By Sean Casteel
They are the demon dogs from hell, the huge black canines with blazing eyes that haunt country lanes, and the phantom hounds that are regarded by some as Satan’s personal minions.
In the new Global Communications/Conspiracy Journal book, “Timothy Green Beckley’s Cryptid Creatures From Dark Domains: Dogmen, Devil Hounds, Phantom Canines and Real Werewolves,” the reader will indeed discover that there exists on the periphery of UFOs and aliens a shadowy realm of supernatural phenomena that includes many weird crypto-zoological monsters and creatures, none of which are housebroken and do not in any way, shape or form, make good domestic pets . . . demon dogs or hellhounds included!
Encounters with the oversized, flaming-eyed canines of torment and terror have been reported through the ages and have often been associated with subsequent death or other forms of tragedy. To hear such a creature howling in the night is to tread close to danger of many kinds.
BUTCH WITKOWSKI STALKS THE DOGMAN
In an interview conducted exclusively for this book, Butch Witkowski talks about his research into what he calls a “bipedal canine” who is frequently reported to appear in the state game lands of central Pennsylvania.
Witkowski began to study the paranormal after a UFO sighting he shared with several people went completely unacknowledged and unreported by the government and media. After he set up his own organization, called the UFO Research Center of Pennsylvania, with a gathering of like-minded UFO-believing individuals, he was surprised by the increasingly numerous reports of a doglike creature walking on two legs that were coming into the group.
“This is a real mystery to me,” Witkowski said. “You know, I thought Ufology was strange and hard to figure out, but it’s kind of simple compared to this stuff.”
The first report came to Witkowski in November of 2014 from a reliable witness – a retired pilot with 40 years of experience in both the military and with commercial airlines. Pilots are highly trained observers; it is a vital part of their job to accurately understand what their eyes behold. The pilot told Witkowski that he had been walking his two dogs in a familiar stretch of woods when the canines suddenly went berserk for no apparent reason. Next, the man beheld a tall, hairy, short-snouted “whatever the hell it was” that seemed totally oblivious to both him and his agitated hounds.
The man described the creature to Witkowski by saying, “If you would take Arnold Schwarzenegger and make him eight to ten feet tall – same body, massive chest, very thin waist, heavy-legged, muscular arms with hands.”
The man added that he didn’t see any ears, but he remarked that he hadn’t really looked for ears. He had taken in the whole creature, which had a short snout similar to a bulldog or pug.
After struggling to get his dogs back in his vehicle, the man pulled a handgun out of the glovebox and walked into the woods again. He saw nothing. No broken branches or footprints. The man subsequently returned to the scene – ignoring Witkowski’s advice – with several heavily armed friends. Although the group saw nothing, they simultaneously began to feel deathly afraid, as though an invisible presence was making them fear for their lives. They literally walked backwards out of the area, too frightened to turn their backs on whatever was generating that collective terror.
Another Pennsylvania resident, a woman raised in a religious family, told Witkowski about seeing a similar creature standing at the edge of a pond near her home. The woman had been taught that – if she were ever to see the devil – he would appear to her in animal form. “I truly believe,” she told Witkowski, “that I was looking at the devil.”
The creature is often called “demonic,” according to Witkowski. He has also consulted Native Americans, including members of the Inuit and Cherokee tribes, who have told him they think it may be a creature called a “skin-walker,” a shape-shifting spirit that could have gotten stuck somewhere between human and animal forms.
Whatever the creature is, it consistently terrifies those who encounter it.
“One thing that stands out in every report,” Witkowski said, “is that the people feel ‘This is not a good place to be right now. I need to get out of here or I’m going to die.’ They have a fear that comes over them that just sets the impulse to fear and flee right into motion instantly, the minute they see it.”
THE HOLLYWOOD HELLHOUND
Michele Lowe is a paranormal researcher who relates a fascinating personal experience in “Cryptid Creatures From Dark Domains.”
“When I was in my late teens, early twenties,” she writes, “I used to hang out with my friends, like most people in Southern California. But I was a little weird. I loved all things Hollywood. I would recruit my friends all the time to go with me up to Hollywood to hang out.”
