Red Eyes and Winged Beasts #TheMothman

I’m a late with this post, but have another historical Mothman sighting to share. I’ve already posted two sightings from the night of November 15, 1966—the first reported by four eye-witnesses, the second by one.

Night road cutting through dark wooded setting, illuminated by headlightsOn the night of November 16, 1966, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Wamsley, along with Mrs. Marcella Bennett and her baby daughter Teena were on their way to visit Ralph and Virginia Thomas. The Thomas family lived near the TNT, an abandoned WWII munitions site located outside of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. It was on TNT grounds that Roger Scarberry, his wife, and friends were chased by a giant winged creature the night before.

When the Wamsley’s and Marcella Bennett arrived at the Thomas home, they discovered Ralph and Virginia were out for the evening. They stayed a short time, chatting with the Thomas’ three children, Rickie, Connie and Vicki, then headed back to their car.

Before they could reach the vehicle, a figure slowly rose behind it.  Marcella Bennett described the thing as being big and gray, larger than a man, “with terrible glowing red eyes.” She was so terrified by the creature she dropped her daughter and froze, hypnotized by what appeared to be a winged, headless being. Raymond Wamsley scooped up the little girl (who was not hurt), snared Marcella and, along with his wife, raced back into the house. They quickly secured and bolted the door.

Within seconds, they heard a noise on the porch. Two red eyes appeared in the window, staring through the glass. The women and children broke into a panic, and Wamsley frantically called the police. By the time the authorities arrived, the creature was gone. It would not, however, be the last time it was seen. Between 1966 and 1967, there were over 100 Mothman sightings.

I had the Wamsley/Bennett sighting in the back of my mind when spinning a plot thread involving one of my main characters in A Thousand Yesteryears. A house by the TNT, red eyes staring through the windows…they both play into a tragic occurrence that drastically changes Caden Flynn.

To meet Caden, and the other characters who populate my Point Pleasant, I hope you’ll give A Thousand Yesteryears a try. And hey, admit it—you might just be a little curious about that title, too! 🙂

Book cover for A Thousand Yesteryears by Mae Clair, depicting a wooded thicket at nightBLURB:

Behind a legend lies the truth…

As a child, Eve Parrish lost her father and her best friend, Maggie Flynn, in a tragic bridge collapse. Fifteen years later, she returns to Point Pleasant to settle her deceased aunt’s estate. Though much has changed about the once thriving river community, the ghost of tragedy still weighs heavily on the town, as do rumors and sightings of the Mothman, a local legend. When Eve uncovers startling information about her aunt’s death, that legend is in danger of becoming all too real…

Caden Flynn is one of the few lucky survivors of the bridge collapse, but blames himself for coercing his younger sister out that night. He’s carried that guilt for fifteen years, unaware of darker currents haunting the town. It isn’t long before Eve’s arrival unravels an old secret—one that places her and Caden in the crosshairs of a deadly killer…

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Kensington Publishing

Mythical Monday: The Montauk Monster by Mae Clair

If you have even a passing interest in cryptozoology—the pseudo-science devoted to the study of animals that may exist but haven’t been proven to exist—you know that cryptids come in many varieties. From the aquatic Loch Ness Monster to the forest-loving Bigfoot and beings such as the Mothman that lurk around abandoned sites, cryptids haunt different terrains and habitats. Their knack for elusiveness is extraordinary, a testament as to why we only have grainy images, breathless onlooker accounts, and/or occasional snippets of sound to suggest they exist.

But what if a clear photo materialized to support eyewitness testimony? Hoax or legitimate proof?

Take the case of the Montauk Monster, an unidentified creature that washed ashore on a beach in Montauk, New York in July of 2008. Most people know that when a body (or animal carcass) is submerged in water for a prolonged period of time, it alters the subject’s physical form, sometimes bloating and distorting it beyond recognition.

Is that what happened to Montauk’s celebrated find?

Driftwood on a beachThe story begins on July 12, 2008, when Jenna Hewitt, a Montauk resident, and three of her friends were strolling along Ditch Plains Beach, a popular surfing spot, in search of a place to sit. Noticing a large crowd gathered around something lying on the sand, they took a closer look.

What they found was a creature that defied description, a pale, bloated dog-like thing with a hooked beak. The animal was so bizarre looking that Hewitt later joked it might have been something that escaped from Plum Island—a nearby center, specializing in animal disease.

