A spiked, breathing, living thing you didn’t expect to ever see is glimpsed for a moment in the foliage…
We’re branching out this post with accounts of creatures thought long dead.
I’ll admit, my title is misleading. Dinosaurs are hardly cryptids. We know they were alive at some point in the past. We find bones and nests and plenty of evidence that dinosaurs were animals that once walked the earth and have long been gone.
Dinosaurs, probably because we don’t see them anymore, offer a chance to imagine a different world than the one here. While most predators (bears, big cats, wolves, etc.) can certainly be quite fearsome, dinosaurs seem to be on another level. Traditionally, they’ve been depicted as completely reptilian creatures with claws and teeth and massive feet and tough, leathery hides. Somehow, in not being able to be photographed, dinosaurs seem tougher, something just a little bit alien.
So what if you saw one, or thought you did?
This appears to be the case in parts of Africa.
Sightings of Mokele-Mbembe (which is herbivorous), Kongamato (something like a pterosaur), and other unexpected creatures invite speculation and legends. It’s exciting to imagine that something we thought we might not get the opportunity to see might still be alive.
Except for the difficult part.
Not being able to find these dinosaurs and conclusively prove that they are hanging out in different parts of the world, left alone and simply undiscovered. Maybe they were seen at one time. Maybe now they’re really gone.
Could they have simply died out? Possibly, since being so rarely sighted might mean that numbers are few and not rising.
Could Mokele-Mbembe be real, or real at one time recently?
But where are these creatures? Are they in hiding? Is there someone hiding them? Maybe they’re just shy.
Maybe they’re just legends.
But it’s awfully fun to think they’re real.
Perhaps it’s a strange curiosity you see along a new route you travel, or maybe you’ve passed it many times, but never enough for your brain to quite reconcile the utter oddness of those pieces left behind in such strange ways.
I can’t say that it is only one place that has me thinking of this topic. There are a few places I know well enough that it caused me to take a little more notice of lonely chimneys and a random houseless stoop that borders a sidewalk. It’s also not uncommon, here in the South at least, to see the side of an old barn or even an old house peeking through trees, the structures left to fall apart on their own. They usually do, if they aren’t simply torn down by the owner.
The latter do not concern me all that much.
What really gets me interested are the places such as I’ve seen near South Hill, VA. There is one spot I’ve passed there before where there are two chimneys (or perhaps one) and no house beside. In another town, quite literally, there are three steps leading into an empty lot. A place once dwelt in. I believe (and I may be getting the exact location wrong, though I have seen this) that on the road between Wilson NC and Raleigh NC, if you go through Knightdale, there is a single, small stone structure that appears to have been a fireplace.
What are these places? Of course, they were once homes, but why was so much erased, only for tiny pieces to be left? Were they actually erased? Might something truly strange have happened there? Logic asks us to simply believe that a wooden wall is simply more easily conquered than stone.
Perhaps it is as easy.
But first, consider any exception to how we believe the universe behaves. What about the vanishing house in Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery? The strange noises and unsettling frequencies that mimic hauntings? Or perhaps the disappearances of whole people groups?
There might be a mundane explanation for each and every example.
But what if there wasn’t? What if the universe utterly refused to play by the rules that we decided must apply?
It’s a truly interesting question, indeed.
Glowing eyes piercing through the dim haze of a foggy night….
Is is paranormal activity, or is the explanaton even stranger?
Urban legends can begin as truth or nightmare. They may either grow from an actual occurrence and become more nightmarish, or begin themselves as nightmares made up to scare friends or explain away impropriety. Regardless of their origin, the most memorable stories make deep roots and stick around until they become an ingrained part of our culture, a source of paranoia about government activity or the guarded glances you cast over your shoulder on a night-darkened street.
They are fuel for our imaginations. But what if everything you ever heard about the Mothman was true…in a way?
The story of the Mothman is arguably one of the most famous tales to come from the state of West Virginia, and its details are simple. The story begins in 1966, in a graveyard. The harsh truth of life is that sometimes, there are graves to be dug, and someone has to dig them. This particular grave was being worked on by five people who were much surprised to see a giant man lift off and fly away. It most definitely was not the last time that anyone would see the Mothman, and for the next year, more sightings would come, all centered around the town of Point Pleasant.
They were always much the same. A large winged humanoid flying through the night sky, eyes aglow, often red, and terrifying. Some dismissed it as a bird, while others embraced it as a sign of something supernatural, or alien.
