Mande Barung – The Indian Bigfoot

The Mande Barung is a cryptid rather like Bigfoot, except it speaks Hindi instead of English. While Bigfootsies lurks around the US and Beaver Land, the Mande Barung goes around hassling people in Northeast India and even in Bangladesh, where he is known as “that Indian bastard.”

The name Mande Barung means “forest man” and the animal is pretty much your standard Bigfoot type, what with being 10 feet tall, covered in hair, weighing several hundred pounds and having a habit of hanging around basketball courts.
People have reportedly been spotting the things for a long time, but recent sightings include one in 2002, when some forest ranger type dude and his team were conducting a survey of tigers, animals which are often troublesome in India due to their habit of stealing sarongs off washing lines. This chap, one James Marak, claims that he and his team saw the famous critter but, of course, despite the team being 15 strong, nobody had a camera with them. Not wanting to miss out on the attention, several of Marak’s relatives jumped in and also claimed to have seen the mysterious creature, as well as a Goat Man and several Chupacabras…

In 2007, another spate of sightings led the Indian authorities to set up a scientific study to look into the matter. This study can’t have been too scientific as it seems to have consisted mostly of asking people questions such as, “Say, you haven’t seen any big, hairy bastards hanging around, have you?” Not surprisingly, several people answered with a “yes,” and if that doesn’t prove the thing is real, I don’t know what does!

Of even greater credibility, however, is something called the Achik Tourism Society, a group which clearly could have no ulterior motive for supporting the idea that there is a huge tourist trap lurking in the nearby woods. According to them, there is nothing living in the area which could be mistaken for a Mande Barung – no gorillas, chimps, orangutans, or Donald Trumps anywhere in sight. The group also claims to have photos of footprints and claim that the critters are herbivores, which seems rather like saying, “Come on in, rich tourists, the things aren’t dangerous unless you resemble a carrot!”

As you can tell, I am taking this one with a bucket of salt. And the phony “foot print” in this photo doesn’t help any. Looks to me like someone just scraped a foot-like shape in some moss…

mande barung foot print supposedly

I don’t completely dismiss the idea of the Mande Barung, mind you. But i do find it to be less likely than Bigfoot – at least the latter was reported for centuries before the white man ever arrived in North America. This latest critter seems to me too much a case of “keeping up with the Joneses.”

Posted in cryptids, Hum Vers | Leave a comment

The Jersey Devil

Easily the most picturesque and imaginative of American cryptids, and reputed to hang out in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, the Jersey Devil is a critter commonly described as having the head of a horse, huge wings, fierce claws, cloven feet and a long, serpent-like body. It’s never described as being fat and obnoxious, so at least we know it isn’t Chris Christie out for a moonlight waddle…

Seeing the Jersey Devil is thought to be an omen of disaster. From house fires, to dying crops, to cows failing to produce milk, to hurricanes, to a Hillary Clinton presidency, the devil is a sign of coming trouble. Apart from its auguries, the Devil has apparently never actually hurt anyone, which makes you wonder how much it deserves its insulting name. The creature has, however, been known to attack animals, mostly livestock, which suggests that it is either a predator or always in a really bad mood.

Variations on the origins of the creature are many, but the most popular version dates back to 1735 and concerns a Quaker woman known as Mother Leeds. Being poor and already having to care for twelve other children, Mother Leeds cursed her thirteenth child to be a monster, or a “devil”. After being born during the course of a dark and stormy night, the child was kept hidden and imprisoned, but eventually escaped and ran off into the woods where it turned into the chimerical monster of the legends.

A second version claims that a young American woman fell in love with a British soldier during the War of Independence. Not happy with what they saw as the girl’s treasonous actions the townspeople put a curse on her, and when she later gave birth to a baby it was a hideous creature, but that may have been simply the result of being half British. 1909 was the first year that tales of the devil made it from mere oral tradition into print. According to the newspapers of the day there were over two dozen sightings involving over one hundred people as far afield as Pennsylvania, all in the period of one week. A postmaster by the name of E.W. Minster reported a flying creature that had a head resembling that of a ram, long wings and two pairs of short legs. According to Minster, the creature emitted a blood-curdling cry that he described as a combination of squawk and whistle — rather like Rhianna trying to sing a high note, i would assume. In a separate incident, a railway worker named William Wasso claimed to have seen the creature sniffing the railway tracks. As it did so, its tail touched one of the tracks and caused a massive explosion that melted a large section of track and during which the Devil vanished. Other people who saw the creature described it as having glowing eyes and making hissing sounds as it glided through the night sky — again, not unlike Rhianna after a hard night’s drinking. The sightings were taken so seriously that scientists speculated that the creature was a prehistoric survival, barnyard animals were kept locked up, and men wandered around with guns in case they were set upon by the mysterious, hideous-voiced beast.

