Sunday, August 30, 2009

UFO FYI: Creature Files- The "Dover Demon"

Creature Files- The "Dover Demon"

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Dover Demon was allegedly sighted on three separate occasions in the town of Dover, Massachusetts on April 21 and April 22, 1977. It has remained a subject of interest for cryptozoologists ever since then. Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman was the initial investigator and the individual who named the creature the Dover Demon; it was disseminated by the press, and the name stuck. Coleman quickly assembled and brought into the inquiry three other investigators: Joseph Nyman, Ed Fogg, and Walter Webb. All were well-known ufological researchers in eastern Massachusetts, with Webb being the assistant director of the Hayden Planetarium at Boston's Science Museum. Coleman did not feel he was necessarily dealing with a ufological phenomenon, but he wanted to have seasoned investigators with good interviewing skills to do a comprehensive examination of the eyewitnesses and their families, as well as law enforcement, educational, and community members.

The Dover Demon was first sighted at night by three seventeen-year-olds who were driving through the Dover area when the car's headlights illuminated it. Bill Bartlett, the driver, reported that he saw what he thought at first was a dog or a cat, but upon closer inspection realized that it was a bizarre, unearthly-looking creature crawling along a stone wall on Farm Street.

Bartlett continued to watch the creature, and he reported it to have a disproportionately large, watermelon-shaped head and illuminated orange eyes, like glass marbles. It had long, thin arms and legs with slender fingers, which it used to grasp onto the pavement. It was hairless and had rough, flesh-toned skin, described as tan and sandpaper-like. The creature's appearance was very plain, with no nose or ears, and no mouth was seen. The witness drawings portray its head as having a skull shape, forming the contour of a circle on top with a more elliptical ending projecting down to include where the nose and mouth would be.

The creature was sighted an hour later, by John Baxter, 15, as he was walking home. He said it was bipedal and ended up running into a gully and standing next to a tree. The next day, Abby Brabham, 15, and Will Traintor, 18, claimed to have seen a similar looking creature from Traintor's car, on the side of the road. Brabham's description matched Bartlett's and Baxter's descriptions, except this time the cryptid had illuminated green eyes. She approximated its height as "about the size of a goat". Investigators attempted to shake up Ms. Brabham by noting she said it had green eyes reflected by car headlights, while Bartlett mentioned orange eyes were reflected back to him by his automobile's lights. Ms. Brabham was steadfast in her description.

Bartlett, Baxter, Brabham, and Traintor all drew sketches of the monstrous sight shortly after their sightings. On the piece of paper that includes Bartlett's sketch, he wrote "I, Bill Bartlett, swear on a stack of Bibles that I saw this creature." The widespread interest in the Dover Demon has resulted in it being an oft-discussed cryptid in popular culture, and having Japanese figurines of the creature being developed for cryptobuffs in Japan and North America.

The Dover Demon is currently a classic cryptid, with a variety of theories abounding as to what it was or is. Early ufologists first promoted speculation that the creature was an alien or some sort of mutant hybrid, perhaps one created as a result of a human experiment and escaped. Others theorize that it is really a being from another dimension, accidentally transferred into our world through a dimensional warp. It has been speculated by various ufologists that the Dover Demon was a Grey, due to its similar appearance. One zoological answer that has been proposed is that it was a newborn moose. One skeptic wrote that the description of the creature's head matched that of a baby moose. Among several shortcomings of the moose explanation is that the descriptions of the Dover Demon clearly discerned fingers, while all moose, being artiodactyls, have only hooves. Loren Coleman disputes this theory, stating that at the time of year of the sightings, yearling moose are much larger, and no moose records exist for eastern Massachusetts for the spring of 1977. Coleman additionally points out that all the witnesses had separate experiences, did not talk to each other before investigators interviewed them, and did not necessarily agree on exact descriptive details of the sighting. No conclusive evidence has been found for the existence or lack thereof of the Dover Demon. Since the Dover Demon was only seen over a two-night period, it is probably not a naturally occurring species, such as Bigfoot is claimed to be.

The Dover Demon bears similarity to the Mannegishi creature, which is native to the mythology of the Cree Indians in Canada. Coleman also notes that cryptozoologist Mark A. Hall links the Dover Demon to other sightings of aquatic beings from around the world, often lumped under the moniker "merbeings". It could also be a Backoo (The word Backoo may be derived from a Nigerian Yoruba entity called Abiku. The Abiku is the spirit of a baby that has died before being named. They are usually represented by small wooden statues in Yoruba homes as a form of appeasement to the spirit of the deceased), as evidenced by the similarities in the body structures (Guyanese Backoos are described as short men with large eyes, long arms and legs, and most conspicuously an absence of kneecaps). Another theory, advanced in an episode of The X-Files, is that it is a hominid or stone age human.

