Had I'd Known NPR Would Link to My Blog

  1. I would have updated my blog last night with something witty or plagiarized a short story by Mark Twain instead of drinking five glasses of Franzia and scraping peanut butter out of the jar with my tongue.

  2. I would have Photoshopped (Adobe hates that verb) the photos of me on this blog to make myself appear more like Homeland hottie, Damian Lewis, rather than a Ronald McDonald impersonator who struggles with sobriety or a convincing argument for genetic testing.

  3. I would have taken the day off so I could monitor my site’s visitor activity, instead of sending a company-wide email urging my coworkers to “suck it!” and trying to convince anyone who listens that it is only a matter of time before I have Terry Gross’ babies.

  4. I would have never mentioned in previous posts that I curled my dog’s hair, take Tylenol PM as a method for forming brilliant ideas, decoupaged breasts onto a coffee mug or claimed to have once handled snakes to achieve spiritual enlightenment.

  5. I would have said something cleverer, had I known Alan Greenblatt was going to quote me directly in his article, Identity Crisis: Your Name Is Famous But You Aren't, although this is honestly the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Thank you, Mr. Greenblatt.

An Earth Day Message From the Lorax's Brother, Otis

Dear people of Earth,

You have been led astray, and that’s why I write this letter today.

My brother, the Lorax, though he means well, spreads rumors of disaster that I feel I must quell.

It all started in college where he majored in Sociology, and so to you I issue this apology. He became liberal and soft like the Grickle-grass under foot, pointing his finger about smoginess and soot.

A hippie, a tree hugger, misguided, indeed. Recycling and bicycling and speaking for trees, as if there were need.

“The Truffala Trees, the Truffala trees,” he cries and he judges. From his soapbox, he scarcely budges. Looking down his Lorax nose at you and at me, refusing to see he need not speak for the trees.

He wasn’t always this way I tell you my friend. He took suit with the Bar-ba-loots and that was the end. Dope-smoking degenerates, those Bar-ba-loots are, preaching sustainability and strumming guitars.

My brother, like I, grew up with religion. A detail he hides for fear of derision. Like you and like I, he followed the Savior, and partook in none of this immoral behavior. A creationist, pro-life and anti-gay, he heard the Swomee-Swan song and they led him away.

He joined PETA, ate organic and became ever bolder—began to believe that the Earth was much older.

His conclusions, these delusions, were liberal and misguided. “The Earth was warming,” he warned and he chided. “Global warming is a farce,” I said to my brother, but he spewed his false beliefs one after another.

“I speak for the trees,” my brother insisted. Yet, even I knew his logic was twisted.  “Fossil fuels are to blame and the weather is changing,” his beliefs are so wrong, so liberal and wide-ranging.

“You’ve got it all wrong,” I said with correction, knowing full well I’d meet his objection. “Buy an SUV, you’ll feel so much better, and forget all about your ideas on the weather. Forget all about your fears of pollution. If there’s a problem, buying more is the solution.”

He huffed and he shouted, he foamed and he spit; “It’s you that’s got it wrong; you’re voting for Mitt.”

“Get a job,” I retorted from under his glare. “Become a banker, a lawyer; start a family in Whoville, who cares? Just stop with this nonsense, for once and for all. Buy this and buy that, spend more at the mall.”

He turned on his heel and left in a shout, back to his protests on Wall Street, no doubt.

And, so on this Earth Day, I make this confession, to free you all of environmental oppression. My brother, the Lorax, says he speaks for the trees and has developed a following who whole-heartedly agrees.

These people, they’re soft; their ideals are wrong. They blog on their MacBooks and puff on their bongs.

Consume more for the economy, I soundly advise. Pay no more attention to my brother, his lies.

And so, dear reader, this concludes my fair notice. I’m the Lorax’s brother. Buy more.



Friend Cuts Affect Hundreds

Des Moines, Iowa – Founder and President of Conor J. Murphy Social Networking, Inc. announced Friday that Conor J. Murphy’s Facebook page will undergo substantial reorganization with Murphy’s friends list experiencing the majority of the impact.