She snapped a picture of the creature, an image that eventually ended up in several newspapers and found its way onto the internet where it exploded and became an overnight sensation.

Interestingly, the carcass of the creature disappeared, spirited away by a man who remains unidentified. As images circulated and weblogs surfaced, zoologists and other wildlife experts waded into the ring. Several speculated the creature could be a raccoon, its ghastly appearance the result of being submerged in the water for an extended period of time. Others suggested a turtle, and still others a dog or sheep. In all circumstances, there were those who refuted the claims—the legs were too long for a raccoon, sea turtles lack fur and teeth, and so on.

So, what exactly is the Mantauck Monster? To this day, its true identity remains a mystery shrouded in a cloud of speculation. Why not weigh in with your own opinion? You’ve likely seen this photograph before, but perhaps didn’t connect it with the story of the Mantauck Monster. Take a look now, then hop back here to share your thoughts about this potentially new cryptid. You can see multiple images here.

Freaky, wouldn’t you say?

Mythical Monday: The Owlman of Mawnan by Mae Clair

It’s interesting to note that many of the creatures and legends that make it into my Mythical Monday posts are decades, often centuries old. That’s why I found the story of the Cornish Owlman so interesting. Sighted near the village of Mawnan, Cornwall in England, the Owlman is often compared to my favorite “cryptid,” West Virginia’s Mothman.

The first sighting of the Owlman took place on April 17, 1976. At that time two young sisters were walking through the woods near Mawnan church when they saw a large winged creature hovering over the church tower.  The girls were so disturbed by the encounter that the family, there on holiday, cut their stay short.

Mawnan Church, Kerrier district, Cornwall

Photo courtesy of Philip White [CC-BY-SA-2.0 Creative Commons License) via Wikimedia Commons

A few months later, two other girls were camping in the woods near the church. Fourteen-year-old Sally Chapman was outside her tent when she was startled by a hissing sound. Turning, she saw a man-sized, owl-shaped creature with pointed ears and red eyes. Sally, along with her friend, Barbara Perry, originally thought someone was playing a joke on them until the creature took flight, rising straight up in the air. They reported its feet were like black pincers.

More sightings were reported the next day, and on later occasions, in June and August of 1978. All sightings took place within vicinity of the church.

In 1989, a couple reported seeing a creature “about five feet tall. The legs had high ankles and the feet were large and black with two huge toes on the visible side. The creature was gray with brown, and the eyes definitely glowed.”

Another account, given in 1995 was supplied by a woman who was visiting the area from Chicago. She claimed to have seen a “man-bird…with a ghastly face, a wide mouth, glowing eyes and pointed ears.” She also said the being had “clawed wings.”

Some speculate the creature might have been an escaped eagle owl, a species that can grow to two feet with a wingspan of nearly six feet. Others favoring a supernatural angle, think the Owlman may be a phenomena conjured by Mawnan’s church unique location on a potential ley line; still others that the being could be connected to UFOs.

Whatever its origin, like most cryptids the Owlman remains an enigma, a mysterious being who occasionally—when mood strikes—shares our world. Don’t you find it interesting how many beings coexist with us, if reported sightings are to be believed?

Mythical Monday: Chasing the Chupacabra by Mae Clair

The chupacabra is a creature said to haunt South America, Puerto Rico, parts of Mexico and portions of Texas. Known for attacking livestock and draining its prey of blood, the chupacabra’s name in Spanish is translated as “goat-sucker.” A mythical creature, the chupacabra is also recognized as a crytpid—a creature that may exist but hasn’t been proven to exist. If you’ve followed my blog for some time, you know I enjoy reading about mythical beasts and those put under the microscope of cryptozoology. It’s interesting when those fields intersect, as in the case of the chupacabra.

This is not a guy I would want to cross while out for a stroll.  A heinous looking oddity, the chupacabra has alternately been described as a winged monkey, a hairless dog with a pronounced spinal ridge or quills on its back, and a rodent or a reptile with grayish-green skin. The beast exudes a ghastly odor, is endowed with sharp fangs, and a forked tongue. Some believe the chupacabra is a coyote infected with mange, others that it is a species brought from outer space, still others that it is the result of a government experiment gone haywire.

Naturally, something this ugly has to have glowing eyes. In the case of the chupacabra, they are malignant red, capable of hypnotizing its victim and freezing them in place while the creature drains the victim’s blood.

