Mar 11, 2023 I Nick Redfern

Wild Monsters: Some of the Strangest Creatures in the World of Cryptozoology

Just about everyone has heard of the Loch Ness Monsters, Bigfoot, the Abominable Snowman, the Chupacabra, sea serpents, Mothman and more. There are, however, some creatures that are really weird. And, you'll see some of them now. Let's begin. Anomalies researcher and writer Mike Dash says: “Few creatures have struck more terror into more hearts for longer than the basilisk, a monster feared for centuries throughout Europe and North Africa. Like many ancient marvels, it was a bizarre hybrid: a crested snake that hatched from an egg laid by a rooster and incubated by a toad.” Tales of the Basilisk really came to the fore in 79AD, in the pages of Pliny the Elder’s Natural History. It states of the beast that: “It is produced in the province of Cyrene, being not more than twelve fingers in length. It has a white spot on the head, strongly resembling a sort of a diadem. When it hisses, all the other serpents fly from it: and it does not advance its body, like the others, by a succession of folds, but moves along upright and erect upon the middle.

(Nick Redfern) Monsters are everywhere.

"It destroys all shrubs, not only by its contact, but those even that it has breathed upon; it burns up all the grass, too, and breaks the stones, so tremendous is its noxious influence. It was formerly a general belief that if a man on horseback killed one of these animals with a spear, the poison would run up the weapon and kill, not only the rider, but the horse, as well. To this dreadful monster the effluvium of the weasel is fatal, a thing that has been tried with success, for kings have often desired to see its body when killed; so true is it that it has pleased Nature that there should be nothing without its antidote. The animal is thrown into the hole of the basilisk, which is easily known from the soil around it being infected. The weasel destroys the basilisk by its odor, but dies itself in this struggle of nature against its own self.” Now, onto something equally bizarre.

The name of the next creature is sure to stay around forever: Batsquatch. 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. 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.

(Nick Redfern) To Puerto Rico now, but we're not talking about the Chupacabra.

Now, onto Puerto Rico. But, we're not talking about the Chupacabra. In September 1959, a groundbreaking paper – Searching for Interstellar Communications, written by Cornell University physicists, Phillip Morrison and Giuseppe Conconi – was published in the pages of Nature. The paper was focused upon the idea of searching for extraterrestrial life via the medium of microwaves. Approximately eight months later, one Frank Drake decided to test the theories and ideas of Morrison and Conconi for himself. Drake did so at the Green Bank National Radio Astronomy Observatory, located in West Virginia. Despite lasting for 150 hours, the search of the heavens for evidence of messages from alien intelligences was not successful. Drake, however, was not to be dissuaded or defeated quite so easily as that. In October 1961, the very first conference on what became known as the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) was convened at Green Bank. It was here that Drake unleashed his now famous and much championed Drake Equation upon the world, and which is an admittedly controversial method for attempting to ascertain the scale of intelligent civilizations that may exist in the known universe. Since then, SETI has been at the forefront of research into the search for alien life.

When Frank Drake elected to make it his life’s work to search for alien intelligences, he went down a road that eventually led him to the Arecibo Radio Telescope, which is located on the island of Puerto Rico, and where he, Drake, eventually rose to the position of Director. As Drake noted in his 1994 book, Is Anyone Out There?, it was at some point early in his tenure as Director – in the mid-1960s – that a guard at the observatory claimed to have seen a sinister-looking man dressed in a black cloak “walking the narrow trail around the perimeter of the bowl.” The guard was of the opinion that the dark figure was nothing less than a blood-draining – and blood-drinking – vampire. Despite his skepticism, Drake politely accepted the guard’s report and agreed to at least take a look at it. Forty eight hours later, said Drake, “I really was forced to look into it…because a cow was found dead on a nearby farm, with all the blood drained from its body. The vampire rumor spread had already spread through the observatory staff, and now the cow incident whipped the fears of many people into a frenzy.”

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. Now, to another monster of the crazy type.

Now, it's time for a really strange affair: One of the strangest, and undoubtedly, creepiest of all encounters with a weird creature occurred at the height of the Vietnam War, and specifically in Da Nang, Vietnam. It was in August 1969 that a man named Earl Morrison, along with several comrades, had the shock of his life. It was, very appropriately, in the dead of night when the menacing event occurred – and as the men were on guard-duty, keeping a careful look out for the Vietcong. Everything was quiet and normal until around 1:30 a.m. That’s when the atmosphere changed, and an eerie form made its presence known to the shocked men of the US 1st Division Marine Corps. Despite being somewhat reluctant to speak out publicly, Morrison eventually changed his mind and, by 1972, was comfortable about discussing the incident, even if he wasn’t comfortable with what he encountered.

His story makes for incredible reading:  “We saw what looked like wings, like a bat’s, only it was gigantic compared to what a regular bat would be. After it got close enough so we could see what it was, it looked like a woman. A naked woman. She was black. Her skin was black, her body was black, the wings were back; everything was black. But it glowed. It glowed in the night, kind of greenish cast to it. She started going over us, and we still didn’t hear anything. She was right above us, and when she got over the top of our heads she was maybe 6 or 7 feet up. We watched her go straight over the top of us, and she still didn’t make any noise flapping her wings. She blotted out the moon once – that’s how close she was to us. And dark – looked like pitch black then, but we could still define her because she just glowed. Real bright like. And she started going past us straight towards our encampment. As we watched her – she had got about 10 feet or so away from us – we started hearing her wings flap. And it sounded, you know, like regular wings flapping. And she just started flying off and we watched her for quite a while.”

(Nick Redfern) Winged monsters: keep looking at the skies.

One of those who took a great deal of interest in the story of the flying woman of Da Nang was a UFO researcher named Don Worley. His personal interview with Morrison revealed additional data, such as the fact that the woman’s hair was black and straight, that the wings may have had a slight furry quality to them, that she “rippled” as she flew by, that she appeared to lack bones in her body, and that her wings seemed to be directly “molded” to her hands and arms. The investigators Janet and Colin Bord say of this particularly odd case: “Usually our reports of winged figures describe them as ‘men,’ but without any indication whether features are seen which tell the witness definitely that it is a man. In view of this we suspect that so-called ‘birdmen’ should strictly be termed ‘bird people’ or ‘bird persons,’ and that no sex attribution can honestly be made. However, the Da Nang sighting does not come into that category. The only other winged figure we have on record is a creature from Welsh folklore, the Gwrach-y-rhibyn. She resembled the Irish banshee, moaning and wailing to foretell death in a family.” There's no doubt: Cryptozoology is a really strange subject.

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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