The Alien Cyclops of Sagrada Familia

sagrada2

Comic book depiction of the Sagrada Familia Cyclops, an alien encountered by three boys in Brazil in August 1963.

On August 28, 1963, 7-year-old José Marcos Gomes Vidal went to play with his friends Fernando and Ronaldo Gualberto at their home in Sagrada Familia, a poor neighborhood in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Around 7 PM, after eating dinner, the boys went out to the backyard to wash a coffee strainer. While Fernando stood a small distance behind him, José dipped his head and arms into a barrel to collect some water. (I believe Ronaldo was hanging around the side of the house, away from the other two boys.)  Suddenly, Fernando noticed a glow coming from the top of an avocado tree. When he looked up, he saw a UFO hovering above the tree’s branches.

The craft, which was spherical and had a pair of antennas on top, was completely transparent. It held four human-like passengers sitting inside, one of whom sat in front of a machine that appeared to be a control panel. The passengers were about six feet tall and dressed in spacesuits. They all four had only one eye. Three of them were thin and bald, while the other looked like an overweight woman with blonde hair.

sagrada3

As Fernando gazed at the sight in awe, the UFO shot out two rays of yellow light. One of the cyclopes then appeared between the lights, slowly floating down onto the ground. Once his boots touched the earth, the creature began to walk toward José, who was completely unaware of what was happening since he was still collecting water. Worried that the cyclops was going to abduct his friend, Fernandos panicked and tackled José. José fell to the ground, and Fernando got back up and faced the cyclops. Now all three boys were aware of their visitor.

Instead of moving any farther, the cyclops moved his head and made hand signals. Its mouth moved and spoke a few sounds that was nothing like the boys ever heard before. The creature then turned around and stared back at the UFO. Fernando, spotting a brick on the ground, picked it up and aimed it at the cyclops. The cyclops suddenly faced the boys again and shot Fernando’s hand with a yellow light from a triangular crest on his chest. Fernando dropped the brick, and all three of the boys became calm and frozen.

fernando

A newspaper photo of Fernando using a stick to show how tall the cyclops was.

The cyclops spent the next few minutes talking to the boys in his language. The boys didn’t understand anything that the cyclops said, but he sounded like he was serious. After pointing one of his fingers at the moon, the cyclops began to walk back toward the UFO. (One source places Fernando’s attempt to hit the creature with a brick at this later point.)

As the cyclops walked away, José asked if he would ever come back. He shook his head affirmatively, plucked a plant from the ground, and then waved his hand at the UFO. The UFO shot out two rays of yellow light again,  and the cyclops slowly floated back up into the vehicle. As the boys continued to watch, the UFO flew eastward and disappeared out of their sight.

After the UFO was gone, a wave of fear settled over the three boys. José ran into the Gualbertos’ house and hid under a bed. Fernando and Ronaldo were also badly spooked, and told their mother María José about what happened. She sent a neighbor girl to fetch her husband, Alcides, from the bar. When Alcides returned home to check the backyard, he found large footprints, like those of a boot, near the water barrel. José and his friends reportedly never saw the cyclopes again. While the case was at one point investigated by a Brazilian ufologist, it has remained mostly unknown to the wider world.

Did you find this article interesting? Be sure to share it on your social media and leave me any comments, questions, or theories you might have in the comments section. 

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The Disappearance of the Yamagamis

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The Yamagami family, composed of 58-year-old Masahiro, 52-year-old Junko, 26-year-old Chie, and 79-year-old Saegusa, went missing from their home in Sera, Japan in June 2001.

On June 4, 2001, 52-year-old Junko Yamagami was scheduled to take a business trip to Dalian, China for the travel company she worked for. Before leaving, she was also supposed to attend a meeting. By noon, after Junko hadn’t shown up to her office or gotten on board her plane, her colleagues began to get worried. They checked her house, where she lived with her husband Masahiro and mother-in-law Saegusa, but nobody appeared to be home. The family dog and Masahiro’s car were gone too. 

The Yamagamis’ daughter, a 26-year-old elementary school teacher named Chie, was also missing. She lived alone in an apartment in near-by Takehara city, but came over to visit her parents the night before. Chie was the last member of the family anybody had seen. At 9:30 PM, she picked up some make-up from a colleague and then headed for her parents’ home in the small mountain town of Sera. The Yamagamis’ neighbors heard a car door close at 10:50 PM. Either this had come from Chie after coming home, or it was the sound of the Yamagamis leaving. None of the neighbors were sure. Whatever it was, the family’s newspaper deliveryman reported that the car was missing when he came around 4:00-5:00 AM.

