Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Ghost Rider of River Road

Roads are essential to daily life. These paved travel routes take people everywhere that they need to go, from the workplace to the grocery store and right back home. But roads can also be places where monsters and restless spirits dwell, making their frightening presence known in the darkest hours of the night. Such roads are common throughout the civilized world, and are famous (or infamous) for the legends that surround them. One of the most mysterious of these legends centers on River Road in Perry County, Indiana, where stories of a phantom rider on a fiery spectral horse have persisted since the mid-1800s. Locals know this spirit as the Ghost Rider of River Road.

The Ghost Rider is said to haunt River Road, which is found in Perry County in Southern Indiana. At one time, this three-mile highway was the only thing connecting the towns of Cannelton and Tell City. Today, this route is blocked off to travelers (Marimen, Willis, and Taylor 173). Other roads that are faster and more convenient have been built since those times. But one cannot help but wonder if it was blocked off because of the legend…

The legend of the Ghost Rider began on September 8th, 1858 during a wedding (of all things). Paul Schuster and Amanda Brazee were finally getting married, and both of the couple’s families and friends were gathered together at the Brazee family estate in Mulberry Park for the joyous occasion. Ironically, the estate was located right alongside River Road. Without warning, the festivities were brought to a complete stop when something was seen coming down the road at an ungodly speed. Witnesses soon saw that the figure appeared to be a man, riding on the back of “a fiery black horse” (Marimen, Willis, and Taylor 173). The figure wore a dark, hooded cloak that hid his face and carried a riding crop that he urged his mount onwards with, the steed’s hooves blazing as it galloped down the road. Some of the guests dove for cover, while the others just stared with their mouths hanging open. When the figure reached the party, just before colliding with the terrified onlookers, it stopped and stared at the frightened guests for a moment in utter silence. The rider then reared back on his horse and bolted down the road, vanishing completely when the two came to the end of the property (Marimen, Willis, and Taylor 173; Willis 64).

Gradually, the wedding guests began to regain their senses. They tried to make sense of what the hell they had just seen in rational terms, but no answers were forthcoming. Far too many of them had seen the apparition, so they knew that it wasn’t a hallucination. But they couldn’t help but wonder whether it was a ghost, a demonic manifestation, a malicious hoax, or something else entirely. Finally, they decided that it would be in their best interest to forget about the entire ordeal and get back to the wedding party (Willis 64-65).

After the wedding, news of the ghostly encounter quickly spread throughout Perry County. Most of the folks who heard the tale broke into uproarious laughter, saying that perhaps the liquor had been flowing too freely during the party. However, as time went on, more and more people reported coming face to horse with the apparition as they traveled down the road. These witnesses were honest, churchgoing people, who had little to no reason to lie or to fabricate an outlandish ghost story. Perhaps the sightings of the Ghost Rider actually weren’t the result of a drunken hallucination after all…?

On one quiet night sometime later, a young man was driving his horses and buggy along River Road on his way to Cannelton. From out of nowhere, the Ghost Rider materialized on the road in front of him. The man quickly reined in his team and brought them to a whinnying halt. Scared out of his mind, the young man drew his revolver and fired several shots at the spectral horseman. To his horrified dismay, the bullets had no effect on the rider whatsoever! Freaking out, the man whipped his horses and drove them all the way back to Cannelton like the Devil himself was chasing him down! When he finally got home, his mother and father immediately noticed that their son’s face was as white as a sheet! The young man immediately recounted his harrowing encounter with the Ghost Rider and his fiery steed. Needless to say, they believed him (Marimen, Willis, and Taylor 173).

