Cryptozoology and the world of the weird in general have been populated by all manner of weird and unexplained entities. Everything from plausibly undiscovered creatures to those sightings that suggest something altogether more mysterious have been reported, and there are so many such reports that it is hard to know even where to begin at times. Yet even among these there are some really oddball cases that stand out from the rest, and that is what we are here to look at.
Our first oddity here comes from the area of Redlands, Florida, where there seems to be a creature roaming about in the wilds that is half-human and half-alligator. Locally called the “Gatorman,” it is typically described as being 6 to 7 feet tall, somewhat humanoid in form but with an alligator-like head, ridges along its back, and a long, thick tail. One sighting was made by a Chris Kenney and his girlfriend Janey Fairbanks, who had come to a secluded area along a creek in order to make out, but would have the mood ruined quite rudely by something appearing from the night. At around 2 am, they claim that they heard rustling in the trees, and Kenney would explain of what happened next:
I got out my flashlight and saw a pair of eyes reflecting back. I thought it was a gator, no big deal. Then we got closer and the damn thing was standing on two legs. There is a monster there, I saw it with my own eyes.
The two then left the area as fast as they could, and have no explanation for what they saw. Another case was reported by A Bethany Cortez, who was driving home from work in the evening along a back road that loops around the Wictaloosa Swamp. As she made her way along the bumpy road, a large figure dashed out into her headlights, which seemed to have spiny ridges along its back. The creature then apparently looked right at her with an elongated reptilian head and “flashed its teeth” before disappearing into the night. The Wictaloosa Swamp seems to be a hotbed of sightings of the Gatorman, and one woman who lives right at its edge claims to have seen the creatures on many occasions. A Wendy Bannon and her family have been living at the swamp’s edge for years, and claim that they actually feed the Gatorman with “chickens, beef ribs, grilled vegetables, and a loaf of fresh baked bread.” She says, “When he’s fed, he’s happy, and he leaves us alone. It’s when people disrespect him and go into his home that people get hurt.”
What could the Gatorman possibly be? Who knows? Just about as weird as an alligator man are reports of what can only be described as “Deermen,” which appear as standing upright, with antlered heads, a human torso, and legs which are variously described as human-like or hooved like those of a deer. Reports of entities like this have come in from a variety of locales in both the U.S. and Canada. One report from The National Cryptid Society comes from a witness only known as “Danielle,” in Coosada, Alberta, in Canada. She says she was driving along a forest road at around 10:30 pm when she had her encounter, of which she says:
I was coming to a stop sign and saw a car stopped unusually far away from the stop sign. I was coming to a stop behind it and saw a deer like creature. It was standing on its back legs. It was gray with smooth skin, its ribs showed. Its head was a skull, it had short antlers. Its arms were bent in an unusual way, opposite of how deer bend their front legs. It went down on all fours and made its way to the wood line. It didn’t have the normal gait that any animal has. The two front legs moved at the same time, bringing the back legs forward. In the same way you would use crutches. It made its way to the woods and looked back once and then he was gone. I looked forward and the other car had gone.
The region of Alberta seems to e quite the haunt for these creatures, and has produced many similar reports. In one peculiar report from the site The Deerman of Central Alberta, we have a witness near the small village of Donalda, in central Alberta. The witness was allegedly driving along down a remote rural road called Range Road 174 and says he had gotten lost. He pulled over to the side of the road to get his bearings straight and that’s when up ahead he noticed something very frightening indeed. He describes the creature he saw as a “half man/half deer on all fours standing perfectly still.” As he looked on, the bizarre beast then stood up to its full height, standing around 7 feet tall and began to walk on two legs towards the car, which was when the witness could detect an odoriferous stench permeating the air. The creature supposedly had “skittish” movements, and snorted as it made its way towards the terrified witness. The creature apparently approached to within feet of the car, after which the witness sped away and looked back to see it go back down onto all fours and slink away into the wilderness.
