Stories and content in Weird Darkness can be disturbing for some listeners and is intended for mature audiences only. Parental discretion is strongly advised. If you’re already a fan of Weird Darkness, please share a link to this episode on your social media, and tell your friends and family about the podcast!
Tired of commercials interrupting your listening experience? For just $5 per month you can listen to all past, present, and future #WeirdDarkness episodes commercial-free – plus BONUS AUDIO and news about the podcast! Learn more at:http://www.WeirdDarkness.com/WEIRDO.
IN THIS EPISODE: (DARK ARCHIVES DOUBLE TROUBLE EPISODE with stories previously aired August 01, 2018 and August 02, 2018) *** He and his lover took all their possessions and 12,000 doses of LSD to go live in the Satanist sex castle of Corpsewood Manor. Then their story ended with a bloodbath. (The Corpsewood Manor Murders) *** 6-year-old Sheila Fox’s disappearance is strange in that there is more than one account of her abduction – contradictory accounts. So what happened to her on that August day in 1944? (Girl In The Green Mac) *** A skeptic of the paranormal housesits for friends in their haunted house. This should get interesting. (The Skeptic And The Playful Ghost) *** We’ve all heard of werewolves, and in recent episodes we’ve touched on other creatures of a similar nature such as were-dogs, were-hyenas, and the like. There are were-tigers, and were-… well, you get the idea. But here’s one I’ll be you never heard of. A were-tree. (When Creatures Change Form) *** According to one of our Weirdo family members, it’s possible to live in a haunted house without ever seeing any sign of the paranormal – until you decide to begin remodeling. (It Began In The Conservatory) *** How do you run from something that is faster than any human being alive, and is invisible? (Hiker Confronts Invisible Bipedal Entity) *** Have you ever woken up and don’t remember even walking into your bedroom to go to bed the night before? For one person, that was just the beginning of the outlandish things to follow. (I Don’t Think I Was Dreaming) *** On June 16, 1936, Hallie Latham, a waitress living in Port Angeles, Washington, married her third husband, a beer truck driver and well-known ladies’ man named Monty Illingworth. She had no idea on what was undoubtedly a happy day that she had just made the worst mistake of her life – or that she was soon to become a legend in death. (The Lady of the Lake) *** Japan has rightly earned itself a reputation as a wellspring of the weird, of that there can be no doubt. Of special interest here is all of the strange creatures and entities said to inhabit this land, ranging from mysterious monsters, to phantoms, to everything in between. (Phantoms and Monsters of Japan)
STORY AND MUSIC CREDITS/SOURCES…
“The Lady of the Lake” by Troy Taylor: http://bit.ly/2OsU4QL
“Girl In The Green Mac” by Elisabeth Tilstra: http://bit.ly/2shjCaC
“When Creatures Change Form” by Nick Redfern: http://bit.ly/35HjZts
“It Began In The Conservatory” by ‘Jackson’ submitted at WeirdDarkness.com.
“The Skeptic And The Playful Ghost” by ‘Bee’: http://bit.ly/35IbD4Z
“Hiker Confronts Invisible Bipedal Entity” by ‘Jim’: http://bit.ly/2smsdZH
“The Corpsewood Manor Murders” by Gina Dimuro: http://bit.ly/2QTNSTr
“I Don’t Think I Was Dreaming” by E. Velez, submitted at WeirdDarkness.com.
“Phantoms and Monsters of Japan” by Brent Swancer: http://bit.ly/2Or6IiX
Background music provided by EpidemicSound and AudioBlocks with paid license. Music by Shadows Symphony (http://bit.ly/2W6N1xJ) and Midnight Syndicate (http://amzn.to/2BYCoXZ) is also sometimes used with permission.
SUPPORT THE PODCAST…
Become a PATRON (Official Weirdo): http://www.WeirdDarkness.com/WEIRDO
Visit my sponsors: http://www.WeirdDarkness.com/sponsors
MY RECORDING TOOLS…
* MICROPHONE (Neumann TLM103): http://amzn.to/2if01CL
* POP FILTER (AW-BM700): http://amzn.to/2zRIIyK
* XLR CABLE (Mogami Gold Studio): http://amzn.to/2yZXJeD
* MICROPHONE PRE-AMP (Icicle): http://amzn.to/2vLqLzg
* SOFTWARE (Adobe Audition): http://amzn.to/2vLqI6E
* HARDWARE (MacBook Pro): http://amzn.to/2vQzD5g
I always make sure to give authors credit for the material I use. If I somehow overlooked doing that for a story, or if a credit is incorrect, please let me know and I’ll rectify it the show notes as quickly as possible.
***WeirdDarkness™ – is a registered trademark of Marlar House Productions. Copyright © Marlar House Productions, 2019.
“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” — John 12:46 *** How to escape eternal darkness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IYmodFKDaM
THE LADY OF THE LAKE
Hallie Latham would have likely never been in the news if not for the discovery of her body, floating in Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park in the summer of 1940. She had been strangled, wrapped in blankets, and tied with heavy rope. But it wasn’t the method of her murder that captured the attention of the public – it was the condition of her body. Her face was unrecognizable, but her body had not decomposed. In a bizarre chemical transformation, her flesh had turned into a soap-like substance that could be scooped away like jelly.
The newspaper coverage was predictably lurid. The public was fascinated by the story, especially after the murdered woman – unidentified, at first – became known as the “Lady of the Lake.” It was the perfect name for a mystery woman found in Lake Crescent, a cold, deep lake that was known for never giving up its dead.
It didn’t take long for detectives to discover the identity of the “Lady of the Lake,” or that she had been missing since before Christmas in 1937.
Hallie had arrived on the Olympic Peninsula about three years before her disappearance, running away from two failed marriages. She had been born on January 8, 1901, on a farm near Greenville, Kentucky. As a young woman, Hallie repeatedly moved west in a search for a better life. When she made it to Washington, she had gone about as far as she could go – but life didn’t get much better. She ended up working at the Lake Crescent Tavern, where she met Monty, who became her third husband.
They had a volatile marriage from the start. Five months after their wedding, they got into an early morning hours fight that was so horrible that the police were called to break it up. Hallie often showed up for work with black eyes and bruises on her face and arms. No one helped her. Sadly, it just wasn’t how things worked at the time.
Then, as the holidays approached in 1937, Hallie disappeared. After the night and morning and December 21-22, she was never seen again. Monty told friends that his wife had run off with another man, but as months passed, even Hallie’s close-knit family received no word from her.
Monty moved on with his life. He moved to California with a woman that he met in Port Angeles – a woman whom, reportedly, he’d been seeing even before Hallie disappeared.
And then on July 6, 1940, almost three years after she vanished, two fishermen found the body of a woman – Hallie Illingworth, the “Lady of the Lake” – floating on the surface of Lake Crescent.
The corpse was taken to Port Angeles, were a young medical student, Harlan McNutt, examined the body. He noted that the upper part of her face, her upper lip and nose were gone. There was no way to tell what the woman had looked like. Because her hands had been exposed, the tips of the fingers were gone, which made fingerprinting impossible.
And then there was the bizarre state of the body.
The dead woman’s flesh had turned to “something like Ivory Soap,” McNutt said later, describing a condition known as “saponification.” The soap-like condition resulted from minerals in the lake interacting with the fats in the woman’s body. The lake’s near-freezing temperatures had preserved the corpse for years. This made it possible for McNutt to determine that the woman had met a violent death, a fact that was later confirmed by autopsy. Her neck was bruised and discolored and there were bruises all over the body. She had been beaten and strangled.
There was only one clue that led to her identity – a distinctive upper dental plate. It was traced back to a dentist in South Dakota who had made the plate for Hallie years before.
Soon, investigators were on Monty’s trail. They found him living in Long Beach, California. On October 26, 1941, he was arrested and taken into custody by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies. He was charged with murder.
