Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Are you stuck at home because of COVID-19? You can still search for the paranormal.

The topic of COVID-19 completely dominates the news all over the world. This disease has affected nearly everyone to some certain extent. Many of us around the world are confined to our homes
either working from home or out of a job. Even those of us who have to go to work doing "essential service" like retail, gas stations, and of course liquor stores and marijuana dispensaries, don't really do much during our days off. I live in Ohio which has been on lockdown for over a week but just officially started on Tuesday, March 24th. For me I have all sorts of things to do at home if I could only get locked down (I work in retail) but for many people they are just completely bored out of their minds (between trips to the store to buy more toilet paper and ask if any hand sanitizer came in).

 If you're into the paranormal there's good news for you. Paul Seaburn over at Mysterious Universe recently shared some webcams that you can use to search for cryptids, ghosts, UFOs and other paranormal things. He kicked it off with the Loch Ness Monster where the "official" cam has been responsible for a handful of "official" sightings of Nessie over the years including the first and only one of 2020 (so far, maybe you can change that!).

 The next was the famous volcano in Mexico, Popocat├ępetl. The hard-to-pronounce volcano has been many cameras point toward the volcano. Sometimes an airplane or even a bird gets between the camera and the volcano causing what appears to be a UFO. During my episode talking about Popocat├ępetl I initially intentionally messed up the pronunciation and then could not pronounce it several times. Ah, the beauty of live radio. If anything, you can practice saying it the way I originally learned how by saying, "Popo-caught-a-petal". It worked all the way up until I had to say it live on the air apparently.
"Popo" has been the subject of a number of UFO sightings over the years although many of which are explainable. The volcano is about 43 miles away from Mexico City and is visible from there and sometimes a bird or plane (but not Superman) gets in between the camera and the volcano giving the impression that a UFO is looking to land on the volcano.

 Seaburn also included a link from Tipperary, Ireland. In this webcam you can keep a sharp lookout for the wee-people known as leprechauns. Word has it that you might even see a pooka or banshee! Ghosts are probably what most people would like to look for. Try staring at the Gettysburg National Military Park Live View webcam for a while. Not old enough? How about Ordsall Hall in Greater Manchester, United Kingdom, thought to be build around 1177. There are three webcams here that you can wait for the lady in white for. The Willard Library in Evansville, Indiana, is another popular ghost location also with three webcams on site. No lady in white, but there is one in grey (or is it a dirty white?).

 Fans of Bigfoot don't fear. The Yellowstone National Park webcam was once host to four purported Bigfoot that were cruising by. The camera is perched on top of the visitors center and lodge and it's more than likely these were just people walking through the area which is quite common all year round.

  Read the blog entry here written by Paul Seaburn.

A couple of my own finds include; the Paris Catacombs, the Furman Theater paranormal webcam, Hell's Kitchen paranormal webcams, Lincolnshire Radion Buildings Paranormal Webcams, and the Washington State Department of Transportation's Sherman Pass webcam where Bigfoot was seen earlier this year (probably a wood cutout since it didn't move for days, but you never know).

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Grassman: Ohio's Bigfoot

I appeared on the podcast, Bigfoot Eyewitness Radio, on February 18, 2020. In the beginning of the episode I provided a monologue of information about the Grassman and the reports that made it famous in addition to information about what it makes it different than Bigfoot. The blog post below is a copy of that monologue. The entire interview is available here.

   One of my first big impressions of Bigfoot was some time in the late 1970s watching the reruns of the original “In Search Of” television show that was hosted by Leonard Nimoy. I remember the voice of Spock presenting me compelling information telling me to believe in the possibility that such a wild creature or even a wild man may exist.

   While the series covered many paranormal and conspiracy theory themes the Bigfoot episode and imagery was one that made me question my preconceived notions of how the world worked around me and made me question what I thought to be true. I was raised to believe that such things did not exist, but I began to wonder if I was just told that so I could sleep better at night.

   I had little to worry about though as Bigfoot was a west coast thing. Nimoy had said Sasquatch sightings started in 1811 and a compelling incident in 1924 happened with miners in a gorge in Washington state near Mt. St. Helens that would eventually be called Ape Canyon.

   I knew beyond that television show that other sightings had happened in British Columbia and eventually a series of tracks discovered by a bulldozer operator named Jerry Crew in 1958 near Bluff Creek California would lead to the now famous generic moniker Bigfoot that was coined by the press. Bigfoot sightings continued to build and an all-time high in interest and debate into the creature’s existence boiled over in the 1970s along with the largest percentage of overall sightings, hoaxes or genuine, across the United States.

   My interest into the creature started a few years after I began investigating ghosts in 1996. I’m not sure exactly what it was that drew me to want to pursue cryptozoology and looking for mysterious animals that seemed unlikely to exist. It might have been something to do with infrasound or communication with extra sensory perception as I had researched in the ghost field. Granted, it might just have been the fact that this field, like ghosts and UFOs, is considered a paranormal field.

   Moving into the field of cryptozoology was an easy fit for me. I had spent many years hiking and backpacking solo in the woods of southern Ohio as well as my favorite spots in the Allegheny National Forest in neighboring Pennsylvania about a two-hour drive away. I have always enjoyed nature and animals and had challenged myself many years ago to learn how to track and stalk animals.

   Either way, I realized that Bigfoot was the king of the field of cryptozoology and despite wanting to learn all aspects of the field from others it seemed most groups in Ohio were geared toward finding Bigfoot. I did my own research and tried to find my own cases. Eventually I worked with the Sasquatch Research Initiative based in British Columbia, Canada and learned a lot about interviewing and conducting field investigations in a variety of cryptid research cases. It wasn’t much different than what I had been doing in the ghost field, but I learned new techniques that would help me doing interviews and investigations for any type of anomalous cases.

   In January of 2009 I joined Crypto Squad USA, a collection of bloggers who reported to Nick Redfern for the Regional U.S. Offices Of The Center For Fortean Zoology which is based in the United Kingdom. I went on to publish my own book on cryptozoology titled, “Handbook for the Amateur Cryptozoologist” in 2014.

   Later that year the book was awarded in the top ten cryptozoology books of 2014 by Loren Coleman. Coleman also wanted to sell the book at his International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland Maine and along with that wanted to contribute a foreword to the book. So, a second edition of the book was launched in 2015. Along the way I have written articles for Cryptid Culture Magazine and have spoken at conferences and other events in Ohio and elsewhere talking about Bigfoot and other cryptids.

