Sleep Paralysis and Me: How My Subconscious Tried to Destroy My Life

Sleep paralysis is a devil that I’ve dance with a few times in life. It isn’t that uncommon, as I know several people who have experienced it as well. Although each experience is unique, there is the general consensus that sleep paralysis is just a way for your brain to take advantage of your body when you are most vulnerable.

So here’s my experience:

It started when I was probably nine or ten, which was pretty shitty considering I was a feeble minded child who had no idea what was happening to me. Before I was thrust into the actual paralyzed state, I would have this horrific nightmare over and over again. Some background info: back when I was in middle school, my mom would come into my room every morning to wake me up. She would turn on my lights, tell me to get up, and then leave to wake up my older brother.

My dream manifested from that, I guess. It would start with my mom knocking on my door, but she did not turn on the lights. She would walk into my room and say nothing before leaving again, shutting the door. I remember being confused at first, but then terrified. You know how in dreams there’s an invisible force that controls your emotions? Like you could be dreaming of something perfectly normal, or even comfortably absurd, but inside of your dream–nightmare , I should say–you can’t shake the utter terror from inside your soul? Yeah, that would happen as I lay unmoving in my bed and wondering why my mom didn’t say anything, and why she didn’t turn on the lights. The fear would start eating at me, provoking me to scream. Which I did, calling for my mom to come back and turn the lights. I would scream until my voice stopped working, or until I was so afraid that I didn’t dare to move.

Then the shitty thing happened.

Claws from a large creature that I could not see would dig into my back, and I swear to any gods up there that the pain was real. To make this experience even more despicable, whatever the hell was attacking me from behind would release this shrill screech that was violently disarming and unrelenting. It was beyond unpleasant, and monstrously loud. I’m not sure how my brain orchestrated this sound, but it ten times worse than nails on chalkboard.

I would try to squirm and get out of the creature’s grip, but every movement just made it dig its claws further into my spine. In my dreams I would be sobbing, still crying for my mom to come help me. She never did.

I had this dream every night for a prolonged period of time. Eventually, I began to become aware that I was dreaming so I would try to wake myself up; this consisted of me trying to open my ‘real eyes’. Obviously, in my dream I could see what was around me in that dark room (never the creature, however; it always attacked when I was lying on my side and would come from behind me) but I grew an awareness of my actual, physical body and could attempt to force open my eyelids.

Sometimes I would open my eyes and think everything was okay. I quickly realized that things were not okay when my mom knocked on the door, walked inside of my room wordlessly, and then left without turning on the light. I’d realize that I had not woken up, but simply somehow pressed a re-play button in my subconscious. The dream would start over. I would try to force myself awake. The dream would start over.

This painful cycle continued for too long. I stopped sleeping some nights. I told my mom that I was sick some days, never truly explaining why I looked and felt like shit.

Sometimes I could genuinely wake myself up, but that posed a new problem. I woke up, yes, but I couldn’t move and I still felt scared. It’s a challenge to breathe, and you can’t do anything other than stare hopelessly at the ceiling and wait for your mobility to return. My body would tempt me to fall back asleep, but I refused. I knew that as soon as I closed my eyes that the dream would return, and I refused to deal with that.

It’s usually your fingers or toes that you can start moving first. You feel like something awful is sitting on your chest, pinning you down. If I were religious I would blame the Devil himself for playing an cruel trick on me.

Sleep paralysis occurs while your body is moving through different stages of sleep, so your brain is still extremely active. Because of this, many people experience hallucinations during sleep paralysis. It differs for everyone, but I still vividly remember what I saw.

I could see the computer desk in the living room from my bed, as I kept my door open. I would see two demon-like figures at the computer desk, whispering to each other and pointing at me every so often. Needless to say, it was very unsettling. A complete and utter sense of terror would overcome me, and there was literally nothing that I could but wait it out and pray that my brain would stop trying to fuck me up soon.

The mornings after I would be angry. Angry because I had had not control over my mental or physical state, and because I knew rationally that I had been in no danger whatsoever. I couldn’t understand why my brain would play such tricks on me, or what purpose it could possibly serve.

I don’t get sleep paralysis as often anymore, and it doesn’t occur as it once did. Now each hallucination is unique, but no less frightening.

If any good was to come from those god-awful nights, it was the stubbornness I developed when it came to nightmare.  I became a Lucid Dreamer, which goes beyond awareness. Once I recognized that I was in a dream, I could alter the events and matter around me. It’s hard to explain to those who have never had a lucid dream, but basically when the screaming demon attacked me I would form a mental ‘fuck off’ and make something nice like a puppy appear and force the bad shit out of my dream. I felt pretty cool some nights, like I had my own little superpower in the dreamscape. For awhile, I took complete control over most of my dreams. It was like being able to create my own little movies in my head, and events would transpire as I wished them too. As I grew older, I had less lucid dreams, but also less nightmares. Bittersweet, I suppose.