Monty was returned to Washington for his trial in Clallam County Superior Court. It began on February 24, 1942 and was so sensational that it competed for front page news with World War II. The trial developments appeared in the newspapers each day and spectators – all hoping for a seat in the courtroom – arrived earlier and earlier with each passing day. The courtroom became so crowded during the nine days of the trial that people had to be seated in the hallway.
Monty’s defense was that the dead woman wasn’t Hallie, and he swore she was still alive when he last saw her. But the old dentist from South Dakota was a credible witness, and he insisted the dental plate found on the murdered woman belonged to Hallie. Moreover, Hallie’s friends identified clothes worn by the dead woman as belonging to Hallie.
Another key piece of evidence was the rope used to bind Hallie before she was dropped in the lake. Monty had borrowed 50 feet of rope from a storekeeper at the lake, and the store still had remnants from the rope. The fibers matched.
Criminal genius he was not.
The jury only took four hours to reach a verdict, with time for lunch included. On March 5, 1942, Monty was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. Unbelievably, he only served nine years of that sentence and was paroled in 1951. He died on November 5, 1974, at Los Alamitos, California.
Hopefully, Hallie was waiting for him when he got to the other side — and she was still angry.
IT BEGAN IN THE CONSERVATORY
When I was little, my mum and dad divorced so my dad had to get a new house. To be close to me and my brother, he moved just up the street, less than a minute walk. We lived in a relatively small village in South Wales, UK, near Swansea. Quite quiet, not much interesting happens, that kind of village.
Everything was fine, we visited him for a long time and he never mentioned anything weird. Eventually he wanted to put a conservatory on the back of the house and needed to knock a wall through to create a door for it. Knocking that wall down was pretty fun, but we didn’t know that it would be the start of our creepy adventure. From then on things started happening, noises, items moving, things like that but here I’ll tell you the creepiest things.
The only thing that I encountered personally was waking up to something climbing the stairs. I assumed it was our dog. It climbed the stairs and walked along the hallway to outside my room and my father’s room, which were directly next to each other. From there it went back down the stairs, and repeated this cycle 4 or 5 times so eventually I opened the door to let the dog in to my room or my father’s, wherever he wanted to go, only to find he was already in my father’s room, with the door closed, and had been all night.
The rest of these are the things that happened to my father and his now ex-wife. My father reported many things moving, never finding them in the place he’d left them, noises he’d heard. One day he had a new porcelain sink put in the kitchen, simple and white. The next morning, he went downstairs to find a crucifix in the sink. Taking it out, he put it on the counter to find a rust mark in the sink where it had laid. He could never get that rust mark out, it always remained there. Unlike the crucifix which disappeared later that morning and hasn’t been seen since. The creepiest thing in my opinion is what happened to his ex-wife, who was awoken one night to a little girl entering the bedroom behind her and calling for her mother, over and over again for 5 minutes or so, before leaving. She was terrified and convinced my father to call in a priest to bless the house, or exorcise it Or something like that. Nothing happened from then on. Silence.
Eventually my father moved out and got a new house, and someone from our village moved into the now blessed house. About 3 weeks after they moved in they knocked on my mothers door and asked to see my brother and myself, asking us if the house was haunted. Simply put, we said that it was. I’ll never know what happened after they moved in, all I know is that within 8 weeks, they had moved in, and moved back out after asking if it was haunted.
“I have encountered an entity which has some similarity to the “Flash.” One problem is that we don’t have names for these things. I was camping alone in the mountains as I used to do, for 4 weeks every Summer. I would spend a week here and a week there, just living and enjoying the freedom from the noise of civilization. Every Summer in early September, when the wild blueberries were ripe, I liked to camp in a spooky place where a friend had seen a Sasquatch years before. One can search Google Earth for “Port Mellon BC.” Look up in the mountains, behind Port Mellon for the boundary of the Tetrahedron Park. That is where this site is located.
One morning, I walked up the steep hill away from my camper truck. I spent a few hours walking through the old growth rain forest, eating blueberries and listening. The morning fog cleared as I explored a ridge and the steep decline on the other side. On my return route, I had to walk down a steep rocky slope at the bottom of which I could see my truck. I negotiated this slope slowly using my walking stick and placing each step carefully. I mention this detail because my mental focus was down on my feet for the period of time that preceded my encounter with the entity. Finally, I stepped down off the last rock onto the flat ground near the front bumper of my truck. Looking around, I saw some bushes rattling, shaking. I thought there must be a squirrel there in the low vegetation just a few feet away. I stepped forward and poked at the vibrating bushes with my stout walking stick. The circle of rattling bushes suddenly expanded out to a few feet in diameter. This was abnormal as hell. I jumped back at the sudden increase in noise and motion. What happened next is difficult to describe because it was truly ‘paranormal.’
It looked like a tall bipedal and invisible creature went running away from me. It ran at high speed up a steep slope. It was invisible but I could see its motion by the way it disturbed the vegetation. It made a hole in the forest as it ran. I repeat: It made a hole in the forest as it ran away from me up a steep hillside. I watched, looking into the hole, trying to see the creature that was making the hole. There was nothing to be seen in the hole. This was so flippin’ strange that I never tried to tell anybody for years after. Then I was reading the comments section under a video on Youtube and there, a hunter told his story of a “hole in the forest” running past him. He was standing still, listening and looking around for a deer. He looked towards a sound and saw a hole in the forest moving at a fast running speed. It was coming towards him but he was too stunned to raise his rifle. “It”, the entity, went close past him. He looked into the hole, but it was empty. His description and his thoughts were exactly the same as mine. This hunter guy and I had certainly experienced the same ENTITY. So, what do we call this thing? An invisible Sasquatch, a Shadow Person, The Predator (From the movie). I don’t know.
By this time, I have found about 6 people who tell of an identical or similar experience. One was at night but the rest were in the daytime, in good light. It seems that the Entity wants to interact with the Human. It seems to want to scare the person. Although, in my case, I scared it. I think I poked it in the foot with my stick. I am speculating only a bit away from the evidence I have gathered.”
While the traditional image of the werewolf is, without a doubt, the first thing that springs to mind when a discussion of shapeshifters takes place, the truth of the matter is that there is a veritable menagerie of such infernal things in our midst. Were-cats, were-tigers, were-hyenas, and were-coyotes are also near the top of the monstrous list. Then, there are the ancient beliefs that those who died violent deaths – or those who were, themselves, murderers – were often destined to return to our plain of existence in the forms of hideous beasts, including wild and savage ape-like animals, fearsome black dogs with glowing and blazing red eyes, and mermaid-like things. There are also beings from other worlds: aliens, extraterrestrials, and Men in Black. Even the legendary monsters of Loch Ness, Scotland, are believed – in certain monster-hunting quarters – to be paranormal beasts that have the ability to alter their appearances at will. As are legendary vampires, who, the old legends suggest, can transform into the likes of bats and wolves.
Collectively, all of these “things” amount to an absolute army of otherworldly creatures, and half-human monsters that have plagued and tormented us since the dawning of civilization. And, they show zero signs of slowing down anytime soon. The things you thought were only fit for campfire tales, late-night stories intended to thrill little children, and entertaining monster-movies, are, in actuality, creatures of the real world. Of our world. Shapeshifters are everywhere: they lurk in the shadows, in the deep woods and expansive forests, in dark and dank caves, and in the murky waters of our lakes and rivers. Maybe even, after sunset, in the recesses of your very own backyard, patiently waiting to pounce. And many of them like nothing better than to terrorize and torment us, the human race. Let’s take a look at a few examples.