   Some people might wonder, what’s a guy in Ohio got to do with Bigfoot and what is this Grassman creature while we’re at it? Is there a difference between Grassman and Bigfoot? And maybe bigger and related questions are; why are there so many different names for Bigfoot all over the world? Are these all the same creatures? If there are so many names and sightings, why isn’t Bigfoot proven to be real?

   To begin to answer these questions let me first start at the beginning with the state of Ohio. I’ve lived in Ohio for over 45 years which kind of gives away my age a bit, but it may surprise some out there to hear that Ohio has a pretty rich history of Bigfoot sightings and ranks as one of the top states in sightings historically.

   Earlier in 2019 research leading up to the Travel Channel series “In Search of Monsters” compiled a listing of over 23,000 sightings across the United States. Of these sightings the most took place in Washington with over 2,000 sightings. Obviously, none of these are confirmed sightings and I’m sure that some of these are hoaxes, misinterpretations, and embellishments. The number two state for Bigfoot sightings is California followed by my neighboring states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York, and then Ohio, followed by Oregon and Texas.

   The Bigfoot Field Researcher’s Organization, BFRO, has consistently ranked Ohio in the top five states through the years and other groups rank Ohio in the top eight in overall Bigfoot reports yearly on a consistent basis.

   Ohio was colonized by French fur traders in the early 1700s and then became a British colonial possession after the French and Indian War in 1754. After the American Revolution the land that now occupies Ohio became part of the Northwest Territory. Ohio became a state back on March 1, 1803 although a formal declaration was not made until 1953.

   Ohio is named after the Iroquois Indians word “O-Y-O” which translates to “great river”. The Iroquois inhabited the area of Ohio around 1650. Prior to the Iroquois other Algonquin language tribes inhabited the region for hundreds of years.  The Monongahela culture, Springwells, and Fort Ancient culture occupied parts of Ohio all the way back to 500 AD. Prior and during this time the Ohio Hopewell culture ruled the land back to 200 BC.

   Going back further, the Adena culture possessed the area back to 1000 BC and it is known that other cultures made their way to or through Ohio as far back as 14000 to 8000 BC. Unfortunately, we don’t know much about the beliefs of these tribes when it came to large hairy hominids until the mid-1700s. It is here that stories were purportedly passed down about wild and hairy men of the forests. But these stories were never substantiated with witnesses or reliable accounts of sightings. Many of these sightings were woven into the folklore or superstitions and these were more like god-like creatures than flesh and blood men.

   The Ohio history of Bigfoot can unceremoniously begin in 1869 with a newspaper account from Gallipolis, Ohio. The area is in southeast Ohio along the Ohio River and oddly less than five miles down the river from Point Pleasant, West Virginia, which in just less than a hundred years would be known for its own creature; the Mothman.

   The account in Gallipolis was uncovered by cryptozoologist Mark A. Hall who sadly passed away back in 2016. The account from January of 1869 was documented in the Minnesota Weekly Record and told of a hairy creature that jumped on a man who was riding in a carriage. The beast grabbed the man and threw him to the ground where he began to bite and claw at him. The man’s daughter who was riding along in the carriage found the courage after a few moments to locate a stone that she threw and hit the creature in the ear causing what was explained as a gorilla to scamper back into the woods. Gorillas were only discovered just over two decades prior although they were well known through articles covering the exploits of zoologist Paul Du Chaillu. The article described the encounter as from a wild man who was naked, covered in hair and gigantic in height.

   The biggest case in Ohio history comes from near the village of Minerva Ohio. From the case files of Ron Schaffner comes the story as it happened back in 1978. Sightings began in July and August of that year with one incident with children running home crying and completely frightened from what they had witnessed.

   To get an accurate portrayal of the events as they happened, I will read directly from Ron Schaffner’s notes on the case:

The incidents leading up to the August 21 sighting began about the first of the month. Mrs. Cayton believes the creature's appearance were due to her husband (Herbert) cutting down the thick brush next to the pit and that he also dumped some garbage around for the raccoons. 
Several nights later, the Cayton's grandchildren and their friends came running in the house crying in a frightened state. They claimed to have seen a large hairy monster in the pit. Mrs. Keck, Mrs. Cayton and Howe Cayton went outside to see what had scared them. They saw a creature that was covered with dark matted hair. They estimated it to be about 300 pounds and 7 feet tall. 
"It just stood there," said Mrs. Cayton. "It didn't move, but I almost broke my neck running back down the hill." 
Mrs. Cayton claims that she later observed the creature in the daylight. It was sitting in the pit picking at the garbage. She could not make out any facial features due to the amount of long hair covering its face. She remembered that the creature had no visible neck. 
The sightings then really took off with the August 21st sighting. Evelyn Cayton's family and friends were out on the front porch when they heard noises in the direction of an old chicken coop just to the right of the house. They saw two pairs of yellow eyes that seemed to be reflecting a porch light. Scott Patterson went to his car and turned the headlights on in hopes of getting a better look. The eyes were on what appeared to be two "cougar-type" felines. Then, the party saw what looked like a large bipedal hairy creature step in front of the large cats as if to protect them. This creature then proceeded to lurch towards Patterson's car. 
The witnesses fled to the house and called the Stark County Sheriff's Department. While waiting for the deputies, the bipedal creature appeared at the kitchen window -- about four yards from the kitchen table. Patterson pointed a .22 caliber pistol at it, while Evelyn Cayton loaded a .22 caliber rifle. The creature stood outside the window for close to ten minutes. They all could clearly see the creature because of the back-porch light. They decided they would not shoot at it unless the creature made any advances toward them. The biped suddenly left without harming anyone. 
"It doesn't seem to want to bother anyone", said Mary Ackerman. "It was just curious. We all felt that it wanted to be friends." 
Deputy Sheriff James Shannon arrived about 15 minutes after the call was made and about five minutes after the creature left the scene. A strong stench was still lingering in the area when Deputy Shannon began to interview the witnesses. Shannon later told reporters that it smelled like "ammonia-sulphur." Extra deputies were brought in and they searched the entire area on horseback and in jeeps. (The land behind the Caytons' was an old abandoned strip mine and beyond that were dense woods going up a gradual hill.) Unusual, but unsubstantiated footprints were discovered. 
Then on August 22nd Mrs. Mary Ackerman of Minerva drove to the Cayton residence to pick up her daughter and a friend. (Mrs. Ackerman is Evelyn Cayton's daughter.) As she turned into the driveway, she saw the same creature standing on top of the hill next to the strip mine. She watched it until it walked out of her view. 
August 23rd: The creature appeared again at the Cayton residence. Howe Cayton was not sure if it was the same thing. He fired a gunshot into the air and the figure departed.
On September 8th During the late daylight hours, Mrs. Ackerman observed two ape-like animals across the strip mine. She stated that she thought the creatures were standing in a tree but was not sure because of the distance. Again, she watched them for a while, until they were no longer visible in the thick weeds. 
On September 9th Jim Rastetter interviewed Henry Colt who lives about five miles east of Minerva on U.S. 30. He told Jim that he was walking through some woods by his house when he caught a glimpse of an unknown furry animal. Mr. Colt said that the animal was squatting next to a tree and let out a sound similar to a loud cough. 
   Schaffner had investigated other reports of large ape-like creatures in Ohio. In May of 1977 in an area west of Dayton Ohio two 13-year-old boys were walking a dog when they first encountered an awful stink like rotten eggs. They then turned and encountered a 9-foot-tall creature with long arms that hung close to the ground. The boys and the dog ran with the creature chasing them to a soybean field near the home of one of the boys. Luckily, the creature had vanished.

