May 27, 2021 by SkyWatch Editor
As we continue from the last post on shapeshifters, another cryptid sometimes associated with Bigfoot, which was first reported in the 1980s on a quiet country road outside of Elkhorn, Wisconsin, is called “The Beast of Bray Road.” A rash of sightings between the ’80s and ’90s prompted a local newspaper (Walworth County Week) to assign one of its reporters named Linda Godfrey to cover the story. Godfrey started out skeptical, but because of the sincerity of the eyewitnesses, became convinced of the creature’s existence. In fact, she was so impressed with the consistency of the reports from disparate observers (whom the History Channel’s TV series MonsterQuest subjected to lie detector tests in which the polygraph administrator could find no indication of falsehoods) that she wrote not only a series of articles for the newspaper but later a book, titled Real Wolfmen: True Encounters in Modern America. In her book, she claims that “the U.S. has been invaded by upright, canine creatures that look like traditional werewolves and act as if they own our woods, fields, and highways. Sightings from coast to coast dating back to the 1930s compel us to ask exactly what these beasts are, and what they want.”[i] Her book presents a catalogue of investigative reports and first-person accounts of modern sightings of anomalous, upright canids. From Godfrey’s witnesses, we learn of fleeting, as well as face-to-face, encounters with literal werewolves—canine beings that walk upright, eat food with their front paws, interact fearlessly with humans, and suddenly and mysteriously disappear. While Godfrey tries to separate her research from Hollywood depictions of shapeshifting humans played by actors like Michael Landon or Lon Chaney Jr., she is convinced there really are extremely large, fur-covered, anthropomorphic, wolf-like creatures that chase victims on their hind legs.
Werewolves, like other cryptids, are deeply connected in history not only with occultic lore but with the alien-similar fauns and incubi that sought and obtained coitus from women. In the ancient Bohemian Lexicon of Vacerad (AD 1202), the werewolf is vilkodlak, on whom the debauched woman sat and was impregnated with beastly seed.[ii] Saint Patrick was said to have battled with werewolf soldiers and even to have transformed the Welsh king Vereticus into a wolf. (The strange belief that saints could turn people into such creatures was also held by Saint Thomas Aquinas, who wrote that angels could metamorphose the human form, saying, “All angels, good and bad have the power of transmutating our bodies.”[iii]) Long before the Catholic saints believed in such things, the god Apollo was worshiped in Lycia as Lykeios or Lykos, the “wolf” god. The trance-induced utterances of his priestesses known as Pythoness or Pythia prophesied in an unfamiliar voice thought to be that of Apollo himself. During the Pythian trance, the medium’s personality often changed, becoming melancholic, defiant, or even animal-like, exhibiting a psychosis that may have been the original source of the werewolf myth, or lycanthropy, as the Pythia reacted to an encounter with Apollo/Lykeios—the wolf god. Pausanias, the second-century Greek traveler and geographer, agreed with the concept of Apollo as the original wolf man who, he said, derived his name from the pre-Dynastic Apu-At, an Egyptian god of war. But Virgil, one of Rome’s greatest poets, held that “the first werewolf was Moeris, wife of the fate-goddess Moera, who taught him how to bring the dead back to life.”[iv] Romans of that era referred to the werewolf as versipellis, or the “turn-skin,” reminiscent of later indigenous peoples of America who still believe in “skinwalkers,” or humans with the supernatural ability to turn into a wolf or other animal.