Lucid dreaming does’t have to be extravagant. One time I was dreaming about climbing this enormous mountain, and realized I was dreaming. My thought process was basically ‘hey, I can’t die! I’m going to jump off this mountain!’ And I did, so I just free-fell for a while and it was a splendid time.

I don’t believe anyone truly understands why sleep paralysis, nightmares, or night terrors occur. The brain is still a confoundment in many ways to specialists, despite the numerous studies and dissections that have occurred throughout time. I like to think of it as glitch in the human condition, an inclusion in our code that shouldn’t be there but some how slipped its way in and now causes intense disruptions throughout the duration of our existence.

 

Of Monsters and Pigs

WHO IS ROBERT PICKTON?

As Halloween draws nearer, I figure it is appropriate to talk about the most horrific serial killing in Canada’s contemporary history. Mind you, this case is as gruesome as it is complex so discretion is advised and all that jazz. This is not a story for the faint heart; prepare yourself for the chilling details of Canada’s largest serial killer investigations to date.

(I was going to insert a picture of a naked mole rat as joke because Pickton does slightly resemble one but I didn’t wanted to offend naked mole rats so we will just move on.)

Now we descend into the world of Robert William Pickton—otherwise known as ‘the pig farmer killer’. Pickton was 60 years old when found guilty of second-degree murder for the deaths of Sereena Abotsway, Mona Wilson, Andrea Joesbury, Georgina Papin, Marnie Frey, and Brenda Wolfe. Pictures below.

Some facts: he was born in 1949 somewhere in British Columbia, his family have been pig farmers for generations, he has one brother and a sister, and people considered him a ‘quiet man’.

In consideration of the heinous crimes he committed, I’m not going to butter this guy up by explaining his ‘troubled past’ or ‘personal problems’. I don’t really think he deserves the credit of bullshit like: ‘he was a really good guy before, I swear! Willie smiled at me once in a 7-11! I don’t know how he could have done this! He shared taquitos with the homeless!’

Irrelevant.

Anyhow, Pickton himself stated that he lived “a good life, but a hard life.” The world didn’t fuck this one up. The evil was born from inside, and extrapolated like a deadly weed.

Alright, enough sappy stuff.

HOGWASH AND SLOPPINESS

Robert William Pickton, known as ‘Willie’ by his (former) friends, was initially arrested on February 5th, 2002. The police happened to be searching his farm with the completely unrelated warrant of firearm investigation, and happened to stumble upon the personal belongings of a missing woman. Note that since 1978, around 50 women (particularly from an area known as the ‘Low Track’) had been going missing from Vancouver’s downtown east-side. These disappearances brought about the “BC Missing Women Investigation”, and the belongings found at Pickton’s farm happened to belong to one of the missing women listed. This lead to an extensive investigation of Pickton’s farm, pictured below.

MISSING WOMEN

This picture was taking during the intensive search, including the Missing Women task force, of Robert Pickton’s farm. Picture cred: http://www.missingpeople.net/on_willys_pig_farm.htm

In the blink of an eye, Pickton became the prime suspect for many of these disappearances. To this day it is debated whether or not he is accountable for all of them, but there is no solid proof defending this theory. However, DNA evidence has revealed that he may have had a role in more than half of them. The Pickton farm underwent extensive and intensive investigation under the hands of law enforcement of crime specialists alike. It didn’t take long for the grisly picture to start painting itself: the “simple pig farmer” was slowly unmasked to be a nothing less than a monster. Inside a motorhome on the property, an appalling amount of blood evidence was found on a mattress and elsewhere throughout the motorhome (pictured below, it’s pretty grimy).

pig

Prosecutors declared that it was the blood of Mona Wilson, one of Pickton’s alleged victims. The tremendous amount of blood on the mattress brought experts to the conclusion that it was where Pickton first attacked his victims. The blood was far from the only damning evidence: investigators also discovered the clothing, shoes, and jewelry of women, as well as an asthma inhaler that was determined to belong to Sereena Abotsway, another victim.

I read through parts of an interrogation that took place after this search, I’ll link it here if any of you are interested in it. It is very long and mostly consists of the cop trying to make nice so Pickton will spill all his dirty secrets, but it is a curious read. Pickton displays very weird behavior, and goes from blatantly denying that he had anything to do with these murders to neither confirming nor denying his involvement.

There were a few parts that particularly caught my attention.

