Region of origin: Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, Japan
A yokai taking on the appearance of a red-colored child’s hand, the akateko hangs from the branches of a honey locust tree like a spider hanging from its web, except… it is a disembodied hand. It doesn’t exhibit harmful or malicious behavior but its primarily function seems to be to startle people by dropping down near them. As with some other yokai like the ashi-magari, it’s thought the akateko may not be a distinct creature but rather a form of or illusion created by another yokai such as a tanuki, or have some relation to a spirit that takes the form of a mysterious young woman waiting at the base of their tree.
[Sources referenced: X | X ]
Region of origin: Point Pleasant, West Virginia
Starting in November of 1966 in the area near Point Pleasant, there were numerous reported sightings of a large creature, black or dark brown in color with large glowing red eyes, with descriptions ranging from humanoid to a massive bird to something in-between. Most were just sightings but one couple said it chased their car down the road, keeping pace with them even as they reached speeds of 100 mile per hour. These sightings carried on for thirteen months, accompanied by phenomena like illness in witnesses, animal mutilation, technological malfunctions. One of the most widely-corroborated cryptid sightings, in all there were over one hundred people who had claimed they had seen the creature or otherwise experienced strange anomalous incidents that would get tied into the investigation. The sightings continued but slowed, and largely stopped around the same time as the collapse of the Silver Bridge into the Ohio River in December 1967, a tragic event that resulted in 46 deaths, for which many believe the presence of the strange creature had functioned as a omen or warning, and has since led to claims of similar creatures showing up in the time preceding other large disasters. Origins attributed to the creature range from the demonic to the extraterrestrial, or that West Virginia itself may just be a supernatural hotspot where reality is thin and extra-dimensional creatures like a Mothman may more easily slip through. Alternatively, many also write off the sightings as large bird such as a sandhill crane or maybe a giant owl obscured by the darkness, and connecting all the events leading up to the bridge’s collapse being a form of mass hysteria and apophenia fueled by Mothman coverage in the local papers. Imagined or not, Mothman remains a popular celebrity for Point Pleasant, receiving a statue and an annual festival in the city in 2002. Based on my research, I’m pretty sure everyone on the internet wants to date him.
[Sources referenced: X | X | X | X ]
Thomas, the Winged Cat of Pineville
Region of origin: Pineville, West Virginia
In 1959, Pineville resident Doug Shelton found a cat out in the woods who possessed a pair of fur-covered wing-like growths extending off its shoulders. It seemed skittish but comfortable around people, so Doug took it home and named it Thomas, where she quickly became a local celebrity and even got some time in the national spotlight, receiving attention from curious reporters and scientists. A neighbor to the Sheltons, Mrs. Charles Hicks, eventually heard of Thomas and came forward to claim it was her cat, Mitzi, that had gone missing a few days before Doug had found her. The Sheltons refused to give up the cat, who they had begun charging curious onlookers a dime to see and had begun generating some decent income for the small family. The case eventually went to court, but ended abruptly when Doug arrived to the courthouse with a wingless Thomas and a box containing her shed “wings,” which had just been protuberances of matted fur, and Mrs. Hicks claiming upon seeing Thomas that it wasn’t her cat, anyways. Thomas remained with the Sheltons, but without her wings she no longer drew in much of a crowd.
[Sources referenced: X | X | X| X ]
The Grafton Monster
Region of origin: Grafton, West Virginia
One night in mid-June of 1964, reporter Robert Cockrell was driving home when he approached a large white “obstruction” on the side of the road. As he passed, he ascertained it appeared to be a living creature, estimated about nine feet tall with white smooth skin and no discernible head. Panicked, Cockrell sped on, but returned later that night with two friends to try and find the creature. Any trace of the creature had disappeared, the grass in the spot where it had been looked matted as if something had been there but nothing nearby indicating where it had come from or gone. While searching, the three heard a strange whistling noise but were unable to locate a source of the sound. The story spread and while the monster was never sighted again, monster-hunting remained a popular activity around Grafton for the remainder of the summer. Details were scant and so too were possible explanations, but the creature’s seeming ability to vanish into thin air has led people to postulate it shares origins either extraterrestrial or extra-dimensional with other local sightings such as the Flatwoods Monster or Mothman.
[Sources referenced: X | X | X ]
Ghost Cows of Farm Road 511
Region of origin: Brownsville, Texas
Drivers heading down the otherwise-empty FM511 at night have reported suddenly encountering a cow appearing several feet in front of their vehicles, causing them to swerve off the road avoid it. After exiting the vehicle, they find the cow is now nowhere to be found and has left no trace behind that it had ever been there. There have been no signs the cow is purposefully malicious, or any more capable of being so than a normal, living cow, but several accidents have been attributed to the bovine apparitions.
[Sources referenced: X | X | X ]
The Ratman of Southend
Region of origin: Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England
The sound of nails scraping along the walls of an underpass in Southend may be a sign the Ratman is near. The urban legend tells of a homeless man who retreated to the underpass for the night, only to be accosted by a group of drunken teens who beat him and left him to a slow and painful death, still calling for help as a hungry pack of rats descended upon him and ate his face. His spirit remained to haunt the underpasses, access-ways and sewers, assuming a grotesque, rat-like form and attacking any who enter his domain. An alternate version of the tale tells of a previous mayor of Southend having an affair resulting in a child, and as a cosmic punishment for his infidelity the son was born with the appearance of a half-man, half-rat monster, who was then abandoned to the sewers and grew up into a dangerous feral man-beast.
[Sources referenced: X | X | X ]
Region of origin: Lurking in the dark
Coming out near midnight, the Thriller is an intangible force of fear, utilizing the form of reanimated dead, ravenous were-beasts and things with forty eyes, among others, accompanied by the odor of ancient decay. The amassed forces will head from graveyards and tombs into neighborhoods and backroads in search of human prey to frighten through intricate choreography, forcing them to join the ranks of their undead troupe as the fear takes hold, their body rotting. It is said they prefer humans with no natural sense of rhythm, but can affect anyone as no mere mortal can resist the evil of the Thriller.
Originally posted on Tumblr on October 31, 2016