Here's the 3rd story from my upcoming eBook, "Top 5 American Monsters," available FREE when you subscribe to the GhostQuest.net monthly newsletter!
In Native American folklore, the wendigo is described as a mythical monster or evil spirit that feeds exclusively on human flesh. Roughly translated, the word wendigo means “the evil spirit that devours mankind.” In some cases, a human is possessed by an evil, cannibalistic spirit, causing them to commit acts of murder and cannibalism, whereas in other cases the person slowly becomes a wendigo by indulging in cannibalism of their own free will. In some folklore, the wendigo is able to shapeshift to assume the form of a human that it’s cannibalized, and can mimic voices and other sounds to lure victims into it’s lair.
They are described as being tall and human-like in appearance, with some allegedly standing up to 15 feet (4.5 meters) tall, with gaunt, pale, skeleton-like features, and dark, sunken eyes. They are described as being lanky and having supernatural hunting abilities, with sharp claws and fangs. They appear to be driven mad by the urge to consume human flesh, and their hunger is never sated. It’s said that over time the wendigo’s appearance becomes more and more fearsome as the possessed individual is stripped of their humanity.
Whether or not the wendigo really exists, or is used to enforce cultural taboos against cannibalism is still a mystery, but encounters with the creature have been reported throughout the United States and Canada dating back hundreds of years and continue to present day. Many doctors and psychologists during the early colonization of America were convinced that the wendigo was real, with some even going so far as diagnosing patients with a rare condition known as Wendigo Psychosis.
One famous case of alleged Wendigo Psychosis was reported in 1878, when a Native American trapper from Alberta, Canada named Swift Runner claimed to be possessed by the spirit of a wendigo. During the winter Swift Runner, his wife, and their five children lived in a cabin in the woods, trapping animals and hunting for food. The cabin was located approximately 25 miles from the nearest village.
According to legend, when Swift Runner returned to the village the next spring, he was alone. When people began to ask what happened to his wife and family, he replied that they had become trapped in the cabin over the winter and died of starvation. When authorities later went to investigate the cabin, they found a gruesome, horrific scene inside.
Swift Runner’s deceased family clearly appeared to have been murdered, and their remains cannibalized. Due to the relatively close proximity of the cabin to civilization, it was concluded that Swift Runner’s cannibalism was not a last resort to avoid starvation, and he was diagnosed with a case of Wendigo Psychosis. He confessed, and was later executed at nearby Fort Seskatchewan.
Another well documented case of Wendigo Psychosis occurred in 1907, when an Oji-Cree medicine man named Jack Fiddler, who claimed to have killed 14 wendigos over the course of his lifetime, was arrested for homicide. At the age of 87, Jack Fiddler confessed to murdering an elderly tribeswoman on the grounds that she had been possessed by a wendigo spirit. According to Jack, the woman was on the verge of fully transforming into a wendigo, and he had no choice but to kill her before she became a threat.
Jack Fiddler was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison, however he chose to end his life instead and committed suicide shortly after.
In recent years the wendigo has made it’s way into pop culture as a horror icon, with many Hollywood movies and television shows featuring similar creature. But even more disturbing is that due to technology like the internet, more and more sightings are being reported today, with most originating in rural, wooded areas.
Whether the wendigo exists as a metaphor, or a fairy tale to prevent unethical behavior, one can’t help but wonder if such horrific creatures can truly exist.
Here's the 2nd story from my upcoming eBook, "Top 5 American Monsters," available FREE when you subscribe to the GhostQuest.net monthly newsletter.
On November 16th, 1966 two young married couples from Point Pleasant, West Virginia reported encountering a large, winged, humanoid figure with glowing red eyes. When they reported it to a local newspaper called The Point Pleasant Register the following day, they described the figure as having a wingspan of over 10 feet (3+ meters), and a height between 6 and 9 feet (2-3 meters). In the police report filed by the group, they claim to have been driving down a rural road near an abandoned World War II munitions factory in Point Pleasant when they spotted something strange.
