Tag Archives: cryptids

257 – I Know What I Saw: Monsters, Myths, and More with Linda S. Godfrey

It was Thursday, July 18, 2019; an oppressively hot Wisconsin evening, the kind of day where the humidity is so great that the air actually feels heavy on your skin, and stepping outside results in immediate fogging of your glasses. It was the perfect time to retreat indoors to an ice cold air conditioned space, one filled with hundreds of full bookshelves and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee (which was probably more popularly enjoyed over ice on this day).

While some people perused the endless aisles of books at Madison’s west side Barnes and Noble book store and others paraded their children through the toy area, a curious group of locals gathered in the back of the store. They weren’t there for a book club or to partake in a craft project. This group was gathered to hear wild tales of hairy beasts, mischievous little people, and ominous winged creatures. It was an interview with one of Wisconsin’s most well-known cryptid researchers, Linda S. Godfrey!

Listening to the author reading her own words! Photo by Scott Markus.
Linda’s brand new book!

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to talk to Linda. She’s been a popular guest on See You On The Other Side several times and inspired Sunspot songs “Mystery” and “American Monsters“, both of which we perform regularly at shows. I’ve seen her present at several paranormal conventions, and I respect the work she does and her meticulous approach at exploring the very unique world of cryptids. I’m a big fan. Having just read her newest book, I Know What I Saw, I was especially excited to delve into the world of monsters, myths, and how on earth the two seem to be manifesting in our world continuously.

We made some special bookmarks to celebrate Linda’s visit to Madison and her new book, I Know What I Saw!

Linda kicked off the interview by reading a passage from the book, a fitting introduction explaining how she was originally drawn into the world of the weird as a reporter at a local newspaper, assigned to the now infamous Beast of Bray Road case. She reported the case with impressive rigor and became very familiar with some odd sightings around Wisconsin.

The Beast opened the door into cryptid research, and decades later, scores of people reach out to Linda to share their experiences with every imaginable kind of creature. Her open mind and excellent listening skills make it easy to understand why people aren’t afraid to tell Linda about things that others may be less willing to accept.

Not only does Linda collect eyewitness accounts, but she frequently does her own investigating. She’s logged many hours in the Kettle Moraine area of SouthEast Wisconsin, known among paranormal circles for being a supernatural hotspot, and has gone on stakeouts for creatures in wooded areas. Our discussion covered many different types of monsters: Unknown upright bipedal canines, bearwolf, sasquatch, manbat, batsquatch, diredog, and that’s just to name a few. Linda even shared her info about the Haunchies so near and dear to our hearts (check out our episode about Haunchyville for more on that Wisconsin legend)!

But, as LeVar Burton would say, “don’t take my word for it”! The book I Know What I Saw is loaded with monster stories of every ilk, and knowing these aren’t (necessarily) fiction but are experiences reported by real people gave me the feeling that WE’RE SURROUNDED. I’ll be keeping my mind, and eyes, open and ready to have my own experience… And when I do, you better believe Linda will be the first person I share it with!

To hear more of Linda’s intriguing experiences and investigations, here are some of our past discussions:

Once again, Linda has provided excellent song inspiration with her book title! This week’s Sunspot song is self-explanatory: I KNOW WHAT I SAW!

And stalking from the murk 
came something strange 
Just in a second 
everything changed 

A walking nightmare 
sudden abnormality 
A chimera that broke my reality 

You might say impossible 
when I was struck dumb with awe 
It might break all the natural law 
but I know what I saw 

A glimpse into the infinite 
A peek behind the veil 
When you finally see yourself 
on a cosmic scale 

Some moments I remember 
with perfect clarity 
Like when I saw the creature that stretched my credulity 

You might say impossible 
when I was struck dumb with awe 
It might break all the natural law 
but I know what I saw 

And stalking from the murk 
came something strange 
Just in one second 
everything changed 

A walking nightmare 
sudden abnormality 
A chimera that broke my reality 

You might say impossible 
when I was struck dumb with awe 
It might break all the natural law 
but I know what I saw 

I know what I saw.