“Our first-quarter returns on pokes and birthday wishes were lower than forecasted. We have to make drastic changes if we are to remain competitive in the social-networking market, and that means trimming the fat,” Murphy said in a status update from his living room.

As announced, Murphy has already dropped nearly 75 fat friends in an effort to keep his page more attractive to future friend requests.

“We plan to downsize in three phases, Murphy said. “ Those who will be affected have already been notified via a tag in a note. We are currently working with those friends to help them garner admission into other less demanding social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter.”

Those who have tagged Murphy in unflattering photographs will be immediately impacted in Murphy’s Facebook restructuring, followed by friends who Murphy met once while intoxicated and those whose only status activity is a daily horoscope update.

“So far, we’re hoping that only these three groups will be touched by the downsizing, but we have to consider the value that Farmville players and those who only post photos of their children bring to our network,” Murphy stated.

Since Aug., Murphy’s social network experienced a steady increase in childless friends who have more time to comment on Murphy’s status updates.

“Our childless friends are our highest performers, same with our unemployed friends—we can’t afford to lose them,” Murphy stated. “We also plan to keep immediate family despite the criticism. Sure it’s nepotism, but it’s a practice that’s extraordinarily common in social networking.”
Since early 2005, Murphy’s Facebook network has experienced a dramatic increase in activity and Murphy admits that their practice for vetting friend requests hasn’t always been very sophisticated.

“As long as we knew who was sending the friend request, we gladly accepted. But, now more than ever, it’s imperative that we become more selective in our approval process,” Murphy stated, citing his social network’s policy to approve requests from one-time acquaintances he met at a cocktail party and ignore only those requests depicting strange buxom women looking to meet “cool people.”

No word yet if coworkers will be cut, but insiders report that they have already been blocked from receiving status updates

In 2010, Murphy shocked the social-networking community by restricting his profile access to friends only, a strict departure from the company’s previous open-access policy. That decision drew sharp criticism from many of Murphy’s Facebook stalkers and left perspective employers wondering just what Murphy had to hide.

Earlier this year, Murphy’s Facebook page underwent an extensive rebranding initiative by migrating to the new Timeline format and adding a cover photo, a move generally viewed as progressive and garnered Murphy several likes.

Murphy’s Facebook page is not the only social-networking site that will experience drastic downsizing. Murphy has already begun un-following people on Twitter and Murphy’s MySpace page, a subsidiary of Conor J. Murphy Social Networking, Inc., is slated to be deleted in May, citing friend request activity down nearly 99 percent since 2008.

“MySpace performed well for us a decade ago, but the market has changed and we’re no longer looking to pimp our MySpace page by adding flashy backgrounds and pictures of kittens with sassy captions,” Murphy stated via his Google+ account. “It was a hard decision to make, we still remember the code to add a photo from the Internet to someone’s comments,” Murphy reminisced.

Conor J. Murphy Social Networking, Inc. made a similar decision in 2006 to close Murphy’s Friendster page. Many of those friends were reassigned to MySpace.


Mac & Me

To Jim Torsky, who like many of us, had to say goodbye to a dear friend.

I grew up watching reruns of Lassie on Nickelodeon. I longed to be just like Timmy and have an unbreakable bond with a dog all my own. I imagined all the things my dog and I would do together. If I were trapped in a well, my dog would bark for help. If a rattlesnake bit me, my dog would drag me safely home by the collar of my shirt. And, if my dog and I happened to be aboard a burning ship floating aimlessly in the turbulent sea after the crew had leaped overboard taking with them all the life vests, my dog would certainly know how to bark out an SOS into the ship’s radio. My dog and I would be an extension of one another, just like Lassie and Timmy.

I was seven years old when my older brother Patrick told me we were getting a puppy. Patrick burst into our shared bedroom where I was going over multiplication tables to a classroom of stuffed animals that were struggling with the concept. He ripped the little chalkboard from my hand and tossed it to the floor, barely missing Perry the Penguin. I began collecting a scream in my throat determined to deafen my brother, who I assumed was going to hold me down and fart on my face like usual. He cupped his hand over my mouth, wrapped his free arm over my torso and dragged me into our closet.

