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Half-human, half-monster creatures have been rumored to exist ever since the ancient Egyptians’ sphinxes and the Babylonians’ legendary griffins. More recent stories conjure up golems, vampires, werewolves – and worse.

In January 1909 residents of the American states Pennsylvania and New Jersey reported sighting a hideous apparition, part-human and part-bat, soon known as the “Jersey Devil.” On January 17th postmaster E.W. Minster of Bristol, Pennsylvania, saw it flying across the Delaware River “emitting a glow like a fire-fly . . . Its head resembled that of a ram, with curled horns, and its long thick neck was thrust forward in flight. It [had] long thin wings and short legs . . . [and] uttered its mournful and awful call – a combination of a squawk and whistle.”


Monsters of New Jersey: Mysterious Creatures in the Garden State (Monsters (Stackpole))


Nearly 60 years later in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, a similar winged, bat-like monster with glowing red eyes was called “Mothman.” It first appeared near Point Pleasant, West Virginia, on November 15th, 1968, when four young people in a parked car were startled by a grey creature, almost 2 meters tall, shambling through the darkness, draped in a cape. It had two red eyes topping its shoulders, but no head. As the car raced away, the Mothman unfolded its “cape” into wings, rose into the air and gave chase, squeaking loudly.

Mothman terrorized the region for 13 months, then disappeared. Skeptics believe fertile imaginations were responsible for the sightings or that Mothman was simply a sandhill crane, giant night owl or great blue heron, misidentified through fear.



Sightings of unidentifiable beings are not restricted to impressionable youngsters. David Gower, a former Marine, told aviation writer Martin Caidin about his unearthly encounter in a Vietnamese jungle clearing. At about 1:30 AM on December 14, 1974 Gower and five fellow Marines disembarked from their river boat and were confronted by three gleaming, bright yellow beings, nearly 2.5 meters tall, with flat faces, slits for noses and snake-like eyes. Its three 3-fingered hands ended in long claws, and later three-toed footprints were found in the earth. Gower emptied a 20-round ammunition clip into one creature, but it just stood “twitching” before chasing the men back to the river.

Another bizarre beast appeared on the night of November 17, 1974, near Bald Mountain in America’s Washington state. What motorists saw in their headlights was, as Ernest Smith described, the size of a horse and covered in scales. Its four rubbery legs were dotted with suckers. From its football-shaped head rose a projection like an antenna, and it glowed with an eerie, shimmering green.

This mutant “horse” was not without precedent. In spring 1966 John Farrell and Margaret Johnson were driving past Lord Dillon’s estate in Ireland’s County Louth, when a huge creature suddenly loomed ahead. At first they thought it was a large horse, until they saw its grotesque, leering human face! It blocked the road for almost two minutes, staring down with bulging eyeballs, before it disappeared. The pooka, often in the guise of a malevolent horse or pony, was a feared monster of Irish mythology, but drivers hardly expect to find one in a modern highway.



Motorists would not expect monsters to emerge from the swamps of South Carolina either. And yet on June 29, 1988, young Christopher Davis, who had just changed a flat tire outside Bishopville, saw a two-legged monster approaching Davis jumped in his car, but the creature tried to open the door. He later described it as over 1.8 meters tall, with green scaly skin, red glowing eyes, three-toed feet and three clawed fingers on each hand. Scratches were reportedly found on Davis’s car. The press dubbed the creature “Lizard Man.”



Could these creatures be extraordinary specimens from the backwaters of evolution? This is one explanation offered for the Himalayan yeti and American Bigfoot. Yet they seem almost ordinary in comparison with the Jersey Devil, Mothman, pooka, and Lizard Man. Common sense dictates such creatures cannot exist, yet some people insist they do.



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