Who Forted? Magazine

The Monster Boom: What Caused the Largest Spike in Close Encounters?

monsterboom

While the world has always loved a good old fashioned monster story, creature sightings saw a particularly dramatic spike from the 1940’s through the 1960’s, with everything from Kenneth Arnold’s UFO sighting, to the simply bizarre Loveland Frog in 1955. There were so many sightings that were strange yet interesting because it wasn’t the grays or Sasquatches we’ve come to know in the modern era.  The cryptids ranged from the giant giant amphibians to robot aliens that attempted to abduct people. The encounters were usually brief, but some were prolonged and terrifying like the Kelly-Hopkinsville Encounter, an all night siege against two families perpetrated by goblins from outer space. I’m inclined to believe that they were inter-dimensional travelers or aliens that might have been observing us for some time. I seriously think that if we could have interacted, or possibly captured some of these creatures we could have gathered some interesting information on the possibilities of time or inter-dimensional travel.

The question is, why, exactly, were stories of monsters, be they creatures from space, from the sea, or even the local forest, so prevalent during that 20 year period?

Psychological Reasons

From the 40′s through the 60′s, the world was in a bit of a tough spot. World War II and then the Cold War were on the forefront of every citizen’s mind. During WWII we were told to keep an eye out for spies and traitors to the American Way, and indeed, everyone spent their days cautiously peering over their shoulders at their neighbors. We had the audacity to imprison Japanese immigrants, rightful American citizens, simply because Japan was at war with us, and we were scared. Our men were at war, and our women, long relegated to “motherly” duties around the nuclear home, had to stand up and take care of the things that for too long had been exclusively the roles of men in our factories and businesses. We progressed technologically, scientificly, and sociologically. We were able to make people stand up and do things they never thought about doing before. But even before Kenneth Arnolds’ sighting above Mount Rainier, we had many cryptid sightings and stranger things like dogfights with the “foo fighters”.

Eyewitness drawing of The Mothman

Eyewitness drawing of The Mothman

But during these times, the American population was constantly looking and watching for the hidden dangers, and some of these sightings could be explained as misidentifications, hallucinations, and fears of Communists. The McCarthy Era made Americans terrified that people they had known for years, even decades could be Communist sympathizers or spies for the Kremlin. This would make people be on edge if you were told that anyone could be the enemy, similar to how we are now.

Now, as the fears of the Cold War waned, in the mid to late 60’s we began to see a small spike in sightings like the Mothman in Point Pleasant, and countless UFO visitations and extraterrestrial encounters that were just as bizarre. Near the late 60’s the sightings were at an all time high, but they waned as the 70’s approached. Why could that be?

Well, for one, the public had been through the McCarthy era, and since that particular fiasco was over our fears lessened as we realized that we weren’t going to be bombed in our sleep by the Russians. That ease of our worries of the hidden enemy next door seemed to calm the reports of “alien invasions” that at one point were coming in so consistently.

As a small note, the cryptid encounters and alien contact reports seemed to switch from strange abductions or attacks to peaceful and insightful meetings. The age of scary encounters seemed to be over after the nearly overwhelming encounters with monsters and freaks.

Extraterrestrial Reasons

At least they usually take cows..

At least they usually take cows..

We Americans detonated numerous atomic bombs in the desert, on islands, and in the ocean… enough to make the Toxic Crusader blush. But as we tested the bombs potential for destruction, we were setting off radiation into the atmosphere, and into space. Could those powerful detonations have been detected by alien races? One would have to guess that such a powerful display of deadly force might be enough to garner some attention from beyond.  Perhaps if the explosions travelled through dimensions, we could have gained the interest of these cryptids.

But it wasn’t just the use of nuclear bombs that might have turned some non-human heads- our technology spiked rapidly and was widespread. We discovered how to start creating computers that were able to start thinking for us, and we eventually found our way to the moon. We advanced ourselves quickly. Even though that growth was fueled by battle and the fear of a worldwide nuclear war, we advanced. This is important because not since the Industrial Revolution had we grown so quickly and so far. This alone could have perked the interest in life either from alternate dimensions or planets.