247 – Hunting An Enigma: The Lake Monsters Of Ireland

Everyone knows about the Loch Ness Monster, everybody has heard about the Sasquatch. Nessie and Bigfoot are the two most famous cryptids in the world. Even most Forteans have heard of Champ, the sea serpent that is said to roam the waters of Lake Champlain between Vermont and Quebec, first seen in the New World in 1609. But most people have never heard of the Master Otter, who’s been seen a lot more recently than that.

What, you say? What’s a Master Otter? Well, it’s only the biggest and baddest river mammal around. And it’s deadly even, it’s said to have killed an Irish woman in the Seventeen Century and her gravestone still bears a picture of the beast. When’s the last time Bigfoot killed anyone, huh?

On the west coast of Ireland in Galway county, in the Connemara region of Ireland, there are many shallow lakes dotting the countryside. It’s a small community of only 32,000 people, but it’s an area that is heavily steeped in traditional Irish history. In fact Gaelic is still spoken in the schools there and it contains the most Irish speakers per capita on the entire island.

And in those shallow lakes, people have long seen monsters with many reports from the 1960s, 1980s, and beyond. Monster hunter Travis Wolfe has had a lifelong interest in cryptozoology and realized that the strange water cryptids of Ireland remain unheralded in modern investigation. He decided he wanted to change all that and called our very own Allison Jornlin, an intrepid monster hunter herself (her research into the Chicago Mothman sightings remains unparalleled) to help with uncovering more of these mysterious creatures.

Travis Wolfe

Two of the main beasties that have been sighted in the Connemara region are the Dobhar-chú , which is the Gaelic word for the Master Otter and the Peiste or the Horse Eel. The Dobhar-chú is often described as a half dog/half fish creature, while the Horse Eel is pretty much exactly what you’re imagining in your brain right now, a horse shaped head and mare with a long (up to 30 feet!) eel body behind.

In fact, the horse eel was a modest cryptozoological sensation in Ireland in the 1960s, here you can find several news reports from Irish television as they interviewed witnesses and covered the various sightings through the decade and beyond:

Travis and Allison have spent a good deal of time studying the evidence and the sightings of these creatures from the Emerald Isle and that’s what we talk about in this episode. But they’re also formulating a plan to get on location and investigate these loughs directly and make a documentary about it. The documentary is called Enigma and they have an Indiegogo campaign to fund the investigation and documentary. With plans for drones, remote control submarines, infrared detection, and more, it’s going to be a full investigation to get real visual proof of either the giant Master Otter or the infamous Horse Eel.

Click here to check out the Indiegogo Campaign for Enigma and discover how you can help in this fascinating investigation into Irish cryptids!

S Is For Sea Serpent: Ogopogo, Champ, Caddy, and Storsie

if you’ve ever passed a moving body of water and seen something, barely sticking from the surface, you’ve probably had a fleeting moment of wondering Could that be a monster–like Nessie? Odds are, what you saw turned out to be a stick, a turtle, or even a snake–or maybe just some garbage. After all, Nessie is just from Scotland, right? There aren’t any other sea/lake monsters, are there?

Not surprisingly, there are. Some scoff at this notion and say that swells on the surface of a body of water are caused by underwater currents, or that stationary objects, like submerged trees, create the illusion of something swimming, when really it’s just water flowing around the object. They say that this optical illusion causes us to fill in the gaps and imagine a monster.

Others argue differently. They say there are undiscovered, aquatic cryptids around the world. They have photos, witness accounts and even videos of these alleged creatures. Aquatic monsters are everywhere, it seems.

Ogopogo hails from Canada–Okanagan Lake, to be specific, in British Columbia. It has allegedly been seen by natives since the 1800s, and is described as a 40-50 foot sea serpent, like the Mosasaurus.

In 1946, thirty carloads of people reported seeing the creature from Okanagan Mission beach. In 1968, the creature (or, at least, it’s wake) was filmed moving across the lake. In 2011, Ogopogo was captured–on cell phone video

This isn’t the Americas’ only swimming cryptid, by the way. Champ and Caddy are two more cryptids reported in North America. Champ hails from Lake Champlain, which is near Quebec, New York, and Vermont. Sightings go back to before 1609, when the first European settler (Samuel de Champlain) reported the cryptid, describing it as “20-foot serpent thick as a barrel, and a head like a horse”.