The latter part of the 1800s saw the surfacing of a tale of shapeshifting out of Germany – a country that has a long and checkered history of encounters with werewolves. It’s specifically to the town of Ludwigslust we have to turn our attentions; a town with origins that date back to 1724. One particular creature that became almost legendary in 1879 was a large, wild wolf that seemingly was completely unaffected by bullets. The brazen beast would even creep up on hunters and steal their bounty: their dinner, in other words. It’s no surprise that word soon got around that maybe the wolf was more than just a nimble animal that had been lucky enough to avoid getting shot. Some thought it was supernatural in nature. Others, in quiet tones, suggested Ludwigslust had its very own werewolf. They were right. Witnesses claimed to see a wizened old witch transform into the deadly beast – and back again.
In April 2016, a very strange story surfaced out of the north of England. And to the extent that not just the local media, but the national media, too, were busy chasing down the strange and sinister story of what has become known as the “Werewolf of Hull,” reportedly an eight-foot-tall, hair-covered monster. The case was, however, notable for the fact that several of the witnesses claimed the beast shape-shifted from a terrible, foul monster into the form of a black-cloaked old witch. Most of the reports surfaced in and around the vicinity of what is called the Beverley and Barmston Drain, a land drainage operation, the origins of which date back to the latter part of the 1800s. A tunnel that carries the drain can be found below an old bridge on Beverley Beck, a canal in East Riding, Yorkshire, England – a location where a number of the encounters with the hair-covered thing have taken place.
So, what might the creature have been? The U.K.’s media picked up – and picked up quickly and widely – on a local legend of an abominable beast known as “Old Stinker.” It’s a terrifying half-human / half-animal-style thing that has a long history in the area – one which dates back centuries. So the story goes, it took its name from the legend that it allegedly suffered from severely bad breath! And its physical appearance was said to have been no better either: it was covered in hair, and had piercing and glowing red eyes. On top of that, it regularly devoured the corpses of the recent dead.
Jennifer’s encounter occurred in her small Oregon hometown in the fall of 2011. Late one night, Jennifer saw what she assumed was a large black dog walking towards her, on the sidewalk. As the creature got closer, Jennifer was horrified to see it was actually a significantly-sized cat. As in the size of a jaguar. Jennifer was about to make a run for cover – but to where, at that time of night, she admitted she had no idea – when the cat suddenly stood upright, changed its appearance and ran across the road, at a phenomenal speed, and vanished into an alley on the other side of the road. Notably, Jennifer said that the cat did not lose its black color as it changed into human form – nor did it lose its cat-like head. It was, according to Jennifer, something that appeared half-human and half-cat. A definitive were-cat.
Of the many and varied kinds of “elementals” that were said to possess the awesome powers of shapeshifting, certainly one of the most mysterious, and strangest of all, was the Dryad. It was a definitive entity of magical proportions that took shapeshifting to a truly unique level – as we shall now see. The Dryad was a supernatural entity that features heavily in ancient Greek mythology, and which was exclusively associated with forests and woods, and trees. There was a very good reason for that: the Dryad had the uncanny and eerie ability to transform itself into a tree!
Perceived almost unanimously by Native Americans as a trickster-like animal, the coyote is said to have the ability to control the weather, specifically rain and storms. And, like so many other trickster entities – such as fairies and goblins – the coyote can be friendly, playful, and helpful. But, and also like all tricksters, the coyote has a dark side: it can be manipulative, deceitful, and even deadly, and as the mood takes it. As for what Native American lore says of the shapeshifting abilities of the coyote, we are told that the animal can take on human form – usually in the guise of a man with a large mustache. Coyotes are said to be able to transform into the forms of birds, fish and cats. Also according to Native American mythology, witches and those familiar with magical rituals can transform themselves into coyotes. Thus, a coyote seen running wildly late at night may well be a shapeshifting witch or wizard, embarking on some dark and disturbing mission.
Japan has its very own shapeshifter: the Kitsune. It is a word that means “fox.” Japanese lore has long maintained that each and every fox that lives – and which has ever lived – has the ability to take on the appearance of a human, whether that of a man or of a woman. And, like many of the shapeshifters that we have focused on so far, the Kitsune alternates from being a malevolent creature to a placid and helpful entity. Mostly, however, it acts as a classic Trickster – manipulating people, and playing endless mind-games.
And that’s just the start of things: the Men in Black who terrorize UFO witnesses have been seen to morph into the forms of blazing-eyed black dogs. The legendary Mothman of Point Pleasant, West Virginia has been described variously as a winged humanoid, as giant bat-like animal, and as a huge bird. Clearly, the beast is able to take on multiple guises. Bigfoot witnesses tell of the creatures changing into bright balls of light. The legendary creatures of Loch Ness are said to have the ability to take on the forms of beautiful women and large black horses.
GIRL IN THE GREEN MAC
On August 18, 1944, 6-year-old Sheila Fox, from the town of Bolton, in Greater Manchester, went missing while on her way home from school. World War II coverage directed the press away from little Sheila’s story, but it was a most perplexing one, with contradictory eyewitness accounts surrounding the last moments she was ever seen, and a lifetime of pain for her family.
By all accounts, Sheila Fox was a happy—albeit shy—little girl. Because of her shyness, it was unlikely, her friends and family thought, that she would engage with a stranger. However, in August 1944, Sheila failed to return home from school—and witnesses at the time claimed to have seen her with a man in his mid-20s. Sheila was wearing a green mackintosh at the time of her disappearance, which led the press to dub her “The Girl in the Green Mac.”
Some witnesses recalled Sheila walking beside the man, whereas others said she was riding on the handlebars of the man’s bike. The girl’s timid personality led investigators to believe that this mysterious man must have been someone Sheila knew; when one of the witnesses asked where she was going, she supposedly called back, “with this man.”
Sheila was never seen again. Hers was classified as a missing person case, as there was never any conclusive evidence that Sheila had been abducted. Furthermore, because no evidence of Sheila was ever found—not even a stich of clothing, let alone a body—her family had a hard time believing that their little girl had been attacked or murdered. Her parents left the door to the family home unlocked for years after Sheila’s disappearance, hoping she might one day return home. Tragically, they both died never knowing what fate had befallen their daughter.
Then, in 2001, Sheila’s case resurfaced. An elderly gentleman came forward, claiming that he had seen his neighbor—a man in his 20s—digging in his back garden in the middle of the night around the time of Sheila’s disappearance. This new witness, who had been 13 in 1944, said he had long suspected his neighbor might have had something to do with Sheila’s disappearance. His conscience finally urged him to come forward with this potentially crucial piece of information.
The garden was excavated. To everyone’s dismay, no body, nor anything of note, was found. However, when the identity of the prior homeowner was investigated, authorities found that the man had been convicted of rape in 1950, and of the sexual assault of a child in the 1960s. Whether this man had anything to do with Sheila’s disappearance all those years ago is difficult—if not impossible—to confirm. It’s likely we’ll never know what truly happened to little Sheila Fox on that August day in 1944.
I DON’T THINK I WAS DREAMING
This happened to me a few years ago. I have always been into everything from ghosts and spirits to extraterrestrial life forms, alternate realities, and lucid dreams. Just the paranormal in general has been somewhat of a comfort zone of mine.
Anyways, I recall one night after work I get home and I am exhausted. I shower, eat dinner and get ready for an early night sleep. The only thing is I only remember walking to my room and that is it..I never got into my bed. I never really thought anything of it until I think about the absurd “dream” that followed. Before I continue let me give you some background, I served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps; while being part of the air wing I remember one night seeing an unfamiliar amber and blue light hovering above the flight deck, it moved slowly as an alarm sounded for us to return to our respective shops. Our Sargent would then debrief us who saw telling us that we “saw nothing”. At the time I was intrigued and this is what started my dabbling in the unknown and paranormal for good my mind was open and ready for anything. I would read books on becoming more aware of of our so-called existence and opening the third eye in order to witness happenings that were out of this world. Specifically it was lucid dreaming, sleep paralysis and astral projection that drew me in immediately. Believe it or not I now enjoy sleep paralysis episodes since I feel we witness it for a reason.
