Today's article is on a subject that not many are aware of: namely, the interest that government agencies have taken in strange creatures. Let's begin with one of the creepiest of all beasts, the Dogman. It's just about the closest thing to a real-life werewolf you could imagine. And, just maybe, that's what it is. With that said, let's take a look at the government connection to this sinister thing. As Dogman expert Linda Godfrey told me: "The story first came to my attention in about 1991 from a woman who had heard rumors going around here in Elkhorn, Wisconsin and particularly in the high school, that people had been seeing something like a werewolf, a wolf-like creature, or a wolf-man. They didn’t really know what it was. But some were saying it was a werewolf. And the werewolf tag has just gotten used because I think that people really didn’t know what else to call it." Linda told me that: "I started checking it out. I talked to the editor of The Week newspaper here, and which I used to work for. He said, ‘Why don’t you check around a little bit and see what you hear?’ This was about the end of December. And being a weekly newspaper that I worked for, we weren’t really hard news; we were much more feature oriented. So, I asked a friend who had a daughter in high school and she said, ‘Oh yeah, that’s what everybody’s talking about.’"
Linda continued: "So, I started my investigations and got one name from the woman who told me about it. She was also a part-time bus driver. In my first phone call to the bus driver, she told me that she had called the County Animal Control Officer. So, of course, when you’re a reporter, anytime you have a chance to find anything official that’s where you go. I went to see him and, sure enough, he had a folder in his file draw that he had actually marked Werewolf, in a tongue-in-cheek way. People had been phoning in to him to say that they had seen something. They didn’t know what it was. But from their descriptions, that’s what he had put. So, of course, that made it a news story. When you have a public official, the County Animal Control Officer, who has a folder marked Werewolf, that’s news. It was very unusual." Indeed, it was. Sightings of such things are still made to this day. Now, it's time to head to the deep waters of our world.
It’s rare that a story of a monster crosses paths with the world of government. But, that’s exactly what happened when it came to the matter of a mysterious creature – or, rather, an alleged mysterious creature – said to have surfaced in the 1990s. It quickly became the subject of U.S. Navy interest. To fully understand the controversy, it’s necessary to go back in time to the 1960s, when the Cold War was still in full force. It was in that decade that the Navy established a top secret program known as SOSUS. It stood for Sound Surveillance System. Essentially, it was a vast network of underwater microphones that spanned much of the planet and which were designed to monitor for Russian submarines – and particularly so those that were equipped with atomic weapons. Today, the Cold War is over. The world, however, is still a dangerous place. Maybe even more so than back in the old days when we had only one enemy to worry about: the Soviets. As a result, the SOSUS detectors still exist, picking up on sound waves in what is termed the Deep Sound Channel.
It’s not just Russian (and, today, Chinese) subs that the U.S. military has recorded on its SOSUS equipment. Ships, earth-tremors, and even whales have been detected by the highly sophisticated technology. It’s technology that has been significantly improved upon since the old days and which is now overseen by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is a section of the government’s Department of Commerce. All of which brings us to a certain, deeply puzzling, event that occurred in 1997. That was the year in which NOAA recorded a very weird, and very large, “something” in the waters of the South Pacific Ocean, west of South America’s most southern tip. Whatever “it” was, it certainly caught the attention of NOAA and the military, who nicknamed the anomaly “Bloop.” Whatever Bloop was, he, she or it was of a certain amplitude to be picked up on tracking equipment more than 5,000 kilometers from where its movements were recorded. More intriguing, within both NOAA and the Navy there were those who suspected the signature was suggestive of Bloop being a massive, unknown animal, such as a squid of unparalleled proportions. One might even be justified in saying something akin to H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu or the legendary Kraken.
When the media latched onto the story, NOAA admitted that this was far from being the first occasion upon which such anomalies – which may well have been giant, unknown animals – had been detected in the world’s oceans. Each and every one of them had been given specific names, including Whistle, Upsweep, Train, and Slowdown. As for NOAA’s stance on the matter of Bloop today, the prevailing theory within the agency is that Bloop was nothing weirder than a large iceberg that was beginning to collapse, and which provoked the sounds that were recorded and provoked so much debate. True or not, the legend of Bloop lives on, still giving hope to some that Cthulhu is something more than just fiction.
Now, let's take a look at the connection between the Abominable Snowman and the U.S. government's National Archives. As the staff of the Archives say: "On November 30, 1959, the American Embassy in Kathmandu issued this memo outlining the regulations for American mountaineering expeditions in Nepal to search for the Yeti, or Abominable Snowman. Believed by some to reside in the Himalayan Mountains, interest in the Yeti spiked during the 1950s. This prompted the government of Nepal to issue regulations for Yeti-hunting parties.The U.S. State Department’s memo restates Nepal’s policy, which stipulates that all Yeti expeditions must: pay the Nepalese government for a permit; photograph or capture the Yeti, but not kill it; turn over any photographs or Yetis captured to Nepalese officials as well as any news or reports regarding its existence."
Even the Loch Ness Monsters of Scotland have been the subjects of government interest. As Tabitca Cope (the author of the book, Dark Ness) stated on February 23, 2010: "The Sunday Times (Scotland) reports that the U.K. Government under Margaret Thatcher seriously considered an official hunt for the Loch Ness Monster. Newly declassified files from the 1970s reveal that the Government had considered importing bottle-nosed dolphins to search Loch Ness for evidence of Nessie. The plan was being considered by the Department of the Environment. The Department apparently believed that there were no legal obstacles to such a hunt however they were concerned about the political implications and possible opposition from animal rights campaigners.The reasons for the proposed hunt - which appears to have been abandoned - included boosting tourism."
Let us now turn our attentions to the "Alien Big Cats" (or ABCs) of the United Kingdom. Those strangely elusive creatures have been the subject of more than one investigation. The U.K.'s Freedom of Information Act has proved useful when it comes to the matter of securing official files on the ABCs. From 1995 to 2005, for example, Hampshire, U.K.'s police responded to a few cases involving Alien Big Cats. They officially state: "Hampshire’s Constabulary’s Air Support Unit has been deployed to assist with the following reports: January 1995 – Black Panther like animal seen in Eastleigh. Two likely heat sources found by the aircraft, but nothing found by ground troops. March 1995 – Black Puma like animal seen in Winchester. One heat source found that could not be classified by the aircraft crew, kept running off from searching officers, search eventually abandoned.” Moving on to 1991: Norfolk, England police found the remains of a dead lynx at Great Witchingham.
And, finally, there's a creature that's not really a monster, but it certainly falls under the banner of "Cryptozoology." We're talking about the Thylacine of Tasmania. Their correct title is Thylacinus cynocephalis, that translates as pouched dog with a wolf's head. They were dog-sized, striped marsupials, with jaws that have the ability to open to almost 180 degrees. Although it seems they are no longer with us, reports of the animals are still occasionally made. Indeed, not everyone is so sure the creature is completely gone. How do we know? All thanks to the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service, and the Australian Government’s Freedom of Information Act, that’s how. Both the TPWS and the Australian government have declassified their files and records on the creature; they are filled with credible sightings of thylacines in Tasmania, and all of which post-date the 1930s; in some cases significantly so. In the TPWS’ own words: “Since 1936, no conclusive evidence of a thylacine has been found. However, the incidence of reported thylacine sightings has continued. Most sightings occur at night, in the north of the State, in or near areas where suitable habitat is still available. Although the species is now considered to be ‘probably extinct,’ these sightings provide some hope that the thylacine may still exist.”