Mermaid Monday: The Very Strange Tale of French Dracs

blackwhitesketchThis Monday, CryptoVille discovers the French legend of the Dracs. Are they mermaids, monsters, or dragons? It’s a strange tale that we’ll try to decipher as we comb the legends for any sign of truth.

On the surface, Dracs are described as “French water fairies” that live in an enchanted city deep below the surface of the Seine River, in France.

Other versions of the story claim they live in underwater caves. Many of the tales take place along the banks of the River Rhone.

People see them in several ways:

  • Sometimes they are “skating” the water’s surface using wooden plates
  • Other times they are just purple orbs hanging over the water
  • At other times, they can appear like a golden chalice rising from the river’s depths.

Dracs can shapeshift into just about anything, but when they do, it’s usually in the form of a beautiful young woman in order to seduce a man. They are also known to capture young mothers to take below the surface to act as wet-nurses for the water fairy children.  If a woman is captured for this purpose, they keep her for seven years, then return her to the surface and her own life.

Dracs have the ability to remain invisible which is how they hunt human children on land without ever being seen.

Dracs03Frederic Mistral’s Version

Frederic Mistral wrote a book about myths from his region of France, in and around the town of Beaucaire. This town is located on the Rhone River.

Mistral claims that Dracs are “invisible winged sea serpents (water dragons)” who left their watery home in the 13th Century to hunt and kill thousands of men. During that time one of the Drac kidnapped a young woman peddling flowers and held her for seven years during which she raised the Drac’s son. He let her go, but she still had the ability to see Drac on land, and so the Drac gouged out her eye so she would be unable to warn other citizens of the Drac’s approach.

Armies were sent to vanquish the beast, to no avail. Eventually the Drac died of natural causes and the problem disappeared. What happened to its son is anybody’s guess.

Felice Holman and Nanine Valen’s Version

Holman and Valen wrote a book about French dragons and demons that included their version of the Drac tale. It reports an account by Gervase of Tilbury, a 13th century man, who said he had met a woman who was kidnapped and held as a wet-nurse for seven years. During her captivity, some magical grease got in one of her eyes that enabled her to see the Dracs when they were roaming the towns and villages. It was during these times that the Drac snatched human children to eat.

Dracs02After she had been released back into her own world, she spied her captor in the town market early one morning and greeted him. Because she could see them, the Drac gouged out her eye after which she supposedly went mad.

Gervase was recorded as saying, “There is also on the banks of the Rhone, under a house, at the North-gate of the city of Arles, a great pool of the river.  In these deep places, they say that the Dracs are often seen of bright nights, in the shape of men.”

Other versions of this story claim the wet-nurse had to rub human fat into the scales of the baby Dracs so they could see their charges. At night the wet-nurses were to wash the fat off with special water. One night, the wet-nurse forgot to wash it off and rubbed her eye thereby bestowing the ability to see the Drac on dry land to herself.

There is even another report that claims this “water spirit” was slain by a saint.  Possibly St George?

What Does It Mean?

From what I read, it seems several tales from this area of France had become mixed-up, hence we get all these different versions, none of which even remotely involve mermaids! How it got from a “water fairy” type thing,  to a Smaug-worthy dragon, is anybody’s guess.

However, it does seem to be a way to explain why the children of the region would go missing. Back in those days, wolves still roamed France. It’s possible they were taken by natural predators in the area, and perhaps pedophiles.

If nothing else, this is a cautionary tale to keep your children around you, and not to be fooled by golden trinkets or other curious objects that might appear in the river.

Join us next Monday when we’ll bring you another tale of strange creatures living in the water – hopefully more like the Mermaids we know and love!

Tail slap!


Bigfoot Thursday: Seaside Review

TalkingBF02This week, CryptoVille is taking a long weekend for some R&R. But we still have monster tales and cryptozoological mysteries for you to ponder! Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti – whatever you call him, here are some interesting articles about the big hairy guy!

Since we’re taking some time off (several long weekends this summer), we’re leaving you with some Bigfoot reports that you may not have seen on CryptoVille yet. Here’s a list of some of our most popular ones:

About the Russian Yeti and the tragedy that befell nine students back in 1959:

Russian Almastys – are they related to Bigfoot? Read here:

Did our soldiers see a version of Bigfoot while fighting in Vietnam? Check this out:

Can Bigfoots speak using language?

The Russian Svokan – real or myth?

 My open letter to Bigfoot hunters:

Does India have a type of Bigfoot? Oh yes they do!

More and More

I could keep adding more Bigfoot related articles, but you might prefer to go to the “Articles by Topic” bar in the top right section of this page and scroll down until you see “Bigfoot and His Kin.” That will get you on the long list of articles including the ones mentioned above plus a lot of others.

Have a great weekend! See you next Thursday for another Bigfoot Video review!

Call for Videos

If you’ve got a Bigfoot video that you’d like me to review (yours or someone else’s), send the link to cryptoville (at) hotmail (dot) com. If I choose your video you’ll win a Becky Kelly fairy bookmark!

Mermaid Monday: Meghalaya Mermaid Found in India?

blackwhitesketchWe’ve got a whale of a “tail” on today’s Mermaid Monday! It’s a cryptozoology report complete with unidentified monster. Did locals find a dead mermaid washed up on shore in Ranikor, Meghalaya, India? Or was it something else? CryptoVille investigates!

