Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Enfield Horror

During the early 1970s, something horrible stalked the small town of Enfield, Illinois. Although Illinois is already home to phenomena such as strange lights, phantom black panthers, and Thunderbirds, something even stranger briefly haunted the people of this town. On April 25th, 1973, Henry McDaniel was among the first to encounter this terrible aberration. At about 9:30pm that night, McDaniel and his wife had returned home, and were greeted by their two children, Lil and Henry. The kids proceeded to tell him a tale about how some “thing” had tried to get into the house by scratching on the door. Shortly thereafter, Henry was alerted to a peculiar scratching sound at his front door. He expected to see a dog or a cat, but what he met instead was far stranger...
What Henry found, to his terror, was a creature that “had three legs on it, a short body, two little short arms, and two pink eyes as big as flashlights. It stood four-and-a-half-feet tall and was grayish-colored. It was trying to get into the house!” Henry was completely mortified by the sight of this horrible apparition, slammed the door, and rushed to grab his .22 pistol and a flashlight. Henry proceeded to fire on the creature four times, and according to him, “When I fired that first shot, I know I hit.” The beast hissed at him (most sources say that it sounded rather like a wildcat) and proceeded to bound away in long leaps across the yard, eventually becoming lost to McDaniel’s sight as it made its way towards the railroad and the cover of the trees. He asserted that he had seen the thing cover fifty feet in three leaps.
Stunned by the encounter, Henry proceeded to call the police. Upon investigation, the state troopers discovered a series of scratches in the siding of the house, and footprints that were very similar to a dog’s, but having six toes instead of four. Two of the tracks were four inches wide, while the print left by the third foot was smaller. Many on the police force were skeptical about what McDaniel had seen, despite having just received news of an attack on a small boy just thirty minutes earlier. The creature had ripped at the child’s clothes with the claws on its arms, while the talons on the toes had shredded the kid’s shoes. However, the police couldn’t find any trace of the entity, so things cooled down for the moment.
However, on May 6th, at 3am, Henry encountered the creature again, after having been roused from his sleep by the commotion from his neighbor’s dogs. Once again, he saw the creature loitering about near the train tracks. This went on for several minutes, until the entity casually bounced away into the night. McDaniel later said “I saw something moving out on the railroad track, and there it stood. I didn’t shoot at it or anything. It started on down the railroad track. It wasn’t in a hurry or nothing.” Then, after word of the “Enfield Horror” had gotten around, people began to flock to the small town in hopes of seeing the thing. They were very enthusiastic, but they were also intrusive. This prompted the local Sheriff Roy Poshard Jr. to warn McDaniel about keeping his mouth closed, or he would be forced to incarcerate McDaniel. Over the next few months, the crowds began to grow larger. With the larger crowds came increased alarm among the citizens of Enfield. Some among them were genuine monster hunters, while others were just hunters or thrill-seekers with guns. This forced the Sheriff’s hand, particularly when he had to arrest five gun-toting hunters for shooting at a “gray thing” that ran through the woods. Two of those hunters, Mike Mogle and Roger Tappy (both from Elwood, Indiana), both swore that they had witnessed a “gray monkey” quickly move through the underbrush. Sheriff Poshard made numerous threats against Henry McDaniel (which, it should be noted, had no effect whatsoever), who was convinced that there was something very strange going on…
Shortly thereafter, once the frenzy of hunters and tourists had died down, four more people saw the Enfield Horror. On Sunday, May 6th, Rick Rainbow, the then director of radio station WWKI in Kokomo, Indiana, was searching an area with three friends when they saw something that was around five-and-a-half-feet in height, gray and stooped over running through the woods near an abandoned house (which, it was reported, was nearby McDaniel’s home. The entity moved with an unnatural speed, and quickly vanished from the four men’s sight. However, Rick Rainbow claimed to have recorded the creature’s eerie shriek as it ran away from them on a tape recorder. Despite investigation by world-renowned cryptozoologist Loren Coleman (who is said to have heard the creature’s cries), the attention that the sightings received eventually died down, and the creature hasn’t been seen since. Loren told the press, "I traveled to Enfield, interviewed the witnesses, looked at the siding of the house the Enfield Monster had damaged, heard some strange screeching banshee-like sounds, and walked away bewildered."

Between the years of 1941 and 1942, there was a string of similar sightings in the small village of Mt. Vernon (which is, ironically, less than forty miles away from Enfield). These encounters involved a mysterious leaping beast that terrorized the local people, and is supposedly responsible for numerous animal deaths and mutilations in the region. The locals called the creature "the Mt. Vernon Monster," and described it as being vaguely baboonlike in appearance and able to leap anywhere from twenty to forty feet in a single bound. However, this creature is likened more to the Devil Monkey than the Enfield Monster. But it is a possibility that this was, in fact, the same creature.
So, what was the Enfield Horror? One can say with certainty that it is truly an enigmatic entity, one with no logical explanation whatsoever. In his book Mysterious America, Loren Coleman speculates that the creature may have been an escaped kangaroo, due to the way it leaps and hops about. There are some people that would suggest that this creature is UFO-related, but aliens are outside of this blog's scope. It’s possible, yes, but don’t bet on it. This creature, however, is very simply too bizarre to be a misidentified animal or a hallucination. It could have very well been a Devil Monkey, which is a large, baboonlike cryptid that is known for its vicious temperament and has been known to attack animals and humans alike. However, that is another story unto itself. For some reason, the pink eyes keep coming back to me. Could they hold some sort of clue? Truth be told, there aren't many reports of an entity with glowing pink eyes. When people describe glowing eyes on a creature, they are usually described as yellow or, more commonly, red. Glowing eyes might be a signifier that the beast in question is of a supernatural origin. One cannot help but wonder if the Enfield Horror is a supernatural being, or perhaps it is a denizen of another plane of existence. What did the creature want? If there had been a closer encounter, there can be no doubt that someone would have been hurt.
People have said that the creature is either an alien, a genetic mutation, or a demon. Of those three, the latter two seem to be most likely. It has been called a "zoological oddity" by others. Loren Coleman described it as "like a combo phantom kangaroo, Devil Monkey, and Swamp Ape situation." Other investigators have pointed to a series of UFO sightings that (allegedly) plagued the area at the same time. Others believe that there may be a more supernatural side to the case. The creature is aggressive towards humans, and actively tries to break into their homes. Some say that this has all of the indications of a classic "demon" attack. Further investigation is definitely warranted in this case.

Arnold, Neil. Monster! The A-Z of Zooform Phenomena. Great Britain: CFZ Press. Copyright ©2007 by CFZ Press.
Coleman, Loren. Mysterious America: The Ultimate Guide to the Nation’s Weirdest Wonders, Strangest Spots, and Creepiest Creatures. New York, NY: Paraview Pocket Books. Copyright ©2007 by Loren Coleman.

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