep end of the strange, and seem to describe something outside of the literature of such mysterious beasts, to take us into new realms of truly strange creature encounters.
A very strange report surfaced in the paranormal section of the now defunct site About.com in 1999 from a poster calling herself Paula M., who reportedly had an unusual encounter while at a junkyard in the U.S. state of Oregon. Paula was sifting through the rather remote site on the lookout for vintage bottles and glass when she noticed some strange holes in the ground that looked as if they had been tunneled by someone or something. There were 6 or 7 of these inexplicable holes, which seemed to be partially camouflaged and which measured around 2 inches in diameter.
Although this was all certainly a bit unusual, she went about her original purpose and began digging around for the vintage glass she was searching for. At some point she then noticed something quite weird indeed, when a clump of dirt the size of her fist was seemingly dislodged suddenly by something underground, after which it rolled down a recess. This was a bit unsettling, as she had spied those odd holes earlier and immediately made the connection. As she went over this strange sequence of events, she then saw whatever it was that had apparently made the tunnels, as it began to emerge from the ground where the clump of dirt had been. She would say of it:
At this point, I wasn’t sure what end of the animal I was looking at. It was about two inches in diameter, and the end of it was perfectly smooth and round – like a cue ball. It was light-brown in color, very much like the surrounding earth. It had a worm-like shape, but didn’t taper down at the end as worms do, and was firmer around looking. It had no distinguishing or familiar features to indicate to me what it was.
She would also mention that there were no apparent eyes, mouth, ears, or any other discernible facial feature, and that there was a strange peach-like fuzz sparsely scatted around its body. She wasn’t even sure if this was the thing’s face or not, as only around 6 inches of it was visible above the ground as it tentatively quivered about as if trying to sense something. Then something quite surprising happened, which she described thus:
All of a sudden, while I was examining it, two big beautiful crystal blue eyes popped open! Now I knew what end of the animal I was looking at. The white of the eye surrounding its blue iris was the whitest I’d ever seen – a pure virgin white. The size of the eyes were quite big in proportion to its body size. I wondered if it were a juvenile. My presence didn’t seem to bother it because it studied me for only a short period of time. Then it ignored me. It appeared content and relaxed while it exposed itself to the sun. I tried to get it to look at me again by clapping my hands and yelling, but it continued to ignore me. All it did was stare at the sky, continuing to sway its head back and forth, stretching upward while blinking slowly. It was as if it were hypnotized by the light of the sun.
After several minutes of this the creature then lazily began to disappear back into the ground until it was out of site, ensconced by the earth once again, leaving behind yet another of those tunnel-like holes. Paula was unable to find any sign of where it had gone, and upon returning home went about making appeals on the Internet for people to try and help her identify what the mysterious creature could have possibly been. She also made several more trips back to the same garbage dump, but was unable to locate the creature, just more of those enigmatic tunnels. It is interesting to note that Paula’s posting on her encounter drew a large number of responses from people trying to figure out what it was. Some people thought it was possibly predatory in nature, and that she should avoid it if she ever saw it again, while others thought it was some sort of exotic, introduced animal of some sort. Still others gave their own spooky stories, such as a commenter named “Natalie W.” who said:
I have not seen this creature myself, but I know of someone in California who has. It was about more than 30 years ago and the people who saw it were little children at the time. They said they were playing in the backyard in the dirt when all of a sudden this ‘thing’ came sprouting out the the dirt. The brother and sister just watched in horror, holding their breath. The brother described it as a tall, worm-looking thing about 8 feet tall. Up to this day, if the sister asks the brother, ‘Do you remember…?’ he cuts her off and says he doesn’t want to talk about it. I believe in what they saw.
Even stranger still was another peculiar response, which seems to suggest yet another cryptid of some sort which doesn’t seem to be mentioned anywhere else. The odd comment read:
I probably won’t be the first or only to inform you that what Paula saw at the dump may indeed be an unidentified Southeastern Asian creature known as an ingot [possibly lingot]. Check with Agence France-Press for stories about ingots during the final years of French involvement in Indochina. They were seen burrowing everywhere, and the descriptions of the bodies and eyes match those of Paula’s story. Old Indochina veterans in the French army could never explain them or where they came from, and there is no record of American sightings during this country’s involvement later. General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny, supreme commander of French forces in Indochina, was so unnerved by sighting of burrowing ingots and the lack of information about them that he brought in a special team of researchers, who apparently found nothing.
The ingot is like no other creature reported on earth, and it contributed to the general weirdness of the French experience in Indochina. Ingots were reported in large numbers in 1953 around the North Vietnamese site where an entire French regiment vanished without a trace. This disappearance may have had nothing to do with ingots, but there are still old veterans in the cafes of Paris, Bordeaux and Marseilles who swear there was a connection. Incidentally, the reality of the disappearing regiment is well-documented. For a few years in the 1950s, burrowing ingots made big news in France. But France, like the US later, hid its Indochinese veterans and paid little attention to their stories… about anything. Such is defeat.