Lowe first recounts a few Hollywood ghost stories, like hauntings by “Superman” actor George Reeves and Paul Bern, the husband of blond bombshell actress Jean Harlow. Both Reeves and Bern committed suicide and their troubled spirits can find no rest. Along with cruising the streets where ghosts allegedly materialized on a regular basis, Lowe and her friends were curious about seeing the house at 10050 Cielo Drive, where the Manson family had murdered pregnant actress Sharon Tate and several of her friends and peers.
They had to drive up a steep and narrow driveway before reaching the home’s iron gate, which was where the first body was discovered the morning after the killings in 1969.
“The feeling of being so close to where such a horrific crime was committed,” she continues, “was very sobering. The atmosphere was very heavy there, and it just didn’t feel right. So we left.”
Lowe writes that they decided to explore some of the other Hollywood neighborhoods, consoled by the bright lights and a more cheerful ambience.
It was then that a giant black dog came charging at the car.
“It was huge,” she recalled, “and had this very thick black fur. The dog’s back and head easily came up to the window of the car.”
Lowe and a female friend screamed in panic while Cuz Dave, the driver, hit the gas pedal. Even when the car reached 35 mph, the dog had no problem keeping up the pace.
“It was literally right next to the car,” Lowe writes, “looking at us as if it was out to kill! It was barking violently as we tried to drive away in sheer terror. We drove about a mile or so before Dave finally slowed down and turned into another neighborhood so we could calm down and regroup. Just as we were starting to calm down, the giant black dog literally appeared out of nowhere and came charging at the car.
“We again screamed and Dave took off again. We could not believe this was happening. There was no way that dog could have kept up with us when Dave took off out of that last neighborhood over a mile away! We quickly got out of that neighborhood and again lost the crazed dog. This time, though, we didn’t stop. We went straight home.”
Many readers, according to Lowe, might mistakenly think the young people were only dealing with someone’s pet. But she counters that assumption, saying she had never seen a dog so enormous. Its speed was also mind blowing, since it ran right next to the car without straining to keep up.
“It was clear the dog could have run even faster if it wanted to,” Lowe writes. “And then there is the fact that we drove off as fast as we could a mile or more away to another neighborhood and were there only a couple of minutes when, literally out of nowhere, the dog appeared again and started charging us at full speed. How could it even find us again? Even though we didn’t understand it then, we still knew that what happened was not normal.”
Over the ensuing years, Lowe began to study the paranormal in a quest for answers to the brush with the supernatural she and her friends had shared.
“Knowing what I know now,” she reasons, “I believe that what we encountered was a hellhound. I had heard of them before but didn’t know what they were. So I did some research and this is what I found: A hellhound is a supernatural dog, usually very large with thick black fur. They are unnaturally strong and fast and have red eyes. Sometimes the eyes are yellow. It is said that they are assigned to guard the entrance to the home of the dead, like graveyards or burial grounds. They also have other duties to do with the afterlife, like hunting down lost souls. They can also be an omen of death.”
NICK REDFERN STRUGGLES WITH THE FIERY HOUNDS – AND A UFO CONNECTION!
“Cryptid Creatures From Dark Domains” also features the work of Nick Redfern, one of the most visible faces in the field of paranormal research. Redfern has testified that his bedroom was once
“invaded” by a werewolf-type creature which crept closer and closer to where he was sleeping and then suddenly vanished. Redfern begins his chapter with a genuinely frightening story, told in second person, of a hapless traveler encountering a hellhound and fleeing for his life. One is then informed that the story was not a work of fiction, but actually happened in 1997 in a small English village called Ranton.
“But what are these infernal creatures?” Redfern asks. “Are they legend, reality, or both? And how, and under what circumstances, did they inspire the most famous, cherished and loved Sherlock Holmes story of all time? Published in 1902, Conan Doyle’s ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ tells the memorable and atmosphere-filled saga of the noted and wealthy Baskerville family that has called Dartmoor, Devonshire, England, its home for centuries. Dartmoor is filled with supernatural tales of terror, horror and intrigue – but leading them all is the legend of the terrible hound that haunts the Baskervilles.”