The next recorded encounter with the Ghost Rider took place on a night in 1890. This time, a young boy was hurriedly walking from Tell City along River Road, trying to make it to Cannelton before an impending thunderstorm hit the area. Nearing Mulberry Park, the boy was startled by the deafening retort of a thunderclap, followed by the inevitable burst of lightning. This lit up the road in front of him, and to his horror, the lad saw the dark figures of a cloaked rider and a horse standing by some trees on the side of the road. The rider made no attempt to move, but the boy was so utterly terrified by the phantasm’s presence that he absolutely refused to try to walk past the spirit or to otherwise draw any closer to it. Now panicking, the young fellow turned around and ran like hell all the way home! Understandably, the boy didn’t try to reach Cannelton again until well after sunrise the next day (Marimen, Willis, and Taylor 173).

Sightings of the Ghost Rider and his fiery black steed continued to be reported for another decade afterwards. In 1900, however, sightings of the phantom began to dwindle as more and more roads were built. Finally, the sightings ceased entirely in 1940 when a flood wall was built over that section of River Road, essentially blocking off the ghost’s path (although how mere bricks and mortar can stop a ghost is anyone’s guess). Nowadays, River Road itself has been all but forgotten, hidden behind a wall and overgrown with gnarled trees and creeping plants. That does not mean, however, that people have forgotten about the fiery, cloaked phantasm and his nightmarish black horse that haunt the road. Nobody seems to know who or what the Ghost Rider is, nor is it known why this cloaked specter terrorized people on River Road for close to half a century (Marimen, Willis, and Taylor 173; Willis 65). And as of this writing, no clues can be found as to the Ghost Rider’s true nature or who he might’ve been during his lifetime, although this blogger suspects that he may have been demonic. If this is the case, then it is very odd that he never actually tried to hurt anyone. Then again, maybe inflicting fear and psychological trauma to those who had the misfortune to see the ghost was all that he wanted to begin with. In any case, there are very few people from the older generations in Perry County who doubt the Ghost Rider’s existence. But if somebody were brave (or stupid) enough to climb up over that wall and walk along River Road’s dilapidated surface at night, what would they find? A heap of legal trouble, or the Ghost Rider of River Road?

Sources

Marimen, Mark, James A. Willis, and Troy Taylor. Weird Indiana: Your Travel Guide to Indiana’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2008.

Willis, James A. Haunted Indiana: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Hoosier State. Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania: Stackpole Books, 2012.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

My Encounter with Robert the Doll

Almost two years ago, I had my very first supernatural experience. Ever since I first read about a particular doll in 2006 or 2007, I’ve wanted to meet him myself. His name is Robert the Doll, and this is the story of my experience with him.
 

On Thursday April 2nd, 2015, I visited the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida while on vacation in the Keys. As soon as I walked into the building, I started looking for Robert. Two minutes later, I found him, sitting in h...is case. I got pretty excited, so I went back to the front and asked the lady at the front desk what I should do and how I should approach the doll. She told me that if I felt nauseated, dizzy, or overheated, I should say “hello” and “good-bye” and leave. I didn’t feel any different than usual (if a bit on the excited side), and so I walked up to Robert’s case. Once there, I said – to the best of my memory – “Hi, Robert. My name is Kyle, and I have traveled a very long way to see you. I was wondering…may I take some photos of you? Please?” I didn’t feel anything out of the ordinary, so I took a couple of photos. I then thanked him and finished looking through the museum.

Shortly thereafter, I noticed that my name had “inexplicably” appeared on the chalkboard behind the case. I asked my parents AND my little sister if they had written it. All three of them denied it. That night, I found out that Olivia had done the deed, and she LIED to me twice about it!! But two days later, on our way back home to Indiana, Olivia was sick as a dog and puking all the way home! As bad as I felt for her, could this have been a coincidence? I prefer to think that this was Robert’s revenge, both for her cruel joke and her disrespect. And in addition, my Mom (who had also disrespected the doll) lost her wallet when we got to the airport, although it was only lost for maybe ten minutes altogether. Both Mom and Olivia had laughed at me for asking Robert if I could take some photos of him. And for their disrespect, they were briefly afflicted, I believe, by Robert’s curse.