What in the world is going on here? So here we have a strange, unidentified creature lurking in a junkyard of all places, and an account that produces yet more accounts of mysterious creatures no one has ever heard of before. It is all very bizarre, and one wonders just what truth any of it has. There were some quite weird accounts relayed by the site The Paranormal Effect, with one taking place right at ground zero for some of the most famous of UFO phenomena, Roswell, New Mexico. It was here that a witness known as “Mark” came across something just as strange as crashed UFOs. He claims that he was tending his parents’ estate there when one morning he came across something very unusual indeed. He would say of his odd encounter:
As I was waking up one morning around 10 a.m., I walked outside to get a breath of fresh air. My uncle, who lived directly behind us, had a dog named Ono. Ono was half pit bull and half blue heeler. Directly east of us was a field, and as I happened to look east in the field, Ono was chasing a creature that stood approximately 2½ to 3 feet tall. This creature was light brown in color and was definitely reptilian. I just stood there watching as this creature and Ono disappeared out of sight. I was not frightened, just in awe and disbelief of what I was actually witnessing. My cousin had seen the creature around the same time and several days later, my aunt, uncle, mom, and I had seen unusual tracks that were not, to our recollection, of any known animals of the area. I know what I witnessed and science cannot tell me otherwise.
Another similarly bizarre account was from a witness who claims that he and his buddies had built a makeshift fort out in some forested area at around 3 in the afternoon. Everything was a pretty normal day until late afternoon arrived, which would bring with it a strange encounter. The witness would say of what happened:
At about 5:00 p.m. it started getting dark, so we decided to head back. As we packed all of our stuff, both Eric and I noticed something slowly coming out of a bush about 150 yards north of us. Acting quickly, we dove silently into the fort. We sat there for at least five minutes. It was the size of a large wolf, but dark black with long, large, white claws. It did not look like anything Eric or I had ever seen before – nothing we could compare it to. As it vanished from our sites, we cautiously started back. We made it out of the forest where we came to an abandoned house. We did not plan on stopping, but noticed that about 100 yards on the path the creature was standing on all fours looking at us.
We stood paralyzed as it slowly walked toward us. All of a sudden it stopped. We got a good look at it. It had dark yellow eyes and not one look of mercy on its face and a row of bright white teeth showed. All of a sudden, we heard a noise behind us. We quickly turned around to see a doe and a fawn running out of a thorn bush. We turned around and the creature was gone. Seeing the chance, we ran home. We made it home, but not one memory of that animal will ever leave my mind. We have not seen it since then.
In August of 2005 there was a sighting of something quite strange right in someone’s backyard. The witness, known only as “Greg,” allegedly went outside to have a smoke in a rather urban area when he noticed something gleaming in the nearby bushes. He would say of what happened next thus:
I looked more closely and saw what, for all intents and purposes, was a face leering at me. At the moment, I thought how unusual that the evening lighting and the arrangement of the shrub’s branches and leaves would create such a startling effect. So I walked closer to the bush, wishing I had a camera to capture this unusual optical illusion.
At about five feet from the shrub, I stopped dead in my tracks. This was a face – a very malevolent face that looked like a gremlin from the movies. Its eyes were focused intently on mine and it was perfectly still, although a slight breeze was rustling the rest of the bush. Disbelieving, I shook my head, closed my eyes, and opened them again. The face was still there, still looking at me.
I thought it must be a cat, raccoon or possum and took another step toward the face. At that moment, I felt a wave of such hostility that it practically took my breath away. I looked more closely now and could see green and darkly mottled ridged eyebrows, brilliantly white (almost mesmerizing) pupils, rubbery-looking pointed ears, and a very large mouth partly opened in what appeared to be a sneer – or a threat.
Shaken, I hurried back into my apartment, locked the door, and looked out the front window only to see that the thing was still watching me. Keep in mind that I was looking at it from a different angle now, yet it held its form and appeared to have slightly turned its head toward me. Then I understood something. I had caught a glimpse of some legendary elf- or gargoyle-like creature, and I wasn’t supposed to. The malevolence I felt and the hypnotic stare of the creature were its warnings to me to back off. What would have happened if I’d walked right up to the thing in the bush? I’m glad I didn’t, by the way.