In this interrogation, Sergeant Bill Fordy, the interrogator, asks Pickton what thinks about being charged for two murders and investigated for about fifty others. Pickton replies, “Hogwash.”(some sort of twisted pun? who knows with this motherfucker)

He then goes on to say, several times, that “It could be set up.” This is the part where the audience rolls their eyes; a lot of the evidence (including Mona Wilson’s blood DNA and other questionable objects that will be mentioned soon) had already been uncovered at this point.

Nonetheless, Pickton goes on to say and repeat tediously that nothing will be found on his land because there is nothing there. The exhausted Sgt. Fordy has to continue emphasizing that evidence had already been found. Pickton himself seemed to be full of ‘hogwash’.

Pickton is later asked what kind of person he sees himself as, to which he responds “I’m just a pig man that’s all I got to say.” (followed by a chuckle, as the document notes. interpret that as you will.)

For the most part, at least in the earlier portion of the interrogation, that is all he has to say. That and the fact “it could be set-up”.

Fordy does, however, get very close to a confession after pressing Pickton on how he killed Mona Wilson. After many tedious ‘no comment’ statements, Pickton eventually replies “Sloppiness.” Sgt. Fordy then asks why Pickton didn’t clean up, to which we learn this murderous being was “too busy working sites.”

An RCMP officer went undercover when Pickton was imprisoned. In this footage, you hear Pickton claim that he killed 49 women, and was upset that he couldn’t make it “an even 50”. Skip to 4:35 to hear him gloat about all his murders. He also mentions here that he got ‘sloppy’ with is killings, which is why he eventually got caught.

Well, Willie, you moldy squash, your ‘sloppiness’ put you in serving 6 concurrent life sentences with no eligibility for parole in 25 years. What’s fun about concurrent life sentences vs. consecutive is that it is virtually impossible to get out on parole with the murder of 6 people under your belt. With consecutive life sentences, the charges are separated and subjectively it is easier to get out only looking at one murder. Either way, Pickton will surely be incarcerated for the rest of his miserable life.

THE EVIDENCE

If you’ve made it this far, I’m sure you’re interested in Pickton’s methods of killing. Be aware that there is no confirmation on this as files regarding this case have not all been released, but there have been witnesses who claim that Pickton told them what he did his victims.

Evidence found around Pickton’s ‘workshop’ was perhaps the most grotesque. The DNA of 10 women were found on various items within the workshop, as well as the remains of the two women he was convicted of killing. Let me specify what I mean by remains: the skulls were cut in half and stuffed with the hands and feet of the victims shoved inside buckets in his freezer. Part of a jaw bone and a few teeth were found in Pickton’s slaughterhouse, belonging to Brenda Wolfe. Additionally, the remains of another victim were found shoved in a garbage bag, and the bloodied clothes of that same victim were found in Pickton’s trailer. The hands and wrist-bones of another victim were discovered among mud and pig manure in one of the pig pens. Disturbing shit, I know. More recent reports claim that DNA evidence of more than 30 different women has been recovered, which horrifically boosts Pickton’s kill count.

Another particularly disturbing object they found was a dildo shoved into .22 caliber revolver, containing the DNA of both Pickton and a female victim. I don’t really want to get into the theories around this, but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to create nauseating images of what Pickton could have done with these items. And if you can’t but are absurdly still curious, Google it.

When questioned about these items, Pickton said he was using the dildo as a silencer.

W H Y.

Pickton says a lot of weird shit. He also lies a lot to authorities. But somehow him using a dildo as silencer for a gun is not the worst thing he could do with those two respective items. Which means he probably didn’t just use the dildo as a silencer. Which means he probably did something tremendously more disturbing.

Fantastic. Like we needed another reason to want to lock this guy in an old dumpster and launch it into the Sun.

THE WITNESSES A.K.A PICKTON’S EX-FRIENDS

The first witness I want to mention is former friend Andrew Bellwood, who testified at the stand that Pickton went into very graphic detail on how he committed the murders. Bellwood has a history with drug addiction, so the court was tentative in accepting his statement, but Bellwood swore he was not under any influence during his testimony. During an exchange in 1999, Bellwood was living on Pickton’s farm. Supposedly, one night Pickton suggested that they should get a prostitute (instead of ordering a pizza like regular bros I guess). Bellwood says he refused that offer, only for Pickton to respond “Do you know what I do with prostitutes?”

What follows is my retelling of Bellwood’s retelling of Pickton’s graphic descriptions of possible rape and definitive murder.

Inside the motorhome where Pickton allegedly first attacked these women, Bellwood and Pickton stood near the infamous mattress. Pickton reached under the mattress and pulled out three unusual items: handcuffs, a belt, and a wire. He then proceeded to explain in vulgar detail how he would lay the prostitutes on their stomachs, and have sex with them. It is not clarified whether or not it was consensual. Insinuating the women were uncomfortable, Pickton made a gesture as if to stroke a woman’s hair and stated that he told them “it was going to be okay” and “everything was all over now.”

