Friday, July 19, 2013

The Week I Almost Died In The Dismal???

A Northern Girls Tale Of The Imagined South
By Dorraine Fisher

Before our very own Philip Spencer was suddenly laid up with a broken back and put out of commission for 12 weeks, he had invited me to travel from my happy, cool spot in Illinois to visit him and his assistant Shannon Turner as they do their work in The Great Dismal Swamp near Phil’s home in Hampton, Virginia. Being a writer and aspiring photographer, I loved the idea of traveling…well…anywhere really. And the opportunity to visit these fine people and watch them promote conservation and hunt down monsters in the wild, protected areas of Virginia was very tempting. What an opportunity?! I’d be absolutely stupid to turn it down. Right? But writers and photographers, if they’re smart, do extensive research before they ever travel anywhere. It’s always important to know what you’re getting yourself into before you take on such a task. So I set out to find what would be in store for me.

First, I checked the government and travel websites. Of course they were filled with beautiful idyllic pictures that made it appear to be a wonderful, magical place. Vast, green wetlands, gnarled, ages-old cypress trees with Spanish moss clinging to their branches. Beautiful water birds cawing in the distance, and colorful insects buzzing around vibrant wildflowers. I sighed a big sigh, perhaps a little relieved. My being from Illinois along the Illinois River, I’m no stranger to swamps and wetlands. So I was thinking this might not be a big deal at all. I try to keep a good attitude. But I’ve had enough experience to know that’s there’s always a dark underbelly to everything So let’s be real here. It’s named the Dismal Swamp for a reason. William Drummond, who, in 1665, explored the area, gave it this illustrious name that has stuck all these years. As the story goes, he was the sole survivor of the entire expedition group that year. And he pushed his way out of the brush starved, alone, disheveled, and terrified, talking out of his head about the strange forces he encountered in the swamp. Talk about things that make you go “Hmmm!” “Dismal” Swamp indeed.

Numerous people have died there, and many ghost tales permeate the collective psyche of the local resident population. It’s a spooky, spooky place to hear some tell it. There are ghosts everywhere; supposed psychic forces, in a place steeped in folklore and perhaps some wild imaginings. Many people have been said to have walked into the swamp and never returned, leaving tales of ghostly apparitions wandering around scaring hikers and explorers out of their wits. And in the late 1800’s, escaped slaves sought seclusion and safety there where they may have lived and died for their freedom. And while you’re busy dodging ghosts and your own imagination, there are all kinds of creepy, crawly things, and other manner of wildlife that calls the swamp home. This might include copperheads, water moccasins, rattlesnakes, alligators, black bears, bobcats, ten documented species of bats, and vicious blood-draining mosquitoes. Oh my! And that’s just the critters you might actually see. But what about the ones you don’t always see, like all the monster legends of the Swamp Ape? The supposed swamp-adapted version of Bigfoot that’s said to wander the thickest areas of the landscape. Does anyone really want to see that staring at them? And add the blistering heat and choking humidity on top of all that and you’ve got a witches brew for a really scary place to visit.

I suddenly had more respect for Phil and Shannon. Now they seemed like the bravest people ever. Wandering around fairly often in what seemed to me to be one of the most dangerous landscapes in North America. But, the fact of the matter is, it really is a beautiful place. And behind beauty is always some element of danger, and also some degree of unpleasantness. And all that doesn't make it a landscape any less worth saving, or exploring, or writing about, or photographing. In fact it makes it all that and much more. But after learning all that, pondering the scary possibilities, and imagining the worst I can imagine, do I want to visit?

Hell yes, I do. *******

Dorraine Fisher

Professional Writer, a nature and wildlife enthusiast who has written for many magazines.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Dismal Lack Of Sasquatch In The Dismal Swamp

For the last 6+ months I have been filming a documentary on the history of The Great Dismal Swamp which covers a large area of North Carolina and Virginia with Lake Drummond being at the center of the swamp and the feeder of the swamp. As I and my assistant, Shannon Turner, have traveled the land filming I have searched for any sign or stories of Sasquatch in the area of the swamp. What I found was basically nothing. To the south the Albemarle Sound group has sightings and stories and to the west in the mountain area Bobby Woods and his group have amazing sightings and stories. I have talked with hunters and historians and rangers that have been near the swamp all their lives and none have any stories of Sasquatch. The geographical aspects of the swamp and the land around it are flat land, however the lake does sit higher than the swamp and has some of the cleanest water in the country. The swamp itself is not conducive to mankind wandering around in it for many reasons, yet numerous man made paths weave through the swamp in a spiderweb like configuration. The swamp has been devastated by the greed of man and is still being destroyed for the "progress of man" BS.

