Most of us are familiar with the stories and legends surrounding such mysterious and elusive creatures as Bigfoot or Yeti, The Loch Ness Monster and Chupacabras. But there is a host of lesser-known yet equally enigmatic creatures that have been spotted around the world - spotted often enough that they have been given names. They're weird, they're evasive, and they're very often dangerous. Here are some of the world's strangest crypto-creatures:
THE JERSEY DEVIL
Background: The creature known as The Jersey Devil has been roaming the pine barrens of New Jersey since 1735. Sightings are still reported today. It has been estimated that more than 2,000 witnesses have spotted the entity over this time. Panic over alleged sightings has sent terror through towns and has even caused schools and factories to temporarily shut down. Most researchers believe, however, that the Jersey Devil is mere legend, a mythical beast that originated from the folklore of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Others, of course, disagree.
Description (from an eyewitness): "It was about three-and-a-half feet high, with a head like a collie dog and a face like a horse. It had a long neck, wings about two feet long, and its back legs were like those of a crane, and it had horse's hooves. It walked on its back legs and held up two short front legs with paws on them."
Encounter (from Strange Magazine): "A Mr. and Mrs. Nelson spotted the animal cavorting on their shed for ten straight minutes; police officers filed reports of shooting at it; and even a Trenton city councilman (name withheld in the source material) claimed an encounter. He had heard a hissing sound at his doorstep late one night. When he opened the door, he found cloven hoofprints in the snow. These bizarre footprints were turning up all over the New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Delaware region. Animal mutilations, occurring at random throughout the area during the week, were blamed on the Jersey Devil."
Background: As recorded in John Keel's seminal book The Mothman Prophecies, The Mothman sightings began to be reported in 1966. The red-eyed winged creature was dubbed "Mothman" by a newspaper reported, since the "Batman" TV series was at the height of its popularity. Sightings continued and fervor escalated over the following months, coinciding with a bewildering array of strange activity - including precognition, odd prophecies, UFO sightings and encounters with bizarre "Men in Black." It's one of the most puzzling and fascinating periods on record of paranormal activity focused in one geographic area. The creature itself has never been explained, although skeptics laughably suggested that it was a mis-sighting of a sand crane.
Description: Approximately seven feet tall; has a wingspan over 10 feet wide; gray, scaly skin; large, red, glowing, and hypnotic eyes; able to take off straight up in flight without flapping its wings; travels up to 100 miles an hour; likes to mutilate or eat large dogs; screeches or squeals like a rodent or electric motor; likes to chase cars; likes to "nest" in remote, unpopulated areas; causes radio and television interference; drawn to, and protective of, small children; has some mind control powers.
Encounter: "It was shaped like a man, but bigger, said witness Roger Scarberry. "Maybe six and a half or seven feet tall. And it had big wings folded against its back. But it was those eyes that got us. It had two big eyes like automobile reflectors. They were hypnotic. For a minute, we could only stare at it. I couldn't take my eyes off it."
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