Wednesday, 29 January 2020

what is a Snallygaster?

It’s time for a cryptid here on we are if and this time it is a creature with a fantastic name. An animal said to be combination of many other creatures making for something that is very unique.
This creature has a history with presidents has been said to be nothing more than a hoax while others make claim of real frightening encounters.
So what’s the name of this mysterious beast?
The Snallygaster!!

So what is a Snallygaster?
For those that have not heard of the strange beastie, the term was first used as bit of a catch all for any type of bizarre monster.
The great word has an old dictionary definition which reads: “mythical, nocturnal creature, half bird and half reptile, chiefly reported in rural Maryland which preys on children and poultry.” 
Tracing the stories back we find ourselves with the first European immigrants arriving in the United States. These people introduced tales of the monster from their home countries and the legend of the Snallygaster quickly spread in the Middletown.
People began to see the monster with these sightings reaching a peak during the 20s it got to such a frenzy that parents were keeping children home fearing an attack.
The story tells that the Snallygaster appears on a twenty year cycle. They lay eggs which are kept incubated for two decades this has led to the idea that the cryptids the Dwayyo, and Sykesville Monster, were the Snallygaster’s hatchlings. 
So what is it that people have reported seeing?
The Snallygaster is an enormous avian said to attack people and animals in and around the state of Maryland, USA. This dragon-like beast is said to dive silently, swooping from the air on to unsuspecting animals and even children.
The appearance of the beast is said to be that of a reptilian like bird with a huge metallic beak filled with large sharp teeth and tentacles which shoot from the beak when the cryptid attacks, these may possibly me some strange tongue like appendages.
With a single eye in the middle of its forehead, the creature also, for added effect, emitted a screech like “a locomotive whistle.”
This odd description for a creature is common in that part of the world we see similarities with other cryptids like the “Piasa bird” which I covered way back in the video linked above.
The Piasa is a story native to the Americas the Snallygaster was originally a German tale.
Back then the monstrous bird like beast was called a Schneller Geist, meaning “quick spirit”.
It was also thought to be a vampire like creature, it would suck the blood of those it swooped upon. They could protect themselves not with a cross as is the case with vampire lore but a Heptagram, a seven pointed star.
If you feared an attack from the “Schneller Geist” painting this symbol on your home would ward the cryptid away.
So we our left with an animal that has a real description and could be considered an actual unidentified species to characteristics that would make it seem a little more on the paranormal side.
So What Was Really Behind The Snallygaster Sightings?
Let jump back to 1900, a time when Marylanders started to tell of sightings of a shape-shifting, monstrous winged creature near to the Southern Mountain.
The stories that were being told were seized upon by journalist of the day, the stories made for a good read and with each retelling they grew ever more fantastical. This carried on into the 1950s the legend of the animal growing year on year.
This when a real life living legend stepped into the story.
President Theodore Roosevelt, the swashbuckling 26th president of the United States partnered with the Smithsonian Institution they began to pursue their interest in the sightings of the Snallygaster.
 Scientists from the museum and the president began a hunt for evidence of the Snallygaster. This in an attempt to support the various scientific theories they had about the mysterious creature.
Teddy Roosevelt who had hunted some exotic game before, was up for the challenge the illusive crytpid provided.
A local newspaper even posted a story that said President Roosevelt was seriously thinking about canceling his much published African safari to track the mysterious specimen down. This decision coming out of the idea that there was a wild and dangerous animal on the loose.
A 1909 article claimed that a man had been captured by the winged cryptid, and that the snallygaster had bitten into the jugular of the unfortunate victim, draining his body completely of blood then casually tossing the remains over the edge of the cliff where it had eaten its bloody meal.
Local newspapers jumped at the story and continued to hype the dangers of the snallygaster they even published the reports of and several claimed eyewitnesses.
The stories recanted to the writers of various newspapers range from the weird to the ridiculous one claimed to have seen an egg the size of a barrel allegedly laid by the monster bird, another told of how a railway worker was lifted up by his suspenders, and there was even one account of the crytpid speaking to a man, mysteriously declaring, “My I’m dry, I haven’t had a good drink since I was killed in the battle of Chickamauga!”
These stories had many crying fraud and fake, people out to make a quick buck with a made up story that newspapers were quick to publish.
Later investigations uncovered evidence that the newspaper used motifs of German folklore, including dragon-like creatures who snatched children and livestock to fabricated stories about the Snallygaster.
This creation of stories and old-country horrors, was a vale for the real and perceived threats locals saw in outsiders and the startling changes of the new century brought with it, this making the emergence of a beast like the Snallygaster was inevitable.
This bringing the story to a close with the snallygaster meeting its end in a vat of moonshine.
Was the creature real? Where was it hiding? Why had only some people seen it?
Let me know what you think in the comments below.