Conan Doyle took the lead from all-too-real supernatural occurrences of the paranormal hound on Dartmoor. He also relied on stories about a real-life resident of Devonshire County named Richard Cabell, a monstrously evil squire who may have sold his soul to the Devil himself for personal gain. When Cabell died in 1677, presumably into the embrace of his fork-tailed, horned master, a pack of supernatural hounds materialized on the old moors and raced for Cabell’s tomb, where they howled ominously all night long and struck cold fear into the locals.
“Thus, the story began to develop in Conan Doyle’s mind and imagination,” Redfern continues. “He moved the location of the old hall to Dartmoor and changed Richard Cabell to the evil Hugo Baskerville. In the process, literary history was made and ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ was born. But there is one important factor to remember: Conan Doyle did not invent Britain’s fiery-eyed hounds. He merely brought them to the attention of the public in spectacularly entertaining, fictional style.”
For those looking for a possible link to the UFO phenomenon, one does not have to travel through a black hole to find what appears to be a very positive connection.
It is at this point that Redfern begins to chronicle several instances of people encountering the real thing, and in more recent times than one might think. For example, there is the story of Nigel Lea, who in the early weeks of 1972 was driving across the Cannock Chase woods that dominate much of Staffordshire when he saw a strange ball of glowing blue light that seemingly came out of nowhere and slammed violently into the ground some short distance ahead of him before releasing a torrent of bright, fiery sparks. As he slowly approached the area where the light had fallen, he was both shocked and horrified to see looming before him “the biggest bloody dog I have ever seen in my life.”
“Very muscular, and utterly black in color,” Redfern goes on, “with a pair of large, pointed ears and huge thick paws, the creature seemed to positively ooze both extreme menace and overpowering negativity, and had a crazed, staring look in its yellow-tinged eyes. For 20 or 30 seconds, both man and beast alike squared off against each other in classic stalemate fashion, after which the animal both slowly and carefully headed for the darkness and the camouflage of the tall surrounding trees, not even once taking its penetrating eyes off of the petrified driver as it did so.”
Somewhat ominously, two or three weeks later, a close friend of Lea’s from back in his childhood days was killed in a horrific industrial accident in a West Midlands town. Today, after having deeply studied – almost to the point of obsession – the history of British Black Dog lore and the creature’s associations with both deep tragedy and death, Lea believes his strange encounter was directly connected.
BLACK SHUCK AND THE SHUG MONKEY IN RENDLESHAM FOREST – AND, YES, YOU’VE HEARD OF THAT PLACE BEFORE!
According to Redfern, perhaps the most famous of all of the phantom hounds of old Britain are those that are said to have frequented, and in some cases still frequent, the ancient roads and pathways of Norfolk, Essex, Suffolk and Sussex. Their various names include Black Shuck, the Shug Monkey and the Shock. The Shuck and the Shock are classic black dogs, whereas the Shug Monkey is described as being a combination of spectral monkey and immense hound.
“Even their very names have intriguing origins,” Redfern writes. “While some researchers consider the possibility that all of the appellations had their origins in the word ‘Shucky,’ an ancient east coast term meaning ‘shaggy,’ others suggest a far more sinister theory, namely that Shock, Shuck and Shug are all based upon the Anglo-Saxon ‘scucca,’ meaning ‘demon,’ a most apt description for sure.”
In the winter of 1983, a couple in their twenties, Paul and Jayne Jennings, encountered a black dog in Rendlesham Forest, home to Britain’s most famous UFO encounter, the December 1980 event in which numerous personnel from the nearby Royal Air Force Bentwaters military base encountered a UFO in the woods. Like Nigel Lea’s witnessing a glowing blue light before his face-to-face meeting with a black dog, the close proximity of the military’s UFO incident creates a tenuous connection between both phenomena. [Memo: Go to our Mr. UFO Secret Files YouTube channel for the exclusive story – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8QScAUN-pE]
The Jennings were walking along a trail in the Rendlesham Forest when, according to Redfern, they saw what Jayne described as a “big black dog that kept appearing and disappearing.” When Redfern asked her to elaborate, she explained that on rounding a bend on the path they came face to face with the dog, which was a huge creature whose head was unmistakably that of a large hound while the body, strangely, was more feline in nature.
