Monster stories have been around for millennia, and just about every state has its own creature. Now monster hunters are hot on the trail, armed with cameras, drones and night-vision goggles. Can they catch one?
By John Blake
Rachel Gendreau was driving on a deserted rural road one October night when she decided to take a shortcut through a patch of thick woods. There was a full moon that night, and the road was tinged with an eerie glow. As Gendreau chatted with her fiancé, she squinted into the darkness ahead and saw something strange: A massive wolflike creature was standing upright in the road, staring at her with shimmering white eyes. As Gendreau drew closer, the creature leaped from the road and bounded into the woods."What was that?" Gendreau sputtered. "Did you see it?" "I don't know what it was, but it had dog legs," said her fiancé. Gendreau looked into the rearview mirror and had another scare: The beast had circled behind her car in a flash and was watching her again with those glittering white eyes as she and her fiancé sped away. Gendreau didn't know it at the time, but she had spotted the Wolfman of Chestnut Mountain, an elusive creature that people had sighted in rural Illinois for years. You may not have heard of the Wolfman, but chances are there's some strange creature lurking near you -- and a group of monster hunters is hot on its trail.
America may be divided by red and blue states, but virtually every state is a "monster" state. Just as each has its own flag, most have an unusual creature people have been claiming to see for years. Bigfoot is the most well-known, but thousands of people say they've seen all kinds of wolfmen, prehistoric birds, giant bats and bizarre creatures living among us. In this United States of Monsters, some creatures have been sighted so often that they've become virtual celebrities. There's the Jersey Devil, a creature so real that police with bloodhounds reportedly once tried to corner it; the Dover Demon, a Massachusetts monster that climbs walls like an insect and has an egg-shaped head; and the Mothman, a huge winged creature with red eyes that has supposedly chased terrified drivers in West Virginia.
There's a good chance that what we call monsters are actually unknown and unidentified natural creatures that have learned to be very elusive,