Monsters Among Us: An Exploration of Otherworldly Bigfoots, Wolfmen, Portals, Phantoms, and Odd Phenomena

Monsters Among Us: An Exploration of Otherworldly Bigfoots, Wolfmen, Portals, Phantoms, and Odd Phenomena

by Linda S. Godfrey

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101992425
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/11/2016
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 505,658
File size: 18 MB
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About the Author

LINDA S. GODFREY is one of America's foremost authorities on modern-day monsters. She is the author of over a dozen books on werewolves, hauntings, and the paranormal, including Real Wolfmen: True Encounters in Modern America, American Monsters: A History of Monster Lore, Legends, and Sightings in America, and Weird Michigan. Godfrey has appeared on many national TV shows such as The History Channel's Monster Quest, Inside Edition, and Sean Hannity, and has been a guest on radio shows such as Coast to Coast AM.

Read an Excerpt

chapter one

Things from Way Down Under

To the people of most ancient civilizations, there were two main places from which strange creatures or godlike beings could hail: the deep belly of the earth-or the sky. Portals, wormholes, and space-time tunnels are most often depicted in today's religious and pop culture art as hovering in the clouds, but in fact are just as likely to be found lying beneath our feet. Caves, underground worlds, the Christian concept of hell, underground military installations, and even alien bases-all of these imply mysterious subterranean passageways of some kind, whether they are known physical constructs like elevators or sewers, or the more nebulous method of transport to a less-than-happy afterlife.

As above, so below is an ancient mantra that can be interpreted many ways. Many cultures have believed that, like the images in a reflecting pool, if there are portals in the sky that open for beings from heaven or the stars, then there must also be entrances in the ground from which darker beings climb or slither. And according to many mythic and legendary traditions, holes in the earth and hollowed-out mountains or caves have traditionally been considered entrances to hell, or, as Buffy of Joss Whedon's classic sci-fi TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, called them, hellmouths.

Hellmouths and Other Gates to the Underworld

When it comes to tunnels and other openings to the underworld, I've noticed something of a turnaround in their traffic patterns over the centuries. Modern myth and legends seem to be all about monsters, demons, and the like taking advantage of hellmouths to escape from disagreeable underworlds. Many episodes of Buffy, for instance, deal with a giant hellmouth deep beneath the local high school that's crammed chockablock with demons plotting to spill upward and wreak havoc on humanity. Underworld myths of earlier civilizations, however, focused more on heroic figures struggling to get into these abodes of monsters and dead people, and then, mission accomplished, returning to our world while the horrible entities stayed put where they belonged.

I think I like the old ways better.

The Gates of Mashu

A good example of the latter can be found in some of humanity's earliest written mythic accounts, in the journey of the ancient Sumerian hero king Gilgamesh. Many scholars believe the character is based on an actual ruler of the southern Mesopotamian kingdom of Uruk, once located in present-day Iraq. He would have lived between 2700 and 2500 BCE. In this epic and iconic tale, Gilgamesh seeks to enter the underworld in hope of finding something still sought by humanity today: everlasting life. But before he enters, this king must become a bit monstrous himself, by growing his hair long and dressing in animal skins.

Once he makes it to the twin-peaked mountain called Mashu, which marks the entrance to heaven and the underworld alike, he encounters savage guardians-an army of scorpion people, no less-at the mountain's gateway. Gilgamesh, always quite the socially adept schmoozer, manages to avoid a fight and talk his way past them and on into the mountain's interior. He must then hike down a thirty-six-mile tunnel in total darkness in order to complete his quest and learn how to become immortal.

I had to stop at this point to wonder at the fact that at least five thousand years or so ago, people had already formed the notion of other worlds beyond our own that were inhabited not only by our dead but by gods and monsters, all reachable by traversing long passageways extending deep underground. Today, many world religions also believe that humans may end up stuck permanently in a (usually) ghastly world below when they die. But Gilgamesh is different. In true heroic fashion, he discovers the magical flower of eternal youth and returns with it from the underworld-only to lose it to a serpent who gives the precious bloom to its reptilian kin and thereby cheats humanity of its chance at earthly immortality.

We all hate it when that happens. And the motif of the clever, deceptive serpent recurs often in the religious literature of the world. Readers familiar with the Bible, for instance, are doubtlessly right now picturing forbidden fruit, one persuasive reptile, and a couple who suddenly find themselves naked, afraid, and unemployed as well. But that's another book. The thing that's pertinent in the tale of Gilgamesh, the thing that our modern stories share with these older traditions, is that idea of humans and monsters coming and going from mysterious underground worlds.