The forest around the swamp are dense and vast and the food supply for a creature such as Sasquatch is plentiful. Deer, fish, berries, etc, all in abundance with cover to hide easy to find. Many I have spoken with tell stories of the strange sounds that come from the swamp at night, just about everyone I spoke with had a tale of strange sounds from the swamp, screams and whistles and yells. Is it possible that I have just not spoken with the right people or person? of course, but I have certainly spoken to many.

In books written on the mysteries of the swamp we did come across a story of a man who claimed to have encountered a large "Wildman" like creature in the swamp and then went back and gathered his friends and they hunted the creature down and captured it. They built an enclosure for the creature but the creature died a short time later and they stated it died from the food they fed the creature. We researched and tried with all we could to validate this story but found nothing or anyone even related to the man in the story. What we did find was this tale seemed to be shared by at least two authors. I consider this a myth from the swamp but would love to be proven wrong.

I am now in the process of filming just a few more sessions on the history of the swamp this week then my next project will be the mysteries of the swamp, perhaps I will find that right person or as I ramble through the amazing treasure , The Great Dismal Swamp, I will encounter or find some sign of the elusive Sasquatch..

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Waddy Werewolf, What is the "real" story?

Within the week of Nov 28th and Dec. 5/6 2012 something evil came calling on Ditto road in Central Kentucky.
Ditto Road is east of Louisville Kentucky and near the small town of Waddy Kentucky. So what happened on Ditto road that changed people forever in the area? Well, the story that was put out to the public and the story from people who were witnesses have some differences. The damage to the animals seems to be consistent from all involved, faces ripped off goats, their tongues torn out, ears ripped off of goats and calves. When I first heard of this story I went to the website below of WDRB TV:

I read the story and looked at the picture of the animal track and it seemed to me that this was a canine track due to the specifics of the physical nature of the track. By having this picture attached to the story one would logically assume that this was the track of the animal that did the horrible acts to the animals on Ditto Road. I made some calls to WDRB TV and although very nice to speak with the promises to have the reporters covering the story contact me never happened.

I then contacted a resident of Ditto road who was a witness to the aftermath of these terrible events and some specifics of the story were much different than what the public was being told. First lets discuss the picture attached to the story on WDRB's website. According to the person I was in communication with , (who asked to remain anonymous) the picture on the website was not the track of the creature who did the damage, it was a picture of his daughters dog, a farm dog. The actual tracks of what he thought might have attacked all the animals was much bigger. He had measured the tracks and the tracks were over five and three eights inches long and over four and one half inches wide. For those of us who know tracks and have studied tracks, this is a huge track for something that appears to be canine. Oddly this was never told or mentioned in any of the stories about the events. To learn about tracks please visit this website and you will soon see there is no dog that leaves a track this big.

A reporter took pictures of the large tracks yet they were never published anywhere I can find. The witness said it was very confusing to him that they would put his daughters dog track with the stories but not only not show the large tracks, but never mention them. He also mentioned he found it very odd no one laid something by the tracks to give a perspective of the actual size of the track. My question is why was this done? Why not tell the residents of the area that something very big was in the area and why imply with a small track picture that it was the attackers track? It was reported that a woman and her daughter were walking to their house in the dark during this time period when suddenly they heard something which was coming up behind them and making a very strange sound. The two ran to their barn and closed the door and waited till the husband came home. According to the husband his wife and daughter stated that whatever this was made a sound they had never heard before. They went online and searched for animal sounds in Kentucky and said that although it was not actually the sound they heard, what they found was close. What they found was the sound of Fox fighting. Hear this sound at the link below:

When the woman and daughter went into the garage to get away from the creature the husband told me the creature left and went down the road to a relative's home where he heard the sound also. The creature was referred to in reports as the "Waddy Werewolf". I assumed that this was a name that had been tagged to this creature on Ditto Road that did the Dec. 2012 attacks, but it turns out the Waddy Werewolf has been mentioned in this area for many years. Although I tried to get information on what had occurred in the past to bring this name into the lore of the land on Ditto Road, no one could tell me the answer other than maybe it was just something made up to scare the kids.

