Thursday, April 16, 2015

Cryptid Corner: Dover Demon

There are places in this world where the unexplained seems to take up residence. Dover, Massachusetts is one of those places. In 1977, a creature, later called the Dover Demon, was seen and has never been seen again.

On the night of April 21st, a teenager named Bill Bartlett saw a creature crawling along a stone fence. He described the creature as having "long thin fingers" and "an egg-shaped head" with glowing eyes. Another boy named John Baxter claimed he saw the creature in the woods that same night.

The next day, a girl named Abby Brabham claimed that she say the creature sitting upright not too far from the sightings the night before.

The two boys made sketches of what they saw.

Fair warning, these pictures might send a chill down your spine.

If you notice on the first drawing, you can see the words "I, Bill, Bartlett swear on a stack of Bibles that I saw this creature."

There are many questions to be asked, but the biggest one to me is if the children knew each other? I haven't been able to find the answer to that question, but in a town of roughly 5,000 people at the time, who knows? According to the police, the children were honest, respectable kids.

Since then, there have been no documented sightings of the Dover Demon. A year after the incident, Bill Bartlett was parked with a girl when there was a thump on the car and he saw a creature scurrying away. As it was dark, he couldn't say if it was the same creature. Was someone playing a prank on Bartlett or did the creature seek him out?

Later on, a case of three boys who saw a creature by a pond in 1972 was discovered. "A small figure, deep in the woods, moving at the edge of the pond." was how they described it. Could this have been the first sighting of the Dover Demon? This encounter wasn't wildly reported, it seems, so it should cast no doubt on the 1977 encounters.

An interesting thing to note is that all of these cases took place by water. I know the importance of limestone and water in other parts of the unknown, but the importance of water here is slightly lost on me.

The story of the Dover Demon is unyielding. According to an article in The Boston Globe in 2006, the town and the residents, especially those involved, are still haunted by the encounters. But the town isn't home to just the Dover Demon. According to locals, the town is also home to buried treasure and the Devil on horseback.

Is Dover, Massachusetts a hot spot of otherworldly activity? It seems that might be the case, albeit infrequently. Much of New England is steeped in the supernatural, especially Massachusetts. But that's another story for another time.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Cryptid Corner: Pope Lick Monster

When I was in elementary school, I found a book in the library from author Daniel Cohen entitled "Monsters You've Never Heard Of". That was my introduction into a world of mystery that I have loved ever since. The notion that there are honestly monsters in this world is both terrifying and exciting. Since then, I've read many more books on the subject and with the advances made by the internet, there is so much more information to go on. I've decided to write about some of the stories that fascinate me the most. While there are so many cryptids, some are more interesting than others.

There are a lot of skeptics out there. I'm not going to try to sway you in any manner. If you believe, great. If you don't, that's great, too. As long as you find it interesting and maybe worthy of a chill or two.

Having family from Kentucky, the tale of the Pope Lick Monster is certainly an interesting one. The monster has origins as either a mistreated human-goat hybrid circus performer who vows revenge or a man who was reincarnated after sacrificing goats in exchange for otherworldly power. But what is believed for sure is that the monster is part man and part goat.

The creature lives in the Pope Lick Trestle in Louisville, Kentucky. As with the origins of the creature, there are many tales of who the monster attacks. One is by using hypnosis or mimicing a familiar voice, the monster is able to lure you onto the bridge to be killed by an oncoming train. Other tales describe the use of a bloody axe. What might be most terrifying is the notion that if you see the creature, you will be so afraid that you will jump off the bridge.

The bridge is still in use today, which causes concern for many railroad officials as there is quite a bit of danger from the trains for those looking to see the monster for themselves. Personally, I think that the tales of the creature itself would be enough to drive people away, but as there is an eight foot wall constructed to alleviate concern, I suppose I'm wrong.

So, if you find yourself out in the Gateway to the South by the ol' Pope Lick Trestle and you hear a familiar voice call out to you, it might not be a bad idea to run the other way.

The Exhumed: Cry Baby Lane

Recently, Nickelodeon aired a film called Cry Baby Lane on The 90's are All That. is the thing that slightly concerns me. I had never heard of Cry Baby Lane before. I pride myself on my love of all the spooky kid things from the 90's onward, so for this to slip through the cracks isn't something I'm proud of. In fact, it's a down right shame.

Cry Baby Lane originally aired on October 28th, 2000 on Nickelodeon. Melissa Joan Hart introduced the movie. I'm guessing she was also performing other hosting duties for Nick during the Halloween season. Since that first airing, Cry Baby Lane had never been re-aired until 2011. I'm not sure how many times it has aired since, but it has to be very few. However, you can watch the entire film on YouTube. It's good for at least one watch. Just to say "I've seen Cry Baby Lane."

Cry Baby Lane started life as a 10 million dollar feature film, but instead became a lower budget made for TV movie. One wonders what the original script was like, as the film only runs a little over an hour and would have been a complete waste of 10 million dollars.

When Nick re-aired the movie, they claimed it was banned. The real story is that, apparently, it was simply forgotten. I'm willing to buy that. Having now watched the film, it's extremely lackluster. It's not really scary and it certainly isn't extremely violent at all, which was a claim as to why it was never aired again. There are episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark? that send a chill down my spine even now, so I'd freely admit if this were a bit scary. Hell, even The Haunting Hour has creeped me out on occasion. Yet, Cry Baby Lane is far from scary.

Cry Baby Lane takes cues from various other films/TV shows like Pumpkinhead, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Goosebumps. The same year this aired, Are You Afraid of the Dark? ceased production. I think Nick saw this as a good chance to capitalize on that.

I have a few issues with the movie. It feels very rushed, but seems to take forever to get to the end. It starts rather strong with an interesting tale of two conjoined twins, one good and one evil, that are separated at death. That makes for a good start, but it devolves from there. I won't air out all the problems, but the biggest issue for me is Cry Baby Lane. It sounds unrealistic as a street name, the twins clearly died as teens or twenty-somethings as we see the bad twin later in the film, and it just doesn't work for me that there is a crying baby noise used throughout. But it's a very evocative title and Frank Langella is worthy of so much more than this.

I think Cry Baby Lane squandered a lot of potential. With some rewrites and a bigger budget for quality actors, this could have become a cult classic. But as it stands, Cry Baby Lane will be more remembered for being forgotten than it will be for anything else.