The world of paranormal encounters and sightings is populated by all manner of ghosts, demons, goblins, monsters, and other supernatural denizens of the realm beyond our understanding. These range from the odd to the straight out bizarre, and entail creatures that push the limits of what we think we know and can get into some pretty surreal territory. Here we will look at a selection of accounts involving bizarre entities of smoke and fire.
One strange case of some sort of smoky wraith was covered in the book Ultraterrestrial Contact: A Paranormal Investigator's Explorations Into the Hidden Abduction Epidemic, by Philip J. Imbrogno, and related by a witness called simply “Mike,” of Litchfield, California. On the cold winter evening of December 20th, 2003, Mike claims he went outside the home where he lived alone to get some fresh air and stretch his legs, as he had been hard at work on a project for work. At some point he looked up to see a dark, cigar-like object in the sky that looked “like a giant blimp with no lights,” and as he tried to figure out what it was there was a bright pink flash and there was suddenly standing there a man “made of smoke.” Mike says of what happened next:
He looked like he was made of grey smoke, and his form was being illuminated by the moon. At that point, I don’t know what happened to the object in the sky, since my eyes were transfixed on the man or whatever it was, slowly walking towards my front door. I then heard the dogs in the neighbourhood start howling and barking, and this figure kept walking towards me. I called out “can I help you?” - and this thing was now less than 100ft in front of me, and still getting closer. It looked just like a man made of smoke. It was about 7ft tall and very slim, and I could see no face or hands, just arms, head, legs and a body. I quickly went back into the house and closed the door, and pulled down the shades. Then, the lights went out - and that really freaked me out. I went to the phone to call the police, but the phone was dead. Then, all of a sudden there was a pounding on the door and on the walls of my home. The pounding was so loud and strong that things were flying off a shelf I had in the living room. I ran upstairs and got a baseball bat to protect myself.
As he went back down the stairs armed with his bat, he could hear voices coming from down there that sounded like someone chanting in some strange, alien language. Although he was scared, he nevertheless charged into the living room shouting and swinging his baseball bat around, breaking furniture, and he says of it:
I went downstairs and yelled, swinging the bat as I walked into the living room, knocking lamps and breaking my television in the process. Then, all of a sudden the voices stopped, and the lights went back on. Still shaking, I grabbed for the phone, and thank god it was working - I called the police. The two officers came over in about 10 minutes and took a report. I could tell that the officers did not believe me, and they asked me if I was drinking or did drugs. I have never seen a ghost or had anything happen to me that was supernatural or whatever - but this changed my mind and made me realize that we are not the only living beings sharing this planet.
This report is different from the others we will look at because rather than paranormal in nature, this seems to have been linked to a UFO of some kind. Could this have been an alien or some interdimensional interloper? Indeed, the author of the book inn which this report appears believes that it is an instance of what are called “ultraterrestrials,” or beings and entities from some other dimension or reality. Whatever the case may be, it is very odd all the same.
In another strange case, in the February 22, 2002 edition of El Tribuno of Salta there was the account of an unnamed young man who one day went out hunting in the rural area of El Duraznito, just 15km southeast of the city of Rosario de la Frontera, in Argentina. He says he was riding his bicycle and was suddenly shoved by unseen hands to go tumbling to the ground. He had not hit anything and had not lost control of his bike, but rather an invisible something had physically pushed him off, and as he got up he saw what it was. Standing there was a black, shadowy figure that seemed to be made of tightly packed black smoke. The young man panicked and grabbed his shotgun to fire on it, but his shots apparently had no effect on it whatsoever and it continued to loom there. There were not facial features, no clothing, just that thick black smoke held together into the shape of a man. It then lurched towards him and he tried to stab it but his knife passed right through it. It then grabbed him by the hair and began dragging him to the woods as he screamed and kicked in defiance. A local man arrived after hearing the shouts, and would claim that as soon as he arrived the black phantom figure dissipated like smoke and vanished. What was going on here?