“I’ll take my hand off of your mouth and tell you a secret if you promise not to yell for Mom,” he whispered to impart the seriousness of the message he had to deliver, then blew a big breath in my face to let me know that he had just eaten peanut butter.

I shook my head to indicate my consent when he took his hand from my mouth and slumped down so that we were eye-to-eye. “I heard Mom on the phone,” he said in a barely audible murmur. “She’s getting us a dog.” I shrieked in a frequency that only our awaiting puppy could have heard and attempted to bolt for the closet door. He grabbed me and smacked me in the mouth bloodying both my upper and lower lips. In retaliation, I kneed him in the crotch as hard as I could and while he fell moaning into our clothes hamper, I freed myself from the closet and our bedroom.

“What in the hell happened to you?” my mother asked running for the paper towels.

“The dog, dog—” I wheezed, blood running down my chin and covering my large gapped smile.

“We don’t have a dog,” she said holding a wet wad of paper towels to my mouth and perhaps wondering if I was delirious from the loss of blood or the rubber cement I sometimes inhaled.

“But, we’re getting one,” I screeched through the soggy mess affixed to my lips. Pulling the bloody gob away from my mouth, she laughed and shook her head in confirmation and smiled while she examined the cuts on the insides of my lips and wiggled my teeth to ensure that they weren't lose.

A week later my mom came home with a tiny wavy-haired Golden Retriever poking his wet nose out over the edge of the brown box that she was carrying. I loved him from the moment I saw him. I actually loved him from the moment that I knew we were getting a dog, but now that I saw him, I really loved him. I finally had my Lassie.

My parents debated for days over what to call him and they occasionally took into consideration the names that my brothers and I offered, but much to my consternation, they were not as sold on names from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as was I. I thought Shredder was a perfectly legitimate name for a dog, even if it was the name of the turtles’ arch nemesis. My parents decided finally to call him Mac and my dad believed it was a fitting name for a dog who was obviously as Irish as the family to which he belonged and who had very large paws like the wheels of a Mac Truck. After Mac chewed his way through my baby blanket, an encyclopedia and the arm of Rocky, my stuffed raccoon, I felt that Shredder would have been a completely suitable name.

Mac and I spent hours running and playing in the backyard. Well, I mostly ran and played and he spent the majority of his time chewing grass underneath a laundry basket that I had trapped him under so he wouldn’t get away. When I tired, I laid in the grass next to the laundry basket and poked my dirty index finger through the holes to stroke his snout. He especially liked it when I forced dandelions through the holes for him to nibble on. I loved his sweet puppy breath that smelled of grass and fibers from my baby blanket and I couldn’t wait for him to get bigger so that I could ride him to school.

He did get bigger, and unfortunately, so did I. I was never able to ride him to school, so I contented myself with dressing him in my clothes. I thought he looked particularly dapper wearing my white briefs while his tail wagged frantically through the fly. He reminded me of Tom Cruise in Risky Business, the epitome of cool and I pinned black sunglasses to the fur on his ears. He was the younger brother that I never had. When I made myself a bologna sandwich, I made him one too. When I got a haircut, I came home and trimmed the long hair that hung from his legs. And, when I came home from Sunday school, I recounted the entire lesson to Mac.

“In the beginning,” I boomed while Mac rested his head on my lap and I imitated the preacher at the Pentecostal church that my family attended, “God created the heavens and the earth.”

“What are you doing?” my mother asked poking her head inside my bedroom and scanning for dishes that tended to pile up on the empty spaces of my desk, nightstand and floor.

“Reading the Bible to Mac so he won’t go to H-E-L-L,” I replied, careful to spell what I thought was a forbidden word so I wouldn't get in trouble for cursing.

“I don’t think you need to read the Bible to the dog,” my mother said snidely and closed my bedroom door behind her with a twist of the knob that indicated that she was looking forward to me returning to school on Monday.

