Movie Review: Minerva Monster

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As most of you know, I am an inveterate podcast listener and I could not help but hear about the folks over at Small Town Monsters and the series of films they are making about classic Sasquatch encounters.   I have listened to the interviews with interest and last night (15 May) I finally had a chance to go on Vimeo and rent the first in this film series.

I am not a fan of the “let’s run around in the woods, scare ourselves silly and do ridiculous things to attract Sasquatch’s attention” genre.  I watch the show that must not be named when there is a locale that I want to see and I can tolerate 45 minutes of people trying to pass off coyote howls and owl calls as Sasquatch vocalizations.  I am not totally against this mis-named show – it does raise awareness of Sasquatch and make people think about the creature – but I would think that people who spend as much time in the woods as these folks do would have better woodcraft.  I suppose it is simply a matter of generating suspense for viewers whose idea of the great outdoors is their backyard but I find it irritating after the first episode or two.

Having said that, I can assure you that Minerva Monster does not succumb to the temptation to copy the “successful” formula.  This movie is a straight up, serious documentary with no narrator about a classic Sasquatch sighting that happened in and around the Cayton property in Minerva, Ohio area in the summer of 1978.  The entire story is told from the perspective of people who were there and who witnessed the events or their aftermath.  Even the background on the town of Minerva is handled by the mayor and a local historian so that, often, the viewer feels as though he or she is simply sitting in a room with the person on camera, hearing their story.

I enjoyed the fact that there was no attempt to sell a particular viewpoint.  The cameras recorded whatever the witnesses told them no matter how outlandish. The most blatant example of this occurred when testimony was presented that indicated that the ‘monster’ was seen in the company of two large cats!  Anyone trying to present the bipedal ape or relict hominid angle would have cut this testimony but the director, Seth Breedlove, leaves it in and let’s the audience parse out what they make of it.

Another good example of this insistence on witness voice is the fact that no one in the film comes out and says that the Minerva Monster was a Sasquatch (or Bigfoot).  Some people say that they looked into the Sasquatch phenomenon after the episodes but most of the people in the film are of the opinion that something was there, something was seen but they really have no idea what it was.  I found this willingness to not try to explain the witness sightings and the findings most refreshing.

There were a number of other aspects of the film that were well done.  The closest that the documentary comes to computer animation is a series of drawings about events that are being discussed but which could not, of course, be recorded.  I believe these may be renderings from the talented artist who did the movie posters, Sam Shearon, but I am not certain on this point.  The production values are quite good for a small production shot on a tight budget.  As you would expect, there is nothing fancy in the camera work and sound but everything is clear and the only glitches with sound come from outside sources that could not be screened.  The background footage of the areas being discussed was useful in helping me visualize what the witnesses were talking about.  I would have liked to see a little more of the Cayton’s property and how it relates to the surrounding area but, again, given the limited resources for the film, editing decisions had to be made.

I would whole-heartedly recommend this documentary to anyone interested in the Sasquatch phenomenon and an in-depth presentation of a case that created a storm of media attention.  Not only does the film cover the sighting itself, it also talks about the aftermath of the sighting. The Caytons were faced with “yahoos” with pick up trucks full of beer and guns wanting to go on their land to hunt the creature, people blocking the street where they lived hoping for a sighting and subtle but pervasive ridicule in the town.  We often forget that sighting of an unknown anything can change people’s lives and not always for the better.

As noted, the video is available for purchase or rent through Vimeo On Demand but if, like me, you are impressed with the film, then you can purchase a DVD here.


Opening to the Paranormal

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Between blog posts and my fiction writing, I have been putting in some hours getting words on the page lately so, when the evening rolls around, I like to watch an hour or so of TV to let my mind unwind.  Of course, some of the things that I watch are back episodes of paranormal shows and, of course again, watching those shows queued me up for yet another blog post.