   The Preble County Sheriff’s Office was contacted, and two deputies responded. Nothing was discovered. Later a farmer contacted another researcher who passed the information on to Schaffner that large footprints had been discovered. The farmer’s property was about a half a mile from the earlier encounter. The tracks measured 14 inches long by 7 inches wide with the distance between tracks about 6 ½ feet.

   Another major sighting that went on to become known as the Kenmore Grassman took place in 1988 and was investigated in 1995. Kenmore is a community located in the city of Akron Ohio in the northeast part of the state. Investigators Terry Endres, Joedy Cook, and George Clappison investigated the case.
Joedy Cook and his Grassman model with
me at right during the 2009 Ohio
Paranormal Convention.

   George Clappison interviewed Dale Atkins and his son Tim, the names are pseudonyms to protect their real names, at their current home in Fairlawn Ohio. Dale described growing up experiencing grassman on a number of occasions from hearing it crashing through the woods and swamps to observing tracks- three-toed tracks.

   Tim had also observed the creature while camping and fishing in the area. In 1988 Tim had rocks thrown at him from what he said was about a hundred yards away and the rocks dropped straight down when they hit and did not roll away. Tim went back home and got his father and they both observed a seven-foot-tall creature weighing an estimated 300 pounds. They were able to get about 30 yards away from it.

   The two described other incidents like this one that were very similar, and they considered the creature very intelligent and they thought it also had the ability to communicate with mental telepathy although that aspect is not explained in detail in the report.

   The team went to the original area in the earlier reports and were able to find areas in the woods where it looked like something big had gone through digging up roots and eating berries from the tops of bushes. They were also able to find and cast three-toed tracks.
There are dozens of other cases between these time frames conducted by these and other independent researchers as well as collected by larger organizations like the Bigfoot Field Researcher’s Organization.

   So, back to some of the original questions I asked; what makes the grassman the grassman and not a Bigfoot? Why are there two names for these creatures that seem to be the same thing? The answer is multi-faceted as part of it has to do with the location. I mean, who doesn’t want their own monster named after their own town or area? The Minerva case of 1978 is considered to be the biggest modern-day sighting of the grassman, yet the story behind it is referred to as the Minerva Monster.

   Another creature nicknamed the Cedar Bog Monster is named after an area south of Urbana Ohio. The entire region west of the Columbus area is rich with reports from the 1940s to today including the largest concentration of cases in the 1970s when the whole United States was Bigfoot crazy.

   British Columbia researcher Christopher L. Murphy, who co-authored the book Bigfoot Encounters in Ohio: Quest for the Grassman in 2006 notes that the difference between Grassman and Bigfoot are not in the creature’s description but in its habits. The height, weight, color, and footprints are all in line with traditional Bigfoot sightings elsewhere in the United States.

   There are a few interesting things to note on this as there have been many cases of three-toed prints. Three-toed prints are not solely a Grassman trait and does not define the Grassman as there have been five-toed prints discovered in similar cases. Momo, the Missouri Monster that terrorized residents in the city of Louisiana Missouri in the northeast part of the state along the Mississippi River back in 1972 was discovered to have three-toes, smelled like a skink and was also seen carrying a dead dog under its arm; which are all traits of the Grassman.

   Another famous creature that appeared off and on from 1971 to 1974 in the neighboring state of Arkansas was described as seven-feet tall, smelling like skunk and rotting flesh and left three-toed tracks. This creature was named the Fouke Monster that went on to have a movie made after it called the Legend of Boggy Creek that came out in 1972. Fouke is over 550 miles away from where Momo was seen so this is more than likely not the same creature.

   The Honey Island Swamp Monster was reported from 1963 through 1974 in Louisiana. This bipedal creature was also described as seven-feet tall, smelling of skunk and rotting flesh, and left behind three-toed footprints. Three-toed Bigfoot-like creatures have also been described in Iowa in 1978 and Minnesota in 1989.

   Some hypothesize that the largest mammal with three toes, the giant ground sloth known as the Megatherium could be behind these sightings. It is believed that the Mapinguari, a Bigfoot-like creature of Brazil could be a megatherium even though they are thought to have been extinct for over 11,000 years.

   Another hypothesis is that the three-toes might be caused from the inbreeding of Bigfoot creatures. Christopher Murphy outlined some general descriptions that define the Grassman that included; the creature cries like a baby but screams like a woman, also growls or barks, is known to kill dogs, is often seen in corn fields, has a strong odor like rotten eggs, have been seen in small groups with up to five individuals, and is often related to strange deer kills with the liver missing.

   The Ohio Grassman is different than most Bigfoot sightings in Ohio but many of these habits and features overlap other cases in Ohio and elsewhere. Many stories might be hoaxes, stories that are elaborate pranks that might include physical evidence such as tracks, nesting sites, or tree structures. Other cases might be fraud, the case was made up or based on something other than what was described being seen. The individual might want attention or just to add to the growing database of sightings. The most common type of explainable case is misinterpretation. Many sightings might be tree stumps, bears, deer, or just hearing sounds such as fox or owls and allowing the mind to fill in the blanks.

