Oct 20, 2022 I Nick Redfern

Some of the Strangest Cryptids in Our World: "Bizarre" is the Best Word!

Let's begin with a dragon. In England, no less! A fascinating story of nothing less than a real-life dragon can be found in the pages of Charles Igglesden’s 1906 book, A Saunter Through Kent With Pen & Pencil. Kent being a county in southern England. Of a dragon reportedly seen in Cranbrook, Kent, centuries earlier, Igglesden wrote: “The magnificently wooded park of a hundred and fifty acres is richly watered by a huge lake made in 1812 and a smaller one within the grounds, while further west is an old mill pond that rejoices in a curious legend. It is an old one and the subject of it is very ancient indeed and as rare as it is horrible.” He continued that nothing less than a flying dragon was said to haunt the pond but that “on certain – or uncertain – nights of the year it wings its flight over the park and pays a visit to the big lake yonder. But he always returns to the Mill Pond and it is said to pay special attention of a vicious kind to young men and women who have jilted their lovers. A legend with a moral is this. But a winged dragon! A dragon of the ordinary kind is bad enough. But a flying dragon! Augh!”

Igglesden had more to add to the story: “It is a Mr. Tomlin’s opinion that there is stronger evidence of the existence of this dragon than of most of his kind and of his fires gone out in the closing years of the last century. Nothing short of this monster’s malign influence could account for the curious fact that, till the coming of Mr. Tomlin’s eldest daughter, no child had been born at Angley Park for upwards of a hundred years.” Over the years, numerous monster-seekers have flocked to the specific area in question – in hopes of encountering the dragon. Its presence is far less today, however, than it was in centuries past. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that in December 1997, a local policeman, on duty during the early hours of a chilly, windy, Saturday morning, caught a brief sight of a “bloody great bird, about twenty feet across,” in the skies of Cranbrook. The ancient dragon crossing the night sky? 

(Nick Redfern) A catalog of monsters

Now, not quite Mothman, but something very similar: Practically everyone has heard of Bigfoot and Mothman. Along with the likes of the Loch Ness Monster and the Abominable Snowman, they are two of the world’s most famous monsters. But, what do you get when you combine the aforementioned Bigfoot and Mothman? Well, what you get is Batsquatch: a terrifying, malevolent, hair-covered humanoid that sports a pair of huge, gargoyle-like wings. It was a diabolical beast encountered by a young man on the night of Saturday, April 16, 1994. The location was southeast of Buckley, Washington State, and with Mount Rainier in the background. Interestingly, Mount Rainier has another strange and now-famous aerial mystery attached to it: it was over the mountain, on June 24, 1947, that a pilot named Kenneth Arnold encountered a squadron of strange, flying vehicles that, when the media got hold of the story, became famously known as flying saucers. Meanwhile, however, back to 1994.

The man who became the unfortunate witness to the terrible beast was Brian Canfield, who, at the time in question, was driving his truck to Camp One, a settlement in the area, and which is situated near Lake Kapowsin. All was normal until Canfield’s headlights began to fade. That was bad enough. But, in mere moments, his engine completely quit and his vehicle silently coasted to a stop at the side of the road. All thoughts of what he should do, on a lonely stretch of Washington State road at around 9:30 p.m., went totally out of the window when an infernal monstrosity loomed into view. Canfield could only look on, terror-stricken, as a large, dark-colored humanoid descended from the black skies. It did so in a curious semi-gliding, semi-flying fashion, finally coming to rest right in front of his vehicle. Canfield was unable to move, such was his level of terror. All he could do was grip the steering wheel and stare in stark terror at the beast before him.

(Nick Redfern) Batsquatch was not identical to Mothman, but it came close

It was a shocking sight, to say the least. The winged, hair-covered monster was around nine feet in height and, as Canfield could now see, those wings spanned the entire road. It was at this point, despite his terror, that Canfield finally got a good look at the creature. Its fur was actually a dark blue, rather than the assumed black or brown. Its eyes shone yellow, and its white fangs protruded menacingly from its werewolf-like visage. For at least a couple of minutes, both man and monster confronted each other, neither making any kind of move. That is, until the creature, without warning, flapped its wings powerfully and violently and took to the skies. Perhaps demonstrating the creature’s supernatural powers, when the beast vanished Canfield’s vehicle returned to normal: both its headlights and engine worked perfectly. Canfield raced back to the home he shared with his parents, charged into the house, and spluttered and gasped his way through his astounding story of what happened. Canfield’s father, clearly realizing this was no prank, decided that the best thing they could do would be to get back out there and try and figure things out – as in right now. Perhaps luckily for both of them, Batsquatch – an undeniably memorable name, one which was name coined by one of Canfield’s friends – was nowhere to be seen. And, so far as can be determined, it has never been seen again. Unless, that is, you know better. Now, to another unforgettable freak!