According to local legend, a ranch located on approximately four hundred eighty acres southeast of Ballard, Utah, in the United States is (or at least once was) allegedly the site of substantial skinwalker activity. The farm is actually called “Skinwalker Ranch” by local Indians who believe it lies in “the path of the skinwalker,” taking its name from the Native American legend. It was made famous during the ’90s and early 2000s when claims about the ranch first appeared in the Utah Deseret News and later in the Las Vegas Mercury during a series of riveting articles by journalist George Knapp. Subsequently, a book titled Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah described how the ranch was acquired by the now defunct National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS), which had purchased the property to study “anecdotal sightings of UFOs, bigfoot-like creatures, crop circles, glowing orbs and poltergeist activity reported by its former owners.”[v] A two-part article by Knapp for the Las Vegas Mercury was published November 21 and 29, 2002, titled, “Is a Utah Ranch the Strangest Place on Earth?” It told of frightening events that had left the owners of the ranch befuddled and broke—from bizarre, bulletproof wolf-things to mutilated prize cattle and other instances in which animals and property simply disappeared or were obliterated overnight. As elsewhere, these events were accompanied by strong odors, ghostly rapping, strange lights, violent nightmares, and other paranormal phenomena. Besides the owners of the Skinwalker Ranch, other residents throughout the county made similar reports over the years. Junior Hicks, a retired local school teacher, catalogued more than four hundred anomalies in nearby communities before the year 2000. He and others said that, for as long as anyone could remember, this part of Utah had been the site of unexplained activity—from UFO sightings to Sasquatch manifestations. It was as if a gateway to the world of the beyond existed within this basin. Some of the Skinwalker Ranch descriptions seemed to indicate as much. For example, in one event repeated by Knapp, an investigator named Chad Deetken and the ranch owner saw a mysterious light:
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Both men watched intently as the light grew brighter. It was as if someone had opened a window or doorway. [The ranch owner] grabbed his night vision binoculars to get a better look but could hardly believe what he was seeing. The dull light began to resemble a bright portal, and at one end of the portal, a large, black humanoid figure seemed to be struggling to crawl through the tunnel of light. After a few minutes, the humanoid figure wriggled out of the light and took off into the darkness. As it did, the window of light snapped shut, as if someone had flicked the “off” switch.[vi]
In 1996, Skinwalker Ranch was purchased by real-estate developer and aerospace entrepreneur Robert T. Bigelow, a wealthy Las Vegas businessman who founded NIDS in 1995 to research and serve as a central clearinghouse for scientific investigations into various fringe science, paranormal topics, and ufology. Bigelow planned an intense but very private scientific study of events at the farm. He was joined by high-ranking military officials, including retired US Army Colonel John B. Alexander, who had worked to develop “Jedi” remote viewing and psychic experiments for the military as described in Jon Ronson’s book, The Men Who Stare At Goats, former police detectives, and scientists including Eric W. Davis, who has worked for NASA. In the years before, Bigelow had donated 3.7 million dollars to the University of Nevada at Las Vegas “for the creation and continuation of a program that would attract to the university renowned experts on aspects of human consciousness.”[vii] Bigelow’s Chair for the university program was parapsychologist Charles Tart, a man “famous for extended research on altered states of consciousness, near-death experiences and extrasensory perception.”[viii] But what Bigelow’s team found at the Skinwalker Ranch was more than they could have hoped for, at least for a while, including “an invisible force moving through the ranch and through the animals.”[ix] On this, the Las Vegas Mercury reported in November of 2002: “One witness reported a path of displaced water in the canal, as if a large unseen animal was briskly moving through the water. There were distinct splashing noises, and there was a foul pungent odor that filled the air but nothing could be seen. A neighboring rancher reported the same phenomena two months later. The [ranch owners] say there were several instances where something invisible moved through their cattle, splitting the herd. Their neighbor reported the same thing.”[x]
Yet of all the anomalous incidents at the ranch, there was one that took the prize. On the evening of March 12, 1997, barking dogs alerted the NIDS team that something strange was in a tree near the ranch house. The ranch owner grabbed a hunting rifle and jumped in his pickup, racing toward the tree. Two of the NIDS staffers followed in a second truck. Knapp tells what happened next:
Up in the tree branches, they could make out a huge set of yellowish, reptilian eyes. The head of this animal had to be three feet wide, they guessed. At the bottom of the tree was something else. Gorman described it as huge and hairy, with massively muscled front legs and a doglike head.
Gorman, who is a crack shot, fired at both figures from a distance of 40 yards. The creature on the ground seemed to vanish. The thing in the tree apparently fell to the ground because Gorman heard it as it landed heavily in the patches of snow below. All three men ran through the pasture and scrub brush, chasing what they thought was a wounded animal, but they never found the animal and saw no blood either. A professional tracker was brought in the next day to scour the area. Nothing.
But there was a physical clue left behind. At the bottom of the tree, they found and photographed a weird footprint, or rather, claw print. The print left in the snow was from something large. It had three digits with what they guessed were sharp claws on the end. Later analysis and comparison of the print led them to find a chilling similarity—the print from the ranch closely resembled that of a velociraptor, an extinct dinosaur made famous in the Jurassic Park films.[xi]
Stories of anomalous cryptids moving in and out of man’s reality, the opening of portals or spirit gateways such as reported at Skinwalker Ranch, and the idea that through these openings could come the sudden appearance of unknown intelligence was believed as fact in ancient times, a phenomenon we will continue to investigate throughout this series.
