After years of not only receiving reports of strange creatures from all over the country, but studying other accounts wherever I could find them, I realized that certain phenomena are part of the cryptid sightings package more often than should be expected.
The following excerpt "Monsters Among Us" by Linda S. Godfrey can be purchased here.
Unexplained lights are at the top of the list. The nature and origin of these lights that accompany strange creatures, however, are no easier to pin down than are the creatures themselves. And their intensity seems to slide all over the scale, from brilliant orbs in the immediate vicinity of the creature, to "mists" with defined shapes that may either cover a chewy creature center or dart from place to place as if they possess minds of their own.
Sometimes there are lights—or pools of absolute darkness—inherent in the creature itself, which may appear either as luminescent as a firefly or blacker than a murder of crows at midnight. We'll begin our look at these puzzling phenomena—weird mists, unexplained lights, and shadow things—starting with the multifaceted account of two Wisconsin sisters whose situation I've been monitoring for several years. It's a good case in which to discuss the seemingly contradictive appearances of creatures that seem flesh-and-blood in one case and semi-invisible spirit beings or shadowy phantom-like entities in the next. These two very brave women have had to accustom themselves to an embarrassment of riches when it comes to creature anomalies. Needless to say, these are not the type of "riches" desired by even the greediest Scrooge.
The Neillsville Nexus
Most sightings of unknown creatures or unexplainable things are one-time events: a bipedal, furry thing sprints across the road in the moonlight, and the befuddled motorist lucky enough to witness it drives on and usually never sees such a thing again. Most of the time, these creatures don't do anything openly supernatural. But there's another category of strange sightings that tends to linger and then sometimes escalates. The Skinwalker Ranch in Utah, as we've already discussed, is one such place. People come and go from the property, but whatever it is that produces unknown creatures, sliced and diced cattle, and weird doughnut-shaped lights that look like portals to elsewhere, seems anchored to that tract of land.
Properties near ancient sacred areas and tribal reservations seem especially likely to harbor resident entities or things we might perceive as unknown beasts. We've already discussed the Native American tradition of the skinwalker. There has been a resurgence of interest in native belief systems in the past several decades, and these "medicine spirits" are an ancient component of those systems. Most nature-based religions around the world have their own versions of this type of belief.
Two sisters—whose home in rural Neillsville, Wisconsin, lies very close to an area largely populated by members of the Ho-Chunk tribe—have experienced all manner of strange things for years. The area in the heart of the state between Eau Claire and Marshfield is situated near a massive swath of woods and marsh that encompasses a major river system and vast nature preserves. They asked that I not use their real names because one of them has young children at home, so I'll call them Pam and Molly.
Other than for the fact that they are frequently treated to sights of the paranormal kind, the two are otherwise completely ordinary single mothers. Pam often visits at Molly's house, which lies at the edge of a wooded area and within just a couple of miles of a lake and river system. But the sisters have experienced unsettling things in other places, too. The first started a few decades ago in 1982. That year, Pam saw what she believed to be a Bigfoot on State Highway 77, near Hayward. She had slowed to avoid hitting three raccoons crossing the road ahead of her, and saw the massive creature reflected in her rear-view mirror as she began to pull away.
Hayward is a good 160 miles northwest of Neillsville, and Pam felt that was a safe enough distance from Neillsville, especially as years passed without incident after the move. Twenty-nine years later in 2011, however, Pam began to wonder if Molly's neighborhood had also become a haven for unknown, hairy bipeds.
The weirdness began in earnest in July 2011, when Pam and Molly separately heard a horrifying scream coming from the woods near Molly's house. They decided it was probably of no consequence, and didn't hear it again. Then in late September 2011, Molly and her then-nine-year-old child were sitting in their house one evening when both of them saw a dark, shadowy figure walk right through the kitchen and living room of their home. It was about the size of a small man, they said, and featureless. Just a shadow. It did nothing but pass from one side of the house to the other before disappearing, but both Molly and her daughter saw it clearly and felt uneasy about it.
Two weeks after that, Molly noticed a round green light floating in her backyard. It soon winked out, but returned several times that same evening. "We didn't really think all that much of it," said Pam. "Weird stuff just sorta happens out there occasionally."
The night of October 12, 2011, however, things grew a little scarier. At nine p.m., Molly's Rottweiler started barking and growling at something outside that seemed to be circling the house, the dog turning to follow the "thing" each time it changed direction. The dog remained in an agitated state for another fifteen minutes, when Molly was startled to hear and feel the thudding sound and vibration of something very large slamming into the back wall of the house near her bedroom. She told Pam that it was so loud it actually "made the wood groan." She ran to the porch, thinking perhaps a large branch had fallen on it, but saw nothing. The Rottweiler kept on growling at the yard.
Later that night, she awoke to the sound of footsteps made by something on two legs outside of her bedroom window. She sat up, wide-awake, but her panic subsided as the soothing thought began to impress itself upon her that she should go back to sleep. She did. The same thing happened again about an hour later. This time she yelled at it to go away, but soon that same feeling that she must lie back down and go to sleep overwhelmed her, and again, she complied. Molly was horrified when she awoke in the morning to remember that site had simply dozed off obediently both times the presence suggested that she do so. "She was not overtired," Pam told me, "and she was not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol."
The Rottweiler and the neighbor's dog both continued to act strangely. On October 13, 2011, the two women talked on the phone about it and Pam said she recalled the fright in her sister's voice.
"She all of a sudden gasped and said she had seen a ball of light roll out of the tree right in front of her back porch and burst into sparks," said Pam. "It's [Native American] land and we have seen really strange lights now and then . . . [but] the lights have never done that before. The ball of light was about four inches across. It was a bright whitish blue."