Although cryptid, alien, and various other strange encounters with mysterious creatures have been going on throughout history, there are a few of these that stand out as particularly odd and harrowing. There have over the years been some cases in which something very aggressive and insidious has stepped out from the realms of the unknown to go marauding about and terrorize the unsuspecting. These are the cases in which regular citizens were allegedly visited by malevolent forces they cannot understand, to be menaced and held under siege by entities which we still can not explain.
An earlier report of something from beyond our understanding stepping forward from the shadows to run amok supposedly occurred in 1891, in the U.S. state of New York. It seems to have begun in the area of Gravesend Beach, where residents began to report of being frightened by a strange creature roaming about the woods, which was described as being a “monster all covered with hair, with flailing red whiskers and a Satanic howl,” and which did not seem to be any known creature of this earth. The monster was purportedly heard more than seen, its unearthly wails shattering the quiet of night, until it got to the point that terrified locals were refusing to leave their homes after the sun went down. There would supposedly even be reports of the beast lumbering about houses and sniffing at the doors and windows. The locals called it the “Red-Whiskered Devil,” and it was causing a mass hysteria at the time.
In the meantime, whatever it was seemed to extend its range, beginning to show up near the town of Unionville as well, where one particularly harrowing report came from a train dispatcher who claimed it had a “roar like thunder.” The creature apparently shambled out of the dark to flash an evil grin at him, after which the man grabbed a monkey wrench and chased after it. He would say that he followed it through the woods for several miles, after which it suddenly turned to him and vanished into thin air right before his eyes. The Red-Whiskered Devil would be spotted and heard throughout the area after that, keeping people cowering in their homes at night, before one day just suddenly disappearing, leaving us to wonder what on earth it could have possibly been. At the time there was talk that this was merely a misidentified bear or someone playing a prank, but it has never been solved and remains an obscure historical oddity.
Another historical oddity just as perplexing from an even earlier in time comes to us from 18th century Japan, in the isolated wilds of Mt. Bandai, an active stratovolcano located in the Tohoku area of Fukushima prefecture. In the late 1700s, a remote rural village at the foot of the mountain would become the haunt of some sort of mysterious beast that seems to have appeared out of nowhere to sow terror, only to vanish just as suddenly. The incident began when villagers started reporting sightings of a strange creature lurking in wilderness along the fringes of town. This creature was said to look like a large primate of some sort, with a huge mouth, claws, and spiky fur running along its back. It was most often fleetingly glimpsed in the evening or twilight hours and its eyes were said to glow or reflect light like a cat’s. The beast was said to furtively stalk around the edges of town and seemed to shun light. Villagers described how the thing would sit in pools of shadow just outside of the radius of a light source and glower from the darkness with its flickering, shining eyes. Despite its menacing appearance, at first the creature was easily frightened, and would dart away into the underbrush from sudden light, shouting, or loud noise, but it became increasingly bolder and more frequently spotted as the days went by.
The strange monster was not only seen, but also heard. Loud, guttural, and clearly inhuman shrieks and howls were often heard at night emanating from somewhere on the dark mountain looming above. At times the this eerie nighttime howling would last throughout the night, keeping the villagers awake in the grip of terror. The unnatural shrieks, howls, and sightings of such a sinister creature would have likely been enough to instill fear within such a small and remote rural community, but this was to be just the beginning of the village’s nightmare. The creature become ever bolder and more aggressive as the days went by. Where at first it would retreat from noise or light, it started to display more menacing behavior such as growling at eyewitnesses. Villagers also reported being followed by the thing, which made less and less effort to conceal itself as it stalked them along darkened paths.
The village placed guards with torches around the outskirts of town in an effort to drive away the creature or at least discourage it from coming nearer, but it was was not intimidated. The plan did nothing to dissuade it, and perhaps even angered it. Several night watchmen described being rushed from the darkness by the creature, and retreating from their positions in terror. Adding to this tense situation were reports that numerous livestock animals were turning up dead and mangled as if by some powerful predator, and there were also many claims that animals were just disappearing without a trace, suspected to have also been victims of whatever was menacing them. One farmer claimed to have spotted the mysterious creature killing a dog in a field. According to the man’s account, the thing had already slain the animal and was in the process of disemboweling it when it was spotted and subsequently dragged its mutilated prey into the trees.