Reports of a large dark creature were reported in the area of the attacks, from the published information there were more than one report of this and oddly just a few weeks before this story of the animals attacks went public a man contacted me through email and told me a story that had just happened to him where he saw a large, upright dark creature walking up the lane to his property at dusk which is very near the land where the attacks happened.

The viciousness of these attacks is what could be described as pure evil. The animals were so horribly damaged that dpmre had to be put down, some survived but most did not. There was no evidence of the animals being eaten and strangely there was no damage below the heads. Town meetings were held and people were told over and over that it was a dog or dogs that has done these evil deeds upon the helpless animals. I will say this, if the tracks that were seen and measured and measured over 5 inches long were from the creature who wrecked this carnage, it was not a dog!. Some of the animals who were savaged were in locked pens yet there were no tracks or any sign of anything breaking in or tearing its way in to the pens. Numerous individuals walked the pens checking for any signs of entrance, nothing was found. So let's look at the information we have so far and some new information that has not been told to the public.

The only canine to leave a track that is over 5 inches long is, well, none. The closet canine to make a track this large is a wolf and a man who lives on Ditto Road raises wolves.

A reporter/photo journalist took pictures of the large tracks but they were never reported to the public and never mentioned in any stories about this event.

Many dogs that live on Ditto Road are now gone since this event. Six that my source told me of and possibly more.

Still today, 1/8/2013 an article in the Anderson News of Lawrenceburg Ky lays blame on a dog or a pack of dogs. Remember that the animals who were attacked were in pins, secured pins, and after multiple examinations the pins had not been damaged in any way. The gates were secure and the fences were approximately 5 ft in height according to my source. Can you imagine what a pack of dogs would do to the fence or gate of this type enclosure to get in a pin of animals to maul then? There would be signs of damage you can bet on that ..

My opinion is to keep laying the blame on dogs is wrong. Why hasn't the man who owns and raises wolves on Ditto Road been investigated? There is no mention in any article concerning this story of this person owning wolves on Ditto Road? Why not the most obvious place to check? is where the wolves are. Did a wolf do all this damage? I am not sure I rather doubt it and neither is anyone else certain. But there are numerous questions that need to be answered concerning the horror that happened to this helpless animals, but with the level of unprofessional investigating into this story the Waddy Werewolf will live on in the dark of night on Ditto Road..

Philip Spencer

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Strange Animal Attacks in Waddy Kentucky

Seems as though we have a very strange story brewing in Waddy Kentucky. At first report this horrible event was just written off as a dog attack even though I never really believed that at all. One track was found that was canine/wolf and due to this one track a dog was blamed, what nonsense.
Now the story has deepened and many more details have come out. What I found interesting were the similarities with some of the aspects of this story and the Frazier Mud Track which I wrote of in my book, as well as the cow which was attacked in Anderson County Ky several years ago and it's ears were torn off to the bone and its right eye ripped out and three large deep gashes were on the cows back on both sides.
You can read the article with many details of the Waddy event at the link below:
Waddy Story
You can read about the Frazier Mud Track at the link below:
Mud Track

Friday, January 27, 2012

The pressures of blood pressure and gasping..

On Monday, January 16th of 2012 When I woke I felt bad. It was an odd feeling and I wasn’t sure what was wrong with me. I went about my morning routine and after a few hours of feeling bad I decided to check my blood pressure. My blood pressure was 190/ 100. I sat starring at the readout and immediately checked it again and it was 188/89.
It was obvious what my problem was. I immediately called my doctor and she called in new blood pressure meds and told me if I had any symptoms of a stroke or heart attack to call an ambulance immediately. To make a long story shorter the first meds did not work and my BP stayed scary high. I take two medicines daily and my blood pressure is very good and stable till this event. I called my doctor back on Wednesday and she put me on two more blood pressure meds. On Thursday my BP started to come down .
I called a friend of mine in Kentucky who has been a friend for most of my life and told him what had happened to me . He paused and said "that is really weird!, the same thing happened to me about the same time!". His blood pressure shot up to a very high point and refused to go down and become stable. How oddly coincidental! It was then that I remembered that my friend Mary who lives in Frederiksberg Virginia had told me about a week before my BP event that her blood pressure had gone up excessively and she was having a terrible time getting it stable.
So I went to my Facebook page and posted a query asking if anyone had their blood pressure go up to scary levels and were having trouble getting it down and stable. Many said no but many said yes! And their experiences were so similar! Unexplained as to why their blood pressure went up and having a terrible time getting it stable and lowered.

