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Take a look at the photo on the right.

You may well have already seen this on the internet, either on its’ own or in a video with a title along the lines of “He Set Up A Camera To Catch Poachers But What The Camera Caught Was Way More Terrifying” or “Unexplained Creatures Caught on Trail Cams”.

Throughout history there have been stories of legendary monsters whose existence is kept alive as tales told round a campfire or at a sleepover party.  In the Bible we read of the Nephilim; the Behemoth; the Leviathan; Moloch; various gods and demi-gods; Seraphim and Cherubim (though these areangels rather than monsters).  The Bible is, however, an oral history and although I note these for the sake of completeness, they are without validity.

Trail cam video uploads are common on the internet. They’re good at catching wildlife and pets, and letting us share the secrets of their nocturnal activities.  It’s no surprise, therefore, that the mystique of an eerie outdoor backdrop makes for an excellent horror video. All too often, however, truth and fiction are merged to create these. In most instances, modern technology is used to good effect to subtly edit a video, more often than not it’s a ‘Blair Witch Project’ style video, it looks like amateur video but when you delve more closely you’ll discover that the footage was planned and short by a student or amateur film-maker.

The “unexplained creatures” video I mentioned before would appear to be a compilation of a number of supposed trail cam captures that are anything but paranormal.  Various copies of this video exist and may well have been put together from a variety of sources.  I’m going to have a look at these individual “sightings” in this article to see how much is capable of being debunked.

White lady in the forest.

This first ‘capture’ appewhite visitor of the woodsars to be a person in white.  L
ooking impartially, it would appear to be a lady in a victorian dress, maybe a hint of a bustle, facing away from the camera. Her hair appears to be up in a bun her left arm extends to hold a tree trunk and, dangling from her hand, appears to be a long knife or a stick.  From the waist down and behind the figure is some streaking and there is a glow or aura around the woman.

My first action was to do a google search on the photo and found a website which shows more of this image at  http://www.examiner.com/article/strange-angelic-figure-captured-on-wildlife-camera-georgia

white visitor of the woods 2One of the people commenting on the aforementioned website suggests that the streaking is fairy wings and the stick is a fairy wand! However, in this clip, you can actually see that it’s not a victorian woman at all – that’s just  an interpretation of what we think we’re seeing!

So the fairy wings is light from the camera being reflected off the of the subject and the rest is down to pareidolia!

Coast To Coast AM guest Dingo posted the image under the headline “Strange Figure on Wildlife Camera”. According to Dingo (a police officer), he and another officer responded to a call about hunters trespassing on private property but the officers were unable to locate the suspects. The next day, the property owners set up an infrared wildlife camera in an attempt to catch the trespassers.

The two officers also stated that they think it was a hunter. According to them, they have access to other similar photos collected nearby from a Ranger of the Department of Natural Resources.  “We (law enforcement officers) believed the light source were(sic) in fact coon hunters during the night (very common for the area).” Dingo stated in his report that he and another officer believed the figure to be a hunter.

Having considered this, I have to say I’m inclined to agree that the trail cam has captured a hunter who was wearing a white shirt and trousers, hence the colour streaking as the light from the camera is reflected off his clothes.

The winged monster

winged monster chasing deer

I’ve yet to find any credible information about this “monster”. Various suggestions are that it’s a Mothman, the Jersey Devil or a demon-like creature.  It’s reported that the locals in this area (somewhere in Canada!)  refuse to go into the woods at night as there have been numerous sightings of this type of creature.  I’m unable to find anything about this picture although one web site reckons this picture was captured in a Jersey Devil ‘hot spot’! Frankly, I’d have to say this is a hoax but I currently have no way to prove or disprove.

Torso in the treestorso in the trees

Internet information advises that this was taken in 2012 in northern Pennsylvania. The strange humanoid figure seems to be squatted down or sitting and laughing or smiling, yet the deer seems mostly unaffected.

Like the previous picture,  there is little currently available that debunks this but it could so easily have been photoshopped.

The hunched walker

hunched walkerThis one appears to have caught a person walking, deep in thought, which is probably all it is!

Internet information suggests that this was captured by a trail cam owner near Thunder Bay, Michigan.  

