New Release: Heart of the Storm by Debbie Peterson #TimeTravel #SweetRomance #Bermuda Triangle

It’s another release day for my good friend, Debbie Peterson! Debbie writes mesmerizing tales of time travel with a splash of sweet romance mixed in. In her newest book, Heart of the Storm, she addresses one of the foremost unexplained mysteries to baffle scientists for centuries—the Bermuda Triangle.

Please welcome Debbie as she shares a true-life incident from the Triangle, and celebrates Heart of the Storm.


Book cover for Heart of the Storm by Debbie Peterson shows girl in foreground wearing a DEA t-shirt with old clipper ship in background on a sunset sea

Hello Mae! Thank you for helping me celebrate the release of Heart of the Storm.

Once upon a time, five TBM Avenger torpedo bombers, known as “Flight 19,” took off from the Naval Air Station in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. It was during the afternoon hours of December 15, 1945. The routine training flight was no big deal, really. They were to conduct a bombing exercise known then as “Navigation Problem Number One.” It would take a mere three hours. During this mission they would fly to a place called the Hens and Chicken Shoals, drop a few practice bombs, then head north and fly over the Grand Bahama Island. Afterward, they would turn in a southwesterly direction and go back to base. Lieutenant Charles C. Taylor, an experienced World War II pilot, served as flight leader.

At first, all went as planned…at first.

About 2:30 p.m. the boys dropped their practice load over the Hens and Chickens Shoals and turned north as scheduled. That’s when the routine flight became anything but routine. You see, from out of the blue, and quite unexpectedly, Taylor reported the compass of his plane wasn’t functioning correctly. He became convincedthey were all flying in the wrong direction. A sudden, tumultuous rainstorm, accompanied by high winds and heavy clouds worsened the situation. They couldn’t see a  thing.

“I don’t know where we are,” said one of the pilots over the radio. “We must’ve got lost after that last turn.”

A Navy flight instructor, who was flying near the coast of Florida, overheard the chatter. After he informed the Air Station of the situation, he radioed the Avengers and asked if they needed assistance.

“Both my compasses are out and I’m trying to find Ft. Lauderdale, Florida,” a panicked Taylor said. “I’m over land, but it’s broken. I’m sure I’m in the Keys, but I don’t know how far down.”

That didn’t make any sense at all. After all, Taylor had made his scheduled pass over Hens and Chicken Shoals less than an hour earlier. Yet, for some reason, he now believed his squad had somehow drifted hundreds of miles off course and ended up in the Florida Keys. Pilots lost in the Atlantic were trained to fly their planes toward the setting sun. This, of course, would take them west toward the mainland, even if they didn’t know where west was. In the hope he could locate the Florida peninsula, Taylor turned his squad northeast.

“Dammit,” one man groused over the radio. “If we would just fly west, we would get home.”

Taylor finally turned around and headed west, but shortly after 6 p.m., he once again changed direction. “We didn’t go far enough east,” he said. “We may as well just turn around and go east again.” The transmissions became increasingly faint. By now, fuel would be running low. Taylor instructed his men to prepare for a crash landing in the ocean. “All planes close up tight,” he said. “We’ll have to ditch unless landfall…when the first plane drops below ten gallons, we all go down together.” A few minutes later, the only thing that could be heard over the radio was unnerving static.

Treasure hunters thought they solved the puzzle of the missing planes in 1991 when they found five World War II-era Avengers on the ocean floor near Fort Lauderdale. However, the serial numbers didn’t match those of “Flight 19.”

There are many such stories that have taken place inside the Bermuda Triangle. There are a few things they all have in common, though: A sudden, raging storm, malfunctioning gauges, disorientation and feelings of being hopelessly lost…

Such a setting is found in the beginning of Heart of the Storm, in a story where past meets present and the adventure begins!

Blurb:
DEA agent Aliyana Montijo must stop a drug lord’s killing orders and find a government mole. With a contract on her head, she trusts no one. While heading back to Florida with evidence, lightning strikes her plane. As it careens into the ocean, she thinks she sees a pirate ship. What she finds is a dashing and most unlikely ally.

