Friday, July 13, 2012

Supernatural Friday: Beware of Monsters: Bigfoot, Werewolves and Mothman!

With all the ghost reality shows there is the occasional TV show about monsters. Like "Destination Truth." I love ghosts, but also enjoy a good monster story or legend. Who doesn’t like to learn if a werewolf has been seen in their area, or if Bigfoot has been stomping his/her way through the woods nearby?

Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, is usually very tall, maybe up to seven or eight foot, and covered in hair, mainly black. It is supposedly seen only in the State of Washington, maybe even Oregon, Northern California, and other parts of the Far West. But that’s wrong, for there have been sightings of Big Foot for more than four hundred years in many of the other states too, including my own state of Virginia. In fact, Virginia has the oldest sightings, some as far back as the 1800s. Take that Washington!

Similar to Asia’s Abominable Snowman, the history of Bigfoot reaches far back into America’s past with the Indian people. In the Northwest and west of the Rockies, Bigfoot is seen as a special being, all due to close relationship with humankind. Indian tribe elders see him as a border between animal-style consciousness and human-style consciousness, one that gives him special powers. In Indian culture, animals are not looked upon as inferior to humans. Instead, they are regarded as elder brothers and teachers of humans. Interestingly enough, the Northwestern tribes never considered the Sasquatch as other than a physical being. But to other tribes in the U.S., Bigfoot is perceived more as a supernatural or spirit individual. An appearance to humans is meant to convey some sort of message. The Sioux called Bigfoot Chiye-tanka. Turtle Mountain Ojibwe call the Sasquatch Rugaru, close to the French word, loup-garou, which means werewolf.  They also associate Bigfoot with Windago, the cannibal-giant of their legends.  The Hopi see Bigfoot as a messenger who appears in times of evil. Among the Iroquois, mentioned much more often than Bigfoot are the “little people”—both are regarded as spiritual or interdimensional. These are the Pukwudgies. They believe that these beings can enter or leave our physical dimension whenever they wish to.  Strange that these little people myths are all over the world, like the little people known as fairies in Europe, for example.

Sightings of the Sasquatch have been reported to this day, even by credible people. To many, these facts suggest maybe the presence of an animal, probably a primate that exists today in very low population densities. Bi-pedal, unlike an ape, it walks with long strides and has a cone shape for top of the head. If so, it has became very adept at avoiding human contact through a process of natural selection.

Besides the U.S., it has been seen all over the world, as was evident in "Destination Truth" first episode on July 10, 2012. So this creature doesn’t just haunt the forests, mountains, and swamps of America, but many other places worldwide.

Another furry being is the werewolf, known in legends the world over, along with other shapeshifters that include leopards, lions, elephants, snakes, tigers, bears, foxes, hyenas, jaguars, and I am certain much more.

Werewolves, also known as lycanthropes or wolfmen, are mythological humans with the ability to shapeshift into wolves or wolf-like creatures. This can be either by being bitten by another werewolf or from being placed under a curse. The medieval chronicler Gervase of Tilbury associated the transformation with the appearance of the full moon; however, there is evidence that the association existed among the ancient Greeks, appearing in the writings of Petronius. Shape-shifters similar to werewolves are common in tales from all over the world, though most of them involve animal forms other than wolves.

There are traits that only a werewolf has. Like the joining of both eyebrows at the bridge of the nose. Other indicators are curved fingernails, low set ears, and a swinging stride. One method of identifying a werewolf in its human form was to cut the flesh of the accused, under the pretence that fur would be seen within the wound. A Russian superstition tells of how a werewolf can be recognized by bristles underneath the tongue.

The appearance of a werewolf in its animal form varies from culture to culture, though they are most commonly portrayed as being indistinguishable from ordinary wolves save for the fact that they have no tail—a trait thought characteristic of witches in animal form. They also retain human eyes and voice. After returning to their human forms, werewolves are usually documented as becoming weak, debilitated, and undergoing painful nervous depression.