Various comments  I’ve come across suggest that this is bigfoot. However, previous images of bigfoot show an apelike creature which this most certainly isn’t hence my assertion that the trailcam simply found an  insomniac taking a night time stroll.

Victorian child

victorian child

This one really is suspect and I’ll tell you why.  ghost app victorian girl

Have a look at the picture on the right – spot anything you recognise?

Yes, that little victorian girl is to be found in a ghost app mobile phone application!

I’m afraid this is most definitely fake!

The Rake monster

demon on all fours

Whatever this monster is, it’s certainly not real!

It’s been touted on the internet for ages. One reference I found said “A man near Berwick, Louisiana claimed a friend of his captured this after finding his trail cam demolished.  The sim card was still intact and he found he had captured this very creepy image.”

In actual fact you can read more about this at: http://www.crushable.com/2011/05/28/entertainment/creepy-things-that-seem-real-but-arent-the-rake/

To precis the site’s words “…the Rake isn’t real. Like Slender Man, he’s a creation of the bloody-minded users of the Something Awful forums. All the above-mentioned stories are quoted by user Clockspider in the same thread that Slender Man first appeared in; rumblings have suggested that the Rake had been created prior to Slender Man.”

That’s everything found on that video.  However, there are other ‘monsters’ that I’d like to add to this blog.

The skinwalker

xtro

This one resurfaces on numerous occasions .

I’ve always personally attributed it to that group of fakes cleverly put together to frighten and entertain, along the lines of the monkey mermaid where a monkey’s top half was placed with a fish’s lower half to create a mermaid-like creature.

Having done a google search, I quickly found that this is from a 1980s science fiction movie called “Xtro” about a creepy being that’s born, presumably escapes its’ secure facility and goes on the prowl.  

The information is from http://doubtfulnews.com/2014/02/viral-skinwalker-picture-is-a-hoax/ and goes camel girlon to suggest that the film makermay have been inspired by Ella Harper.

Ella was known as  the Camel Girl and she suffered from congenital genu recurvatum, a genetic disorder that leaves the ligaments severely weakened and causes the knees to bend backwards.

Not much is known about Ella’s life, but we do know that she worked with W.H. Harris Nickel Plate Circus and received top billing during the 1886 season, where she was often accompanied on stage by an actual camel.  Her pitch card stated that Ella had been in show business since 1882.  Despite earning an estimated $200 a week working with the circus, Ella left after that season to pursue an education.  There is no mention of her after in the annals of sideshow history.

So what happened to Ella, the Camel Girl?  It is believed that Ella got married in 1905 in her home state of Tennessee and passed away in 1921.  She only performed a short four years, but in those years she traveled extensively, was featured in every local newspaper of every town she visited, and was touted as one of the best human oddities to ever be put on display.

The Goatman

goatman

Here’s the Goatman.  My first impressions are that this is an easy stunt to pull off.

A man in special feet and hand prosthetics and a mask with antlers attached.

The clarity of the picture makes me think that this is a still from a horror film.  The film Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro came to mind when I first saw it and I still can’t shake that impression even though I haven’t been able to debunk this!

Researching this I found that there is an urban legend about  an axe-wielding, half-animal half man creature, that was once a scientist who worked in the Beltsville Agricultural Research Centre, Maryland. The story goes that he was experimenting on goats but something went wrong with the experiment (did he get bitten by a rabid goat?) and began roaming the  back roads of Beltsville, attacking cars with an axe.  A spokesperson for the Beltsville Agricultural Research Centre is reported to have said that they think it’s stupid.  They consider it silly and not even something that’s joked about.  They also point out that the centre’s work is mostly devoted to records and genetics and couldn’t even recall when there were last goats kept or used at the centre.

Barry Lee Pearson, a Folkorist at the University of Maryland (how many universities have a resident folklorist, I wonder?) tells of a modern take on this tale which is normally regurgitated by teenage campfire tales.