   Are there genuine Bigfoot and Grassman sightings out there? Possibly, but until hard evidence can satisfy a skeptical scientific community these stories will be nothing more than stories, urban legends, and fodder for newspapers. On May 31st of 2019 Frank Trussell of Minerva Ohio was driving his Dodge truck when he was turning left from Lunar Road to Spring Road. After making the turn Trussell’s truck went left of center and off the left side of the road taking out a fence post and part of the fence. He told deputies he swerved to avoid a large Yeti standing in the roadway. Do we believe Trussell or do we just laugh it off? The area is in rural country surrounded by farms. He was cited for operating a vehicle without reasonable control and a Yeti was nowhere to be found nor did anyone look for it.

   The latest sighting of a large bipedal creature took place this year at the Salt Fork State Park which is a known hot spot for Bigfoot sightings and is home to a few Bigfoot related conferences every year and even has a primitive campsite named Bigfoot Ridge. The stories continue to pile up but we are still far from many of the answers we seek and the proof that will bring this creature to reality.


Thursday, December 19, 2019

The Top Ten Paranormal News Stories of 2019

10. Yeti Discovered

   One of the more embarrassing stories of the year it was essentially ignored by the cryptozoology field. This cringeworthy event was reported during the April 30th episode of the Paranormal News Insider and had just been announced the day before. The Indian army announced that it had found large mysterious footprints near the Mount Makalu base camp back on April 9th.

   Of course, this information arrived to us via social media. A tweet was sent out on April 29th stating, “For the first time, an #IndianArmy Moutaineering Expedition Team has sited Mysterious Footprints of mythical beast 'Yeti' measuring 32x15 inches close to Makalu Base Camp on 09 April 2019. This elusive snowman has only been sighted at Makalu-Barun National Park in the past.”

   The footprints were enormous measuring 32 inches by 15 inches. Photographs were taken and said to be sent to “the scientific community”. Back in 2014 DNA samples taken from purported Yeti sightings were found to match brown bears that were local to the Himalayan region. This was the initial reaction by many as the footprints seemed to be in a line and not side-to-side like a bipedal.

   Just a couple of days later after the story broke and began to snowball Nepal’s military stepped up and said the tracks discovered were more than likely created by bears. Wildlife experts said many times these tracks become elongated by the wind and appear to be larger than what they were. A Nepalese military spokesman stated they attempted to gather more information on the tracks, but when they got there the tracks had vanished.

Why this story made the top ten: This was the most viral story about the Yeti since the 2014 DNA study. It was national news and made many people think that an actual Yeti body was discovered or was about to be.
Why it was only number ten: From the time the story broke the majority of people were leaning toward this being bear tracks. Even though there were some that believed this could be proof of the Yeti it was only a few days until the Nepalese military stepped in to shut the story down and the Indian army eventually admitted they jumped the gun on the information.

9. Thylacine: Government admits keeping track of sightings and new colorized video.

   Last year the news was quiet on the Thylacine front. The first episode of 2019 included a hopeful (though doubtful) account of a possible Tasmanian tiger sighting. A farmer, named Peter Groves, spotted what he feels was a living Thylacine or Tasmanian tiger while in Clifton Springs in the state of Victoria in Australia. Clifton Springs is on the southeast part of the large island country and is southwest of Melbourne. Yes, Australia is a continent but Australia as a continent also includes other island nations that do not belong to Australia – just to clarify.

   Groves stated that the animal did not seem afraid of him and stood there for about five minutes. Of his encounter Groves said, “It could just be a mangy fox, but it seems to be bigger than a fox and it's not shy.” Groves described the creature as “funny looking with a big long tail and stumpy ears.”

   On the August 13th show it was announced that incredible new footage of a Tasmanian tiger had been discovered. The last known Thylacine or Tasmanian tiger died in the Hobart Zoo back in 1936. It was accidentally locked out of its enclosure and it died of exposure.

   Biologist David Fleay was able to film the carnivorous marsupial a number of times while it roamed an enclosure while at the Hobart Zoo. One such film appeared on Reddit and has been colorized for the first time. We saw a new high definition version of the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film in early July which was pretty exciting, but this new version of an old film is just as exciting to me yet very sad at the same time as we are looking at potentially the last living Thylacine known as Benjamin shortly before its death and the demise of the entire species.

   The Tasmanian tiger still remains one of the many hopeful animals that have been purportedly seen by residents but has yet to have been confirmed by scientists or have conclusive evidence discovered despite the claims. While it’s extremely unlikely these sightings will lead to the rediscovery of this once thriving creature it would end up being one of the greatest animal discoveries of the century if it turned out to be true.

   The October 22nd show discussed that the Tasmania’s Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment recently released a listing of sightings collected from September 1st, 2016 until September 19th of this year. There was a total of eight sightings included in the document.

   Most of the sightings included only a glimpse of a creature resembling a Thylacine for only a couple of seconds. Some of these reports were made months after the actual sighting. One report stated that the witness not only saw a Thylacine but that there were also two cubs in tow. The last report was taken on August 15th of 2019 but was of tracks that were discovered seven years ago. While these reports are exciting news there is no clear evidence to support any of these cases and the Thylacine remains just as elusive as ever.

Why this story made the top ten: The Thylacine is considered by many cryptozoologists as the largest and most popular animal to still exist in the wild despite scientists stating this creature has been extinct for over 80 years. The government taking note of sightings is a positive fact.
Why this story is only number nine: None of the reports lead us any closer to rediscovering this carnivorous marsupial in the wild. Thylacine stories generally trend very high, but these loose reports kept the story from moving anywhere close to the top five.

8. Dutch and U.S. UFO sightings tied to SpaceX Starlink launches

   A long train of lights in the sky prompted dozens of calls to a Dutch website created to document UFO sightings back in late May. Over 150 reports flooded the UFO Meldpunt Nederland website with a couple of photos showing a string of white lights in the sky.

   This mass UFO sighting turned out to be caused from a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch that took off from Cape Canaveral Florida at 10:30 PM on Friday, May 24th. The rocket then began to release 60 separate satellites at an altitude of 280 miles. The satellites then had to use their own thrusters to take up a position in low satellite orbit at 342 miles above the Earth which was able to be seen from Earth’s surface.

