Category Archives: strange events

Britain’s Menstruating Males

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Don’t worry, they’re not really menstruating: they just think and say they are. The fact that it’s totally not true is dismissed as irrelevant.

Back in 2015 a poll found 25% of UK men said they had a “period” once a month; and 58% of their female “partners” believed them ( “Coo, love, I can’t do anything with Charlie when it’s his time o’ month…”

How did this happen? I wonder what the numbers would be if they took the poll again today, three years later. “One in five British men believes himself to be pregnant…” On second thought, don’t ask.

Has Anybody Seen the Nandi Bear?

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It’s hard to write this up as Mr. Nature, because the Nandi Bear might not exist. But it’s been a staple of East African folklore for a very long time, and I am told there are people in Kenya who are absolutely sure the beast is real–and very much to be avoided.

It is described as something between an oversized hyena and an undersized bear. As far as scientists can tell, bears have never lived in Africa south of the Sahara. Ice Age hyenas were much bigger and stronger than today’s hyenas, and they ate mammoths and rhinos. Eating a human wouldn’t pose much of a challenge.

Is it possible that an incredibly rare, powerful, nasty relative of the hyena prowls the forests of Kenya? People do sometimes attribute unidentified, fatal animal attacks on humans to the Nandi Bear. Hard to study an animal when no one who ever sees it lives to tell the tale.

And then there’s the basic problem of cryptozoology: no specimens. Because if you do come up with a specimen–like when fishermen first caught a coelacanth–it immediately ceases to be cryptozoological and becomes just plain zoological! What’s a poor cryptozoologist to do? His situation is impossible.

Seein’ Things

Image result for images of jersey devil by miller and mccloy

Some of you seem to think that anyone who says he’s seen the New Jersey “Mantis Man,” let alone the Jersey Devil, must be a kook. But I’m not so sure.

My late brother-in-law, Ray, co-authored two books on the Jersey Devil, for which he conducted many face-to-face interviews and spent a lot of time getting nibbled by strawberry flies all around the Pine Barrens. At the end of it all, he used to say he was halfway convinced there was something there; but he didn’t know what.

Seeing weird stuff in places like the Pine Barrens is nowhere near as badly tainted as the whole UFO scene. There are no alleged hypnotists running around finding repressed Mantis Man encounters in everyone they put under–even if that is a good way to find “Brett Kavanagh tried to rape me!” stories. I dare say the Mantis Man stories are less incredible than those. And as for the Jersey Devil, they’ve been telling stories about him since early in the 1700s.

In evaluating stories told, currently, by persons who swear they’ve seen either of these famous cryptids, I look for several things to help me decide whether the witness is telling the truth.

*The story has to be pried out of him, and he’s clearly uncomfortable, telling it. He may even break down into tears. B.S. artists, unless they are especially gifted and happen to be named “Bill Clinton,” don’t behave like that.

*The witness is not cashing in on the story–no monetized Youtube channel, no guest spots on Lifetime TV, no Go Fund Me account, etc.

*Other than the “monster” itself, the details of the story contain nothing improbable. Like, “I was driving down this country lane at night when my car conked out” is really a lot better than “The KGB chased me into the Pine Barrens when they discovered I was a plant for the CIA.”

Some of these witnesses do seem credible to me. At least, I can’t see any reason why they would make up such a story.

Maybe they’re mistaken in what they thought they saw, although at least in some cases, you have to say nobody could be that badly mistaken. The fine details of the story may be helpful here, especially if you can get a clear description of the monster–which hardly ever is forthcoming. A lot of these encounters badly startle the witness and last for only a matter of seconds.

Is it possible that there are things out there, living things, no farther away than the Jersey Pine Barrens, that no one has ever captured, classified, or understood? Creatures that haven’t even been photographed successfully, but nevertheless exist?

I don’t know.


‘Monster or Hallucination? New Jersey’s Mantis Man’ (2015)

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So you’re minding your own business, peacefully fishing in New Jersey’s Musconetcong River; and you’re all alone, of course, because these things never, ever happen when there’s a crowd of 20 people present…

And there he is, just on the opposite bank, staring at you, eight feet tall. Mantis Man–trying to give the Jersey Devil a run for it as the Official Haint of our state. My money’s on the Jersey Devil, who’s been at it since the 1700s. But don’t count Mantis Man out. He’s coming on strong.

This is, why do people tell these stories? Why do so many people tell them?

Can Anybody Really Be This Ignorant?

Image result for photoshopped image of living fossil giant snapping turtle with woman

Either this woman is a Lilliputian, or the snapping turtle in this picture is about twenty times its normal size.

As I scout Youtube for amusing and enlightening videos to share with you, I also encounter piffle like this. It introduced a video on “Living Fossils.” As in, “Ooh-ooh, giant turtle, gotta see it!”