That was when he would reach under the mattress and grab either the wire or belt before strangling the women to death. Once they were unconscious or dead, he would drag their body to his slaughter house where he would “bleed and gut them.” As if this wasn’t morbid enough, he added that he fed the mutilated bodies to his pigs, and whatever wasn’t eaten he tossed into barrels that shipped off to Vancouver.

“He commented on how much they bled,” Bellwood said.”He kept telling me, ‘Oh you know how much they bleed, you wouldn’t believe how much blood comes out of a person.'”

-Source: cbc.ca

Other accounts claim that Pickton would put victims through a wood-chipper prior to feeding his pigs.

There were also rumors in 2004 that Pickton might have sold the flesh of his victims mixed with pig meat to the public. A food health and safety warning was issued that year.

Another former friend of Pickton’s claims to have been present while Pickton was butchering one of his victims. She claims to have seen a women hanging form a meat hook in Pickton’s barn early one morning. Lynn Ellingsen, who also had a history of drugs, stated that she had picked up a prostitute for Pickton and the morning after bore witness to a horrific site. She told the court that the drugs she took only numbed her, and did not evoke hallucinations of any kind. Allegedly, Pickton threatened that she’d “be right beside her” if she said anything about it. Pickton gave Ellingsen money for drugs at the time, so she said she did not want to betray his trust. Additionally, she admitted that she was scared of him so kept quiet. It is estimated that Ellingsen witnessed this event in 1999.

Finally, Gina Houston, a very close friend of Pickton’s, testified that he tried to convince her to commit a double suicide on his farm just days before he was arrested in 2002. He admitted to her that he did kill the six women of which he was accused of. Apparently he “didn’t want to go to jail.”

DEADLY MISTAKE

Pickton could have been locked up years earlier. In 1997, a woman that Pickton convinced to come back to his pig farm was attacked, and escaped. She relayed that when he attempted to handcuff and assault her, she grabbed a kitchen knife and fought back. She admitted that she tried to kill him in self defense that night, but failed. Both people sustained serious stab wounds in the conflict. The woman managed to break free from Pickton and ran to the nearest road, where she waved down a car and got her saviors to call an ambulance.

As luck would have it, Pickton went to the same hospital as the woman to be treated for his wounds. After the key for the handcuffs that were still on the woman’s wrist was found Pickton’s pocket, he was arrested and charged for attempted murder, assault with a weapon, and forcible confinement.

Unfortunately,  the bastard’s charges were stayed and eventually dropped because the woman was a known drug addict and not considered a competent witness.

Pickton said she was a unruly hitchhiker who attacked him.

I can’t even imagine what went through that woman’s head when Pigton was finally arrested.

The issue with this case was that a lot of the witnesses were drug addicts, mostly because that’s what Pickton’s friends consisted of. Reports made on Pickton were often not investigated as they were written off due to the ‘incompetency’ of the sources. I suppose this raises questions regarding are criminal justice system, and whether or not all reports should be looked into, regardless of how valid you think they are/aren’t. What do you think?

A CONCLUSION

Pickton may have only been convicted of 6 murders, but it is estimated he is responsible for over 20 more. These charges will not be pursued in court because he is already receiving maximum sentencing, and many of the victim’s families do not want to go through the stressful procedure of court trials. It should be recognized that many of his victims were indigenous women.

Pickton recently published a book that he apparently wrote in prison. The victim’s families urged the public to not purchase this book, with fair reason. He does not deserve the attention. I believe the book has been removed from shelves as of now due to all of the public outcry.

Thank you for reading, and don’t hesitate to drop a comment or question, or just a simple like if you are a minimalist. I want to emphasize that this is an enormous case, and I certainly didn’t cover all of the facts but I hope it painted a fair picture of serial killer Robert Pickton. Another thing that should be noted is that because this is such a popular and complex case, there is a lot of false information out there. I did my best to ensure my information was valid, but no one is perfect. I’m always open to corrections/comments.

As for now, see you next week. Stay safe this Halloween.

 

 

 

 

WTF Wednesday

Nothing like a good work out, and it is especially gratifying to wipe the pooling sweat off of your face after an hour of hard work. 
Now imagine the towel comes off smeared with red. Huh, you think, you must have popped a zit or managed to cut yourself. You go to bathroom, and in complete horror-movie style you release a trill shriek when you see your reflection. Your entire face is dripping with blood, And dear god its all over your hands too! 

Sweating blood, although a rare occurence, has been reported throughout time. In fact, Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote about blood sweat way back in the 4th century BC.

 In more modern times, people have been diagnosed with the condition known as Hemaditrosis which is literally derived from the Greek words “blood” and “sweat”. To learn more about this odd occurrence click here.

