Something I greatly appreciated as a teenager was the paranormal.
As a tween I started watching Unsolved Mysteries, then hosted by Robert Stack, and In Search Of, hosted by Leonard Nimoy. Deep into adolescence I began to read more and more.
I approached the topic with such tenacity, that some people thought I had “issues” during my high school days. I was a bit of a pitbull when expressing topics I found fascinating. I wouldn’t say I’m a believer, just a skeptic with a healthy interest in the bizarre.
In university I wrote a column called the Paranormal Frontiers. After a few other post university forays into the volunteer paranormal researchers world, I squirreled away my interest. I kept it hidden, and only entertained it when I watched horror movies or wanted to show off some historical knowledge.
The release of the film The Conjuring inspired this list. Be sure to click on the hyperlinks for a Youtube video on the topic. Enjoy.
|25.||What: The Travis Walton abduction
Where: Apache-Sitsgreaves National Forest, Arizona
When: November 5, 1975
Why: An American logger’s close encounter of the fourth kind.
|24.||What: Eastern State Penitentiary
Where: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
When: Built in 1829, paranormal reports started in the 1940s
Why: The Eastern State Penitentiary is rife with ghostly phenomenon, especially in Cell Block #4.
|23.||What: The Bell Witch
Where: Adams, Tennessee
Why: The legend of the Bell Witch is allegedly the only haunting on record that has led to the death of an individual.
|22.||What: Prester John
Subject: Lost Colony
Where: Africa – Ethiopia or Central Asia
When: Between the 12th and 17th centuries.
Why: In 1165 BCE, a letter was sent to Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Comnenus, describing the marvels of a lost Nestorian Christian empire.
|21.||What: Bimini Road
Subject: Unexplained Architecture
Where: The Bahamas
When: September 2, 1968
Why: The Bimini Road, also known as the Bimini Wall, has been explained by natural processes. But, there are still those that believe it’s a link to the myth of Atlantis.
|20.||What: The Flying Dutchman
Where: Cape of Good Hope
When: Stories date as far back at the 17th century
Why: The Flying Dutchman curses all seafarers who lay their eyes on the ship.
|19.||What: Coral Castle
Subject: Unexplained Architecture
Where: Homestead, Florida
Why: Edward Leedskalnin, the constructor of the tourist attraction, was jilted by his 16-year-old fiancee and subsequently built Coral Castle for her.
|18.||What: Edgar Cayce
Where: Kentucky, Alabama and Virginia
When: March 18 1877-January 3, 1945
Why: Known as the Sleeping Prophet, Cayce made several bold predictions, including the rise of Atlantis.
|17.||What: The Three Secrets of Fatima and the Miracle of the Sun
Where: Fatima, Portugal
When: May 13 and October 13, 1917
Why: Three young Portuguese shepherds, Lucia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco, were allegedly visited by the Virgin Mary six times between May and October.
|16.||What: The Jersey Devil
Where: Pine Barrens, New Jersey
When: January 16, 1909
Why: The Lenni Lenape first nations called Pine Barrens the “place of the dragon”. But it wasn’t until 1909 that reports of the Jersey Devil heightened in frequency.
|15.||What: The Gulf Breeze UFO incident
Where: Gulf Breeze, Florida
When: November 11, 1987
Why: Say what you will about the Gulf Breeze incident, Ed Walters, the photographer of the lampshade UFOs, certainly tapped into humanity’s curious side.
Where: North America
Why: The thunderbird, also known as piasa and pamola, disappeared before the arrival of European explorers. (Photo by Brian Baker)
|13.||What: The Mothman
Where: Point Pleasant, West Virginia
When: November 16, 1966
Why: Writer John Keel brought the story of the Mothman to America, sharing a laundry list of supernatural events that surrounded the collapse of Point Pleasant’s Silve Bridge.
|12.||What: Gef the Talking Mongoose
Where: Dalby, Isle of Man
When: September 1931
Why: True, Gef was a tabloid tale, but it was the first cryptid-ghost story that I came across as a kid, so it holds sentimental value.
|11.||What: The Beast of Bodmin Moor / Beast of Exmoor
Where: Cornwall, England / Devon, England
When: Sightings go back to 1760
Why: When phantom wild cat sightings started springing up in frequency during the 1960s it became something of a story.
|10.||What: The Bermuda Triangle
Subject: Unexplained Phenomenon
Where: Atlantic Ocean, triangulated to be within the invisible boundary of Florida to Bermuda to Puerto Rico.
When: December 5, 1945 (but Columbus reported bizarre event in 1492)
Why: Modern scientist have explained the triangle as being a build up of methane gas under the sea bed. Once U.S. fighter formation Flight 19 disappeared, the myth was thrown into the limelight.
|9.||What: Mokele Mbembe
Where: Congo river basin
When: As early as 1776
Why: Remember that ’80s film Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend? The flick was based on the cryptid said to inhabit the Congo River basin as well as other jungle regions in Africa. Mokele Mbembe, an alleged sauropod, is said to mean “river blocker”.
|8.||What: Cadborosaurus, Ogopogo and Champ
Where: Cadboro Bay, B.C.; Lake Okanagan, B.C. and Lake Champlain
When: Champ’s sightings date back to 1609.
Why: The Northern hemisphere is rife with tales of lake monsters. Lake Okanagan, Lake Champlain, Lough Eske, Lake Baikal and Lake Brosno all have their stories of serpentine beasties lying beneath the waves.
|7.||What: Snedeker Haunting
Where: Southington, Connecticut
Why: I read the book In A Dark Place written by Ray Garton, and though the author has distanced himself from the tale told by the Snedekers in his novel, it made for some exciting reading material as a teen.
|6.||What: The Nazca Lines
Subject: Unexplained Architecture
Where: Nazca, Peru
When: First “discovered” in 1927
Why: The Nazca lines beg the question, “Did humans have flight capabilities before the Wright brothers?” Why not? With my archaeology background, I tend to think we sell ourselves short when it comes to advancement, especially when it comes to the past.
|5.||What: Smurl Haunting
Where: West Pittston, Pennsylvania
Why: Jack and Janet Smurl were haunted by an alleged demon in their smalltown Pennsylvania duplex. Demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren investigated the haunting.
|4.||What: Architeuthis (Kraken)
Where: The oceans of the world
When: 13th century
Why: I like Norse mythology, and the 13th century tale, the Orvar-Odds saga, spins the yarn of Hafgufa, which led to the modern day story of the kraken.
Where: Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Provence, France
When: December 14, 1503 to July 2, 1566
Why: In his quatrains Nostradamus is said to predict three antichrists. The first was said to be Napoleon, the second Hitler and the last one, Mabus.
Where: Loch Ness, Scotland
When: May 2, 1933 but Saint Columba wrote about Nessie in the 7th century.
Why: Putting Champ, Ogopogo and Caddy aside, Nessie is the king of lake monsters. The Surgeon’s photo, allegedly a hoax, sparked the debate of Nessie being a plesiosaur to light.
Where: Amityville, New York
When: December 1975
Why: George and Kathy Lutz have been accused of fraud. Still, the Amityville Horror, as told by author Jay Anson is quite the impressive yarn. (Photo by Brian Baker)