If you have been following the blog for a while, you will know that I am all for people doing paranormal investigation (and I include things like looking for Sasquatch here) as long as they do it in a safe manner.   Safety starts in the physical world with using your common sense and staying out of crime ridden neighborhoods and old unstable structures, not trespassing, having survival gear packed if you are going into the woods and so on.  I should not even have to mention this but the tragic stories that come out, now and then, about people who are injured or killed because they ignore basic safety precautions encourage me to remind folks to be careful out there.  Chasing ghosts and other things that go bump in the night does not obviate the need to pay attention to what is happening on this level of reality.

Watching these paranormal shows, though, I am struck, over and over, by the need for investigators to follow some basic energetic safety protocols.  I can not count the number of times I heard someone on one of the shows talk about opening themselves up to whatever was going on in the site they were investigating.  As I have pointed out, again and again in these pages, you want to know what you are opening to before you make such an invitation.  It is the height of idiocy to walk into any haunting, especially one that is being presented as hostile and open yourself to whatever presences are there.  Even mediums, who work day in and day out with spirits, know that there are basic protocols to follow when making contact with the Otherworld and that those protocols help to keep them safe.

Safety is not gained by trying out your new Shakti Helmet in the midst of a haunting where  a young girl is being plagued by a being described as a ‘lady vampire’.  While, in actuality, this entity did not turn out to be one of the astral predators that feed on energy, the investigator in this case did not know that at the time that he undertook this experiment.  As I have pointed out on a number of occasions as well, safety is also not gained by going into hauntings with a deliberately provocative and belligerent attitude.  Such behavior may stir up activity and make for good television but there is a reason why magicians have a saying that one should not call up what one can not put back down.

In a very real sense, the paranormal investigators who are walking around, calling out to spirits that are supposed to be in a place are practicing a rough form of evocation that can lead not only to paranormal activity but to attachments and worse.   I am minded of one investigator who stated that he was effected for several days after a particular encounter.  This should not happen; investigators should, at a minimum, have the tools to cleanse themselves energetically after ghost hunting.

Every occultist has favorite techniques for protecting themselves but, if you have no experience in this realm then I encourage you to read Michelle Belanger’s The Ghost Hunter’s Survival Guide: Protection Techniques for Encounters with the Paranormal.  Occultists of all stripes love their ‘tech’ and, reading some of the books out there on psychic protection and/or self defense, you might become convinced that you have to become a practicing witch or ceremonial magician to take care of yourself energetically during a paranormal investigation.  Ms. Belanger approaches psychic hygiene from a non-denominational viewpoint and allows anyone with an open mind to learn how to work with energy and how to use it to protect and cleanse themselves in the ghost hunting milieu.  This is a good book to get the rookie ghost hunter started in protecting themselves and makes a good companion volume for Ms. Belanger’s other book, The Psychic Energy Codex: A Manual for Developing Your Subtle Senses, a book that will get the novice started on developing the sensitivity to know what sorts of energies they are coming into contact with and what level of protection they might need.  Sometimes, with some wrathful entities, it is better to back away and re-group than to stay.

Be aware though that, in my experience, once you have developed some talent for energy work, you begin to ask “well, what else can you do with this stuff” and the next thing you know your bookshelves and Kindle are crowded with books on esoteric subjects.  You have been warned, the rabbit hole awaits!!

 


The Role of Psychism in the Paranormal

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I was listening to Marie D Jones on Into the Fray radio today and something that she and Ryan Sprague were talking about hit the “I need to write a blog on that” chord.  Basically, the discussion revolved around how, in some paranormal cases, one person will experience an event while another will stand to the side and wonder what all the fuss is about.

I first noticed this phenomenon in magical circles many moons ago.  In the more public era of my pagan life, I participated in quite a number of different rituals.  I would often come out of these rituals thrilled at the energies I had experienced only to have someone standing around at the feast afterward saying something like “it was a lovely ritual but I did not feel much”.  I remember thinking, in my more youthful hubris, that such people must be “concrete heads” not to have experienced anything in the ceremony.