At first it appeared to be just a pair of eyes belonging to an animal in the road, but upon driving closer, the creature stood up, spread it’s giant wings, and began to fly alongside the car. The driver of the car sped up, but the creature kept pace easily, even when allegedly reaching speeds of over 100 miles per hour. Eventually though, the creature ceased it’s pursuit and the group was able to escape.
Another group of witnesses claim to have encountered the same, giant, humanoid bat-like creature three times that same night, and many more reports followed. They described the creature as looking like a moth in the headlights, and it was given the name, The Mothman.
Later that month, two men were out riding motorcycles and spotted a pair of strange red lights coming from the old munitions plant. They decided to investigate, and were horrified to encounter the same moth-like creature inside. The creature once again spread it’s enormous wings and retreated into the sky.
With more and more encounters with the alleged Mothman being reported to newspaper outlets and police stations, many theories began to circulate about the Mothman’s true nature.
One biologist at West Virginia University named Dr. Robert L. Smith theorized that The Mothman may actually be a Sandhill Crane, which has a wingspan of over 7 feet (2+ meters) and stands as tall as an average person. He went on to say that due to the creature not being native to the Point Pleasant area, locals wouldn’t have immediately recognized the bird, especially late at night.
Some speculated that The Mothman was some type of alien entity that arrived on earth for unknown reasons, while others were convinced the creature was the result of a top-secret government experiment that had gone wrong. During this time, there was also an increase in UFO reports and sightings in the Point Pleasant area.
Others were convinced that The Mothman was actually a creature from Native American folklore called the Thunderbird, which is considered a powerful supernatural being, and many were convinced that the entire thing was just a hoax.
But as time went by, more encounters were still being reported. To add another layer of mystery, many who reported coming face to face with The Mothman also began to report having strange recurring nightmares, with many reporting extreme anxiety and psychological distress lasting for months.
One such woman, named Mrs. Marcella Bennet, reported having frightening nightmares about The Mothman for months after the encounter, resulting in acute episodes of anxiety and paranoia. These feelings of paranoia became so unbearable that she eventually was forced to seek medical attention from a psychologist.
One woman reported having strange dreams of Christmas presents floating in a river, which turned out to be an omen of what was coming next.
After a year of sightings, The Mothman hysteria finally came to an end at around 5:00pm on December 15th, 1967 when the Silver Bridge, which connects Point Pleasant to Gallipolis Ohio, collapsed into the Ohio River below. The event killed 46 motorists who were stuck on the bridge during the rush-hour traffic, and dozens of others were injured.
Then, strangely enough, sightings of the Mothman stopped, and life returned to normal, with many speculating that The Mothman was some sort of omen sent to warn them of the catastrophe ahead.
Hey everyone! As many of you may know, I'm in the process of writing my latest eBook called Top 5 American Monsters as a free thank you to all of my awesome newsletter subscribers! Here's the first monster featured in my book: The Jersey Devil! If you like this blog, be sure to sign up for the GhostQuest.net newsletter to get your free copy!!
Deep in the woods of southern New Jersey lies a vast area of dense forest and swampy marshlands known as the Pine Barrens. Although the first European settlers arrived in the colony of New Jersey in 1609, the Pine Barrens were only sparsely settled due to the sandy, acidic, and poor nutrient quality of it’s soil; thus the nickname, the Pine Barrens. Even today, despite it’s close vicinity to the sprawling metropolitan areas of Philadelphia and New York City, the Pine Barrens still remain rural and largely uninhabited.
In 1978, the United States Congress passed legislation that designated 1.1 million acres of the Pine Barrens as a nature reserve called the Pinelands National Reserve, and five years later in 1983 the United Nations designated the area an internationally recognized biosphere reserve. These actions helped to seal the Pine Barrens’ fate as one of America’s largest and most mysterious uninhabited areas, with over 1,700 square miles of undiscovered woodlands and marshes.