Old farmshouse with free walking chickens  in rural surroundingsThe first report of dead livestock occurred in 1995 in Puerto Rico when a farmer found eight of his sheep drained of blood, each with three puncture wounds to the chest. For this reason, some believe the chupacabra is related to the vampire bat. It’s also been known to hiss and screech when alarmed and make an odd sound when feeding (who would want to get that close?).

Throughout the years the chupacabra has been blamed for numerous bizarre deaths in the killing of goats, chickens, pigs and dogs. Though most common to Latin America and South America, it has been spotted as far north as Michigan and Maine and has even shown up in Russia. There are countless videos and websites devoted to the myth of the chupacabra. This infamous crytpid has also made appearances on Animal Planet, and the Discovery Channel. Despite all the debate and discussion about El Chupacabra—including various descriptions from eyewitnesses—its legend continues to grow confounding skeptics, cryptozoologists and the curious in general.

As the debate rages, perhaps it’s best to err on the side of caution. What do you think?

Mythical Monday: Mayland’s Mythical Dragon, the Snallygaster by Mae Clair

In the early 1700s, German settlers who made their homes in the hills surrounding Frederick County, Maryland brought tales of a fearsome flying half-bird, half reptile creature from the Old Country. Known as the Schneller Geist, meaning “fast ghost” or “quick spirit”, the beast had razor-sharp teeth, long talons and demonic features borne of nightmares. A single eye glared from the center of its forehead and its wingspan was said to be twenty-five feet wide.

By 1909, it was more commonly referred to as a “Snallygaster.” Reports of the dragon-like creature—which swooped down to carry off prey—became so highly publicized that year, the Smithsonian Institution offered a reward for its capture and former president Theodore Roosevelt expressed an interest in hunting it.

Sightings were frequent and often reported in small town periodicals. Fearful of attack, residents of the area painted seven-point stars on their barns, believing they would ward off the frightening monster.

wooden fence in the grass on the hillside near the village at night in moon lightThe beast did most of its hunting at night, carrying off unattended children, pets and farm animals. It moved swiftly, its extraordinary speed making it invisible in flight. Preferring to roost in barns, it would occasionally enter homes and steal objects it fancied. Later, the Snallygaster would replace what it had taken, returning the object to a different spot in hopes of confusing and frightening the owner. The creature made a shrill whistle-screeching sound and laid eggs large enough to hold a baby elephant.

Sightings of the Snallygaster continued for decades. In July of 1934 near Middletown, Maryland, several large explosions were said to be the sound of Snallygaster eggs hatching. An unidentified hunter claimed to have killed one of the hatchlings and said the carcass was approximately five-feet tall with speckled features, and four-inch claws.

The Snallygaster is believed to have one foe—a two-legged creature with the face and fur of a wolf known as a “Dwayyo.” Also sighted in Maryland, the Dwayyo and Snallygaster  are said to have engaged in several vicious battles throughout the decades.

Does the Snallygaster exist? There have been plenty of sightings through the years, and the creature was given enough credence in 1909 that Teddy Roosevelt almost canceled an African Safari to hunt it. But like most myths and urban legends, it remains a “what if” possibility to this day.

Maryland is practically in my back yard, and a favored stomping ground. The next time I take a drive through the “Old Line State,” I plan to be more vigilant in watching for Snallygasters. After all, it’s not every state that has its own mythical dragon!

 

Solstice Island by Mae Clair: Now on Amazon for .99 Cents #RomanticAdventure

I did it! After learning the ropes of HTML formatting, Amazon KDP, and working between Word, Notepad, Calibre and Amazon Kindle Generator, I finally finished and uploaded my first indie publication . . . a romantic adventure novella, SOLSTICE ISLAND.  I’m sure there are simpler ways of accomplishing the whole thing (hopefully, I’ll discover them the more I move ahead), but the bottom line is it’s done and available for purchase! *huge sigh of relief*

Time to celebrate and do the happy dance!

I’m jazzed to announce you can now buy SOLSTICE ISLAND for just .99 cents.

Cover KindleCan an ancient leviathan work magic between a practical man and an idealistic woman?

Rylie Carswell is an amateur cryptozoologist in search of a mythical creature, the Sea Goliath. In order to reach Solstice Island, a location the ancient leviathan is rumored to haunt, she’s forced to hire charter boat captain, Daniel Decatur.