On the other side of the continent, back in the Pacific Northwest, Ogopogo’s cousin, Caddy (short for Cadborosaurus) has been sighted in Cadboro Bay, British Columbia for more than 200 years. Like Nessie and Ogopogo, Caddy too has purportedly been photographed and filmed, and is reported to resemble a “huge sea serpent with a horse-like head”.

Leaving America, and crossing back to Europe, one needn’t return to some of the other Lochs in Scotland to search for lake monsters (although several other Lochs also claim to have them). Instead, you could journey to Sweden in search of Storsjöodjuret, a lake serpent seen in Lake Storsjön in Jämtland, and described as looking like a serpentine or aquatic reptile with fins across its back and the head of a dog.

If you strike out in Sweden, fear not, a quick trip to Norway could put you on the track of Selma, a large, snake-like creature believed to reside in Lake Seljord in Seljord, Telemark, Norway. If you aren’t sure what you’re looking for, fear not, Selma appears on the coat of arms of Seljord.

There are many, many more alleged aquatic beasts around the world. Until 2016, you could go to Vietnam and would probably catch a glimpse of such a beast–Cụ Rùa (“great grandfather turtle”), a giant, soft shell turtle of the species Rafetus leloii, which resided in Hoàn Kiếm Lake in Hanoi, Vietnam. There are also countless of tales of giant fish seen as monsters–like the rumored man-sized catfish of Lake Cumberland, Kentucky, or Alaska’s Iliamna Lake Monster, Illie.

It seems that wherever there’s a body of water, there be monsters. Remember that the next time you go swimming and aren’t sure just what that is in the water, just below the surface, heading towards you…

This Week’s Best Paranormal News – March 8th, 2019

Greetings from Austin, TX everyone!

We’re down here for the SXSW film festival and we’ll be collecting some cool stories and interviews for upcoming podcast episodes. In the meantime, have you been checking our Facebook page? We’ve been going live from some interesting haunted locations on the way down, including the infamous Stull Cemetery in Kansas as well as Oklahoma’s most haunted restaurant!

But we’re still keeping an eye on weirdness in the world and here’s five fascinating stories we saw this week!

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/loch-ness-monster-captured-camera-14089962

Loch Ness monster captured on camera TWICE in just five days
dailyrecord

Here we go, the world’s most famous cryptid is back bigtime with two sightings in less than a week!

https://gizmodo.com/elixir-of-immortality-uncovered-in-2-000-year-old-chi-1833038438

‘Elixir of Immortality’ Uncovered in 2,000-Year-Old Chinese Tomb
Gizmodo

A yellowish liquid found in a bronze pot dating back some 2,000 years is not wine, as Chinese archaeologists initially thought. It’s actually an “elixir of immortality” concocted during ancient times.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/article/eabdc0ed-70c0-4af2-8295-96ebfc4dc613

Modern Spiritualism: Meet the young people who believe they’re communicating with the dead
BBC Three

BBC Three Millennials are doing what Generation X-ers weren’t interested in, and that’s returning to Spiritualism.

https://gizmodo.com/astronomers-perform-enormous-asteroid-readiness-exercis-1832998125

Astronomers Around the World Are Training in Case a Giant Asteroid Threatens Earth
Gizmodo

On October 12, 2017, a 20-meter asteroid passed just 50,000 kilometers (31,000 miles) from Earth. For weeks, dozens of astronomers from labs around the world mobilized, measuring everything they could about the asteroid in preparation for an impact. Once again, we’re entering Rendezvous with Rama territory and Arthur C. Clarke proves prescient!

Goblins terrorise villagers, kill livestock and crops
www.b-metro.co.zw

The residents Sigola’s Ziqaweni Village are living in fear say that they thought they vanquished a gang of invisible goblins last year who were responsible for the murder of some local children. With over 30 cattle dying mysteriously this year so far, some of the villagers think the goblins are back.

https://www.punkrockandufos.com%2Fblog%2F2019%2F3%2F5%2Fall-the-times-tom-delonge-references-ufos-mysteries-of-universe-in-songs

All the times Tom DeLonge references UFOs, mysteries of universe in songs
punk rock and UFOs

Our friend Mike Damante, who we’ve had on the show several times, did a round-up of the times that former Blink-182 frontman Tom DeLonge (presently from the To The Stars Academy) mentioned aliens or paranormal stuff in his songs. Make sure you check out the blogpost to see how many pop-punk classics you remember! The episode will be late next week because we’ll be at the festival. But please follow us on Facebook so you can keep up with the weirdness we’re finding deep in the heart of Texas! See you on the other side of the weekend!