This story first circulated in 2012 but I’ve only recently seen it. I actually found it because someone was searching for the “Meghalaya mermaid” on this website. I was curious and had to see what I could find.

What I found is a story that almost doesn’t bear repeating because it’s so outlandish. Let’s take a look.

It seems that one day in 2012 the creature in the following video washed ashore on the banks of the Ranikor River in India. The local Muslim population immediately decided it was something supernatural and treated it accordingly.  They claimed it was a dead mermaid.

Here’s the video I first saw, one minute long:

Some of you will say the answer is painfully obvious and I would agree with you, except for the fact there are people still searching CryptoVille for the information.

So to prove to people that this “creature” is nothing more than a dead stingray from the underside, let’s look at some other photos of dead stingrays (various species):









Southern Stingray Closeup of mouth











Anatomy Photo

The stingray’s anatomy:


Note the two nostrils on the top, under which is a inter-nasal flap. Under that flap is the mouth which is pretty much just a slit. Below that, you find the gills on either side of the underside.

After the animal dies and begins to decompose, these features become more exaggerated. They do sort of form a “face”, but it’s just part of the decomposition process.

So without a doubt, the “creature” in this video is not a mermaid. It is a species of stingray, dead and decaying.

I really have to wonder how people confuse one of these ….


With  that ….



How drunk does one have to be?! (Maybe I’m being too harsh; it could just be a lack of education. Well, at least now they’ll know the truth.)

See you next Monday when we return with another strange tale from the deep!

Bigfoot Thursday: Bigfoot Eyeshine or Monster Hoax?

TalkingBF02Today’s Bigfoot video shows a man, his frightened dogs, and what looks like a monster sitting in the woods in the pitch dark of night. It’s an interesting video that cryptozoology lovers might want to think about – could this be a real Bigfoot? Or another hoax?

Someone on YouTube who goes by the moniker “BadAssPimpMasterFlex” posted the following video on May 5, 2013. He said that one night his two huge mastiff dogs were begging to come inside which is contrary to their usual behavior.

After letting them inside, he shone his flashlight out back and caught a pair of front-facing eyes looking back at him. The video continues not showing much of the animal (or whatever it is), as he tries to get it to react. He calls, he whistles, he makes some other noises. Whatever the creature is, it doesn’t react very much other than looking away at times then returning its gaze towards this man.

BigfootinDarkIn His Own Words

The video maker describes himself as a naturist and sportsman who owns guns. In his own comments section, he added the following:

“I had went out to see what was going on because the dogs were both sitting right up against the sliding patio door. Close together and my female was pawing at the door. They don’t like to be indoors as its too warm inside for them most of the time. I felt weird once I got out there. So I grabbed my flashlight and shined it up there and seen the eyes. I’ve had deer, Owls, Coons and such back up there but this was different. There is nothing to stand on right there to get that height. Which is roughly 8-9′ off the ground.

I am an avid naturist and sportsman. I own .223′s .308′s and several other firearms. I’m not in the habit of fire rounds off into the dark at something that is not challenging me. I felt creeped out yes…but not as if my life was in danger. I’ve heard things up there at night but I have no more interest in going any further with this. I could possibly film whatever it was and no matter what I filmed it would be received with more <expletive> comments from Armchair Rambo do nothing in their lives <expletive>faces. <Expletive> faces that want to shoot comments off as if they would do something different like go charging up there in the dark to confront whatever it was, when they can’t even confront their Mommy to get a weekend unchaperoned to attend a Bronie Convention.

I’m not into “Squatching” or any stuff like that. Some things are just better left alone, it doesn’t bother me, I don’t bother it. We are cool like that.”

He reported that he has since moved away from that house and area.

The Videos

This man recorded the footage in two videos, below. Please note his foul language is incredibly bad, so please be forewarned.



What to Make of This

First and foremost, we’re not seeing much of the animal and I guess that’s understandable since it is the dead of night out there. I wish we knew where he was at the time (state/area).

His report about how the dogs reacted rings true because we hear how time and again dogs become very afraid when one is in the area. You may wonder why the thing didn’t respond to all his calls and whistles. I figure it probably didn’t know the man could see his eye-shine and felt it was safe there.

People have criticized him for not going out and pursuing whatever it is, but I don’t blame him. If you’re not prepared to put it all on the line to discover a Bigfoot as Bigfoot researchers often are, you’re not obliged to put yourself in harm’s way just to prove it exists.

Others said he should have shot it. We’ve heard many times how hunters were tempted to shoot it but decided not to. They felt it would be wrong. I’m glad he didn’t.

BigfootHideSeekBut is it a Bigfoot? I can’t say for sure, but it’s possible. This guy’s account seems real and natural (in fact too natural if you factor in that horrible cursing).  His behavior afterwards also does him credit I think. He’s not planning on going out to try to find it again because he doesn’t want any grief and criticism from viewers – that seemed to make him very angry. But he also seems secure in what he saw and his beliefs about it.

I would give him the benefit of the doubt until further evidence could be produced to show it was a hoax, if that’s even possible. But I found the footage interesting.

What do you think?

Call for Videos

If you’ve got a Bigfoot video that you’d like me to review, send the link to cryptoville (at) hotmail (dot) com. If I choose your video you’ll win a Becky Kelly fairy bookmark!