Apparently, the first official report is in 1957 with a hairy, horned monster being spotted in the areas of Forestville and upper Marlboro in Prince George’s County.  The next report is in the Summer of 1962, when twelve children and two adults were found killed, they had been hiking and the Goatman is accused of their killing for hiking too close to its’ lair.  Unidentified survivors claimed that the Goatman hacked the victims to pieces with an axe “all the while emitting ghastly sounds only the Devil himself would make.”  The police have no written record of this “tragic affair” yet it’s reported that when they arrived on the scene all that was left were half-eaten limbs and a bloody trail leading to an ominous cave.  I find this hard to believe.  When police arrive at a crime scene, of course they’d seal the area off, take photos, make meticulous notes and attempt an investigation.  Once again the wording smacks of teenage horror story.

Goats abound from a historical point of view.  In Roman times there was a cult that worshipped Dionysus which was led by a man dressed as a goat, then there’s the Satyrs of Greek mythology.  Satan is often depicted in horror stories and films as a half man half goat. In modern times there is the ongoing tale of the Chupacabra.

Postscript 1 December 2015 Skeptic’s Boot has just posted “Dismissing the Goat Man”!  http://skepticsboot.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/pardon-me-for-being-gruff-dismissing.html

Monsters not caught on trailcam but recorded elsewhere

Loch Ness Monster

Nessie, as this monster is also affectionately known, was a monster that piqued my interest many years ago.  Since the original sighting in 1933, there have been numerous attempts to find this creature using state of the art equipment to “sound out” the monster from its’ lair.  Loch Ness is approximately 23miles long, its’ surface 52ft above sea level and, at its’ deepest level, is 755ft.  Loch Ness is the second laraest Scottish loch after Loch Lomond and is the second deepest lock after Loch Morar.

Because of the depth of the Loch, the hypothesis is that a large cryptid has survived from the age of the dinosaurs and continues to thrive in those waters.

Everything that I’ve seen make me think that although the reasoning makes sense, surely the sonar and underwater photography would have found something if there was a creature inhabiting those waters.

Research projects for Loch Ness include:

http://www.loch-ness.org/  This is a scholarly and well written site on the topic.  Tony Harmsworth’s work on this site is comprehensive. He is a lochside resident and maintains that he has himself seen the monster but also acknowledges that “people will believe in Nessie on the flimsiest evidence without having used a critical eye to examine the actual material which is promoted.”  He has written a book entitled “Nessie and Me” in which he says he can “reveal the underlying truth” and also advises that the book exposes the hoaxes and fakes and “removes the pseudoscience”.

http://www.lochnessinvestigation.com/

http://www.lochnessproject.org/

Given all the evidence, I leave it to  you to make up your own mind.

Bigfoot / Sasquatch

Video exists of a large apelike creature walking upright. Attempts to debunk this have been carried out by Fact or Faked, their investigator donned an ape suit for them to video and the results, obviously, emulate what little pictures we have of this creature.

12/11/2015 Came across this on Snopes and thought I should add it here just to prove no one has YET to find anything credible for Bigfoot.  A purported History Channel programme surfaced which appears to have been a spoof documentary made to look like the real thing.

Snopes finishes by telling us

In other words, Breaking History: Bigfoot Captured was not a documentary, but rather a fictional work created in fake documentary style for entertainment purposes, just like the fake Animal Planet “documentary” on mermaids and the fake Discovery Channel “documentary” about megalodon.

http://www.snopes.com/bigfoot-captured-history-channel/

Yeti AKA the Abominable Snowman

This creature is said to dwell high up on Himalayan mountains but its’ mystique is similar to Bigfoot.  I found that the Yeti was part of the pre-Buddhist believes of several Himalayan people, that the Lepcha people worshipped a “Glacier Being” as a god of the hunt.

The name “Abominable Snowman was coined in 1921, the same year that the British Mount Everest reconnaisance expedition took place, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Howard-Bury and about which he subsequently wrote a book.  In this book he writes of finding footprints that he believed “were probably caused by a large loping grey wolf which, in the soft snow, formed double tracks rather like those of a bare-footed man”. He advises that his Sherpa guides “at once volunteered that the tracks *must” be that of “The Wild Man of the Shows”.  Their name was metoh-kangmi, metoh translates as man-bear whilst Kang-i translates as snowman.  However the use of the term Abominable Snowman was borne from  an interview by Henry Newman, a contributor of The Statesman in Calcutta, who interviewed the porters of the Everest Reconnaisance expedition.