The dog was not aggressive, and seemed to have a mournful expression on its face. But the Jennings were shocked when it vanished in the blink of an eye. They were even more shocked when a moment later it reappeared and proceeded to “flicker on and off” four or five times before vanishing permanently. After the dog’s disappearance, the air was filled with a strange smell that resembled “burning metal.” Could it be the fires of hell, to which the mournful-looking dog was dispiritedly returning? And what of the possible Rendlesham connection? Are the weird goings-on there proof that this might be what John Keel once determined to be a “window area” to another dimension?
THE HOUNDS IN MYTHOLOGY
Further along in his chapter, Redfern tells the story of the Wild Hunt and even wilder hounds. He quotes the famed crypto-zoologist Jon Downes: “Belief in the Wild Hunt is found not only in Britain but also on the Continent, and the basic idea is the same in all variations: a phantasmal leader and his men accompanied by hounds who ‘fly’ through the night in pursuit of something. What they are pursuing is not clear; although Norse legend has various objects such as a visionary boar or wild horse, and even magical maidens known as Moss Maidens.
“Greek myth has Hecate roaming the Earth on moonless nights with a pack of ghostly, howling dogs and the phenomenon has also been reported from Germany, where, according to folklore, the procession includes the souls of unbaptized babies in the train of ‘Frau Bertha,’ who sometimes accompanied the wild huntsman.”
(The mythic apparition of the Wild Hunt is said to resemble, and may have inspired, a well-known Country and Western song called “Riders in the Sky,” in which a band of ghostly cowboys is condemned forever to chase a herd of cattle across the sky yet never actually catch them. The song has been recorded by the likes of Johnny Cash, Gene Autry, Bing Crosby and Peggy Lee, as well as a later rock version by The Outlaws.)
Downes explains that the hounds are universally believed to be portents of war, death and disaster, and an unfortunate traveler who heard one would fling himself face downward to the ground to avoid seeing the beast. The Devil’s hunting pack, and the related phenomenon of the Devil Dogs, have been reported on more occasions during years of warfare than at any other time.
BLACK DOGS FROM COLONIAL TIMES TO THE PRESENT
Fortean blogger Andrew Gable ably adds a history of black dog hauntings in the United States.
“Legends of black dogs and phantom hounds,” Gable writes, “are widespread throughout the Chesapeake Bay region, which was one of the earliest areas settled by the English. The tales of British black dogs were combined with werewolf traditions and typical ghost stories, as well as possibly with crypto-zoological sightings of weird creatures, to create traditions that are like the British ones, and yet unlike them at the same time.”
One of the interesting stories Gable relates concerns a phantom hound named “Snarly Yow” who haunted a section of the National Pike near Turner’s Gap in Frederick County, Maryland. Gable references an 1882 book by Madeleine V. Dahlgren called “South Mountain Magic” in which no less than a dozen sightings of the beast are recorded.
A man named Daniel Mesick testified that his father kicked at a huge dog near Dame’s Quarter and his foot passed directly through it. Sticks, rocks and even bullets were said to pass right through the “animal.” Other accounts have it that the dog left physical traces and frightened horses so much they threw their riders.
“A staple of Frederick County legendry for years,” Gable writes, “the Yow was seen in 1962 near Zittlestown. In this instance, it was headless, white and dragged a chain along behind it.”
There is a phantom dog called the Fence Rail Dog, an enormous hound nearly ten feet long, which haunts a stretch of Route 12 near Frederica in Delaware. The dog appears in the wake of automobile accidents on the road. Gable points out that folklore from around the globe speaks of dogs as a kind of psycho-pomp – or spirits which guide the dead to the afterlife – and that the Fence Rail Dog’s appearance in the wake of death may be an example of this.
Gable also recounts the folklore concerning an outlaw named Silas Werninger, who was cornered in his home but committed suicide rather than be taken by his pursuers. He was buried in the forest near his home, and after his death a large black wolf emerged from the grove and menaced townspeople. A witch advised the people to dig up the outlaw’s remains and bury them in consecrated ground to dispel the phantasmal wolf.
