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4 Top Monster Stories of 2009
Lair of the Beasts 2009 Wrap Up
By Nick Redfern
December 19, 2009
4 Top Monster Stories of 2009
© Mania/Bob Trate
Full-time author and investigator of all-things paranormal, supernatural and mysterious, Nick Redfern, takes a look back at his top stories of a truly monstrous nature from 2009. Spanning the entire world, they encompass dark and terrifying encounters with long-necked lake-monsters, blood-thirsty and savage werewolves, hairy man-beasts of the jungles, and much more. As Redfern demonstrates, in amongst the shadows, there are diabolical things lurking…
4. The Sumatran Ape-Man
Only a few months ago, members of the British-based Center for Fortean Zoology – the world’s only fulltime group dedicated to the study of such unknown animals as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and the Chupacabras – were invited to take part in an expedition to the island of Sumatra to seek out the elusive and legendary ape-man known as the Orang-Pendek.
Said to be a small, hairy and upright-walking creature that possesses a very human-like face, the Orang-Pendek is for the most part dismissed as nothing more than a myth by conventional science and zoology. That has not, however, stopped reports of sightings of the beast surfacing on a regular basis – as the team, led by monster-hunter Adam Davies, found out in September 2009.
While deep in the very heart of Sumatra, and at the height of the expedition, CFZ member Dave Archer and a local guide named Sahar were fortunate enough to encounter an Orang-Pendek at a distance of only around 100 feet, as it quietly squatted in a tree. Dave later stated that the beast was broad-shouldered, and had a large head, black-colored skin and a coat of dark brown hair. A line of darker fur was visible on the spine, he added. Dave likened the coat of the creature to that of a mountain gorilla.
As far as Sahar is concerned, he saw the creature jump down from the tree, and then proceed to walk away on its hind legs. He described it as being around the size of an adult male chimpanzee.
Next to the tree were the remains of a vine that the Orang-Pendek had apparently been munching upon. Fortunately, expedition leader Adam Davies had the presence of mind to quickly preserve part of the plant in ethanol, in the hope that it may very possibly contain cells – and, by definition, vital DNA evidence - from the mouth of the animal itself. Time will tell what the analysis may turn up.
The Davies-led team also found, and carefully photographed, several sets of tracks that were apparently made by the creature – or creatures, depending upon how many may well have been quietly lurking in the area. Expedition zoologist Richard Freeman has confirmed that the tracks most assuredly do not match with those of any known creature in the area. The prints were six to seven inches long with a narrow heel and wider front.
If the existence of the Orang-Pendek is one day proven, Freeman suggests that the scientific name of Pongo martyri be applied - in honor of the English researcher Debbie Martyr, who has certainly done more than anyone else to profile, highlight and search for this mystery beast of truly cryptozoological proportions.
In my mind, at least, the quest to locate Sumatra’s mysterious Orang-Pendek was the absolute monster-hunting highlight of 2009. But, inevitably, there was much more of a truly creepy nature afoot, too, this past year.
3. The Monster of the Moors
Dartmoor, England is a wild, desolate and distinctly eerie locale – particularly so on those dark nights when the harsh British winter sets in, and the wind howls and the rain pours. Indeed, so eerie is Dartmoor that it led Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to set his Sherlock Holmes novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles, deep in the heart of the bleak and massive moorland itself.
But, there are far stranger, and much more diabolical, creatures than fictional hounds from hell roaming around Dartmoor. Indeed, there may be nothing less than a fully-fledged werewolf on the loose.
Before people roll their eyes and offer hoots of derision, it is worth noting that the British Isles have a long, rich and quite unsettling history of encounters of the lycanthropic kind – and they show no signs of stopping any time soon.
For example, in June 2009, a man named Terry Scott – a keen ornithologist - spent a week on Dartmoor photographing the area’s wildlife, native birds and ancient stone-circles built in the early years of civilization.
It was while walking on High Willhays – at 621 meters above sea-level, the highest point on Dartmoor – on one particularly-sunny morning that Scott came face-to-face with a beast from beyond the veil. At first, says Scott, he thought the creature was a bear.
Scott’s reasoning was based on the fact that when he initially caught sight of the animal, it was bounding at high speed on all-fours; but then, after coming to a halt, rose ominously onto its hind-legs for a few brief moments, before returning to its original stance and moving off rapidly again.
Of course, seeing a bear in the British Isles would be extraordinary in itself, for one specific reason: there are not, or at least there should not be, any wild bears running around England, at all. The beast became extinct in the country countless generations ago.
And, indeed, it was not a bear that Scott encountered. To his consternation and terror, Scott elaborated, when the creature saw him, it raced in his direction, only veering away at high speed at the last possible moment and bounding off into the heart of the ancient moors.