Like the Bigfoot, the Yeti reports are founded on little more than hearsay but with no pictures attempting to support the stories.

Interestingly, though, the US National Archives have a document setting out the official policy telling travelers what to do in the event that they encounter a Yeti whilst exploring Nepal.   This is very interesting because it means that the creature termed the Yeti was actually credible enough to warrant such a document!

The three regulations are (and this is my precis in modern English):-

  1. A royalty of 5,000 Indian Rupees are to be paid to His Majesty’s Government of Nepal for a permit to carry out an expedition in search of “Yeti”.
  2. In case “Yeti” is traced it c an be photographed or caught alive but it must not be killed or shot at except in an emergency arising out of self defence.  All photographs taken of the animal, the creature itself if captured alive or dead, must be surrendered to the government of Nepal at the earliest time.
  3. News and reports throwing light on the actual existence of the creature must be submitted to the Government of Nepal as soon as they are available and must not in any way be given out to the Press or Reporters for publicity without the permission of the Government of Nepal.

It’s interesting that in item No. 2 they refer to “photos of the animal, the creature itself if captured alive or dead…”  It’s an animal and it’s a creature – or couldn’t they make up their minds?

Here’s the document http://usnatarchives.tumblr.com/post/131947491214/in-case-yeti-is-traced-it-can-be-photographed-or

Chupacabra

This animal, said to exist in parts of Latin America, supposedly attacks animals, especially goats.  Since chickens, goats and cows are prey to wolves and the like, there’s no evidence to prove that this creature exists.  It would appear (I was  unaware of this) that there are two versions of chupacabra, the reptilian kind and the canid (dogs, wolves, jackals and some South American “foxes” and Vulpini (true foxes).)

Supposedly there have been more than 2,000 sightings.  the first recorded attacks took place in Puerto  Rico in March 1995 when eight sheep were discovered dead, drained of their blood.  Investigators found three strange puncture wounds on the chests of the animals giving rise to some speculation about the attacking creature.

I’ve seen various pictures posted on the internet that purport to show a captured chupacabra however, I’ve not been wholly convinced by these.

http://cryptidz.wikia.com/wiki/Chupacabra

Mothman
This creature was first reported as having been mothman drawingseen in November 1966 in West Virginia. Further sightings in both Point Pleasant and Salem tell of a flying creature approximately six or seven feet tall with eyes that glowed red in the dark. It turns out that the first time this name was used was a character in an episode of Batman on TV. Within a year of that episode airing, more than 100 sightings were reported, with even ore reports of just the red lights. Witnesses are reported to have said the creature glided like a bat but could elevate effortlessly (since when were these witnesses experts in flying creatures’ aerial abilities?).  Further they reported that it could not talk but screamed like an eagle (I venture to suggest that they did not stick around long enough to attempt to enter into dialogue with this creature so that report is skewed) but the majority of flying creatures don’t talk but chatter, hoot, warble or shriek.

There are lots of pictures of the creature named the Mothman but, some are drawings of eyewitness reports – and it’s a well-known fact that witnesses’ recall is not always accurate – there’s no indication this is any more than the figment of a fevered imagination!

mothman stillframeThis picture came to my attention on the internet some while ago, a youtube video of the Mothman, the story goes:

“In 1966, in the sleepy town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, unexplained sightings of a creature called Mothman began. His appearances coincided with strange phenomena experienced by witnesses.”

flyingfoxHowever, my initial reaction was to question whether this was actually a flying fox (large bat) as I had seen programmes about these incredible creatures some years ago.

Have a look at this picture of an Australian flying fox, there’s some similarity between this and the previous picture but the flying fox is most definitely an animal.  Looking back at the former picture, it’s highly likely this came from a film.  Observe the legs – they are human shaped – and if you look at the shoulders/arms, the form is more of a human than a winged animal.  In my considered opinion the former picture is nothing more than a man in a cleverly-constructed costume.