“Pagan,” I whispered under my breath so that only Mac could hear and he glanced up at me to concur with his glossy mahogany eyes. Mac and I both knew if anyone was bound for H-E-L-L, it was my mother for screaming profanities from her bedroom every Sunday morning when she put yet another run in her pantyhose, only to tear them off and slide on a fresh pair that she would ruin en route to her bedroom door. I knew that with each “Son of a Bitch!” emanating from her bedroom I was allotted an extra five minutes to play with my hair.

Mac developed an intense ear infection that caused him to grunt and rub his head methodically on the carpet in a motion that mimicked a metronome. My mom tried to coax him into the backseat of her Pontiac Sunfire for a trip to the vet first, with gentle cooing; second, with exasperated cursing; and finally, with the Tic-Tacs in her purse. Ear infections are fairly common among dogs with floppy ears, the vet explained while he peered inside Mac's ears with a light.

“What’s that?” the vet asked pointing to the quarter-size bald spot that was pink and raw on Mac’s right paw. My mother and I glanced at one another, then at the floor and shrugged.

“He licks it all the time,” my mom finally managed, afraid she might be deemed an unfit pet owner.

The vet determined that much like girls who play with their hair, or people who bite their nails (like me), Mac had developed a nervous habit. I didn’t dare mention that he  sometimes licked it so loudly at night that my mom couldn’t sleep and would give him a Benadryl to knock him out. When I protested about drugging the dog, she claimed that the vet had once prescribed an antihistamine when Mac swallowed a bee. He was the size of a grown adult at 120 pounds, so at least she wasn’t administering him an overdose. The vet also mentioned his weight and wondered how he had gotten so fat. I didn’t bring up the fact that I fed him bologna sandwiches or let him lick my ice cream bowls either. Mac was immediately placed on a diet and prescribed a bad-tasting ointment to discourage him from licking his paw. Can dogs taste? I've eaten kibble before and swore that anything with taste buds would rather starve. 

“How did he develop a nervous habit?” my dad interrupted while my mom struggled to deliver the prognosis. “He’s gay you know.”

“Mac is not gay,” I fired back.

“Sure he is, look at the way he squats when he pees, and he probably has a nervous habit because of the way you brush him, Conor.”

“Dogs like to be brushed,” I said with authority and sarcasm in my voice.

“They don’t like their fur brushed the wrong way,” my dad retorted.

“Big hair is in!” I screamed running to my bedroom and slamming the door wondering how I could belong to such an unfashionable family. What did my dad know? He wore flannel shirts and had a beard. He looked like a lumberjack.

I didn’t care if Mac was gay, he was still my dog and I wanted him to know that it didn’t matter to me. I questioned what gay dogs looked like and finally it struck me. That night, I waited for my parents to fall asleep and I snuck out of my room and into the bathroom with Mac on my heels. I locked both of us in the bathroom and plugged in my mom’s curling iron. I was going to give Mac a makeover. I curled the long hair that hung from his legs into tiny spirals and asked if he had any plans for the night. He looked at me as if to say, “I don’t care if you’re gay, you are still my master and it doesn’t matter to me.” When I had finished, I marveled at my work and knew that although my mom would be mad, she would also be impressed since she was a beautician.

When I entered high school, Mac and I didn’t spend as much time together. Often he was busy licking his paw while I was going to movies or attending parties with friends. We did however find the time to catch up every night. I confided in him who got in trouble at school or which teachers likely drank on the job or went home and dialed sex hotlines and he licked his paw. By then, he was getting old and had bad arthritis that caused him to moan, or the dog equivalent, when he tried to stand.

Although my mom swore she never liked him since he bit her on her ankle when she was cooking, she babied him and gave him an aspirin every day to help with his joints while I was away at college. She came to rely on Mac to keep her company while she wandered between rooms tidying up.

By the time I was 20, his arthritis was so severe that he could barely walk and sorrowfully, my mom and I made the sad decision to end his suffering. I said goodbye to my best friend for the last time. My mom and I rode home in silence for what seemed like an eternity. She softly sighed, placed her hand on mine and said, “remember when you used to read the Bible to Mac.” She wasn’t so much asking me as she was reminding me. As she blankly stared down the road, she squeezed my hand and said to herself, “I think he’ll go to heaven.” I think he did go to heaven.