That’s another story in itself. Anyways, back to my “dream” I remember there being a group of us maybe three or four that I knew were human. We were in a kind of chamber feeling as if we were being surveyed in a sense. I was not scared at all I was instead curious on how everything could feel so real. The weight of my feet standing there in the chamber, the air filling my lounges as I inhaled, the sounds and vibrations of the walls and people around me everything was just so REAL. The walls were silver in color and at some points it gave off an amber yellow shimmer followed by a humming sound. We were then greeting by two other entities who I recall being taller than everyone in the group and they offered to take us on a tour of the place. I recall being filled with excitement yet I do not remember the faces of anyone who was there with me strangely, even the ones offering the tour only just that they towered over us in height.
They showed us around and I recall seeing things that I honestly cannot describe even as I picture it in my mind’s eye there are no words to describe it. It just WAS. The only thing I particularly recall in this “dream” was coming across another circular chamber with these sort of pods aligning the walls. The beings giving us the tour informed us that when we get into the pods we will be “back home”. I was hesitant at first and needed to confirm what I was just told. I was reminded of the purpose of the pods by the same entities and immediately I felt I could trust them. Excited I climbed into the pod and watched as the door slowly closed atop of me..
I then woke up in my room..lights on..door closed…laying in the middle over my bed sideways with my legs dangling over the side. It was only about three hours later into the night and I sat up confused trying to figure out what I had just seen and whether or not I was dreaming. I have had many lucid dreams as well as watching myself sleep after I decided to will myself to stand during a sleep paralysis episode but this seemed.. too REAL.
It confused me at first so much that the next few days I went looking to see if anyone else had a “dream” similar to this. No luck. It wasn’t until I came across a certain forum that everything became clear. This forum centered itself on alien abductions. My mind was blown as I first saw how other people had very similar experiences and from that moment I had a feeling that I was never dreaming to begin with..
I now feel that what I experienced was something literally OUT OF THIS WORLD and in a way I am happy that it happened to me. They say that if if you have your mind to these sorts of things you are more prone to experience it first hand and I truly feel that is why whoever or whatever it was chose to reveal it to me.
Unless of course you consider ALL of the “alien abduction” testimonies to be just a trick of the mind. If so then damn I need to dream of these things more often..
I have had many paranormal experiences in our current house but they have mostly been positive/neutral. One of my favourite encounters happened to a friend of ours in our house.
We are VERY close with J. He lives a few streets away from us and is at our place pretty much every day. J knows that I believe in ghosts and that my husband SORT OF believes but J is a total skeptic. He has never seen, felt or heard any kind of entity and has never had any kind of paranormal experience at all (that he is consciously aware of) . We often discuss the paranormal when he is over but we always end up agreeing to disagree. Our discussions can get quite heated but have never turned into a fight or argument.
We had gone away for a few days and had asked J to stop by once a day to feed and play with the dogs and cats. We also invited him to stay at our place if it was easier for him.
One night, J was over at our house relaxing after feeding the animals. He decided to do a bit of a tidy up since he had basically been living at our place for a few days and figured he would help us out. He worked his way around the house and was busy in the kids’ room when suddenly the night light switched on by itself (the night light is an LED light that projects thousands of red and green dots all over the room. The dots move in patterns and ‘star bursts’). J said afterwards that he thought it was odd but then figured that it was motion activated or on a timer or something (it isn’t). He went to turn it off (the off button is an actual button and not an on/off switch – press once to turn it on and once to turn it off). As he turned his back on the light after turning it off, it came back on again. He said that he was getting a little annoyed at that point so decided to just unplug it from the wall and be done with it. Just as he turned his back on the light after unplugging it, the light came back on! He checked the plug and it was definitely still unplugged so there was no reason that the light should be on (it definitely doesn’t have any kind of backup battery or anything like that).
J eventually decided to leave it and just close the bedroom door behind him. The light must have turned itself off at some point because we found it off and unplugged when we got home. He only told us about this experience when we got back a day or so later. I had a quiet giggle about it because it was almost definitely one of our ghosts playing with the skeptic. It had probably grown tired of his talk of disbelief and was saying, “You want proof, buddy?”. Hahaha.
J still doesn’t believe in ghosts and insists that there must be a logical explanation for the light. I agree with him on that point. The logical explanation is: ghosts!
Dr. Charles Scudder came from a wealthy family and worked as a professor of pharmacology at Chicago’s Loyola University — a “good job” by his own definition. Described by those who knew him as “brilliant,” “polished,” and “soft-spoken, but confident,” Scudder eventually grew fed up with city life and, in 1976, left the luxury of his Chicago mansion in pursuit of a simpler life.
As he put it, Scudder longed for an escape from “taxes, light bills, gas bills, water bills, heating bills, and the helpless feeling that resulted from watching my old neighborhood disintegrate into an urban ghetto.” So the 50-year-old chose an isolated spot in the north Georgia woods to begin his new life.
After leaving behind most of his worldly possessions, he decamped for the South with his lover, Joe Odom, constructing a new residence by hand in the depths of the forest. As Scudder said, “Within two short years we were living in an elegant mini-castle.”
They called it Corpsewood Manor, named for the hauntingly bare autumn trees that dotted the area.
To complete their country manor, the two added on a three-story “chicken house.” The first floor was for the poultry and food storage, the second for canned goods and the couple’s pornography collection, and the third for their “pink room,” also known as their “pleasure chamber.”
But Scudder’s homosexuality was far from the only secret he’d been keeping, for he was also an official member of the Church of Satan.
As it turns out, there was much more to the soft-spoken, secretly Satanist doctor than met the eye.
Even at Loyola, Scudder’s work was not that of the typical academic. For one, he performed government-funded experiments with mind-altering drugs like LSD. Meanwhile, he did things like dye his hair purple and keep a pet monkey. And when he left Loyola for Corpsewood Manor, he took a few souvenirs with him, including two human skulls and about 12,000 doses of LSD.
Now, souvenirs in hand, Scudder was free to express his Satanism within the confines of Corpsewood Manor.
This forest sanctuary was guarded by two mastiffs, Beelzebub and Arsinath (one named for a demon, the other an H.P. Lovecraft character). Local legend adds that the pair also summoned a real demon to assist the dogs in guarding the house.
Fittingly, Scudder and Odom also decorated Corpsewood Manor with various Gothic paraphernalia, including the skulls that Scudder had swiped and a pink gargoyle he had brought from his old mansion. Scudder himself thought of Corpsewood Manor as “more like a mausoleum, a tomb requiring care, cleaning, and endless costly repairs.”
Scudder also fashioned a stained-glass window adorned with a prophet known as Baphomet, an important figure in the Church of Satan. And while Scudder took his Satanism seriously, it’s important to understand what exactly that religion meant to him.
Scudder, like other members of the Church of Satan, didn’t worship Satan and was instead an atheist who chose to celebrate the base, worldly pleasures that he and other church members felt were denied to humans by the Abrahamic religions.
And celebrate such pleasures they did. Scudder and Odom liked to invite guests over for wild sex parties centered on the “pink room.” Indeed painted entirely pink, this pleasure chamber was filled with mattresses, candles, whips, chains, pornography, and even a log-book listing guests’ sexual predilections.
But while these acts were reportedly consensual, the pink room parties are the reason that on the night of Dec. 12, 1982, Corpsewood Manor turned into a bloody murder scene.
With Scudder and Odom encouraging all their Corpsewood Manor guests to indulge their every whim in a haze of sex and drugs, things were bound to eventually implode. But things ultimately came to a far bloodier end than anyone would likely have imagined.
