Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
Monsters are based on ancient myth, right? Dragons, unicorns, vampires, and werewolves all date back to a time when mankind was less sophisticated. They are carry overs from a time when science’s light didn’t shine as brightly as it does today. Now a days reason has changed them from boogeymen to Halloween decorations.
Sure there are monsters. Poisonous snakes, the Great White Shark, even the tiny Ebola virus. But we can capture them catalog them and codify them with our science. Somehow this makes them less scary, less mysterious. Sure they are still deadly but these identifiable monsters lack the primal fear generated by say a zombie or ghoul.
.The twenty and twenty-first century are populated by real human monsters like Hitler and Charles Manson. compared to evil men these creatures of the occult and paranormal seem almost like a breath of fresh air. Still modern society has its share of mysterious beasties too. Creatures that rival their ancient kin
Modern cryptids have a huge advantage in the internet age. Where legends and pictures (Photoshoped or not) can spread like a virus. Though this phenomena is not as new as one might think. The eighteenth century mysterious airship craze may have very likely been fueled by bored telegraphers, who shared the story like a modern memes from city to city so efficiently that they still exist today.
So let’s explore five things that go bump in the night that haven’t been around as long as you might think, and who keep modern nightlights on.
Number One: El Chupacabra. I thought that South American goat killing lizard came from old Inca or Aztec legends but in fact the first sighting of Chupy was in Puerto Rico in 1995. This story is only three years older than my nineteen year old daughter. Since then there has been reports throughout North and South America, the Philippians and even Russia.
I think the fact that it doesn’t have a long legendary pedigree is fascinating. If it was a missing link from the dino age why did we just see it for the first time about twenty years ago? A common theory is that it was a genetic experiment that got away. That theory is well accepted by a lot of the residents of Puerto Rico who have had at best a distrustful relationship with the United States. Another theory is that they come from space.
Now we will never know who told the first vampire story but we know who the first person to report a chupacabra was. That distinction goes to one, Madelyne Tolentino. Researcher Benjamin Radford feels that her description was based on alien hybrid Sil form species. Now this doesn’t mean that she didn’t see something. Just her perceptions and thus the common concept on what a Chupacabra looks like are biased by the movie.
Recently there have been a rash of video tapes of chupacabras released. These creatures look more like hairless jackals than the reptilian goat-sucker. In fact they have pretty much been revealed to be coyotes with mange. I was rather surprised when they were called chupacabra, to me they never looked like things that were reported in Puerto Rico and other paces. That people linked them together seemed to me had a lack of creativity in monster naming than anything else.
Number two: Black Eyed Kids. The thing about studying modern legends is you can basically say with certainty that the phenomena started on this or that date. For Black Eyed Kids (BEK) the genesis date begins on January 16th 1998. They were first reported by journalist Brian Bethel when he told of two young boys came to him when he was writing out a check to pay his internet bell in his car. They begged him to take him home so they could get money to see the movie Mortal Combat. The boy’s eyes appeared entirely black, no white or any other color. One often referred to as the ‘spokesman’ kept saying things like. “We can’t enter your car without permission.’ “We are just two kids” or “We don’t have a gun or anything.” A felling of utter panic filled Bethel and he refused to give the kids a ride and got out of Dodge as soon as he could. When he posted his experience on the internet it turns out someone in Portland (Yes it had to be Portland) had the same experience about the same time.
Since that story was told BEK’s have been seen all over the world. A lot of reported cases come from England. The story is always pretty much the same a BEK asks to enter a house or for a ride, but the person they ask becomes extremely afraid of them and panics and leaves or shuts the door on them. But the kicker is that no one has ever told the story of what happened to someone who let a BEK in their car or house. The presumptive conclusion is that if anyone has let in a BEK they have died or vanished.
The need for permission harkens back to the old vampire legends where a blood sucker can’t enter a house without a dwellers consent. Many people have suggested since they are seen mainly at night that the BEK are a form of vampires. Others have speculated that they are aliens or the demonic shadow people.
To me of all the creatures we will be discussing today, the BEK’s are the most chilling. Children are supposed to be like clowns and doctors not dangerous or scary. When they become such they are deeply disturbing. Also as an adult it is assumed we should be able to defend ourselves from the little heathens. We should be able to overpower them verbally or physically if they attack us. Now I am not advocating violence towards children, but since we are bigger and stronger we should be able to protect ourselves from them. The fact that no one has ever survived letting a BEK in to their house or car is against the way the universe should be and as such is terrifying.
