Sightings of specters, cryptids and interplanetary interlopers abound on this planet, but who are the biggest stars of the unexplained? Aaron Sagers picks some of his favorites -- real or not.
Whether you know him as Sasquatch, Yeti, Wooly Booger, Skunk Ape, Fouke Monster or Mo-Mo, every region has a name for the big guy (or gal) that goes back generations. In fact, the bipedal primate has been spotted across the world and in each US state except Hawaii. We started calling this wildman of the woods Bigfoot in 1958, and he has a famous following that includes Teddy Roosevelt, Jane Goodall and Jack Black.
Spanish for “goat sucker,” this relative newbie in the paranormal world only arrived on the scene in 1995 in Puerto Rico. Said to look like a large wild dog with mange -- or a reptilian creature with a dog’s head -- it supposedly exsanguinates livestock in the US Southwest and Mexico, but has been spotted in Maine and Russia. Chupey might be related to Montauk Monster-like cryptids (or partially decomposed dogs/raccoons/rodents?) that have washed ashore.
When it comes to a race of aliens, you can’t get much more famous than the Greys (sorry, Klingons). Believers say extraterrestrials come in reptilian, Nordic humanoid and other varieties, but these telepathic fellas with oversized heads, large black eyes and greyish skin are frequently seen by possible abductees. They have also been connected to the 1947 Roswell Incident in New Mexico, and the 1961 Betty and Barney Hill case in New Hampshire.
Variations of the Haitian voodoo zombie drone exist in many cultures' tales of supernatural undead creatures. But the modern, infected reanimated corpses prone to biting and shambling were created in Pittsburgh by director George A. Romero for his 1968 film <i>Night of the Living Dead.</i> They now dominate pop culture and can be spotted in every city across America at walks, runs, proms and pub crawls -- and in an impending zombie apocalypse.
In North America, there’s no shortage of river serpent stories. Champy swims in Lake Champlain, in Vermont and New York; Ogopogo in British Columbia’s Okanagan Lake; and Native American folklore has multiple tales. But Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster, first reported by Saint Columba in the 6th century, and gaining fame in 1933, is the queen of cryptids. Some theorized Nessie, possibly a plesiosaur, died long ago, but sightings continue.
No one knows whether it’s an alien, demon, angel, mutant or monster, but the Mothman of Point Pleasant, WV, was first seen leading up to the Silver Bridge collapse of 1967 which killed 46 people. Several eyewitnesses (or more than 100, depending on your source) reported seeing a humanoid creature with glowing red and giant wings. Mothman was connected to UFO and MIB sightings, and is celebrated at an annual Point Pleasant festival.
Mainly stalking the New Jersey Pine Barrens near Atlantic City, JD is either a cryptid or supernatural scion of Satan. Stories vary, but he’s possibly the 13th child of Mrs. Leeds (who wished her child would be a devil) born with a horse’s head, bat wings and tail. Reports date back to the early 1800s and multiple sightings sparked a “week of terror” in 1909. Plus, Bruce Springsteen name-checked him and he’s a hockey team mascot.
Also known as the Grey Lady, this famous ghost is traditionally seen in Great Britain and Ireland but has become a staple of American ghost sightings. An apparition of a woman in a white gown (often thought to be a wedding dress), she apparently frequents cemeteries, such as Tolomato Cemetery in St. Augustine, FL. She has also been connected to hitchhiker ghost stories, as with the White Lady of Whopsy in Altoona, PA.
Instead of an affable Will Smith-esque character, MIB are dark-suited, ominous agents who appear to eyewitnesses of strange phenomena. Modern sightings began in 1947 after a Maury Island, WA, UFO sighting, and popularized in 1956 by author Gray Barker. Some speculate they’re part of a secret government agency, but because they supposedly behave so oddly, others think they are aliens themselves. Still others say they may be extradimensional beings, time travelers or demonic manifestations.
Associated with the classic “shadow person,” those inky humanoid specters seen in peripheral vision, Hat Man is purportedly more defined (and maybe even solid), and wears a wide-brimmed gaucho hat and long coat. Eyewitnesses claim he materializes out of nowhere, looms and fills them with dread, all while feeding off their fear. He is the Bogeyman incarnate, and some say he’s a dark entity or the devil himself -- or an observer for extraterrestrials.