Bipedal Octopus Dwarves from Beyond the Stars

Uniden Digital Camera

Drawings by Yoshihiro Fujiwara of the aliens he saw in 1974.

Part of the fun in reading UFO stories, at least for me, is the descriptions of the aliens themselves. Outside of the usual grays and reptilians, I’ve heard stories of aliens who resemble robots, praying mantises, elves, demons, and perhaps freakiest of all, Scandinavians. When there are pictures of the weirder ones available, I save them to a folder on my computer. Lately, I’ve had the pleasure of adding a new species to my collection: bipedal octopus dwarves.

The fine creatures you see above come to us from The Nikoro Incident, a series of encounters that took place in Japan in April 1974. According to an article from a contemporary ufology magazine, Yoshihiro Fujiwara was a 28-year-old man who lived in Kitami, a city in Hokkaido. On April 6, 1974, at 3 AM, Fujiwara’s sleep was disturbed by a sound in his genkan, the traditional entryway in a Japanese home.

When Fujiwara went to investigate the sound, he found that his visitor was a three foot tall alien. Though he tried to make a run for it, Fujiwara was suddenly whisked off his feet and levitated to an orange-colored UFO hovering over a field outside.

Once he got to the UFO, Fujiwara was able to jump off and run to a neighbor’s house for help. Nothing out of the ordinary happened again until the evening, when Fujiwara developed psychic abilities. He now had the awe-inspiring power of bending spoons, and he could also talk to the aliens he saw earlier by telepathy. After two days, and what had to have been a countless number of mind-texts, the aliens told Fujiwara that they wanted to meet again.

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Zenhachi’s Unhappy Grandson: A Story of Reincarnation from 19th Century Japan

 

Bakin

Portrait of Kyokutei Bakin, the author of Rabbit Garden Tales.

Rabbit Garden Tales is a collection of strange stories gathered by the Edo-era Japanese novelist Kyokutei Bakin. The collection includes “true” accounts of supernatural stories involving ghosts and monsters, but it also contains some more… I guess we could say “realistic” material, like that of an eight-year-old girl who gave birth in a village in what is now Ibaraki Prefecture.

Bakin himself had heard these stories from the Rabbit Garden Society, a group of eleven other writers he’d met with during some monthly meetings in 1825. The following story, a tale about reincarnation, was said to have happened in the fourth month of the second year of the Bunsei era, or April 1819 for those of us who don’t measure time in Japanese imperial reigns.

Zenhachi was a retired picture framer from Edo (Tokyo) who loved to travel. During one of his trips, while walking on a road away from Osaka, Zenhachi saw a teenage girl about 15 or 16-years-old in his path. The girl was traveling alone, and suddenly fainted and collapsed when she passed by Zenhachi.

The wandering picture framer helped the girl, and after she came to, asked her what she was doing all alone. The girl explained that she’d run away from an employer that morning, and was so exhausted from her escape that she couldn’t help but collapse. So Zenhachi accompanied the girl back to her house in what is now the city of Tsu, and her family was so grateful for Zenhachi’s help that they invited him to stay with them for a while.

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The Airline Stewardess who Starved Herself to Death for Aliens

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A picture of Gloria Lee from her first book, “Why We Are Here.”

In September 1953, 28-year-old Gloria Lee began to hear a strange voice in her head. Fortunately, the voice didn’t claim to be a manifestation of schizophrenia, but a telepathic communication from Jupiter by an alien named J.W. (The Jovians were so utterly advanced that they had no use for names or vocal cords.) Lee, an airline stewardess who had a great interest in UFOs, was understandably thrilled with her psychic visitor. She’d heard stories from pilots and other stewardesses about flying saucers, but in her five years of experience had never actually seen one herself.

Imagine Lee’s disappointment, then, when J.W. refused to physically show himself to her. “Frankly,” she wrote in her first book, I was just plain disgusted J.W. didn’t “drop in for a visit” if he was who he said he was.” For months, Lee decided to ignore J.W., until one day she was hanging laundry outside her home in Westchester, California and suddenly heard a voice telling her to look up.

Not sure what to expect, Lee followed the command, and spotted a giant UFO flying northward. After hearing there were other witnesses who saw the object in near-by Redondo Beach, Lee’s faith was restored, and she took up talking to J.W. again. To further develop her powers, Lee also attended a “psychic development” class. Lee never claimed to have physically met or seen J.W., but a classmate did once sketch his picture after supposedly seeing him stand behind Lee in class.

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A Warning Unheeded: A Victorian Account of Precognitive Dreams

unknown artist; Reverend Frederick George Lee (1832-1902)

Painting of Frederick George Lee.