Among the locals that Scudder and Odom invited into their home for parties and sexual adventures of one kind or another were 17-year-old Kenneth Avery Brock and his roommate, 30-year-old Samuel Tony West. Information is scarce and reports vary, but at least according to Amy Petulla’s The Corpsewood Manor Murders in North Georgia, Brock had several homosexual encounters with Scudder at Corpsewood, and eventually, Brock brought West there for more of the same — or at least the free booze and drugs.
However, West not only strongly objected to any kind of homosexual activity but also convinced Brock that he’d been taken advantage of by Scudder. Again, whether Brock had actually been taken advantage of remains unclear. Nevertheless, Brock and West decided to return to Corpsewood and rob the two men in their isolated forest home.
Brock and West, with two teenagers named Joey Wells and Teresa Hudgins along for the ride, headed to Corpsewood Manor on Dec. 12, 1982 with guns in tow. However, things didn’t start off violently. Initially, the four guests acted as if they were just there to hang out and accepted Scudder’s offer of homemade wine as well as a potent huffing mixture or varnish, paint thinner, and other chemicals.
At some point during this drug- and alcohol-fueled haze, Brock got down to business, retrieving a rifle from the car and promptly shooting Odom and the two dogs. Then, Brock and West showed Scudder the bloodbath and did all they could to force him to give up whatever money he had.
What Brock and West hadn’t realized is that there were no riches at the house of any kind. And when they did eventually accept this fact, they shot Scudder five times in the head, took what little valuables were lying around, and fled the scene.
They fled all the way to Mississippi, where they killed a man named Kirby Phelps as part of a robbery gone wrong on Dec. 15. Afterward, perhaps feeling remorseful, Brock returned to Georgia and turned himself in to police on Dec. 20. West did the same in Chattanooga, Tenn. on Dec. 25.
Eventually, West was found guilty of two counts of murder and sentenced to death, while Brock pleaded guilty and received three consecutive life terms. With that came the end of the strange and bloody story of the Corpsewood Manor murders.
PHANTOMS AND MONSTERS OF JAPAN
When talking about strange Japanese cryptids perhaps it makes sense to start with one of the more well-known mystery creatures of the islands. One of the most famous of the Japanese cryptids is a type of snake known as the Tsuchinoko, also known by a plethora of other regional names such as nozuchi or bachi-hebi (in Northern Honshu), tsuchi-hebi (in Osaka), and many others. The Tsuchinoko is said to inhabit the deep, remote mountains of Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu islands as well as some parts of the Korean peninsula, and is reported to be around 2 to 3 feet in length, most commonly described as being a mottled black or rust color, and with a bright orange belly in many cases. The scales are said to be large and prominent, the mouth resembles a grin, and horns or ears above the eyes are often mentioned. The eyes themselves are usually described as being very large and sometimes as being somewhat mesmerizing.
Perhaps the most unique trademark characteristic of the Tsuchinoko is the shape of the body, which is somewhat flat, bulging and rounded in the middle, and tapering off to a short tail often described as looking like the tail of a rat. Some reports describe the body as being triangular in the middle rather than round. It is said to be highly poisonous, with the ability to spit corrosive venom a considerable distance, yet is nevertheless peaceful and more likely to flee from aggressors than attack. Another odd trait worth mentioning is that they are reported to have a particular odor like that of chestnut tree flowers.
The Tsuchinoko is noted as having some peculiar ways of getting around. It is reported to move ahead in a straight line, spine undulating up and down as it goes rather than the side to side undulations seen in most other snakes. The snake is also famous for making spectacular leaps of up to a few meters, often leaping along in one enormous hop after another. Even more bizarre than this are some stories that describe the Tsuchinoko putting its tail in it mouth and rolling along like a wheel, or even tumbling along end over end. They are also supposedly good swimmers that are very fond of water.
This mystery snake also supposedly exhibits an incredibly wide range of vocalizations. It has been said to make barks, chirps, snores, grunts, groans, moans, squeaks, snarls, growls, and to even mimic human voices on occasion. Some old legends claim it could actually remember a rather large vocabulary and even converse with people to some extent. In fact, the Tsuchinoko was mostly portrayed in folklore as a mischievous creature having a great propensity for telling stories and lies, as well as trying to befuddle and confuse travelers. The only true way to keep them quiet in their chattering was said to be to ply them with alcohol, which legends say they have a great fondness for.
The Tsuchinoko has been present in Japanese folklore throughout reported history on the islands. Their likenesses have been found on pottery dating back to the very earliest civilization on the islands, and they are mentioned in the Kojiki (or Hurukotohumi), which dates from 712 and is the oldest known book in existence on ancient Japanese history. In modern days, the Tsuchinoko is a major fixture in pop culture, appearing in commercials, video games, and on a large range of merchandise ranging from Tsuchinoko-shaped candies to hot water bottles. Interestingly they are not presented as evil or scary as Westerners might portray a type of snake. On the contrary, they are almost always made out to be cute, cuddly, benign, and friendly creatures. So are they just folklore or do they really exist?
The Tsuchinoko has been sighted by a wide range of people right up to the present day, usually deep in the mountains and woods far from civilization. Mikata, in Hyougo prefecture, is quite famous for boasting the highest concentration of sightings of these mystery serpents, and many high profile sightings hail from here. On May 8th, 2000, 90 year old farmer Sugie Tanaka was out looking for bamboo shoots (a common food in Japan), when she happened across two metallic colored snakes with what she described as “tails like rats.” In June, 1994, 73 year old Kazuaki Noda was cutting grass with his wife when they came across a huge snake with a thick body like a beer bottle and a head described as being like that of a tortoise. Other sightings cropped up in the area around the same time. One such sighting occurred in June, 2000, when 82 year old Mitsuko Arima saw a Tsuchinoko swimming along a river. She described its eyes as being the most striking feature, saying “I can still see the eyes now. They were big and round and it looked like they were floating on the water.” She added “I’ve lived for over 80 years but I’ve never seen anything like that in my life.”
In response to the persistent sightings, Mikata and indeed many other areas in Japan purported to have Tsuchinoko have offered huge rewards for the capture of one. The town of Yoshii in Okayama famously offered 20 million yen for one, and many areas hold regular Tsuchinoko hunts, which usually consist of groups of volunteers scouring the wilderness for the snakes or indeed any sign of them. Mikata, a hotspot which has the highest concentration of Tsuchinoko sightings in all of Japan, holds an annual event to look for the snake in the surrounding wilderness but these expeditions have proved fruitless so far. In fact to date, there is a complete lack of any physical evidence brought forward at all. Many of these hunts offer considerable rewards for anyone lucky to find one. In Itoigawa, Niigata prefecture in 2008, there was a major hunt mounted for the Tsuchinoko. The reward was a jaw dropping 100 million yen offered for a live Tsuchinoko. A lot of people criticized it as a mere publicity scam, saying that the city never really thought it would have to pay out.
Despite the lack of results these hunts have produced, there have been several cases of remains being brought forth, although none of them turned out to lead anywhere. An alleged Tsuchinoko specimen brought in by a mountain villager in turned out to be a rat snake and another turned in by a group of loggers to the Japan Snake Center in Gunma prefecture in 2001 was found to be a common grass snake. Yet another case involves a live Tsuchinoko which was reportedly captured in the same region in June, 1969 by an M. Tokutake. He supposedly captured it with a forked stick and kept it for a couple of days before deciding to eat it. He reported that it had a double backbone, which is a very interesting detail.
There have also been numerous shed skins allegedly from Tsuchinoko brought in and some small villages proudly display these, although they are mostly thought to be from known snakes, likely rat snakes. Another notable case occurred in May of 2000, when a farmer saw a snake-like creature with a face like a famous Japanese cartoon cat make its way across his field, again in Mikata. He apparently injured it with a farming implement but it escaped into a nearby stream. A few days later, a 72 year old woman found the snake’s body lying by the side of the stream and she buried it. Later, she realized how important the find might be and upon digging the body up sent it to the Kawasaki University of Medical Welfare for examination. I’m not sure exactly what became of the body after that, and details are sketchy from that point.
