Cryptozoological creatures come in all kinds and shapes: flying monsters, beasts of our oceans and lakes, mysterious apes, and more. There's one thing that a lot of strange creatures have. And what might that be? It's this: glowing red eyes. So, with that said, let's have a look at some of these creatures. And, of course, their creepy eyes. We'll begin with the ancient (and, sometimes, not quote so ancient) Phantom Black Dogs of the U.K. In his book, Explore Phantom Black Dogs, the author and researcher Bob Trubshaw wrote the following: “The folklore of phantom black dogs is known throughout the British Isles. From the Black Shuck of East Anglia to the Mauthe Dhoog of the Isle of Man there are tales of huge spectral hounds ‘darker than the night sky’ with eyes ‘glowing red as burning coals.’” While a number of intriguing theories exist to explain the presence and nature of such spectral-like beasts, certainly the most ominous of all is that they represent some form of precursor to – or instigator of - doom, tragedy, and death.
One of the most infamous of all black-dog encounters in the British Isles occurred at St. Mary’s Church, Bungay, Suffolk, England, on Sunday, August 4, 1577, when an immense and veritable spectral hound from Hell materialized within the church during a powerful thunderstorm and mercilessly tore into the terrified congregation with its huge fangs and razor-sharp claws. In fact, so powerful was the storm that it reportedly killed two men in the belfry as the church tower received an immense lightning bolt that tore through it and shook the building to its ancient foundations. According to an old, local verse: “All down the church in midst of fire, the hellish monster flew. And, passing onward to the quire, he many people slew.” Then, just as suddenly as it had appeared, the beast bounded out of St. Mary’s and was reported shortly thereafter at Blythburgh Church, about twelve miles away, where it allegedly killed and mauled even more people with its immense and bone-crushing jaws – and where, it is said, the scorch marks of the beast’s claws can still be seen to this day, infamously imprinted upon the ancient door of the church. Such accounts can be found in many areas - and not just in the U.K.
Now, onto one of the most famous red-eyed beast of all: Mothman. There can be few people reading this who have not at least heard of the legendary Mothman of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, who so terrorized the town and the surrounding area between November 1966 and December 1967, and whose diabolical exploits were chronicled in the 2002 hit Hollywood movie starring Richard Gere: The Mothman Prophecies, so named after the book of the same title written by Mothman authority John Keel. A devil-like, winged monster with glowing, red eyes, Mothman’s appearance came quite literally out of nowhere and, some say, culminated in high tragedy and death.
John Keel, the absolute expert on Mothman, was someone who took deep notice of the red eye issue. For example: early on the morning of November 25, yet another remarkable encounter with the mysterious beast took place, as John Keel noted: “Thomas Ury was driving along Route 62 just north of the TNT area when he noticed a tall, grey manlike figure standing in a field by the road. ‘Suddenly it spread a pair of wings,’ Ury said, ‘and took off straight up, like a helicopter. It veered over my convertible and began going in circles three telephone poles high.’” Keel reported that Ury quickly hit the accelerator. Nevertheless, Ury added: “It kept flying right over my car even though I was doing about seventy-five.” Over the next few days more sightings surfaced, including that of Ruth Foster of nearby Charleston – who saw the winged monster late at night in her garden, and who said: “It was tall with big red eyes that popped out of its face. Now, let's go back to the United Kingdom, and a flying beast known as the Owlman.
In 1976 the dense trees surrounding Mawnan Old Church, Cornwall, England became a veritable magnet for a diabolical beast that was christened the Owlman. The majority of those that crossed paths with the creature asserted that it was human-like in both size and design, and possessed a pair of large wings, fiery red eyes, claws, and exuded an atmosphere of menace. No wonder people make parallels with Mothman. It all began during the weekend of Easter 1976, when two young girls, June and Vicky Melling, had an encounter of a truly nightmarish kind in Mawnan Woods. The girls were on holiday with their parents when they saw a gigantic, feathery “bird man” hovering over the 13th Century church. It was a story that their father, Don Melling, angrily shared with a man named Tony “Doc” Shiels. I say “angrily” because Shiels was a noted, local magician who Melling came to believe had somehow instigated the whole affair. Or as Shiels, himself, worded it: “…some trick that had badly frightened his daughters.” Shiels denied any involvement in the matter whatsoever. But that was only the start of things.
