All too often, I see these infamous “Top Ten” lists being compiled, detailing the “top ten most horrific cryptozoological monstrosities” and the like on various websites around the net. Granted, many (if not most) of them are great, and I love to read them when they appear (usually coinciding with Halloween). For instance, recently Haunted America Tours compiled what I would call one of the most visually-appealing monster round ups that I’ve seen to-date, with a few images included in their listing of top-ten monsters that were so unique that I ended up digging around for the artists who procured them (I’m a classical art nut… to this, I raise my glass to HAT’s classy selection).
Along these same lines, about a year ago my friend and mentor Brad Steiger sent an email requesting a round-up of favorite monsters (Brad often sends questionnaires to his friends and associates for purposes of outsourcing opinions on such matters, resulting in a lot of great compilations that appear in his books). At the time, although I won’t dispute Bigfoot being a personal all-time favorite, I couldn’t help but feel that the Pacific Northwest’s hairiest humanoid giant (with the prolific nature of sightings he and his cousins garner around the globe) seems to dominate lists of “top ten favorites”. Similarly, although she’s relatively concentrated in her specific locale, Scotland’s Lady of the Loch “Nessie” also ranks high among those mysterious monopolizing monsters, with her constituents in various lakes and oceans around the world also garnering a lot of attention. Finally, I have to give credit to those rascally little soft-organ-suckers from the Southern extremities, the Chupacabras, who have spent the last two decades making a name for themselves among the top-ranking cryptids (as well as, strangely, morphing from green-scaled alien monkeys into hairless reptile-dogs with exaggerated canines… no further comment).
However, I feel like there are weirder monsters… scarier monsters… that are often forgotten on such lists. If you’ve listened to interviews with me in the past, you’ve probably heard of a few of these. However, since they are too often forgotten, I figured I would post for you here at The Gralien Report my own “Top Ten Scariest Monsters” list, bearing in mind that all of these are supposed or theorized to actually exist in various capacities… when such things call your belief system and reality into question, what do you choose to believe? Although I question virtually everything presented here (not taking a completely skeptical stance against the possibility, by any means), there is a wide margin of collected evidence which suggests the baddies presented here are worthy of further speculation. You be the judge… but above all, enjoy!
The Official GRALIEN REPORT “Top Ten SCARIEST MONSTERS”
1) BLOOP: In the summer of 1997, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) managed to record a bizarre series of underwater sounds with an array of deep-sea moored hydrophones, formerly used for tracking Soviet submarines. “Bloop” is the name given to one particular ultra-low frequency underwater sound detected by NOAA, the source of which remains unknown. Scientists and marine biologists who have studied the noise report that it “matches the audio profile of a living creature,” although no animal on Earth exists that could have produced the sound. Due to the unique frequency of the recorded “Bloop”, scientists claim the creature emitting the noise “would have to be several times the size of the largest known animal on Earth, the Blue Whale.” Even stranger, the estimated coordinates from which the noise emanated (50 degrees South by 100 degrees West) marks a point furthest from most land masses in the South Pacific Ocean. This coincides almost perfectly with the location of the sunken city of R’lyeh in H.P. Lovecraft’s story The Call of Cthulhu, in which a monstrous alien is revived from beneath the Pacific depths at this same location. The frightening results of NOAA’s research leave us to ask, “was Lovecraft right?”
2) HOMO HADALIS: This term is borrowed from author Jeff Long’s fictional name for subterranean proto-human creatures living below the Earth in his novel The Descent. Though Long’s interpretation of a separate branch of humanity living in elaborate cave systems beneath the surface world is purely fiction, there are occasionally reports of similar creatures that come to light in Fortean circles. Many hominid researchers have supposed that creatures like Bigfoot may even exist below the Earth in caves, hence their apparent ability to hide themselves and seemingly “disappear” when pursued. Such may be the case with “cavemen” witnessed in the Cannock Chase wilderness preserve in Britain, believed to cover extensive cave systems beneath its rolling hills. However, even more creepy than relic hominids are reports of white-skinned, eyeless “people” sometimes witnessed above ground, often moving on all-fours. Are these denizens of a world that exists below us, or anthropomorphic figments of our collective imaginations?
3) POPOBAWA: This horrific demon-rapist is a devilish cross between Mothman and the Assyrian demon Pazuzu (who was often depicted with a long snakelike phallus; see image at right). Popobawa is known for crawling into open windows, sexually molesting his victims (often males), and promising to return if they don’t tell others of their experiences. Many have cited the creature as the collective fears of people in locales like Zanzibar, where reports of Popobawa are prolific. However, those who have encountered the monster would tell you otherwise…
4) BIG YELLOWS: These giant, glowing man-ape entities were first reported by combat marines during the Vietnam War. Fast, aggressive, and impervious to machine gun fire, author Martin S. Caidin gave a startling account of their existence in his 1993 book Natural or Supernatural? A Casebook of True, Unexplained Mysteries.