In addition to the photos, I purchased a couple of books. Among them was a book simply called Robert the Doll, written by David L. Sloan and published by Phantom Press in 2014. I also purchased a poster of Robert, which says “ROBERT DID IT!” across the top in big yellow letters. After I paid for them, I shared my experience with the cashier regarding the name on the chalkboard, and she said “Maybe it’s a good omen.” I then questioned her about whether it might be some kind of special effects, which she said it wasn’t. After that, I thanked her for her help and said good-bye as me and my family set off to explore the rest of Key West.

NOTE: These photos were taken by me, and they may NOT be used without my explicit permission, and perhaps not even then!

SIGHTINGS AND STORIES WANTED!!!

Hey, guys! Although I have received some emails regarding encounters with the Wendigo, I need MORE for my blog entry revision. Also, ANY encounters with monsters are welcome at any time. Don't be afraid to send me an email! Rest assured, I will NOT call you crazy, insane, or say that you were hallucinating and such. I am very open-minded, and I am willing to help you if I can. Stories and encounters of skinwalkers, the Rake, haunted dolls (especially Robert the Doll), Sasquatch, the aforementioned Wendigo, werewolves, dogmen, vampires, and all sorts of monsters are all welcome. But NO UFOS! Please don't hesitate to send me an account if you feel like you're in imminent danger or that your life is being threatened! Keep in mind that I can only get online two or three times a week, but if you send me your encounters, I'll respond to you as soon as I possibly can! Also, I am looking to start posting encounters as blog entries for others to read. This will serve to entertain, educate, and scare the literal CRAP out of my readers. Looking to do at least one encounter story a week. As such, I will be expecting you guys to send me, at the very least, one encounter or story in a week. Most professional monster hunters and cryptozoologists get emails regarding such things on a daily basis, and I would like that to happen for me as well. If you could humor me, I would very much appreciate it. As always, thank you for your support! I will be posting again before the end of the month, and it'll be well-worth waiting for!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Donations?

Okay folks, here's the deal. My job doesn't pay very well, and a lot of the money I make goes towards my household's bills (food, television, Internet, etc.) and such. I really don't have a whole lot of money to spend on the research materials that I need to make blog entries more often. Such materials are often expensive and, in some cases, hard to find (or both). So, I hate to ask for this from readers of my blog, but here it goes. If any of you can make donations in the form of cash (via mail), Amazon giftcards (preferred), hard-to-find books (via mail), or information, please contact me at KPG1986@msn.com for further details. I will NOT accept checks or online donations, as I simply do not know how to accept those things through my blog. If any of you can do this for me, you can expect better and more detailed blog entries in the future.

Kyle

DARKNESS PREVAILS

For about six months now, I've been listening to scary stories and allegedly true encounters with monsters on YouTube. Now, I admit that I am skeptical of some of these stories, but some of them are just FAR too frightening to be made up. The channel that I've listened to the most is called Darkness Prevails, and the way he narrates and tells the stories, it's truly chilling. These stories include encounters with the Wendigo, skinwalkers, werewolves, aliens (ugh), ghosts, demons, Bigfoot, dogmen, the Goatman, Creepypasta, lake and sea monsters, the Rake, witches, dinosaurs, clowns, serial killers, stalkers, haunted dolls, poltergeists, faeries, the Jersey Devil, shadow people, the Mothman, the Chupacabra, flying bat-monsters, djinn, incubi and succubi, black-eyed people, imaginary friends...the list goes on and on!! And new videos are being added almost daily! I highly recommend subscribing to his channel. Also, if you have stories of your own that other people might find terrifying, I would recommend submitting them to this guy. His YouTube channel can be found at Darkness Prevails - Creepypasta, True Stories & Paranormal.

I'd like to take this opportunity to share some of my favorite videos with you.