Contemporary Hellmouths

I've often stated that I don't believe in the idea of actual, traditional werewolves-humans changing their flesh-and-blood bodies for those of flesh-and-blood canines in an unholy and unsociable union. Sometimes, however, I do receive a compelling report that makes me wonder if something like that is possible in certain situations. And I've always been willing to allow for some sort of spirit-generated facsimile or illusion of a wolfoid that at least looks like a werewolf.

If there were such a thing, it seems fitting that they should be said to lurk in the nether regions-in caves, mines, or even sewer systems. I have heard a rumor, for instance, that people have claimed to see werewolves in the sewers of Minot, North Dakota. I've never been able to verify it and haven't even found a single witness, but I've since received some other reports that make it a bit more likely than I thought.

The Phantom Wolf of Wolfsegg

Few things would sound more classically spooky than strange moans and howls emanating from a deep, dark cave in the heart of Germany's Bavarian Forest. Add a famous floating ghost known as the "woman in white," and then pile on the sighting of a phantom wolf reported by a soldier with Canadian forces stationed near there in 1987-all the ingredients for a vaunted passage to an underground world are present and accounted for.

The intriguingly named village of Wolfsegg in southern Germany is most famous for its eight-hundred-year-old castle, a must-see for many tourists. The soldier's wife, "S," wrote me to relate that his troop was stationed that year at a US military garrison facility called the Hohenfels Training Area, not far from Wolfsegg. He and his comrades were camping overnight in a farm field nearby the training facility, and on one particular evening he had chosen to bunk inside his M458 military track vehicle. He was awakened during the night by a strange scratching sound at the vehicle's window.

His wife wrote, "Suddenly a large canine head appeared in the window. It looked dog- or wolflike but had glowing red eyes (the eyes frightened my husband the most). It made bold eye contact for a couple of seconds, then disappeared from view. It would have had to have been six to seven feet tall [standing] on its hind legs to reach the window of the track vehicle from the ground.

"The next morning my husband tried to tell himself that he must have dreamed the whole thing, but he found tracks and paw prints all over the muddy ground outside his vehicle. He told his fellow soldiers about the spooky creature, but nobody knew what to make of it."

The thought of a huge, possibly phantom wolf roaming a military training ground and window-peeping at slumbering soldiers does sound a bit fantastic. I call it a "possibly phantom wolf" partly because of its red eyes. Canid eye shine is normally light yellow to greenish or golden yellow, although sometimes physical eye conditions or illness can change any animal's eyeshine hue. But as wolves were once very numerous throughout Europe, so were legends of large, black, red-eyed phantom wolves or dogs, believed by most clergy of the Middle Ages to be demonic. The noted German scholar Dr. Johann Keiler von Kaiserberg, for instance, preached a sermon on that subject in Strassburg in 1508. A local cleric published the good doctor's words, including this interesting sentence: "He certainly says that the Demon often appears in the shape of a wolf, and in his sermon on wild men of the woods he speaks of lycanthropes in Spain."

Synchronistically, S added that Wolfsegg's coat of arms features a wolf, actually the head of a black, shaggy wolf with a protruding red tongue.

The Wolfsegg Hole

But there's more than just history to link the Wolfsegg area to possible phantom creatures. As mentioned earlier, there's a well-known legend of a "woman in white" said to appear around the castle grounds. The apparition is thought to be the ghost of a woman killed in 1485 for marital transgressions.

Wolfsegg also is famed for a deep cave located about a hundred yards into the forest just outside the village. Residents nicknamed the cave "The Hole" due to its steep drop into a black, seeming abyss. It is at least thirty-five meters deep, and despite a few expeditions meant to discover its outlet, local tourism publications say it has never been fully explored.

A site called Travel Creepster claims, "There is a strange noise coming from the darkness of the Hole, sometimes just breathing, and sometimes grunts or growling, but the last thing witnesses would describe it as is human. The locals will tell you that the sounds are not natural of any creature they have ever heard, and they tell the story of travelers that got too close and were never seen again."

According to the site, one expedition led by scientists in 1920 entered the cave on the premise that the opening shaft was too steep to be used as a regular entrance by whatever animals were heard breathing in there and that therefore another, more horizontal level must exist. They did find horizontal tunnels, but they were much deeper than expected, and they were filled with animal bones that they judged had been left in the cave over a very long period of time by unknown carnivores. There are numerous other caves and old mines in the area as well, since this was once a very active iron mine region. And while I don't want to give the impression that tunnels to possible netherworlds are absolute requirements for sightings of werewolves-in-progress, people have sent me some stunning examples of cases where underground access seems to have played a part.

