Slenderman in the 1800s

The Internet seems to be abuzz about sightings of tall, thin men, garbed in all black, for the past few years. Such a creature has been dubbed ‘Slenderman’ and is the subject of many fictional short stories known as ‘Creepypasta’. While many simply dismiss claimed encounters as kids with overactive imaginations which are fueled by the mass of stories, there are some researchers who have taken a more serious look at possible encounters. There is a common theory that Slenderman is a thought form (for information about thought forms, click the link here)

One of the most interesting parts of the Slenderman enigma is that some have connected him to various stories and creatures throughout world mythology. One only needs to do a quick search and they would find a multitude of information on mythological creatures that Slenderman is similar to.

I am including two stories, both from the late 1800s, of creatures which seem like relatives of the Slenderman. Both are courteously provided through Albert Rosales’ extensive database, he can be found here.

Location. East Moorestown, New Jersey
Date: October 1885 Time: night

There were reported sightings of an apparitional figure by trainmen and others near the East Moorestown station. On one occasion startled members of a train crew thought they had hit someone walking along the track, only to find no trace of the ostensible victim. “Ignorant to this affair, Mrs. Cassidy, an intelligent lady of Moorestown, and her sister, walked over the track at this point a few nights after. She said yesterday, ‘We were walking slowly along, and I was never thinking of ghosts. I suddenly cast my eyes to the right and cried out: ‘Oh my! Look there. What is that?, and my blood stopped in my veins and I was paralyzed with fear, for right in front of me stood a tall, thin figure, dressed in black, with a crape veil over its face. It could not have come in that door there and must have been nearly seven feet tall. My sister said, “Oh that is some widow,’ but it suddenly whirled away with a whizzing noise like pheasants make when they rise and fly away. Then my sister was frightened and we both went down town. I met my brother and told him about it. He said we were cowards, but came back with us to the place we saw the ghost. It was quite light, as the moon was just breaking, through the clouds. “When we arrived at the place my brother saw it too, and started to run after it, but it suddenly vanished. It did not seem to have any feet, and though I don’t believe in ghost, it was the queerest looking thing I ever saw.”
Tom Cassidy, Louis Certain, Tom Morany and William Budd, four incredulous citizens concluded to ferret out the mystery and bravely face the foe. Friday night, after coming from their work on the railroad, they visited the haunted spot, determined to shoot the rascal who would penetrate such a humbug on the community. Tom Cassidy described their meeting with the ghost thus: “We were walking along the road, not thinking of the thing just then, when a tall, thin form, too large to be a man, stood in front of us. It was dressed in woman’s clothes and its face was craped. It wore something on its legs that looked like gum boots and its tall form swayed to and fro, like the boughs of trees when the wind blows through them, and made a similar noise. Louis Certain yelled out, “My God what is that ghost?” Then Bill Budd drew a revolver, and he ran a square following it. He could not get nearer than ten yards to it, and when he thought he was gaining on it, it suddenly disappeared in the woods. The strangest part of the affair was that the ghost ran along the sandy road and when we afterward examined the road not a track or trace of one could be found.” William Budd said, “I am a very fast runner, but I couldn’t keep up to that thing. I don’t believe it is human, for it does not run like a man. I wanted to fire at it when it ran away from me, but the other fellows told me not to shoot, and then when I was going to draw the infernal thing disappeared. I never did believe in ghosts but that is one.” One man said: “John Dargan’s horse saw it on the road, near Gillingham’s house, on Thursday night, and frightened at it. People say they cannot get a horse in Gilligham’s stable on account of it. Their house is empty and some think it stays there.” Isaac said he saw it come out of Gillingham’s yard and it looked like a man seven feet tall. He passed it and it disappeared, but he was certain it was not a human being.The ghost has been seen at various times by different people along the track, and all bear testimony to its great size, its somber appearance and the whizzing noise it makes as it sails along. Large crowds have congregated to see the mystery, but it generally appears when only three or four are present. Some of the citizens say that just two years ago a similar apparition clothed in white was seen at the same place. It manifested itself to a great many in the community and some think it but a reappearance of the old ghost, clothed in black.