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Masahiro Yamagami’s car was also missing.

The Yamagamis’ front door was locked, but the back door was open. Nothing in the house appeared to be disturbed. The kitchen light was left on, all of the beds were made, and breakfast had been prepared. As ordinary as the scene appeared, however, there were a couple of strange details. The Yamagamis’ pajamas were missing, and while their shoes had been left behind, their sandals were gone.  Junko’s luggage and the 150,000 yen she needed for her trip were also inside the house, and so was Masahiro’s pager. It seemed that the Yamagamis suddenly dropped whatever they were doing, took the family dog, and quietly left the house in their pajamas and sandals.

A year into the investigation, the case seemed to be going nowhere. The Yamagamis had good reputations, and weren’t involved with any particularly shady or dangerous people. Masahiro did have some money problems, but it wasn’t serious enough to leave town. To some of their neighbors, the Yamagamis’ strange disappearance reminded them of an old story from Edo times. A female servant was said to have gone into the mountains one day and then disappeared. All the townpeople tried looking for her, but she was never found.

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Chie Yamagami and the family dog, Leo.

 

On September 7, 2002, police recovered a car that was found submerged in a reservoir. The car contained the bodies of the four Yamagamis and their dog. No cause of death could be determined, but there were also no signs of anybody being attacked or bruised. Because Masahiro was in the driver’s seat, police believed that it was a murder-suicide or group suicide.

Now the suicide theory does seem credible; after all, why else would they have taken their dog? But the apparent suddenness of how the Yamagamis left strikes me as suspicious. If Masahiro really did kill everybody, how did he manage (or threaten) to convince the other family members to get in the car? Especially when they were getting ready to eat breakfast? Or did somebody force them to leave? Might they have been trying to get away from somebody, and Masahiro accidentally drove into the water?

This case just makes my head spin. It’s a shame that there isn’t much information online about it. According to a poster on this message board, citing a Chinese newspaper, the Yamagamis’ car was found in a neutral state. Masahiro’s window was down, and everybody was wearing their seat-belt. The Yamagamis’ clothes were so damaged that the authorities couldn’t determine whether they were wearing pajamas. Some glasses and an umbrella were also found. Other users brought up a local rumor that Junko was having an affair, arguing that it really was a suicide of some sort.

Did you find this article interesting? Be sure to share it on your social media and leave me any comments, questions, or theories you might have in the comments section. 

 

 

The Crow and the Unsolved Murder of Grégory Villemin

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Picture of Gregory Villemin.

For several years in the early 1980s, an unknown man repeatedly harassed and threatened Jean-Marie Villemin and his family in hundreds of letters and phone calls. The man, nicknamed Le Corbeau (“The Crow”) by the media, especially hated Jean-Marie. The Crow not only knew tiny details about Jean-Marie, like how he was a factory foreman, but also intimate family secrets. “Every single word we said at home,” remarked a relative to the media, “he knew.”

On the afternoon of October 16, 1984, Jean-Marie’s 4-year-old son Grégory went out to play in front of the family’s rural home in Vosges. A half-hour later, The Crow called up Grégory’s uncle and boasted of taking the little boy and putting him in the Vologne river. Police launched a massive search effort, finding Grégory’s body, his hands and feet tied up with rope, in the Vologne the same night.

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Gregory’s parents, Jean-Marie and Christine.

The next day, an anonymous letter that had been sent the day before arrived for Jean-Marie. It read, “I hope you die of grief, boss. Your money can’t give you back your son. Here is my revenge, you stupid bastard.”

After taking handwriting samples from Jean-Marie’s family, police suspected that the murderer was one of his cousins, a 30-year-old man named Bernard Laroche. Laroche, it was suggested, had a grudge against Jean-Marie because Laroche was less financially successful and had a mentally-retarded son. Laroche was taken into police custody the next month, after his sister-in-law told police that she had seen Laroche driving with Grégory.

bernard

Bernard Laroche, a cousin of Jean-Marie, was the initial suspect in the case.

The case seemed like it was just about solved, but Laroche denied having anything to do with Grégory’s murder. In February 1985, his sister-in-law admitted that she had only accused her brother-in-law because she was pressured by the police. Laroche was deemed innocent and let go. Jean-Marie, however, was not convinced. He openly announced to the media that he would kill Laroche, and sure enough, fatally shot his cousin a month later.