210 – The Bray Road Beast: Hunting Small Town Monsters with Seth Breedlove

Back when we talked to Lyle Blackburn in episode 180, he mentioned that the next Small Town Monsters project would be filming in Wisconsin (yes, little old Wisconsin!) and would be featuring the strange bipedal canine sightings in the southeastern part of our state in the early 90s, made popular by our friend Linda Godfrey‘s book, The Beast of Bray Road. Fast forward to now and the first trailer for the movie. The Bray Road Beast is out!

Filmmaker Seth Breedlove is the creative powerhouse behind the Small Town Monsters film series. Small Town Monsters is an independent film series exploring lost and bizarre history around the United States. They’ve covered everything from The Mothman of Point Pleasant to the Boggy Creek Monster, and now they’re tackling our hometown werewolf, a story that I remember fondly from the the local news when I was in high school. (Hey, and check it out, the story even made it to Inside Edition!)

In this episode, Seth talks to us about:

  • His inspiration to start the Small Town Monsters series
  • Why he thinks that Bigfoot is a lost species of ape (if Bigfoot exists…)
  • The most interesting thing he uncovered about the Mothman of Point Pleasant
  • Treating the Beast of Bray Road like a Hammer Horror Movie (we miss you, Christopher Lee!)
  • The weirdest (paranormal?) thing that happened to him on location while they were filming
  • Possible relationships of the beast to Skinwalker Ranch and Native American legends
  • How the themes of the Bray Road Beast turned darker after on particular interview changed his initial perspective into something a lot scarier

You can find all of Seth Breedlove’s Small Town Monsters series on their website, www.smalltownmonsters.com. If you’ve got Amazon Prime, you can watch some of the films right now! But why don’t you get psyched up by listening to our interview with Seth Breedlove first!

Wendy and I made a pilgrimage to Bray Road in episode 52 and we recorded our trip!

For this week’s song, we were inspired by the patience of monster and ghost hunters. You travel and stay out all night and usually wind up coming home without a shred of evidence. But no matter what, it’s fun to explore the mysteries of the universe, even if you don’t bring home a trophy very often.  In this track, “Hunting Monsters”, a woman thinks that her man might be up to no good because he says he’s looking for cryptids, but always comes home empty-handed.

When you go fishing
you get wet
when you go drinking
you get drunk
When my man comes back
from where he’s been
it’s like he ain’t got nothing done.
it’s like he ain’t had any fun

I keep looking out my window
and I lay on the bed alone
Because my baby says he’s hunting monsters
but he ain’t never brought one home.

I’ve looked for lipstick
on his lapel
I looked for perfume
on his shirt
but he ain’t been to the gin mill
I know he ain’t out chasing skirts
He looks at footprints in the dirt

I keep looking out my window
and I lay on the bed alone
Because my baby says he’s hunting monsters
but he ain’t never brought one home.
Oh my old man says he’s hunting monsters
but he ain’t never
he ain’t never brought one home.


133 – Popobawa: Dr. Martin Walsh and The Idea Virus

Martin Walsh is a social anthropologist with a PhD from the University of Cambridge.  He has extensive field experience in East Africa including the Tanzanian archipelago of Zanzibar.

popobawa dr. martin walsh
Look at the red star to find Zanzibar

We first heard about Dr. Walsh in the Gray Brothers’ documentary about sleep paralysis, The Nightmare, (check out our interview here!) where he was the liaison between the people of Zanzibar and the filmmakers. They were exploring the mystery of Popobawa (literally translated to English as “bat-wing”), an evil shapeshifting spirit who would visit people in the night and poke them where the Sun don’t shine.

Of course, we’re being flippant, but that’s part of it. The very intimate nature of the violation is one of the reasons of the legend was so scary, funny, and fascinating to the Tanzanian people. As Dr. Walsh describes it, there was a period in 1995 where that’s all the people talked about, a national obsession.

popobawa dr. martin walsh
An artist’s rendition of Popobawa, often portrayed as a one-eyed demon with bat wings, in the real legend, it was a shapeshifter and appeared in many different forms.