Gable says the source of the folklore is the real life story of a Pennsylvania outlaw named William Etlinger, who did indeed kill himself after taking his wife and children hostage. His cabin was burnt to the ground by authorities trying to flush him out. It is said that the cabin sometimes reappears on its burnt foundations and that the outlaw’s body was moved after it was felt a black wolf familiar in the area may have been feeding on the corpse. Even suicidal outlaws deserve better. There is more to the story Gable tells than is recorded here, but let’s leave that to readers of the actual book, eh?
DEMON DOGS AND THE MIB?
Claudia Cunningham, nicknamed “The MIB Lady,” relates the story of how she and Timothy Green Beckley visit the grave of Charles Fort in Albany Rural Cemetery, near the state capitol of New York. Cunningham says that perhaps the site where Fort and his entire family are entombed is a fitting place for dastardly black hounds and phantom dogs from hell to be seen since Fort collected such beastly stories throughout his writing career and placed them in the volumes that make up “The Complete Works of Charles Fort.”
While Cunningham and Beckley failed to sight any phantom dogs of their own, their story still makes for a lively break in the action, to include some local Men-In-Black stories that center around the cemetery just outside Albany. In addition to being the place where Charles Fort is buried, the graveyard is the resting spot of a president of the United States, Chester Arthur. Is it any wonder haunting hounds, the MIB and other strange incidents raise their heads up from the etheric there from time to time?
Cunningham then goes on to record several late 19th and early 20th century stories from Fort’s research concerning the mysterious slayers of sheep in the UK. In one case in England, the police were unable to explain how the sheep had died since it was not possible for the killer to have been a mere dog.
“Dogs are not vampires,” said Sergeant Carter of the Gloucestershire Police, “and do not suck the blood of a sheep and leave the flesh almost untouched.”
A few weeks later, a newspaper report declared that the “marauder” had been shot and was said to be a large black dog, which Cunningham claims was an early example of convenient “debunking,” a pattern repeated throughout the history of the subject of demon dogs by the newspapers of the time. It appears that even in Fort’s time, a media cover-up of the paranormal was firmly in place.
SWARTZ, STEIGER AND KERN STARE DOWN THE WEREWOLVES
Also included in “Cryptid Creatures From Dark Domains” is a chapter by paranormal researcher extraordinaire Tim Swartz, who writes about the folklore of his native Indiana. In the early 18th century, French fur trappers making their way south from Canada encountered their own version of the canine nightmare called the Loup-garou, a supernatural threat more frightening than any wild and predatory “earthly” wolf.
The Loup-garou often appeared as a monstrous wolf but could also shape-shift into a cow, horse or any other animal. The creatures were also said to have mental powers; under their spell, a human victim became an enraged animal that roamed at night through the fields and forests. During the day, the unfortunate reverted to his human form but was sickly and fearful to tell of his predicament. People at the time believed that such was the fate of those who violated the rules of the Catholic observance of Lent.
Swartz is also a scholar of cinema and provides several pages of background and poster art from movies about werewolves.
Not to be outdone, legendary paranormal writer Brad Steiger offers his chapter, called “The Terrible Hungers of Real-Life Vampires, Werewolves and Ghouls.” The title alone should whet your appetite for Steiger’s fascinating historical study of monstrous crimes committed before the advent of modern psychiatry, which taught us to attribute such things to simple human sadism and sexual perversion. In times past, Steiger writes, evil spirits got the blame, but perhaps we moderns should instead search “the wasteland of man’s subconscious.”
Then, finally, there is William Kern’s short story, “The Man Who Fell From A Clear Blue Sky.” Kern is a sort of jack-of-all-trades; he writes both fiction and nonfiction, as well as working as a graphic artist and layout designer, to include his designing efforts on “Cryptid Creatures From Dark Domains.” Kern’s short story revolves around the phenomenon of “changelings,” specifically human/wolf changelings, which are called “hulfs,” we learn.
The reader will most likely agree that the new book covers the subject of supernatural canines very thoroughly, does it not? To which we can only add, “We double-dog dare you to take a walk on the wild side and read ‘Cryptid Creatures From Dark Domains.’”