Feb 17, 2021 I Nick Redfern

Where Strange Creatures Appear: The “Crossroads” Phenomenon

Merrily Harpur is the author of an excellent book titled Mystery Big Cats. It takes a fascinating, alternative approach to the "Alien Big Cat"/"ABC" phenomenon. One of the issues that Merrily tackles in the book is that of what are known as "Liminal Zones," the places where strange things manifest on many occasions. As Merrily notes, they include: “These are the transitional zones between one area and another – the kind of no-man’s-land traditionally regarded as magical.” Merrily adds of such liminal zones that, “In the landscape they include streams, bridges, stiles, gates and churchyards – spots literally or symbolically at the point of transition over a boundary.” Another location is a crossroads, where ABCs have been seen. And that's what I'm going to talk about today: the many and varied "strange things" that have been seen at crossroads. Michael Rose says of one very intriguing case, from the 1930s, concerning musician Robert Johnson:

"Legend has it that while living on a Mississippi plantation, the young and impoverished Robert found his one true longing: to be a master of the Blues. Unfortunately he was then a mediocre musician at best and played his guitar and sang his songs for anyone who would listen, failing to make much of an impression or a name for himself. A shadowy figure, hearing his plight instructed him to go, guitar in hand to the Dockery Plantation Crossroads at midnight on a moonless night. Following these instructions Johnson was met at the crossroads by the Devil in the form of a large black man, who tuned his guitar and played his own haunting music. When he returned the guitar to Robert, he found he had full mastery of the instrument – the Devil having staked a claim to his soul in exchange for this gift, a bargain that would be collected upon at a later time."

Over the years, here at Mysterious Universe, I’ve written a number of articles on one of the U.K.’s strangest, and oldest, supernatural creatures: the Phantom Black Dog. The people behind the Anomalies website say of this strange “animal”: "Tales are told of a large semi-phantom dog with fur that’s blacker than the night and eyes that burn like red coals. These ‘Black Dogs’ appear and disappear in a moment, and can be solid as any true dog or thin as smoke whenever they wish. Black Dogs are one of the more complicated paranormal phenomena reported, both having a clearly legendary base of stories coupled with claims of first and second-hand actual sightings and encounters. Are they a story that has come to be mistaken for real? Or are they a real phenomena that has been cloaked in myth? It’s unlikely a clear answer will ever be found. Most tales and reports of Black Dogs come from Great Britain, but they have generally been reported all across Europe with some newer reports from the United States. Black dogs are often associated with lonely stretches of road, crossroads [italic mine], churches, and places people have been executed; in older folklore, these creatures were variously explained as the ghosts of murdered or executed people, harbingers of death, or an earthly manifestation of the Devil…"

Simon Burchell - Phantom Black Dog expert - states: “Although the Black Dog may appear at first glance to be a British or north European phenomenon, it exists in essentially the same form across the entire length and breadth of the Americas. Much has been written upon the presumed Germanic, Celtic or Indio-European origin of the legend but such an origin would not explain how a highland Maya girl can meet a shape-shifting Black Dog at a Guatemalan crossroads. It appears that the Black Dog, much like the poltergeist, is a global phenomenon.” moving on, the legendary Dogmen are seen at sacred sites, such as ancient mounds. And...they turn up at crossroads and old bridges. Cemeteries, too. These are all locations traditionally tied to paranormal activity and supernatural entities. In my mind, the Dogmen are definitively supernatural in nature. Linda Godfrey says of the Dogmen: "I do find more and more sightings are near cemeteries and old sacred burial and effigy mound sites — also crossroads [italics mine], churches, and military areas."

Back in 1988, Chris Davis was working at a local McDonald’s in Lee County, South Carolina On the night of June 29, Chris was on the late-shift, which meant he didn’t finish work until after 2:00 a.m. His journey home ensured that he had to take a road across a swamp – and specifically a heavily forested part of the swamp. It was just minutes later that he had a blowout. Chris pulled up at a crossroads and, via the bright moonlight, changed the tire. As he finished the job and put the tools back into the trunk, Chris saw something looming out of the trees. Large, human-like in shape, and possessing two glowing, red eyes and three fingers on each hand, it was something horrific. Chris panicked and jumped in his vehicle and sped off." The creature became known as "Lizard Man." The reason: it looked like one of the so-called "Reptilians." Now, some people might say that if you go looking - and deeply - you might find just about anything and place the pieces together to fit a story. However, I don't think that's the case in those accounts above. As I see it, there is enough material to make a case that Liminal Zones are a reality, even if we don't really understand how they work and why.

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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