Number three Alligators in NYC Sewers. It is an old story, the first time I think I ran across this myth I was in the fourth or fifth grade, and read it in a trivia book for kids. The story goes that someone or more aptly a group of people in New York had baby pet alligators. When said gators got so big they couldn’t control them, they flushed the reptiles down the drain and now live in a community under in the sewers under the city. If that wasn’t scary enough the alligators began to mutate, eventually some stories made them albinos and others giving them unusually strength.
This story sounds, well. Possible. Even my own mother believed it up until I provided her with the evidence that I had gathered for this post. The truth is that there has never been a single alligator found in the New York sewer systems. But the story that originated back in the twenties or the thirties still persists because it sounds as if it could be true.
Now there have been a lot of alligators found in storm drains and sewers but every case has been south of the Mason Dixon line. In Los Angles a large alligator nicknamed Reggie was found on a golf course and alluded a manhunt for a year and a half. Reggie apparently was let go by two exotic pet aficionados. But then again LA golf course doesn’t equal NY sewers. The bottom line of this is that just because something is possible doesn’t mean it is real.
Number Four: Slenderman. Come on we all know that Slenderman isn’t real right? Heck there is even a copyright on him as a work of fiction. That is right, the internet’s biggest boogie man has a copyright held by its creator Eric “Victor Surge” Knudsen. If this is true then how come so many people believe he is real?
Knudsen has said that he was inspired to create Slenderman based on writings of HP, Lovecraft, Steven King’s The Mist, and the surreal writings of William S Burroughs (Some say he may have been subconsciously inspired by the game video Chzo Mythos). It was created as part of a project called “Let’s create a supernatural image” on the website The Something Awful Forms. The contest was to create something creepy out of ordinary photographs. It then hit the web like a brushfire gaining instant meme stardom. Soon after that a Blair Which like Vlog called Marble Hornets also told story of a film student and his run in with entities including Slendy.
Despite having very traceable origins there is still a percentage of the population that insist that Slenderman is a real supernatural menace. Like all good made up urban legends Slenderman taps into an existing zeitgeist of supernatural horror. Slenderman stands on the shoulders of the legends of the nebulous shadow people, doppelgangers form the world of dreams that wish to take over the lives of those living in the waking world. Also to back up the Slender mythos a creature called Der Großmann was created to give it a seemingly historical context. Slenderman was photshoped into pictures of sixteenth century woodcarving to make it seem older than it real was.
Recently there has been a lot of crime associated with Slenderman. At least two stabbing and an attempted arson, this year alone (ed note this story was first published in 2014) . Victor Surge has expressed sorrow for that refuses to do interviews on this disturbing trend. It should be stated that the young girls who participated in this were defiantly mentally unstable. It is unfair to say they were driven to these crimes by a belief in Slenderman. I feel the same way about these as I do about the UFO cult Heaven Gate suicides. Someone took something I see as an entertaining piece of cultural folklore and brought it to a dangerous level. I do not think that there is anything innately evil or dangerous in the belief of Slenderman or UFOs, but that all things taken to extreme can become dangerous.
Number Five: Mothman. Those of you that saw the movie the Mothman Prophecies probably remember the part when this academic tells the John Keel character (Called John Kline in the movie) that the Mothman is an ancient messenger spirit. Let’s just get this out there, the name Mothman was made up by an anonymous news service copy editor in an attempt to draw parallels between what was going on in Point Pleasant West Virginia and the popular Adam West TV show Batman.
The first report of Mothman happened on November 12th 1966. When five men digging a grave claimed a winged man flew above them when they were digging a grave. The next few days the Mothman was seen by couples who claimed it chased their car, and volunteer firemen who described it as a large bird with red eyes.
Almost from the begging the creature was tied with UFO that were being seen in the same area at the same time. We are not sure how many people actually saw Mothman during a two month period in 1966, but as many as one hundred people may have claimed to have seen it. And to a person when interviewed latter none of them recanted the story.
What is undeniable is that on December 15th 1966, the Silver Bridge collapsed in the same area that Mothman had been sighted. Many have associated this disaster with Mothman and have theorized that the strange entity was trying to warn residents of the impending doom.