This meticulously researched and thrilling exploration of the otherworldly will challenge your idea of reality. Mysterious wolf-people, sentient mists, and UFOs…if you've ever heard a curious bump in the night, caught a glimpse of a strange-looking someone (or something) out of the corner of your eye, or seen an unusual craft dart across the sky before it vanishes without a trace, there's only one person to call: Linda S. Godfrey. An expert in strange creatures and lore, she has offered reporting on bigfoots, werewolves, strange energy forms, and other bizarre beings for years.
Godfrey will enthrall even skeptics as she leads you through the mystical, legendary, and scientific angles of these creatures and the myths that surround them. Within these pages, you will encounter:
- First-hand testimony of a terrifying transformation from woman to beast (during a church service, no less)
- The Lost Lizard People of Los Angeles
- A growling, phantomlike home invader
- Wolfmen who walk on two legs
- People stalked by invisible predators
Delivering a broad mix of modern-day and historical sightings, and supported by Godfrey's interviews with eyewitnesses, Monsters Among Us is essential reading for anyone hunting for the real accounts behind their childhood campfire stories.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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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.
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.
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
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
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
Our Guardian Alter Egos
3 Things That Make House Calls 77
Chapter 6 Inner Space Invasions 79
The Heady Stuff of Human Consciousness
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
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
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
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