In the period of thirty years we went the equivalent of horse and carriage to jet engines and stealth aircraft in what would be described as seconds in the grand scheme of time. That kind of leap only occurs occasionally and there is an instigator to such changes. For a modern example, look towards the coming singularity where man and machine will eventually meld together and come something other than human. Some say it will be fifty years. I personally see it happening in ten to twenty.

If these beings, these “monsters”, came here to research us, chances are they would try to coerce use into going with them so they could fully examine us. Hell, they might even just abduct us against our will.

Esoteric Reasons

Crowley's drawing of LAM certainly looks like a Grey

Crowley’s drawing of LAM certainly looks reminiscent of the “greys” we’re familiar with

During WWII, there were many reports of witches and warlocks doing spells to help not just the Allies, but the Axis also. There was a gathering of witches in England to protect the land from invasion and attack. This is also when Aliester Crowley claims to have made contact with LAM, and there is some evidence that he did have contact with something. Some current occult researchers are saying that he might have contacted the gray race of alien. My own opinion is that he encountered an entity that he couldn’t fully explain or comprehend.

Now, if Crowley or other magic practitioners had used high magics to protect and defend England, the sudden and forceful vibrations in the magical realm could have easily been enough to entice some entities into finding out what was going on. If Crowley or others had opened doorways or portals, they could have remained open until others shut them down. If these cryptids came through these openings, they would have been interested in knowing who had ripped open or invited them to our dimension, spilling through en masse. For example, have a look at Crowley’s infamous experiment at the Boleskine House.. a ritual that he readily admitted was a failure that resulted in a rift that many believe is responsible for the appearance of the Loch Ness Monster.

While sightings waned after the 60′s, we can see the “contactee” movement picking up speed, and with it, a message of love and peace. People who had experienced the height of the Cold War ended up realizing that they survived and needed a message of hope.

Modern Day Cryptids

Now, in modern times, we mostly get serious reports of crypids in the vein of Kentucky Cave Goblins , the ever-elusive Sasquatch, and giant insects or reptiles. Mothman still stills up from time to time, and our sightings of the classic ghost have climbed to an all time high, which is interesting in and of itself. Consider this: we have gone from being worried about the enemy next door in the Cold War, an enemy we knew and understood, to an outside enemy that we can’t seem to catch, an enemy that disappears into the night only to return when we least expect it – the terrorists. Phantoms.

The cryptids that are reported seem to be of invaders, unwanted enemies of the body and, if the growing popularity of demons is any indicator, sometimes the invaders of our soul. The Sasquatch sightings do seem to be mostly benign, but there is always an undercurrent of nature prevailing in the encounters with them, the prophetic idea that we need to preserve nature and our natural habitats without destroying ourselves. The Greys could simply represent our fears of the unknown invader taken onto a physical tulpa or representation of our fears.

The next time you read about, or even experience, some kind of close encounter with a creature not of this world, ask yourself what that experience says about our time. Was it a horrifying encounter with a creature hellbent on causing terror? Or was it a warm, welcoming invitation to a peaceful meeting? Was it a reflection of our collective fears, or was it physical reaction to those fears by a genuine non-human entity?

The message just might be in the monster.

Do you believe that our sightings of mysterious creatures are shaped by our surroundings? Have you ever had a strange encounter yourself? We want to know! Join the conversation on our official Facebook page, tweet us @WhoForted, or share your thoughts in the comments!

I am a pagan who is interested in the Fortean studies trying to make my way through a world of science and magick that I love equally. Without science there can be no magick. Interests: Out of place artifacts, UFO/ETH, Transhumanism, cryptozoology, magick, and anything that catches my fancy.

14 Comments

  1. S.

    02/25/2013 at 9:20 AM

    Hi, neat article, I really enjoyed reading it. I think that the rise in UFO sightings has something to say about how bizarre our world and society has become since WWII. Great periods of art have been judged along these same lines- so something has changed in the minds of humanity.