Initially, Daniel wants nothing to do with the trip or the fool woman waving double payment in his face. Convinced she’s yet another loony treasure hunter looking for gold on the remote island, he reluctantly agrees. An embittered neighbor wants to have his charter license yanked, so the extra cash will help him stay afloat.

It doesn’t take long for Daniel to realize Rylie is after the same beast his parents were tracking when they mysteriously vanished ten years earlier. He’s avoided all links to cryptozoology ever since, but the smart and sexy cryptid hunter has him second-guessing his oath and wondering what he’s signed on for.

Warning: A family legacy, glowing plankton and rough waters.

The book is only available through Amazon right now, but if you don’t have a Kindle, you can download a FREE Kindle Reading App for your PC, iPhone, iPad android, tablet — take your pick and download here.

Then hop over and grab your copy of SOLSTICE ISLAND for just .99 cents by clicking this link. This is a short, fast read that plays on my love for mythical creatures and romance. I hope you enjoy the tale and will help me spread the word!

Cover Reveal: Solstice Island, by Mae Clair #RomanticAdventure

Wow, I can’t believe the day has finally arrived! I’m another step closer to releasing my first indie-pubbed title, SOLSTICE ISLAND. Today, I’d like to share the cover with you.

I designed this myself, and was really pleased to have found two models who matched my characters in appearance so closely. As a result, I’m pretty jazzed about how it turned out. What do you think?

Cover KindleSOLSTICE ISLAND is a sweet (PG-13) romantic adventure novella pairing an intrepid woman with a withdrawn man during the search for a mythical sea creature. I’d like to extend a “thank you” to everyone who shared their input when I was waffling on several title possibilities a few months ago. SOLSTICE ISLAND was the runaway winner.

As a refresher, here’s the blurb:

Can an ancient leviathan work magic between a practical man and an idealistic woman?

Rylie Carswell is an amateur cryptozoologist in search of a mythical creature, the Sea Goliath. In order to reach Solstice Island, a location the ancient leviathan is rumored to haunt, she’s forced to hire charter boat captain, Daniel Decatur.

Initially, Daniel wants nothing to do with the trip or the fool woman waving double payment in his face. Convinced she’s yet another loony treasure hunter looking for gold on the remote island, he reluctantly agrees. An embittered neighbor wants to have his charter license yanked, so the extra cash will help him stay afloat.

It doesn’t take long for Daniel to realize Rylie is after the same beast his parents were tracking when they mysteriously vanished ten years earlier. He’s avoided all links to cryptozoology ever since, but the smart and sexy cryptid hunter has him second-guessing his oath and wondering what he’s signed on for.

Warning: A family legacy, glowing plankton and rough waters.

~ooOOoo~

I’ve got my fingers crossed I will have this released before the month is out and hope you’ll consider adding it to your TBR list. Thanks for sharing in my cover reveal today. I’m pumped! 😀

Mythical Monday: The Jersey Devil by Mae Clair

bigstock-Abandoned-haunted-house-on-a-h-23938970What would you do if you learned you were pregnant with your thirteenth child? In 1735, caring for twelve young ones was difficult enough, so perhaps some leniency may be granted Mrs. Leeds of Estellville, N.J.

Upon discovering she was pregnant yet again, the Jersey native quipped that if she was going to have another child, it might as well be a devil.

Unfortunately, no one cautioned Mrs. Leeds to be careful what she wished for.

According to legend, her thirteenth baby was born with the head of an animal, the body of a bird and cloven hooves in place of feet. Able to speak the moment it was born, the unsightly creature cursed its mother and vanished up a chimney. “Leeds Devil” sequestered itself in the pine barrens and swamps of southern New Jersey where it eventually became known as the Jersey Devil.

Most active at night and in the early morning hours, the Devil made a nuisance of itself slaughtering livestock and pets, attempting to snatch away children, and terrorizing the area with its inhuman shrieks. By the mid-1700s sightings and attacks had become so frequent a clergyman was summoned to exorcise the beast.

The banishment may have worked for a time, but by the winter of 1873 reports circulated the creature had resurfaced. Then in 1894 a trail of unidentified footprints appeared in Leeds Point, prompting rumors the beast had returned to the place of its birth.