Another report from the same site comes from a husband and wife who had been driving at night in the vicinity of the town of Mirror, located in Lacombe County, Central Alberta. It was a spring morning, and a thick fog had enveloped the road at the time, forcing the witnesses to slow their vehicle down to a crawl. It was then that they would have a brush with something from beyond our understanding, and the report reads:
While they drove slowly through the fog they both claim they saw something moving in and out of the fog with such great speed that it couldn’t have been a man. While they continued to drive they could swear it looked like a Deer but it was too large to be a Deer. Not wanting to scare the known skittish animal the Husband slowed to a stop and waited for a moment or two. In the hopes of having it run away in the hopes of not hitting it. Slowly, the Husband began driving again and was forced to slam on the brakes as standing just a few feet in front of them was the Deerman. It stood perfectly still and slowly stood up on its hind legs and is said to have towered over they’re car. Without a second thought, the Husband slammed on the horn and stepped on the gas, the fear took hold of him, and he didn’t want to have his life end if that was in the cards or not. He didn’t want to find out and was protecting the life of his wife. Just before his car was to make contact with the Deerman, it bolted into the fields covered by the thick fog. The couple had no idea what they saw and didn’t stop until they reached their driveway.
Yet another very strange Deer Man sighting was made as recently as 2012, in the Wichita Mountains of Oklahoma. In this account, a Kyle Heying claims that he was out at the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge in order to take photographs of the night sky there with a friend. On this evening at around 10 PM, the usual sounds of the forest suddenly became muted and the local wildlife started to display some decidedly bizarre and uncharacteristic behavior. First some elk came running by and then a herd of bison, which all came uncomfortably close before hurrying off, and it seemed almost as if these animals were trying to get away from something scaring them out in the dark forest beyond.
This was enough to spook the men into packing up their stuff and calling it a night, and as they did they allegedly felt a strange change in air pressure and all of the sounds of the woods just stopped to send a profound silence crashing down upon them. The two unsettled men then heard something rustling about out in some tall grass nearby, jarring in the otherwise void of silence that had blanketed the area, and it seemed like whatever it was was coming towards them. He claims that he and his friends had then picked up some rifles they had with them, wary of what was apparently approaching. They started the car and began to drive off when they saw something step out in front of the vehicle that they would never forget, a creature which the witness describes as having a head like an elk but which stood upright on two human legs and which had two human arms and “dark red” eyes. As they passed it, the nightmarish creature lurched forward to hit the car, and Heying floored it away as fast as the vehicle would go until they were about 3 miles away, where they stopped their flight to regain their wits. Heying would say of what happened next thus:
We were scared shitless. Things got even quieter when we stayed there. While there we heard one ear-piercing screech or scream, almost a hunting screech of some sort that made my hair stand on end and gave me goose bumps even worse. With that we left the mountains completely, we felt as though we were not wanted there that night. The way the wildlife acted, the figure that we came across that the animals had to have ran from, and then the scream of which I can only find references to happens to be the Banshee. I cannot forget that figure we saw, as well as the scream. It was not human but it was not of any wildlife I am familiar with from out there.
Reports like this are so seemingly absurd that it is hard to even know what to make of them. What could possibly account for the Deerman? Pushing even further out into the bizarre we have an anomalous report from the National Cryptid Society of what is called a “Raccoon Man.” Seriously. The unnamed witness was allegedly out in a rural area of Sugar Creek, Missouri, on his way to work as a high school teacher in the early hours of morning when he had his outlandish experience, of which he says:
I took this backroad alleyway behind the house since it was a shortcut and I love the scenery there. It was around six in the morning so it was still kinda dark. The way the alleyway was is that its a tiny single lane road with trees around it and I was headed west towards the community garden. I heard some chittering sounds so I assumed it was a bird or something. I heard a trashcan fall over, ‘just the neighbors’ dog rummaging through the trash’, I thought. I saw something behind a tree and it looked like it was trying to hide from me. It chittered at me and made a mad dash across the pavement into the other trees, and I didn’t see much of it, but it was at least six feet tall and had black stripes on its body. It stood upright and had four fingered hands and was bow legged. It managed to scratch the strap of my satchel when it ran and the claw marks looked more precise, not rugged. I don’t know if it tried to attack me or it was scared of me and brushed the strap on accident when it ran away. I tried telling my buddy about it, but he was sarcastic about it, so I assumed no one else would believe me. I only found out about this website today so I figured I would share my experience with the “Raccoon Man”, as I dubbed him.