Historical legends describe a wide variety of methods for becoming a werewolf, one of the simplest being the removal of clothing and putting on a belt made of wolf skin, probably as a substitute for the assumption of an entire animal skin (which also is frequently described). In other cases, the body is rubbed with a magic salve. To drink water out of the footprint of the animal in question or to drink from certain enchanted streams were also considered effectual modes of accomplishing metamorphosis. According to Russian lore, a child born on December 24 can become be a werewolf. Folklore and literature also depict that a werewolf can be spawned from two werewolf parents. In Italy, France and Germany, it is said that a man turns into a werewolf if he, on a certain Wednesday or Friday, went to sleep outside on a summer night, with the full moon shining directly on his face. In Galician, Portuguese, and Brazilian folklore, it is the seventh son after six sons (though sometimes it can be the seventh child, a boy, after a line of six daughters) who becomes a werewolf. In Portugal, the seventh daughter is supposed to become a witch and the seventh son a werewolf; the seventh son often gets the Christian name "Bento" (meaning "blessed) as this is believed to prevent him from becoming a werewolf later in life. There are also those myths that say that the transformation is accomplished by satanic allegiance, often for the sake of sating a craving for human flesh. And of course, among the Native Americans there are the skinwalker stories.

For this blog, the last “monster” I will talk about is Mothman. Who hasn’t heard about the Mothman?

The Mothman is a being seen in West Virginia, around Charleston and Point Pleasant, mainly between November 12, 1966 (near Clendenin), and December 1967. For thirteen months, the entire town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia lived in a grip of dark terror culminating in a tragedy that made headlines all over the world. Most observers describe the creature involved as a winged creature the size of a man, with reflective red eyes and large moth-like wings. The creature often appeared to have no head, with its eyes set into its chest. A number of hypotheses have been presented to explain eyewitness accounts, ranging from misidentification and coincidence to paranormal phenomena and conspiracy theories.

It all began on November 12, 1966, when two young married couples from Point Pleasant, David and Linda Scarberry and Steve and Mary Mallette, traveled late at night in the Scarberrys' car. They had just passed the West Virginia Ordnance Works, an abandoned World War II TNT factory. They noticed two red lights in the shadows next to an old generator plant near the factory gate. Stopping the car, they discovered that the lights were actually the glowing red eyes of a large animal. Shaped like a man, but bigger, it stood maybe six and a half to seven feet tall, with wings folded against its back. Terrified, they raced toward Route 62, where the creature supposedly pursued them at speeds exceeding hundred miles per hour. From then on, others ran into this monster until the December 15, 1967 collapse of the Silver Bridge spanning the Ohio River.

There are claims that Mothman is related to parapsychological events in the area, including UFO activity, men in black encounters, poltergeist activity, Bigfoot and black panther sightings, animal and human mutilations, and precognitions by witnesses.

One of the early theories is that the Mothman was a misidentified Sandhill crane, which, in the late 1960s, had been a problem in the surrounding area. Sandhill cranes can reach a height of six feet, achieve wingspans of ten feet, have the general appearance described, glide for long distances without flapping, and have an unusual shriek. Other theories suggested the possibility of the Mothman being a barn owl or perhaps a large Snowy owl.

Funny thing, since then, this being has been seen in Virginia by three friends in Prince William County during 1968-69. Lately, sightings of a Mothman or maybe Mothmen have been seen in the Mid-West. Not just in America, there has been an article I found online, mentioning about London sightings of it. There is evidence that the Mothman case bears striking similarities to a lengthy investigation carried out in London which dealt with a supernatural phenomena dubbed by the British media ‘The Highgate Vampire’.  Recent sightings happened in Seattle, Washington in May 2012.

Mothman has moved into the realm of the paranormal, or supernatural. That the one in West Virginia is due to a curse put on the Point Pleasant area back in 1770s, called the Cornstalk Curse. You can read about this curse at As a child when I first read about Mothman in West Virginia, I always thought of it as maybe an alien (due to UFOs seen in the area at the same time) and maybe this was a spacesuit that people mistaken for a creature. I still stick to that this day. What is your opinion?

Today, I wrote about three different types of monsters. Next week, I will blog about more monsters.

Next time, you walk through a spot of woods Bigfoot has been seen, a park a werewolf has been claimed to been seen, or drive a lonely stretch of road that there has been sightings of Mothman, take care. Maybe it’s not a myth. Maybe you did see those red eyes in the dark, or heard what might not been a coyote howling.



LOVE monsters. Thanks for the great blog.

Pamela K. Kinney said...

You're welcome, Dani.