   Each satellite weighs around 500 pounds and while 60 satellites may seem like a lot it’s only a taste of what’s to come in the near future. Elon Musk is planning on having about 12,000 of these satellites in geo-stationary orbit surrounding the Earth providing Internet coverage in what is billed as a mega-constellation creating a global space internet. This project, called Starlink, has some scientists concerned with Ronald Drimmel from the Turin Astrophysical Observatory in Italy stating, “The potential tragedy of a mega-constellation like Starlink is that for the rest of humanity it changes how the night sky looks. Starlink, and other mega constellations, would ruin the sky for everyone on the planet.”

   Elon Musk has stated that the satellites will not have much of an affect on anyone on the ground and that telescopes need to be moved into orbit anyway. Starlink will have two separate flocks of satellites with one having 4,409 and the other with 7,518 with the second flying at a slightly lower altitude. Other companies including Amazon are on board with this project and are launching their own satellites. 

   The goal of the Starlink program is to bring internet to 3.3 billion people who are not connected or who have sub-par connectivity. FCC approvals stipulate that half of the planned satellites must be in place within the next six years.

   On November 11th another rocket was launched containing satellites for the Starlink program. UFO Reports from Florida to California flooded in as the satellites were released from the rocket at about 174 miles above the surface and ascended to their positions over Earth. More launches and probably more “UFO” sightings will continue to build as SpaceX will flood the night skies with artificial stars.

Why this story made the top ten: Two different mass UFO sighting reports followed by a flurry of conspiracy and potential Earth changing events make this story a top ten pick and a story that will gain much more attention in the future.
Why the story is only number eight: Despite the hundreds of UFO reports this was just another explainable rocket launch even though the satellite deployment is unlike what anyone has ever seen in the skies. The night sky crisis only rests with scientists at this point, but eventually we will all be affected by these fake stars clogging up our night sky and this story will finally gain a heavier national attention.

7. Loch Ness Monster sightings set a record for the 21st century.

   According to Gary Campbell of the Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Register, 2019 has set the record for the most Nessie sightings for the 21st century with 18. It is the most “official” sightings of the creature since 1983. Last year there were 15 such sightings, 12 in 2017, seven in 2016, 2015 and 2014, and five or less sightings each year going back to the year 2000 which had 11 sightings.

It's right there, see it?
   Most of the sightings were of disturbances of the water’s surface with no visible creature. Many of these sightings were made from land very far away from the disturbance. Sightings of something protruding from the surface were mostly made from a significant distance so that the person could not see what was at the surface. 

   One image was taken of a depth finder near Urquhart Castle of a potential large object, when the boat came around for another look the object was gone. A few of these sightings were made from webcams including one from August 7th that was made by a viewer in Hong Kong. The last sighting on October 29th was made by five-year old Zachary White who was able to search for the Loch Ness Monster as a children’s charity paid for his trip. White was able to see Nessie, but it wasn’t really a living breathing creature he saw but it’s a nice gesture to include his sighting in the “official register” of sightings. It’s estimated the Loch Ness Monster generates over $53 million of tour revenue to the region yearly.

Why this story made the top ten: The Loch Ness Monster continues to mystify and intrigue the world despite many explanations about its origins and existence pointing to the contrary. A record number of sightings is something to surely draw more visitors in 2020 and potentially more sightings occurring from this as well.
Why this story is only number seven: None of these sightings are substantial. Never has a Loch Ness Monster sighting given scientists any glimmer of hope that a mysterious monster might live in the depths of a lake in Scotland and 2019 was no closer to a discovery yet this legend will probably never fade away.

6. The Summer of the Alligator (northeast U.S. sightings pour in).

   Random alligator sightings outside of their normal habitat is not a new thing and they actually happen quite frequently. However, in 2019 a couple of these stories broke the surface and became national headlines. 

   The excitement started back on May 18th in Pittsburgh. A family called 911 to report a three-foot long alligator along the banks of the Monongahela River. In June a five-foot long alligator named Chomp escaped from the home where he was being kept. This man had two more alligators confiscated from his home due to poor conditions. A couple of days later another alligator showed up on a porch a few miles away, this one being nearly three feet long. 

   On October first, a man fishing along the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh just happened to look down and spotted a three-foot-long alligator resting along the bank. All told there were seven alligators rescued in the Pittsburgh area in 2019 prompting lawmakers to make some decisions this fall about the ownership of exotic pets.

   On July 9th an alligator was reported in the lagoon of the Humboldt Park area just outside of Chicago. After a week the five-foot-long alligator, now nicknamed “Chance the Snapper”, was captured by Frank Robb. Robb was called in from Florida and quickly became a local celebrity. He threw out the first pitch at a Cub’s game, got to start the Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park, and was honored later in the year at an awards banquet. 

   Two local breweries named beer after the alligator and bobbleheads were made of Robb and Chance. Robb went on to publish a coloring book in the name of charity. Chance is resting comfortably in St. Augustine Florida and even has his own Wikipedia page.

   In mid-August Pleasant County sheriffs and the St. Mary’s police department of West Virginia discovered a three-and-a-half-foot long alligator. In West Alexandrea Ohio a man saw an alligator in the water as children were playing in the Bantas Creek. The man silently alerted an adult on shore and the children were removed from the water.

   What turned out to be a seven-foot long crocodile swam under the bridge right where the children had just been moments before. A local game warden wildlife officer was quickly contacted. The giant crocodile was sadly dispatched at the scene and was measured at just over seven feet long and weighed 171 pounds.

   A three-foot long alligator was discovered swimming in a pond in Temperance Michigan in late September. An alligator was captured near a retention pond in Adamstown Maryland in early October. In mid-October a 9-year-old girl pulled a small alligator out of Prior Lake in Minnesota. The alligator had died from the cold water. Residents discovered a dead alligator in a large plastic tote in an alley in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Halloween night.

   All of these alligators are thought to be released (or escaped) exotic pets. These alligators could become dangerous if they come into contact with children and potentially adults if they grow quickly enough during the warmer parts of the year. It’s not likely that alligators can survive the cold winters in the northeast, but a story in October told of how alligators have adapted to live in parts of Tennessee.

Why this story made the top ten: Alligators are not supposed to exist in the northeast and many of these stories are downright scary to think of. The Pittsburgh and Chicago incidents gained national attention and the other smaller stories were no less shocking. Animals outside of their known range qualify as cryptids although many do not consider ones released to be included.
Why this story is only number six: Despite the Pittsburgh and Chicago incidents getting huge local coverage the rest of the world did not care much for these stories. The story did not gain the attraction as much as the “Wessie” the snake story did back in 2016.