Source: Jerome Clark IUR summer 2003

And here is another report, in which multiple creatures are seen:

Location. Fredrikstad, Norway
Date: late June 1881 Time: late evening

The witness lived in a house close to an old church in Fredrikstad and worked in western Fredrikstad and would return home in the evening; it was often quite late before returning home, as it was a long way to walk. Then one evening a few days after midsummer, he was sitting together with his wife next to the window eating a meal when they suddenly saw several completely black human-looking creatures standing outside the church gate, on the road that went past the church wall. He thought these figures were strange-looking and his wife thought the same, but thought no further on the matter at the time, as the road was usually well travelled by both driving and walking people. But their attention was attracted by these creature’s strange movements and appearance. They were all of equal height and very thin, a long smock hid their feet. They had small heads without any head-dress or gear and their arms were held straight forward on all of them which made it look like they had only one arm. They seemed to play and dance with each other, going back and forth, ‘compared to the movements of the northern lights on a winter’s light’. Stunned he asked his wife what kind of strange people were these, but she didn’t answer she just stared. Suddenly and in an instant they all disappeared at the same time appearing to walk directly into the church wall, the witness estimated that there must have been 10 to 12 figures. A few moments’ later three more appeared again on the road, making the same movements as the first ones, and disappeared on the same spot on the wall, and they never saw them again. It had been rather light outside and it happened relatively close to the witnesses so they were convinced that it had not been a trick of the light or confusion. The incident lasted about 10 minutes.

Source: Ole Jonny Braenne in Magonia exchange list, quoting “Spokelser” (Ghosts) 1913, pages 10-11

So what do you think? Tell me in the comments!

Mothman Festival

On September 19th & 20th, I attended the 14th annual Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. In this post, I was planning on going over some of the events and what the festival is.

The Mothman Festival was started 14 years ago by Jeff Wamsley, the curator of the Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant. The idea of the festival is to celebrate the creature known as the Mothman, which is a superstar within cryptozoology.

Mothman was giant, dark, birdlike creature, about seven feet tall, and had huge, glowing red eyes. It was sighted in Point Pleasant from November of 1966 to December 1967. It is probably best known through the Richard Gere movie, Mothman Prophecies, based on the John Keel book by the same name.

The 14th Mothman Festival was a very worthwhile trip. The festival appears to be a mix of your average town festival with games, vendors, attractions, etcetera, and a paranormal conference. There were a variety of recognizable faces and names around and about the festival, such as Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Stan Gordon, Joedy Cook, Ken Gerhard, and Lyle Blackburn. There was also a large number of lectures being given by some of the authors and researchers. The topics of the lectures varies wildly, from Mothman comic-books to the afterlife to lizard-men to, of course, the Mothman.

The Festival was not the only attraction of interest in Point Pleasant, there was also an Ohio River Museum, the Mothman Museum, monuments for the Battle of Point Pleasant and the Silver Bridge, and a statue of the Mothman.

The festival has something for everyone–the paranormal, books, food, games, and even the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters. I had a good time and am definitely going back next year.

Thought-Forms

Throughout the world there are beliefs pertaining to the power of thought, the most abundant idea is the possibility of ‘thought-forms’. Thought-forms are a popular idea between many occult researchers and scholars. The idea behind a thought-form is simple, they are exactly as they sound, a kind of creature, force, or object brought into existence purely through the power of one’s mind. There are numerous accounts of encounters with the paranormal and phenomena that could potentially be explained through the unconscious  thought-forms. Some examples of this are poltergeists, some cryptids, ghosts, and UFOs/extraterrestrials.

Thought-forms are generally said to be created through extreme concentration and focus on whatever it is said person or persons want to be brought into existence, often times, according to legend, the creation ends disastrously for all those involved. Unconscious thought-form creation is slightly more complicated, though never mentioned in any belief system or myth, some theorize if enough people believe in the existence of the same thing, eventually it will come into existence, for example, after the first Bigfoot prints were popularized, the idea of a large ape-like creature exploded, even after the prints were admitted to be fakes sightings of Bigfoot persist, because of this, some think that the immense belief in the creature literally brought it into existence.

The best known example of thought-forms in myth, and where most modern ideas within the subject of thought-forms originate from, comes from the ideology of the Tibetan monks. The monks believe that if you meditate and fast in a specific way, you can potentially bring to existence, a tulpa. Tulpas are specialized thought-forms, they seem to require specific rituals to bring forth, but afterwords, they follow their creator’s commands. Tulpas also begin as invisible to all other than their creator, but as they gain strength, they are able to be seen by others. There are also accounts of tulpas becoming strong enough to develop their own will and break free from the commands of their creator.

There are many issues with the existence or possibility of thought-forms, but many occultists claim that somehow, thought-forms are able to break the laws of physics to come into existence.

What do you think? Could thought-forms explain some or all paranormal phenomena? Or is this all superstitious crap? Tell me in the comments

Sources

Harper’s Encyclopedia of Mystical; and Paranormal Experience by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

The Directory of Possibilities edited by Colin Wilson

The Encyclopedia of Ghost and Spirits by Rosemary Ellen Guiley.