What in the world was going on here? Perhaps even more mind-boggling than anything else mentioned here so far is yet another report from The National Cryptid Society, which is really hard to categorize. The witness claims that these events gravitated towards the woods near where she grew up, in Beckley, West Virginia, beginning in around 2000, starting when her brother came home crying because he claimed to have seen an entity that “was black with yellow eyes, taller than our dad (who is 6’4), and was smiling at him with sharp teeth.” At first, they thought he had just seen a bear, until the witness was out with her friends in the same woods near his house and he saw it for himself. She says:
My friend left me behind and headed down the hill to a small clearing while I remained by some chestnut trees. I sat there for a few minutes, singing quietly to myself to calm my nerves, when I looked over at the nearby brush and noticed a crouched black form with four yellow eyes staring back at me. I scrambled to my feet and called for my friend, who ran my way from her position in the clearing. She slipped on some mud and fell right in front of the creature, distracting it for only a second before its eyes returned to me. I pointed at the eyes and asked her if she was seeing what I saw, not believing my own eyes. She confirmed that she did, and like a fool, I reached down for a fallen tree branch and took a step towards the thing. It roared at us unlike any other thing I’ve ever heard in my life. We turned tail and ran as fast as we could back to my house and didn’t dare to see if it had followed. We returned the next day to find gashes in some of the surrounding trees, like huge claws had torn into them. There was no other sign of the thing we had seen.
Afterwards, the entire experience felt like a hazy nightmare for both of us. And so, fool teenagers that we were, we continued to venture out after dark whenever my friend came to visit, hoping for another glimpse of the creature. We told no one of our first encounter for fear of being written off as my younger brother had been. I avoided telling my brother especially because I didn’t want to scare him or make him think I was teasing him. We spotted it several more times after that over some years, usually from afar since we tried keeping a safe distance from the woods after that first time. There were many times I swear I could feel its presence outside after dark, usually when the weather was warm. It always lurked in the shadows, always out of reach of any light, noticeable only by those yellow eyes. It was quite large from what I could always tell. It was definitely significantly taller than my father, so maybe close to 6’8.
The witness says that she felt that it was following her around, not always visible but its presence somehow felt, always out in the trees obscured by shadows, sometimes only its yellow eyes seen glaring at her from the gloom. This would continue until she moved away, but according to her family the thing still lurks around the property to this day, often joined by other unexplained phenomena. The witness says of recent events in 2019:
Both of my brothers say they’ve started hearing roars/screams in the night coming from the woods. The one that first saw the thing all those years ago swears that it’s the creature. Our younger brother claims to have seen it recently, in February 2019, but given my experiences, it is odd for it to be around this time of year. This past month, though, both my brothers have told me there have been some strange things happening again back home. They have seen strange lights outside in the woods, and the youngest one says he heard screeching coming from the area of the woods where I most often saw the creature.
Oddly, there is another report from an independent witness called “Laura C,” in the same area, who also claims to have seen the creature, and whose report seems to suggest something rather supernatural at work. She says:
I have seen the Beckley beast before. I only told my mother. She said I was crazy. It was at least 6 feet tall body of a black bear on his back legs, vampire teeth in its mouth all around, four glowing bright yellow eyes, and extremely razor-sharp claws. I was in the woods of my back yard exploring like a child normally does, he chased me out to the end of the woods. I have seen it follow me wherever I have moved to since at least once a year. It comes to me in my nightmares while I am asleep. I have woken up with unexplained scars, scratches and bruising. It has come very close to catching me in my dreams. It feeds off fear.
What do we make of all of this? Is there anything to such reports at all, or are these just urban legends and spectacular tall tales? If any of this is real, then how does it fit in with our reality as we know it? It doesn’t seem as if any of these entities could really seriously be biological entities, so what would we be dealing with here? Demons, ghosts, interdimensional interlopers, what? Such cases are truly bizarre enough that they occupy their own special realm upon the world of the weird, and rank among those reports in which we have no choice but to just wonder and speculate, with no real answers foreseeable in the near future.