Jean-Marie was sentenced to five years in prison for Laroche’s murder. He told the authorities that it was revenge for Laroche killing his son. Laroche swore on his death-bed that he was innocent, and a few months after his death, another letter from The Crow arrived at Jean-Marie’s parents’ house. The killer was still on the loose, and vowed to “do the Villemin family in.”

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After the death of Bernard Laroche Christine Villemin was the next major suspect. She later wrote a book declaring her innocence.

 

Meanwhile, Grégory’s mother Christine had become the main focus of the investigation. Not only did her handwriting show some similarities to the letter sent the day Grégory was murdered, but she had been spotted at the post office that day too. Police also found cords like the ones used on Grégory in the Villemin’s basement. In July 1985, Christine was detained by the police, but later let go and freed of any charges.

In recent years, investigators have turned to DNA testing in an attempt to identify The Crow and Grégory’s killer. In a DNA test conducted in 2009 on the last Crow letter, investigators found the prints of a man on the letter itself, and another set of prints from a woman on the letter’s stamp. Neither set of DNA prints matched with Gregory’s parents, although some have dismissed the prints anyway, arguing that they could belong to anybody who touched the letter.

Some 30 years later, Grégory Villemin’s murder remains controversial and hotly debated. There are still people who believe that Bernard Laroche was the killer, while others insist that it was Christine Villemin.

UPDATE: (7/27/17)

In June 2017, Grégory Villemin’s great aunt and uncle, Jacqueline and Marcel Jacob, were charged with his kidnapping. Based on handwriting analysis of The Crow’s letters, police believe that the Jacobs are the culprits. It seems jealously was the motive, although Marcel Jacobs’ lawyer has said that there isn’t any material proof against the couple. I’ll continue to add updates as more information becomes available.

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6 Creepy Unsolved Japanese Murders

I’ve noticed that my posts about Japan receive a lot more traffic than I usually get, so I’ve decided I’m going to embark on a series of lists about unsolved Japanese murders. Most of the cases that will be featured here have never appeared in English media before. Some of them are quite obscure, but I’ve tried to find as much relevant information that I could. 

6. The Haga Futon Bag Murder

Police sketch of a man found inside a futon bag in

Police sketch of a man found inside a futon bag in Japan’s Tochigi Prefecture. (Image source/credit here.)

On April 21, 1996, while coming home from school, a group of junior high school students were looking through a bamboo grove in the Haga district of Tochigi Prefecture when they noticed a barely-closed futon bag. The kids had seen the bag laying there for almost a month, and curious about what might be inside, one of them poked it with a stick. A human hand then drooped out. The bag, it turned out, contained the body of a middle-aged man.

According to the autopsy, the man had been dead about a month when his body was discovered. He was bruised on his waist, and some of his front teeth were missing. He appeared to be between the ages of 40 and 50. The man was about 5 foot 11, and weighed 150 pounds. He had an O blood type. His clothes consisted of a dark blue jacket, a gray shirt with a green tie, and a gray pair of paints.

Investigators found the surname “Yamamoto” written on the bottom side of the tag of his pants, and the Japanese word for “next” on the other side. Despite these mysterious messages, the man has never been identified. In 2010, a sign was put up on the spot where the unidentified man’s body was found. Police hope that it might someday lead to his identification.

5. The Murder of Yoko Yoshida

Picture of Yoko Yoshida from when she was a high school student.

Picture of Yoko Yoshida from when she was a high school student. (Image source/credit here.)

On September 29, 2000, around 1 PM, a census taker collecting information in a Tokyo apartment complained to management about a room that had a terrible smell coming from it. When management sent a janitor to check the room out, he found that the door was unlocked. Inside, he found the body of the woman who was living there, a 28-year-old manga artist named Yoko Yoshida.

Yoshida, who lived alone, was laying on her back on her bed, wearing only a t-shirt. As the autopsy determined, Yoshida had been strangled to death. She had been dead for at least 10 days by the time her body was discovered. Her room showed no signs of disarray and nothing appeared to have been taken. 3 million yen and a receipt from a convenience store dated September 18th were found in her purse and wallet.

Pictures of Yoko Yoshida and the apartment she was staying at.

Pictures of Yoko Yoshida and the apartment she was staying at. (Image source/credit here.)

