7 Scary Monsters Some People Think Exist

iStock
iStock

With Halloween approaching you’ll be hearing lots about ridiculous fictional monsters like vampires and zombies. But what about the “real” monsters that may be skulking around the country undetected? Let’s take a look at a few of these scary cryptids that may or may not exist.

1. The Skunk Ape

These stinky monsters could be lurking most anywhere around the South, but they have a particular tendency to pop up in Florida. The skunk ape is a seven-foot-tall behemoth that looks something like a gorilla, but his truly distinguishing feature is his awful smell. Skunk ape sightings date back to the 1940s, and in 2000 the Sarasota Sheriff’s Department even received an anonymous letter containing several pictures of a smelly ape wandering around in the night.

While the National Park Service has dismissed the existence of skunk apes as a myth—the service says the sightings are probably just a guy in a gorilla suit who might end up getting himself shot—local residents remain adamant that the fragrant primates occasionally appear to terrorize their pets.

2. The Dover Demon

In the spring of 1977, three different teenagers had encounters with an odd humanoid creature over the span of two days. The creature, which was later dubbed “the Dover Demon,” was supposedly around four feet tall with glowing orange eyes, a watermelon-shaped head, and long, thin fingers.

The Dover Demon disappeared after those two days, and he hasn’t been seen since. Some skeptics dismiss the stories because of the witnesses’ young ages, while others think the teens may have seen a moose foal. The witnesses remain adamant that they saw the bizarre creature. Williams Bartlett, who went on to become a successful painter, still maintains that he saw something weird and even wrote on his sketch of the demon, “‘I, Bill Bartlett, swear on a stack of Bible’s [sic] that I saw this creature.”

3. Champ

Champ is Lake Champlain’s answer to the Loch Ness Monster. Ever since a railroad crew first reported spotting the “head of an enormous serpent sticking out of the water” in 1819, reports of a long-necked sea monster have been coming out of Lake Champlain. In the 1880s, P.T. Barnum even offered a $50,000 reward to anyone who could bring in Champ dead or alive, and even though many tried to collect the bounty, none succeeded. Although there have been over 300 reports of Champ sightings, including some by law enforcement officials and entire crews of ships, scientists haven’t been able to prove Champ exists.

4. The Honey Island Swamp Monster

What is it with cryptids and poor hygiene? Louisiana’s Honey Island Swamp Monster is supposedly every bit as malodorous as the skunk ape. Retired air traffic controller Harlan Ford first spotted the monster in 1963; he described it as being seven feet tall with gray hair and large amber eyes. A few years later researchers found footprints they thought could belong to the swamp monster. The large prints had four webbed toes, which led to a popular local legend that the monster is the product of (biologically impossible) interbreeding between alligators and circus chimpanzees that may have been lost in the swamp in a train crash decades earlier.

5. The Fouke Monster

If you’ve ever seen the classic 1972 low-budget horror docudrama The Legend of Boggy Creek, you’ve heard of this particular monster. In the mid-1950s, residents of Fouke, Arkansas, reported that a large, roaring ape-like creature was stalking their farms and killing livestock. In May 1971 the monster allegedly attacked the home of Bobby and Elizabeth Ford and even threw Bobby from his own porch. Law enforcement and local hunters attempted to track the monster, but they only turned up a series of large three-toed footprints.

Here’s the trailer from the aforementioned film adaptation of the story:

6. The Jersey Devil

This one’s significantly more terrifying than New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, although the monstrous local legend did lend his name to the hockey team. As the story goes, in the early 18th century a poor woman named Mother Leeds proclaimed, “Let this one be a devil,” while giving birth to her 13th child, only to have the curse come true. The “child” emerged with hooves, leathery wings, horns, and sharp claws, killed the midwives, and began flying around wreaking havoc.

The legend has certainly had staying power. Nearly 200 years later, the Devil became a big deal again in 1909. That January, reports of odd footprints being found in the snow on the roofs of houses caused such a panic that the devil was up to no good that mills and schools closed after workers and students were too terrified to leave their homes.

Since then, the Jersey Devil has received the credit and blame for all sorts of strange happenings around the Garden State. Lose a cow? The devil probably flew off with it? Hear a weird noise. The devil, naturally. In 1960, Camden’s merchants even offered a $10,000 bounty to anyone who could capture the mischievous flying devil, but they never found any takers.

7. The Loveland Frog

What does a three-foot-tall bipedal frog smell like? If you believe the people who have spotted Ohio’s Loveland Frog, the creatures have a distinct odor of alfalfa and almonds. The frogs first revealed themselves to the public in 1955, when either a police officer or a businessman (reports vary) saw three or four of the yard-tall frog-face creatures squatting under a bridge near Loveland, Ohio. In 1972 two police officers spotted a similar giant frog creature that hopped over a fence and into the Little Miami River.

One of the officers who made the second sighting, Mark Matthews, has since claimed that what he saw wasn’t a frog-faced creature, but rather some sort of large pet lizard that had escaped from its home. Many locals still believe that the Loveland Frogs are still lurking, though.

10 Rad Gifts for Hikers

Greg Rosenke/Unsplash
Greg Rosenke/Unsplash

The popularity of bird-watching, camping, and hiking has skyrocketed this year. Whether your gift recipients are weekend warriors or seasoned dirtbags, they'll appreciate these tools and gear for getting most out of their hiking experience.