The sightings ended, apparently, when the Silver Bridge collapsed a little over a year after the first time the Mothman made his appearance. It was December 15, 1967, and a total of 46 people died. After that, no one said much more about the Mothman, for good reason. John Keel wrote a book about it, 1975’s The Mothman Prophecies. A connection was established between the bridge’s collapse and the appearance of this creature. Perhaps he was a warning?
Another famous figure with glowing eyes is Spring-heeled Jack. Jack first appeared in London in 1837, amid already existing stories of street hauntings there. The first time he showed up, he jumped out of an alley and attacked a girl by the name of Mary Stevens. The next time, he ran in front of a carriage, caused it to crash, and jumped away, over a wall, laughing. He was said to have claws, the jumping gave him his nickname, and later accounts would give him glowing red eyes.
Though he is linked so firmly with England, Spring Heeled Jack has been spotted in New Mexico. Some versions of him breathe fire, and he still attacks people, and still jumps away, scaling seemingly impossible heights very quickly.
He was last seen in 2012.
The last on our list of strange-eyed folk are the Loveland Frogmen. It was the middle of the night, summer 1955. The person who first saw the creatures is to this day unknown. As the story goes, he was driving along this particularly dark stretch of road when he saw, off to the side, a few creatures, roughly 3 or 4 feet tall, standing. Watching. The creatures are described as having skin like a frog, big eyes, wide faces, and, instead of hair, scalp wrinkles. I imagine they must have looked eerie, because a human’s eyes don’t reflect light like an animal’s.
So who were these guys? The Mothman, Spring-heeled Jack, and the Frogmen? Just stories, embellishments on real people with a little shared nightmare thrown in?
The eyes are the key.
Might they have something to do with the mysterious Moon-eyed people? This group was said to see better at night. It might follow, then, that their eyes were reflective.
We still have no idea where they might have come from.
But the Mothman, Spring-heeled Jack, and the Frogmen might have an origin even odder than any of us can imagine.
Possible codes, mysterious languages, and answers that elude us…we can’t get enough of the Voynich manuscript.
It’s a pretty well-known artifact that’s been a frustration ever since Wilfred Voynich acquired it. That was back in 1912. It was probably written in the 1400s, and the pages are made of a pretty standard material, vellum, not paper. It’s handwritten, which is also not odd, considering its origin in time.
What’s weird are the words we can’t read, labeling even stranger illustrations of patched-together plants, odd multi-armed swirls, and a map here and there. It would probably all make much more sense if we could just understand the words.
But we can’t.
People love a good code challenge, whether to set one or break it. The Enigma code machine played a role in World War II, the Zodiac killer’s last code is still undeciphered, and the Taman Shud case continues to frustrate. Codes are why the Voynich manuscript fascinates people. It’s an unanswered question, spread out over pages and pages, given illustrations that no one knows what to do with.
The best part of the mystery is knowing that someone, at some point, might have known. Two friends, with one secret. A professional code between associates. Fun and games. An unknown dialect of a known language? A hoax, maybe. Fanfic, or a tie-in work to some other piece of fiction? All of these are possible, some definitely proposed. Especially the hoax. If it can’t be figured out, then it’s a hoax, right?
Except for one key detail.
Recently, as in 2013, two scientists, Marcelo Montemurro and Damien Zanette, found that the words appear in a pattern that would only occur in an actual language and would be absent in something completely made up.
Suddenly, it’s entirely likely that the Voynich manuscript, strange illustrations and all, does mean something and has some context in which it can be understood.
Trouble is, we don’t know what that might be. But isn’t it fun to imagine?
All the weird legends and ghost stories that turn up about North Carolina always end up being about the Western part of the state, in the Mountains.
I intend to change that.
So welcome to Weirdly Awesome NC, delivering an attempted daily dose of Eastern North Carolina pics, stories, legends, and just plain old stuff. Of course, this isn’t to say I’ll completely exclude Western North Carolina, but when our side has Blackbeard and a hydrogen bomb buried deep underground, things can get pretty odd around here. Feel free to leave some links in the comments to other stuff you’ve come across, even if it’s not in North Carolina! I’d love to know about your weird findings. I also plan to have Twitter, and I’d be ever so delighted if you’d follow me.
Now grab a pint of Eastern NC BBQ and join me back here soon for one of our oddball offerings.