Mar 17, 2023 I Nick Redfern

Invisibility: What Would We Do With It? And Would We Understand It?

The blurb for the book of H.G. Wells' classic novel, The Invisible Man says: "A curious man, wearing a long coat, a wide-brimmed hat, and whose face is entirely swathed in bandages save for an obvious fake pink nose, walks into an English inn to the shock and horror of many of the townspeople. Beakers and chemicals in tow, the man demands his solitude. It’s strange enough as it is until his money begins to run out and mysterious burglaries occur all over town.The Invisible Man, written in 1897, chronicles the antagonistic interaction between the citizens of a small town and a man who had discovered how to turn himself invisible." Of course, we're not able to become invisible. Or, what if we can? Perhaps it's not impossible, after all. Let's see. A large and mysterious mountain in a Scottish range called the Cairngorms, Scotland, Ben Macdhui is said to be the lair of a sinister, lumbering, Bigfoot-like creature known as the Big Gray Man (BGM). Legends of its existence date back centuries, and they show no signs of stopping. Although definitively animal-like in both nature and appearance, the Big Gray Man reputedly possesses paranormal powers that allow it to plunge the unwary traveler into states of terror and panic. A form of monster-based mind-control, one might be justified in suggesting.

(Nick Redfern) A mountain monster that can be heard, but oddly and rarely seen. It's cloaked.

Without doubt, the foremost expert on the BGM is anomalies expert, Andy Roberts. Andy has noted that witnesses to the creepy phenomenon describe how they have heard heavy footsteps on the fog-shrouded mountain, felt a distinct sensation of a threatening presence, and experienced an overwhelming feeling of unbridled terror. The experience is graphic enough to compel witnesses to flee – in fear of their lives – and, in some cases, to run wildly and in crazed, fear-filled fashion for miles. Taking into consideration the fact that encounters almost exclusively take place on rocky, dangerous ground, and often in weather conditions involving mist and snow, Andy stresses that “we should not underestimate the power of the experience.” As far as can be determined, the first encounter of any real note with the BGM occurred in 1791. The witness was a poet and shepherd named James Hogg. He reported seeing a massive figure on Ben Macdhui, which appeared to manifest out of a strange halo. Says Andy: “As he watched the halo which had formed around him due to the combination of sunshine and mist he suddenly noticed a huge, looming figure. It was vaguely human in shape and he imagined it to be the devil. Hogg fled in terror, not stopping until he reached fellow shepherds.”

Then, from 1831, we have the following from Sir Thomas Dick Lauder. In his own words: “On descending from the top (of Ben Mac Dhui) at about half-past three P.M., an interesting optical appearance presented itself to our view. We had turned towards the east, and the sun shone on our backs, when we saw a very bright rainbow described on the mist before us. The bow, of beautifully distinct prismatic colors, formed about two-thirds of a circle, the extremities of which appeared to rest on the lower portion of the mountain. In the center of this incomplete circle there was described a luminous disc, surrounded by the prismatic colors displayed in concentric rings. On the disc itself, each of the party (three in number), as they stood about fifty yards apart, saw his own figure most distinctly delineated, although those of the other two were invisible to him. The representation appeared of the natural size, and the outline of the whole person of the spectator was most correctly portrayed. To prove that the shadow seen by each individual was that of himself, we resorted to various gestures, such as waving our hats, flapping our plaids, &c., all which motions were exactly followed by the airy figure.”

Moving onto the 20th century, in 1921, the Cairngorm Club Journal reported that a recent letter-writer “…called attention to a myth prevalent in Upper Deeside to the effect that a big spectral figure has been seen at various times during the last five years walking about on the tops of the Cairngorms. When approached, so the story goes, the figure disappears.” Andy Roberts reveals a further layer of the puzzle: “In 1924, Dr. Ernest A. Baker’s book, The Highlands with Rope and Rucksack, appeared. Here, Baker relates the experience of a friend whose job took him into the mountains, a deer stalker or perhaps a shepherd. Alone on Ben Macdhui one day he became aware of a terrifying presence which Afleck Gray [the author of the book, The Big Gray Man of Ben Macdhui] recounts, ‘disturbed him in a manner which was beyond his experience.’