5. FBI releases Bigfoot files.

   In early June numerous headlines hit the news stating that Bigfoot was investigated or hunted by the FBI. In 1976 Peter Byrne, then director of the Bigfoot Information Center and Exhibition of Oregon, pleaded to the FBI for help in analyzing his evidence to see if it could prove the existence of Bigfoot. Byrne had also written that others had mentioned the FBI had purportedly conducted hair analysis on Bigfoot claims.

 Jay Cochran Jr., assistant director of the agency’s scientific and technical services division, actually responded to Byrne’s request on December 15, 1976 stating, “The FBI Laboratory conducts investigations primarily of physical evidence for law enforcement agencies in connection with criminal investigations. Occasionally, on a case-by-case basis, in the interest of research and scientific inquiry, we make exceptions to this policy. With this understanding, we will examine the hairs and tissue mentioned in your letter.” In a Previous Cochran had stated that he was unable to verify the claims that the FBI had previously investigated purported Bigfoot hair samples as no documents could be found.

   On February 24, 1977 Byrne’s colleague, Howard Curtis, received a letter from Jay Cochran, Jr. stating the analysis of said hairs. Byrne had been in Nepal for several months conducting research. The letter mentioned how the hairs were examined and that they were compared to known samples. It was concluded that the hairs were of the deer family origin and the case was closed. No, the FBI did not search for or investigate Bigfoot, nor did they find any compelling evidence. Yet the story was carried by numerous news outlets and lead to rampant theories that the FBI was involved with the hunt of Bigfoot and had files dedicated to their search.

Why this story made the top ten: This was the biggest Bigfoot story of the year and it certainly raised a lot of eyebrows and created a lot of suspicion. The story was carried by many major networks and was a very viral story albeit for a short time.
Why this story is only number five: The story was hyped as the FBI searching for Bigfoot. Many made the story sound like the FBI had boots on the ground and sent out agents looking for evidence. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case and it was simply just an analysis of hairs that turned out to be some type of deer. The story didn’t do much to fuel the possibility of Bigfoot or any actual evidence.

4. Neil Gemmel’s ‘Loch Ness Monster’ study.

   The number four story in last year’s top ten countdown was the “Otago Loch Ness Monster DNA Search”. I predicted that nothing large would be discovered which would “prove” the Loch Ness Monster did not exist, yet it would not even dent the reputation of Nessie. The research behind this project was swift and successful, however setbacks caused the announcement to be delayed by several months and I feel this delay hurt this story.

   The results were teased since July, but a formal announcement did not come until September. Last year Professor Neil Gemmell gathered over 250 samples of water in different areas and at various depths in order to catalogue the life in the loch. The science experiment was publicly marketed toward finding evidence of the Loch Ness Monster or at least getting answers through true science instead of random sightings of waves and claiming to see a monster.

   Gemmell’s results were delayed due to trying to secure a documentary on the DNA gathering experiment which again may have hurt the impact of his announcement. One of the biggest pieces of information is that there is a complete lack of DNA for any large creature in Loch Ness. There was no plesiosaur, no sturgeon, no catfish, and no shark DNA discovered in the many samples gathered. 

   Some people had speculated that a Greenland shark could be responsible for many of the sightings, but this study puts that claim to rest the same with the speculation over a sturgeon which has been suggested for many lake monsters throughout the world.

   One hypothesis remains and is what made the headlines about this story; a giant eel. European eels travel to European waters including Loch Ness as tiny eels called elvers from hatching from larvae along their 3,000-mile journey. Typically, these eels can get as big as three feet long, but could one grow big enough to be confused as the Loch Ness Monster?

   Gemmell states they had eel DNA in nearly every sample collected. Of a potential giant eel, he says, “Well, our data doesn't reveal their size, but the sheer quantity of the material says that we can't discount the possibility that there may be giant eels in Loch Ness. Therefore, we can't discount the possibility that what people see and believe is the Loch Ness Monster might be a giant eel.”

   DNA was also found of humans, dogs, sheep, cattle, deer, badgers, rabbits, voles, and birds. A swimming deer could easily be confused for a Loch Ness Monster creature and I’m sure the giant eel hypothesis isn’t the only thing confused for the Loch Ness Monster. There are also logs, the wind, and even boats seen from far away where the viewer only sees the waves plus other potential things that confuse a hopeful viewer.

   Will this latest story squash the idea that the Loch Ness Monster is a real creature? More than likely not. Just a few years ago it was revealed that local hotel owners used the legend of the creature of the loch to spur tourism in the area in the 1930s which is when the stories began to pop up. That story did absolutely nothing to diminish the tourism to the area and certainly actual science won’t either.

Why this story made the top ten: A scientific experiment to test the waters of Loch Ness to see what is lurking in the water. This actually eliminated the long-standing hypothesis of a plesiosaur being behind the sightings and realistically leaves one potential candidate if a single creature could be deemed responsible.
Why this story is only number four: I had predicted last year that this could easily be the number one story of the year. The release of the data pointed at a giant eel as being the explanation for the Loch Ness Monster which made for a ridiculous headline. The fact that this was delayed and then teased for months did not help the way the story was ultimately unveiled (not to mention the media’s attention on “storming” things).

3. U.S. Navy documenting/categorizing UFOs and the TTSA’s drama on the rocks.

   The news that the U.S. Navy was drafting guidelines for pilots and other personnel to report encounters with “unidentified aircraft” hit the news cycle on March 23rd. The goal was to have any type of unidentified aircraft account be taken seriously and reported to the proper channel instead of being instantly canned or the reporting person laughed at.

   The Navy was careful to be clear that this didn’t mean that they had encountered alien-flown aircraft, but that there had been enough strange sightings to warrant a revamp to help get to the bottom of these reports. Of course, this story goes hand-in-hand with the three videos that were released back in 2017 showing various anomalous objects being witnessed or pursued by military aircraft.

   Tom DeLonge and his organization, The To The Stars Academy (TTSA), have also been in the center of these stories and made more news of their own during the year with their acquisition of mysterious metamaterials that ultimately lead to a deal with the U.S. Army. However, an image used to show off the materials was lifted from Shutterstock of a known mineral called malachite. 

   The Pentagon dropped the final bombshell on the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) and UFO/UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena) investigation story. Pentagon spokesperson Susan Gough said via an email to Black Vault, “Neither AATIP nor AAWSAP were UAP related.” 