A creature believed by many to have supernatural – and perhaps even hellish – origins, the Bunyip is a monster that lurks within the creeks and swamps of Australia, and which has been known to the Aboriginal people for centuries. Maybe even longer. As for its appearance, in 1845 the Geelong Advertiser told its readers:  “The Bunyip, then, is represented as uniting the characteristics of a bird and of an alligator. It has a head resembling an emu, with a long bill, at the extremity of which is a transverse projection on each side, with serrated edges like the bone of the stingray. Its body and legs partake of the nature of the alligator. The hind legs are remarkably thick and strong, and the fore legs are much longer, but still of great strength. The extremities are furnished with long claws, but the blacks say its usual method of killing its prey is by hugging it to death. When in the water it swims like a frog, and when on shore it walks on its hind legs with its head erect, in which position it measures twelve or thirteen feet in height.” To see something like that would be amazing, to say the very least. Now, let's go back further in time. The following account of the single-named Ralph, a monk and an abbot, came out of of Coggeshall, Essex, England. Recorded way back in the year 1200 in Chronicon Anglicanum, the story describes the remarkable capture in the area of nothing less than a definitive wild man of the woods-style creature:

“In the time of King Henry II, when Bartholomew de Glanville was in charge of the castle at Orford, it happened that some fishermen fishing in the sea there caught in their nets a Wildman. He was naked and was like a man in all his members, covered with hair and with a long shaggy beard. He eagerly ate whatever was brought to him, but if it was raw he pressed it between his hands until all the juice was expelled.” Ralph continued with his monster-themed account: “He would not talk, even when tortured and hung up by his feet, Brought into church, he showed no sign of reverence or belief. He sought his bed at sunset and always remained there until sunrise. He was allowed to go into the sea, strongly guarded with three lines of nets, but he dived under the nets and came up again and again. Eventually he came back of his own free will. But later on he escaped and was never seen again.”

 (Nick Redfern) Wild, hairy humans only centuries ago?

Or, maybe the beast-man – or, far more likely, given the large passage of time, one of its offspring – was seen again, albeit hundreds of years further down the line. At some point during the summer of 1968, one Morris Allen – who grew up in the vicinity of Orford – was walking along the coast near, of all places, the town of Orford itself when in the distance he saw someone squatting on the sand and leaning over something. As he got closer, Morris said, he could see that the man was dressed in what looked like an animal skin and was savagely tearing into the flesh of a dead rabbit. The wild-man was dirt-encrusted, with long, tangled hair and had wild, staring eyes. Morris could only watch with a mixture of fascination and horror. Suddenly the man held his head aloft and quickly looked – or, perhaps, glared would be a far better description – in Morris’ direction, as if he had picked up his scent. The wild man quickly scooped up the rabbit, bounded off into the grass and was forever lost from sight. For a highly traumatized Morris Allen, it was an event destined never to be forgotten. Perhaps, the wild man of Orford, and its surrounding areas, continues to live on, taunting and tantalizing people with the occasional sighting of its bestial form. And, it can now be said with a high degree of accuracy, in the “weird stakes” there is far more to Orford than just its infamous lighthouse.

How about massive amoeba monsters? 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.”

If the skies of our planet are constantly populated by an untold number of airborne critters, then why don’t we see them for what they really are – and on a regular basis? Constable had a notable and engaging theory for this, too: he believed the aerial things reflect infra-red light, which is not visible to the naked, human eye. However, Constable also believed the critters can change color, something which explains why they are occasionally seen, and sometimes quite out of the blue. It’s not a case that they are here one minute and gone the next. For Constable, that was only how it appears. They’re always here, in massive numbers; we’re just not physically able to see them in their natural state. Constable also concluded that this theory explained why some UFO witnesses had photographed UFOs, but had not seen anything out of the ordinary when they took the picture. In other words, when it comes to Constable’s sky-critters, the camera can see what the human eye cannot.

Constable believed that even though the sky-beasts possessed formidable powers that allowed them to remain out of sight – for the most part – they could be seen and photographed if one specifically used an infrared cine-film and a suitable filter. Constable even put his theories into practice – in the heart of the Mojave Desert. He claimed to have had considerable success in California’s Lucerne Valley. Constable did not shy away from publishing his photos, which continue to provoke a great deal of debate – and, at times, unbridled fury – amongst the UFO faithful. It’s important to note, however, that Constable’s claims did not stand alone. In May 1977, a UFO investigator named Richard Toronto – who had developed a fascination for Constable’s theories – decided to try and replicate Constable’s photos, also in the Mojave Desert. He claimed considerable success. As with Constable’s pictures – which some researchers felt showed nothing stranger than aircraft landing lights, stars and planets – down to earth claims for the anomalies abounded. At least, they did amongst those UFO enthusiasts who didn’t want to see their cherished extraterrestrial theories questioned.

There is another theory for what both Trevor James Constable and Richard Toronto photographed. It’s a truly fascinating one, which was postulated by the late UFO- and paranormal-investigator, D. Scott Rogo. It was his opinion – or, perhaps, his “strong suspicion” would be better terminology – that both men had unknowingly created the sky-monsters from the depths of their imaginations and subconscious. And their psychic abilities allowed them to project their mind-monsters externally, to the point where they had quasi-independent lives and could even be caught on camera. Whatever the truth of the matter, today, decades after he first began formulating his undeniably alternative theory for what UFOs might be, Trevor James Constable still retains a faithful following who believe our skies are not filled with extraterrestrials, but with large, flying, amoeba-like monsters. Without a doubt that's quite a collection of strange "things"!

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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