In the same manner, two investigators may walk into a house that is allegedly haunted. One investigator may have multiple experiences while the other sits in the dark all night and experiences nothing, even with a coterie of electronic devices to keep that investigator company.

It seems, at times, as though the paranormal is controlled by an intelligence that is determined to leave humans standing, scratching their heads.  Given the many legends of trickster spirits, I think there is likely something to that idea but I also think that, often, there is a much simpler explanation of the seemingly random firing of the phenomenon that we study: sensitivity.

In the more public period that I spoke of above, I used to earn part of my living doing readings at my local metaphysical book store.  I can not begin to tell you how many people I looked at and asked “why are you talking to me, you could be doing this reading for yourself?”  Mouths would drop open and expressions of denial would spring to their lips but the truth was that , even though they denied it, these people had a lot of latent psychic ability.

You might recognize these folks: they are the people who ‘just have  a feeling’ that they should turn right instead of left and avoid an accident, who always seem to know who is calling or who have dreams about things that subsequently happen.  They do not think of themselves as psychic since only “those” people (you know the ones with the dark, incense laden parlors, cheesy robes and turbans) are psychic.  Whether they own the title or not, these people have enough ‘bleed through’ of their psychic abilities to respond to them, even if it is only at a barely conscious level.

On the other hand, you have people who, for one reason or the other, have sealed themselves away from their psychic selves, put those abilities behind a door and throw away the key.  I referred to these people as ‘concrete heads’ above and this is a pretty apt description; nothing short of the physical manifestation of the Archangel Michael or a strong poltergeist slapping them in the back of the head is going to get through to these people.  Whether it is their upbringing in a fundamentalist setting or simply their fear of being outside societal norms, these folks will not allow themselves to utilize the psychic, at least not consciously.

Psychic sensitivity runs a continuum, of course, from those that are aware of their abilities and use then to those that simply refuse to acknowledge psychicsm at all and will consciously ignore any input that does not arise from rational thought.  Add to this the fact (at least in my world) that no two psychics are the same and may have quite different modes of psychic perception and you begin to understand why two or more people in the presence of a paranormal phenomenon may have markedly different experiences.

Let’s go back to our haunted house and add another ghost hunter.  So, we have one ‘concrete head’, one sensitive person of some sort and one person who identifies as a medium.  The person who has shut away their psychism will very likely experience nothing or only have vague feelings of disturbance that they may or may not be able to verify with their equipment.  The sensitive may feel cold spots, have the feeling of being watched or may actually feel that they have been touched.  The medium, if there are spirits present may actually be able to see or hear those spirits and communicate with them.  Different level and varieties of psychic talent; different experiences.

I would make the argument that it is good to have different types of people on an investigation team.  If you have a whole team of mediums on a ghost hunt things are going to get out of hand pretty quickly.  On the other hand, a team of concrete heads will find that their investigations are, for the most part, not very interesting.  If you have different levels of ability on a team though then you have the opportunity to cross check what is going on around you.  If the medium on point says that they feel a spirit in a location and the concrete head tells you that there is a twenty degree temperature drop in the area the medium is pointing to then you can be pretty sure something is happening.  If the concrete head is even feeling a vibe about a place, then you might want to hold your medium in reserve or have them go in shielded to avoid over-taxing them.

 


The Extraterrestrial Hypothesis

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I am an occasional listener to Where Did the Road Go?, a podcast that covers a variety of paranormal/Fortean topics and which often features very interesting guests.  In the linked podcast, Seriah Azkath, the host of the show, is discussing the extraterrestrial hypothesis (ETH) with author Joshua Cutchin, writer of the fascinating A Trojan Feast, a book that explores food in faery, UFO and Sasquatch legends.  The interview itself is quite interesting but it got me thinking about why I am not a huge fan of the ETH either.

