Folktales have a habit of wandering into our lives and taking root. Even the most fanciful and absurd tales are capable of establishing a normalcy within our memory banks. Stories twist into legends and myths resemble facts. However, it is often discovered that many tales of mystic malevolence have some truth at their core, and here are five of them.....
In 1987 a song was released entitled, ‘Legend of the Dogman’. It was written and produced by Steve Cook, a local DJ from Traverse City, Michigan. It was based on folklore and imagination.
The song reignited the inspiration of many reports and tales of a half-man/dog that was thought to reside in the woods of Michigan. Was it true? Or was this just another episode of imagination spilling over where fiction and fantasy take on the appearance of truth?
The Dogman was first mentioned in a sighting in 1887 in Wexford County, Michigan. It is described as having a man’s body and a dog’s head and walking upright. Since the nineteenth century, there have been many witnesses who claimed to have seen it – or seen them, perhaps. In fact, according to a Dogman website, the mythical beast has been sighted in many parts of America.
Following the song’s release, Cook was inundated with tales of encounters with the Dogman. One legend has it that the beast originates from a shapeshifting skinwalker tribe – or that they are spirits from another realm that assume a ‘dogman’ form when they appear on earth.
Historian and author Linda S. Godfrey believes the creatures may have been around since the 1930’s and accepts that not every sighting could be a ‘werewolf’ type figure – some could be indeed a manifestation of something unknown – in other words – supernatural.
A belief in fairies is often synonymous with either watching too much Disney or a desire that amongst us are tiny, cute and winged creatures that are evidence of an ‘other’ – a place where dreams really can come true. A world of magic and miracles. Cynically we often deride the notion. But what if?.... After all, J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan, once said, ‘All the world is made of faith and trust…and pixie dust.’
There has been some photographic evidence put forward to prove the existence of such entities. Famous cases include that of University lecturer, John Hyatt, 53. In 2014; Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper provided photographs of what he claimed were fairies in Rossendale, Lancashire. Or that of musician John Rutledge, 39, from Newport in South Wales in 2016. He took photographs of what he says are fairies and they were featured in the Daily Star newspaper. Both of these sets of images do indeed resemble small winged creatures.
Some theories suggest fairies are fallen angels or are folk relics from an ancient pygmy race. Or are reincarnations of the dead. Whatever they are or might be – and despite the numerous proven hoaxes ( including that of the Cottingley Fairies in 1917 – where two girls claimed to have played with fairies at the bottom of the garden ) could it just be possible that fairies do actually exist?
3Beast Of Bodmin Moor
For over thirty years South-West England has been replete with numerous tales and sightings of a large panther-like cat wandering its moors. It was in the early eighties that witnesses first came forward claiming to have seen a large cat. These stories have often been supported by photographic and video evidence.
Farmers frequently complained of finding their livestock viciously mutilated beyond any reasonable explanation. Freelance hunters took to the moors in the hope of tracking and killing the unidentified predator or predators. It was even reported in the tabloids that Royal Marine snipers had been drafted in.
A government report in 1995 decided the unknown beast was a ‘phantom’ – a product of speculation and fantasy. They went on to conclude there was no concrete evidence that exotic cats were roaming the area. They surmised that any sightings were probably that of a large cat. However, a large cat would not have the inclination or capacity to destroy larger livestock.
Shortly after the release of the report, a 14-year-old boy was reported to have discovered a skull with large fangs in the River Fowey.
In a further twist to the story, it has now emerged that in the late 1970’s a group of Puma's either escaped or were released into the wilds of Cornwall. They were apparently being transported to Dartmoor Zoo.
When we think of vampires, we ordinarily conjure up the images that have been fed to us. Gothic-looking characters that suddenly bare their fangs, cape-wearing pasty-faced Lords that morph into black crows and fly off into the dark night or the beautiful, beguiling brides of Dracula intent on bloodlust.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1897 gave birth to the legend that has inspired and cultivated ravenous audiences. This literature was thought to derive from the hellish tales of Vlad the Impaler from the fifteenth century.
Since then we’ve been entertained and horrified in equal measures by an assemblage of creative works such as Count Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi, in the 1940’s, through to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and in more recent times, the series True Blood.
But separated from the outlandish and graphic, we can delve deeper. Highgate Cemetery in north London has been the location of numerous sightings of a vampire-like creature. In 1971 a lone woman was attacked by a tall white-faced dark-clothed figure. There even exists The Highgate Vampire Society, which has documented this and other events.
In North Carolina, USA, it has been suggested a vampire beast is responsible for the brutal slayings of dogs and livestock. This was first reported in the 1950’s, where animals were found butchered and drained of blood from deep puncture wounds to the neck. Tracks discovered nearby were inexplicable to biologists. More attacks like this have been reported in recent years.
Far more interesting though is the notion of vampires living amongst us. There are, in fact, vampires that exist in the modern world. They don’t burst into flames in sunlight or chew on some unlucky partygoer wandering home at 2 am. There are many vampires who ‘live the life’.
There is a weight of evidence that suggests vampirism is functioning very nicely. Bloggers and social media indicate a strong, yet cultist, movement that incorporates the suckers and the donors. Vampires can have a regular donor or two. Some studies have attributed to a psychological impulse for blood; others argue it may be physiological and even a pseudo-sexual practice. There are even online forums to link vampires.
This creature was first sighted in 1966 in West Virginia, USA when a group of gravediggers reported a man-like object flying across the cemetery. This weird phenomenon was witnessed many times over the next couple of years, with people variously describing it as ‘a brown thing’, ‘having ten-foot wings’ or even ‘a large bird with red eyes’.
The fact that these sightings occurred within an area that was previously a World War II base endows the story with another flavour. The former base and the woods surrounding it are home to a network of tunnels. Of further interest are the claims made by some that there has been UFO activity in the locale for many years. The Mothman was seen hovering over Point Pleasant’s Silver Bridge in 1967 shortly before it collapsed and 46 people lost their lives. It was not reported in the area again.
Predictably the media cashed in, and the Mothman Prophesies was released in 2002, based on the 1975 novel by John Keel.
If you want to hear more about the legendary Mothman, then I know you will enjoy this...