(Nick Redfern) The creature of the cold slopes: it leaves a pattern, but try seeing it.

Gray makes the point that this was no ordinary fear but something so powerful that Baker’s friend fled from Ben Macdhui, the terror only subsiding when he reached low ground. Baker also reports how one mountain climber had told him that he would under no circumstances spend any time on Ben Macdhui alone, even in daylight.” One year later, in 1925, Professor Norman Collie revealed the facts concerning his very own encounter with the Big Gray Man, decades earlier. Collie recalled:  “I was returning from the cairn on the summit in a mist when I began to think I heard something else than merely the noise of my own footsteps. For every few steps I took I heard a crunch, and then another crunch as if someone was walking after me but taking steps three or four times the length of my own. I said to myself: This is all nonsense. I listened and heard it again but could see nothing in the mist. Indeed, many people have heard the crunches of huge footsteps, but the creature can't be seen. Moving on.

Most investigators of the Bigfoot and cryptid ape phenomena take the view that the beasts they seek are flesh and blood animals that have been incredibly lucky, in terms of skillfully avoiding us, or getting captured and killed. There is, however, another theory that may explain how and why Bigfoot always eludes us, at least when it comes to securing hard evidence of its existence. It’s a theory that posits the creatures have the ability to become invisible – that’s to say, they can “cloak” themselves so that we do not see them. It’s a theory that the bulk of Bigfoot enthusiasts have absolutely no time for. It is a fact, however, that regardless of what people think of the theory, there is certainly no shortage of reports. The website Native Languages notes: “The Bigfoot figure is common to the folklore of most Northwest Native American tribes. Native American Bigfoot legends usually describe the creatures as around 6-9 feet tall, very strong, hairy, uncivilized, and often foul-smelling, usually living in the woods and often foraging at night...In some Native stories, Bigfoot may have minor supernatural powers - the ability to turn invisible, for example - but they are always considered physical creatures of the forest, not spirits or ghosts.”

Native Americans aren’t the only people who hold such beliefs. Bhutan Canada says:  “In 2001, the Bhutanese Government created the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary, a 253 square-mile protected habitat for the Migoi. The sanctuary is also home to pandas, snow leopards, and tigers but the Bhutanese maintain that the refuge was created specifically for the Migoi. Migoi is the Tibetan word for ‘wild man’ or more common to Western culture, the Yeti. The Yeti, often called the Abominable Snowman in the west and referred to as the Migoi by the Bhutanese, is a bipedal ape like creature that is said to inhabit the Himalayan region of Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan. The Migoi is known for its phenomenal strength and magical powers, such as the ability to become invisible and to walk backwards to fool any trackers.” Davy Russell, who, in 2000, penned an article titled Invisible Bigfoot, refers to an incident that occurred in 1977 and which may be relevant to this particularly charged area of research. The location was North Dakota: “A Bigfoot-type creature was spotted throughout the afternoon and into the evening. Locals, along with the police, staked out the area to search for the mysterious creature. A rancher named Lyle Maxon reported a strange encounter, claiming he was walking in the dark when he plainly heard something nearby breathing heavily, as if from running.”

(Nick Redfern) Creatures that can vanish like the alien in the 1987 movie, Predator.