Monsters Among Us

A post such as this is perhaps more appropriate for the Halloween season, but as the weather warms and the days grow longer, I get an itch for travel and exploration. Anyone who’s met me knows I have a penchant for the curious and uncanny, the mysterious and macabre. And, if you can mix a halfway decent cocktail and tell a chilling story (whether true, hearsay or fictitious) we are guaranteed to be fast friends.

I grew up in Decatur, Ill., a city of 72,000 that is possibly as famous for its grisly unsolved murders and strange local lore as it is for the Jesse Jackson protests and the ADM price-fixing scandal that would later serve as the plotline for the movie
The Informant! Decatur’s legends tell of phantom soldiers who roam the rolling hills of the city’s Greenwood Cemetery as well as accounts of mysterious panthers that dart in and out of oncoming headlights nearly frightening motorists off the road. And, perhaps even more unsettling, rumors persist that one of the town’s grain towers is home to a demon that attacks anyone brave enough to venture inside.

It was against this backdrop of whispered accounts of ghosts, ghouls and things that go bump in the night that I developed my taste for the truly terrifying. And so, to satiate my own appetite for the peculiar, I’ve compiled some of the Internet’s most nail-biting narratives for you to recount around your campfire this season.

The Bridgewater Triangle, Bridgewater, Mass.

Just 45 minutes south of Boston, the Bridgewater Triangle is home to a profusion of paranormal peculiarities. According to Weird New England by Joseph A. Citro, the sky over this area was said to glow an eerie yellow in colonial times. Colonists became so accustomed to the phenomena that they began to refer to the anomaly as the yellow days.

Long considered by the native inhabitants as both malevolent and sacred, the Hockomock Swamp lies at the center of the triangle and seems to be the epicenter for all manner of unusual activity. Jennie Arpin reports that glowing orbs can be seen buzzing about the trees performing complex acrobatics before vanishing suddenly.

Perhaps even stranger are the curious critters that seem to inhabit the area. Boston Globe correspondent Ross A. Muscato documents tales of “giant dogs with red eyes seen ravenously sinking their fangs into the throats of ponies; a flying creature that resembled a pterodactyl, the dinosaur that could fly; Native-American ghosts paddling canoes; and glowing somethings hovering above the trees. There's also talk of a shaggy half-man, half-ape seen shuffling through the woods.”       

The Bridgewater Triangle covers nearly 6,000 acres, which gives the inquisitive plenty of alarming area to explore.

The Black Dog of West Peak, Meriden, Conn.

“If a man shall meet the Black Dog once, it shall be for joy; and if twice, it shall be for sorrow; and the third time, he shall die,” or so the legend goes of the Black Dog of West Peak.

Nestled among the Metacomet Ridge, West Peak is home to a seemingly friendly preternatural pooch, but despite appearances, he’s a killer. According to Connecticut Weekender, reports of the Black Dog of West Peak have been circulating since the late 1800s and those who have seen this uncanny canine describe it as eerily quiet despite being visibly happy to greet the people it meets along its path.  

One of the earliest reports of the Black Dog was documented in the April-June 1898 edition of the Connecticut Quarterly in which N.Y. geologist W. H. C. Pynchon records his own experience. In Feb. 1891, Pynchon and fellow geologist Herbert Marshall were conducting research when they noticed the Black Dog approaching in the distance. Distracted, Marshall slipped from the ledge of the cliff to his death. According to Pynchon, this was his second time meeting the killer canine, while it was Marshall’s third—causing Pynchon sorrow and Marshall death.

Damned Connecticut reports that nearly half a dozen people are believed to have met their demise after spying the Black Dog of West Peak.

The Devil’s Tramping Ground, Chatham County, N.C.

In a patch of woods in rural Chatham County, N.C. lies a barren circle nearly 40 feet in diameter that has long spurred tales that old Mr. Split-Foot himself does his devilish dance under darkness of night like something akin to a Whirling Dervish.

According to Escaping Greensboro, this legendary ring is something of an anomaly with nothing growing within in its perimeter for over 100 years. Additionally, locals claim that anything placed within the circle will most certainly vanish by the following morning.