Police suspect that Yoshida had known her killer, and since she was a manga artist, some suggest that she was killed by a crazed fan. Yoshida had been active in the dojinshi (self-publishing) community since she graduated high school. Her killer might very well have been somebody she knew, but police have never been able to find any shady acquaintances or witnesses.

4. The Murder of Kaori Hirohata

The site where Kaori Hirohata's body was discovered.

The site where Kaori Hirohata’s body was discovered. (Image source/ credit here.)

On June 24, 2013, a member of a parking cleaning staff found the body of a middle-aged woman lying in a bush outside an apartment complex in Narashino city in Chiba Prefecture. Her belongings were found scattered around her body. Her ID identified her as Kaori Hirohata, a resident of the complex who hadn’t been seen since the day before. Although Hirohata participated in a local community event that day, she never showed up to work that evening.  

According to the autopsy results, Hirohata had been choked to death. Her upper body also showed marks of being beaten. Since Hirohata’s purse was found to be empty, the motive appeared to have been robbery. Her body was very lazily hidden, with her feet visibly sticking out of a bush. It’s likely she was dragged to the location from somewhere else.

A model of what Kaori Hirohata was dressed like the day she died.

A model of what Kaori Hirohata was dressed like the day she died.

If Hirohata really was the victim of a robbery, one has to wonder why the killer used his bare hands? Interestingly, the spot where she was found was part of her commune to work. Hirohata’s killer might have known her schedule. For information that could lead to the killer’s arrest, police are currently offering a reward of 3 million yen.

3. The Murder of the Sunamis

A policeman handing out flyers about the Sunami murders.

A policeman handing out flyers about the murder of Haruhiko and Midori Sunami. (Image source/credit here.)

On the morning of April 28, 1995, around 2:30 AM, a house in Kurashiki Kojima had been set on fire. Authorities discovered two bodies on the first floor, the remains of 70-year-old Haruhiko Sunami and his 67-year-old wife Midori. Both had been decapitated. Haruhiko also had a knife lodged into his stomach, and later evaluation of Midori found that she had been stabbed in the chest and several other spots. They are believed to have died the previous night, sometime between 5 PM and 9 PM.

Because the fire destroyed much of the house and subsequently any evidence that might have been found there, authorities have had little clues to lead them to the Sunamis’ killer. Police thought their killing might have been the result of a dispute, but this was never established. The killer might have been familiar with the house, or at least had been in it before.

For whatever reason, the killer was in the Sunamis’ house for at least 5 hours after he killed them. Could he have been looking for something? And why did he think it necessary to cut off the Sunamis’ heads, neither of which have turned up in the 20 years since the murder occurred?

2. The Murder of Makiko Tsuchiyama

Picture of the city of Higashi-osaka. (Image source/credit here.)

Picture of the city of Higashi-osaka. (Image source/credit here.)

On November 21, 1984, around 2:10 PM, a 2-year-old girl named Makiko Tsuchiyama was found fallen on her face in a drainage ditch in an alley behind her home in Higashi-osaka city.  Makiko was unconscious, and her neck seemed as though it had been strangled with a cord. Although she was rushed to the hospital, Makiko died 9 hours after being taken there.

The fact that Makiko had been playing outside by herself wasn’t unusual in the neighborhood, since other children and mothers were often outside too. Nobody, however, had seen Makiko’s murderer. Eerily, Makiko had been found unconscious on the same spot a month earlier. She had been strangled that time too, with the marks of a string around her neck. Unlike the second time, she had regained consciousness shortly after being taken to the hospital.

Immediately after this first incident, Makiko’s grandfather received a strange phone call from an unidentified woman. The woman was crying hard and speaking incomprehensibly. He tried talking to her for 2 minutes before she suddenly said “I’m sorry” and hung up. Makiko’s grandfather had not yet heard about Makiko’s incident, and thought the woman had gotten the wrong number. For the next few days, he received several more unexplained phone calls. Every time he answered, he heard only silence on the other end.

Police originally thought the first incident was an accident. They concluded that Makiko had gotten her neck hooked around a vinyl strap that had been attached to the door of her house. After Makiko died, however, they decided to launch a criminal investigation. It was strange that Makiko had been found in the alley, since she had refused to go anywhere near it since the first incident. Since there were no scratches on her face, it was suspected that somebody lured Makiko away and then strangled her in a different location. In the 30 years since Makiko’s death, neither her killer or the mysterious woman who called her grandfather have been identified.