   AAWSAP refers to the Advanced Aerospace Weapon System Applications Program; a contract posted publicly by the Defense Intelligence Agency. The email to the Black Vault also stated, “The purpose of AATIP was to investigate foreign advanced aerospace weapons system applications with future technology projections over the next 40 years, and to create a center of expertise on advanced aerospace technologies.”

   In May of this year the New York Post ran the headline, “The Pentagon Finally Admits It Investigates UFOs”. The story quotes Pentagon spokesperson Christopher Sherwood who said that AATIP did pursue research and investigation into unidentified aerial phenomena. Of the discrepancy Gough replied, “At the time, Mr. Sherwood was repeating the information that had been provided by a previous spokesperson some two years earlier. That previous spokesperson is no longer with my organization, and I cannot comment on why that person’s explanation of AATIP included that it had looked at anomalous events.  According to all the official information I have now, when implemented, AATIP did not pursue research and investigation into unidentified aerial phenomena; that was not part of the technical studies nor the reports produced by the program.”

   What about the claims made by Louis Elizondo, who says he was the director of AATIP and has come forward about the allegations of the program? He’s now also involved with Tom DeLonge’s organization To The Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences as the Director of Government Programs and Services.

   Gough also responded that Elizondo was not the director for AATIP and had no assigned responsibilities within the program. However, this isn’t to say that the Navy and other armed forces or government agencies are not actively investigating UFOs. It just seems that some of the information put out may not exactly be what we think and are not the product of a government conspiracy or coverup but by private parties with a vested interest.

Why this story made the top ten: These three stories are intermingled and help keep UFOs in the spotlight all year long not just in the paranormal but with the mainstream media. Despite many of the claims now seemingly being called into question these stories have involved the U.S. Government more than ever in purported UFO investigations and we are beginning to see that maybe they don’t know as much as we thought.
Why this story is only number three: Despite being the biggest drama in the UFO arena in many years there seems to be a serious contradiction of facts and information coming from multiple sources and sadly we may never know the truth behind anything involved with AATIP, TTSA, or any other acronym-based body.

2. Storm Area 51.

   On June 27th Matty Roberts, a 20-year old Bakersfield, California college student majoring in petroleum engineering, created an event on Facebook as a joke to generate memes. The event was named “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All Of Us” and in less than two weeks the event began to build steam through its virality. By July 9th there were over 230,000 people interested and nearly 200,000 people saying they were going to the base in Nevada to “free ‘dem aliens”. 

   The popularity of the event quickly went worldwide and eventually prompted a comment from the U.S. government. Initially no comment was given when asked by news sources, but a week later in mid-July they gave a formal statement for people not to do this and that the Air Force would respond to any threat to the base. This was the fuel the movement needed to become the most popular story on the internet and the media. The event was to take place on September 20th between 3 and 6 AM, but original organizer Roberts decided to hold a concert instead in the small area of Rachel near the base.

   By this point Roberts had lost control of the website and of the movement. Advertisers like Bud Light jumped into the social media spotlight created by the popularity of the event to sell their products. Matty Roberts didn’t step forward until late July to admit he was the one behind the event and it was at this point he created the Alienstock idea which took a lot of time to come to fruition.

   On August 3rd around 3:45 PM Facebook removed the “Storm Area 51” event page stating that the event went against their community standards. By 7 AM the following morning the site was back up mostly due to public outcry and the media continuing to fuel attention to the story. The event continued to gain momentum and Roberts continued to fuel his idea of a large concert in the desert. The idea continued until September 10th when he quickly and officially pulled out of the Rachel event and opted to hold a smaller one in Las Vegas instead. 

   This move left Connie West and the Little Ale’ Li’ Inn to deal with all of the issues of putting on a major event in a remote location. Wi-fi, water, gasoline, safety, and many other aspects had Nye County put out a declaration of emergency in order to gather funds to help with the issues. The event itself turned into disarray and many people seemed to give up on it since it was so disorganized and events were occurring in Hiko, Rachel, Las Vegas and at other locations which split up any large crowd. Many media outlets called it a disappointment stating that hardly anyone showed up and there were no issues.

   During the original 3-6 AM event only 40 or so people showed up near the gate and offered no threat to enter the base. However, during the day over 800 people made their way to the gate and one woman was arrested for going beyond the gate. Two men had been arrested earlier for entering the base illegally with six arrests total for people attempting or actually going beyond the guard gate and one for disorderly conduct and indecent exposure for a person who urinated on the gate. Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee stated that 40 people were dispersed near another gate after the crowd threatened to storm together.

   Two cows were killed in car accidents and two other car accidents involved rollovers which left one woman in critical condition. Numerous injuries resulting from dehydration as well as drug and alcohol related problems were reported as well. Overall it was a feeling of community by those who attended, and it was estimated that about 5,000 people showed up to Rachel and Hiko over the weekend with crowds dispersing as early as Saturday afternoon. 

Why this story made the top ten: The “Storm Area 51” event was the biggest story of the year for UFO/alien related stories in a year with plenty to talk about from that camp. This was the most viral story to come out of social media for the year and ranked as the number four story to be Googled in the U.S. in 2019.
Why this story was only number two: The story came out of nowhere only to fizzle out just the same. Despite the massive media attention and the prospect of finding proof of aliens the overall idea of the event was to cure boredom and create a means for memes. Absolutely nothing positive for the field of UFOs came of this and the event was more of an embarrassment than anything.

1. Stanton Friedman.

   On May 13th Stanton T. Friedman, nuclear physicist, author, and long-time speaker on UFOs passed away at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport at age 84. Friedman had stated he was beginning to pull back his appearance schedule and it was from a lecture in Ohio he was returning home from when he passed away. 

   Friedman had been on the lecture circuit since 1967 and was a leader in getting the Roswell incident to be a household name. He first got interested in UFOs by reading the book, "The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects" by Air Force Captain Edward J. Ruppelt back in 1958. Since then he has lectured at over 600 colleges and 100 professional groups in 50 U.S. states, nine Canadian Provinces, and 16 other countries. 

   Back in January of this year Joanna Aiton Kerr, manager of the Provincial Archives in New Brunswick Canada, reached out to Friedman. Kerr had heard that Friedman was getting ready to retire from UFO research and she was able to convince him to allow Provincial Archives to preserve his collection of records.