It’s here in the Pine Barrens that one of America’s most infamous legends was born. In 1735 at a location known as Leeds Point, a New Jersey colonist named Deborah Leeds and her husband Japhet received news that Deborah was pregnant with their 13th child.
Upon learning that she was pregnant, it’s said that Deborah cursed her unborn child, saying “let this child be the devil.” Whether or not this curse was intentional or just a product of frustration is unknown, but it appears the devil was indeed listening. Later that year Deborah gave birth to one of the most infamous monsters in American folklore; The Jersey Devil.
According to legend, it was a dark and stormy night when Deborah Leeds went into labor with her 13th child. Several midwives showed up to help deliver the new baby, and by all accounts the birth was routine and uneventful. However, after delivering the newborn baby – a boy – it’s said that the child began to thrash around uncontrollably.
The baby began to emit a loud, piercing, inhuman screech, which sent feelings of dread into the hearts of the awestruck midwives. As moments passed, the thrashing boy began to transform, becoming more and more fearsome until at last the metamorphosis was complete.
Standing before the Leeds family was a monster, described as being tall and reptilian with hooves and the head of a goat, leathery, bat-like wings, a forked tail, and brightly glowing red eyes. According to legend, the devil spread it’s wings, let out another screech, and promptly escaped by flying up the chimney and out into the dark night.
Over the following weeks and months, settlers of the Pine Barrens began reporting a variety of mysterious activity believed to be related to the Jersey Devil. Farmers began noticing livestock animals frequently going missing, or being found in fields bloody and mutilated. Children began to go missing, and were often found mutilated and decomposing in the woods, with deep claw marks and wounds that appeared to be caused by a mysterious, unidentified animal. Some farmers even claim to have witnessed their livestock being carried away into the night by a large, bat-like creature with glowing red eyes.
In 1740 a local minister was brought to the Pine Barrens to attempt to perform an exorcism. Although many claim that sightings of the Jersey Devil drastically decreased at this time, it’s estimated that thousands of people have reported encountering the devil since.
In 1800, a United States Naval Officer named Stephen Decatur claimed to encounter the Jersey Devil while visiting the nearby Hanover Iron Works. It’s said that while testing out a new cannon on the firing range, Mr. Decatur saw a strange, flying beast in the air above. Without thinking twice, he took aim at the creature and fired. While some claim that Mr. Decatur missed his mark, others claim his shot hit the beast, which continued to fly without appearing to be affected.
In 1820 a man named Joseph Bonaparte, elder brother to the French conqueror Napoleon Bonaparte, reported encountering the Jersey Devil while hunting in nearby Bordentown, and in 1840 a string of mysterious livestock killings was blamed on the devil.
In January of 1909, thousands of residents across the state of New Jersey reported witnessing the mysterious flying creature, causing mass widespread panic. Schools and businesses were closed, and hundreds of police officers were dispatched to investigate claims throughout the states of New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. The nearby Philadelphia Zoo even put out a $10,000 reward for anyone who was able to kill or capture the beast. After hundreds of newspaper articles were published about the sightings, the mysterious beast was given an official name: The Jersey Devil.
By the end of January, things had returned to normal, with very few sightings of the Jersey Devil reported over the following months. Although 1909 was considered by many to be the peak of the Jersey Devil hysteria, several credible reports have made headlines in the years since.
In 1925 a local farmer claimed to have shot and killed the Jersey Devil after he found it killing and eating his livestock. According to legend, over 100 people showed up to attempt to identify the creature’s remains, but were unsuccessful in doing so.
On the evening of July 27, 1937, residents of Downing, Pennsylvania called in dozens of reports of an unidentified flying beast with glowing red eyes, which were published the following day by a newspaper called The Pennsylvania Bulletin.
