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Wednesday, November 23, 2022

NEBRASKA- Falls City Metal-Winged Demon

 On a late evening in 1956 “Mr. Hanks” (a pseudonym used by the witness to protect his identity) was traveling down a rural lane near Falls City, Nebraska when a being out of a hypnogogic hallucination sailed over his head. The creature, so Mr. Hanks claimed, was held aloft by fifteen-foot-long metallic wings covered in multicolored lights. These wings remained rigid, yet the being appeared to somehow be guiding its flight with a control panel strapped to its chest. One might naturally conclude that this apparition was just some eccentric human inventor testing a new glider. But then what does one make of Mr. Hank’s description of the entity’s twisted, leathery demonic face and nine-foot height? Though the encounter was brief- the entity flew overhead and disappeared into the dusk in only a few seconds- it would leave Mr. Hanks deeply shaken.

This was not the first recorded encounter with strange, technology-assisted flying humanoids in modern times.  In 1948 Bernice Zaikowski from Chehalis, Washington also claimed to have witnessed a man gliding above her house on a pair of giant, unmoving metallic wings. That same year, several people in Longview Washington reported three men in “flying suits” sailing through the air with the aid of unseen motorized equipment.

Going even further back to 1880, visitors to New York’s Coney Island witnessed a man with “bat’s wings and improved frog’s legs” and a “cruel and determined expression” sailing over the amusement park.

What could these bizarre, mechanically-assisted flying humanoids be? Perhaps, as some have suggested, they were aeronaut inventors testing out novel glider technology. The idea is not unprecedented. In the late 1800s German engineer Otto Lilienthal made extensive studies on the physics of wings (his data served as inspiration for the earliest test flights of the Wright brothers) and even built several gliders that he personally flew. Follow-ups on the Chehalis sighting strongly suggest that what Ms. Zaikowski saw was just such a man in a hang glider.

But then what about the demonic face and massive nine-foot height of the Falls River creature? Was it a mask? Or maybe Mr. Hank was simply misinterpreting what he saw in a panic. If one wants to take a supernatural approach, perhaps these metal-winged creatures were another iteration of otherworldly winged cryptids such as the Mothman, the Cornish Owlman, and the Van Meter Visitor. Supernatural investigator John Keel suggested that cryptids and other strange phenomena such as UFOs, bigfoot, ghosts, etc. might be manifestations of ultraterrestrials- beings from higher dimensions beyond the four we know. According to Keel, humans cannot fully process the true appearance of these hyper-dimensional beings, so our minds piece together approximations that we can comprehend. Maybe Mr. Hank and the tourists at Coney Island got brief glimpses at beings from the other world that had cloaked themselves in forms mortal minds could process.



Encounters With Flying Humanoids by Ken Gerhard

An article from Cryptomundo providing a mundane explanation for the Chehalis winged man

An account of the Coney Island Flying Man

An account from Untapped New York about the Coney Island flying man

The Otto Lilienthal Museum

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

BOOK REVIEW: The Old Snatchengrabber's Big Book of Child-Eating Monsters

 Over on my other social medias I've been doing some reviews of horror books for Spooky Season, and I thought this book, being about boogeymen and other folklore bugbears, would fit in nicely with this blog.


by Bitter Karella (writing as Mike Rosen)

Boogey-men, women, and those in-between abound in this collection of monstrous beings that live under beds, on the roof, or just on the edge of the forest path, waiting to grab and devour kids who misbehave or go to places they shouldn’t.

The Big Book ranges from familiar bogeys (at least to American pop culture) such as Rawhead Bloodybones, La Llorona, and Baba Yaga, to more obscure beings such as the Babylonian sewer-dwelling Sulak, the gossip-eating living marionettes called Croquemitaines, and the fungal witch Churnmilk Peg who punishes naughty children who steal unripe nuts from their neighbors’ orchards. All brought to life with Karella’s cartoony style.

Each entry is written in a field guide style with habitat, range, appearance, diet, and other vital statistics so you can identify the bugbear currently haunting your outhouse or crawlspace.  Looking through the entries, it quickly becomes apparent how hilariously gruesome boogeymonster folklore is, with monsters delivering punishments such as chopping kids to pieces; grinding them into sausage; suffocating them in piles of filth and sewage, ripping out their living guts and replacing them with stones, and other unpleasentries. I suppose if your kids won’t listen to reason, you gotta terrify them with the threat of dismemberment by a nightmare hag to get them to obey.

The Old Snatchengrabber’s Big Book of Child-eating Monsters is available as a PDF on Bitter Karella’s page, along with a bunch of other cool, spooky comics, books, and games- including the award-winning Midnight Pals!

Monday, October 24, 2022

Flatwoods Monster Reimagined


Besides cryptids, my other favorite creatures to draw are radiodonts, aka anomalocarids. These "strange shrimp" were a diverse group of predators from the Paleozoic era that captured prey using spiky Great Appendages that hung from their heads in front of their mouths. Radiodonts are believed to be ancestral to both arthropods and velvet worms. 

Here I've reimagined the famous Flatwoods Monster as an upright, land-walking radiodont/anomalocarid with its Great Appendages forming the arms.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Mountain Creature Caught Running Behind a Google Car


Been playing around recently with staining paper with tea. I love the aged look it creates, and the unusual patterns formed. The perfect look for making moody crypitid drawings.

This here is the Mountain Creature Caught Running Behind a Google Car, or Mocc for short. It's recently become somewhat popular on Twitter and Reddit after a user posted a blurry photo from a Google Streetview car that appears to show an odd, bipedal creature running along a line of trees in a wooded area. Or maybe it's just a weird-looking tree stump. Either way, it's a neat new addition to American internet folklore, and has already generated a fair amount of fan art, including mine!