Encounter case summary: Phantom Wolf of Wolfsegg

Reported creature(s): Large, wolflike creature that left paw prints and also mud prints on vehicle.

Location, date: Hohenfels Training Area near Wolfsegg, Germany, 1987.

Conditions: Nighttime, clear weather.

Associated phenomena: Ghost apparition, extremely deep sinkhole with horizontal tunnels filled with animal bones and the site of unidentified grunts and growling.

Unexplained actions/appearance of creature: Height of six to seven feet, glowing red eyes (unlike yellowish, reflective canid eyes), and stood upright to peer into military truck window.

Witness(es): A Canadian soldier on training duty.

Environmental factors: Combination of woods and farms to provide possible small livestock as prey, and close proximity to a legendary deep sinkhole with a tunnel system near a military base.

chapter two

Liminal Los Angeles

Zooming back to the United States, we can explore a better-documented tale-first person, with two witnesses and a pinpoint geographical location-sent to me several years ago by a woman who had a close encounter with an apparent shape-shifter as it tried to hoist itself out of a manhole. It happened in Torrance, California, when she was just seven and her brother was fourteen. He won't talk publicly about it to this day, she says, but she remembers it clearly. I've left it in mostly her own words, edited slightly for spelling, brevity, and punctuation, with only a few added interjections of my own.

The Torrance Werewolf

"Well, it was a sunny afternoon in 1985, and I was with my brother and my mother at a Laundromat in Torrance, California, that we occasionally went to. We had just came from a store where my mom bought my brother and I our first Nerf ball to share. We were very excited and anxious to play with it. Well, we were helping mom put the clothes in the washer and getting change, etc. Then my brother and I started begging our mom to let us play with the Nerf ball in the parking lot. She of course said no, because it was too dangerous, so my brother said that he would be right back. He went looking around for a spot to play, and came back quickly. He said to my mom that he found a safe spot right behind the Laundromat, and it was an apartment-type complex with a long driveway where we would be safe from cars. She finally accepted.

"We ran as fast as we could to the back of the Laundromat. I remember my brother saying to me that he wanted me to go to the middle of the driveway and that he would be toward the front, just in case cars would drive in. That way he could be seen better, because he was taller. We started to play catch back and forth, throwing the ball different ways with spins and twirls and such. I remember we got pretty loud because we were having such fun. We were running and jumping, and we kept hitting the sides of the wall to this property and the open carports that were underneath the complex.

"After about thirty minutes or so my brother threw it so high and far that I had to fetch the ball from the last carport. The ball flew in all the way back to the carport wall, just beneath the storage compartment that each carport had. So I ran to go get it. I got the Nerf ball in my hands and turned around. Right there was a large, metal rectangular door on the ground that looked like it opened to an underground area.

"Well, there was a man that lifted the door and popped a little out from underneath this heavy thick metal door, and it was propped sort of on his back neck and shoulders . . . to where I could only see his upper body. I was at that moment freaked out and afraid. I was told to never talk to strangers. I was told constantly to never trust anyone by my mother, brother, and grandma. I wasn't allowed to go anywhere alone. So I was very frightened and stood still, looking at this man.

"The door was heavy, so it seemed as if he couldn't get enough strength to get all the way out of it. My only way to get past him was from the sides, because this door was directly in the middle of the end of the carport, facing outward. He looked at me, and said in a [rough] voice, 'What's all this noise, why are you making so much noise? What are you doing? Why are you here?' I didn't say anything. I just stared.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Prelude: The Case for Consideration-A Para-Creature Sampler: Skinwalker Ranch 9

1 Worlds Below 17

Chapter 1 Things from Way Down Under 19

Hellmouths and Other Gates to the Underworld

The Gates of Mashu

Contemporary Hellmouths

The Phantom Wolf of Wolfsegg

The Wolfsegg Hole

Chapter 2 Liminal Los Angeles 26

The Torrance Werewolf

The VIP Werewolf of Orange

LA's Leapin' Lycan

LA's Tunnel Labyrinth

The Lost Lizard People of LA

2 Neither Man Nor Beast 49

Chapter 3 They Walk Among Us 51

A Dog's Head on a Human Body

Michigan Dog at the Door

The New York Hoodie Wolf

The Checkered Shirt

Chapter 4 The Church Lady Monster 58

Where Did It Come From?