I think that there are some huge barriers to the ETH and the first of these is the assumption that aliens are rather like us and have similar motivations.  Ask the man on the street what an alien looks like and, chances are, the image of the grey alien from the cover of Communion will pop into most people’s minds.  In most science fiction, aliens are depicted as organisms with two arms, two legs and a head.  The writers and movie makers may make them look insectoid or reptilian to make them strange but they are still basically modeled on the human frame.  Given the vastness of the universe, I think it entirely likely that life may have evolved in a variety of forms, some which we would not recognize or even, possibly, be able to perceive.  Being a person who saw every one of the original Star Trek episodes multiple times when I was young, I am minded of the episode “The Devil in the Dark” where the Enterprise crew encounters a silicon based life form.  The being was certainly intelligent but it was in no way space faring and had no desire to be.

In line with the above idea, intelligence does not equal the desire to explore the galaxy or even make one’s presence known.  I think it entirely likely that an advanced civilization could evolve with a decidedly isolationist bent.  Even if they were aware of other beings out in space, their culture might be such that they had no desire or interest in contact or in seeking those other beings out.  We saw a classic example of this here on Earth with the Japanese.  Until Commodore Perry and the forced entry of the West into Japan, the Japanese were quite happy to keep their country to themselves.  Foreigners were welcome to trade but were kept strictly in port cities and Japanese society and culture developed during this time with very little input from the outside world.  No one would argue that the Japanese are not an intelligent people; they chose, as some alien cultures might, to keep to themselves.

Now, let us say, for the sake of argument that an advanced civilization develops out in the depths of space and that they are interested in exploring deep space.  The next huge hurtle that we have to overcome is distance.  Even traveling near the speed of light, it would take inordinate amounts of time to travel from point A to point B in this galaxy alone.  Even if the aliens were capable of some technological feat that allowed them to travel faster than light (something our physics does not seem to allow, at this time), there would still be a considerable investment of time, resources, energy, etc. in such travel.

Why on earth would these technologically advanced aliens be coming to a backwater planet inhabited by hairless bipedal apes that are intent on destroying not only themselves but also the planet they live on?  Why would they want to have anything to do with a species so barbaric that it slays intelligent beings living in the sea because it is more profitable to allow their deaths than to take precautions to save the intelligent creatures (dolphins for those who missed it)?  Why would these aliens not simply do a quick scan of our planet and take themselves elsewhere, assuming that they bothered to visit at all?  There is no guarantee, after all, that a space faring race would be using ‘space lanes’ close enough to Earth for them to even notice us.

The ‘space brother’ sector of believers in the ETH would have us believe that the aliens are visiting to help us, to guide us to a more peaceful existence and awareness of our place in the cosmic interweave.  This is a nice thought, but it seems to me that, if the space brothers wanted to do this, they certainly, with their tech, could have found a better way to get their message out than sending a few half-mad channelers out to announce the good news.  All in all, the space brother concept smacks of wishful thinking derived from the beginnings of the Atomic Age.

Other ETH supporters put forth the the idea that the aliens want something from us and, in the abduction scenario, it often seems that the aliens are engaged in some type of genetic experimentation.  Again, a race with the technological sophistication to bridge interstellar space would, I think, be quite capable of taking whatever they want from us.  If it happened to be mineral wealth of some kind, I am sure that they would have developed the tech to do basic mining.  If they had decided to do genetic work with us, I doubt seriously that they would have the need to repeatedly kidnap people, perform painful procedures on them with brutal instrumentation, impregnate them and then steal the fetuses as some have claimed they do.  It might be a bit of a logical jump, but I suspect that a race capable of bridging the stars would have the medical tech to perform their experiments with minimal invasiveness and absolutely no awareness on the part of the test subject.

Now, as I have said repeatedly in these pages, something is happening to abductees but I do not think we really have a clue what that something is and I doubt seriously that it has anything to do with extra-terrestrials.  Before we look to an outer space solution for this complex of issues, I think we need to look hard at explanations ranging from the possibility of beings existing on our planet that we can not perceive with our senses (the theory of plasma beings, for example) to the possibility (probability in my mind) of inter-dimensional beings coming through to our world.