I thought and thought about this situation and wondered if what I was seeing was a statistical normality or was there something strange about all these people having this happen in this time period? Then something else happened. On Monday January 23rd I woke up and could not breath. I was struggling to get my breath and could not get a full breath. It was very frightening and I called an ambulance and when they arrived they suggested I see my primary care physician (how weird!) when she opened her office that morning which was about 45 minutes from the time they arrived. I went to my doctors office and when she saw me and her staff told her what was going on with me she flew into action and called an ambulance and told them to take me to the hospital now!! Which they did.
Hours and hours in the ER and test after test and nothing could be found that was causing my breathing problems. As time went by the problem eased to the point where I could not get a full breath but once I sat up and tried hard I could finally get a full breath. My BP was 120/55 and my glucose level was 129. My heart showed no signs of any issues in several tests and blood work and EKG. The doctor said it must be my heart and more tests were needed and I needed to be admitted and kept for a few days. I did not go for that and left under the doctor saying the standard things that are said when a person does this.
The next day as I was resting at home and slowly feeling better I went into the virtual world Second Life to relax and talk to my friends. I was sitting at a place I own and a casual friend came by and we were just chatting about weather and those kind of things. She then said "Did you hear what happened to me yesterday? " I replied no and she proceeded to tell me that on Monday 1/23/12 in the morning she was standing in the kitchen and all at once she could not breath. She actually passed out and her grandmother came in the room and found her. She was rushed to a hospital and although they ran extensive tests, they could find nothing to indicate what had caused her event. They told her it must be her heart and she needed more tests so she wore a heart monitor over night and it showed nothing abnormal. I sat looking at this person and my mind was kind of frozen and yet at the same time going a gazillion miles an hour. I am in Virginia and she is in Louisiana, we do not know each other well and she has no way possible to know what happened to me the same day. I went to Facebook and asked if on Monday anyone had an event where they could not breath and were taken to the hospital and the reason for the event was not found. I received several private messages about people having breathing problems that could not be explained.

So what does this all mean? Is it a case of extreme coincidental events and people? Or a case of with any number of biological entities that events of this nature occur all the time and no one in the public is aware of this? Will certain coincidental events always happen? I do not know. I have thought about all this and if it was shear chance. Does my small sample group even give a good gauge of what is happening? Or could the numbers be huge in the amount of people who have had this happen? I do not have the resources available to delve into this as my time is limited and looking deeper would take a great deal of study and research and time.
Without doubt, food for thought…

Friday, November 18, 2011

Maryland Bigfoot Sighting 11/14/11

Maryland Bigfoot Sighting
Date: November 14th 2011
Time of day: Approximately 7 PM
Number of Witnesses: 1
Location of sighting: Alm House Road near Oxford Maryland in Talbot County.

At approximately 7:15 PM on November 14th I received a call from a friend here in Hampton Virginia named Tom Beal. Tom Told me his niece had just had a sighting of Bigfoot and if I would like to speak with her to hear what happened. I immediately said yes and at 7:17 PM I was on the phone with this young lady and hearing her sighting account that had happened about 17 minutes earlier. This does not happen often and I certainly thank Tom for giving me to opportunity to have this story so soon after it happened.
This young ladies name is Brittney and she is 21 years old. She was driving on Almhouse Road which is a straight road with tall trees and wooded areas all along the sides.