Much like the Clown Hysteria hit in 2016 in the United States and it spread through the news and social media, stories of Popobawa’s nocturnal visits spread through word of mouth where people would tell personal stories of waking up paralyzed and seeing a terrifying shapeshifter pressing on their chest. In fact, the stories very often resemble alien abduction tales. In one of the wildest tales that Martin talks about in the interview, there’s a spinning dog with a police siren on its head. And of course, accompanied by a fetid stink (shades of Joshua Cutchin’s Brimstone Deceit?)

popbawa martin walsh the grey brothers
Dr. Martin Walsh with The Gray Brothers filiming “The Nightmare”

But this wasn’t just harmless sleep paralysis, the panic that spread through the community caused several deaths. Since Popobawa could appear as anyone, that means that anyone acting strangely or just a little unusual could be the evil spirit in human form. Some poor mentally ill folks ended up being mistaken for Popobawa and were killed by the mob.

Dr. Walsh wrote an academic paper about this phenomenon shortly after it all went down, you can even read it online (and I recommend it, it’s not stuffy or difficult and gets into some real fascinating detail.) Click here to check out “Killing Popobawa: collective panic and violence in Zanzibar”

popobawa dr. martin walsh
Dr. Martin Walsh

Dr. Walsh goes into several reasons as to why this idea virus might have spread so quickly and such a ridiculous legend became so popular in our discussion, but one of the things that he brought up really made me think about our interview with Jack Hunter, another British student of Anthropology.

One of the things Martin believes is important to the story is that the panic took place during the Islamic Holy Month of Ramadan, and that’s a month where everyone is fasting, they’re not sleeping as much, they’re praying more, etc… they’re engaging in rituals. One of the things that Jack is studying is how people across the world have used rituals to facilitate paranormal experiences.

popobawa dr. martin walsh
Dr. Martin Walsh on location in Tanzania

The inhabitants of Zanzibar were doing exactly that when Popobawa came for a visit. Whether or not people were really visited by a single-eyed bat demon with a penchant for you know what, Martin mentions that they could very well have been setting themselves up for being more likely to have a sleep paralysis experience.  Especially once the first one happens and people start hearing about it and you might manifest it in your own bed.

Martin, of course, is featured in The Nightmare (which you can watch above) but he also has some authors he can recommend if you’re interested in learning more about this topic:

And don’t forget that Dr. Walsh has lots of work available online where you can learn more about Popobawa and Tanzania!

Martin also works with Oxfam, an organization dedicated to poverty eradication, health, and human rights in some of the most vulnerable parts of the world. You can find more about their mission and his work right here.

This week’s song was inspired by a couple of the things Martin said in the interview. Number one, he talked about the “twilight zone” between waking and dreaming. Number two, the widespread panic that spread throughout his village one night that was probably started  by his night watchman who got scared and ran away. Nothing actually happened but the whole village was terrified. Those two things put together really reminded me of the classic Twilight Zone episode, “The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street”.

There’s a great line at the end of the episode where two aliens are talking to each other discussing how their simple mindgame of turning electricity on and off selectively down the street has made the formerly friendly neighbors turn on each other. ”

“They pick the most dangerous enemy they can find,” one of the aliens says, “and it’s themselves.” And in the end, he chillingly adds, “The world is full of Maple Streets.” The Popobawa panic was one of those instances. This song is titled after its inspiration, “The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street”.
What do we do
the switches won’t respond
point our fingers to
a 5th column from the vast beyond
who’s hiding what
another wild theory
Who can you trust
when we’re yelling in the streets
and behind every picket fence
you’ll find your own worst enemy.
the monsters are due on Maple Street.
A simple pattern
It’s always the same
When the unknown appears
We find someone to blame
A trigger in plain sight
Agitates the hive
It’s just a matter of time and
We’ll eat each other alive
What are you guilty of?
What are you waiting for?
Who’s the little green man
inside a meteor?
and behind every picket fence
you’ll find your own worst enemy.
the monsters are due on Maple Street.
Inside every closed door,
there lies a new conspiracy
the monsters are due on Maple Street.
And our world is full of Maple Streets.