Mikata is not the only hotbed of Tsuchinoko activity, nor the only area to have claimed the body of one. In Yoshii, Okayama prefecture, the Tsuchinoko is a regular town attraction that draws tourists from all over with its annual Tsuchinoko hunt and the town boasts its own Tsuchinoko rice cakes and wine. Another live specimen was reportedly captured in Yoshii on June 6th, 2000. Apparently it was put on display in a glass box in the city’s visitor center. I’m not sure what became of it, but it has been widely believed to have been a hoax to drum up publicity for the town and its annual hunts. These expeditions are big business as they draw in people and tourist yen from all over the country. According to Naoki Yamaguchi, who has interviewed over 200 eyewitnesses and is author of the book Catching the Illusory Tsuchinoko, these searches don’t do much good in the way they are handled. He wrote, “The number of sightings from people on these searches is barely one percent of the total.” Yamaguchi blames this mostly on the search parties’ failure to delve very deep into the wilderness, and cites people who venture deep into the mountains, such as avid hikers, mountain stream fisherman, and loggers as among the types most likely to have a sighting.
Even with the lack of any hard evidence, the sightings continue. What could these eyewitnesses be seeing? One very common argument is that the sightings are of known species of snakes that have just recently fed. This would give the snake that trademark bulging middle and I can see this as a rational explanation for the Tsuchinoko’s odd appearance at least. However, one problem I find with this is that the Tsuchinoko is reputedly able to leap several meters, which would be a very unlikely thing for a snake to be able do in the first place, let alone a gorged snake. In my opinion, none of the types of movement described are very realistic for any known snake in the first place. Whatever the Tsuchinoko is, it has remained a pervasive cryptid in Japan.
Another supposed serpentine cryptid in Japan originates in the country’s Mt. Tsurugi, located in Tokushima prefecture, which is already pervaded with mysteries such as that it holds lost treasures within its bowels, that it is the site of some subterranean civilization, or even that it is the final resting place of the legendary Lost Ark of the Covenant. Another feature of the weird on Mt. Tsurugi concerns all of the massive giant snakes that allegedly call this place home, and perhaps one of the best known modern cases of giant snakes in Japan comes from Mt. Tsurugi. This 6,413 ft peak lies within Tsurugi Quasi- National Park, and is the second highest mountain on the island of Shikoku. Mt. Tsurugi is highly associated with paranormal phenomena, and legend has it that it is a man made pyramid, with some believing that King Solomon’s treasure is located somewhere beneath it. Interestingly, this treasure is supposedly guarded by a colossal snake that will kill any who approach. It may seem as if this is all surely pure myth, but is it?
On May 26, 1973, forestry workers on Mt. Tsurugi came across a snake that was described as being as thick as a telephone pole, with shiny black scales and a white underbelly. According to the startled workers, 5 meters (around 16.5 feet) of the snake was protruding from thick underbrush, and they estimated that the full length of the animal would have been a whopping 10 meters (33 feet) or more. The snake was reported to emit a loud chirping noise and piping cry before slithering away into the foliage. This report caused widespread panic among residents, and some even reported seeing other snakes in the area that were estimated as being 8 meters (26 feet) to 11 meters (36 feet) long.
The following month, in June 1973, local officials responded to escalating fears by mounting a large scale expedition to try and find the giant snake or snakes. Volunteers scoured the mountainside in the vicinity of the sightings, looking for any evidence at all for what people had reported seeing. They found no snake, but they did discover what appeared to be a track left by the creature. The long track was 40 cm (around 16 inches) across and led through fallen weeds and flattened brush. Those who examined the track said it was undoubtedly that of a large snake of some kind. Bizarrely, a local museum actually claims to have a jawbone measuring 34 cm (13 inches) wide, which is claimed to be from the very same snake. Critics have pointed out that it is merely the jaws of a shark cleverly arranged to resemble a snake’s jaw. Another mountain, Mt. Tateiwa, in Gunma prefecture, is also said to be inhabited by giant snakes as well, which are sometimes encountered by hapless hikers and have been reported in the area for centuries. Is there anything to any of this? Who knows?
These would not be the only seemingly reptilian mysterious creatures said to lurk in the wilds of Japan, and another rather very well-known and at the same time very peculiar beast is called the Kappa. The Kappa is one of many types of water imps long featured in Japanese folklore said to inhabit the lakes and rivers of this island nation. The appearance of the Kappa varies from tradition to tradition and area to area, however they are typically described as being the size of a child of 6 to 10 years of age and resembling a cross between a turtle, monkey, and lizard. Kappa are often depicted as having a shell on their backs, similar to a turtle’s, having large, webbed hands and feet, and having a beak like mouth which depending on the tradition may or may not contain rows of sharp, shark-like teeth. Some reports have made mention of patchy, scraggly hair covering the body as well.
One of the most prominent and odd features that is shared throughout all Kappa folklore is the presence of a bowl on the top of the head, which is said to contain a liquid that gives the Kappa its supernatural strength. When confronted by an angry Kappa, the best way to defeat it is to have it bow, upon which the liquid will spill and weaken it, allowing the typically formidable creature to be defeated. Indeed, Kappas are most often described as being malevolent entities, with a penchant for mischief and violence. They are said to molest women as well as harass travelers and challenge passerby to sumo matches. In the more sinister and darker tales, Kappa are represented as murderous monsters which attack humans, cattle, and horses, pulling them to their deaths below the water and sucking the blood or life force from their bodies to leave a lifeless husk. It is said that one should not venture to the water’s edge alone lest you be the victim of a Kappa attack. A rather gruesome detail of these attacks is that it is often mentioned that the creatures have a penchant for sucking a victims entrails out through the anus. Ouch.
Despite this ferocious and rather unappealing image, Kappa are said to have a benevolent side as well. For instance, they are said to display a great talent for medicine and particularly bone setting, and it is said if a Kappa is captured it will offer its services to its captor in return for release. They may also take mercy on travelers that have been injured or are ill and nurse them back to help. Kappa purportedly abhors metal and loud noises, and love cucumber to the point of obsession. This craving for cucumber is supposedly so strong that Kappa will do anything to get it, and in the past many residents of supposedly Kappa infested areas would carry cucumber with them in the hopes of bribing the beasts into leaving them alone or even procuring their medical talents. Although the Kappa has become a very famous fixture within Japanese folklore, it is even considered by many to be a legitimate cryptid due to a good many eyewitness accounts and sightings of actual alleged Kappa that continue into modern times. Many areas in Japan still produce reports of Kappa frolicking in rivers, and there are even reports of them wandering about far from the water. These sightings come from witnesses of all ages and levels of society, and often from very credible sources.
For instance there was one sighting in the 1970s made by two police officers who witnessed a hunched over form at the side of a country road during dusk. Thinking it was a small child perhaps lost or in trouble, the officers slowed down to approach it. As they drew closer, the form reared up and they could see that it was not a child at all, but rather a child sized creature that was reported as resembling something like a cross between a monkey and a frog, with large, piercing eyes. The account also mentions that the creature had prominent claws. The mysterious figure was reported as chattering in a high pitched voice before running briskly on two legs across the road into the brush. This report is significant since the sighting was made fairly far from water and showcases the creature’s ability to walk quite well on land.
On some occasions, shaky photographic evidence has been brought forward. Several photographs of alleged Kappa and even video footage have made the rounds over the years, but they are blurry and of generally poor quality. There has also been sparse physical evidence for Kappa, including footprints, hairs, and even slime allegedly exuded by the creatures. Some shrines contain the purported mummified hands or even bodies of Kappa, although they have never allowed anyone to analyze these specimens. Until there are definitive answers and evidence, the Kappa will remain one of the most famous and bizarre of Japanese cryptids.