Stranger still, Haunted Stories reports that the local Department of Agriculture took soil samples from the circle and was able to determine that the area is entirely sterile.

The Devil’s Tramping Ground is so notorious that even our canine counterparts are said to refuse to venture inside the circle, perhaps aware of something that we humans cannot perceive.

The Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp, Lee County, S.C.

In June 1988, 17-year-old Christopher Davis stopped on the side of the road along Scape Ore Swamp to change a flat tire. As he was finishing, he turned to see a large bipedal creature with rough green skin and glowing red eyes dashing toward him. As Davis scurried into his vehicle to escape the monster, the Lizard Man, as it would later be dubbed, hurled itself onto the roof of Davis’ car. Davis sped down the road and swerved wildly in an attempt to dislodge the beast. When Davis returned home, he found large scratch marks on the roof of his vehicle.

Davis would not be the only person to catch of a glimpse of the Lizard Man, however. According to Encounters with the Unexplained, a construction worker named George Holloman witnessed the monster cross the road in front of him and lope into the nearby swamp. Holloman reported the incident to authorities who launched an investigation that allegedly turned up some unusual three-toed footprints in the swamp’s mud and muck. But, the story doesn’t end here.

In 2008, WIS-TV reported that the Lee County Sheriff’s Department was called to the home of Bob and Dixie Rawson when a coyote and cow were found dead on their property in close proximity. Even stranger, the Rawsons’ van had been extensively damaged by something large enough to chew through the van’s grill and bend the wheel wells.

While no arrests have been made regarding the oddities that occurred on the Rawson’s property, the Lizard Man of Lee County remains a suspect.

Robert the Haunted Doll, Key West, Fla.

Originally owned by artist, Eugene Otto, Robert the Haunted Doll is said to move on his own accord and curse anyone who dares take his photograph without asking permission.

The legend begins in 1906 when the Family’s Bahamian servant, an adept practitioner of voodoo and the black arts, made the doll as a gift for Otto. According to Paranormal Encounters, inexplicable occurrences immediately began in the Otto home. Otto’s toys and the family’s clothes and bed linen were found torn and destroyed. Even more unsettling, the family reported hearing Otto talking to Robert at night and a peculiar voice would answer back.   

After marrying, Otto demanded that Robert be given his own room in the attic. According to Unsolved Mysteries, Robert could be seen peering down from the attic windows and glaring at passersby.

Robert is currently housed at the Fort East Martello Museum, and legend says that visitors must ask Robert’s permission to take his picture. Reportedly, Robert will confer his consent by tipping his head slightly.

The Pope Lick Monster, Louisville, Ky.

Purportedly part man, part goat and part sheep, this monster who lives beneath a Norfolk Southern Railway trestle over Floyd's Fork Creek in Louisville, Ky. is strangely reminiscent of the South Park beast, ManBearPig, that continually eludes a parody of former Vice President Al Gore. “I’m super cereal.”

Legend states that the Pope Lick Monster was once a satanic farmer who sacrificed his goats to the devil in exchange for power, while other reports claim that the monster is an escaped sideshow attraction who claimed his freedom when his train derailed near the trestle he now calls home. Whatever the origin of the legend, the Pope Lick Monster continues to frighten locals and thrill seekers alike.

According to Ghost Stories, this satyr-like creature wields a bloody axe and threatens any person daring enough to wander across the trestle. Allegedly, many folks have deliberately flung themselves from the trestle to the creek below rather challenge the monster.

A fence has been erected around the trestles to discourage thrill seekers, or perhaps, protect them.

The Beast of Bray Road, Elkhorn, Wis.

Since the late 1980s, reports of a terrifying beast have been surfacing in and around the town of Elkhorn, Wis. According to Unexplained America, 24-year-old Lorianne Endrizzi was driving on Bray Road in the autumn of 1987 when she thought she saw a person kneeling on the side of the road. As she drove closer, she was shocked to make out a form with fur, pointed ears and fangs that resembled a wolf. She would later call the monster as a “freak of nature” and describe how its eyes glowed yellow as the headlights of her vehicle passed.