1. Stanley Nesting Two-Cup Cookset; $14

Amazon

Stanley’s compact and lightweight cookset includes a 20-ounce stainless steel pot with a locking handle, a vented lid, and two insulated 10-ounce tumblers. It’s the perfect size for brewing hot coffee, rehydrating soup, or boiling water while out on the trail with a buddy. And as some hardcore backpackers note in their Amazon reviews, your favorite hiker can take the tumblers out and stuff the pot with a camp stove, matches, and other necessities to make good use of space in their pack.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Osprey Sirrus and Stratos 24-Liter Hiking Packs; $140

Amazon

Osprey’s packs are designed with trail-tested details to maximize comfort and ease of use. The Sirrus pack (pictured) is sized for women, while the Stratos fits men’s proportions. Both include an internal sleeve for a hydration reservoir, exterior mesh and hipbelt pockets, an attachment for carrying trekking poles, and a built-in rain cover.

Buy them: Amazon, Amazon

3. Yeti Rambler 18-Ounce Bottle; $48

Amazon

Nothing beats ice-cold water after a summer hike or a sip of hot tea during a winter walk. The Yeti Rambler can serve up both: Beverages can stay hot or cold for hours thanks to its insulated construction, and its steel body (in a variety of colors) is basically indestructible. It will add weight to your hiker's pack, though—for a lighter-weight, non-insulated option, the tried-and-true Camelbak Chute water bottle is incredibly sturdy and leakproof.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Mappinners Greatest 100 Hikes of the National Parks Scratch-Off Poster; $30

Amazon

The perfect gift for park baggers in your life (or yourself), this 16-inch-by-20-inch poster features epic hikes like Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Once the hike is complete, you can scratch off the gold foil to reveal an illustration of the park.

Buy it: Amazon

5. National Geographic Adventure Edition Road Atlas; $19

Amazon

Hikers can use this brand-new, updated road atlas to plan their next adventure. In addition to comprehensive maps of all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico, they'll get National Geographic’s top 100 outdoor destinations, useful details about the most popular national parks, and points on the maps noting off-the-beaten-path places to explore.  

Buy it: Amazon

6. Adventure Medical Kits Hiker First-Aid Kit; $25

Amazon

This handy 67-piece kit is stuffed with all the things you hope your hiker will never need in the wilderness. Not only does it contain supplies for pain, cuts and scrapes, burns, and blisters (every hiker’s nemesis!), the items are organized clearly in the bag to make it easy to find tweezers or an alcohol wipe in an emergency.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiker Hunger Ultralight Trekking Poles; $70

Amazon

Trekking poles will help increase your hiker's balance and stability and reduce strain on their lower body by distributing it to their arms and shoulders. This pair is made of carbon fiber, a super-strong and lightweight material. From the sweat-absorbing cork handles to the selection of pole tips for different terrain, these poles answer every need on the trail. 

Buy it: Amazon

8. Leatherman Signal Camping Multitool; $120

Amazon

What can’t this multitool do? This gadget contains 19 hiking-friendly tools in a 4.5-inch package, including pliers, screwdrivers, bottle opener, saw, knife, hammer, wire cutter, and even an emergency whistle.

Buy it: Amazon

9. RAVPower Power Bank; $24

Amazon

Don’t let your hiker get caught off the grid with a dead phone. They can charge RAVPower’s compact power bank before they head out on the trail, and then use it to quickly juice up a phone or tablet when the batteries get low. Its 3-inch-by-5-inch profile won’t take up much room in a pack or purse.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Pack of Four Indestructible Field Books; $14

Amazon

Neither rain, nor snow, nor hail will be a match for these waterproof, tearproof 3.5-inch-by-5.5-inch notebooks. Your hiker can stick one in their pocket along with a regular pen or pencil to record details of their hike or brainstorm their next viral Tweet.

Buy it: Amazon

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Adorable Products You Can Buy for International Sloth Day

Amazon
Amazon

It’s that time of the year again, folks—the time when we all collectively lose our chill over a slow-moving, two- or three-toed mammal with an adorable squeak and poop that defies physics. That’s right: International Sloth Day is on October 20. Here’s a list of must-have coloring books, onesies, and Christmas sweaters that you can pick up to showcase your love of one of the internet's favorite animals.

1. Cuddly Microwaveable Sloth; $20

Intelex/Amazon

Warm your heart and your body with a plush sloth that doubles as a soothing heating pad. The toy is filled with millet grains and dried French lavender, a combination intended to help you get to sleep easier.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Hanging Ceramic Sloth Planter; $18

FattyBee/Amazon

This flower planter pulls double duty, communicating both your love of sloths and your appreciation for plants. And it makes a tasteful piece of hanging home decor, too.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Sloth Coloring Book; $7

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform/Amazon

Sloths themselves are already works of art, but you’d be forgiven for wanting a few more sloth-related crafts in your life. Now you can make your own masterpiece with this detailed coloring book. All you'll need are some colored pencils and you'll be ready to go.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Farting Sloth Coloring Book; $7

M & L Coloring Books/Amazon

But maybe traditional coloring books aren’t your thing. You’re in luck: Amazon sells a coloring book for the crowd that both loves sloths and laughs a little too much at farts.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Sloth Socks; $14

Good Luck Socks/Amazon

These socks are ideal for people who might not want to wear their love of sloths out in the open but are very comfortable showing it off on their ankles.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Sloth Onesie; $40

Tipsy Elves/Amazon

No list of sloth-related products would be complete without a cozy onesie, and this one from Tipsy Elves is perfect for either pajamas or a last-minute Halloween costume. This onesie even comes with zippered pockets and cuddly sloth claws!

Buy it: Amazon

7. Sloth-Themed Ugly Christmas Sweater; $69

Tipsy Elves/Amazon

Why not celebrate the upcoming holiday season with this sloth-themed ugly Christmas sweater? You’re sure to be the hit of any holiday pub crawl or office Christmas party.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Sloth Mug; $10

LOZACH/Amazon

Embrace your inner sloth and declare your lazy feelings along with your morning cup of coffee.

Buy it: Amazon

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