Missing Person Monday

I’m not going to say “happy Monday” because I know and respect the fact that Monday’s are scarcely enjoyable. 

In case you missed the last update, every Monday I will post about a missing person in hopes of getting the word out about some of these cases. If you or someone or you know lives in the area, spread the word and keep your eyes open.

Today’s missing person is Casey Rose Mary Dora Bohun


Casey was alledgedly abducted from her home in North Delta, B.C. (Canada) on August 5th, 1989, last seen by her mother at at bedtime that very evening. Casey would be 31 years today, and likely does not know that she was abducted as a child.

Here’s what officials believe she looks like now: 

For more information on the case, and to report a too regarding Casey visit here

Hello Darkness,

Have you ever felt so close to death that you swear you’ve felt the Grim Reaper himself graze the side of your face gently (perhaps seductively, if you’re into that)? Or, have you ever had that chilling moment when your heart beats so frantically that the sound of blood pumping through your veins is all you can hear? 

I have. Every single time that I have to turn off the basement lights.

Once those lights are off and I am left to my own devices, I bolt like a bat out of hell to the safety of my room, so that I can blindly assault the wall with my hands in search for the only thing that can possibly save me: the light switch. When the lights are,  on I can breathe again and get tthe sense that I am 100% safe from any person or thing that wishes to dismember me. 

And then I have to turn off my bedroom light.

Of course I try to rationalize the screaming anxiety occupying my brain, and talk myself down from this frantic and impulsive fear, but no amount of logical thought has the power to crush my neurotic nerves. I always tell myself that the probability of either a demonic entity lurking in the shadows or a serial killer hiding in my closet is quite low, and that I should probably just chill the fuck out. I repeat this sound logic to myself mentally numerous times, and sometimes it works. Somtimes it doesn’t. I end up sitting upright in my bed with my paranoia eating away precious hours of sleep. The good part of my brain knows that I am in absolutely no danger, while the other part of my brain does not hesitate in telling me that I am about to die a horribly painful death if I don’t turn on those fucking lights right now.

So that is this week’s topic. Why the hell are people so scared of dark? More specifically, is there any way for me to get over this dramatic-as-hell instinct?

Fearing the dark is often written off as an irrational childhood phobia, but a quick Google/online investigation into this topic will tell you that many adults of all ages still experience a profound discomfort when in the dark. On one hand, I am thankful that I’m not the only one nearly shitting my pants every time I have to turn off the lights, but my other hand possesses an annoyed curiosity. Why are so many of our brains hardwired to immediately take the ‘flight’ response once the light disappears? Is there a reason why this instinct overrides the logical part of our brain? And why can’t I just walk to the bathroom at 2 AM like a civilized human being, rather than my usual nervous shuffle across the hall with eyes widened and body soaked in the anticipation of my impending doom?

Some psychologists have suggested that the dark simply provides a platform for our minds to wander to dark places (yes a pun, I’m sorry), which manifests into that abhorrent anxiety some of us feel nightly. You must be familiar with that bothersome train of thought: what if that stupid-ass clown from IT is in my closet? Oh boy, what if he’s under my bed? What if the Axeman of New Orleans relocated to Canada and I’m about to be his first victim? Does being axed to death hurt? I wonder What Mothman is up to right now…? Man, I really miss Robin Williams. Are ghosts real? Is thinking about ghosts going to summon one to my room? Oh god, can ghosts read minds? Dammit, what am I doing with my life? What even is my purpose? Is my life leading up to nothing but extensive disappoint and infinite regrets?

Whoa. I just got the chills.

Other theories include the fact that as children we may have had bad experiences in the dark, such as night terrors or nightmares. It is possible these traumas were carried into adulthood and still keep us on edge. I see a lot of validity in this statement, as I was personally victimized by chronic nightmares as a kid and also experienced all the fun that is sleep paralysis throughout my younger years. If you don’t know what sleep paralysis, click the embedded link above. Nightmares and night terrors can resurface even as you grow older, and manifest into a bit only a phobia of the dark but also dreading sleep. Obviously this in more extreme cases, but these factors can also cause insomnia. I’m sure you’ve all at least had nightmares before, and know that they are anything but a wholesome time. I know my skirmishes with nightmares/sleep paralysis has deeply contributed to my severe distrust of the dark, and for a period of time I actually refused to sleep at night.  