But, of one thing – and probably one thing only – Scott could be sure: the creature was no bear. As it charged past him, says Scott, he could see that it possessed the typical face and muzzle of a wolf. Needless to say, the idea that the English countryside could be harboring a wolf that has the ability to walk on two legs and four seems absurd in the extreme.
Yet, Terry Scott is adamant that is exactly what he saw prowling around Dartmoor in the summer of 2009. It’s time to reach for the silver-bullets, methinks.
2. The Goat-Man of the Lake
This year marked the 40th anniversary of the sightings of the infamous Goat-Man of Lake Worth, Texas – a strange, monstrous form that haunted the roads and woods of the lake for months and struck terror into the hearts and minds of those that lived in the area back in 1969.
And, to commemorate the incidents in question, on Saturday, October 3, 2009, the first ever Lake Worth Monster Bash was held at the lake - and right in the heart of where the monster was seen. Or, as it's known today: the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge. Well, living only about 20 or 30 minutes away meant I just had to attend. And, I’m very glad that I did.
Aside from the fact that a good time was had by one and all – there was a local band playing, stalls selling books, t-shirts and DVDs on Bigfoot could be found, and there was a plentiful supply of food and drink available – a number of people turned up to talk about their own experiences with the Goat-Man.
One of those was Bob Groff, who I met at the Bash, and who told me – three days later in an in-depth interview – that he had seen the Goat-Man on a Saturday night in March 2009. The location wasn’t the lake itself, but a road running adjacent to the lake, Groff explained.
He said it was around 11.00 p.m., and he had been driving home after attending a wedding, when he caught sight of a weird, man-like form standing at the side of the road “where there was a bunch of trees behind.”
The creature, says Groff, was around seven-feet-tall and “man-shaped.” But, this was no normal man: the entity sported two goat-like protrusions from its head and its lower body was covered in fur. It wasn’t a local, in other words. Groff, of course, knew of the 1960s stories of the Goat-Man and floored the accelerator, preferring not to become the creature’s next meal.
Quite reasonably, I asked Groff if it was possible that he had merely been the victim of a good-natured, and very successful, hoax. He didn’t outright deny that as a possibility; but preferred to conclude that: “The Goat-Man is real and I saw him. People can say what they want; but I saw him.”
1. The Creature of the Dark Waters
Two-hundred-and-fifty-million years ago, movements in the earth’s crust led to the creation of a huge rift across Scotland that, today, is known as the Great Glen. As the centuries passed, the deeper parts of the Glen filled with water, and it now exists in the form of three main bodies of water: Loch Oich, Loch Lochy, and Loch Ness. For more than a century and a half, they have been connected by the sixty-mile-long Caledonian Canal, which provides a passage for small marine vehicles from the North Sea to the Atlantic Ocean.
By far the largest of the three lochs is Loch Ness. Nearly twenty-four miles in length and almost a mile wide, it contains more water than any other British lake and at its deepest point, extends to a mind-boggling depth of almost one thousand feet. Surrounded by trees, mountains, and filled with water as black as ink, it is little wonder that Loch Ness is viewed by many as both a magical and a sinister location. And as practically anyone who has ever marveled at the mysteries of our world will only be too well aware, the loch is the alleged home of what is arguably the world’s most famous lake monster: Nessie.
Although the number of sightings of Nessie have, apparently, been much lower in recent years than in decades-past, the monster – or, more likely, monsters – shows no signs of going away anytime soon. Tony Bakewell and his wife can personally attest to that.
The Bakewell’s – having moved to Australia to live in 1996 – were back in Edinburgh, Scotland in May 2009, visiting family and catching up with old friends for the first time in more than a decade. And that’s not all they caught up with.
While spending a pleasant day at Loch Ness during the course of their trip, the Bakewell’s were startled to see only a couple of hundred feet from the shore of the loch what at first looked like “an elephant thrashing around: a trunk and its back.”
Of course, it scarcely needs to be said that the elephant is not native to either Scotland or Loch Ness! In reality, what the Bakewell’s were seeing was not the trunk of an elephant, but the head and neck of some unknown animal that had reared up from the darkened waters.
“We only saw it for about 14 or 15 seconds,” states Tony Bakewell, adding: “but it was not a mistake or something like that. It was a dark gray thing, about 20-feet [in length]. That’s what got me: the size. It was actually a shock to see something that big. You think of Africa to see something like that; not Scotland.”
As the stories related above collectively demonstrate, 2009 was a truly monstrous year. And let us hope that 2010 is no different!
Nick Redfern’s new book, Contactees: A History of Alien-Human Interaction has just been published by New Page Books.
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