Giant Bird Fossil Recently Found

Pelagornis01This cryptozoology tale about a monster of a bird is actually true. A gigantic flying sea bird fossil was found near Charleston, SC and recently reported upon. Could this fossilized giant bird be a relative of some of the giant raptors being seen around the US in recent years? CryptoVille investigates. (Artwork right by Liz Bradford.)

In 1983 the Charleston International Airport needed another terminal, so workers began to dig the area in preparation. They found something related to aviation, all right, but it wasn’t what anyone was expecting.

Scientists identified the gigantic fossil found by workers as that of an extinct sea bird, a new species which they named Pelagornis sandersi. Dr. Daniel Ksepka who is now the Curator of Science at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, has published his paper this month detailing his research on this flying phenomenon.  At the time the fossil was found, he was with the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham, NC.

The fossil is currently housed at the Charleston Museum (below left).

Pelagornis02According to the research, P. sandersi lived 25-28 million years ago, after the dinosaurs and before humans inhabited the Earth. According to Dr. Ksepka, “The upper wing bone alone was longer than my arm.”

The rest of its bones were “paper-thin” and hollow. The legs were described as “stumpy” but the wings, they were huge. The wings would have spanned 20-24 feet in an adult. Dan said they had so many bones (multiple wing and leg bones as well as the complete skull) that it made identifying the animal easy. It was a formerly unknown species of pelagornithid all of whom had long beaks filled with “bony tooth-like spikes” on both sets of jaws.

The name P. sandersi is in honor of the original scientist who dug up the fossil, Albert Sanders who was the former curator at the Charleston Museum.

GiantBird01Other Contenders

P. sandersi dethrones Argentavis magnificens as the largest bird ever recorded by science to date. However my research into the A. magnificens wingspan reported that its wingspan could have reached 23-25 feet (7 m) long which would make it just as big, if not a bit larger than P. sandersi. Well, I guess the scientists are going on their best estimates given the fossils they’re working with. So we’ll leave it at that. It’s not much of a difference anyway.

AlbatrossWandering02The largest living bird in today’s world is the Wandering Albatross.  That beast’s wingspan has been recorded between 8 ft 3 in to 11 ft 6 in wide (2.51 – 3.5 m). They weigh between 13-28 pounds (5.9- 12.7 kg). (Photo right.) These birds spend most of their lives in flight landing only  to eat and reproduce. I wonder if that wasn’t true for this new species, too, P. sandersi.

Mechanics of Flight

P. sandersi exceeds the predictions of mathematical models for a bird’s ability to fly. In other words, according to our best mathematical models, it shouldn’t be able to fly. So Dan had to tackle that problem by working with these models and based on his research, he estimates that P. sandersi had to run down a hill to generate the lift to take off or catch a good head wind. I remember from my research into A. magnificens, those scientists said much the same thing. The good news for P. sandersi is that once it was aloft, its huge wings would be more than capable of riding the air currents and keeping the bird in flight for a very long time.

Scientists believe the long periods of time in flight would enable the bird to scour the ocean surface in search of prey such as squid and eels. Dan adds, “That’s important in the ocean, where food is patchy.” Picture below right shows size of a Wandering Albatross compared to man.

AlbatrossWandering01Today’s Giant Birds

Many friends of CryptoVille have reported seeing huge birds flying through the skies of mostly middle America. No one knows what they are. Research into that phenomena is really tough because it’s nearly impossible to get a sense of scale (how big the bird is) against an open sky. So in some cases, they may be seeing a bird we know about that has just flown off course into new territory.

Most of the argument against large birds living today is that more people would have seen them, and there is no scientific record of them. I suspect more people see them than anyone would have guessed but to whom do they report the sightings? Who is keeping track of these sightings? There is no official channel for this. I may have to start one.

As for the scientific record, over 20,000 species of animals are being discovered every year, some of them quite big (remember the 4,000 pound Javan rhino “discovered in 1998”?!). So I’m very open to the possibility that there may be more huge birds soaring through our skies, hidden in plain sight.

Let’s keep the search going! Keep your cameras handy.

Til the next time!

Mermaid Monday: South Sea Sirens & Their Similarities

blackwhitesketchThis Monday we cruise the South Seas looking at a merfolk tale that spans the islands in the area. Variations abound, but the mermaids and mermen are basically the same. This isn’t a cryptozoology tale full of monsters, but one of seduction, love, and heartbreak.

Today’s Mermaid tale travels around the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” starting in New Zealand. The story goes that a beautiful young woman named Hina lived along the coast of New Zealand. One evening she was out walking along the shore when she spied a gorgeous young man frolicking and swimming in the waves. It was love at first sight for both of them.

The young man’s name was Tuna, and together they vowed to live as husband and wife. However, there was a hitch. Tuna made Hina promise that she would never pry into his past or follow him anywhere. Then he said that he would only be able to be with Hina during the nighttime as during the day he had to go elsewhere, where she couldn’t follow.

HawaiianMermanbyBajazet3At first things were great, but as you can imagine, the restrictions Tuna placed on their relationship began to frustrate and sadden Hina.

Somehow, the fisherman/god Maui became aware of the situation. He approached Hina to see what she knew about Tuna because Maui knew Tuna’s deepest, darkest secret – Tuna was actually a merman! (Artwork left by Bajazet.)

For whatever reason, Maui decided that Tuna had to go, so he waited for Tuna to emerge from the waves one night. Tuna sensed something was wrong, so he told Hina that if he was killed, she must cut off his head and plant it nearby. He said a fruit tree would grow from it and the fruit would resemble his face and hair.