So what exactly is the Jersey Devil? In the state of New Jersey, it’s a localized name applied to any bizarre creature or phantom. Most will agree, however, that the Jersey Devil is part avian and part mammal. It’s been said to hop as well as fly, and its breath has the unholy ability to curdle milk, kill fish, and shrivel up cornfields. All agree that its cry is unnatural and eerie, alternately described as a squawk, piercing whistle, or the hoot of an owl. One eye witness — Mrs. Amanda Stutts who was ten years old when the beast invaded her family’s farm in 1900 – said it screamed like a woman “in an awful lot of agony.”

In January 1909 more than one hundred people across eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey insisted they had seen the creature.

Bristol postmaster E.W. Minster woke about 2:00 AM and heard “an eerie, almost supernatural sound” coming from the direction of the Delaware River. Mr. Minster raced to the window in time to observe what appeared to be a large crane emitting a glow “like a firefly.” He described the winged creature as having the head of a ram with curled horns, thin wings, and short legs, the rear legs longer than the front.

Jersey DevilMr. John McOwen was also awakened around 2:00 AM by the crying of his infant daughter. Worried, he hurried to her room to comfort her. When he glanced out the rear window he spied a large creature that “looked something like an eagle” standing on the banks of the Delaware Division Canal.

The next day hoofmarks were discovered in the vicinity. The sightings in 1909 were so rampant that many residents huddled in their homes, doors locked and windows shuttered, too frightened to venture outside.

Mr. E.P. Weeden, a city councilman in Trenton, bolted upright in bed when he heard someone trying to batter down his front door. By the time he rushed to his second floor window, the creature was gone, but he heard the distinctive flap of wings. Outside, tracked through the snow on his roof, something had left a distinctive set of prints. Prints in the shape of hoofs.

While debate over the validity of the Jersey Devil continues, there are those who stand by the folktales and the sightings, noting the credibility of many of the witnesses and the sheer number of reports.

I’ve visited New Jersey on several occasions, but have yet to encounter any creature resembling Mrs. Leed’s thirteenth child. There are some “cryptids” (a term used in the field of cryptozoology to identity creatures whose existence has been suggested but not proven by science) I would love to cross paths with, but the Jersey Devil isn’t one of them.

How about you? What do you think of the Jersey Devil and are there any creatures from legend you wouldn’t mind encountering…even if only from a distance?

Help Me Choose My Next Title by Mae Clair

Before I get into the main reason for this post, I wanted to mention that my Lyrical Press sister, D.B. Sieders, is hosting me today on her blog. She tossed some awesome questions my way about Twelfth Sun, Reagan and Elijah. I love digging deep like that, so please stop by if you can. You can find the interview here.

Next, I’ve now added a “News” page to my website. Yep, in case you forgot, I actually have one of those at www.MaeClair.com  🙂 I concentrate so much on my blog, sometimes even I forget it’s out there, but I’ve decided I want to pump it up. I’m not exactly certain what that entails, but I hope to add several new features in the coming weeks. The first of those is my News page which will feature a recap of the month and an update on my works in progress.

Speaking of those, I’ve finished Solstice Island. YAY!  This is a 21K romance/adventure that will be included in an anthology with three other authors and offered as a free read on Amazon. We hope to pub late this year or early 2014.

The end of June I ran a post lamenting my indecisiveness about the title. I wasn’t sure if it was too, well…bland. My friend, Emma Meade, suggested I run a poll (great idea, Emma) so here goes.

First the blurb:
Tag:  Can an ancient leviathan work magic between a practical man and an idealistic woman?

Rylie Carswell is an amateur cryptozoologist in search of a mythical creature, the Sea Goliath. In order to reach Solstice Island, a location the ancient leviathan is rumored to haunt, she’s forced to hire charter boat captain, Daniel Decatur.

Initially, Daniel wants nothing to do with the trip or the fool woman waving double payment in his face. Convinced she’s yet another loony treasure hunter looking for gold on the remote island, he reluctantly agrees. An embittered neighbor wants to have his charter license yanked, so the extra cash will help him stay afloat.

It doesn’t take long for Daniel to realize Rylie is after the same beast his parents were tracking when they mysteriously vanished ten years earlier. He’s avoided all links to cryptozoology ever since, but the smart and sexy cryptid hunter has him second-guessing his oath and wondering what he’s signed on for.

Warning: A family legacy, glowing plankton and rough waters.

title post copyThe titles I’m considering are:
Solstice Island
An Admirable Man
Cryptid Hunter

I have a definite favorite among these three, but I thought it would be fun to get other opinions.

So what do you think? Does one of these work or do I need to go back to the drawing board?