I’m sure we have our ancestors to thank for the more timid discomforts in the dark. Back in the days before Wi-Fi, way before that asshole Chris Columbus sailed the ocean blue to fuck shit up (and an entire population over), in the earliest days of Homo Sapiens’ (or perhaps a preceding ancestor’s) existence, being scared of the dark was a survival technique. People during this time couldn’t quite explain, or establish with guns, that they were the top of the food chain. With the threat of nocturnal predators prowling the shadows, early humans developed a completely rational fear of the dark.  This instinctive adaptation allowed human ancestors to keep themselves alive and continue down the path of evolution until getting to what we are today. Our fear of the dark stuck around, as well as some wisdom teeth, but we are the newest model of Homo Sapiens–now with flashlights, less hair, and imperfect political systems.

I guess that I can’t be too mad at my very distant ancestors for being instinctively cowardly- they had their reasons. This doesn’t mean I don’t detest the fact that they didn’t just take the evolutionary pathway towards night vision. If cats could do it, why couldn’t we? Makes you wonder who the lesser species really is.

We have come a far way. Take the solar eclipse that happened this year—thousands of years ago, the world being plunged into darkness by a seemingly disappearing sun was a horrific occurrence. Ancient peoples probably went through emotions similar to that of us when the power goes out during a storm and we lose all wireless connections. Complete and utter terror,  with discord in the community and screaming in the streets.

They made up explanations for the eclipse, because historically people loved cowering under the forces of unseen gods and mythological creatures.The Norse belief was that a solar eclipse was caused by the wolf siblings, Sköll and Hati, whose favorite pastime included chasing the moon and sun across the sky. The sun’s disappearance was the result of a wolf catching up with the sun and having herself/himself a nutritious treat of hot gas. Ancient culture in China also fancied the idea of large supernatural dog chomping down on our favorite celestial body. Curiously, I found that many ancient cultures’ explanation for the solar eclipse was a supernatural beast eating the sun. 

People feared the dark so much that this fear manifested into the thought of giant creatures devouring the sun. Fear disturbing the imaginative minds of people can create truly frightening things. So next time you’re picturing Nosferatu hanging out in your bedroom closet, keep in mind that the human race has been imagining scary shit for as long as we’ve been on the planet.

Anyways, I hope that you enjoyed this dabble with the dark. I also hope that you learned that there is no shame in still being afraid of the dark, no matter how old you are. You are far from the only one, trust me. It’s instinctive, and your brain is just looking out for you in the only way it knows how. So invest in some night vision goggles, or maybe just a night light. Embrace the past by feeling the same unease your ancestors did. And remember, there is no safer place than under your blankets if you suspect that there is a monster in your room.

Before I bid you farewell, here’s a melancholy tune that served as inspiration for this article. Share with your friends if you find any of this remotely entertaining, drop a like, or comment if you’ve had a weird experience you want to share. See you next week, it’ll be bloody.

-k.b.

Troublesome Thursday

The gentle hum of crashing waves, choruses of crying seabirds, a myriad of green shades presented by the flora that thrive on Canada’s esteemed western coasts. Nothing tops a peaceful stroll on the beach–not with the sun beaming down on you and pressing a rejuvenating warmth into your skin, filling your chest with an overwhelming sense of contentment. Your day will certainly not be ruined by the oddly shaped lump you see being swept back and forth in the shallow waters. No, it just increases your curiosity and excites your natural sense of wonder. You walk closer, questioning that floating object the ocean seems to desperate to rid itself of. Perhaps it’s a lost hat, or a misguided fish. Nonetheless, it won’t ruin your day with nature.

Once you get closer you  start to think that you would have preferred a heavy thunderstorm over the horror that now sits on the sand before you. It is a running shoe, still containing the last wearer’s dis-articulated foot.

Finding a lone foot still wearing the owner’s footwear has been a troubling occurrence to hikers and campers alike since 2007 in British Columbia. Find out where these shoes are coming from, and whether or not they have dark origin by reading this article.

 

Some Updates

Long time no see…haha whoops. Life gets busy (and stressful) okay?

So, I’ve decided to start new segments throughout the week; Missing Person Monday, and Troublesome Thursday. These will be brief posts with links to further information if you are curious on the topic. Because it happens to be Thursday, I will post the first troublesome in a moment. Another story will be up either later tonight or early tomorrow, so keep your eyes open.

Your friendly-neighbourhood Mothman?

mothman-creature-chicago-696x512

Who is Mothman?

Whether the creature itself causes tragedies or simply brings warning of the impending doom, there is not an inkling of doubt that sightings of Mothman seem to preface all breeds of calamity. Described by witnesses as a humanoid winged creature sporting enormous glowing eyes, Mothman has been the poster child of tourist attractions in Point Pleasant, West Virginia since the first sightings in 1966. The malevolent nature of this myth is what sets it apart from other cryptids such as Bigfoot or the Lochness Monster, as well as it’s enormous track record for witnesses. The featured picture was taken by a man who was visiting the Point Pleasant area who spotted a creature gliding between trees. He contacted the local news station after capturing images of a large creature on his cellphone. No one can confirm the picture’s validity due to the art of modern technology, but the man swore that they were in no way altered. Many locals fervently believe that these photos are genuine, with good reason. The history of Mothman sightings in Point Pleasant is lengthy, and has left a more than significant impact on the community.