As Tuna returned to the sea, Maui set upon him and killed him. Hina did as Tuna told her and buried his head. A fine tree grew in that spot and when it bore fruit, it bore coconuts. Hina believed she saw Tuna’s face in the fruit and his hair.

This basic story about Hina and Tuna and Maui exists all around the islands of the South Pacific, but in each place, the story has changed a little or in some cases, quite a bit. Let’s look at those.

HawaiianMauiRole Change

The characters change roles and responsibilities in many of the tales. Here’s a rundown of those:

Hina:  Sometimes she’s a goddess of the moon and other times she’s a water goddess.

Tuna: In some stories he’s an eel-deity, in others he is Hina’s pet

Maui: Some tales say Maui is the one who buried Tuna’s head to create the coconut, while in other versions he is Hina’s son. He has also been said to be Hina’s lover, not Tuna. (Actor portraying Maui above right. Note the fisheran’s hook.)

Hawiian Versions

The Hawiians have many versions of this story. Hina is usually either a goddess or a lovely young woman. She can be living behind a waterfall on the island of Maui using bark to make cloth, or elsewhere. Here are some examples of Hina’s many manifestations among this culture:

HawaiinMermaid01Hina lua lim kala: the mother earth of the stories, this one lives in the sea gathering remedies to heal all she meets from the bounty of the sea. She is lovely and voluptuous.

Hina ‘opu hala ko’a: This version is queen of the spiny sea creatures living in and around the local coral reefs.

Hina puku I’a: Fishermen look to this version as their personal goddess.

Maui himself is the subject of many variations on a theme, the most common being that he is a fisherman and a deity whose mother abandoned him in the sea, letting the sea raise him.

The Plot Thickens

The native Hawaiians have another story about this trio that involves a troublesome deity called the Mo’o Kuna, who is a giant lizard.

The story goes that Hina was living in a deep cave behind Rainbow Falls. In this version, Hina is a water spirit. The wicked lizard deity, Mo’o Kuna, conjured a terrible storm that caused great floods which subsequently washed a huge boulder over the falls. The boulder caused a dam to form and the back-up flooding was threatening Hina’s home beneath the falls. (Rainbow Falls, HI, below right.)

HawaiiRainbowFallsHina asked her son Maui to help whereupon he split the boulder into pieces allowing the water to pass once again, saving Hina’s home. Then Maui pursued the wicked Mo’o Kuna in his canoe, but the evil creature hid in deep caves and waterholes in the river.

Maui asked the fire goddess, Pele, to pour lava into the river to make it boil and kill Mo’o Kuna. She did this and the wicked spirit was vanquished. Maui is then said to have tossed Mo’o Kuna’s body over the falls.

Nowadays, the locals say you can see Maui’s canoe in a lava channel in the Wailuku River. They also believe that if you look into the water at the base of Rainbow Falls, you’ll see Mo’o Kuna’s remains.

Interestingly, from a geological viewpoint, there are what they call “Boiling Pots” in the Wailuku River State Park that are said to represent the area where Pele destroyed Mo’o Kuna. The phenomenon of the boiling water is caused when it rains heavily into these holes and the water bubbles up as though it’s boiling. (Photo below left.)

HawaiiBoiling_PotsOfficials recommend visitors be respectful of all these kinds of areas around Hawaii (and beyond) where the native legends intersect with tourism.  I guess you never know who could be watching.

See you next Monday! Tail slap!

Bigfoot Thursday: Sequoia Park Bigfoot  

TalkingBF02This monster cryptozoology tale takes place in Sequoia National Park, CA. Did this controversial filmmaker really capture footage of a Bigfoot running in the forest? Or is it an elaborate hoax? Cryptoville  explores the pros and cons for the answers!

This sighting of a really big Bigfoot with, dare I say it, luxurious hair, was captured in Sequoia National Park which is in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California in 2005/6. I mention the Sierra connection because it is truly a Bigfoot hotspot among Bigfoot researchers. Many of them have caught compelling evidence from there.

Does that automatically mean that this video is real? It’s hard to say. Let’s look at what some experts have said about it, and I’ll share with you what I think, then you can decide for yourselves. It’s a tough call.

Here is the original footage of the creature (almost 4 minutes long):

SequoiaNatlParkMapSetting the Scene

I used that section title purposefully because the man who “captured” this footage is actually a filmmaker. That immediately puts me on my guard because if anyone can come up with a decent hoax, I have to think a filmmaker and experienced videographer would be able to.

If I’m following this story correctly, the filmmaker, Shawn Bannon, first caught the footage in 2005, but later on in 2013 he made it into a short film. Cryptozoology investigator, ParaBreakdown, refers to it as  a “mockumentary.”

The story goes that Shawn and a couple of his friends went on their semi-annual mountaineering trip to catch some beautiful pictures of the Sequoia National Park forest (above left). At the time he shot the footage, Shawn figured they were at a 7,000 foot elevation.

Shawn shot the video with extreme long range lenses so the animal looks closer to the witnesses than it really was.

Problems Arise

The problems began when real Bigfoot researchers tried to contact Shawn (presumably in 2005/6) to get more details and ask questions about his sighting. He apparently ignored them all, including legendary investigator, Loren Coleman. That angered a lot of people.

However, Shawn does seem to have talked to radio host George Noory of Coast to Coast about it so there may be a podcast of that interview somewhere on the internet. I have not heard it.