A more recent account from 2010 concerns a witness called “Kelley,” who says she was in her living room with her husband one evening enjoying a TV show. The two do not smoke, so it was surprising for them when they noticed smoke wafting through the air. They thought it might be a fire, but there was no smell and checking the house showed that there was no fire anywhere. They sat there trying to figure out where the smoke was coming from when suddenly things would get very intense, indeed. The witness says:
Just then a puff of smoke or fog rushed between us, stopped in front of our faces, swirled up, and quickly vanished. I asked him, 'Did you see that?' He responded, 'Yes, but I don't know what that was!' We don't smoke...no open windows. It came out of nowhere. To me it was definitely a spirit. My husband lost his grandmother at the end of October; he was really close with her. I wonder if it was her telling us she's in the afterlife. I would like to know, but I'm not willing to do something to cause my family harm.
Was this a ghost or something else? A similar experience was reported by Redditor u/PineappleClean, who says of what happened:
My sister was visiting at the time and while my kid was inside watching TV the rest of us were sitting outside, on the porch, me on the left, sister in the middle, my wife on the right, all of us facing the front yard. In some point, the radio started playing “My Sweet Lord” by George Harrison, a detail that I will never forget because right in the part when he says “I really want to know you, I really want to go with you” something really strange happened. While my sister was talking (she talks a lot, lol) I saw something black coming to me, felt it pass through my legs, went behind my sister and pass around her and my wife, went to the front yard and before hitting the fence disappeared. Right after that happened I was so confused that my first reaction was to tell my wife “I think that the cat was here or something” to what she immediately responded “that wasn’t the cat, I saw it too”. My sister didn’t saw it but she got really scared, my wife and I didn’t feel that way, actually we felt the opposite, some kind of peaceful feeling right after the experience.
Every bit as strange as these smoke entities or those that seem to be made of fire. In the book Unnatural Phenomena: A Guide to the Bizarre Wonders of North America, by Jerome Clark, there is a truly very bizarre case that supposedly happened at a plantation in Bracken County, Kentucky way back in 1866. On the evening of February 13th of that year, the plantation owners, Nathaniel G. Squires and his wife, were awoken by the sounds of the panicked screams of their slaves, and soon after they sat up in bed their room was bathed in an otherworldly bluish flickering light. Thinking that the slave quarters were on fire, they rushed to see what was going on, but would soon wish that they hadn’t.
Outside, between their house and the slave quarters, they saw a towering beast as tall as the cabin itself, with an ape-like head, two small white horns situated above each of its eyes, long arms covered in greyish hair, and feline paws with “huge and hooked claws,” as well as a “long tail with a dart shaped horn.” There was fire flickering from its eyes and its mouth exuded “sheets of blue colored flame,” indeed the entire body had a thin sheen of fire on it, like oil was burning on its flesh or its flesh was composed of flame. As the frightened plantation owners backed away and the slaves screamed and cowered, the flaming monstrosity then was engulfed with a blazing “spiral column of flame” that was so intense and explosive that the entity could not be seen, just a huge churning column of fire. After a few moments, the fire then suddenly went out and the creature was gone.
From the book Humanoid Encounters, by Albert Rosales there is perhaps an even weirder case from a place called Willow Creek, near Brooksville, Kentucky in 1868. On October 10 of that year, an unnamed “prominent tobacco merchant” was returning home along a darkened country road when he was confronted by a hideous apparition. It was described as looking like a man on top and having a pale face and “flames licking down over its shoulders like a hellish mockery of human hair,” and its eyes were filled with blue flames. Its lower half was that of a horse with legs tipped with hooves but with a tail that was a mass of flames. With each breath it took emitted “a solid sheet of fire, which vibrated with the heaving of its breast, like the pendulum of a clock.” Indeed, most of its bottom half was wreathed in flame. Adding to the surreal strangeness of it all was that the creature was holding a torch in one hand and a sword in the other.
When this fiery abomination saw the man, it ran off and the witness gave chase, but every time he almost caught up it would vanish to appear where it had first been seen. At one point is seems to have gotten tired of being chased and turned the tables by full-on charging the witness, and the sight of this hideous flaming demonic thing hurtling through the night towards him sent the witness into a retreat, managing to lose it and get back to town. A mob of townspeople was formed to hunt the apparition, but when they found it was able to easily evade them, apparently able to climb walls and walk atop fences. After some time of this, it allegedly vanished into a ball of flame and was gone.
What are we dealing with in these cases? Are they ghosts, demons, aliens, interdimensional interlopers, or all of the above? The answers remain uncertain, and they are some of the weirder types of paranormal encounters out there.