Today’s article is an account from Frederick George Lee’s 1885 “Glimpses in the Twilight: Being Various Notes, Records, and Examples of the Supernatural.” Lee was an English priest who believed in ghosts and wrote several books about the supernatural. He recorded this story, verbatim,  from the member of a Buckinghamshire family called Hickman. Unfortunately, the narrator gives us no date, but I assume it happened in the earlier part of the century. 

My grandfather had a favourite daughter. She was his youngest child, had been born about ten years after the birth of his youngest son, and to her he was devotedly attached. The loss of his wife when his youngest daughter was about sixteen years of age, seemed to deepen and strengthen the affectionate attachment in question.

He himself is said to have been a very hard-headed, unromantic, anti-sentimental man, who had been largely influenced by the Scotch philosophers of the last century in rejecting the revealed religion of Christ; and during the latter part of his life, with a habit of sneering and cynicism, appears to have given up any belief in God, the soul, or immortality.

He was, however, reputed to have been a person of great integrity and good principles; living an upright life, respected by his friends, and a good friend as regards things temporal to his poorer neighbors.

The daughter in question, going with others to an outdoor party in one of the most beautiful parts of Buckinghamshire, not far from Wendover, rambling far from headquarters, was with several others overtaken by a storm, caught a severe cold, went home, took to her bed, and in less than ten days was buried in the village churchyard.

The young girl in question was very fair both in form and features; and friends who came to see her in her coffin said that she had never in all her life looked more beautiful. She was interred in the family vault amid the tears of her relations, and to the intense grief of her sorrowing parent.

Her father was inconsolable at his loss, the more so as he knew nothing of the consolations of religion, having long ago rejected them, and fretted much at what he looked upon as the stern decrees of Fate.

The night after the funeral he is said to have had a most vivid dream. He dreamt that his daughter was confined in a cold and narrow underground cell, and that two resolute jailers were slowly filling her mouth with small pieces of cotton wool, in order to forcibly suffocate her; but that in the greatest trouble and agony she continued to resist, and would not be suffocated.

The dream disturbed him considerably; but, on waking and thinking over it, he acknowledged that his recent loss had no doubt served to disorganize his stomach, to confuse his brain, and to give rise to such fantastic fancies of the night.

However, a similar dream was had on the following night, and a third to his great astonishment on the night succeeding. His mental anguish and stress became so great that, at sunrise on the third day he rose from his bed, and went off to the clergyman of the parish to narrate what had happened, and to ask his counsel.

The clergyman, who had not then risen, surprised at being roused so early, came downstairs, listened to the curious and affecting narrative, and at once advised the immediate opening of the vault. This was done at once, and the coffin examined.

Under further advice- that of a doctor from the country town, who was going his rounds to visit his patients- the coffin was opened, when, to the horror of all who witnessed what was then and there discovered, it seemed perfectly clear that the young girl had been buried alive.

It was obvious that she had been put into the coffin in a state of suspended animation or trance, and that since the burial (for the body was turned and twisted, the hands compressed, the nails being dug into their palms, and the face fearfully contorted), the poor creature had died of suffocation.

An inquiry which was held resulted in nothing that could either give consolation to the living or benefit to the dead. The bare and melancholy facts as here recorded were both undoubted and unquestioned. The father of the girl soon afterwards died of grief, wasted away from sorrowing; and, as some said, died of a broken heart.

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The Gandillon Werewolf Family

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Painting of Henri Boguet, the French judge who recorded the Gandillons’ story and took part in their trial.

One werewolf is incredulous enough, but a whole family of werewolves? Such a story happened in the Jura region of eastern France in 1598. In the spring of that year, a boy named Benoit Bidel and his sister were picking strawberries near the village of St. Claude. While Benoit was climbing a tree, a wolf with human hands emerged from the forest and lunged at his sister. Benoit hopped down and tried to stab the wolf with a knife. The wolf tossed his knife away though, and it then bit his neck and ran back off into the trees.

Some near-by peasants who heard the scuffle rushed to the scene. They found Benoit badly bleeding, although his sister was unharmed. Before dying on the spot, Benoit gave a description of the strange wolf he saw. The angry peasants immediately set off looking for the wolf in the forest, but instead they stumbled on a local girl named Pernette Gandillon. The furious mob noticed that Pernette’s dress was covered in blood, so they grabbed her and tore her apart.

Regardless of whether Pernette confessed to being the wolf or not, as some accounts claim, Pernette was a pretty unpopular person to begin with. She and her family lived in the forest, isolated from the rest of St. Claude. They were rumored to be Satanists and witches, so it wasn’t that big of a leap to suspect her of being a werewolf either.