1. The Murder of the Miyazawas

A picture of the Miyazawa family.

A picture of the Miyazawa family. (Image source/credit here.)

On the morning of December 31, 2000, a relative of the Miyazawa family in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward found father Mikio, his wife Yasuko, their daughter Niina, and their son Rei dead in their home. While Rei had been strangled in his bedroom, the other three members of the family had been stabbed to death in two different parts of the house.

The Setagaya police offering prayers at the Miyazawa home. (Image source/credit here.)

The Setagaya police offering prayers at the Miyazawa home. (Image source/credit here.)

Authorities speculate that the killer had gotten into the home from a bathroom window on the second floor of the house around 11:30 PM. He went into Rei’s room and strangled him as he slept. Mikio was found on the first floor near the staircase, possibly coming up the stairs after he heard the intruder making noise. The female Miyazawas were killed next.

A publicity campaign by the police to bring awareness about the Miyazawa murders. (Image source credit here.)

A publicity campaign by the Setagaya police to bring awareness about the Miyazawa murders. (Image source/credit here.)

The killer then ransacked the family’s house and stayed there for about 10 hours. He went into the kitchen and took some food from the fridge, and then used the family’s computer for a while. None of the money in the house was taken, but some New Year’s cards were missing. A knife the killer left behind was found, along with a shirt and bag. Additionally, blood was found at the scene that didn’t belong to any of the Miyazawas. After more than 15 years, police have had few clues to catch the Miyazawas’ killer. There is currently a reward of 20 million yen being offered to anybody who could give information that would lead to the killer’s identification.

Be sure to check out more creepy Japanese mysteries in my e-book, 20 Unsolved Mysteries of Japan, available on Amazon for Kindle.

The 1973 Pascagoula Alien Abduction

Picture of the type of alien Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker claimed to see in Pascagoula, Mississippi. (Image credit/source here.)

Picture of the type of alien Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker claimed to see in Pascagoula, Mississippi. (Image credit/source here.)

On the night of October 11, 1973, co-workers Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker were fishing on the Pascagoula River in Mississippi when the two men suddenly heard a hissing sound coming behind them. When they turned around, they saw an oval-shaped craft hovering in the air and flashing blue lights. A door on the craft opened, and three robot-like creatures floated down toward Hickson’s and Parker’s boat. The creatures were about 5 feet tall, with gray wrinkled skin, clawed hands, and slits for eyes and a mouth.

The two men found themselves paralyzed and unable to resist being grabbed by the creatures. Parker fainted at this point, and they were then floated up into the spaceship with their abductors. According to Hickson, he was taken into a room full of light and examined by an oval-shaped probe that circled around his body. When the probe had finished its examination, the creatures floated out of the room and then floated Hickson back outside after 20 minutes. Hickson found Parker on the shore, crying and praying. The spaceship then left, and Hickson and Parker went into their car to calm down and try to make sense of what happened.

Charles Hickson (left) and Calvin Parker (right). (Image source/credit here.)

Charles Hickson (left) and Calvin Parker (right). (Image source/credit here.)

Although afraid that nobody would believe them, Hickson and Parker called the Kessler Air Force Base, which recommended that they report the incident to the local sheriff. At first, the sheriff and his deputies were skeptical and thought the men were drunk. When they left Hickson and Parker alone in a room with a secret tape recorder, however, they continued to talk as though the experience were real. At one point, Hickson told Parker, “It scared me to death too, son. You can’t get over it in a lifetime. Jesus Christ have mercy.”

The story appeared on local newspaper headlines the next day, and soon news reporters and UFO investigators were crawling all over Pascagoula and harassing Hickson and Parker at their workplace. Hundreds of UFO sightings in Mississippi were reported in the next couple of weeks, including an encounter by some Coast Guardsmen with a glowing object moving underwater in the Pascagoula River.

While Parker initially tried to keep his distance from the incident, Hickson gave media interviews and lectures about his experience, even visiting local schools. In 1983, he published “UFO Contact at Pascagoula” with investigator William Mendez, a full-fledged (and rare) book about the encounter and three incidents of psychic telecommunication he said that he received in 1974. Until he passed away in September 2011, Hickson continued to insist that the story was true and that the creatures he saw were peaceful aliens concerned about the earth.

Drawing of the Pascagoula aliens. (Image source/credit here.)

Drawing of the Pascagoula aliens. (Image source/credit here.)