I don’t want to believe that our education and media systems actually produce people so ignorant that they just might think the above picture is anything other than a fraud. Is anybody that far isolated from the natural world?

Yesterday it was a man supposedly swallowed by a python, with every little detail of his shape showing through the snake–instead of, well, a big lump. I couldn’t find that picture for you.

Anyhow, if you won’t go in the water for fear of giant snapping turtles–forget about it. They don’t exist.

The Geography of Dreams

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I don’t know about you, but sometimes I dream of places that don’t exist. One of them I visited the other night. In the dreams–I’ve been there several times–there is no golf course and country club at the end of Main Steet. Instead, the street dissolves into woodland, with a path leading in. Your car might just about fit, but you’re better off walking or biking. That’s what I do.

By and by the woods thins out and off to one side is an old railroad cut, rarely used by trains. At the bottom, along both sides of the rails, run little streams full of salamanders, crayfish, and pollywogs. Farther along, the land spreads out into meadows and marshes. There’s a train station there, sometimes with a passenger or two waiting for the next train. Here we see ancient, abandoned railroad carts and other equipment peacefully weathering in the sun. We hear assorted shore and marsh birds calling. If you’re into catching turtles, this is a pretty good place for it.

And you’d be surprised who you might out here. The last time I came here, I wound up having a nice long chat with Father Brown (as played by Mark Williams), which regrettably had to come to an end when Father Brown’s  bishop came striding up the railroad track to demand that Father Brown get back to church.

I have another dreamscape which I visit sometimes. It’s a fictional arm of Raritan Bay that reaches miles inland, all the way to the adjacent town to mine. It’s nice for boating and fishing: very peaceful. All my dreamscapes are peaceful. No leaf blowers allowed.

I know these places aren’t real, and yet I could draw you detailed maps of them because I’ve been there so often.

Maybe, somewhere, they are real, after all.

‘Breaking News: Mysterious Big Cat on the Loose in France’ (2014)

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Let’s hope it wasn’t one of these guys.

This is another one of those news stories that tantalizes you with headlines and then just dries up and blows away without ever telling you what really happened.

So in 2014 a lot of people spotted a scary “big cat” roaming around near Disneyland Paris…

And that was the end of it. Disneyland wasn’t missing a tiger. Neither was anybody else. They couldn’t catch the cat, so they wound up laughing it off as one of those “people want to believe” stories.

Uh… Could the fact that they weren’t able to catch it mean that the cat got away? That it, like, wasn’t there anymore, in the area where they were looking for it?

Or could it just mean that the free and independent journalists who raised the initial hoopla just got lazy and never bothered to follow it up?

We’ll never know.

Explain This… If You Can

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I don’t know if this is a proper ghost story, or what. But it’s certainly a strange story. Let me quote from Legends of Long Beach Island by David Seibold and Charles Adams III (copyright by the authors, 1985), page 16. Short but sweet:

“Our storyteller… has more. His father swears he once saw a red-roofed, white-building village propped on the horizon a short distance from Holgate [on the southern tip of Long Beach Island, NJ]. Out fishing, he looked to the east, out to sea, and unmistakeably saw the buildings–terra cotta roofs, almost Spanish in style. He knows well it couldn’t have really been there. He blinked and rubbed his eyes, but it wouldn’t go away.”

Now there’s nothing between Holgate, NJ, and Portugal but mile after mile of the Atlantic Ocean. If we believe the witness was telling the truth–and why shouldn’t we?–then how do we explain what he saw? Does Brigadoon have a sea-going counterpart? Or was this the ghost of Atlantis? Or some as-yet unexplained natural phenomenon?

Go figure.

‘A True Monster Story (Maybe)’ (2015)

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Try as I might, I still don’t know what to make of this shark story from Australia–which is where all the very best shark stories seem to come from.

It does seem rather unlikely that a bunch of fishermen would ever tell a story like this to a government official who could make life very hard for them if he ever decided they were just pulling his leg.

But a shark like–like that? No, it simply can’t be true. Unless it is.

A Joke Comes to Life

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You know a civilization’s in trouble when corny old jokes start coming to life.

As the joke has it, a man is selling rabbit poops as “smart pills,” guaranteed to make you smarter. A customer buys some, but an hour later comes storming back, furious. “You cheated me!” he cries. “These ain’t smart pills! They’re nothin’ but rabbit poops!” To which the vendor replies, “See? You’re getting smarter already!”

In Vancouver recently, at an outdoor culture and art festival, an enterprising con man sold “hot dog water” at $38 a bottle Canadian ($28 U.S. money)–yes, water in which hot dogs had been boiled–claiming that it would help the user not only lose weight… but also sharpen his or her intelligence! Just like in the joke.

By the end of the day he’d sold all but two bottles (

I know people who would’ve bought one. Do you?

(Thanks to my chess buddy, “WannaBe,” for this baroque news tip.)

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