Four centuries ago, Wolfaert Dircksen Van Ness captained a vessel for the Dutch West Indies Company. Then an unearthly storm in the Bermuda Triangle blew him into a parallel dimension. After rescuing Aliyana from a similar tempest, he finds himself drawn to the courageous beauty and wants to aid her mission.

In the midst of danger, the two find themselves falling in love. Then a misunderstanding tears them apart, perhaps forever…

photo of Debbie Peterson, AuthorAbout Debbie Peterson
Debbie is an author of paranormal and fantasy romance. She has-and always has had-a soft spot for fairy tales, the joy of falling in love, making an impossible love possible, and happily ever after endings. She loves music, art, beautiful sunrises, sunsets, and thunder storms.

When she’s not busy conjuring her latest novel, She spends time with the members of her very large and nutty family in the lovely, arid deserts of southern Nevada. She also pursues her interests in family history (which she also teaches), mythology, and history.

You can find her at the following haunts:
Website
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Facebook
Goodreads

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What Do Christmas and a Gettysburg Legend Have in Common?

I’m happy to have my good friend, Staci Troilo, on the blog today, along with her delightful novella, When We Finally Kiss Goodnight. If you’re looking for a Christmasy read you’ll want to grab this one—especially since Staci is offering it at such a fabulous price. She’s even brought along a bit of folklore and history to introduce it. Take it away, Staci . . .

Banner ad for When We Finally Kiss Goodnight by Staci Troilo shows ereader with book cover on parchment style background with text

Hi, Mae. Thanks for having me back today. I’m happy to be here, visiting with you and your readers. (Hi, Mae’s readers!)

There are two things that interest me. Okay, there are a lot more than two, but these two are near the top of my list—romance and the supernatural. If I can mix the two together? That makes me really happy.

And that’s what I got to do in my Christmas-themed novella, When We Finally Kiss Goodnight.

Although the story is primarily set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (I grew up in a small town near there and went to college in the city, so it’s a favorite setting of mine), the characters, both of whom are archaeologists, take a day trip across the state to visit Gettysburg.

Gettysburg, as you probably know, is rife with historical lore. It’s got its share of ghost stories, too. As a bit of a history buff and a fan of the paranormal, I had to write about some kind of supernatural lore surrounding the city. I chose a folk legend surrounding star-crossed lovers and the Jennie Wade House.

Mary Virginia “Jennie” Wade was a seamstress who was engaged to Corporal Johnston “Jack” Skelly. While Jack was fighting in the war, Jennie, her mother, and her sister used to bake bread to serve to the Union soldiers. On July 3, 1863, around 8:30 a.m., Jennie was kneading dough when Confederate soldiers sprayed the house with more than 150 bullets. One of them passed through two doors and struck Jennie in the chest, killing her. Jack, her fiancé, never learned of her passing. He was captured and killed on July 12.

The door on the Jennie Wade House has never been repaired or replaced, and there is a legend regarding its bullet holes—if a woman (18 or older) places her left ring finger through the hole, she will be proposed to within a year. It is believed that Jennie wishes for and helps bring about a lifetime of love for others because she was denied her happily-ever-after with Jack.

The Jennie Wade House in Gettysburg, Image in public domain

And whether you believe or not, nothing can change the fact that the Jennie Wade House Museum receives letters from many of their visitors to report an engagement after visiting.

In my novella, Chloe and Britt go to the Jennie Wade House, and Chloe ends up putting her left ring finger through the door. Does she get a proposal and happy ending within a year? Well, you’ll just have to read the story to find out.

Book cover for When We Finally Kiss Goodnight by Staci Troilo When We Finally Kiss Goodnight Blurb:
Chloe Upshaw suffers from what she calls the trifecta of awful—unfulfilling job, disappointed family, bad luck with love. Just before Christmas, she travels to Pittsburgh hoping to land a job that will change her career. But not only is she in stiff competition for the position, she angers her mother by rejecting her matchmaking efforts and not going home. Worse, she runs into the guy who got away—and this time, no matter how many lies she tells to protect her heart, she leaves herself vulnerable to hurt.

Britt Garris’ callous and careless behavior in college cost him his dream girl. When fate crosses their paths ten years later, he thinks it’s serendipity. And he launches into one deception after another to win her back, including an auspicious trip for the two archaeologists to Gettysburg. Britt plays on Chloe’s love of history to spend time with her. He doesn’t count on the local lore and legend predicting their future—a future his duplicity puts at risk.