BigfootRedHairbyLexaFirst Expert Reviewer

Let’s look at the video ParaBreakdown created to discuss this Bigfoot footage. It’s about 9 minutes long. Phil Poling is the man behind ParaBreakdown.

(Artist’s rendering of red-haired Bigfoot by Lexa on DeviantArt, right.)

Phil had a few issues with this whole situation and the footage:


  1. The fact Shawn Bannon never said the creature was a real Bigfoot or denied it was a Bigfoot is suspicious to Phil. In fact, Shawn just didn’t say anything.
  2. The footage shows 45 seconds of almost uninterrupted footage of the creature in clear view – something that’s almost unheard of in the Bigfoot community. If it’s one thing we know about Bigfoots, it’s that they can disappear into their surroundings in record time.
  3. Phil says the most compelling evidence that this footage is hoaxed is the fact that there are 5 edits, despite Shawn saying the footage was unedited. Phil shows them clearly in his video review.
  4. Looking at the animal’s appearance, Phil thinks the long hair is created with extensions attached to a costume. He also feels that any “musculature” in sight is the underside of the costume with a lot of padding beneath it.
  5. Some have said the creature’s agility speaks to its authenticity, however Phil doesn’t agree. The part where it looks like the Bigfoot jumps over a stump isn’t clear. It could have just hopped over a fallen log.

Here’s Phil’s video if you’d like to see it (about 11.5 minutes long).



BigfootCoastalArtTotemSecond Expert’s Opinion

ThinkerThunker also reviews Bigfoot videos over on YouTube as well as on his own website. He seems reluctant to share his name, so I’ll refer to him as “TT.” (American Indian style totem of Bigfoot, left.)

TT embraced this Bigfoot footage much more enthusiastically than Phil Poling did. He saw a few things differently. For starters, he said the creature looked like a cross between an orangutan and a Transformer! LOL! It sort of does!

TT made these points in his video review:


  1. He was impressed that the creature grabbed a tree while it was running, as though it was nothing. I’m not sure that means anything, though. It looked like a little sapling.
  2. When the creature ran it kept its arms down at its sides, like a Bigfoot does. Yes it did, but someone imitating a Bigfoot could have learned to do that too.
  3. TT was very impressed with the way the creature seems to leap over a stump, but in the shot, we can’t tell for sure that’s what it did. As Phil Poling said, it could have jumped over something much smaller to the side of the stump.
  4. TT pointed out that it’s much harder to run in a heavy costume than in regular clothes. I take his point, but on the ParaBreakdown video, Phil shows us a team mascot in full hairy costume running around like a crazy person. Of course the mascot is running on a flat, clear basketball court, while in this video the creature is running through a debris strewn forest.
  5. TT thinks the hair on the creature looks matted in some places. I see what he’s looking at, but I thought it was gaps in the hair on the body or costume.
  6. Finally, TT was very impressed with the musculature that he says becomes apparent when he zoomed in on the image. He cites its hamstring and quads. Honestly, I’m not sure it’s not the movement of the costume with tight padding underneath it.

TT makes an excellent case why this video most likely wasn’t created using CGI. I think he’s right on that score. But that still doesn’t mean it wasn’t a hoax.

If you’d like to see TT’s video review, it’s here (about 12 minutes long):


My Opinion

I’m not an expert, but I’ll state my opinion for the record.

FabioMy first thought upon seeing this creature was that this must be the Fabio of the Bigfoot world! I have never seen a Bigfoot with such flowing, luxurious hair; I mean, I’m jealous!!

Then I think about the Bigfoot caught on the Patterson/Gimlin film (which I believe is authentic). The hair on that creature was a lot more natural looking and believable. I’m not sure what’s going on with this creature’s hair, but it’s extraordinary. And that might be a clue.

Shawn Bannon has behaved suspiciously throughout this whole scenario. He submits his movies to various film festivals and things like that, so he’s first and foremost a filmmaker. That makes me instantly suspicious.

bigfootpic3I think Phil Poling’s analysis of the video is enlightening. He shows where that footage was edited 5 times and we can see it in his review. Yet Shawn said it wasn’t edited (except for clarity).  Something is definitely not right about the sequencing of the footage. (Artist’s rendering of “Patty” from the Patterson/Gimlin film. Note the hair which he copied from the footage.)

As to the animals’ appearance, well, it looks “over the top” to me. Did you see the show with the analysis of the Patterson/Gimlin film with Dr. Jeff Meldrum and some other experts and scientists? With today’s technologically superior equipment, they were able to clear up those images and see things with more definition. They could see muscle movement beneath that animal’s hair.  It was clear and very compelling.

In this video from Shawn Bannon, it just seems messy and obscure when viewed close-up. I’m not sure we aren’t just seeing layers of the costume and bulky padding beneath it.

So is this a hoax or the real thing? I’m afraid I have to come down on the side that this was more than likely a hoax.  But I still believe in Bigfoot and I know, like many of you too, it’s only a matter of time before science catches up with the rest of us.

What do you think of this controversy?


Special thanks to Lisa Webster-Vitale for bringing this video to my attention! She won a cute Becky Kelly fairy bookmark.

Call for Videos

If you see a Bigfoot video that you’d like me to review on Bigfoot Thursday, please send the link to If your entry wins, I’ll send you a fairy bookmark too.