Darkness Prevails also has a website, Darkness Prevails - True Scary Stories - Creepypasta - Paranormal. I highly recommend checking it out. Donate to his cause if you can, and you'll be given a shoutout on his videos. I'm currently unable to do so, not making enough money the way it is. You won't be disappointed. However, take heed of my warning: DO NOT LISTEN TO THESE STORIES AFTER DARK OR LATE AT NIGHT UNLESS YOU WANT NIGHTMARES. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

WENDIGO SIGHTINGS WANTED!

To all of my readers,


If you have seen, encountered, or even been attacked by anything that you have reason to believe may have been the Wendigo in any way, please email me at KPG1986@msn.com. Any sightings or encounters will be revealed in my revised research on the creature. Thank You!! Below is a description of the beast, based on my recent research.

After consulting twenty-one slightly-differing sources, I think that I've managed to form a basic idea of what the Wendigo looks like. Bear with me, as this will be sort of lengthy. The monster is bipedal and humanlike in shape, having a gaunt, emaciated body covered in matted hair or desiccated ash-gray skin pulled tightly over its starving flesh. It ranges from seven feet to over thirty feet in height.

The Wendigo has long arms, ending in enormous clawed hands. The hands and limbs may have chunks of flesh gnawed away, due to the Wendigo's voracious hunger for human flesh. The monster has huge feet with long, pointed heels and clawed toes. In some accounts, some of the toes are missing due to frostbite. Sometimes, its footprints are said to be filled with blood.

The Wendigo's eyes are owl-like, with accounts differing as to whether the eyes are pushed deep into the sockets or they protrude from the skull. The eyes are said to glow a fiery red or an eerie yellow in the dark. The creature has a large mouth full of long, jagged yellowed fangs and a disgusting dark-blue tongue. The beast most often has no lips, due to the monster's own unending hunger or frostbite. Sometimes, what's left of the lips are shredded and bloody, due to the monster's constant chewing. In some of the stories, the Wendigo is said to have antlers like those of an elk or a deer protruding from its head. According to some accounts, the beast's visage is so utterly horrifying that it actually paralyzes people who gaze upon the creature, which prevents them from escaping the monster's ravenous hunger. The monster is said to smell horrible, like a putrid rotting corpse or rancid meat. It can oftentimes be smelled before it is actually seen.

In all accounts, the Wendigo's heart is said to be made of solid ice. This renders the beast devoid of mercy, love, compassion, or any other positive human emotions. This trait also renders the monster incapable of empathizing or feeling even the slightest measure of kinship with humans. The Wendigo is dead inside, feeling only the constant, never-ending hunger for human flesh gnawing at its mind and its perpetually-empty stomach.

Because the beast is thought to be a shapeshifter by most (if not all) Algonquian tribes, these traits may change from one tribe's views to another's. One can never be sure exactly how the Wendigo will appear.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Book Review: The Bigfoot Book (Nick Redfern, 2016)

About a year ago, I received another book from my buddy Nick Redfern for review. The book in question is titled The Bigfoot Book: The Encyclopedia of Sasquatch, Yeti, and Cryptid Primates (Visible Ink Press, 2016). I’ve been looking for the definitive guide to the Sasquatch and his kind for ears now, and when I got this book in the mail, I thought to myself, “This could be one of them”. This book is the first-ever encyclopedia of unknown hominids, and it may very well become a classic someday. But for now, let’s move on to the review.