When their lies finally crumble, their budding relationship is threatened. Their dishonesties and disillusions may be impossible to overcome. But maybe the magic of the season can make their dreams come true.

This holiday-themed steamy romance novella is available for 99¢. Click here for purchase information.

Bio box for author, Staci Trolio

 

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Night of the Mothman by Mae Clair

Tomorrow is release day for A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS, the first novel in my Point Pleasant series. I’m not actually kicking off a blog tour until the beginning of May, but I thought I’d do a couple of posts related to Mothman sightings this week, since he factors so highly into the novel and series.

The first sighting of the infamous cryptid took place on the night of November 15, 1966. Roger Scarberry, his wife Linda, and friends Steve and Mary Mallette took a drive to the “TNT,” a remote wooded area approximately six miles outside of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Once a World War II munitions site, the region was popular with many young couples who simply wanted a place to hang out away from town.

A pair of red evil eyes staring out from a black backgroundThe two couples parked near an abandoned power plant and were chatting when they spied two glowing red spheres behind a gate. It didn’t take long to realize those disembodied spheres were actually eyes. A creature unlike any they had ever seen regarded them steadily in the darkness. Towering nearly seven feet tall, the nightmarish form appeared humanoid with enormous wings folded behind its back

As his passengers screamed, Roger Scarberry hit the gas and sped toward town. The creature immediately took flight and pursued them. Mr. Scarberry insisted he had the car screaming over 100 MPH in his fright to escape the thing, but couldn’t shake it. The eyes were visible through the rear windshield as his terrified passengers urged him on. When they reached town, the monster veered off and the couples quickly hunted down Deputy Sheriff Millard Halstead.

Halstead would later recall how shaken all four appeared. “I’ve known these kids all their lives. They’d never been in any trouble and they were really scared that night. I took them seriously.” Separated and questioned individually, all four told the same story. Halstead even drove back to the TNT with Roger Scarberry in any attempt to locate the creature but couldn’t find it.

The next day a press conference was held at the county courthouse with the Scarberrys and Mallettes relating their encounter again. It wasn’t long before the press dubbed the creature the “Mothman.”

Sightings would continue up until the tragic collapse of the Silver Bridge. Connecting Point Pleasant with Gallipolis, Ohio, the old suspension bridge buckled under the weight of rush hour traffic on December 15, 1967, claiming forty-six lives. Shortly thereafter sightings of the Mothman dwindled, then ceased altogether. As a result, the two events remain forever twined in folkore.

Was the Mothman a prophetic visitor sent to warn the town of the impending disaster, or was he something far more sinister? A demon? An alien? In A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS, I put my own spin on the legend of this mysterious creature.

Join me tomorrow for release day, and the tale of another sighting. In the meantime, take a look at A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS and pre-order your copy now for delivery tomorrow. Thanks for joining me on a journey of mystery and suspense that begins with…

A Thousand Yesteryears 2Behind 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…

Pre-order from:
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Kensington Publishing

 

$.99 Sale and a Preview by Mae Clair

Hello, blogger friends! I’ve got two bits of news to share with you today, both book related.

Through April 3rd you can grab an e-copy of my romantic suspense novel MYTH AND MAGIC for just $.99 from any major book retailer.  With 46 reviews on Amazon and an average rating of 4.6, I think you’ll find it a compelling read. But don’t take my word for it. Grab a copy yourself and get lost in the blend of mystery, romance and detective fiction!

Cover of Myth and Magic, a romantic suspense novel by Mae Clair, Includes snippets of reviews in a colorful ad

Purchase from:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble 
Kobo 
iTunes
Google

Kensington Publishing
All Romance eBooks 

Secondly, I’m super excited to announce that Kensington Publishing has started splashing A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS around on various sites with ongoing promo. As of now, you can read the prologue (first 10 pages) of the book using this link. I hope it whets your reading appetite enough to consider pre-ordering a copy. Release date is April 26, but pre-orders are available through all major booksellers:

Amazon 
Barnes and Noble 
iTunes 
Google Play 
Kobo 
Kensington Publishing 

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

So whether you like secluded lodges where ghostly rumors are circulating (MYTH AND MAGIC), or prefer an abandoned munitions site haunted by a legendary creature known as the Mothman (A THOUSAND YESTERYEARS), I thank you for considering my books and wish you happy reading!