    LAM is something (or someone) that a lot of occultists, especially those that study Crowley closely, believe has been blown out of proportion. Crowley himself stated very clearly that he believed LAM was one of the Enochian intelligences first discovered by Dee and Kelley. I’m not trying to say that takes away any of the mystery or possible profundity to LAM; great, far out occultists such as Grant and Wilson both suspected there was more to that entity and really popularized that idea- it’s just Crowley wasn’t as impressed with LAM as some people like to make out.

    Anyways I know that Grant’s ritual, or one of his rituals, for contacting LAM is still floating around on the internet so one is always free to try to experience the little guy for themselves.

    I personally feel that modern paranomalists need to understand the intricacies of the Abramelin Ritual and Crowley’s eventual success when talking about the odd happenings at Boleskine. Then again weird side effects, unmentioned by the traditional texts and stories, often occur with any type of magic. It all depends on the practitioner.

    Another factor that people blame for the UFO boom is the Babalaon Working that Jack Parsons undertook in the late forties which some researchers maintain eerily coincides with Arnold’s siting. They were also experimenting with methods handed down from Dee and Kelley.

    • Todd Misura

      02/25/2013 at 8:45 PM

      I recently caught information on the Parson/Arnold link on a podcast and I think its an interesting correlation. I also have to say that you’ve given me some stuff to research and that’s why I love writing here :D

  2. Vicar Lee

    02/26/2013 at 12:56 AM

    Excellent work, Todd. My favorite part:

    “The message just might be in the monster.”

    You nailed it with that line.

    Crowley’s role is also very nicely examined, too.

    Yours,
    R

  3. Stormeye

    02/26/2013 at 6:47 AM

    I think that we need to take a broader view of the esoteric reasons for the many sightings and incidences of high strangeness. Certainly Crowley and Parsons were a part of the issue but no occultist, no matter how powerful, is going to be able to account for all the interesting events during the time period being discussed. What I think we need to look at is the increased availability of occult literature during the time in question. What was once the purvey of of small, secretive groups was, during this time, becoming increasingly available to the public and this trend has done nothing but increase since the 60′s.

    My belief is that, as occult literature has become more available and more people are attempting to work magic, we will continue to see more interesting phenomenon surfacing. While some feel that we are something of a doldrums as far as the paranormal, cryptids etc are concerned, I think that in the next few years the phenomenon will morph once again into something new – as it has done throughout the ages.

  4. Coppertop

    02/26/2013 at 7:15 AM

    Welcome back, WhoForted! Good article; I’ve been wondering why everybody in the 50′s and 60′s had all the luck with their cryptids, sasquatches, UFOs and general weirdness. Hopefully that luck will change, and soon – with the world turning so soulless and conformist, a little weirdness is just what we need.

  5. Marc

    02/26/2013 at 12:01 PM

    The post-WWII era saw the rise of mass communication. Before the war people got their news from the morning AND afternoon news papers, and the radio. If they could afford the .10 cents to see a movie there were also news reels. By the late 1950s most people had a TV, and there were the local and national news agencies. By this time movie theaters had popped up everywhere, including drive-ins, and Hollywood suddenly had thousands of screens to fill.

    This helped put ideas in people’s heads.

    WWII saw allied and axis pilots encountering Foo Fighters, so when Kenneth Arnold had his sighting, and Roswell issued their press release to the news papers, a lot of guys went ” See, I told you so.” Compounding the problem was the US Government’s new found love of secrecy, so even though man were weather balloons, they fueled the flames by covering up what, exactly they knew.

    The modern era has seen a rise in UFOs, ghosts, and cryptids. This tracks evenly with climate change and the rise of global internet access.

    Again, putting ideas in people’s heads.

    The earth began to warm in 1993, and continued to warm up to the year 2001. This allowed warm-weather creatures to migrate into areas where they’d never been seen. There were also many wildlife restoration projects that have been successful. The Chupacabra, is a direct reflection of this.

    The Chupacabra came from out of nowhere. Unlike Bigfoot and lake monsters that had centuries of legends and sightings, the Chupacabra just showed up in Puerto Rico. Then sightings occur in northern Mexico. Both countries share a common language, so they get the same news. When animals were found torn to pieces the Chupacabra got the blame. Around the same time, though, the Mexican Jaguar population had begun to recover to the point that they had begun to spread out into northern Mexico. Jaguars are now found along the border of the United States. Jaguars were doing the killing, but because the locals had never seen one before, they blamed the Chupacabra.