 


Otherworld Influence in Crime

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I sometimes think that the Powers that Be place things in my path to write about for this blog.  In the past couple of weeks, I have had the pleasure of reading Audrey Brice’s Outer Darkness, a fictional book that deals with the restless spirit of a suicide victim who influences some unbalanced individuals to try to kill the heroine of the story.  I also happened to listen to the Into the Fray podcast about serial killer John Patrick Addis who, amongst other things, claimed that he sometimes saw small people running about when he was in the woods.  In different ways, both of these pieces of media got me thinking.

How many times, when you have heard of a particularly heinous crime, have you said something along the line of “that person was just nuts” or “he had to be crazy to do that”.  I fully agree that people who do terrible things often suffer from mental illness, if we think about the interesting theory that the brain is a signal receiver for consciousness, and not the source of consciousness, then is it not possible that certain influences can create situations where the brain is receiving information other than what we normally perceive in our consensual reality?

I had a friend, many moons ago, who was an exorcist.  Not the holy water splattering, cross waving type of individual who charges into a bad situation and can make it worse.  No, this person was intimately involved with the spirit world and quite capable of removing the influence of spirits that did not vibrate in harmony with the person they were influencing.  This individual also worked in the mental health field so he understood mental illness.  He told me, on more than one occasion, that he kept ‘demon traps’ (large chunks of specially programed dravite – a brown tourmaline) at the door to his office and that, on many occasions, a very disturbed client would be brought into his office, past the traps and suddenly become much calmer.  He shrugged this off as the client leaving their detritus at the door but I think that he was on to something.

Science has spent a lot of time looking at the neuro-chemical foundations of mental illness and those working in this field have made great strides in discovering what the physical roots of ‘madness’.  Part of the intensity of this quest has been the scientific desire to ‘prove’ that mental illness is simply another physical disease and not, as was thought in more ‘superstitious’ times, the result of interference from spirits of various kinds (depending on the culture we could be discussing the djinn, faery, demons, etc.).  Mental illness can therefore be treated like physical disease, using the pharmaceutical model of changing the body’s chemistry to produce a healing effect.  If, however, we take the position that the brain is a consciousness receiver, a theory that is just as relevant as the idea of brain as consciousness producer, we immediately run into my friend’s assertion that mental illness can be caused and/or exacerbated by spiritual influences.

As with most ideas that I discuss on this blog, I do not think there is any one answer.  Some mental illness is certainly the result of brain chemistry imbalance (perhaps that imbalance impedes the normal reception of consciousness?) and can be treated by careful alteration of the chemical balance in the brain to a more ‘normal’ level.  Some mental illness, such as forms of schizophrenia, may be caused by the brain’s inability to filter out the myriad sense perceptions that we normally screen to prevent ourselves from being overloaded with input on a moment to moment basis.  Interestingly, some of the input that is screened out may be psychic perception so, in some cases, the mentally imbalanced person may be perceiving things outside the realm of ‘normal’ consciousness, thus adding to the notion that they are out of touch with ‘reality’.

Finally, though, we have to consider that some forms of mental illness may be caused by spirit influence, in other words, contact with the spirit may cause the imbalance, or the brain chemistry may already be off and the contact may be exacerbate the issue.  We know that an untrained medium basically sends forth a beacon on the astral that attracts spirits and one of the medium’s tasks in life is to learn how to deal with the extra input, screen out ‘undesirables’ and organize the spiritual input in a way that they can deal with.  What if certain brain chemistry imbalances draw in beings that have no care for the best interests of humans?  I do not think it is a long step to theorize that some of the particularly heinous crimes we read about could come about as a dual process of mental illness and the influence of disharmonic entities, working in synergistic effect.


Spirits: Talk First, Banish Later

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I was excited to see an old acquaintance of mine, Diana L Paxson, on The Paranormal Podcast discussing her book The Essential Guide to Possession, Depossession and Divine Relationships. I strongly encourage readers to give a listen to the podcast since Jim Harold does a good job of asking the questions that most people not familiar with this phenomenon might ask and bringing up the very real concerns of those encountering possession for the first time.