 

Mythical Monday: Legends of Zombie Land by Mae Clair

Tucked into western Pennsylvania, snuggled against the Ohio border lies a stretch of ground known as Zombie Land. Numerous tales have sprung up during the years of bizarre happenings and spectral apparitions that haunt the area. Rumors abound of eerie screams echoing in the night, and of ghostly phantoms that wander the darkness.

Legend also tells of a group of people known as the Light Bulb Heads. Afflicted with a condition that caused water to form on the brain (hydrocephalus), the group retreated to the area, hoping to live in peace. Their odd medical condition caused deformities making them a target for ridicule and shame, some claiming they were “zombies”—a likeness from which the area derived its name.Spooky setting with hand rising out from the grave. Halloween

Another group who inhabited the region were known as the Bridge People. They lived beneath a stone span, commonly called the Frankenstein Bridge. One legend references a young boy who jumped from the bridge and committed suicide, forever branding it as a place of desolation. The sides of the bridge are spray-painted with numerous markings, names, and symbols. It’s rumored that if your name is spray-painted on the bridge, the people who linger underneath will hunt you down and kill you.

Graffiti was never so lethal.

Or, you might find yourself on Gravel Road, an old rail bed where visitors reported hearing ghostly train whistles in the night. It’s whispered that if you park your car on the track you’re certain to see lights approaching, accompanied by the loud rattle of a steam engine. Only the foolish linger long enough to discover if the metal apparition bearing down on them is real.

There is also the notorious Blood House. Although the infamous residence now stands in ruins, legend has that it was once the abode of an old woman versed in the dark arts of witchcraft. She kidnapped and murdered children, burying their remains in a field behind her house. Locals knew never to venture too close, especially when the night was wrapped in darkness and the moon scuttled behind the clouds.

There has been physical evil here, too. In the year 2000, Shannon Leigh Kos, a twelve-year-old girl was found raped and stabbed to death beneath the bridge. Her murderers were three men in their early 20s, one of whom she’d had a relationship with. The men set fire to her body, hoping to hide the remains, but were eventually discovered.

If there is any gentleness about this place, it rests with a statue of the Virgin Mary. Although the St. Lawrence church and cemetery no longer stand, it is rumored that a likeness of the Lord’s mother once graced the spot. If it was safe to enter Zombie Land her arms would be open, welcoming strangers, but if her hands were clasped in prayer, it was a sign to stay away. One can only hope that the Blessed Mother was there to welcome poor Shannon Leigh Kos into her embrace in her last hours.

As Halloween approaches, this sinister area of Pennsylvania will likely be on the lips and tongues of many as they share old tales. Teenagers in particular, enjoy turning the area into a lover’s lane where they share ghost stories and whispers of things that go bump in the night.

Knowing all that has taken place in Zombie Land, would you be brave enough to visit when the night is dark and the moon is hidden in a blanket of clouds?

Mythical Monday: The Colorful Chameleon by Mae Clair

Hi, friends. You might recall a recent post I did in which I *ahem* whined about losing a Mythical Monday blog article on the chameleon. Such an amateur mistake which I thought I had wisely outgrown.

Guess what?

After shuffling through numerous folders on my computer, I realized I hadn’t lost it after all. Apparently, overcome by a moment of mad genius, I saved it with an unrecognizable name in the wrong sub-folder. *shakes head* I have no clue what I was thinking but am going to blame the lapse on Mr. Evening. For a muse, he’s been keeping strange hours of late.

The good news is I’m now able to share how the chameleon attained his color-shifting ability.

According to legend, Chameleon was once a beautiful golden-green in hue. I’m sure there were lots of compliments lobbed his way, maybe even a fan club of admirers, or an entourage that followed him about.  But Chameleon didn’t let the adulation go to his head. He was a decent sort which is why almost everyone looked up to him.

Notice I said “almost” because there are always a few resentful souls sulking about.