The Bigfoot Book is an encyclopedia in every sense, and it contains nearly two hundred entries that cover everything Bigfoot-related. Written in A-Z format, the book covers topics related to history, mythology, popular culture, folklore, and science…and it all applies to Bigfoot in one way or another. The book’s contents consist of entries on specific creatures, theories, encounters, books and literature, movies and television, hoaxes, conspiracy theories, the supernatural, people, places, and specific events from history, all of which have links to these mysterious beasts. The book features some incredibly diverse topics like Ape Canyon, the Brassknocker Hill Monster, Car-Chasing Sasquatch, Duende of Belize, Eskimo Legends of Mighty Man-Beasts, Flying Saucers and Bigfoot, the Glamis Castle Ghoul, Hairy Hands on the Highway, Inter-dimensional Bigfoot, Japan’s Enigmatic Apes, Kushtaka of Alaska, the Lake Worth Monster, Man-Monkey of the Shropshire Union Canal (Nick’s personal nemesis), Nyalmo, Orang-pendek of Sumatra, Philippines’ Hairy Dwarfs, Researchers of Bigfoot, Suicide, Sasquatch, and the Restless Dead, Telepathy, Underground Wild Man, Varmint of Mine Hill, the Wendigo, Yeti of the Himalayas, Zoo Escapees, and much, much more. In only three hundred and eighty-one pages, this book covers four hundred years of Bigfoot lore, and that’s a lot of information!

Overall, The Bigfoot Book is well-written, entertaining, thought-provoking, and highly informative. With an index for finding entries quickly and a nearly fifteen-page bibliography for further reading, this book will make you reconsider everything that you thought you knew about Bigfoot. And furthermore, cited in the bibliography is my article, “The Hairy Hands of Dartmoor”, which Nick was instrumental in helping me write and research, and which is featured on this blog!! That is truly an honor for me, and I heartily recommend this book to all of my friends and this blog’s followers. Now I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank Nick, not only for kindly sending me a copy of this book, but also for his friendship and for honoring me by using my article in his research for his book. Thank you so much, Nick, and I am greatly looking forward to your next books!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Book Review: Chupacabra Road Trip (Nick Redfern, 2015)

Almost a year ago, I received another book from my good friend Nick Redfern for review. The book in question is called Chupacabra Road Trip: In Search of the Elusive Beast (Llewellyn Publications, 2015). This book is all about Nick’s decade-long pursuit of the elusive vampire beast known as El Chupacabra, the Goatsucker. The beast first came to the attention of the general public in 1995 on the island of Puerto Rico, when an unknown predator slaughtered hundreds of animals, leaving the corpses completely drained of blood with savage bite wounds in their necks. This created mass hysteria of epic proportions that still continues to some extent today, which has since spread to Mexico, Texas, Florida, Russia, and even Australia. This book is a complete chronicle of Nick’s travels, interviews with eyewitnesses, strange experiences, and his personal thoughts and theories regarding the beast. For that reason, this review will be somewhat longer than the others.

The first eleven chapters of the book focus on the Chupacabra in Puerto Rico and Nick’s hunt for the monster there. He begins with recounting his 2004 adventure on the island, with his close friend Jonathan Downes and the crew of the SyFy Channel’s show, Proof Positive. The full story of Nick and Jon’s 2004 adventures can be found in Nick’s book Memoirs of a Monster Hunter (New Page Books, 2007). The first nine chapters detail Nick’s week-long expedition in July 2004, where he does a lot of driving around in a Jeep, interviewing eyewitnesses with some very compelling stories, trekking through damp caves and steaming jungles, drinking frozen margaritas (a favorite of mine as well, I must admit), hunting vampires, having some good-natured fun at the expense of his friend Jon, and he even manages to make it out of a deadly situation alive. During this time, Nick brings up the theory that the Chupacabra could be some kind of giant vampire bat, which is a fascinating possibility. Chapters ten and eleven focus on Nick’s 2005 return trip to the island, where he comes into contact with the occult, theories about wild dogs and killer monkeys, a stuffed toy duck named Admiral Zorgrot, more animal mutilations, an eyewitness account of a “huge, feathery beast”, stories of Men in Black, and tales of relict dinosaurs on the island. Needless to say, Nick has had his hands full, and we’re not even halfway through the book yet!