Mermaid Monday: Legend of the Japanese Ningyo/Ningen

blackwhitesketchThis week we turn our sights to the Far East and examine mermaid legends from Japan. In some cryptozoology tales these fishy maidens sound like monsters, while in others they are quite beautiful. What should we believe?  Let’s take a look!

Depending on the source you consult, the Ningyo, also known as the Ningen, can be either very beautiful or really really ugly.

AsianMermaidBeauty and the Beast

The positive side of the story describes them as a water fairy with a human face while the rest of the body resembles a fish. This fairy is supposed to love luxury and sensuality which is reflected in the diaphanous silk gowns they wear. Their temperament is usually happy and content, but they sometimes become unhappy and when they cry, their tears transform into pearls.

On the negative side, they are sometimes described as looking like a cross between a monkey and a fish, having gold scales and making a sound that resembles that of a flute. They cannot speak, however.

Ningyo01The Japanese tales tell how delicious their flesh is and they insist it is magical. Supposedly if you eat it, you become immortal.

In order to eat one, you have to catch one first. And that act can generate other problems according to fishermen who say they throw it back into the sea if they catch one. Another legend says catching a Ningyo or Ningen will bring the fishermen bad luck, misfortunes, and tragedies. It can also be an omen indicating an approaching storm.

PT Barnum and the Fiji Mermaid

In 1842, the ultimate showman displayed what he said was a mermaid caught off the South Sea’s Fiji Islands. The hype surrounding the oddity was big. People swarmed to the exhibit ready to view a voluptuous sea maiden only to find something quite different.

The display showed the head of a monkey set upon the body of a fish. It was ugly and bizarre all at the same time.  People were disappointed to say the least.

Ningyo02It turns out, this “Fiji Mermaid” was one of many fakes created in Asia. They would take the head of a monkey and literally sew it onto the body of a fish, then dry the monstrosity.  The practice dates back to the 16th Century.

Barnum’s mermaid was destroyed in a fire in the 1860s, but it is said to have looked very much like the artwork left. According to Wiki, “The original had fish scales with animal hair superimposed on its body with pendulous breasts on its chest. The mouth was wide open with its teeth bared. The right hand was against the right cheek, and the left tucked under its lower left jaw.” Lovely.

Another dried out monstrosity appeared on the scene in 1975 and to this day people insist it’s a real mermaid.  I think we know better, though, don’t we? Mermaids are beautiful! They are not monkey heads sewn onto the bodies of fish.

Well, this is another fruitless “whale of a tale,” but I will keep looking for more definitive proof that these lovelies from the deep do exist!

See you next Monday! Tail slap!


Bigfoot Thursday: June 28, 2014 Sighting in Virginia with Photos

TalkingBF02Today we look at a Bigfoot story taking place in Virginia. Less than a week ago, a 72 year old man spotted the monster by a river and took some photos. Cryptozoology lovers will want to know – is it the real thing?

Thanks to my friend Katie S for finding this story!

Randy ONeal shared some photos online taken by his 72 year old father on June 28, 2014. His Dad and a family friend were fishing by a remote creek near the intercoastal waterway in Virginia when they spotted a big hairy creature across the way from them.  His father picked up his “old school camera phone” and took some photos. (Map of the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway in Virginia below left.)

AtlanticIntercoastalWaterwayRandy took his father’s photos and uploaded them to YouTube (see below) to share with the world. Many people are claiming this is a hoax, but Randy says, “[T]hey were taken by my 72-year-old father on June 28, 2014 with his old school flip phone. You believe or you don’t. There is no in-between.”

Twenty-five years ago, Randy and his father had another encounter with what they think was a Bigfoot. They were camping in the same area as the recent fishing encounter. Randy kept seeing red eyes in the woods and pestered his father about them. Getting frustrated, his father told him to shoot the darn thing, then.

Randy took his shotgun and shot in the general direction of where he had seen the red eyes. They heard a horrible scream then the sounds of something large charging away from them through the woods. Randy said his father believed him then and they were both deeply disturbed by the incident.

The next morning, they went to the area where Randy had shot and found a huge swath of brush flattened that continued down to the river.

BigfootinDarkSkeptics also doubt this encounter but Randy says, “For all who think I am pulling a Fast one on you: My story from being a teenager is as true as the day is long. I don’t claim to have Shot Bigfoot. I claim to have shot a creature that we never identified.”

Back to the photos from June 28th.

Most of the following video is text from Randy explaining the situation, his first encounter with a strange creature when he was 15, and setting the stage for the photos his father took last week. The video in about 4.5 minutes long.


Randy comes across as very sincere and honest, in fact, he invites video experts to “dissect” the photos and see for themselves whether it’s a hoax or not.

The photos are very clear, but they are also very distant. If his Dad only had a zoom feature on the cell phone, we would really be able to see something. (This is why I hate cell phone photos across the board! How useful is a camera without a zoom – it’s not!)

Anyway, the photos do seem to show a bipedal, hairy creature across the creek from the photographer. But that’s about all we can tell. The creature’s outline seems about right, broad in the shoulders, no neck, cone shaped head. But the legs look a big skinny. Maybe it’s a young one?

I think it’s impossible to draw any real conclusions without a good videographic analysis. But I will say, I think it’s an interesting photo, the environment seems right, and there seems to be plenty of brush for the animal to hide in. Presumably the creek provides some food for it to sustain itself.