The First Sighting

Curiously enough, the first recorded sighting of Mothman occurred in a graveyard in Clendenin, West Virginia. On November 12, 1966, five men who were treating themselves to the delightful fall activity of grave robbery, bared witness to a dark figure flying from tree to tree. I must admit, this first sighting is wonderfully cartoonish. I like to picture a ragtag squad of men, not unlike the crooks from Home Alone, spitting curses at each other as this ungodly creature soars over their heads. I’m sure they tripped over their own feet and into each other as they scrambled to get out of there. If you’ve ever been in a graveyard, especially at night, you know how goddamn unnerving they are. Even if you are a skeptic and don’t believe in ghosts, you can’t deny the fact that graveyards give off spooky vibes. How could they not? You are standing six feet above several deceased human beings, and Hollywood has trained us well to expect the worst in such situations.  Anyways, these men—anxiously digging up Aunt Margret’s grave looking for gold teeth or something equally immoral—hear a loud whoosh, and with nerves already shot from the disturbing energy in the graveyard, all of their heads flip like meerkats towards the sound. What they see is an enormous human-like creature with expansive wings glide intimately (I’m sure Mothman gave them a quick wink as his fluffy six pack brushed over their heads) over them. They were scared so shitless that they did not hesitate to tell people not only what they saw, but additionally why they happened to be spending their Saturday night in a graveyard. You know, maybe Mothman was just providing a public service that night. Maybe he isn’t the malicious, death-bringer that some make him out to be; he’s like a friendly neighbourhood Mothman, keeping assholes from disturbing the dead and such.

The Mystery Machine

Unfortunately, the friendly-neighbourhood Mothman theory was challenged by an event only three days later on November 15th, 1966. Two young couples were out for a late night drive on a road near Point Pleasant, West Virginia and were chased by a creature that aligned with the robber’s description. Appearing in front of their headlights like a jump-scare in a horror movie, the creature they saw had the form of a man, was grey in colour, appeared 6-7 feet tall, and stared at them with eyes two-inches in diameter that glowed red in the headlights. Now, I don’t know if any of you have been driving at night and have had a small bird pop in front of your windshield, but I have and I can vouch that my heart stopped for half a second and that both me and the friend that I was with were convinced Death brushed us with his left hand that night just for giggles. The prospect of a man-sized bird/moth incarnate deciding to peer at me through my windshield late at night when my paranoid ass is already on edge is a big NO from me. The couples’ natural response was the get the hell out of there, so they ripped down this highway towards town at 100 miles per hour (for us non-Americans that’s over 160 km/h), only to realize that their new friend was keeping up to speed behind their vehicle. The creature again appeared in front of their car when they neared a traffic circle, surely striking more fear into the young adults (Pardon this interruption, but I just thought I should let you know these four did not, in fact, have a talking dog with them. I know this sound uncannily like an episode of Scooby-Doo, and that you’re wondering why they didn’t the just floor it, knock the guy down, unmask him, and tell him to cut it out. These kids were simply not meddling enough I suppose.)  I begin to wonder whether or not Mothman was just trying to tell the group something. Why else would he (or she. Perhaps we’ve misgendered this creature of the night. Maybe that’s why he hates us.) be so persistent on making contact with the group? Sure, maybe it communicates with wing flaps or the slow blinking of its peculiar ruby peepers, but Mothman could have genuinely been trying to send a message. One of the witnesses stated that he would not have come forward with this experience had three other people not been there. That same night, a farmer was startled by strange noise coming from outside. Upon further investigation, he claims to have seen two glowing eyes that did not belong to any animal that he recognized. Upsettingly, his hunting dog took off after the creature and was not seen again (Dammit Scooby!). Five witnesses and one missing dog–the introduction of Mothman to Point Pleasant was more than convincing to the local community, and thus the haunting legend was born.

A Legend is Born

From thereon in, numerous sightings occurred within the time frame of 1966-67 as an obsession with the ‘Mothman’ grew in the Point Pleasant area. It was all good fun until the tragic collapse of Silver Bridge of Point Pleasant on December 15th, 1967. The collapse occurred during rush hour, and claimed the lives of 46 people. In shock, people began to connect the Mothman sightings with this tragedy. Had this ominous creature instigated the destruction? Had it come to warn the people of it? Rumours and theories began to occupy people’s minds, raising more concerns and questions. This was the first of several tragedies that theorists began to link to Mothman sightings. Reportedly, actual Mothman sightings stopped after the collapse of Silver Bridge, which fed the theory that Mothman’s presence was either the harbinger of destruction, or an ominous warning of coming doom. Theories around Mothman grew even glummer when sightings were reported to have occurred in Chernobyl shortly before the nuclear meltdown there. Workers at Chernobyl supposedly saw a dark creature fly over the plant, and other witnesses claim to have seen a ‘black, bird-like creature with red eyes’. The creature earned the title “the Black Bird of Chernobyl”. Before you get too excited, I have to share that the Chernobyl sightings hold little to no validity. These rumours surface after a fictional movie about Mothman in Chernobyl was released in 2002, and many cryptozoology-based websites published events in the movie as true. Remember kids, fact checking is non-debatable.