Upon reading an informative article entitled “Bats or flying foxes?” this advises that flying foxes do not occur naturally in Europe or USA.  Yet, is there a reason why this is the case? No, they may not be native to the USA but could a flying fox have been transported to the USA as a zoo specimen, or pet, and escaped captivity? http://www.bellingen.com/flyingfoxes/bats_or_flying_foxes.htm

Jersey Devil

This is a creature or cryptid said to inhabit the Pine Barrens of Southern New Jersey, United States.

Quoted as being a flying biped with hooves there are, unfortunately many variations on a theme when attempting to describe this creature.

I first became aware of this creature from a Season 1 episode of X-Files which is entitled “The Jersey Devil” but there is little to give any credible information on this creature aside from Wikipedia and some stray reports posted on the internet.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jersey_Devil

Mermaids

One of the P T Barnum style mermaids a monkey-head torso attached to a fish tail I’ve seen a number of photos of “real mermaids” washed up on a seashore.

The majority are either the PT Barnum style
monkey head and torso attached to a fish’s tail or they’re student film makers’ attempts at trying to pull off an assignment!

Gensan mermaidMy understanding is that sailors saw a manatee and mistook it for a female form (don’t forget they were at sea for a long time so must have been awash with hormones!). This picture is of acreature photographed London Beach Resort in the Phillipines. It’s a still from a video uploaded by Jovelin Balinas in April 2015 which apparently ‘went viral’ (did it?  I didn’t see it!).

mermaidThis mermaid was supposedly washed up on a Dubai seashore.

It has a remarkably female form, aside from appearing to be missing nipples! To me, it looks very much like a latex dummy. http://www.sreelokam.com/2014/08/mermaid-in-dubai-seashore-real-mermaid.html

Peak District Mermaids

I have just been informed of this story (15 November 2015), one I’d never come across before. Now, for those who don’t know the UK that well, the Peak District National Park is 555 square miles (1,438 square kilometres) in size, covers parts of the counties of Derbyshire, Staffordshire, and Cheshire. I might also add that it is land-locked and the majority of mermaid “sightings” are in open water.

Mermaid No. 1 is rumoured to live in the Mermaid’s Pool (logical!), which is just below Kinder Scout in the High Peaks. This area was thought to be a place where ancient Celtic water worship rituals took place, for two reasons: firstly, the water is salinated, a peculiarity for an inland lake. but this is said to be due to its being connected to the Atlantic Ocean by a subterranean passage; secondly, the nearby waterfall of Kinder Downfall often appears to have the mythical quality of water flowing upwards on a blustery day. There’s no mention of a Kinder egg!

Mermaids poolThe picture is one I found on the internet so, you can see it’s not the habitat associated with mermaid sightings. The waters of the Mermaid’s Pool are believed to offer healing qualities to those brave enough to bathe there. The best time to visit, we are advised, is at midnight at Easter: the only time of the year when the Mermaid is said to appear! If she looks upon you favourably then she will grant you the gift of immortality. Make sure you catch her on a good day though, otherwise you can expect to be pulled into the pool to your death! http://mondrem.net/myths/Mermaids_Pool.html

Mermaids poolMermaid No. 2 is said to reside in Black Mere Pool.  The picture here was sourced from wildswim.com so, the person is some brave soul who enjoys outdoor swimming locations.

http://wildswim.com/mermaids-pool-nr-leek

Over the centuries the pond has been the scene of a number of drownings and a murder when, in 1679, a woman pedlar was dumped in the pool by a local serial killer so it’s not really surprising the area has an air of mysticism about it and why stories have grown up around it.

It would appear that there are two conflicting legends to explain how the mermaid arrived at this unexceptional inland lake.

The first is that she was brought there by a sailor from the nearby town of Thorncliff, in a tale that is a rather charming love story between water nymph and seafarer (Pirates of the Caribbean style!). However, after the sailor’s death the mermaid became angry and – unable to return to the sea – started to haunt the lake.
The other is a little more sinister, telling of a beautiful young woman who rejected the advances of a local man named Joshua Linnet. Unable to accept the rejection, Joshua accused the woman of being a witch and he convinced the local townsfolk to drown her in Black Mere Pond. With her final breath the young woman is said to have muttered a curse against Joshua and, three days later, his body was found by the pool, his face covered with claw marks. It is said that her spirit still haunts the pool in the form of a demon mermaid.