I wish they told us what the creature was doing. Was it fishing, or picking up shell fish? Why only two photos? Did they startle it and it ran off?

Ultimately, this may well be a Bigfoot but it’s just too far away from the photographer to tell. I hope someone does a video analysis of it. If I find one, I will share it with you here.

What do you think?

Game Changer III: Russian Yeti & the Dyatlov Pass Mystery – New Insights

Russian-Yeti1We continue sharing the revelations as told in the Russian documentary about the Dyatlov Pass mystery in this final installment.  For more information see parts I and II.

Russian Theories

The program stated that they have their own theories as to what happened to the students. Some possibilities they dismissed outright, like the UFO encounter. They felt that was way beyond the realm of possibility given all the clues pointing to government involvement in missile testing and cover-ups that were revealed during their investigation and broadcast.

The program also dismissed the theory that the Mansi murdered the students due to a complete lack of evidence, and also the Menk for the same reason.

This is what we have left.

First Russian Theory

This first theory comes to us (via the Russian program) from Moisei Axelrod, an accomplished mountaineer who know the students and lived the life they did way back in 1959.

Moisei was a member of the original search party who subsequently spent the next 30 plus years looking for answers as to what really happened to the nine students.  He said that in 1959 a new type of weapon, or rocket, was being developed and tested in that area (the Mountain of the Dead area). During a Russian holiday called the UPI (Ural Polytechnical Institute) Spring Day, he and his wife saw a pulsating ring flying across the sky. That was on February 2, 1959. His wife, a journalism major interning at Tagils Workers paper, reported that the paper printed an article about the object because someone from one of the Vysokogorski iron quarries saw it one morning.  But “censors” removed any mention of it from the paper.

RussianRocketPoster1957Moisei believes these two events are connected – the deaths of the students and the sighting of this experimental rocket. He explained that if this rocket entered their airspace and dropped to the ground, it would have caused bright lights and ground shaking. Moisei said other people in the area reported seeing parts of the third stage of a rocket laying around. He was part of the original search party, so he was able to see and hear things that others were not. (Russian Rocket poster from 1957, left.)

Moisei made this point – in those days the rockets were not sophisticated like they are today. There was no laser guidance system aboard. He also said that if it hit the ground causing the Earth to shake, it would have caused at least a snow slide if not a full avalanche in the area of where the students were sleeping.

He believes a snow slide ran over the tent. The Russian tent was 13 feet long, 6 feet of which was on a flat plane while the remaining 7 feet was slanted up a slope. Moisei said sleeping in a tent under these conditions was tough because whatever part of you rests on the ground is very cold, so you toss and turn a lot through the night.

Here’s how he think it happened:

  1. The tent was hit by a snow slide. Those sleeping in the far end of the tent, behind the ledge of the slope weren’t hurt. The ones at the front of the tent were injured. The snow could have hit them hard enough to cause fatal injuries. There was no explosion (or the tent would have been blown away).
  2. Zolotorov was near the tent entrance, probably sleeping on his side, hence the ribs on that side were crushed. Dubimina was probably on her stomach so both sides of her ribs were broken. As for Thibeaux-Brignolles, well Moisei thinks he probably had something uncomfortable under his head, like a camera because he liked to show off. The force of the snow hitting his head against the camera or whatever is probably what fractured his skull.
  3. Moisei said he had given Dyatlov a Chinese flashlight. They would have quickly gotten out of the tent because of the likelihood of a follow-up slide. The 5 healthy ones would have helped the other four out. Moisei said he feels at this point Thibeaux B was probably dead due to the severity of his brain injury. But still they knew they had to all get away from the avalanche area. Hence the mass exit off the snow plain to the tree line and the big cedar.
  4. Moisei thinks they were headed back to a supply hut that they had used prior to approaching this final ascent area. It’s where they would store materials they needed for the return trip back down the mountain, saving themselves the work of lugging it up and down the mountain for nothing. He said they clearly missed their mark and wound up by the forest.
  5. He figures this is what happened: they got to the forest and tried to make a wind shelter by breaking branches and putting them on the ground as a barrier to the cold so the wounded could rest there. Then the 3 healthiest set off to go back to the tent but Moisei said that was a hopeless effort because he was there, and you could only see the tent from that point in the woods 6 or 7 hours a day, on a good day, and they were doing this at night.  He explained that area is a “aerodynamic pipe” that pumps fierce winds, blizzards, and tons of snow all the time. He said it’s no surprise that the 3 succumbed to hypothermia and death.

RocketCrashAleksei Kozkin

Another researcher in recent years, Aleksei Kozkin, said there couldn’t have been an avalanche there. He believes the students were all doing different things at that time, and that at least 2 of them were outside the tent, while others were inside bedding down for the night. He thinks something occurred that caused an explosive shockwave and he says this would explain how the two students were thrown against rocks and severely injured.

Aleksei also said there were probably strange noises and lights associated with the event that would have panicked the students. So he says that’s when they cut open the tent in various states of undress. They would have picked up the injured and headed away from the tent area as fast as possible.

Yuri Kensenovich

Yuri thinks the students ran into some sort of test (as do other experts in mountaineering who agreed with him).  He figures it was mostly likely a military test since there were traces of radiation found on the students’ clothes. He said some of them survived up to 8 hours after the initial event.