    The sad part is we lost time on the climate change debate because science laughed those people off instead of looking into the Chupacabra phenomenon.

    As an ex-ghost hunter I followed the rise of ghost reports with interest. The thing that changed there was that so many brand new houses were reported as haunted. This goes against the prevailing theory of hauntings. How could a new home be haunted? Was it built on an Indian Burial ground? A Civil War battlefield? The site of a murder? In some cases, yes, but this was not true for the majority and it remained a mystery for a while…

    Then they found that Chinese-made Sheetrock used in the walls of these new homes was emitting toxic gas, and just as many of these new homes had been built using unqualified illegal alien labor to keep costs down. The central heating was dumping CO2 into the homes poisoning the residents. CO2 poisoning symptoms include hallucinations (seeing & hearing things). Again, people suffered because science fell down on the job as they laughed those people off as kooks. People died, and others now have permanent health problems.

    When I was a ghost hunter the FIRST thing I checked was the CO2 level in the house.

  6. Theo Paijmans

    02/26/2013 at 4:31 PM

    In the good spirit of fortean debate:

    A thoroughly enjoyable and thought provoking article, but with the wrong starting point, and hence, the wrong quasi-sociological assumptions.

    Thorough research has demonstrated that before the 1940′s, many monster flaps were experienced, with ‘spikes’ even larger than those outlined in this article, in the 19th century, the 1920′s and the 1930′s.

    The assumption that the 1940′s to the 1960′s had the largest spike, upon closer inspection, hinges primarily of these two factors:

    - current research is not up-to-date, as it has not been focussed on the time periods before the 1940′s, hence earlier recorded – and much bigger spikes – are unknown to a modern audience.
    - popular memory doesn’t go back that far anyway, hence, earlier monster flaps and scares, no matter what impact they had back then, tend to have been completely forgotten.

    Illustrating the last factor is that the 1896-1897 airship wave was almost completely forgotten when the 1947 post Kenneth Arnold ufo flap began.

    Reasoning that a spike in regards to monster sightings occurred in the 1940′s to the 1960′s is alike the often misperceived opinion that the ufo phenomenon began in 1947.

    Best regards,

    Theo

    • Todd Misura

      02/27/2013 at 8:26 AM

      There are flaps in time and history, and I didn’t mean to make it sound like all of a sudden this is the only time we’ve had cryptids and I understand that the 40′s didn’t start the UFO craze, the airships of the 1800′s are interesting to me too. The one thing that UFO sightings all have in common is that they all seem to just be a step ahead of the currently technological phase that the world is in.

      With that said, I think that monster sightings do occur all the time and that we all have seen at least one thing we can’t explain once in our life. But if we tell anyone thats a crap shoot. But this article was mostly what I considered to be a big flap, especially in America of sightings and reporting of these cryptids.

      One of my favorite monster encounters is the Kelly – Hopskinville encounter, because its terrorfying and exciting at the same time. We had peace officers responding and physical evidence also.d

  7. Conquistador3

    02/26/2013 at 5:45 PM

    Excellent article, and I’d like to elaborate a bit.

    One often overlooked fact is how aliens in the ’50s and ’60s tended to be very culture specific.

    In the US they looked like they had just jumped out of a sci-fi flick.

    In France (they had one of the most memorable flaps in UFO history in 1954) they looked human and behaved like tourists. In a few cases the saucer pilots had emerged from their flying contraptions to politely ask astonished witnesses directions. How delightful!

    In Brazil they were generally short, strong and very aggressive.

    In a short time (very interesting given the correlation with the changed communication conditions) two main types of aliens have emerged. The Greys, bent on their sinister plans, and the so-called Nordic, peaceful visitors and bringers of messages for all mankind.

    It’s also interesting to note how UFO’s themselves have evolved. Once they were “nuts and bolts” aircraft, full of analog instruments. They later morphed into unbelievably advanced “crafts” able to change shape, disappear at will and capable of incredible aerial maneuvers.