It is reported that livestock refuse to drink water from Black Mere Pool (but if this pool were also salinated like the Kinder Scout pool, then that would explain this), and that birds will never fly across it. I’ve read suggestions that birds can “see” the lines of the Earth’s magnetic field so maybe this explains them flying around it.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13811-birds-can-see-the-earths-magnetic-field/

The last recorded sighting of the ‘mermaid’ was in the mid nineteenth century, when a group of locals attempted to drain the lake to see if the pool was indeed bottomless as claimed. Shortly after they began digging at the southern end of the pool (where a drainage ditch can still be seen to this day), it is said that the Mermaid appeared from the lake and threatened to flood the nearby towns of Leek and Leekfrith unless they ceased their activities immediately. Apparently, they quickly packed up their shovels and headed back to lower ground!   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blakemere_Pond

However, there is one living, breathing, female form that swims in the ocean with a tail and that’s this lady, Kezzie Mahina http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2910999/Meet-real-life-mermaid-hold-breath-five-minutes-swam-sharks-SIX-MONTHS-pregnant-range-mermaid-fins-allow-share-underwater-dreams.html

She has created and sells Merfin flippers in the shape of a mermaid tail which allows ‘children and adults alike to streak through the ocean.’

The German Emperor’s Sea-Serpent Joke

German emperor's sea serpent joke

This was posted (04/12/15) in the Fortean Times Appreciation Facebook group entitled newspaper clipping of a sea serpent hoax pre WWI.

Having googled, I can find nothing to authenticate this online.  If this is an authentic newspaper article it would prove that our straightlaced Edwardian predecessors were also capable of major hoaxes!

The Barking Cat of NW Thailand

I discovered an interesting article in November 2015 entitled “Tasmanian Tiger”.  It appears a  news team was in the Bang Rakam District in northwest Thailand in early November investigating how residents were surviving the current drought conditions. While filming their story, the crew noticed a strange creature running out of a house. “Strange” means the creature had stripes and looked like a small tiger but barked like a dog.  The owner said she often gets asked why the tiger barks like a dog and went on to say  that she didn’t paint the stripes on it and has no explanation as to how the creature got them, or whether it’s a cat, a dog or something else.

Speculating about this creature, the article asks if it could be a Tasmanian tiger or a hybrid of one?  However, apparently the last Tasmanian tiger or Tasmanian wolf was believed to have died in the Hobart Zoo in 1936 and no confirmed sightings have occurred since.

Of course we will never know.  Unfortunately the owner wasn’t asked how she came to have this animal as a pet. In my opinion, this is some weird hybrid  of which it turns out there are quite a few that have been found. I was aware of the Liger ( Male Lion + Female Tiger) and the Hinny (Female Donkey + Male Horse) but, doing some research found all of these:

Beefalo (Buffalo + Cow)
Coywolf (Coyote +Wolf)
Dzo (Cow + Wild Yak)
Geep. (Goat + Sheep)
Grolar Bear.(Grizzly Bear + Polar Bear)
Leopon (Male Leopard + Female Lion)
Cama (Male Camel + Female Llama)
Jaglion (Male Jaguar + Female Lion
Leopon (Male Leopard + Female Lion)
Mulard (Mallard + Muscovy Duck)
Narluga (Narwhal + Beluga)
Savannah Cat (Domestic Cat + Serval)
Tigon (Male Tiger + Female Lion)
Wholphin (Male False Killer Whale + Female Bottlenose Dolphin)
Zebroid (Zebra + Any Other Equine)
Zonkey (Zebra + Donkey)
Zony (Zebra + Pony)
Żubroń (Cow + European Bison)

So I’m going to stick with my gut reaction that this animal is a hybrid, since these unusual matings obviously can, and do, happen.

Strange Barking Striped Cat Could Be Tasmanian Tiger

What else it out there I should include here?

Are there any other “monsters” worthy of adding to this list? Do you have any information to add to what I’ve included here?  I’d love to hear from you!

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