In the Western, Christian-dominated mindset, possession is a bad, some might even call it terrible or evil, thing. This is a classic example of the kind of cultural blindness that prevents paranormal investigators from looking at phenomenon with new eyes. If one happened to be a member of one of the African originated religions of the Caribbean or South America, one would view possession as not only acceptable but even desirable when undertaken in the proper manner i.e with proper training and initiation in controlled circumstances with other experienced practitioners to assist. The followers of these religions understand that possession is not a practice undertaken for ‘kicks’ or to ‘see what will happen’ but is a spiritual experience with deep meaning that fills their lives with significance and the presence of their honored spirits.

Ms. Paxson makes a point in this interview of not over-simplifying. Interaction with the spirit world can be very complex; in his classic work, The Secret Commonwealth, the Rev. Robert Kirk tells us that those who open to the Sight can often be frightened out of their wits since their world suddenly becomes filled with spirits. In one telling part of this fascinating book, Kirk describes a way in which a seer can temporarily open the Sight of one not born with it. The percipient in that case is completely taken aback as he or she (do not remember which) is suddenly overwhelmed by a vision of spirits coming from all directions. I’ve stood at the crossroads, in vision, when one of these hostings was going on and I can say from experience that, while a Westerner might lump all these beings under the category, faery, that would be like looking out over the African savannah and saying, “oh, look, animals!”

While Ms. Paxson’s expertise has to do with those who are ‘bothered’ by or seeking to come into relationship with the Powers (her term for the gods or god-like beings of various traditions), what she has to say about those Powers applies as well to more ‘ordinary’ spirits. If you happen to have a gift for sensing or communicating with spirits, treat any new spirit as you would a new human acquaintance. Number one rule: be polite! Think of how you would feel if someone walked into your house and started yelling at you and throwing holy water on you. Or how you would feel if you were lost in a strange city and the person you asked for directions suddenly whipped out a sage bundle, lit it and started blowing the smoke in your face.

Yes, there are spirits that need to be removed from a place or from a person but, before making this assessment, as with a human being, do you not think that a period of contact and negotiation might not be in order before ‘going off’ on a spirit or spirits? Here is just one example that you might consider:

Spirit A lives in a lovely little copse of trees on a piece of land that you have just purchased along with your new home in the country. A has lived quietly in this area for years despite having a house built not too far from its little “home”. You begin to enthusiastically shape things up and mow a little too close to A’s copse taking down some of the plants that it values as part of its home. You begin to notice flitting shadows in the house. Things go missing and then re-appear. There seems to be movement outside the house at night and you have the feeling of being watched.

Being a good co-resident of the land, you spend some time on your back patio. You make sure your personal protections are in place, just in case, but then do some light trance work to see if you can communicate with your ‘neighbor’. Perhaps in this first instance, you don’t really ‘see’ anything but you have a feeling that there is something on the land. You introduce yourself and ask if the being has anything to say to you. A is probably going to view you with some suspicion and may not reply but, again, you are a good neighbor. You pay attention to your intuition as you walk the land.

The next time you are out to mow, you have a definite feeling that you should avoid the copse of trees on the back part of the land. You listen to that inner voice and follow up later, again sitting quietly on your patio and respectfully asking if the spirit that you have been seeing lives in that copse of trees and if there is anything they want to tell you. It takes several attempts but A eventually conveys to you, in some way, that they would like you to avoid cutting a certain area of the yard. You agree to leave that section wild and the manifestations in your house stop. You follow up by occasionally leaving a small offering amongst A’s trees. A is happy and so are you and maybe, if you are so inclined, A even deigns to work with you in keeping the land healthy.

This is just one example of what might happen if we humans did not assume that everything invisible that we encounter is some sort of evil entity out to get us. I know that this type of posturing gets more viewers for TV but, in real life, a policy of communication is often the way to go, even with spirits who might be a little more difficult to manage.