During the spate of American sightings in Dover in 1977, all the witnesses were teenagers. This has been pointed out often in analyses of the Dover Demon sighting phenomenon. Writers with a new-age or spiritual bent often write of it as a poltergeist-type being, something with a strong field of spiritual energy that naturally connects it with the young. This reflects a recurring theme from the annals of cryptozoology, this being one of many entities whose sightings all befell witnesses from the same age group. An unfortunate comparison is made to the Owlman incidents, but skeptics rightfully point to the Owlman episodes having elements of pagan prankishness in evidence in those British events. In reality, sorting for age groups and other demographics elements can be found underlying any witness series. Because all the witnesses were teenagers, many believe it to be a hoax, and suspect that a group of high school classmates of collaborating to make up the story.

1893 “Dover Demon”
© Loren Coleman 2009
July 27th, 2009

Does the above image look familiar to you? It certainly does to me. It resembles the drawings of the Dover Demon seen in Dover, Massachusetts, from April 1977. However, it actually is from a newspaper article published the New York City World on December 3, 1893.

This drawing was discovered by Robert Schneck (the author of The President’s Vampire) and shared with me, of course, because of my foundation interest in the Dover Demon. My appreciation to Schneck for bringing this to my attention.

The 1893 drawing is not of a sighting of any creature, however, but an artist’s (perhaps humorous) imagined illustration of how humans might appear in the future, viewed from the Victorian era. Specifically, the work is tied to the fictional writings of H. G. Wells and his little-known article, “The Man of the Year Million.” It is Wells who has predicted the future of humans will see a diminishing of their hair, nose, teeth, ears, and chin. The above 1893 drawing appears to be an attempt to capture Wells’ thoughts in a bit of newspaper art.

It is funny to me that Schneck would find this remarkable drawing from 1893, and it would nicely match the drawings that the eyewitnesses had sketched of the Dover Demon in 1977. I am not certain the 1893 treatment mirrors any future version of humans, however.

Please, also, let me be straight. I’m not saying anything about any space-time link between 1893-1977, or time travelers from the future journeying “back” to 1977 Dover. I merely think it’s an interesting coincidence and an outstanding find on Schneck’s part.

While I still maintain that the four eyewitnesses actually saw something extraordinary in 1977, which cannot be explained by mundane species, I do not know what the Dover Demon was or is. It remains the most unusual of the unexplained unknowns in my files of Fortean creatures, which appear to overlap into cryptozoology. After all, the Dover Demon is a cryptid, an unknown animal, apparently, seen in rather normal settings of rural Massachusetts.

Chile: An Alleged
Non-Human Caught On Film
From Scott Corrales
Institute of Hispanic Ufology

STATEMENT OF Germán Pereira:

I'm from Concepción and have been working in Santiago for little over a a year. On May 10 this year I decided to take some photos at Parque Forestal, taking some 10 shots which I downloaded to my PC the following day . I thought it would be interesting to photograph a group of Carabineros (state police) on horseback patrolling the sector.

The photo was taken at 17:40 hrs approximately from the corner of JM de la Barra and Av. Cardenal José María Caro, in front of bellas Bellas Artes and looking east. It was a cloudy day and the sun was hidden, for which reason my digital camera ( Kodak DX6490) adjusted to low speed (1/10 seg.). This is the reason why the photo shows motion (those knowledegable about photography will know the reason why)

Furthermore, the Carabineros were som 20 meters distant, and I employed the camera's optical zoom (10x) which added to the blurred result. . The fact is that I am very impressed by this image. I attest to the fact that it is not a fraud nor anything similar. For this reason I have made it public and I contacted the staff of CIFAE Chile. I would like to know the true nature of the image that appears in it and if anyone has ever caught anything similar in a photo. Nothing more.

Germán Pereira

Is Chile Creature A Dover Demon?

From Troy

Could this "non-human" caught on film be a Dover Demon? The creature in the photograph (assuming it's not a hoax or some sort of film defect) immediately reminded me of the "Dover Demon" -- the name given to a creature seen by several witness in Dover, Massachusetts in 1977. There is an excellent account of it at this link:

And some of the original witness sketches at this one:

The Dover Demon looks very similar in general form to the creature Germán Pereira has allegedly photographed. But there are a few more things, other than general form, that make the creature similar to the Dover Demon. In the article, witnesses of the Dover Demon, Will Taintor and his girlfriend Abby Brabham, described it as tan in color and "compared the creature's size to that of a goat". Doesn't the creature in the color image titled "cap0035" appear to be tan and about the size of a goat? A very interesting mystery.

The Dover Demon
From Stephen Wagner,

Dover, Massachusetts was the location of the sighting of a bizarre creature for a few days beginning on April 21, 1977. The first sighting was made by 17-year-old Bill Bartlett as he and three friends were driving north near the small New England town at around 10:30 at night. Through the darkness, Bartlett claimed to have seen an unusual creature creeping along a low stone wall on the side of the road - something he had never seen before and could not identify. he told his father about his experience and sketched a drawing of the creature. A few hours after Bartlett's sighting, at 12:30 a.m., John Baxter swore that he saw the same creature while walking home from his girlfriend's house. The 15-year-old boy said its arms were wrapped around the trunk of a tree, and his description of the thing matched Bartlett's exactly. The final sighting was reported the next day by another 15-year-old, Abby Brabham, a friend of one of Bill Bartlett's friends, who said it appeared briefly in the car's headlights while she and her friend were driving.