Another spate of sightings took place in 1951. This time the panic was started by a ten year old boy who claimed to have seen a strange, blood dripping creature through his window. Other sightings described the creature as over seven feet tall and as emitting terrifying shrieks. As was the case in 1909, the panic faded before any solid evidence of the creature’s existence was found. Since then, there have been only the occasional sightings. But despite this the Devil’s presence in the popular imagination has grown stronger and it has been the topic of movies and TV shows such as The X-Files, and has had several hit albums.

Posted in cryptids, Hum Vers | Leave a comment

The Haunting Of Clinton Road

Ten miles of winding, virtually deserted road surrounded by dense and deserted forest, New Jersey’s Clinton Road is exactly the kind of dark and lonely place where one would expect to see something ghostly… something eerie… something un-natural…

The road’s bad reputation goes back to at least 1905, and in its time Clinton Road has been said to be frequented not only by ghosts but also by witches, the KKK, and even Satanists who are rumored to have held ritual sacrifices in the ruins of a nearby abandoned castle. Reports have it that the castle’s walls had satanic messages painted on them and that apparitions and hallucinations were common at the site, but as the authorities demolished what was left of the castle in 1988, it’s not as if we can go and check.

The most famous of the road’s specters is that of a young boy who haunts a bridge passing over Clinton Brook at the ominously named Dead Man’s Curve. While playing, the child supposedly fell from the bridge to his death on the jagged rocks below. Now, for some odd reason, he lurks under the bridge waiting to throw back any quarter that is thrown over the side of the bridge into the brook. Why he does this is a bit of a mystery, as is why anyone would be scared of a ghost that does something so innocuous. Perhaps the kid is allergic to metal, or against capitalism, or maybe just too stupid to come up with any other pastimes. Another version of the story claims that the boy was run over by a car and that he tries to push people off the bridge, but even that is supposedly done to save them from being run over — not that his good intentions make any difference once your brains are splattered all over the jagged rocks below.

The area’s other famous ghost is that of a teenage girl who died after crashing her Camaro in 1988 and who is now seen driving along the road late at night, presumably in a Camaro because, as we all know, kids never learn. This phantom is an easy one to avoid though, you just make sure to not mention her story while driving along and she and her ghost car will stay on the other side of the veil. The Camaro isn’t the only phantom vehicle spotted late at night, there are also reports of a red phantom pickup that pops out of the inky darkness and chases you off the road while screaming about commie bastards!

Then there are the strange and unspeaking people who stand around looking weird and staring at bystanders before vanishing into thin air, who i suspect are most likely just stoned Bon Jovi fans. Also seen in the area are red eyed wolves — which is to say dogs with car headlights reflecting off their eyes; cults of albino cannibals, which seems unlikely as even one albino is hard to find, much less an entire cult; levitating dogs; escaped monkeys; hellhounds that run at fantastic speeds and, once or twice, the Jersey Devil himself! In fact, the only thing not reported so far at Clinton Road is the Loch Ness Monster, and that’s probably only because the Clinton Brook isn’t deep enough to accommodate it!

Posted in ghosts, Hum Vers | Leave a comment

The Haunting of Calvados Castle

Located in Normandy, France, Calvados Castle was the setting for one of the most extreme and infamous hauntings of the nineteenth century. From October 12, 1875 to September 1876, the castle was subject to a series of supernatural events so terrifying that the owners were eventually compelled to
flee the premises.