People became wary of traveling outside during twilight hours and at night, yet even staying in their homes was no guarantee of peace. The creature was often reported circling homes and its deep, gruff breathing was frequently heard right outside of dwellings. Occasionally it would rap, scratch at, or even pound on doors, windows, and walls almost as if it were testing the structure for ways to enter as the terrified occupants cowered in their homes. It was also not uncommon for people to hear the thumping of its heavy footsteps across their roofs. One particularly harrowing account comes from a family of farmers on the very outskirts of town, who had their home actively attacked by the rampaging beast. In this case, the creature was said to have charged the doors full force while roaring in rage, and the doors rattled in their frames, threatening to cave in. The furious monster also was reported as hurling large stones at the dwelling. When it failed to gain entry, the beast slunk back off into the woods, leaving the house badly damaged and the petrified occupants no doubt scarred for life.
As time went on, several children disappeared, with some reportedly taken directly from their own homes. The creature was even purportedly seen kidnapping children and dragging them screaming into the night as helpless villagers looked on in horror. Attacks on adults began to occur as well, and although the creature was not successful in killing any of them, some villagers were bitten, mauled, or at the very least left badly shaken. One village man described how the creature came so close to him during an attack that he could smell its breath, which was described as smelling of rotten eggs and fish. He was only able to escape after allegedly poking the thing in its eyes.
This was enough to prompt a hunt for the beast, with the village hiring a famous hunter to get the job done. After a few days of tracking the creature, the hunter allegedly finally managed to shoot and kill it in 1782 after it tried to rush from the forest and attack him. It was reported to be so fierce that the bullet did not bring it down and the hunter had had to resort to repeatedly stabbing the thrashing beast with a knife to kill it. The hunter then dragged the body back to the village to display to the shocked villagers. The carcass was purportedly a somewhat ape-like creature that was 1.5 meters tall, covered in hair, and with a large mouth filled with fangs that was so oversized that it was described as being as if the head was split from ear to ear. Along its back were spines reminiscent of those of a porcupine. The creature also had a long, sharp nose and short limbs with webbed hands that ended in wicked claws. The carcass was reported to exude an extremely rank, overpowering odor, which unfortunately led to the body being discarded not long after. With the death of this baffling monster, the sightings, attacks, kidnappings and animal disappearances all ceased. What was the “Beast of Bandai” and what did it want? We will probably never know, and it is a very obscure story even in Japan.
Far more well-known is a case from the 1950s, which originates from the remote rural wilds of Christian County, Kentucky. Here the Sutton family owned a rural farmhouse tucked away off Old Madisonville Road, near the town of Hopkinsville, with no neighbors and woodland skirting all about the property, and with no phone service in the home, it was a pretty remote place to live, just them all alone out there in the dark. It was on the evening of August 21, 1955 that a visiting friend of the family, Billy Ray Taylor, went out to get some water from the well when he observed a multi-colored, streaking light come down out of the sky to seemingly land in a gully within some nearby trees while spraying sparks off of it. Taylor ran back to the house and told the Sutton’s, soon after which the dog began barking uncontrollably. This would be the beginning of a terrifying ordeal that has remained discussed to this day.
The family and Taylor gathered around and peered out into the dark to see something approaching out of the gloom, at first just a faint bobbing light, but which came closer to congeal into a rather startling sight. There hovering in the air was a small glowing humanoid figure around 3-feet in height wearing a metallic suit of some sort. It was described as having greenish skin, bulging eyes, and an oversized bald head with bat-like ears and a large, lipless mouth that stretched between them. The body was thin, and its arms were long, tapered and spider-like, tipped with what looked like talons. It did not in anyway look friendly, and scared out of their wits the father picked up a shotgun and blasted away at the little beast. Although he thought he had hit it, the creature merely flipped over and retreated into the murky shadows. There were a few beats of silence, and then one more of the creatures showed up, getting close enough to the house to peer in through the windows at the family.