vampires from history

The hype train is pulling into the station, Sony is pushing the new superhero Morbuis.
This character being based on a vampire so this got me thinking with the upturn in vamp based entertainment, the popularity of the BBC reboot of Dracula could it be time to take a look at the blood suckers.
Here are five of the best potentially real vampires from history. Cover necks, put on the garlic grab a stake and
Let’s take a look 

The vampire legend has long been with us and it has created billions of dollars from the sale of everything from books to movies and even roleplaying merchandise.
The blood suckers have even been used to sell cereal!!!
Now the comic book movie craze steps back into the shadows something it hasn’t dome since the Blade movies. The Marvel character Morbius the Living Vampire, a.k.a. Dr. Michael Morbius, is a fictional character appearing in Marvel Comics.
 Roy Thomas was the man responsible for the characters creation and the iconic design was down to penciler Gil Kane, Morbius first showed his Vampiric self  as the antagonist in The Amazing Spider-Man #101.
The Spiderman villain and later antihero was based on the horror icon that is Dracula, this being said he is not a true vampire. He does have vampire like abilities these coming from a failed treated of a rare blood disorder rather than from the bite of a Nosferatu.
He shares the same blood lust as normal vampire and this leads him to attack and of course Spiderman then has to step in and stop the pseudo- vamp.
The comic book villain was inspired by the creation of Bram Stoker Dracula being a character they wanted in the pages of the Marvel universe but they were unable to secure the rights so they made their own version. The character Dracula was in turn was based on the real life tyrant Vlad the Impaler. These stories both being interwoven with the rich legends of vampires which are as old as far civilization itself.
So with such a rich history there must be some good evidence for the existence of these creatures of the night.
Let’s look at five potentially real-life vampires, and see if we can uncover some truth behind the thousands of tales of blood sucking, shape shifting and never aging princes and princesses of darkness.
First up we have to start with the most famous, the most popular and dare I say the most charming of vamps Lord Dracul , Dracula.
Base on the real life figure Vlad Tepish, the 14 century lord. The story really begins when in 1442, Vlad III and his younger brother, Radu, were gifted to a Sultan named Murad II, who ruled of the Ottoman Empire at that time.
The brothers were kept captive insuring that the Hungarian loyal principality would stick to the peace imposed by the Ottomans.
The boys actually gained some advantages from their incarceration being educated to the highest level of the time. They were tutored in science, philosophy and the arts. This is when Some historians make the  argument that Vlad also learned the art of impalement, an action he became so infamous for it lead to him being gifted it a moniker.
Vlad's cruelty is well documented in historical texts, but what often goes overlooked is how he combined this cruelty with cunning to terrorize his enemies, some have suggested that this was the beginnings of the vampire tale with stories told of Vlad drinking human blood.
a 15th-century German poem indicates that Vlad was a blood drinker.
 The poem points out that Vlad enjoyed dinning among his impaled victims, dipping his bread in their blood.
This making him a real life vampire and from there the legend grew.
The second story goes back to 1582, a one Johannes Cuntius, a civic official with a surname destin to get him in some trouble. Coming from the Czech town of Pentsch, the man met his maker, or maybe did not, when a horse kicked him in the head.
The man was taken to his bed to die from the injuries when another bad omen arrived in the form of a black cat which jumped onto the bed. The man passed away from his equine related injuries and this is when villager began to report strange goings on.
The villagers claimed that they saw the man roaming the streets in the night and that he left a foul smell everywhere he went. The people in the village claimed that the undead man was feeding off them while they slept, they needed to put an end to this before the sickness that they claimed was being spread by the vampire grew worse.
Their solution was to exhume the body in the day time, chop off the head and burn what remained to ash.
This put an end to the strange phenomena.
On to number three and a women that often tops the list of history’s biggest murderers, the Countess Elizabeth Bathory. Once again we head to the home of Vlad, Transylvania.  In 1560 the countess was born into the wealthy ruling class. Elizabeth was a noblewoman who had it all she was beautiful and wealthy.
 She was all set to marry at the age 12 to Ferenc Nádasdy, a rich gentleman of the day. The two wed in 1575 and by all accounts lived happily until in 1604 when Elizabeth’s love passed away.
This sent the women off the rails and she was determined to stay young and beautiful and find herself a new love, she would attempt to achieve this by bathing in the blood of young virgins. She would have her loyal staff bring her, at first girls from her palace, and eventually girls from nearby villages she would slice them open collecting their fresh blood in a tub in which she would wash.
She believed the blood kept her young and beautiful and there are those that say it did. Eventually she was made a prisoner in her own castle for these antics, though she was never tried for her crimes. She lived there alone until her death in 1614.
So I guess she didn’t have the vampire trait of immortality.