Visions and Apparitions

Fata Morgana, Sexual Repression, and Demons

Chapter 5 Ch-Ch-Changes 73

South American Werecreatures

The Animal-like Double

Spirit Bigfoot

Our Guardian Alter Egos

3 Things That Make House Calls 77

Chapter 6 Inner Space Invasions 79

The Heady Stuff of Human Consciousness

Deep Psi

Chapter 7 Unwanted Bedroom Guests 83

The Smell of Sulfur

Basement Shadow Beast

Redfern's Reality Check

Chapter 8 Speak, Rover, Speak! 90

All Greek to Me

Totally Sinus: UFO, the Dog Star, and a Dogman

Chapter 9 Shadow Wolves 95

Anubis in Addison

Anubis the Archetype

Louisiana Shadow Doggy

California Bad Dreaming

Chapter 10 Hag Riders and Other Uninvited Visitors 110

Night Spirits of the Hmong

A Few More Uninvited Overnighters

Owning Up to My Own Visitors

Chapter 11 Jeepers, Creature Peepers 118

Ontario Window Wolf

The Calgary Creature

Lights and Solar Flares

Native American Views of Prowling Creatures

Canines and Upright Posture

Michigan Stalker Wolf

The Southern Illinois Watcher

Chapter 12 Roadies 139

California Car Jumper

Indiana Car Caresser

Illinois Car Charger

The Oconto Bearwolf

The Michigan Mentalist

4 Creatures of Shadows, Mists, and Lights 157

Chapter 13 The Neillsville Nexus 157

The Neillsville Nexus

Black-Furred Humanoid in the Yard

A Light That Casts a Shadow

Kangaroos and Poltergeists

The Cinnamon Bigfoot

Bigfoot in a Multifaceted Native View

Into the Shadows

Stick Structures and Branch Assemblies

Lights and Portals

Chapter 14 The Brunswick Wolf Shadow 177

Feeling of Pure Evil

It's All Happening at the Zoo

Chapter 15 Beasts of Bong 182

Scrawny Sprinter

Marsh Marcher

Vanished into the Oaks

Honey Lake Track Creature

Black Cats and UFOs

Fire Ships and Ancient Mounds

Chapter 16 Green Mists and Sentient Atmospheres 195

The Green Haze

Michigan's Green Glow

The Aveley Mist

The Green Flash

Swamp Gas and Great Balls O'Lightning

Spook Lights of Michigan and North Carolina

Baffling Brown Mountain

Chapter 17 The Oz Factor 211

Zones of Influence

The Zone of Fear

Locked in Dread

Good Entity, Bad Entity

Chapter 18 Mist-erious Creatures 220

Willies of the Field

Paw Prints from Nowhere

Play Misty for Me

Cloaked in Suspicion: Camouflage and Virtual Invisibility

The Hartland Hairy Thing

Trail Cam Anomalies

"Make It Go Away"

The Mists of Time: Common Origins?

Topanga Canyon Sheep Mist

Pennsylvania Glow-Stick Dogman

5 Out of Thin Air-Creatures, UFOS, and Portals 255

Chapter 19 The Multiple Modes of UFOs 257

Chapter 20 Lights, Crafts, and Chickens 260

The Roachdale Chicken Rustler

The Dundee Disk

Craft over Canada

Chapter 21 Bigfoot in Chicago 273

Living with Monstrous Memories

UFOs over Chicago

The Wall of Silence

The Invisibility Question

Why No Attacks?

Winkin' and Blinkin

Twice Blessed

Chapter 22 The Invisibles 293

North Carolina's Unseen Tracker

Military Vanishing Acts

Tennessee Clumsy Bigfoot

No-See-'Em Tennessee Mountain Monster

Chapter 23 When Worlds Collide 305

Land Spirits and Fairy Paths

Chapter 24 Possibly Portals 311

Kentucky Sky Castle

Problems with Portals

Portals of the Ancients and Gateways to Heaven

Elijah's Whirlwind

Ezekiel's Creatures in the Clouds

St. Cuthbert's Vision

Chapter 25 Search for a Wisconsin Portal 320

Back to Smith's Field

The Orange Light Structure

The Black Mist and the UFO

The Natural-Born Killers

The Curious Sphere

Chapter 26 Physics and the Otherworld 342

Notes 347

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