Golden-green was probably a trendy fashion statement at the time which is no doubt why Scorpion, Komodo Dragon, Spider, Snake, and Bat banded together to plot against poor Chameleon. They devised a scheme to rob him of his beautiful appearance by introducing colored dye into his system. (Can’t you just hear their nefarious laughter?). So under the pretext of friendship—and probably a lot of false fawning—the five invited him to a party where they spiked his drink.

A panther chameleon resting on a tree branch at night, displaying his colorsAs soon as Chameleon swallowed the foul concoction, his skin changed color, morphing from red to blue, and purple to green.

This is why Chameleon changes color so easily and why Scorpion, Komodo, Spider, Snake, and Bat are often painted as wicked creatures.Personally, I think the Fraudulent Five did Chameleon a favor. I love how the adaptable little creatures are able to change hue so quickly, and wouldn’t mind using the same trick with my wardrobe. Think of the money saved on clothing!

In closing, I had a nice virtual party planned with this post and a lovely tie-in to my new blog décor. But since the blog remodeling is now a thing of the past, I’ll just invite you to have some crab stuffed mushroom caps and a drink. I promise I didn’t spike the punch. Bwahahaha!

Mythical Monday: Pennsylvania’s Werewolf Tale, by Mae Clair

Wolf in silhouette howling at full moonFor today’s Mythical Monday, I’m sharing a legend from my home state of Pennsylvania. Some of you who have followed my blog for a long time know I have a fondness for werewolf folklore. I used it in my first novel, WEATHERING ROCK, and never tire of the many twists and turns this legend has undergone through the centuries. Pennsylvania doesn’t seem like prime territory for werewolves, but there’s no arguing wolves in general once roamed the state.

In the 1800s wolves plagued the German settlers of Northumberland County, raiding local farms and carrying off chickens, sheep, and goats.

May Paul was just a child at the time, but she tended her family’s sheep, taking them to graze among the surrounding fields. One day, while going about the chore, she encountered a gray-haired man with a grizzled beard. People in the community routinely gossiped about a hermit who lived in the woods, and had a strange way about him. Her parents had instructed her to avoid the man if she ever encountered him, but May saw nothing wrong in befriending him.

The man didn’t talk much, but he seemed gentle and kind. Over time, it became habit that whenever May took her sheep out to graze, the hermit would appear and watch over her from a distance. Sometimes she spied wolves on the perimeter of the grazing field, but never had to fend them off. While her neighbors’ sheep suffered grisly attacks, any pack that roamed near May’s flock retreated abruptly, as if frightened away by something.

wooden fence in the grass on the hillside near the village at night in moon lightOne night, a farmer heard a commotion in his barn. Fearing a wolf attack, he grabbed his rifle and hurried outside. A grizzled grey wolf raced past, so close, he was able to shoot it cleanly. The great beast loped off into the night, but left a blood trail behind. Wanting to finish the job, the farmer followed the trail a short distance before deciding against the folly of chasing a wounded animal in the dark. The wolf was injured and couldn’t roam far.

Confident he could bag the animal in the morning, he returned to his house, picking up the trail again after daybreak. He followed the blood to the cabin of the old hermit, venturing cautiously inside when he received no answer to his shouts. He found the old man dead in a pool of blood, a gunshot wound to his chest.

When the community got wind of what had happened, locals immediately branded the hermit a werewolf. Hadn’t he always been strange and secretive, living alone, and keeping to himself? They buried his body in the dirt floor of his cabin, christening the spot Die Woolf Man’s Grob, which translated means “The Wolfman’s Grave.”

When May heard the news, she was devastated by the loss of her friend. Turning a deaf ear to the gossip, she steadfastly refused to believe the old man had been a werewolf. But thereafter, whenever she tended her sheep, an old grey wolf would watch from the distance—much in the same way her hermit friend had watched over her.

Wolves continued to raid local farms, but never ventured near the farm owned by May’s family. The old grey wolf stood guard in the distance, driving the rogue packs away whenever they drew near. As decades passed, the attacks eventually dwindled. Wolves were killed or driven off. As for the old grey wolf, it made a final appearance around the time of May’s death.

As I look back over this tale, what strikes me most about it is the bond between May and the hermit/werewolf. Usually werewolves are depicted as killers, but in this case, the creature protected not only May, but her family, and her family’s farm as well. Of all those in the community, May was the only one to show the old man friendship, and he returned it a hundredfold by keeping the packs of rogue wolves at bay.