It seems as though the poor rural villagers of Japan have had more than the impish Kappa to contend with over the ages, as there is a decidedly more fearsome beast that was said to have haunted a secluded community on the side of Mt. Bandai, an active stratovolcano located in the Tohoku area of Fukushima prefecture, Japan. The mountain is most notable for its eruption in 1888, which killed 477 people, left thousands more homeless, and remains one of the worst volcanic disasters in recent Japanese history. Long before this tragedy, in the late 1700s, a lesser known but nevertheless frightening incident occurred when a small village at the foot of Mt. Bandai was besieged by a mysterious and deadly creature that suddenly and inexplicably appeared at their doorstep to wreak havoc.
The incident began when villagers started reporting sightings of a strange creature lurking in wilderness along the fringes of town. This creature was said to look like a large primate of some sort, with a huge mouth, claws, and spiky fur running along its back. It was most often fleetingly glimpsed in the evening or twilight hours and its eyes were said to glow or reflect light like a cat’s. The beast was said to furtively stalk around the edges of town and seemed to shun light. Villagers described how the thing would sit in pools of shadow just outside of the radius of a light source and glower from the darkness with its flickering, shining eyes. Despite its menacing appearance, at first the creature was easily frightened, and would dart away into the underbrush from sudden light, shouting, or loud noise, but it became increasingly bolder and more frequently spotted as the days went by.
The strange monster was not only seen, but also heard. Loud, guttural, and clearly inhuman shrieks and howls were often heard at night emanating from somewhere on the dark mountain looming above. At times the this eerie nighttime howling would last throughout the night, keeping the villagers awake in the grip of terror. The unnatural shrieks, howls, and sightings of such a sinister creature would have likely been enough to instill fear within such a small and remote rural community, but this was to be just the beginning of the village’s nightmare.
The creature become ever bolder and more aggressive as the days went by. Where at first it would retreat from noise or light, it started to display more menacing behavior such as growling at eyewitnesses. Villagers also reported being followed by the thing, which made less and less effort to conceal itself as it stalked them along darkened paths. The village placed guards with torches around the outskirts of town in an effort to drive away the creature or at least discourage it from coming nearer, but it was was not intimidated. The plan did nothing to dissuade it and perhaps even angered it. Several night watchmen described being rushed from the darkness by the creature, and retreating from their positions in terror.
At around this time, animals such as pets and livestock were reported to have disappeared without a trace. One farmer was said to have had every single one of his chickens disappear in a single night with only some scattered feathers left behind. The animal disappearances continued at an increasing rate, and it did not take long for villagers to connect these vanishings with the odd visitor lurking in the woods. It was a realization that was confirmed when a farmer claimed to have spotted the mysterious creature killing a dog in a field. According to the man’s account, the thing had already slain the animal and was in the process of disemboweling it when it was spotted and subsequently dragged its mutilated prey into the trees.
People became wary of traveling outside during twilight hours and at night, yet even staying in their homes was no guarantee of peace. The creature was often reported circling homes and its deep, gruff breathing was frequently heard right outside of dwellings. Occasionally it would rap, scratch at, or even pound on doors, windows, and walls almost as if it were testing the structure for ways to enter as the terrified occupants cowered in their homes. It was also not uncommon for people to hear the thumping of its heavy footsteps across their roofs. One particularly harrowing account comes from a family of farmers on the very outskirts of town, who had their home actively attacked by the rampaging beast. In this case, the creature was said to have charged the doors full force while roaring in rage, and the doors rattled in their frames, threatening to cave in. The furious monster also was reported as hurling large stones at the dwelling. When it failed to gain entry, the beast slunk back off into the woods, leaving the house badly damaged and the petrified occupants no doubt scarred for life.
This still would not be the extent of the bizarre occurrences unfolding around the village. As time went on, several children disappeared, with some reportedly taken directly from their own homes. The creature was even purportedly seen kidnapping children and dragging them screaming into the night as helpless villagers looked on in horror. Attacks on adults began to occur as well, and although the creature was not successful in killing any of them, some villagers were bitten, mauled, or at the very least left badly shaken. One village man described how the creature came so close to him during an attack that he could smell its breath, which was described as smelling of rotten eggs and fish. He was only able to escape after allegedly poking the thing in its eyes.
It was at this time that the villagers took more decisive action, and hired a well-known hunter to track and kill the beast that was terrorizing them. The hunter bravely trekked out into the surrounding wilderness in an effort to both kill the thing and draw it away from the village. During the hunt, the hunter described how the creature stalked him and circled his camp menacingly on several occasions. After a few days of tracking the creature, the hunter allegedly finally managed to shoot and kill it in 1782 after it tried to rush from the forest and attack him. It was reported to be so fierce that the bullet did not bring it down and the hunter had had to resort to repeatedly stabbing the thrashing beast with a knife to kill it.
The hunter then dragged the body back to the village to display to the shocked villagers. The carcass was purportedly a somewhat ape-like creature that was 1.5 meters tall, covered in hair, and with a large mouth filled with fangs that was so oversized that it was described as being as if the head was split from ear to ear. Along its back were spines reminiscent of those of a porcupine. The creature also had a long, sharp nose and short limbs with webbed hands that ended in wicked claws. The carcass was reported to exude an extremely rank, overpowering odor, which unfortunately led to the body being discarded not long after. With the death of this baffling monster, the sightings, attacks, kidnappings and animal disappearances all ceased.
This case has always fascinated me and remains one of the weirder ones I have come across. What is going on here? The creature matches no description of any Japanese cryptid that I know of seen before or since these events. With the descriptions from eyewitness accounts as well as those given by the hunter and indeed a body allegedly provided, there seems to be little chance that it was a more mundane animal that was simply misidentified. There is nothing living in the Japanese wilderness really anywhere close to what this thing is said to look like. In addition, the sightings and disappearances started abruptly, with no apparent prior history of such a creature ever being seen on the mountain, and ended just as abruptly with its reported death, suggesting just a single creature at work. Whatever it was also seemed to have targeted just one village, and to top it off nothing like it has been reported from the area since. The case remains a complete, head scratching mystery. Unfortunately, considering that these events unfolded way back in the late 1700s and that the alleged carcass of the creature was not preserved or examined by any sort of scientist, it seems that the mysterious Beast of Bandai will forever remain an enigma.
If none of this is strange enough for you, then how about the tales of bizarre human-faced dogs that have been said to prowl the dark places of Japan? The beast known as the Jinmenken, roughly translated as “the human faced dog,” is typically said to be about the size of a medium sized dog, often with matted or dirty looking hair. From a distance, an observer may mistake one for just an ordinary mangy stray dog, yet on closer inspection see that these dogs possess a human face. The eyes are often deep set and sad, and the tail is most commonly between the legs in an apparent gesture of passiveness or cowardice. An even more shocking revelation than the human face is their purported ability to speak. Typically, a Jinkenmen will implore those who come across it to leave it alone, but on rare occasions will hold simple conversations.
Jinkenmen are persistent in Japanese folkore, yet there seems to be more to them than that. Throughout the Edo Era, from 1603 to 1868, these human-faced dogs were often encountered and sighted by locals, to the point that they were occasionally featured in the news publications of the time.In addition to the sightings, Jinkenmen were at times allegedly exhibited at misemono, which were a type of Japanese carnival sideshow popular during the Edo Era. These sideshows were somewhat of a cabinet of curiosities, typically featuring menageries of exotic animals, mounted displays or mummified remains of bizarre creatures or monsters, gaffes, mystical artifacts, and all manner of the strange and bizarre.