As Brittney was driving she saw something standing on the right side of the road. At first she could not understand what she was seeing then suddenly and swiftly the creature began running across the road. Brittney said it took three steps and it was across the road (right to left) and its movements were so fast but still odd. She said it was hard to describe how the creature walked but the strides were long and fast. Just as the creature reached the left side of the road Brittney turned on her bright lights and when she did she said the creature turned and looked at her and the eyes were shining like a deer's eyes would shine in car lights.
Brittney stated the eyes seemed very round and very large and she estimated the creature to be approximately 6 feet tall but very very thick is how she described the creature. She stated that the head seemed so strange to look at as it seemed to look like someone's head when they have a hooded sweat jacket pulled up over their head (conical). She said that was the only thing she could think of to compare this creatures head to.
Brittany stated she just could not believe what she had seen and even called her husband and asked him if he had heard anything about gorillas in the area. As I got to speak to this witness in such a short time from time of her sighting I could hear how she was just still not sure what had happened to her and she even asked me several times what she had seen and if she had seen Bigfoot.
I found her to be very credible and she never varied from her story as I went over the story several times with her.
If you use Google maps and select terrain and put in search "Alms House Road Oxford Maryland" you can see that all along Alms House Road are open fields then very heavy woods. One area also has a large body of water located within the wooded area. Brittney also stated within one half mile of the sighting were a few houses.

Anyone in the Maryland area who would like to do a follow up please contact Philip Spencer :

Monday, October 31, 2011

Big Black Cats and Goat Eating Otters

Halloween is a time for ghosts and goblins, candy and jack-o-lanterns, screams, and spooky stories told in the dark of night around a roaring campfire. And who can have a good Halloween story without a mysterious black cat somewhere in it? The more mysterious it is, the better the story. The bigger he his, the more fearsome he becomes. If his eyes glow an eerie yellow, all the better! If he's lurking right close to us, it's time keep our ears and eyes open and move in a little closer to the campfire. The only thing that would make the story more frightening was if we knew for certain and without a doubt that he was real and lurking around somewhere in the darkness, looking for an easy victim.

Earlier this month, I was able to listen to some fantastic stories at the 2011 Texas Bigfoot Conference that was held by the Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy. There were many excellent speakers there, but these weren't Halloween campfire story tellers. They were doctors, specialists, and authors from many different fields of study. There were photographs shown, evidence presented, theories analyzed, and questions both asked and answered. Some of the stories of interest were not specifically on the Bigfoot phenomena, but on the mysterious large black cats that have been reported and told about in many parts of the United States, including Texas, which was the focus of the days presentation. Chester Moore, author, executive editor of Texas Fish & Game, Outdoors Editor for the Orange Leader and Port Arthur News, and consultant for the Animal Planet, The Travel Channel, and National Geographic, gave an excellent presentation on these mysterious animals and told some stories worthy of not only campfires, but of classrooms and anyone interested in the subject of mysterious animals.

Many skeptics will say that there's no such animal as a large black cat in the U.S. They will say that there's not a chance. First of all, as explained by Moore, there is no "black panther", as they are commonly referred to. There is no such species in existence. It is simply a generic term used to describe large black cats, usually Jaguars. Melanistic cougars are tossed up as an explanation for the sightings, but are quickly ruled out because there's never been so much as a photo taken of a melanistic cougar. The only one close to being black was in a grainy black and white photograph taken in Costa Rica in 1954 of a dark brown one that was killed. According to Mr. Moore, as many cougars as there are in the Americas, there's never been any melanistic ones photographed, observed, tagged, shot, or trapped. Legends of escaped circus animals or exotic pets and their descendants are told by believers to explain the black cat's existence, but this theory also has it's flaws. The main one being that an escaped large cat that has spent it's life in captivity does not know how to hunt enough to survive. Unlike feral house cats, they need more than a mouse or a bird to live. They can make a kill out of an easy target, but hunting for years in order to feed itself and it's young is extremely unlikely. This is evident by observations made by refuge employees who have been unsuccessful to reintroduce captive Tigers to wild habitats. The evidence seems to be pointing away from the existence of large black cats in the U.S., but as the saying goes, don't count your chickens before they hatch.

People are often accused of seeing things or making up stories when they see these large black cats. Sometimes they're even told that they're seeing somebody's big black domestic American Shorthair and, while letting their wild imagination get a hold of the best of themselves, they think they're seeing some mysterious and fabled beast. I should know. I used to have a large black domestic-bobcat hybrid (rumored to be) who, after proudly walking the perimeter of our rail fence and chasing many a dog away, was probably exaggerated in stories told by the neighborhood kids and the superstitious friends. But large black cats are here in the U.S. and they're not the subjects of fables, exaggerations, or misidentifications. They're very real.