Are you a fan of werewolf tales?

Mythical Monday: The Pukwudgie, by Mae Clair

Before I lope off into Mythical Monday land, I wanted to mention that Dane Carlisle and Ellie Sullivan of my romantic mystery, ECLIPSE LAKE, are doing a character interview today at Jennifer Lowery’s blog. If you’d like to stop by and say hello, you can check the interview out here.

Now, about the strange creature in the title…

Interesting name, Pukwudgie. For some reason it makes me think of gremlins, or gnarled forest imps. Actually, those descriptions aren’t too far off base.

The Pukwudgie can be found in the folklore and myths of the Wampanoag people, Native Americans who occupied southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island beginning in the 17th Century. Legends describe the Pukwudgie as human in appearance but with a large nose, fingers and ears. They stand about two to three feet high, and have bodies covered in thick hair. Their skin is ashen or bluish-gray, and they favor natural materials which lend to camouflage for clothing—items like grasses, moss, tree bark, and reeds.

Despite its diminutive size, the Pukwudgie is a powerful being able to conjure the forces of magic. It can vanish at will, summon fire, and shoot flashes of light from its body. It also has the ability to shapeshift, its most common form that of a porcupine which walks upright. It delights in mischief and will often snatch children from unsuspecting parents. It also favors arrows tipped with poison that quickly cause a victim to sicken and die. Worse, those who perish at its hands remain trapped in its control for eternity.

3d Digitally rendered illustration of a Will O' the Wisp carrying a lantern through a misty swamp with dead treesThe Wampanoag call these departed spirits “Tei-Pai-Wankas.” Spheres of light, they are similar to the will-o-wisp and are used by the Pukwudgie to lure unsuspecting humans to their deaths. Those who follow a Tei-Pai-Wanka are mesmerized by its glowing form, unable to turn away. Easily enticed into swamps riddled with quicksand or compelled to walk off sheer cliffs, they suffer a grisly fate. If all else fails, a Pukwudgie is also able to inflict harm on a person simply by staring at them.

So how do you protect yourself against these nasty troll-like beings? (Supposedly, there are still Pukwudgie sightings today).

The best defense is to ignore creature and pray it won’t trouble you further. If that doesn’t work, you can recite the Lord’s Prayer, spread salt, or arm yourself with iron. Much like European Faeries, the Pukwudgie is repelled by all three defenses. You’re most likely to encounter one in New England or the Great Lakes Region, so be wary when travelling.

And at the very least, you might want to think twice before following any spheres of glowing light!  😉

Mythical Monday: The Burnt Swamp Monster by Mae Clair

Swamps just naturally seem to attract legends of monsters, and the Great Cypress Swamp of the Delmarva Peninsula is no exception. Locals tell countless tales of bizarre events associated with the swamp, dating as far back as the 1920s. According to folklore, two coon hunters were out with their dogs when they heard a horrible inhuman scream. The sound terrified them so much, they ran rather than fire, and were pursued by a large, lumbering creature. They never actually saw the beast, but heard its heavy tread as it gave pursuit, snapping off tree branches behind them.

Fog over a night time swamp

The tale grew over time, with the monster blamed for everything from mutilated chickens (they always get eaten, don’t they?), to missing pets, and even odd blood splatters found in the swamp. Most people avoided venturing into the dank area, but Prohibition was still going strong, making the site a favored hideaway for bootleggers.

In the early 1930s, Delmarva was plagued by extreme draught, the temperature climbing to a sweltering 110 degrees by July. It was during that exceptionally hot, dry summer that a massive fire took place. Most believe it started when a moonshiner’s still exploded. Fed by underground peat deposits, and the dried out “knees” of cypress trees that had been exposed by the draught, the blaze burned for eight months. Eight! Firefighters simply couldn’t combat it, and eventually it burnt itself out. From that time forward, the Great Cypress Swamp became known locally as the Burnt Swamp.