After participating in some hypnotic sessions, Parker recovered vague memories about what had happened that night. Unlike Hickson, he was wary of the attention he attracted, and eventually moved out of the state. Over the past two decades, he has become more open to interviews and has even participated in UFO conventions.

Drawing of a Pascagoula alien. (Image source/ credit here.)

Drawing of a Pascagoula alien. (Image source/ credit here.)

So what have skeptics had to say about the Pascagoula incident? Hickson’s and Parker’s story made a big splash in national media back in 1973, and some of the biggest names in the UFO investigation community, like J. Allen Hynek and James Harder, believed that the men were telling the truth. While Hickson and Parker did pass lie-detectors, there were inconsistencies in the interviews Hickson gave to the media. Much of the story, in fact, had come from Hickson, since Parker said he passed out. Nobody else in the area, including drivers on a well-used highway, claimed to have seen the UFO.

In an interesting article for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, noted paranormal investigator and debunker Joe Nickell suggests that the whole abduction was a vivid hallucination by Hickson. Hickson had drunk some whiskey after the abduction to soothe his nerves, and Nickell suspects that he and Parker might have been drinking before the incident. They fell asleep afterward, but Hickson suffered an episode of hypnagogia, a state of consciousness in which a person is in between sleeping and waking up. Hypnagogic episodes often involve the experiences of paralysis, seeing lights, and feeling as though one is floating. While Parker might not have had a hypnagogic episode himself, he might have been influenced by Hickson and the hypnotic sessions he had undergone.

The Case of Jaclyn Dowaliby: An Unreliable Witness and a Wrongly Accused Man

Jaclyn Dowaliby. (Image credit/source here.)

Jaclyn Dowaliby. (Image credit/source here.)

On the morning of September 10, 1988, David and Cynthia Dowaliby reported to the police that their 7-year-old daughter Jaclyn had gone missing from their home in Midlothian, Illinois. Jaclyn wasn’t in her bedroom when her parents woke up, and one of the windows in the house’s basement was found broken. The Dowalibys thought somebody must have broken the window from the outside, but the more numerous shards of glass outside suggested to police that the window had been shattered from inside the house. Equally suspicious, how didn’t anybody wake up while the abduction was taking place?

Four days later, Jaclyn’s body was discovered in a field behind an apartment complex. One of the apartment’s residents, Everett Mann, told police that he saw a suspicious Caucasian man in a dark car driving away from the field on the night of Jaclyn’s disappearance. After being shown pictures of the case’s suspects, Mann identified David Dowaliby as the man he saw. David and Cynthia were arrested on November 22, charged with murder and concealing a homicide.

Picture of Jaclyn Dowaliby. (Image credit/source here.)

Picture of Jaclyn Dowaliby. (Image credit/source here.)

Although public opinion was set harshly against the Dowalibys, several investigators behind the scene believed they were innocent. A forensic report confirmed that the basement window in the Dowaliby’s home had been carefully broken from the outside, while Everett Mann’s reliability as a witness came under serious scrutiny. Mann changed the description of the car he saw numerous times, and identified David in the line-up from his nose, which he claimed to have seen 75 yards away in the middle of the night. He was also mentally unwell and suffered from bipolar disorder.

As the Dowaliby trial unfolded, Cynthia was cleared of any wrongdoing in April 1990, but David was convicted of murder nearly a month later. After spending a year in jail, David’s conviction was overturned due to a lack of evidence, and he was released in November 1991. Although the Dowalibys were proven to be innocent, the question still remained of who was guilty of killing their daughter?

Clip from an Unsolved Mysteries segment about Jaclyn's murder.

Clip from an Unsolved Mysteries segment about Jaclyn’s murder.

Before Jaclyn’s body turned up, her biological father, Jimmy Guess, had been the main suspect in the case. Guess had tried abducting Jaclyn before, but he was ruled out once it was discovered that he was in jail during the time for sexually assaulting a woman. After the Dowalibys appeared on an Unsolved Mysteries segment in 1993, authorities received a tip that Guess’s schizophrenic brother Timothy had lied to the police about his alibi on the night Jaclyn was abducted.

When earlier questioned, Guess said that he had spent the evening at an all-night restaurant. Several other people at the restaurant, including two waitresses, reported that Guess was only there for a short while at 9:30. When Guess gave a taped interview to a professor involved in the case, he claimed that he was possessed by a spirit that could make him invisible.