Another one to see the Owlman was Jane Greenwood, also a young girl. She wrote a letter to the local newspaper, the Falmouth Packet, during the summer of 1976 that detailed her own startling encounter: “I am on holiday in Cornwall with my sister and our mother. I, too, have seen a big bird-thing. It was Sunday morning, and the place was in the trees near Mawnan Church, above the rocky beach. It was in the trees standing like a full-grown man, but the legs bent backwards like a bird’s. It saw us, and quickly jumped up and rose straight up through the trees. How could it rise up like that?” Two fourteen year old girls, Sally Chapman and Barbara Perry, also had the misfortune to have a run-in with the Owlman in 1976. At around 10.00 p.m., while camping in the woods of Mawnan, and as they sat outside of their tent making a pot of tea, the pair heard a strange hissing noise. On looking around, they saw the infernal Owlman staring in their direction from a distance of about sixty feet. Sally said: “It was like a big owl with pointed ears, as big as a man. The eyes were red and glowing. At first I thought that it was someone dressed-up, playing a joke, trying to scare us. I laughed at it. We both did. Then it went up in the air and we both screamed. When it went up you could see its feet!” Barbara added: “It’s true. It was horrible, a nasty owl-face with big ears and big red eyes. It was covered in grey feathers. The claws on its feet were black. It just flew up and disappeared in the trees.”
For years, controversial tales have surfaced from Puerto Rico – or to give it its correct title, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States - describing a killer-beast creeping around the landscape, while simultaneously plunging the population into states of deep fear and apprehension. The reason why is as simple as it is distinctly monstrous: the face of the creature is dominated by a pair of glowing red eyes, it has razor-style, claw-like appendages, vicious-looking teeth that could likely inflict some truly serious damage, sharp spikes running down its neck and spine, and even, on occasion, large membranous wings. On top of that, it thrives on blood. Puerto Rico, then, is home to a real-life vampire.
On the night of September 12, 1952, something terrifying descended upon the small, West Virginian town of Flatwoods. Precisely what it was remains a mystery to this very day. All that can be said for sure is that it was hideous, fear-inducing and downright monstrous. It has, appropriately, become known as the Flatwoods Monster. Situated in Braxton County and dominated by a mountainous, forested landscape, Flatwoods is a distinctly small town – that much is apparent from the fact that, today, its population is less than four hundred. Back in 1952, it was even less. On the night in question, however, the town found its population briefly added to by one visitor from…well…no-one really knows where. It all began as the sun was setting on what was a warm, still, September evening. A group of boys from Flatwoods were playing football in the town’s schoolyard when they were frozen to the spot by the sight of a brightly lit, fiery object that shot overhead, provoking amazement and wonder in the process. All that the boys could be sure of was that the object appeared to be either egg-shaped or circular. Its color fluctuated from orange to fiery red.
As the stunned children watched in awe, they saw the object begin to descend - at a high rate of speed, no less – and then appear to come down on one of Flatwood’s largest hilltops. Not surprisingly, being kids, they saw this as a big adventure looming large. The result: they, with a woman named Kathleen May and a recent U.S. Army recruit, Eugene Lemon, headed off for the scene of all the action. It wasn’t long before the group reached the hill in question – and with nightfall rapidly closing in. The first thing the group noticed, as they reached the darkened peak, was something brightly lit within the trees. What it was, no-one had a clue. But, it clearly wasn’t the lights of a farmhouse, truck, or car. Suddenly, the air was filled with a sickening odor – not unlike that of devilish brimstone. That was not a good sign. To their credit, however, they pushed on, determined to figure out the true nature of the source behind the lights. They soon found out: as the air became filled with a strange, sizzling sound, nothing less than a pair of self-illuminated red eyes could be seen getting ever closer. Kathleen May had the presence of mind to bring a flashlight with her and she quickly focused it on the eyes. In doing so, she also lit up the abominable creature that possessed those fiery eyes.
In the summer of 1988, a terrifying creature began haunting the woods and little towns of Lee County, South Carolina – and specifically the Scape Ore Swamp area. It quickly became known as Lizard Man, as a result of its alleged green and scaly body. For all intents and purposes, it was a case of Creature from the Black Lagoon come to life. A bipedal lizard roaming the neighborhood? Yep. And, guess what? It had red eyes. Of course, it did! What else? And, there is the spectral Man-Monkey, a hairy, ape that haunts the old Shropshire Canal of England. While the beast doesn't have red eyes, it does have shining eyes. In this case, silvery eyes. Now, we get to the key of the issue. Namely, what's the deal with all of these red eyed monsters? And, of course, Bigfoot comes into the story.
Here's just one example of many. It revolves around Big Red Eye, a New Jersey-based man-beast. Weird NJ say: Like Bigfoot, Big Red Eye sightings of the northwest corner of the state describe a large bipedal creature covered with long hair from head to toe. But what witnesses in Sussex County who have seen the beast for themselves remember most are the creature’s glowing red eyes." So, why do so many monsters have red eyes? Well, that's a very good question! I've heard all kinds of theories: that's it's just down to eye-shine and nothing more. To the presence of demons. Or, even to the presence of the Devil himself. I have two cases - of the Owlman-type - that suggest the red eyes can hypnotize us, allowing the beasts to escape from our presence. Whatever the answer is (or might be), the fact is that within the field of cryptozoology, glowing red eyes are seen here, there and everywhere.