   Friedman was a known piler, he would have piles of papers instead of filing anything. Kerr stated it took five cargo vans to move all of Friedman’s records prior to his passing. The most difficult part of the process is that none of his records are organized. There are currently three full time employees working in the private records section where his records are being sifted through. Unfortunately, these are only one of a number of collections that are being worked on. It’s thought it could take up to ten years to organize his files at the current rate, but with 60 years’ worth of research this isn’t that bad. So far 25 boxes have been organized and are available for public view. The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick is located at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton.

Why this story is number one: Last year’s number one story was the passing of Art Bell. Bell was a tremendous voice for the UFO field and was well-regarded by many others in the media, music, and other professions. Stanton Friedman may not have had the same reach as Bell, but he was just as well known, and his work has paved the way for people like Bell to promote the conspiracy theories and thoughts behind UFOs and alien life. Also, if it wasn’t for Friedman Area 51 would probably not be as famous as it is today. His work uncovering information on the Roswell Incident opened the door for the base to become a household name for potentially harboring aliens. So, if it were not for Friedman no one would have bothered thinking of storming it and looking for them. 

   This list helps us remember the stories from the year and helps us remember some of the issues we encountered that might have fooled us or taught us something along the way. As we look back on these stories years from now we may see similar patterns or how some that were high on the list and so promising turned out to be nothing at all; it’s all about documentation and remembering the past as it happened.

   How is this list designed? The Top Ten Paranormal News Stories are put together strictly by my opinion. They are collected from the stories I’ve talked about all year long and are ranked by a few pieces of criteria. First, have they made a positive impact on one area of the paranormal? Many stories I talk about are hoaxes and misinterpretations, but what stories have created an awareness of a paranormal subject or taught the general public something, or better yet has something been learned about our mysterious world? Granted, even hoaxes can teach us something if we know for sure they were a hoax. Some feel all hoaxes harm the paranormal, but I say some educate us on what to look out for as far as a story or types of data that is presented. It’s easy to believe everything, but hard to be skeptical when you want deep down to believe.

   Second, how viral was the story? Many stories I talk about are popular on paranormal websites but have not been heard of outside of this arena or where the story took place. A story that is big at a regional level will have more weight than a local story and a global story will be higher than that. Also with this I look at how much it was talked about through social media as well as how long it lasted in the news as a developing story. Lastly, I look at the reality of the story. Meaning, does this story include a real person or it is possibly just a story made up for website hits? I usually do this early on to make sure these are truly newsworthy stories to begin with, but still some stories are a bit questionable in their makeup and are just stories hyped up for the paranormal community.

   My first "Top Ten" was back in 2010 when the Paranormal News Insider began to go to a weekly segment in late September of 2010. A few of them are located on this current blog while 2010, 2012, and 2013 are located on my ParaNexus blog.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Mysterious alligators appear in Pittsburgh

  We've all heard about alligators in the sewers probably being a myth (we hope so), but what about roaming the streets? On the October 16, 2018 edition of the Paranormal News Insider, episode #372, I covered a story where the previous week saw a kayaker find a live alligator in Waukegan Harbor in Lake Michigan about 40 miles north of Chicago. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for the kayaker, the mouth of the alligator had been taped shut. I also talked about two separate findings of alligators on the same day in Kansas City, Kansas of all places. All of these were released into the wild by someone and all three were less than three feet long.

  Well, in the middle of June of 2019 we look at the southwestern portion of Pennsylvania, specifically the Pittsburgh area. Back on May 18th a 3-foot-long alligator was discovered at the South Side Riverfront Park, which is along the Monongahela River, locally known as the Mon River.

  On June 6th a 5 to 6-foot-long alligator was discovered by a dog walker in a residential area in the Beachview neighborhood just south of downtown Pittsburgh and about three miles southwest of the May 18th discovery. Saturday, June 8th police responded to the 300 block of East Agnew Street in the Carrick neighborhood about two miles southeast of the last sighting and about two miles south of the May 18th find. This latest alligator was just over two feet long.

  Authorities believe the first two alligators discovered were discarded pets and they also believe that the three discoveries are not related. I’m willing to believe that all three of these were released or allowed to escape by the same person and are related. Why do I think that? The three discoveries happened in about a three-square mile area which is way too convenient to be a coincidence.

  The above part of the story was to run during the June 11th Paranormal News Insider, but I was unable to do the show due to circumstances beyond my control. As it turns out Pittsburgh police had inspected a home after the June 6th incident with the escaped 5-foot-long alligator. The alligator had torn through a screen door and dropped about ten feet to be able to scurry off down the street. On Tuesday, June 11th the home of Mark McGowan was raided, and 32 animals were removed and some of the animals discovered were deceased. Of these animals three were alligators with one having a preexisting neck injury and there were also two Burmese pythons. This begs the question, were these three alligators all related to this home or are there other locations in Pittsburgh harboring alligators?

  Alligators discovered in the north are not as uncommon as one might think. “Alligator” Bob Bavirsha of the Chicago Herpetological Society has rescued hundreds of alligators from the Midwest over the years. Obviously, most if not all were either released or escaped.

  Alligators are obviously known to live in Florida and southern Georgia, but also range along southern Texas into Mexico, all of Louisiana, and even part of southeast Oklahoma and southwest Arkansas. Alligators also live in the eastern part of South and North Carolina and even live in a swamp area known as the Great Dismal Swamp that extends into Virginia. Yes, Virginia, just south of Norfolk there are alligators. Granted, while prolonged cold can kill them it’s not impossible for them to survive in cold areas for short periods of time and they have even been observed frozen in ice with their snouts out of the water. Granted, the cold severely slows their eating and lowers their energy level.

  Cryptozoology is defined as the search for missing or hidden animals. This definition typically hugs the animals known through local folklore and stories and includes animals such as the mermaid, Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, Chupacabra, and more but also includes known animal species such as the ivory-billed woodpecker and other animals thought to be extinct. Some cryptozoologists don't consider out of range animals to be a part of cryptozoology due to the fact that people often release them into the wild for a variety of reasons. Take into consideration there are three places in the United States where macaque monkeys roam free (South Carolina, Florida, Texas). They didn't just find there way here as they were purposely let loose.

  I don't see these alligator sightings as cryptid findings but just as interesting stories that are strange and scary. People enjoy the thrill of investigating a place with a ghost, but how about stumbling upon a five-foot-long alligator while walking your dog in the northeast?