Following Pernette’s murder,  her brother Pierre and sister Antoinette were also accused of being werewolves. They were both accused of attending sabbaths, as well as summoning hailstorms and having sex with demons. (In Antoinette’s case, her sexual partner was a goat, who was actually the Devil in disguise.) After being tortured, surely the most reliable method of truth inducement, Pierre cracked and confessed that the accusations were true.

He admitted that the Devil gave his family magical wolf-skins, which had the power to turn the Gandillons into werewolves. Wearing the skins, they couldn’t help but run across the land on all fours, devouring animals and humans alike. Pierre’s son, Georges, also confessed to having an ointment that had the same magical power. With the help of his aunts, he said that he killed two goats while in the form of a wolf.

Unluckily for the Gandillons, the infamous judge Henri Boguet was put in charge of their case. Belief in werewolves might have been widespread during the time, but educated people were generally more skeptical. They thought werewolves were mentally ill, or suffering from delusions caused by the Devil. (Hey, they were close.)

Boguet, on the other hand, took werewolves seriously. He was the author of a best-selling book about witchcraft, and claimed to have sentenced over 600 werewolves to death during his long and, shall we say, distinguished career. While visiting the Gandillons in jail, he noted that Antoinette, Georges, and Pierre walked on all fours and howled. Their faces, hands, and legs were marked with scratches. Pierre was so badly disfigured, in fact, “that he bore hardly any resemblance to a man and struck all those who looked at him with horror.” 

The Gandillons never transformed into wolves during their captivity, but Boguet attributed this to a lack of magical ointment. The Gandillons’ behavior in their cells was proof enough for Boguet, and he sentenced all three family members to be burnt at the stake.

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The Legend of Count Estruch, Europe’s First Vampire Story

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Ruins of Castle Llers, the castle where Count Estruch was said to live.

The legend of Count Estruch is thought to be one of the first European vampire stories, if not the earliest that we know of. The story takes place in the 12th century, during the time of Muslim rule in southern Spain. King Alfonso II,  the king of Aragon in northeast Spain, was worried that pagans in the region of Emporda might ally themselves with his Muslim enemies. The King decided to send a war hero, a count named Guifredo Estruch, to christianize the region.

After being placed in local Llers Castle, Count Estruch set to work christianizing the pagans. Unfortunately, the Count was a very vicious man, and his method of “converting” consisted of murder, torture, and witch-hunts. The Count went on his blood-spree for quite some time, until he was assassinated by one of his own soldiers in 1173. The man, a captain named Benach, poisoned the Count and his daughter Nuria. Benach had wanted to marry Nuria, so his motivation presumably came from rejection, not any disgust with the Count’s hobby of killing pagans.

Still, others say that the Count died after being cursed by one of the many witches he ordered burnt to death. The day after the witch’s execution, Count Estruch found himself so sick that he couldn’t even get out of bed. He died a short time later, and his body went missing from the castle before it could be buried.

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A picture of “Estruch,” a 1991 novel about the legend of Count Estruch. That note card over the book says, “The first vampire was Spanish, and he “lived” in a castle in the Pyrenees. Before Dracula, the Count Estruch terrorized the Iberians of the 12th century.”

After the Count’s death, dead cows started turning up around the castle, mutilated and drained of all their blood. The castle’s servants reported seeing their old master walking through the halls and rooms again, looking just as he was when he was a young man. Count Estruch had come back from the dead, and he haunted the people of Emporda, drinking their blood and stealing their women.

Whenever these abducted women would return, they’d come back pregnant. Nine months would pass, just like in a normal pregnancy, but their children would always come out as hideous monsters. These babies would never survive long, and most of them were born stillborn. Eventually, depending on who you ask, either an old nun or a Jewish hermit put an end to the Count’s terror by finding his hidden coffin and driving a stake into the vampire’s heart.

While Count Estruch might have died there, his story was passed down for hundreds of years among the people. Peasants warned their children of the Count, and women who delivered stillborn babies were said to have been seduced by him. Count Estruch terrified generations, but we can’t be sure how exactly true the story is. Nobody knows whether the Count was a real person, or whether he was just a legend. Unfortunately, Llers Castle was reduced to ruins during the Spanish Civil War, and all the historical documents about Count Estruch were destroyed or lost.

Some suggest that the story of Count Estruch might have originated with the persecution of the Cathars, a group of Gnostic Christians that were popular in southern France during medieval times. The Cathars were considered heretics, and were even burnt at the stake and massacred. Some of the Cathars fled for Spain, and “Estruch” might have come from the Occitan surname “Astruc.” I suppose we’ll never know for certain, but you’ve got to wonder how this story came from Spain of all places, a country not particularly known for its vampire lore.