Warning Signs

The most recent occurrence, and perhaps the most chilling, happened on April 10th in 2009 in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, where a “very tall entity” covered in fur with red, bloodshot eyes appeared. A young student claimed that this creature chased him for 15 minutes, and another man said that he saw an odd lump on the side of the road, only for it to stand up and with great force reveal two large wings similar to that of a bat’s, and when the witness attempted to flee by speeding away, the creature kept alongside the passenger side window and peered in at the driver (at this point Mothman is just a supernaturally powered troll who likes to comically chase people around long enough for them to shit their pants before zooming off into the night). These, and a couple more sightings, occurred prior to the Swine Flu outbreak.

More recent and credible claims include the heartbreaking event of 9/11. Multiple reports of a large bird-like figure five days prior to the appalling attacks on the Twin Towers scuttled online; these rumours were the first alleged Mothman sightings in more than 31 years. To add to the bizarreness, some claimed to have seen Mothman’s silhouette or face through clouds of smoke and debris after the attack. Given, people were most definitely in complete and utter shock so it would not be surprising if their minds were playing tricks, but the fact that Mothman had scarcely been mentioned for three decades prior still provokes thought.

Had enough yet? There’s still more. Months before the bridge on Interstate 35 in Minneapolis, Minnesota collapsed, a handful of witnesses reported seeing a Mothman-like shape hanging out near the bridge. 13 people died, and around 145 were injured.

Friend, For, or Bird?

So here lies the question; is Mothman real? More specifically, where is the rationale behind the hundreds of sightings of this entity that preceded disaster? Skeptics pin the phenomena on mere coincidences, or the idea that people could have been trying to rationalize tragic accidents and attacks by fabricating a mythical monster. The human brain undoubtedly is capable of weird shit when in shock. I can see both sides of the argument when it comes to a cryptid such as Mothman, but the part that gets me is that these sightings are not randomly dispersed; they are systematically inclined to increase in the preface of tragedy. Many skeptics argue that Mothman is simply a Sandhill Crane (although they are not common at all in the Point Pleasant area).

Here’s a Sandhill Crane:

 

And here’s the statue of Mothman in Point Pleasant:

mothman

Mothman has an eight-pack, not a six-pack. I was wrong in the third paragraph.

The evidence is here. Sandhill Cranes do not have abs, and therefore cannot be the legendary Mothman.

Ha. If only it were that simply.

In all seriousness, I do see a minuscule amount of plausibility to the Sandhill Crane theory, but the better part of me wants to believe that Mothman is in fact a supernatural entity. Additionally, given the descriptions of Mothman, if it were a bird it would have to be either an anomaly or a genetically mutation—Sandhill Cranes are only known to be 4-5 feet tall with a wingspan of 5-7 feet. Even on the larger scale, these birds do not measure up to the witness accounts.

We may never have the answer, and I am okay with that. Some things are better left unanswered, as if we knew the answer to everything what would we talk about? The shrouds of mystery around the Mothman brings such character to humanity, proving that we really haven’t changed much since our days of fearing witches and the gods above. Many citizens of Point Pleasant do genuinely believe that Mothman is a supernatural entity, whether a demon or a creature from an alternate dimension, who is here to warn the human race of coming disaster. In fact, they have festivals for Mothman, a museum, and numerous other tourist attractions that celebrate the creature’s existence. People have studiously researched Mothman, writing and publishing their findings. He has become a popular figure in the eyes of cryptozoologists, and certainly one of the most captivating cryptids out there. What is your take on this being? Was he conjured by the minds of many, or do you think this creature truly exists? What is his purpose, and does he present a threat to humanity? I personally believe he’s a pretty chill dude just doing his job, that is, letting us humans known when bad shit is about to go down. As cool as I think he is, I would not want to see him knowing that it entails great misfortune and loss. But I urge future witnesses to snap a pic, or even ask for a selfie if you get close enough.

This is simply what I have collected through my research and the opinions I’ve built on it. Feel free to comment your take on this phenomenon, or add important facts that I may have missed out on considering there is so much to this case. See you next week.