Taxidermy specimens of Jinkenmen were often seen on display at such shows and on occasion even live specimens were shown. In such shows, the Jinkenmen would be paraded about for all to see and became quite popular attractions. It is not clear whether these were actual Jinkenmen or regular dogs somehow altered to look like such through illusion and trickery, yet the fact remains that there are numerous accounts of these exhibitions and they were certainly observed by many people. It was not only commoners that marveled at these creatures in such sideshows either. One publication of the time included the testimony of a visiting zoologist, who remarked upon laying his eyes upon one such specimen (translated from the Japanese):
*****There cowering and whimpering in the corner of the display booth I saw the hunched over form of what I first took to be a typical shiba inu, although of a somewhat more pungent odor. Then the thing looked up with sad eyes and I could see clearly that it was the face of a human being, albeit with the empty, soulless gaze of an animal. I immediately assumed trickery upon seeing such an aberration, yet if one had forged such a horrific sight then they had done so with such ingenuity and craftsmanship that I was unable to ascertain it as such. If this was some sort of macabre taxidermy of a living thing, then it was done without any visible indication of such. I could see no apparent stitches or artificial connection between human face and dog. I was eager to be on my way from such a ghastly abomination and the thing’s gaze left me with a deep unease long after I had left.*****
It is interesting to note the deep feeling of unease the zoologist experienced. Premonitions of dread or feelings of deep despair are common occurrences in those who see Jinkenmen. Reports of Jinkenmen hypnotizing onlookers or inducing urges to get away are also not uncommon in accounts.Additionally, Jinkenmen are often considered to be portents of doom or disaster. Sightings of Jinkenmen are not merely confined to the rural Japan of the Edo Era. Eyewitness accounts of Jinkenmen sightings persist right up to the modern day. There are many reports of eyewitnesses describing coming across what they first take to be dog, only to have it turn around to display its human face. Other reports showcase the Jinkenmen’s apparent great speed as they are described as running playfully alongside cars on darkened roads, sometimes screaming or whooping as they do so. These sightings occur mostly at night in rural areas, yet this is not always the case.
During the 1980s, a human faced dog was often sighted rummaging through garbage in the back alleys of Tokyo’s Shibuya District, which is a well-developed, bustling urban shopping area. Other sightings have been reported from other urban areas behind crowded restaurants, in alleyways, or in the darkened parking lots of apartment buildings. What do we make of these reports? As detached from reality as the notion of human-faced dogs may seem, theories abound as to what could be behind the sightings and stories. These theories range from the somewhat plausible to the downright absurd, such as that it is a misidentified macaque monkey, hallucinations, or an alien or escaped genetic experiment. It is unlikely that we will ever know for sure, but the tales continue.
Just as bizarre as the tales of human faced dogs are reports of something perhaps even more paranormal and frightening in nature. One strange phantom that seems to have been spun from the Internet but has also been tied to supposed historical accounts came to the public consciousness in 2003, when several Japanese websites featured reports of a very strange entity indeed. The posts were written as first-hand sightings accounts of a specter or demon of some sort referred to as the Kunekune, which is a Japanese onomatopoeia that literally translates to “twist,” “writhe,” or “wiggle.” The creature itself is described as being a long, slender humanoid shape, pale white in color, although it is sometimes reported as being black, and which writhes, wiggles, and shimmers similar to a piece of fabric tossed about by the wind, even if there is no wind, hence its name.
The typical account goes that the Kunekune is spotted in the distance of a rural place, usually over an open expanse such as a field or the sea. The story goes that a person will notice the strange figure and wonder what it is, drawing closer to get a better look. This is said to be a mistake, because the closer one gets, and the more detail that is seen of the being’s features, the stranger things get. If the victim is lucky, it will merely drive them insane, usually after making eye contact, but the Kunekune is also said to be not above flat out killing those who get too close to it or make direct contact with it. Since no one has lived or kept their sanity long enough to describe its face, its appearance remains unknown. It is said that the best thing to do is just simply ignore the Kunekune and it will go away.
Several spooky accounts of run-ins with the Kunekune appeared on the Internet in quick succession by frightened witnesses. One of the first reports to appear was that of a man claiming to have had an encounter with the Kunekune when he was a child. The man, let’s call him Taro, reported that he and his brother had gone to the countryside of the Akita region, in northern Japan. After they arrived they went out to explore the rice fields and open areas, enjoying being out of the big city from which they had come. The day was described as being hot and windless, and at some point Taro noticed that his brother was gazing off into the distance as if studying something on the horizon or lost in thought.
When asked what was wrong, the brother said that he could make out something strange in the distance. When Taro peered out over the vast expanses of the many rice fields of the area, he claimed that he could just barely make out something moving in the distance. It appeared to be a stationary, human-sized white squiggle of some sort flapping about wildly, which was odd considering the area was deserted and there was no wind that day. Taro at first thought it might be a scarecrow, but scarecrows didn’t move like that, especially with no wind. Neither did it appear to be a sheet or piece of clothing.
Curious and wondering what in the world it was, the two boys ran home to retrieve binoculars in order to get a closer look. The brother went first, but when he put the binoculars to his eyes his face reportedly went slack and his color pale, after which he turned to Taro with a look of abject horror on his face. The brother broke out into a sweat and dropped the binoculars to the ground as he repeated “There it is… There it is… There it is…” over and over again in a strange voice that did not seem to be his own. He then began to stalk back to the house without a word or explanation of what was going on or what he had seen through those binoculars, which were still upon the ground. Taro reported that he had picked them up, and even though the strange figure continued to wiggle and flap in the distance he was too afraid to look through them, instead trudging back to the house to see what was going on.
When Taro got to the house he found everyone crying as they watched his brother roll about on the floor laughing and giggling with mad abandon like a lunatic. The frightened parents decided to leave the grandparents’ house and take them back home, with the brother laughing and writhing about in the back seat to the point that he had to be tied down. Eerily, his face was plastered with a wide grin yet his eyes were crying. At some point on the way home, their father stopped the car, took the binoculars, and smashed them upon the ground before continuing on.
Similar stories came in from around Japan with others coming forward with their own tales. Another early report of the Kunekune comes from a man who claimed that when he was a boy lived in a rural coastal village in Chiba prefecture. One day he and his uncle were walking along the sea shore the boy saw something long and white waving about out over the waves in the distance and he asked his uncle what it was. When the uncle looked he froze in his tracks and went wide-eyed and pale before telling his nephew to run for his life. The boy ran, but the uncle was unable to stop staring off into the distance, unable to tear his eyes away from whatever had him under its dark spell. The boy reached his house and told his grandfather about what had happened, who went pale himself and replied that it was the work of the Kunekune and that his son had been lucky to get away from it. When they went back to retrieve the uncle the man was still glued there to the same spot, mindlessly gazing out at the thing in the distance. They were able to physically pry the uncle away but he reportedly suffered from fits of madness from then on, spending the rest of his life in and out of mental institutions.
Stories such as these started to make the rounds on a variety of Japanese websites, with more and more people reporting experiences that were similar in nature, always involving a mysterious writhing white humanoid in the distance that could cause madness or even death if viewed too carefully or closely. Those who told these tales insisted that this was a phenomenon that had been going on in certain rural areas for centuries, but oddly it was not until these Internet reports that most had had ever heard of the Kunekune. It is certainly not a traditional yōkai (a Japanese spirit or boogeyman), and as a matter of fact I live in Japan and have never met anyone who knows what a Kunekune is. Is this perhaps a localized tale only known in some parts of Japan or is it something new? It is hard to tell if this is a phenomenon with a historical basis or if it was born on the Internet with those original reports, quite likely fictitious. The origins of the tale of the Kunekune remain vague, but it is certainly creepy nonetheless.
In the end, Japan certainly seems to have its fair share of strange denizens of the dark, and here we can find all manner of truly bizarre creatures that seem to inhabit the intersection of lines between ghost, legend, and real entity. Many of these tales may seem surreal, absurd even, but here they still remain, just as confusing and evasive as they always have.