Again the shotgun was used, shooting one of the creatures at a window point blank, smashing glass all over the place but seeming to do no damage to the monster, which scurried off back into the night. Curious as to whether they had hurt the thing or not, Taylor and the Sutton father, John Charley Sutton, warily crept outside, guns at the ready, and took a furtive glance around. At first there was nothing, but then Taylor let out a scream as a clawed hand purportedly reached down from the eve of the back door and grabbed at his head, managing to gain a fistful of hair as Sutton dragged his friend back inside and slammed the door. The oldest Sutton son, 24-year-old Lucky Sutton, then opened the door to take a potshot at the roof with his shotgun, after which the creature floated down to the ground, apparently unhurt, and scampered off.
It would seem as though these unearthly beasts had brought friends with them, because according to the family’s account more of them would begin to appear from the trees, until an estimated 10 to 15 of them were circling the property as the scared family gathered every firearm they could find and sporadically shot at them when they were close enough. For the most part the bullets whizzing out into the murk either failed to hit their mark or were ineffectual, with the few that did hit occasionally letting out metallic pings, like “a coin hitting a metal bucket,” as if the creatures were made of steel. All of this happened against the backdrop of a faint green haze glowing from somewhere in the distance, perhaps the location where the “spaceship” had gone down in the gully.
This battle apparently went on for a full 3 hours until during one lull in activity the family dared to venture outside to pile up into the car and speed off towards town. Skeptical police were then brought to the property but there were no signs of the “goblins” the family was ranting about. The police left without incident and the family returned to their home, but soon after a second attack would occur, as glowing faces began to bloom out of the darkness once again, much to their horror. Once again the bizarre beasts came at the farmhouse, floating about, popping up to peer into windows, and scurrying around on the roof as the family once again opened fire, and this went on until dawn, when whatever the strange intruders were stalked off and this time did not return. From the very following day the dramatic, spooky encounter was splashed all over newspapers of the area, fanning out to become national news as reporters and the curious converged upon the farm. Faced with reporters and monster hunters camping out on their property hoping to see the creatures for themselves and the relentless, never-ending media attention focused on them, the family sold their farm and moved off. Whatever happened out there at that secluded farmhouse has never been adequately explained, and the tale of the “Hopkinsville Goblins” remains one of the more spectacular and dramatic cases of people under siege by strange creatures.
Moving up to later years we come to another very odd case of something from beyond terrorizing scared residents. In this case the terror would come to the small community of Enfield, Illinois, located in the southeastern corner of the state. It was normally a secluded, quiet community where nothing much really happened, but on the evening of April 25, 1973, all of this would change, when a bizarre beast would come calling to leave a trail of bafflement and mystery in its wake. The thing was first spotted by 10-year-old Greg Garrett as he was out playing in the backyard of his rural home as his parents watched TV inside. The boy would claim that as he had been playing, a hideous, nightmarish beast had emerged from the night, described as being around 5 feet tall, with three legs, short stumpy arms tipped with taloned hands, gray skin covered with slime, and disproportionately large, red eyes. This monster had supposedly lurched towards him to stomp on the boy’s feet, ripping his shoes with its claws in the process, before he had retreated to his house in terror. Police who arrived at the scene could find no trace of the entity the boy had described, although the very upset witness was inconsolably terrified, and insisted that it had been real. Nevertheless, it was mostly written off as a young boy’s wild imagination and no one thought much of it at the time.