5) MOTHMAN: The only “conventional” cryptid to make this list, Mothman’s strange flutterings are renowned among fringe science studies, demonology, interdimensional physics, and cryptozoology alike, landing it the number-five-spot in this collection. Reportedly seen in Charleston and Point Pleasant, West Virginia from November 12, 1966, to December 1967, most descriptions of the Mothman detailed “a winged man-sized creature with large reflective red eyes and large wings” (sometimes erroneously referred to as “moth-like”, although reports generally indicated the creature more closely resembled an owl). Following the tragic collapse of the Silver Bridge on December 15th, 1967 (see image at right), reports of the strange entity diminished, after which sightings virtually ceased. Believed by many to be some kind of “harbinger” for misfortune, the Mothman and the mythology surrounding it is widely studied by a variety of experts in a number of fields, and to this day remains a mystery.
6) THE BEAST OF LE GEVAUDAN: From 1764 to 1767, one (or possibly several) man-eating wolf-like animals were said to have terrorized the former province of Gévaudan (today known as département of Lozère), in the Margeride Mountains in south-central France. Described by a number of frightened witnesses, the monster was said to have formidable teeth and very large tails, a reddish fur, and “an unbearable odor” (see image at left). The creatures killed their victims by tearing at their throats with their teeth, with an estimated 210 attacks, resulting in 113 deaths and 49 injuries. 98 of the victims were partly eaten by these animals… but what were they? Theories range from wolves to cross-breeds between large wild dogs and their wolfen kin; with a history of presumed encounters with these creatures dating back as far as 1693, is it possible that several generations of mixed-breeding of this sort could have produced wildly aggressive “monsters” that terrorized the French countryside for decades?
7) THE GOLEM OF PRAGUE: In sixteenth century Prague, “the Maharal” Judah Loew ben Bezalel, then chief rabbi of Prague, was said to have created a golem–a man made from mud–to defend the Prague ghetto from anti-Semitic attacks or “blood libels”. According to legend, Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II warned that the Jews in Prague were to be either expelled or killed. In order to protect his community, the rabbi made the Golem out of clay from the banks of the Vltava river by moonlight, and brought it to life with Kabbalistic magic detailed in the Book of Formation. Some accounts say the golem became increasingly violent, while others say the golem fell in love, and when rejected, he became the violent monster as seen in most accounts (this account strongly resembles the scenario outlined in Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein). Interestingly, a manuscript was discovered in a library in Germany centuries after the Maharal’s actions took place, alleged to have been written by one of his students. The manuscript stated that neither story was true, and that the golem, after finishing his civic duties under the Maharal’s guidance, was led into the attic of the 12th century Alt New Synagogue in historic Prague, where it was “deactivated” by its master and hidden beneath a pile of religious manuscripts. Afterward, the Maharal forbid entry into the attic by anyone “for safety reasons” concerning fire hazards, etc, with only one historic mention of a successor to the Maharal entering; the Rabbi was said to emerge with a pale face from fright, and re-instated the Maharal’s orders that the attic be closed. No one has entered since.
8 ) THE HIGHGATE VAMPIRE: The 1970s vampire craze, spurred on by the release of Bram Stoker’s character Dracula into the public domain, also witnessed the arrival of “The Highgate Vampire”. This dark entity (resembling Mothman in various capacities) was said to lurk among the graves in Highgate Cemetary in London. Psychic researcher David Farrant actually camped in the area in December 1969. In a subsequent letter to the Hampstead and Highgate Express on February 6th, 1970, he described having glimpsed a supernatural “grey figure”, asking if other locals had ever seen anything similar. Of the variety of ghosts said to haunt the cemetery (based on reader responses) were “a tall man in a hat” (often associated with the vampire), as well as a spectral cyclist, a woman in white, a face glaring through the bars of a gate (also associated directly with the vampire), a figure wading into a pond, and a “pale gliding form”. Years ago, during an interview with Farrant (with whom I remain in contact), I was told that the entity had red, hypnotic eyes, very much like the Mothman in description. Farrant also told me that he believed ley lines running near the cemetery may have had attracting forces conducive to manifestations such as Highgate’s “vampire”.
9) ENERGYZOA: UFO researcher Trevor James Constable called them “critters”, and even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote fiction describing “terrors” that may exist in the skies. As we know, truth is stranger than fiction, and NASA has speculated that plasma-based “energetic life forms” might be capable of forming spontaneously in the vacuum of space. Could such formations, if they exist, account for various luminescent blob-like UFOs reported over the years?
10) SKY SQUIDS: Initially intended as a joke for savvy Gralien Report readers, I blogged about a cluster of Mylar balloons filmed over Mexico last year, purported by Latin American Ufologist Jamie Maussan to be a UFO. In months that followed, bizarre reports of squid, octopus and jellyfish-like UFOs began to be reported over England and other locales, including one such incident which led to the destruction of a windmill. What are these objects? Are they strange alien craft, or are they atmospheric life forms unto themselves, similar in nature to “Energyzoa”? Might they be Cthuloid entities from vast distant star systems… or even worse, could they being something else, perhaps some cult-oriented ancient deity with powers that surpass the devils and demons of our worst nightmares? YOU DECIDE…