Friday, June 10, 2022

Pride Cryptids

It's Pride Month, so I'm reposting all my LGBTQ+ Cryptid designs!




                                NONBINARY CRAWFORDSVILLE MONSTER


I also made a couple of Pride Mothmens for this year.






All designs are available on shirts at my Teepublic store or as stickers and art at my Redbubble shop. All profits go to LGBTQ+ charities!


Saturday, April 16, 2022

Rougarou- Louisiana

A strange, unearthly cry echoes across the mirrored surface of the Louisiana bayou, echoing off scattered cypress and tupelo dripping with Spanish moss. Is this merely the call of a wading bird? A lone puma? Or is it the shriek of the man-wolf creature known as the Rougarou?

Rougarou is a Cajun variation on “loup garou”, the French word for werewolf. France has a long history of werewolf folklore. In the 16th century these creatures were often blamed for crimes such as disappearances, animal killings, and particularly violent burglaries. In a parallel to the infamous witch hunts also taking place at the time, scared and panicked villagers would usually accuse someone living outside the societal norms of the time- such as a hermit in the woods, or a person with mental illness- as being the beast. Once accusations had been made, the condemned had little ability to defend themselves in court other than to “confess” to being a werewolf and implicate others in their ddeds.

Many legends existed to explain how one became a loup garou. Some men (medieval werewolves were almost always masculine) could change by putting on a wolf’s skin- a possible link to legends of the Norse berserker warriors who would don bear skins to take on the beast’s power. Some people would become werewolves through cannibalism and other debauchery. Catholic priests claimed that a man who didn’t observe Lent for seven straight years would become a werewolf.

Stories of the loup garou came to North America in the 17th century with French settlers in the Acadia region, located in what is now Eastern Canada. In the aftermath of the French and Indian War, the British colonial government took over the region and forcibly deported most of the ethnically French Acadians.  Many of these displaced people settled in Louisiana, originally a colony of France that was ceded to Spain in 1762. The Spanish government was fairly tolerant of the settlers, allowing them to continue their cultural practices- which included tales of the loup garou.

In modern times the rougarou has become more of a boogeyman to frighten children. Parents warn their kids not to misbehave or play in the swamp or else the beast will come for them. These stories usually do not make it clear if the creature is a transformed human or if it is always a humanoid beast akin to the Beast of Bray Road and other dogmen of the Midwest.

Despite- or, more likely, because of- its frightening appearance and behavior, the Rougarou has become a popular part of Louisiana culture. Costumes based on the creature frequently appear in Mardi Gras celebrations, and the city of Houma even has an annual festival themed around the creature.


Thursday, September 30, 2021

Hairy Devils- Alaska


Stepping into the dense rainforest of Southeastern Alaska, one can’t helping feeling a strange sort of presence, as if something unknown and unseen were watching from the trees. Is this sensation merely a construct of the mind? The human tendency to anthropomorphize nature? Or is it possible there are ancient spirits and unknown beasts lurking among the dripping spruces and shadowy hemlocks?

Around 1900 a gold prospector named Harry D. Colp wrote a story of an alleged encounter between one of his companions and a pack of unknown entities in the Alaskan wilderness.  Colp had been lodging with the man, Charlie, along with a few other prospectors in a shack near the city of Wrangell.  Charlie had heard about a deposit of gold-bearing quartz in the nearby Thomas Bay area.  Packing three months of supplies, he set off alone to investigate the site, only to return less than a month later badly shaken and with neither supplies nor gold.

Charlie told Colp that upon arriving in Thomas Bay, he’d gone in search of a half-moon shaped lake where the gold could supposedly be found. After several days of searching, he finally locating the body of water at the foot of a glacier. He had only just gotten his bearings when he was horrified to see a pack of hairy “devils” swarming towards him from the shore.

Charlie described these beings as looking halfway between men and monkeys. They were “entirely sexless, their bodies covered with long, coarse hair, except where the scabs and running sores had replaced it.” The stench of the creatures made Charlie ill, and their screams and cries made him delirious. The beings chased him all the way back to Thomas Bay, where he passed out and woke up hours later floating in his canoe in the middle of the water.

Several decades after Harry Colp’s death, his daughter, Virginia, published the manuscript of the story under the title “The Strangest Story Ever Told”. Over the years this tale has become a popular piece of folklore in Southeastern Alaska.

Some have suggested that the beings Charlie encountered may have been kushtaka- shape-shifting otter-men from the folklore of the Tlingit people. Stories depict these creatures as malevolent tricksters who lure fishermen and hunters into the wilderness, only to drown them or transform them into more otter-men. They are often used as boogeymen to scare children aware from the dangers of the ocean. Yet, like shapeshifters in many cultures, kushtaka can be mercurial in behavior, and may occasionally save lost travelers from dying in the freezing cold (often, again, by turning them into kushtaka themselves). In at least one tale recorded by the Smithsonian Institute, an otter-man is depicted as the reborn spirit of a dead man who returns to aid his impoverished family. 

While Harry Colp never refers to the creatures in his story as kushtaka, the otter-men have become closely linked with “The Strangest Story Ever Told” in Alaskan folklore.

Other people have allegedly also seen the hairy devils around Thomas Bay, though Colp’s story is the only one widely known. These sightings have led locals to dub the area “Devil’s Country”. Thomas Bay is also known as the “Bay of Death” by the Tlingit people because of a landslide in the 1700s that wiped out a village.


Full text of "The Strangest Story Ever Told", from

A story about a more benevolent encounter with a kushtaka

An interesting possible explanation for the Thomas Bay devils, from Tara Neilson's Alaska For Real blog

An article from the Juneau Empire with more details about Harry Colp

"Kushtaka", a short film created by Cameron Currin about the monstrous Otter-Men