Garett would be somewhat vindicated when a mere half an hour later, the creature would make another appearance, this time in the yard of the Garrett’s neighbor, a Henry McDaniel. It started when McDaniel’s children claimed to hear something scratching at the outside of the house, and when he went to investigate he too heard the odd scratching noises. McDaniel at first thought it must have been some sort of animal, perhaps a stray dog or cat, and he went out to confront whatever it was. When he opened the door, what he saw was no dog. There looming over the front porch was a bizarre monstrosity which would prove to exactly match the description of what little Greg Garrett had seen just half an hour before. McDaniel would later describe it to authorities thusly:
It had three legs on it, a short body, two little short arms coming out of its breast area and two pink eyes as big as flashlights. It stood four and a half feet tall and was grayish-colored… it was trying to get into the house!
The beast continued to circle the house, scratching away at the walls and doors and “hissing like a wildcat,” and thinking enough was enough McDaniel grabbed his hunting rifle and shot it at close range, according to him hitting it dead on. It then reportedly leapt away at a frenetic rate, allegedly covering 75 feet in three spectacular leaps before disappearing into the darkness. The terrified man called the police, claiming to have seen a “monster from outer space,” and when authorities searched the area they discovered a series of footprints that measured four inches across and looked like those of a dog, only with six toe pads rather then the usual four, and seeming to be of something with only three legs based on the layout and the fact that one footprint was smaller than the rest. They also found some curious scratch marks on the outside of the house that corroborated the story of some creature trying to get in, yet despite these findings authorities were skeptical of McDaniel’s spectacular claims.
The creature would reportedly come back to McDaniel’s house again, this time simply wandering about on some nearby railway tracks as the witness stared on with a mixture of awe, wonder, and fear. It was McDaniel’s report that would really launch the mysterious creature into the spotlight, and soon newspapers were calling it “The Enfield Horror,” the publicity drawing in people from all over the country looking to get a look at it. Although many of these visitors were merely curiosity seekers hoping to see the monster for themselves, others were more ambitious monster hunters, who came armed to the teeth and dead set on actually bringing whatever the creature was down. This alarmed the locals, as the last thing they wanted in their previously peaceful quiet community was a bunch of trigger happy thrill seekers out in the woods with loaded guns and alcohol.
Indeed, there were several incidents of trigger happy hunters blasting away at what they thought was the mystery monster, and many of them claimed to have actually seen it, such as two hunters named Mike Mogle and Roger Tappy, who said they had encountered a giant “grey monkey” in the wilderness. In one incident, five hunters were arrested for hunting violations and as a threat to public safety after they opened fire in unison on what they would later claim had been a gray hairy creature they had spotted in the woods. The hunters even claimed to have hit it, but that their bullets had had no effect whatsoever. The Sheriff didn’t believe a word of it and considered them to be just a posse of gun toting thrill seekers “out drinking and raising hell.”
The Enfield Horror was causing quite a lot of chaos, with the creature itself and the out of control hunters both serving to keep locals scared out of their wits, and it would continue to be sighted. The final major sighting of the Enfield Horror was made by a group of four men searching the area, with one of them being Rick Rainbow, the news director of radio station WWKI in Kokomo, Indiana. The group claimed that they had seen a grey, stooped over ape-like creature loping through the woods near an abandoned house not far from McDaniel’s property. The mysterious thing was reported to have been moving at a speed far faster than a man could run, and had finally disappeared into the forest. On this occasion, the strange creature was said to let out a bloodcurdling wail, which Rainbow claimed to have actually recorded on tape. After this, accounts just sort of stopped, the creature just disappearing to leave bafflement in its wake.
The Enfield Horror was one of those creatures isolated to just one area and a few accounts, and so completely outlandish in nature that it is hard to figure out what we are dealing with here. Theories include that it was a cryptid, an alien, some sort of escaped mutated military experience, an inter-dimensional interloper, a demon, or merely a misidentified animal, out of place exotic animal, or hoax, all fueled by panic and mass hysteria. In all of these cases we have looked at cases that seem to be beyond reason, with normal everyday people suddenly finding themselves thrust into the domain of things they cannot possibly comprehend. What is it that drew these entities to these places to torment those who dwelled there? What did they want, where did they come from, and where did they go? We will perhaps never know, and cases such as these remain startling enigmas that float about the periphery f the more truly bizarre cases of creatures run amok.