 

 

The Disappearance of Anthonette Cayedito

Today’s post is a guest article written by Amanda Barber. 

Growing up, my absolute favorite show was the original Unsolved Mysteries. The spooky theme song always gave me the creeps, and Robert Stack’s voice was pure eerie perfection. The ghosts and monsters profiled on the show were scary enough, but it was usually the true crime cases that caught my attention the most. Some of these segments were occasionally updated and solved over the course of the show’s run, and a few have even been solved in the past decade or so.

Sadly, there are still many profiled cases that have remained unsolved mysteries. One of the saddest that I’ve always remembered is the disappearance of Anthonette Cayedito, a 9-year-old girl who vanished from her own home back in 1986. Anthonette lived with her mother Penny and her two sisters in an apartment in one of the poorest parts of Gallup, New Mexico. On the night of April 6, 1986, Penny left the girls with a babysitter and went drinking at a local bar. She came back home around midnight, and let the girls stay up playing until 3 AM.

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Picture of Anthonette Cayedito.

That night, Anthonette slept with her mother in her bed. But when Penny later woke up at 7 AM, she found that Anthonette was missing. At first, Penny thought Anthonette had gotten up early to look for a missing neighbor dog. None of her neighbors had seen Anthonette, however, and a search around the neighborhood turned up nothing.

The authorities didn’t have much luck either, and the case would stay cold for more than a year until the Gallup police department received a short phone call from a girl who said that she was Anthonette. The girl claimed to be in Albuquerque, but before she could explain anything, somebody in the background yelled, “Who said you could use the phone?” Suddenly, there was a scream, and then the call ended. While the call was too short to trace, Penny did get to hear a recording of it. She confirmed that it was Anthonette’s voice.

In 1990, another development occurred when a waitress in Carson City, Nevada reported seeing a girl who looked like Anthonette in the diner where she worked. The girl, who looked about 14-years-old, was eating with a man and woman who looked dirty and unkempt. The girl repeatedly dropped her fork onto the floor during her meal. Whenever the waitress would pick it back up, the girl would squeeze the waitress’s hand. After the trio left, the waitress noticed that the girl had left behind a note she had written on a napkin. “Please help me,” it read, “Call the police.”

That same year, Anthonette’s younger sister, Wendy, told investigators that Anthonette had been abducted. The night of her disappearance, a man knocked on the family’s front door and said that he was their Uncle Joe. Since Penny was sleeping, Anthonette decided to answer it. Two men, neither of whom Wendy recognized, grabbed Anthonette and carried her to a brown van as she kicked and screamed. Wendy did not mention this when the investigation began, because she was afraid that it would upset her mother.

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An age progression done in 2012 of what Anthonette Cayedito might look like at the age of 36.

The Peyotes did have an Uncle Joe, but the authorities believed he had nothing to do with Anthonette’s disappearance. That didn’t rule the possibility that she was abducted by somebody she knew though. Interestingly, Penny failed a lie detector test about her daughter’s disappearance, leading one detective at the Gallup Police Department to suspect that she knew who took Anthonette. There are also rumors, although unconfirmed, that Penny was somehow able to buy a new sports car a week after Anthonette went missing. Where Penny got this money has never been explained.

In April 1999, as Penny laid on her deathbed, investigators wanted to get one last interview from her. She died before they could get the chance. Anthonette’s case languished with no reliable leads for the next seven years, until it was ultimately closed in June 2006.

Personally, I don’t think the few leads the police had were very trustworthy to begin with. The phone call part of the story is very strange. Why would Anthonette, a 10-year-old kid, call up the police all the way in Gallup instead of dialing 911? Wendy’s account is also fishy. Say that Penny really was involved in the disappearance. Could she and the kidnappers have plotted the phone call and Wendy’s account to mislead the investigation?

Then there’s the matter of the Carson City girl. Perhaps Anthonette had been sold off to this couple, but the police were not convinced that the girl the waitress saw was truly Anthonette. She might have been a different girl, or the waitress had made the story up entirely. Looking these leads over, they are very weak. I can’t help but wonder if Penny knew more than she was willing to tell the police. Given that she passed away almost two decades ago, we can only hope that somebody will step forward soon and provide the crucial breakthrough the police need.

Amanda Barber is a true crime buff and Robert Stack enthusiast who dreams of writing a book about the many mysteries of her home state of Minnesota. If you would like to contribute a guest article like Amanda’s, please send a pitch to bizarreandgrotesque@gmail.com.