    One of the most curious cases involved an USAF technical instructor who, while driving in the snow, found his way blocked by an object which had landed squarely in the middle of the road. This object looked like “a transport aircraft with no wings, engines or tail” and was apparently made of aircraft-grade aluminum. One crew member was on the ground, inspecting a panel. This is what puzzled the instructor “He looked like a plain old GI”. In short it was an ordinary looking man wearing drab fatigues and a peak hat.

    I somehow suspect there’s more to this case than some top-secret contraption putting down in the middle of the road for a quick oil level check. When the NB36 (a B36 bomber fitted with a nuclear reactor) flew around it usually avoided inhabited areas and was always shadowed by a transport plane carrying a full complement of paratroopers to secure the area in case of a crash.

    Personally I don’t know what to make of this case but I somehow feel it may be important.

    • Todd Misura

      02/27/2013 at 8:21 AM

      I personally have found it interesting how the UFO designs and changes have taken place over the last 50 years or so. I personally miss the reports of the nuts and bolt UFO’s, the newer plasma like ones are a bit boring to me in some regards.

  8. Red Pill Junkie

    02/26/2013 at 9:01 PM

    I’m sorry but, although the article presents some interesting hypotheses, it remains to um, how could I put it? too gringo-centered for my taste ;)

    As Conquistador3 indicated in his comment, the UFO is a global phenomenon, and in the 1950s we have very important cases coming from France, Italy & also Spain. Could they be explained away using the Cold War paranoia rationale? Maybe, but IMO all those countries were going through a very different synergy –Spain for example, was under the Fascist rule of Generalísimo Franco, whereas in France & Italy a trend toward socialism was underway.

    It’s always ‘Me Me Me’ with you güeros! :P

    • Theo Paijmans

      02/27/2013 at 4:42 AM

      Hi Red Pill,

      Yes, you have a point there. In regards to much older waves, we see a same process. The 1896-1897 airship wave had its European and Russian precursors; the 1909, 1913-1914 and 1917-1918 phantom airplane waves were really global in nature, and so on. The 1946 ghost rockets were also more a European phenomenon than a strictly Scandinavian one, with sightings in Spain, Greece and the Netherlands to name but a few countries.

      It is just that perhaps language barriers and a general lack of research in other global areas (or when it was conducted, again due to language barriers not generally known), that actually our view on the ufo phenomenon is very limited. For instance, Ion Hobana released an article a few years back (in French) about the 1913 Rumanian ghost plane wave. I don’t think it is well known outside France: “Janvier 1913 : des aéronefs fantômes au-dessus de la Roumanie” in Gazette Forteenne, vol.1, 2002.
      That is my main argument in regards to this article: it only sees a ‘spike’ because the time periods before the 1940′s have not been studied sufficiently with the same level of detail and attention.

      It would be interesting to see, for instance, how the 1909 Jersey Devil flap, the 1909-1910 global phantom airplane (Tillinghast and other stimuli) and airship flaps, would compare to, say, the 1940′s-1960′s era in terms of overall size, statistically speaking.

      In fact, come to think of it, my criticism also involves the unrelated but regurgitated to death Crowley folklore (he is about guilty of everything and every fortean anomaly under the sun, isn’t he?), and of course his LAM drawing is dragged into the fray yet again.

      One has to have an understanding of the western esoteric and magickal traditions of the time to understand that LAM fits in a context; the FS for instance had its GOTOS, at seances extraterrestrials were evoked, and mediums travelled astrally into space on a regular base. But all this doesn’t explain the foo fighter phenomenon for instance.

      And no, LAM does not look like a grey; LAM’s eyes being narrow slits with pupils, the greys au contraire having large, black eyes without any pupils discernible as their most striking feature.

      Best regards,

      Theo

    • Todd Misura

      02/27/2013 at 8:18 AM

      I will have to admit that I focused on the American aspects of cryptid encounters, but in the future I will seriously look into less gringo types of encounters and include a more world view. I mean that too. I’m a fan of yours on twitter and Mysterious Universe so I have to admit that I squee’d on your commenting on my little post :D

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