In the fourth spot we have the story of the Alnwick Castle Vampire.
The castle is a landmark in Northumberland built in 1096 it has long been at the center of many local myths and legends. One of these was the claimed existence of a vampire.
This story was put to paper by historian William de Newburgh.
The story begins with a man’s death as all vampire legends do, and then takes a bit of a bizarre turn almost merging with the famous French tale of the Hunch back of Notre dame.
This because once the man had been buried locals began to report a hunch back causing chaos, in a situation similar to that of the second tale the villagers dug up the man’s body in the daylight hours, they were a little less finessed than the previous villagers, hacking the corpse to pieces with their spades.  
As they did so the body began bleed proof enough for the in frenzied men and women to have proof of vampire in their midst. They finished the process by burning the body and the hunch back vamp was never seen again.
Now for the fifth and final vampire tale.
Again in England this time we find ourselves at Blandford a tiny English town of Blandford a chocolate box town not far from the popular country retreat of Dorset.
The tranquility of the town was shattered in 1762 when a servant going by the William Doggert made the poor choice of robbing his master blind.
 Instead of finding happiness in the wealth of his ill-gotten gains William slipped into deep sadness this culminating with the former servant taking his own life a short year later.
In a pattern that you probably are well aware of Death was not the end for poor William Doggett.
Locals began to say that they had seen the man in the streets of the town in the middle of night and that he was driving a phantom carriage hunting the street of Blandford to satisfy his newly acquired taste for human blood.
Once again using the safety provided by daylight the villagers found the man’s grave and removed the body, they were shocked when what they found was a body as fresh as the day it had been buried. This was the confirmation of Williams’s transformation into a vampire.
Under the guidance of a priest the body was subjected to the same treatment seen in  the Alnwick Castle Vampire and Johannes Cuntius tales and peace then returned to the English town.
These few stories are just the tip of the preverbal stake when talking about real Vampires, there are many stories about alleged real-life vampires.
Many of these are much scarier than the popular tales Dracula or Twilight, although the later terrifies for other reasons.
What vampire legends and stories do you enjoy, do you believe that hematologicaly challenged are among us, what experience with the undead have you had?
Let me know in the comments below

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