In 1951 a group of young boys in Gibbstown, New Jersey reported encountering a creature in the woods matching the description of the Jersey Devil, and in 1960 in nearby Mays Landing locals claim to have found a set of unidentified animal footprints that were said to belong to the devil.
Having been talked about for almost 300 years, the Jersey Devil is one of the most prominent and well-known urban legends in the United States, with people today still claiming to encounter the enigmatic beast.
Hey everyone! Check out our latest blog from Sarah at Living Life in Full Spectrum:
The Death Room
Quite often when roaming around Black Rock House, people seem to be drawn to one particular room. In fact if we say to people have a walk around and see where you end up, you can bet they will end up in the main bedroom, a room affectionately known by the volunteers of Black Rock House as 'The Death Room.'
Why would such a beautifully decorated room be associated with such a dark name? When I took my first tour of Black Rock House, the volunteers were the ones who actually brought this to my attention. For some reason, people seemed to have a reaction to this room. This was well before we started doing investigations here. The people having these experiences were people doing a normal historical walk through. Some could not enter the room at all. To some there was some sort of invisible wall blocking them or they did not like the feeling of the room and would stand in the hall. Others would walk in and start to feel sea sick and swaying like they were rocking on a boat and some said that the room just smelt like death. This was such a regular occurrence that the nickname 'The Death Room' was coined.
Investigating this room is equally as interesting. People experience all of the above and more. I often ask for a volunteer to lie on the bed. Sensitive people always seem to get a pain in the side of their head and quite a few have asked if someone has died in the bed. To this I do not know the answer as the bed is not original to the house. It was purchased from a dealer and carries it own story. Perhaps someone did die in the bed. What is also strange is that one of the bed posts of this 4 poster bed emits EMF. Not all the time and it is only one particular post. Maybe there is some sort of metal or something in that one specific post or could it be a sign that something has attached itself to the bed? Maybe the bed is carrying the energy of a traumatic death and this is what people are picking up on when the enter the room?
On one occasion, I myself have smelt this horrible smell associated with the room and I was with a couple of other people who did as well. It was to the point that we searched every corner of the room to see if there was some sort of dead animal like a mouse of possum hiding somewhere. The smell itself seemed to move around the room and completely disappeared and in the 2 years I have been there, I have never smelt it again. On another occasion, a group of us were standing in the room about to do a spirit box session. I remember I was sitting on the bed. We heard the door latch and the gentleman standing nearest to the door stood to the side as if to let whoever it was come in. Another investigator was out in the hallway at the other end of house so we assumed it was him coming in. When no one walked in I got up to look outside. There was no one at the door and he was at the other end of the house. We reviewed video footage and we were able to confirm that the people nearest to the door were not touching it and definitely did not turn the knob to open the door. The door itself is not hard to open so of course it is possible that it opened on it's own by some sort of natural cause, but it is something that had never happened before and has not happened again. Was someone trying to come inside?
It is one of the more active rooms at Black Rock House, but we can't seem to pinpoint a certain person or event. I have done countless EVP sessions and never received a voice. We have done a lot of Spirit Box work and get the word Hello here and there but that is it. Lots of different words come up on the Ovilus but I am skeptical of this device and nothing comes up that seems to be of significance. The EMF coming off the bed post is strange and we have been unable to properly debunk it. There also seems to be EMF activity in one corner of the room, but only when someone lies on the bed, and usually this person needs to be a female. REM Pod activity seems to indicate that something or someone perhaps hides under the bed. Whatever is there and trying to communicate with us, I do not feel is nasty or evil. The energy is different to other areas and can make people feel ill, but I don't think it is evil and definitely not 'demonic' which a couple of people have asked. Whatever or whoever it is, still remains one of those mysteries that I intend to solve!
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Brian Weaver is the founder and creator of GhostQuest.net, one of the internet’s largest databases for haunted locations, urban legends, and folklore tales throughout the United States. He grew up in rural New Hampshire, where he attended college for Computer Science.