Despite never having been to the Dowaliby’s home, Guess was able to accurately describe the inside of it. At one point, he described in the first-person where Jaclyn’s room was located. When asked how he knew this, Guess explained that the spirit told him. While Guess might very likely have been the killer, Jaclyn’s case is still open. Guess died years ago, and not much has developed since the Dowalibys were let go.

 UPDATE: (5/14/2016)

A Chicago news station recently aired a segment about this case that you can watch here. It doesn’t offer any new leads or tips, but it does include some interviews with the Dowalibys’ attorneys and Jimmy Guess. The Dowalibys were also asked to be interviewed for the segment, but they ignored the invitation. Since being cleared of their daughter’s murder, the Dowalibys have changed their last name and no longer live in Midlothian.

The Wildman of China

A costume of the Yeren featured in the movie Big Trouble in Little China. (Image source credit here.)

A costume of the Yeren featured in the movie Big Trouble in Little China. (Image source/credit here.)

Accounts of Bigfoot-like creatures in China date back nearly 3,000 years. One of the best-known of these creatures in modern times is the yeren, or “Wildman”, in the central province of Hubei. The earliest report of a Wildman appears in a local chronicle of Hubei’s Fang County in the 17th century, where the author claimed that a large number of them could be found on Mt. Fang. There were hundreds of sightings of Wildmen in the 20th century, and people still report seeing them today.

The typical Wildman is described as being about 6 between 8 feet tall, and covered in long red hair, although Wildmen with black or white hair have also been reported. They stand upright like humans and have long, powerful limbs. They communicate by grunting, but are also capable of laughing and crying. There are records of encounters with male, female, and children Wildmen.

While the Wildman had long been known by peasants, scientists only began to take an interest in the creature’s existence in the latter half of the 20th century. In 1940, while traveling on a bus through the province of Gansu, a biologist named Wang Zelin found a group of “Wildman hunters” who had shot and killed a female Wildman and planned to take it to the county government. Wang described the corpse as being about 2 meters (6.5 feet) and covered in thick grayish-brown hair. The locals had said this Wildman had been living in the area the past month.

Drawing of a Yeren. (Picture source credit here.)

Drawing of a Yeren. (Picture source/credit here.)

In the early 1950s, a geologist named Fan Jingquan claimed to have seen two Wildmen in the province of Shanxi. Over a period of three days, Fan and a local guide twice observed a mother and baby Wildman in a forest outside of Baoji City. While the mother was cautious, the child was more than happy to interact with the two men, and it even took chestnuts from them. Fan’s guide told him that the Wildmen lived in a near-by cave, and often came to the forest during the autumn and winter seasons to pick chestnuts.

The first serious effort by scientists to investigate the Wildman occurred in Yunnan province in 1961, after a group of construction workers claimed to have found and shot one. China’s official Academy of Sciences could find nothing to corroborate the workers’ claims, and although there were more investigations over the next dozen years, nobody paid much attention again until a series of Wildman sightings in Hubei in 1976.

On May 14th of that year, six government officials were driving through the border area between Fang County and Shennongjia when they noticed an ape-like creature about 5 feet tall standing on the road. After almost running the creature over, five of the men got out of the car to take a better look at it. The creature did nothing but stare, and it walked back into the forest after one of the men threw a stone at its hip.

A hair sample allegedly from a Yeren. (Image source credit here.)

A hair sample allegedly from a Yeren. (Image source/credit here.)

Several weeks later, a peasant woman and her four-year-old son were walking up a mountain ridge when they saw a Wildman rubbing its back against a tree. Once the creature realized the woman was watching it, it took off chasing her. The woman ran for more than a mile before she looked back and saw that the creature was no longer on her trail. When the Chinese Academy of Sciences investigated the encounter a month later, they found primate-like hair in two different spots on the alleged tree where the creature was rubbing its back.

A third sighting had happened on October 18th. A schoolteacher and some of her students were picking fruit on a mountain when they saw a Wildman walk past them and up a hill. Several large-scale investigations were then launched in Hubei over the next couple of years, but none of the investigators found anything more than samples of hair, feces, and 18-inch footprints.

In January 1999, after decades of searching, the Chinese Academy of Sciences announced that the Wildman didn’t exist. Some scientists have suggested that reports of the creature are just confused sightings of primates like the golden monkey or the gibbon. Cryptozoologists, however, believe the Wildman could be a descendent of the Gigantopithecus, a sort of 10 foot ape that lived in Asia and went extinct more than 100,000 years ago.