On Halloween night in 1999, Gods-and-Monsters reports Doristine Gipson also got a glimpse of the beast. She too was driving down Bray Road when her car jolted as if she had hit something. When she climbed out of her vehicle to investigate, a large hairy creature came hulking toward her. She quickly sped off in her car, but not before the beast jumped on her hood.

The television program MonsterQuest picked up the story in January 2008 and subjected numerous Bray Road Beast witnesses to a polygraph. The test’s administrator could find no evidence that the witnesses were being untruthful.

Since the initial sighting, numerous individuals have come forward describing a similar creature. Journalist and investigator Linda Godfrey details these accounts in her book, The Beast of Bray Road.

The Black Angel of Oakland Cemetery, Iowa City, Iowa

According to legend, anyone who kisses or even touches the Black Angel of Oakland Cemetery will die instantly, but that doesn’t stop hundreds of thrill seekers from testing their luck each year. Indeed a popular attraction on Halloween, the Black Angel is missing a few fingers due to vandalism. No reports have emerged regarding what eventually happened to the vandals and whether the Black Angel exacted her revenge remains unknown.

How the Black Angel acquired her sinister hue remains something of a mystery as well. According to Weird U.S., one story claims that Teresa Felevert, buried beneath the Black Angel, was so evil that her wickedness was able to transform the coloring of the monument from beyond the grave. Still another legend claims that Felevert’s husband swore his eternal fidelity and later broke his promise instantly turning the angel a scornful black.

Does the Black Angel kill anyone who dare touch her? While I’m dubious, I wouldn’t touch her with a ten-foot pole.

The Goatman of Old Alton Bridge, Denton, Texas

Connecting the towns of Denton and Copper Canyon, Texas, the Old Alton Bridge is the setting of a baffling mystery and the attempted lynching of a local goat farmer dubbed the Goatman.

According to Denton Haunts and Ghost Stories, Oscar Washburn, a black goat farmer lived near the Old Alton Bridge with his family in the early 1900s. Despite being well liked by his neighbors, Washburn angered Klansmen simply by posting a sign, which read, “This way to the Goatman.” With their headlights off, the Klansmen crossed the bridge one evening and abducted Washburn. Later, they placed a noose around his neck and pushed him from the Old Alton Bridge. When they peered down to ensure Washburn was dead, they were astonished to find the noose empty. Further enraged, the Klansmen murdered Washburn’s wife and children.

Since the time of the mysterious lynching and grisly murders, locals assert that the area is plagued by strange occurrences and other oddities. According to Goatman’s Bridge, many insist that those who dare to cross the bridge at night with their headlights off will be met on the other side by the Goatman.

The bridge is currently closed to vehicles, but remains open to foot traffic. Those brave enough to traverse the bridge at night just might encounter the Goatman.

The Skinwalker Ranch, Uintah County, Utah

In 1994, the Gorman (aka Sherman) family purchased this 480-acre ranch in Uintah County, Utah and immediately the uncanny events began to unfold beginning with a peculiar wolf that greeted the family like a beloved pet. According to journalist George Knapp, when the wolf lost interest in the family and began attacking one of the family’s calves, Tom Gorman retrieved a “.357 Magnum from his truck and shot the wolf at point-blank range. The slug had no noticeable effect.” After nearly six shots at point-blank range, the unfazed wolf simply trotted away.

Over the course of the next several months, the family would continue to experience inexplicable events. According to Knapp, the family would spot strange tropical birds and glimpse creatures reminiscent of Sasquatch. Even more perplexing, several of the family’s livestock were found mutilated. Additionally, the family witnessed strange aerial objects and glowing orbs in the sky above the ranch.

In 1995, the National Institute of Discovery Science purchased the ranch from the Gormans and installed surveillance cameras to capture the unusual activity. Knapp reported for KLAS-TV that the cameras were disassembled by an unseen entity.

George Knapp and NIDS scientist, Colm Kelleher chronicled the perplexing events that have occurred on the ranch in their book Hunt for the Skinwalker: Science Confronts the Unexplained at a Remote Ranch in Utah.

If you have strange tale to tell, leave a comment or email me.