Devil Dog of Route 666

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My regular readers will know that I have an abiding interest in the Phantom Black Dogs most notably found in England but also ‘native’ to the Americas. It is logical, then, to assume that I would not be able to pass up commenting on this recent episode of Into The Fray where Clint Granberry tells his harrowing story of an encounter with an unknown canid creature in Arizona.

First of all, let’s clear up some geography issues here. The incident in question actually occurred not far from the exit for the aptly named Devil Dog Road along I-40 near Williams, Arizona. I-40 travels along the path of the old Route 66 but the road that was once designated Route 666 is now US 491 and travels roughly north/south, intersecting I-40 near Gallup, NM, almost a full state away from the site of this incident.

I strongly urge readers to listen to the interview linked above since it offers a rare opportunity to hear a phantom dog witness tell the story and hear the emotion in his voice as he does do. Mr. Granberry’s testimony is very matter of fact but I had the feeling that he was really struggling with himself on a more than one occasion, trying to describe an experience that is not easy to fathom. The witness’ description of the animal as reminiscent of a hyena contained shades of the witness descriptions of the Beast of Gevaudan. The fact that the impact with this creature damaged his vehicle but that no evidence of the beast could be found in the empty desert at the crash site, coupled with his detailed description of the animal, makes for compelling listening.

Now, the skepdebunkers will happily conclude that Mr. Granberry ran into a mis-identified calf or a deer or some such and conclude that the Arizona Highway Patrol simply did not put enough energy into finding the dead animal. Certainly, this is a possibility except that the witness got a good look at this creature and was very positive that it was not any animal he was familiar with. There is also the mysterious fact that he hit this creature dead on at approximately 80 m.p.h. and that the damage to his vehicle should have been more extensive and should have included more tissue and hair than he testified was found. I believe that Mr. Granberry had a close encounter of the spooky kind on that Arizona highway.

What really interests me about this case though is the beast’s kamikaze behavior. During the interview, it was suggested that this ‘critter’ might have been a skinwalker but I seriously doubt this. Skinwalkers are actually shape shifted human beings. The stories of skinwalkers all agree that if you injure a skinwalker in its animal form, that injury will appear on the human being. Given this, it is highly unlikely that a skinwalker would actually charge a car since any injury sustained would come back wth them to their human form. Remember that no remains, of any kind, animal or human were found. Skinwalkers are famous for chasing cars and scaring the beejesus out of people, not for running into them.

The same is true of most phantom dog sightings. The creature will appear, seemingly from nowhere, and walk/run alongside or behind a person or vehicle. Very seldom does one read of such a creature actually running an intercept pattern on a vehicle. In fact, the only devil dog / hell hound sightings that I can find where the creatures actually seemed to attack or charge vehicles occurred to the east on the infamous Route 666 mentioned in the title. There are several noted instances of these ‘dogs’ charging a car and shredding tires after being ‘hit’ with no evidence of the beast once the car had come to rest.

I find it very interesting that Mr. Granberry’s incident occurred directly after passing the exit for Devil Dog Road. I was not able to unearth any stories about the origins of that name but Fortean researchers have long noted the coincidence of high strangeness and place names beginning with or containing the word devil. I think that kamikaze hell hounds fall firmly into the realm of high strangeness and the damage to the Granberry car, which took three days to fix, certainly speaks to my thoughts about creatures being able to move from another plane to our plane and take on some physical form. This ‘dog’ was dense enough to do some damage but then disappear back to wherever it came from.

While the Route 666 in the title certainly seems to be a paranormal hotspot (at least to some), the area where this incident occurred is many miles away from this ‘haunted highway’. The section of I-40 past Williams is clear of Indian country and does not run near the other vaunted hotspot in Arizona, Sedona. As much as I would like to see a pattern here, I think that this incident had more to do with the percipient than the geographic location and that is a subject I will take up in my next post.


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