Spiritualism

Spiritualism is the name for the rise in occult studies and attempt to contact the spirit world during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The beliefs were spread by various groups, both serious and fraudulent, that were very abundant during these times. The movement has been associated with the modern obsession with the occult and psychics. Many connected to the spiritualist movement turned out to be frauds but there were some genuinely believing groups. The movement is also considered to be the rise of psychics and fortune-tellers.

The roots of the movement can be traced to Kate and Margaret Fox, sisters who claimed that spirits were communicating with them through a series of knocks and taps but were later shown to be frauds. After the Fox sisters went public with their claim, many followed. Spiritualism was extremely popular among minorities, mainly because of their belief in equality for all. Spiritualism also claimed to be the middle grounds between religion and science, and because of this, spiritualism was demonized by most religious orthodoxies. During World War I, spiritualism gain many supporters in Europe, mainly because spiritualism supported the belief of spirits of the dead lingering. Over time, spiritualism gained a more political standing and was further frowned upon.

Spiritualism’s most popular idea was that through the right equipment and ritual, you could contact the dead. Contact was done through things such as seances, specific boxes used for communication, discussions through mediums, channeling, and automatic writing. The two best known people who were active in the spiritualist movement, either against or for, were Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini.

Spiritualism is still popular today. Psychics, frauds, and ghost hunters are quite common. As many as 41% of people in the United States believe in a form of psychic abilities and as many as 35% of people in the U.S. believe in ghosts and spirits. There are many television shows that focus on the ‘adventures’ of those who appear to search for the unknown.

Sources

The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Foundations of Parapsychology by Hoyt L. Edge, Robert L. Morris, John Palmer, and Joseph H. Rush

Glossary

Everyone knows the terms “UFO” or “sea serpent”, but some of the other terms I use you may not be so familiar with. Because of this, I have decided to post mini glossaries so those who aren’t particularly familiar with the terms I may use can look up what they mean. There will be five or six words each post so they won’t be too lengthy.

Flaps- patterns of time, connected to groups of unusual encounters or happenings. Described by Loren Coleman as “an attempt to understand a grouping of reports which cluster in time, and for monster accounts, usually in a specific local.” It is worth noting that nearly all encounters with cryptids (unknown animals) or UFOs come in clusters.

Windows- specific places that seem to act as magnets for the unusual. Commonly attributed to cryptids, UFOs, or hauntings. Often window areas serve as locations for multiple types of unusual occurrences.

High Strangeness- there are two definitions for this term, first, encounters or reports with unexplained phenomena that seems more unusual than most reports (example, there was once an encounter with a supposed extraterrestrial which apparently gave the witness “space pancakes”). The second definition are areas that seem more unusual than normal window areas, for example, the Bermuda Triangle.

Zooforms- literally monsters. Zooforms are technically apparition creatures that resemble animals, but the phenomena seems to include most paranormal creatures, from werewolves to vampires to the bogey-man. It is an extremely vast and complicated phenomena.

Name Game- patterns within names of witnesses of the paranormal or names of places where paranormal encounters. Some examples of names within the game are Fayette, Dover, Decatur, and Logan.

Waves- similar to flaps, except waves are simply the clusters of sightings while flaps are the patterns within the clusters.

Sources

Mothman and Other Encounters by Loren Coleman

Mysterious America by Loren Coleman

PSIence by Marie D. Jones

Monsters! An A-Z of Zooform Phenomena by Neil Arnold

Introduction

Recently people have started to entertain ideas like ghosts and Bigfoot and even UFOs and as a result pop culture has exploded with the idea. From it spawned shows, movies, books, and even video games, all playing with the idea that there is something beyond science, maybe even beyond logic. Because of all this sudden popularity with the unexplained, there are now many people looking for answers as to what all this really is, could visitors from other planets really visit? Could a prehistoric reptile survive in a Scottish lake? Could there be spirits of the dead who remain among us?

Welcome to Paranormal101, a blog dedicated to getting accurate information and eyewitness accounts pertaining the paranormal to those who are interested in the unexplained and unsolved. I look at all parts of the paranormal and work to explain the complex phenomenons within. There are five categories which each post will be labeled within, they are:

  1. Cryptozoology- the study of animals which science doesn’t recognize, like Bigfoot
  2. Parapsychology- the study of psychic abilities and related phenomena
  3. Occultism- the study of occult practices, including magic, demonology, and some religious ideals
  4. Fortean- the study of things which are largely ignored by science like the raining of unusual objects and unexplained disappearances
  5. Ufology- the study of unidentified flying objects and related phenomena

I hope in writing this blog I inspire some to look further into the paranormal and all its subtle complexities that fascinates so many.