Though it had been the setting for unexplained noises and mysterious occurrences for a decade, it was on the night of October 12, 1875 that the forces lurking within the castle finally set loose their full fury. Furniture moved around on its own, objects went hurling through the air, and, most frightening of all, there were loud, crashing noises as if some gigantic and unseen being was banging on the walls of the building. These blows were so loud that not only did they wake the entire household but literally shook the very castle itself to its foundations. The head of the family living there at the time, a man identified only as M. de X, and his servants investigated the noises but no physical cause could be found. These thunderous, banging sounds were repeated virtually every night for fully three months. At one point M. de X. also reported the sound of someone or something
running up and down the stairs at an inhumanly high speed. He described the sound as being made by someone who walked on stumps rather than feet and the running sounds were followed by loud blows as of someone striking the stairs and one of the doors. Not only did the nightly occurrences continue unabated, but by the middle of November the haunting had spread to the daylight hours, with the sound of an unseen woman sobbing and muttering about demons and the damned being heard throughout the castle. Though he initially thought the phenomena to be the work of human agents trying to force
him to move out and sell the property at less than its true value, in early January of 1876 X. invited a priest to investigate. During the twelve days that this priest was in the castle there were no occurrences, from the very moment of his arrival the forces responsible were silent, which suggests that the ghosts were those of children who, for reasons i won’t go into, were afraid of priests. Though the priest performed some unspecified religious ceremony during his stay, the disturbances restarted as soon as his visit came to an end. Once again the great, crashing sounds, the sobbing noises, the neverending chaos…

After the first priest’s failure to clear the ghostly being or beings from their home, M. de X. and his family resorted to exorcism. Several such rituals were carried out by the appropriate agents, and each time all was well for the following two or three days. Then came the noises again, at first minor but soon re-building to their previous intensity. Finally, in September of 1876, the family decided that there was nothing that could be done to cure the castle of its unearthly and possibly satanic problems, so they sold up and got the hell out of Dodge. It is not known if subsequent owners have had the same problems, nor if they got the building on the cheap. What is known is that the occurrences at Calvados Castle remain unexplained to this day

Posted in ghosts | 1 Comment

Ballechin House – A Haunting of a Different Kind

Scotland’s Ballechin House was a haunted building with a difference, the difference being that its haunters were primarily of the hairy, four-legged variety. That’s right, small, hairy Scotsmen running around on all fours…

In 1876 the house’s owner Major Robert Steuart died, but not before making it clear to all that he had no intention of staying dead. Having picked up a fondness for the idea of re-incarnation during his army days in India, the major was convinced that he would return as a spirit inhabiting one of his 14 dogs. Good news for the major, but not so good news for his canine menagerie as upon his death John Skinner, the major’s nephew and heir, promptly shot all the dogs dead! What a bastard!

Shortly after the killing of the dogs mysterious events started to take place, for either the major had achieved his goal shortly before the heinous deed was done or the slain dogs had decided to take their revenge. Both the inhabitants and visitors to the house would often pick up a smell not to be expected in such a house, the smell of dogs. No dogs were visible, yet there it was, the characteristic and unmistakable scent of man’s best friend. And it didn’t stop there, as the invisible creatures would go as far as to nudge and paw the bewildered humans. More prosaic signs of haunting were also in evidence, such as loud noises and angry but incomprehensible voices, which suggests that perhaps it was not only the dogs but also the major who had returned from the Great Beyond. After the nephew’s death, apparently in a car accident, the house was rented out to various people including hunters, priests and nuns. All these people fled the house in terror within a week of arriving, complaining that the place was haunted by invisible animal presences. In early 1897 paranormal investigators from the Society for Psychical Research moved into the house in order to study its phenomena. Suddenly the house was inundated with a multitude of unexplained phenomena. Not only did the smell of dogs become more prevalent, not only were people feeling something large and furry brushing
against their legs, but now the spectral hounds could also be heard! The pattering of doggie feet, the sound of dogs bounding around the room and sounds of dog sized animals throwing themselves against the lower parts of doors were everywhere. Strangely, there seem to be no reports of ghostly barking or howling, something which makes the tale all the more eerie, all the more unnatural. Even more uncanny is the apparition of a black spaniel spotted several times and seen to disappear into thin air. What makes this aspect of the haunting especially chilling is that the major had often mentioned that of all his dogs there was one in particular that he would like to come back as – that dog was a black spaniel. Like the house’s previous tenants, the paranormal researchers came to the
conclusion that the place was haunted by unseen canine presences and quickly vacated the premises.

The house’s bad reputation eventually led to it being vacant from 1932 till 1963 when most of it was destroyed in a mysterious fire set by a small black spaniel. After the ruins were knocked down most of the phenomena seems to have followed it into oblivion, the one exception being a spectral black dog that is still occasionally seen roaming the area where Ballechin House had once stood.

Posted in ghosts | 6 Comments