Fairies, Changelings, and the False Messiah from Magonia
“I believe there is a machinery of mass manipulation behind the UFO phenomenon; it aims at social and political goals by diverting attention from some human problems and providing a potential release for tensions caused by others. The (UFO) contactees are part of that machinery. They are helping to create a new form of belief: an expectation of actual contact among large parts of the public. In turn, this expectation makes millions of people hope for the imminent realization of that age-old dream: salvation from above, surrender to the greater power of some wise navigators of the cosmos. They may be from outer space [but] their methods are those of deception.”—Dr. Jacques Vallée
Stories of anomalous cryptids moving in and out of man’s reality such as described in the previous entry were once considered fact in ancient times. Early people around the world viewed “them” as coexisting with man and having the capability of being seen whenever the netherworld beings willed it. This included the opening of portals or spirit gateways, such as reported at Skinwalker Ranch, and the idea that through these openings could come the sudden appearance of werewolves, ghosts, goblins, trolls, and those mythical beings of legend that have an even more interesting connection to modern UFO lore known as fairies. Fairy variety is considerable, and listing each type here is beyond the scope of our interest. However, some of them are virtually identical with ancient descriptions of demons, including a particular one called the bogie or “bogeyman” who haunts the dark and enjoys harming and frightening humans. These fairies appear very similar to traditional descriptions of “Bigfoot,” with the same furry bodies, together with fiery red eyes. Other fairy classifications are practically indistinguishable from the flying witches of classical antiquity and the ancient Near East. Olaus Magnus, who was sent by Pope Paul III in 1546 as an authority to the Council of Trent and who later became canon of Saint Lambert in Liége, Belgium, is best remembered as the author of the classic 1555 Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus (“History of the Northern Peoples”), which chronicled the folklore and history of Europe. In it, he provided engravings of fairy-demons carrying women away for intercourse. Before him, in 1489, the legal scholar Ulrich Molitor did the same, providing etched plates in his Latin tract on sorcerous women (De laniis et phitonicis mulieribus) depicting demons abducting women for coitus. Besides such similarities to current UFO and alien-abduction activity, these fairies often left “the devil’s mark”—a permanent spot or scar believed to have been made by the demon (or the devil himself) raking his claw across the flesh or by the red-hot kiss of the devil licking the individual. This happened at night, at the conclusion of the nocturnal abduction episode. This mark was also known as “fairy bruising” and as the “witche’s teat” and appeared overnight as a raised bump or scoop mark in the flesh, often on the most secret parts of the body. In modern times, alien abductees often bear the same marks as those described in olden days as the devil’s mark—cuts or scoops on the backs of the legs, arms, and neck; purplish, circular spots around the abdomen and genitals; and in patterns consistent with those from medieval times ascribed to witches, incubi, and fairies. Thus, the actual mythology of these creatures and the “little people” who traveled with them between our reality and fairyland or “Elfland” portrays an image quite different than that of cutesy Tinker Bell fluttering overhead at Disneyland! Fairy legend includes the identical alien-sounding roles of abduction, inducing some type of paralysis in which the victim can see what is happening but is powerless to intervene (the Oxford Dictionary of Celtic Mythology says the colloquial English usage of “stroke” for cerebral hemorrhage derives from its relationship with “paralysis” and originated with the “fairy-stroke” or “elf-stroke” of legend[xii]); levitating people and flying them away to “fairyland” (or what some today call “Magonia”); and traveling in UFO-like discs or circular globes of light.
In the 1960s, legendary French UFO researcher Dr. Jacques Vallée began to explore these commonalities between UFOs, alien abduction, and fabled figures like fairies in his book, Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers, which we will discuss in the next entry (NOTE! This legendary work by Vallée is no longer available but is provided FREE in searchable pdf format plus dozens more unavailable works with the purchase of Exo-Vaticana here). (Click to Source)
UP NEXT: Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers.
[i] Linda S. Godfrey, Real Wolfmen: True Encounters in Modern America (New York, NY: Tarcher/Penguin, 2012). See quote and learn more about the book here: “Summary of Real Wolfmen,” Penguin, last accessed January 14, 2013, http://www.us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9781585429080,00.html?Real_Wolfmen_Linda_S._Godfrey.
[iv] Frank Joseph, The Lost Worlds of Ancient America (Pompton Plains, NJ: New Page Books, 2012), 252.
[vi] George Knapp, “Is a Utah Ranch the Strangest Place on Earth? (Part 2),” Las Vegas Mercury, November, 29, 2002.
[vii] Natalie Patton, “UNLV Unplugs Program on Human Consciousness: Donor Behind its ’97 Birth Decides to Fund Scholarships Instead,” Review Journal, November 8, 2002, http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2002/Nov-08-Fri-2002/news/20024414.html.
[ix] George Knapp, “Is a Utah Ranch the Strangest Place on Earth?”
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