'Demon' bewitches still, 30 years later
By Kyle Alspach,

The Boston Globe
April 22, 2007Do you believe in the Dover Demon?

This weekend marks the 30th anniversary of the alleged sightings of the mysterious creature, described by several witnesses as about 4 feet tall with a thin body and arms, glowing eyes, and a huge, egg-shaped head.

Whether it's real or a hoax, the Dover Demon has gained notoriety among paranormal enthusiasts around the United States and the world. In conjunction with the anniversary, the Dover Historical Society plans to print T-shirts depicting the creature.

"The Dover Demon case is one of the most widely publicized creature sighting reports of all time," said Chris Pittman, a Franklin resident who presides over the Massachusetts UFO Resource Site, a website focused on the paranormal. "I don't think it would be possible for anyone interested in paranormal mysteries not to have heard of this case."

These days the creature is included in a number of books and websites about strange creatures right alongside Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. For example, (a website owned by The New York Times, parent company of the Globe) puts the Dover Demon on its list of the "Top 10 Most Mysterious Creatures of Modern Times," and a Japanese toy company has manufactured Dover Demon figurines.

The creature was reportedly seen on three separate occasions on April 21 and 22, 1977. William Bartlett , who was the first person to report seeing the creature, said he wasn't aware the Dover Demon incident was turning 30.

"I don't really think about it, unless someone calls me to ask about it," said Bartlett, an accomplished painter in the realist style who lives in Needham but grew up in Dover.

When asked, Bartlett stands by his story.

Bartlett, who was then 17, said he spotted the creature while driving his Volkswagen Beetle along Farm Street about 10 p.m. that April 21. He got a good look at the creature for 10 to 15 seconds, he said, and knew right away that it was like no animal he had ever seen.

The creature's head was nearly as big as the rest of its body, and it had long, spindly fingers, he said. It was walking on all fours atop a stone wall.

"As I drove by it turned its head to look at me," Bartlett said in a recent interview. "You get that moment where your eyes meet. I remember that happening. It freaked me out."

Bartlett said he went home, told his parents what happened , and immediately began sketching a picture of the creature. He was already an aspiring artist at the time and has always had a good visual memory, he said.

Bartlett's sketches have become the most-used representation of the creature.

His drawings attracted the attention of Loren Coleman , a cryptozoologist, or researcher of "hidden animals."

Coleman said he happened to see the sketches in a Dover store a few days after the sightings. Coleman learned that other teenagers had also reported seeing the creature, and he quickly assembled a team to look into the stories.

He found that 15-year-old John Baxter reported seeing a similar creature walking around on Miller Hill Road the same night as Bartlett's sighting. The next night, 15-year-old Abby Brabham and her boyfriend saw a similar creature cross the street on Springdale Avenue. The three sightings were all within about a mile of each other.

Coleman said he became convinced: The teens were not friends with each other and did not find out until later that others had made similar reports.

"These were kids that were not pranksters," Coleman said. "They just weren't kids that would have had any reason to be lying."

Coleman, who coined the catchy name "Dover Demon," has been writing and talking about the creature ever since. His most well-known book, "Mysterious America," is being rereleased this week with an expanded chapter on the Dover Demon.

Coleman said he believes the story has had staying power because it is unique: No one has ever reported seeing such a creature anywhere else in the world.

Besides being featured on U S television programs such as "Unsolved Mysteries," the Dover Demon has drawn interest from abroad. Coleman said he has spoken to media from such places as Japan, Russia, Austria and South Africa about the creature.

On Monday night he will appear on a nationally syndicated radio show, " Coast to Coast AM," and expects to spend much of the show discussing the Dover Demon.

"Who could've known that 30 years later, people would still be talking about it?" said Coleman, who now lives in Portland, Maine. "Who would've guessed that the story of those teens would become an international phenomenon?"

The town of Dover hasn't really embraced the story, according to Coleman. But a bit of enthusiasm appears to be surfacing with the 30th anniversary of the sightings.

Paul Tedesco, president of the Dover Historical Society, said the group's T-shirts commemorating the anniversary will be imprinted with Bartlett's famous sketch and the words "Do you believe?" They will be sold during the Dover Days Fair on May 19 as a fund-raiser for the Historical Society.

Tedesco also said he'd like to organize some sort of Demon-themed contest for the fair. "I've never believed it," Tedesco said. "But hey, people have fun with it."

For those who do believe, though, the question remains: What was that creature?

Coleman said he has never drawn any conclusions.

"For me, I'm happy saying I don't know what it was," he said. "I think it's enough to just acknowledge that it was an actual, real incident. It's a mystery, but it's a very real mystery."

Bartlett said he only knows what it wasn't: It wasn't a fox or some other animal. He had been accustomed to seeing those animals while growing up in Dover back when it was a farm town, he said.

"I honestly saw something," Bartlett said. "I wish I had made it up, and it was a hoax, because then maybe I could have profited from it in some way. But I didn't make it up. I know it was real."

More information about Chris Pittman's Massachusetts UFO Resource Site is available at his website,

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