DzerDivisionHe also brought up another disturbing fact. He said some of the initial searchers on the scene believed the students had run into the guards from the Dzerzhinsky Division who were “liquidating the results from the explosion – getting the evidence out of the way and cleaning up the test area.” Yuri said, “It’s possible that they suffered from that.”

The program indicated that meant the division left them there to die, and even arranged their bodies to look some other plausible explanation.  The narrator of the program added, “Their involvement would’ve been very grim and would explain the missing tongue.”

Peter Bartholomew doesn’t believe the theory involving the Dzerzhinsky   Division because he said, there are other predators and animals out there.

The bodies were found under 13 feet (4 m) of snow. Yuri Kensenovich said that KGB members were present in the area after the tragedy was discovered.  He said that in 1959 the KGB was the strongest organization in the Soviet Union and that they could do whatever they wanted.

Peter Bartholomew’s Opinion

Peter Bartholomew knew the students personally, and well. He didn’t think there was any CheKa, UGPU, MGB, or KGB involvement. He thinks that military tests were being done throughout the night, that fateful night. He said several other groups saw some trails in the sky at the same time, similar to the moon disk, but moving much faster. This object was within the student group’s area and caused some acoustic or mechanical effect. He said the group may have panicked.

He said they were clearly frightened terribly to the point where they cut through the tent, desperate to get out, and then hurried down a 4,000 foot slope to the forest.  Peter’s account doesn’t explain how some of the students were badly injured.

UFO Theory

The narrator specifically said they weren’t going to discuss the UFO option because it was too “fantastical.” Given the history of the area as a military test range, I think this was a wise decision. Manmade involvement in the students’ deaths is becoming more clear by the minute.

SpaceJunkMetal Fragments

The show’s narrator mentioned that two individual witnesses claimed to have seen pieces of metal found around the site of the tragedy. Experts analyzed the metal and they learned they were pieces of the 3rd stage of a rocket. For this and other reasons, many in the area believe this proves there was a failed military rocket test.

The narrator said that some felt since the students were all engineering majors at UPI and very technically competent, they shouldn’t have been so frightened by a rocket. But this is what I say – radiation!! Everyone needs to be afraid of radiation exposure!

Moving on.

Tokarev’s Opinion

Another member of the original search party, Tokarev, said, “I think they might have suffocated instead of freezing to death. The snow around the face of Zia Kolmogorova was bloody. The blood was coming out of her nose and throat. Further on, they couldn’t start a fire. The birch bark and twigs only “ashed over” probably because of a lack of oxygen.”

BlindingLightBlinded by the Light?

One last theory said that the students were blinded by the flash of whatever exploded. They point to the fact that some of the students were heading for the tent separately and that the same cedar branch had been cut several times.  Interesting, but I think this one is a stretch and the weakest argument of them all.


Wrapping Up the Clues

This is one heck of a complicated story, made all the more difficult by the passage of time and the distance most of us face in getting to the original scene of the crime.

Here’s how the Russian program pulled it all together:

Aleksei Kozkin studied the reports of the flying spheres in the sky witnessed by many, particularly the Mansi. He was able to determine they were all seeing a sodium rocket that had released a sodium cloud. He thinks that was the culprit that set-off the tragic events the night of February 2, 1959.

He said, “Everyone has only a copy of a redacted criminal case with several missing pages.” He added, “There is no final conclusion and without additional information, there can’t be.”

Aleksei is 100% sure other investigations were conducted at the same time as the criminal investigation by the KGB and possibly also a high ranking police division. He said they would certainly know what event ultimately caused the deaths of the students as well as what sky phenomenon everyone was seeing in the area that terrible night and on the nights the search parties were there.  But none of that information is forthcoming. It never made it into the light of Glasnost.

Yuri Kensenovich said the Russian people have a right to know what authorities found and he asks if they, the government, are ready to take responsibility for the deaths of the 9 students.

CoverUpGovernment Hiding the Whole Truth

The program narrator added that many are interested in hiding the truth [to this day] and that is why the information we do have has been gathered piece-by-piece by “so-called journalistic hobby investigators.”

The program concludes that this mystery and its cover-up could lead all the way up to the Ministry of Defense.

I believe, thanks to this thoughtful and detailed presentation, as well as the effort of the “so-called journalistic hobby investigators,” we’re close to the truth as to what happened that terrible night over 50 years ago.

Clearly the government was involved and it was one of their military rocket experiments that set off the tragic chain of events leading to the students’ deaths. I would dare to say, these young adults were collateral damage thanks to a military experiment gone wrong.

The show ended by saying that despite the cover-ups and mystery, the example of the students’ courage and fortitude will live on. The narrator said, “Their deaths is quintessentially the struggle of man against the monster called militarism.”

At the time of the filming of this program, the people of Russia planned to build a bigger and better memorial in their honor.

Just to be clear:

Does this mean the Menk didn’t kill the students? Yes.

Does this mean the Menk don’t exist? No.

Does this mean there aren’t any UFOs? No.

It just means they weren’t involved in the deaths of the 9 students.


There’s one strange postscript to this story. The Mansi named the mountain at the center of this whole sad tale the Mountain of the Dead (Kholat Syakhl) because of their own legend that says a long time ago, 9 Mansi also died there. It is believed they died as the result of a flood.

The students died there in 1959. Then in 1991 a plane crashed there killing the 9 people aboard. Strange, isn’t it?


(My apologies for any misspelled Russian names and place names. They’ve been a real struggle for me.)

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