It’s rumored that a shingle-maker who lost his life in the fire still haunts the edges of the swamp. There are also references to the mysterious phantom of a young girl. Reportedly, a motorist who was driving across State Line Route 54 between Maryland and Delaware (a drive I have made many times) claimed to see a girl dressed in a flowing white gown. The girl ran across the road and vanished into the woods on the opposite side. The motorist was understandably shaken. Not only was the hour after midnight, but the girl carried her head in her hands.

As for the swamp monster, its preferred hunting time is thought to be late night or just after midnight. Descriptions from those who claim to have glimpsed the monster, range from a ghostly figure, to a hairy creature, to a two-legged, half-man animal. Is it possible this dark, perilous area is home to more than one supernatural being?

Others have reported hearing strange sounds and moans coming from the swamp and surrounding woods. On April 23, 1964, the Delmarva News ran a story on the swamp monster. Their reporter had spent nights in the swamp, tirelessly searching for the creature until he was finally able to capture it on film. A photo of the beast ran along with the story, and swamp fever was born. As it turns out, the story and photo were a hoax, a clever ruse and a bit of fun, undertaken by a local resident and the paper’s editor at the time. But it didn’t stop tales of the Swamp Monster from flourishing.

For years, teens flocked to the area, especially on Halloween night, daring each other to brave the haunted swamp as a rite of passage. Riddled with sinkholes and dangerous wildlife, it isn’t just the Burnt Swamp Monster those brave enough to try had to fear.

Swamps and bogeyman-like creatures are always entertaining tales for a late night campfire. Although I have visited Delmarva many times, and have never encountered the Burnt Swamp Monster, it’s interesting to note the legend lingers today. As a proper legend should.

Have you ever ventured into a swamp? Would you?

Mythical Monday: Satyrs, From the Old Testament to UFOs, by Mae Clair

In Greek mythology, Satyrs were considered forest Gods, creatures who were half man and half beast. Most commonly depicted as having the upper body of a man with the lower body and legs of a horse, the Satyr has long been a familiar figure in myth and legend.

But is it possible this creature actually existed?

Satyrs are mentioned twice by name in the Old Testament, in the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 13:21 and Isaiah 34:14). Isaiah 13:21 tells us “But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.”

In Hebrew, the translation of Satyr is faun or “he goat.” This fits hand-in-hand with Roman mythology which sees the Satyr as half man/half goat. This mythical beast has made an appearance, in one form or another, in most every culture. Some believe Satyrs have the ability to shapeshift, and others, that they roam the spirit realm as well as the physical.

Illustration of a creature resembling a satyrIn the 1970s a connection was drawn between Satyr-type beings and UFOs. Case in point: In the town of Roachdale, Indiana, in August of 1972, a family named Rogers encountered a creature that could be deemed a Satyr.

It began when one of the Rogers saw a luminous object hovering above a cornfield. Upon investigation, one of the men caught a glimpse of a heavily built creature moving among the cornstalks. Mrs. Rogers reported seeing a creature through the window of her trailer. She described the nocturnal visitor as standing like a man, but running on all fours.

Sightings continued for a period of days, reported by the Rogers and several farmers who resided in the area. The sightings always took place at night, most agreeing the creature was covered with black hair and had a repugnant odor “like dead animals or garbage.” Several said that the beast appeared to lack substance, as if it was spirit, or moved between worlds. Others said it left evidence of trampled grass behind, and many of the farmers reported finding mutilated chickens. One farmer found the feed he reserved for his pigs, picked clean of cucumbers and tomatoes. The chickens, though mutilated, were left uneaten. Given Satyrs are beings of the woodlands and forests, this doesn’t strike me as odd.

The creature was chased, and even fired upon at close range. Those doing the shooting insisted they had hit their target, but the beast appeared unhurt, and fled.

Could this ancient creature have lived as far back as the days of Isaiah, in 740 B.C., only to materialize in the twentieth century, perhaps even today? Some believe Satyrs possess the power to disappear, and reappear in other places. Is it possible that ability allows them to transcend time as well?

The Bible tells us that God created all life, including the beings who inhabit the spiritual world. Those who are “in Heaven, and that are in the Earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers.”

Our world is old, its mysteries older still. How intriguing some of those secrets are as mystifying today as they were in the age of the latter prophets. Do you think Satyrs once walked the Earth? Do you think they possibly exist in some obscure area today?