While the Bigfoot creatures, the Yeti, the Loch Ness Monster and Ogopogo are forever elusive, at least they look the part. There are, however, some unidentified creatures that look just downright bizarre. And, today, we'll have a look at some of them. Let's begin: Malcolm Lees enlisted in the British Royal Air Force in the early 1950s and retired in the late 1960s. In 1962 he received a posting to a RAF station in the county of Wiltshire, which he declined to name, and worked in the prestigious and secretive world of intelligence gathering. Most of the work, Lees explained, was routine and even mundane and he laughed heartily at the idea, spouted by many, that intelligence work was a glamorous one full of James Bond-style escapades. Nevertheless, Lees said, there was one aspect of his career that really was stranger than fiction. Early one September morning in 1962, a call came into the base from someone who had seen a UFO hovering in the vicinity of the ancient standing-stones in the historic English village of Avebury, Wiltshire.
UFO reports reached the base from time to time, said Lees. They were always handled by the RAF’s Provost and Security Services. For the most part they were mind-numbingly mundane, and related to little more than sightings of unidentified lights in the sky that could, in reality, have been anything or nothing. Invariably, he said, the reports were a week, or even more, old by the time they were received. And so, they were simply filed and passed up the chain of command - that was then at Government Buildings, Acton, and which relocated to Rudloe Manor in 1977. But this particular case was a little different, said Lees.
The witness was a middle-aged lady who had lived in Avebury all of her adult life and who was fascinated by archaeological history. A “spinster,” (as the files describe her) she would often stroll among the Stonehenge-like formations at night, marveling at their creation and musing upon their history. It was on the night in question that she had been out walking at around 10:30 p.m. when she was both startled and amazed to see a small ball of light, perhaps two-feet in diameter, gliding slowly through the stones. Transfixed and rooted to the spot, she watched as it closed in on her at a height of about twelve feet. The ball then stopped fifteen feet or so from her, and small amounts of what looked like liquid metal slowly and silently dripped from it to the ground. Then, in an instant, the ball exploded in a bright, white flash.
For a moment she was blinded by its intensity and instinctively fell to her knees. When her eyes cleared, however, she was faced with a horrific sight. The ball of light had gone, but on the ground in front of her was what she could only describe as a monstrous, writhing worm. The creature, she said, was about five feet long, perhaps eight or nine inches thick, and its skin was milk-white. As she slowly rose to her feet, the creature’s head turned suddenly in her direction and two bulging eyes opened. When it began to move unsteadily towards her in a caterpillar-like fashion, she emitted a hysterical scream and fled the scene. Rushing back home, she slammed the door shut and frantically called the airbase, after having been directed to them by the less-than-impressed local police. The Provost and Security Services were used to dealing with UFO reports, said Lees, and a friend of his in the P&SS was dispatched early the next day to interview the woman - amid much hilarity on the part of his colleagues, all of whom thought that the story was someone’s idea of a joke. On returning, however, Lees’ friend and colleague had a very serious and grim look on his face, and informed him guardedly that whatever had taken place, it was definitely no hoax.
The woman, he said, had practically barricaded herself in her home, was almost incoherent with fear, and only agreed to return to the scene after lengthy coaxing. Lees’ colleague said that he found no evidence of the UFO. The worm, or whatever it was, was clearly long gone. On the ground near the standing stone, however, was a three-foot long trail of a slime-like substance, not unlike that left by a snail. Lees’ colleague quickly improvised and, after racing back to the woman’s house, scooped some of the material onto a spoon and into a drinking glass. After assuring the woman that her case would be taken very seriously, and requesting that she discuss the events with no one, he headed back to the base, the slimy substance in hand. A report was duly prepared and dispatched up the chain of command - along with the unidentified slime. For more than a week, said Lees, plainclothes military personnel wandered casually among the stones, seeking out evidence of anything unusual. Nothing else was ever found, however. Lees said that he was fascinated by this incident because it was one of the few UFO-related cases he heard about that was taken very seriously at an official level and that had some form of material evidence in support of it. He did not know the outcome of the investigation but he never forgot about it. Which is hardly surprising! Now, onto another weird cryptid.
Now, we get a crossover between Ufology and Cryptozoology: make mention of UFOs and it will likely conjure up imagery of flying saucers and diminutive, black-eyed, large headed ETs, and alien abductions. At least some UFOs, however, may have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with visitors from far away solar-systems and galaxies. Welcome to the world of a man named Trevor James Constable. Having investigated the UFO phenomenon extensively, Constable penned two books on the subject. They Live in the Sky was published in 1958 and Sky Creatures followed two decades later. In deeply studying the UFO phenomenon, Constable came to a fascinating conclusion concerning what he believed to be the truth of the mystery surrounding flying saucers. Constable’s conclusion was that UFOs are not nuts-and-bolts craft from distant worlds, but living creatures that inhabit the highest levels of the Earth’s atmosphere. While many UFO investigators scoffed at Constable’s undeniably unique ideas, none could deny that his theory was well thought out. Describing them as “critters,” Constable believed the creatures to be unicellular and amoeba-like, but having metallic-like outer-shells, which gave them their flying saucer-style appearances. He also believed they varied in size from extremely small to lengths approaching half a mile – which, admittedly accords with what UFO witnesses tell us: the assumed alien craft that people have reported do indeed vary from a few inches to massive, so-called “mother-ships.” Moving on...