Rounding out our collection of truly bizarre reports we come to lake monsters. Truly one of the strangest of these is a report that came from the depths of Lake Leelanau, Michigan, which is two lakes that are otherwise a rather unremarkable and shallow, being only between 62 to 120 feet deep. The story of the creature which would come to be known as the Leelanau Lake Monster, or simply as “Leelanau,” can be traced back to the building of a dam here in the 1800s, which caused the lake’s water level to surge up around 12 feet, flooding surrounding land to create a swampy wetland.
It is in this marshy quagmire of mud and reeds that the strange beast would rear its head. The most well-known report of the monster of Lake Leelanau occurred in 1910, when a young fisherman by the name of William Gauthier was out on his rowboat fishing along these wetlands. He was not having much luck that day, and found himself pushing out farther and further into areas where he had never fished or even been to before, finally deciding to stop in a promising spot and tie his boat to a submerged tree jutting from the water. As he wrapped the rope around what he had thought was just a tree, there then allegedly popped up two enormous eyes on stalks, which rose to eye level and glared intently at the terrified youth.
It then became apparent that the tree was not really a tree at all, but rather some sort of monstrous, slug-like creature with knobby protrusions over its body and brown coloring that allowed it to blend in with the myriad flooded and toppled cedar trees and tree stumps littering the area. After staring at the boy for a moment, the bizarre creature then is said to have dove under the rowboat, its length reported as being far larger than the boat itself, before disappearing into the marsh while leaving a wake of swaying reeds in its wake. Needless to say, William’s day of fishing was brought to a close, and he rowed as fast as he could out of there.
The experience reportedly so badly upset Gauthier that he refused to ever go back to the lake to fish, and would for years show visible fear when recounting the frightening incident. Although this is the most prominent and detailed report of the Lake Leelanau monster, there were numerous other accounts of people on the lake witnessing a large, gnarled looking beast which they had first taken to be a sunken tree before being startled as it suddenly moved or swam off. It is an interesting cryptid account in that whatever this creature was does by no means fit the usual description of lake monsters, and is obviously much different than a large fish, eel, or extinct, prehistoric dinosaur or plesiosaur-type animal.
If the Lake Leelanau monster ever really did exist, then it seems to be something quite new and bizarre; a massive, perhaps even an invertebrate life form, that has evolved to camouflage itself as a fallen tree in order to lie in wait for prey. Some of the theories put forward for the sightings are that it was perhaps a very large alligator snapping turtle, some sort of huge, unclassified slug, or simply people seeing things. It is unlikely we will ever know for sure, as there have been no new reports since the early 1900s.
Another quite small lake that produced a rather odd account is Benbrook Lake, on the southwest side of Fort Worth, Texas. Originally built by the Army Corp of Engineers as a flood control reservoir in the mid-1900s, it is a manmade reservoir where one wouldn’t readily expect to see anything particularly unusual, but a report came in from poster known as “Jack L.” of just that, who in October of 2005 came across something very weird in the lake indeed. He had been there on the lake’s Western shore in the early evening, when he came across a set of rather remarkable tracks etched into the lakeside mud. He would say of his experience:
I happened across a set of large, strange tracks that led into the water where I routinely swam. Although unusually large, I attributed the tracks to a pair of Great Danes that I had seen running with their owner earlier in the month. As the sounds of the lake began to filter into my awareness, I heard someone trudging through the underbrush and reeds that fronted a small patch of woods to my right, which separated me from the point on the shoreline where I went into the water. It never registered that there were no other vehicles or evidence of swimmers nearby. I walked slowly back to my blanket and collapsed to soak up the heat.
As I rolled onto my left side, I saw it. I say ‘it’ because I don’t really know what ‘it’ was. It had dark fur and was large… perhaps seven or eight feet tall. It was pushing through a stand of reeds about 200 yards from me. The reeds came up to my chest, but only reached the animal’s waist. It appeared to walk upright, grunting in a belabored manner. The animal had turned away from me so I could not make out any facial details. I wheeled about to see if there was anyone within earshot, but the lake was deserted now. I can’t describe my fear. I quietly and quickly collected my stuff and strode back to my truck for safety. I sat quietly and watched the animal disappear into the woods.
I was shaking. Several minutes passed before I cranked the truck and headed home, primarily because I was afraid I would see the creature along the winding lake road that lead out of Holiday Park. I returned to the site two days later and found sufficient evidence that something large did move about the reeds. It appeared as though something large had nested there. I don’t know what I encountered, but I still swim and bike at Benbrook. Perhaps, someone will corroborate what I saw.
There are numerous unclassifiable reports like this that seem to lurk outside of even the realm of cryptozoology. These are the cases that remain firmly planted in the outer fringes of the weird, with monsters that seem to have popped into existence out of nowhere, only to vanish once again into the darkness. What are we to make of such reports? Are these just tall tales and hoaxes or are they indicative of something very unusual going on which we can only grasp at? We may never know for sure.