Chapters twelve through fifteen (as well as chapter sixteen in Part 3) are all about the Chupacabra and its bloody exploits in the United States and Mexico. The creature in the U.S. and Mexico takes the form of a hairless, bluish-gray dog with elongated fangs and claws, with longer hind legs than are typical for canines. Otherwise, this creature shares the same modus operandi as the Puerto Rican monster: killing livestock and draining their blood in the dead of the night. In these chapters, Nick investigates the beasts found in the towns of Elmendorf and Cuero (both in Texas), theories of mangy coyotes, the frozen severed head of the Chupacabra, and DNA testing. In Mexico, he finds stories of living pterosaurs, the 2008 DeWitt County Chupacabra (and the viral video that followed), Chupacabra skulls, strange photos, and shapeshifting tricksters. Some truly weird stuff happens in Texas and Mexico, that’s for sure.

Chapters sixteen through twenty covers the various conspiracies surrounding the Chupacabra. Conspiracy theories are one of Nick’s specialties, and he covers all of them. These range from underground labs, genetic experimentation, mutant monkeys, HIV and AIDS research, vampires in underground tunnels, more monkeys, vampires in Moca, primate research (and some disturbing similarities to the 2002 horror film, 28 Days Later), mango margaritas, and crashed UFOs, to American military and government interference, the Chupacabra in Russia and Australia, surviving thylacines, secret defense labs, and mysterious emails. He covers all of these in great detail, leaving no stone unturned. High strangeness, indeed.

Chapters twenty-one through twenty-four are all about vampires of a more conventional nature. Here, Nick talks more about the Moca Vampire, animal sacrifices, vampire attacks in Wales, the vampiric Aswang and its involvement in quelling a rebel uprising in the 1950s in the Philippines, another quest to Puerto Rico in search of an isolated village believed to be inhabited entirely by the Undead, and the dark side of the Palo Mayombe religion. Chapters twenty-five through twenty-eight deal with the various hoaxes and cases of mistaken identity that Nick has come across during his search for the Goatsucker. This includes one man’s pathetic attempt to pass off a captured possum with mange as the vampire beast, a mangy raccoon named Chupie, out-of-place big black cats, Nick’s brief skirmish with the San Juan Police Department, a Puerto Rican shapeshifter that could be both Bigfoot and the Chupacabra at the same time, and a hoax involving a photograph of an airplane that had allegedly crash-landed in the El Yunque rainforest. Hang on, folks: we’re almost done.

Chapters twenty-nine and thirty contain Nick’s final thoughts and theories regarding the elusive Chupacabra. For this, Nick turns to bad movies and cases of truth being stranger than fiction. He touches briefly on two awful SyFy original movies, respectively titled Chupacabra: Dark Seas (2005) and Chupacabra vs. the Alamo (2013). He also talks about goatsucker activity in the USSR, as well as a confusing attack wrongfully attributed to a werewolf. But it is in the final chapter that Nick makes his most compelling arguments. Here, he turns to our mutual friend and fellow monster hunter, Ken Gerhard. Ken has been investigating the Texas Chupacabra for years, and has developed some intriguing theories of his own. In the now-classic horror movie Prophecy (1979), animals mutate into grotesque monsters as a result of exposure to extremely high levels of mercury in the Androscoggin River and begin to kill people. Nick believes that this could very well be what happened with the Texas Chupacabra, although Ken doesn’t rule out other pollutants. In addition, Nick also discusses blood-drinking animals and how they relate to the beast’s feeding habits. You’ll have to read the book’s conclusion to find out what the truth could be.

Overall, Chupacabra Road Trip is a fantastic book. It’s well-written, informative, witty, funny, and highly entertaining. This is one of the best books on the elusive vampire beast out there, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to all of my friends and this blog’s followers. I would like to take this opportunity to give my sincerest thanks to Nick, who I am honored to call my friend and who was kind enough to send me this book for reviewing free of charge. Thank You, Nick!! I’m deeply looking forward to reviewing more of your books soon!