If, like me, you’re a fan of the writings of Linda Godfrey - and particularly her werewolf-themed book, The Michigan Dogman, then what I’m about to share with you now is likely to be of deep interest. It’s an old newspaper story - dating back more than a century - that is eerily reminiscent of some of Linda’s findings. And, it demonstrates that when we dig into the past, we can sometimes find fascinating tales that have a direct bearing on the present. The story in question was published in the pages of several newspapers, including the Pittsburgh Press on May 3, 1905, and the Rake, Iowa Register on June 15, 1905. The Register’s article has the eye-catching title of “Dog With a Human Face.” Its sub-title:
“Strange Monstrosity Seen By Many Persons In Colorado Hills -- Attempt Capture In Vain.” According to the newspaper staff, an unidentified creature had then recently been seen “roaming the hills” of Buena Vista, Colorado, and specifically in the vicinity of Wildhorse - a station on the Colorado Midland Railway. The Register reporter continued that “a prominent ranchwoman” driving across the Arkansas River had the shock of her life when something terrible loomed into view. As she crossed one particular bridge, the woman was shocked to see a “monstrosity” standing in the road. It was terrifying enough to cause her horse to panic, “almost throwing her from the rig.” Interestingly, the Register said that the river was “where the animal has its lair.” As for the creature's physical description, it went like this: “It was about the size and build of a full-grown greyhound and of a drab color, its glistening sides being covered with black spots as large as silver dollars.” Its eyes were set close together and its pointed ears stood tall. But, then came the most remarkable part of the story: the long-tailed animal “had an almost human face, and a bristling red moustache ornamented the proper place upon its physiognomy.” Bizarre!
Now, check-out this monster of the rare kind: in 2001, English cryptozoologist Dr. Karl Shuker heard a fascinating story from explorer Bill Gibbons, who spent a great deal of time investigating reports of the Congo’s most famous monster, the long-necked Mokele M’Bembe. The story dates back to 1938 and the experiences of a pair of explorers, Reginald and Margurite Lloyd. While negotiating a jungle pathway in the heart of the Belgian Congo, they saw something very strange step out in front of them. Their first thoughts were: was it a small crouching person, or a similarly crouched monkey? To their eternal horror, it quickly became clear it was neither. What it actually was, was a gigantic spider, one that had legs which spanned four-feet! Reginald Lloyd, realizing the enormity of the situation – never mind the enormity of the creature – quickly reached for his camera. Unfortunately, the beast raced across the track and vanished into the undergrowth before he could capture what would, most assuredly, have been a priceless picture. The pair was in doubt about what they had encountered, however: a truly giant, eight-limbed monstrosity. Now, for something that sounds like a real-life version of the underground monsters, Tremors.
Known and feared by those that call the Gobi Desert their home, the Mongolian Death Worm is a beast that has become legendary in monster-hunting circles. That, at least, is its westernized title. For the people of Mongolia, it’s Allergorhai horhai which translates into English as “intestine worm.” Its distasteful and monstrous moniker is derived from eyewitnesses to the creature, who say that it in physical appearance it resembles the stomach of a cow and is blood red in color. The Mongolian Death Worm can grow to lengths of five feet, is as thick as a man’s arm, and is best avoided at all costs. Indeed, it didn’t get its memorable name without reason. In addition, it predominantly lives underground. The creature has two ways in which it brings down its prey – which often includes people. It has the ability to spit, over distances of up to around twelve feet, an acid-like venom that can burn through clothing, skin, muscle, and right down to the bone; something which causes the skin of the victim to turn a sickly, jaundice-like yellow. The coiling terror can also emit a powerful and fatal electric shock that – in a fashion not unlike an electric eel – kills or stuns its prey, thus allowing it to move in and partake of a good meal.
It was not until the mid-1920s that word of this hideous thing reached the west; prior to that time it was a case of what happens in the Gobi Desert stays in the Gobi Desert. The news that Mongolia was home to one of the most terrifying of all monsters came from one Professor Roy Chapman Andrews, who was not only the author of the 1926 book On the Trail of Ancient Man, he was also the inspiration for one of Hollywood’s most famous characters of the gung-ho kind, Indiana Jones. It was while seeking evidence of the presence of ancient man in Mongolia that Andrews heard some very weird tales about a certain deadly beast that lived below the sands. You can never say that Cryptozoology is boring!