Russell continued that Maxon shone his flashlight in the direction of where the sounds were coming from, but nothing could be seen. Puzzled and disturbed by the encounter, Maxon gave serious thought to the possibility that the beast had the ability to render itself invisible to the human eye. In April 2012, researcher Mi-Lin said: “This past week, I had several wonderful conversations with a gentleman named Thomas Hughes. Thomas has been communicating with numerous Sasquatch since his first encounter in April 2008.  He has a wealth of knowledge about their existence and whereabouts, some of which he shared with me. “Sasquatch are gentle and playful giants. They range in height from 6-15 feet and live to an age of approximately 120-140 years. They are natural pranksters and are caretakers of Mother Earth.  What I mean by caretakers is that they have adapted themselves to the planet instead of trying to change the environment to suit them…” She added that Hughes told her: “They have the ability to raise their frequency just enough to be able to become invisible to humans.  They fear humans – seeing them as their greatest threat. So, most of the time, they go invisible when humans are around to avoid being hunted and killed. Sasquatch are aware they are seen from time to time.”

On a similar path, Soul Guidance offers that Bigfoot is “able to shift the frequency of their physical body, by which it phases out of this physical dimension, and thus enters another dimensional world that lies behind this one…“Bigfoot can also shift partially, so they become invisible but are still partially in this physically world. In this partial state, they can follow someone around, invisibly, and their movements can be heard and seen. In this partial state, they can walk through walls; and they can sometimes be seen as being transparent, or just the outline of their body. For example, bushes move aside when they step through. When they appear or disappear, their eyes often turn red, probably a characteristic of the shifting frequencies…”

Now, let's take a look at one of the most famous cases of invisibility: the Philadelphia Experiment. There’s no doubt at all that when it comes to the issue of conspiracy, just about the biggest doozy of all is that which revolves around what is known as the Montauk Project. It’s a complicated saga which is filled with tales of time travel (of course!), mind control, government cover-ups, secret experiments, and much more. And it’s all focused around a certain facility located on Long Island, New York. It’s a story that has its origins in the 1940s and an incredible series of classified programs run by the U.S. Navy, but which didn’t start to surface publicly until the 1950s. It was in 1955 that a highly controversial book on flying saucers was published. The author was Morris Ketchum Jessup, and the title of his book was The Case for the UFO. It was a book which, for the most part, highlighted two particular issues: (a) how gravity could be harnessed and used as an energy; and (b) the source of power of the mysterious flying saucers that people were seeing in the skies above. It wasn’t long after the book was published that Jessup was contacted by a man who wrote Jessup a number of letters that detailed something astounding. The man was one Carlos Allende, a resident of Pennsylvania. 

The USS Eldrige: allegedly invisible for a short time, but with terrible results on the crew. (U.S. Navy). This photo was taken by the U.S. Navy. It is in the public domain.

Allende’s letters were as long as they were rambling and almost ranting, but Jessup found them oddly addictive. Allende provided Jessup what he – Allende – claimed were top secret snippets of a story that revolved another nothing less than invisibility – of the type achieved, in fictional formats, at least, in the likes of The Invisible Man movie of 1933, starring Claude Rains. It wasn’t just invisibility that Allende had on his mind: it was teleportation, too, and of the kind which went drastically wrong for Jeff Goldblum’s character, Seth Brundle, in 1986’s The Fly. Jessup read the letters with varying degrees of amazement, worry, fear and incredulity. That’s hardly surprising, given the nature of the alleged events. So Allende’s tale went, it was at the Philadelphia Naval Yard, in October 1943, when the U.S. Navy reportedly managed to bring both teleportation and invisibility into the real world. According to Allende, the ship in question – the DE 173 USS Eldridge – vanished from Philadelphia and then very briefly reappeared at Norfolk, Virginia, after which it returned to the Philadelphia Naval Yard. How did Allende know all this? He told Jessup that he was on-board a ship whose crew were monitoring the experiment, the USS Andrew Furuseth. In one of his letters, that detailed his own, claimed sighting of the Eldridge vanishing form view, Allende wrote that he watched “the air all around the ship turn slightly, ever so slightly, darker than all the other air. I saw, after a few minutes, a foggy green mist arise like a cloud. I watched as thereafter the DE 173 became rapidly invisible to human eyes.” That's the legend. but we still don't know the truth of the strange affair.

So far - as we know it - invisibility is still out of our hands. Maybe, one day, that could change...

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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