We ask if it could then be something like the "black panthers" of South America, which are really melanistic jaguars? "Nah, this isn't topical South America", we're told. Doubters who are stuck on the images of black jaguars leaping through vine covered trees to avoid the flooding Amazon will say that the climate and terrain just isn't suitable for them. The curious will also ask, if they're jaguars, why aren't we seeing spotted ones. The truth, as told during Moore's presentation, is that the southern U.S. has in fact been host to spotted jaguars. According to wildlife maps drawn up in the 1940's, there were jaguars as far east as Mississippi. However, as time passes and wild areas are taken over by subdivisions and factories, animals that once roamed the countrysides move around to avoid us and are soon forgotten about. Maps are redrawn to reflect not only sightings and lack of, but the possible worries of industries who are encouraged to feel uncomfortable about being in territories that beautiful, wild and mysterious creatures call home. If they were here before though, there's a possibility that they're still around. This is especially so, given the large amount of wild habitat that is actually left, combined with the shrinking number of people who are quick to shoot a predator who is stalking their farm. In the process of human expansion, we've actually made nice little pockets of very inviting habitat for some very interesting creatures. The fact that jaguars are currently known by biologists to live in Arizona and New Mexico are proof. The numerous reports from Texas and Louisiana concerning spotted jaguars that Moore has received or reviewed just adds to that proof.

Though it's true that the melanistic gene in jaguars is not that common, it's highly possible. It even seems that there are more reports of black jaguars than spotted ones. If it is indeed jaguars that are being spotted, the answer could be very simple. It's been thought by biologists that melanism presents an advantage in animals that are inhabiting areas where a black coat would be handy. Dark and shady dense forests would be prime. There are even pockets in Asia for example where most of the leopards are melanistic. Since most of the states where large black cats are spotted contain this type of landscape, and since melanistic bobcats have been proven to exist in the southeastern part of the U.S., it's not too surprising to think that there could be areas where melanistic jaguars could be more populous than spotted ones.

Another culprit for the "black panther" sightings, as stated by Moore, could be the jaguarundi. Our habitat is so suited to them that he believes most of the black cat sightings could be attributed to the jaguarundi. He himself saw one in Jefferson County in southeast Texas ten years ago. In the 1960s there was even an abundance of reports of them around the Galveston and Port Arthur areas of southeast Texas. In 1984, there were unconfirmed reports of a local biologist seeing three of them. Seeing that jaguarundis can grow as long as four feet (sometimes larger) and are usually brown to dark grey and black in color, the jaguarundi could in fact be the subject of many of our state's "black panther" sightings.

Before the evening was up, there were several stories told at the conference about sightings of large black cats. A few of these stories reflected one of the problems with any cryptozoological subject: the unwillingness of some people to look past what's commonly cited as normal or official and admit that we don't really know what's out there. As Moore jokingly mocked, "we're not going to go there because it says that in the book". He later related the story of a woman who gave a television interview after seeing a large black cat carry away one of her goats (one that weighed in at about one hundred pounds) near her home in Vidor, Texas. Of course a wildlife official appeared on the segment offering his opinion. Did the official investigate the woman's sighting? Was she asked questions out of concern for an undocumented large cat killing livestock? No. He merely stated that "it could have been an otter". No need to be alarmed and nothing to worry about. It's just an otter large enough to carry away a one hundred pound goat. Call me crazy, but that seems more worthy of investigating than a large black cat.

After the evidence is presented and the stories are told, it definitely appears that it is very possible for a species of large black feline to be roaming certain areas of the U.S.. What it is exactly remains unclear. Should we be frightened and include it in our campfire stories? It won't hurt to include them in an embellished story or two. After all, they are elusive, highly intelligent, and very mysterious. But there's no need to be frightened. In this day and time, we're far more prone to falling victim to someone driving while on the phone or from being mauled by someone's abused dog than we are being attacked by one of these beautiful creatures. If I were you though, the next time you're outside, alone in the dark, hold your kids close to you and keep your eyes and ears open for the legendary goat killing otter of southeast Texas.

Reverend Chaos (aka Shawna Lowman), Guest Blogger and Social Malcontent

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