Wednesday, March 1, 2017

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The Enfield Horror

The vast reaches of forest and open fields of southern Illinois, combined with the sparse population in some areas, seem to invite weirdness that might not occur in cities and more crowded locales. In the most southern portions of the region, the Shawnee National Forest covers miles and miles of territory. The acres of forest seem almost untouched by man and some believe that strange things occasionally pass through here, unseen by human eyes.

This southern portion of the state is sometimes referred to as the “Devil’s Kitchen”, a designation left behind by the Native Americans and the early settlers to explain strange sights and sounds like unexplained balls of light, apparitions, screams in the night and various other unsettling types of phenomena. The Native Americans often considered such sites as “sacred” but the settlers usually believed them to be “cursed”, or at least well avoided. The idea that such locations were linked to the "Devil" was the first thought that crossed the minds of the bible-reading, god-fearing folks and they promptly set about to do two things. They learned to avoid these strange and haunted places and secondly, they gave names to the spots to alert other visitors and settlers of the dangers of the area. In the case of the Devil’s Kitchen, just about anything is possible, from ghosts reports to mystery animals and weird monster sightings.


The Enfield Horror was described as a 5 ft tall, gray-skinned creature having three legs with three clawed feet, two stumpy arms coming out of the chest region and having big pink eyes the size of flashlights.


During the early 1970s, something horrible stalked the small town of Enfield, Illinois. Although Illinois is already home to phenomena such as strange lights, phantom black panthers, and Thunderbirds, something even stranger briefly haunted the people of this town. On April 25th, 1973, Henry McDaniel was among the first to encounter this terrible aberration, the Enfield Horror.

At 9:30 on the night of April 25, 1973, McDaniel and his wife had returned home, and were greeted by their two children, Lil and Henry. The kids proceeded to tell him a tale about how some “thing” had tried to get into the house by scratching on the door. Shortly thereafter, Henry was alerted to a peculiar scratching sound at his front door. He expected to see a dog or a cat, but what he met instead was far stranger.

Assuming that it was some sort of stray animal, a skeptical Henry McDaniel cavalierly approached the door and yanked it open. What he saw before him would have shook even the most courageous man to the core.

What Henry found, to his terror, was a creature that “had three legs on it, a short body, two little short arms, and two pink eyes as big as flashlights. It stood four-and-a-half-feet tall and was grayish-colored. It was trying to get into the house!” .Needless to say, McDaniel was not letting it in, he slammed the door, and rushed to grab his .22 pistol and a flashlight. Henry proceeded to fire on the creature four times, and according to him, “When I fired that first shot, I know I hit.” The beast hissed at him (most sources say that it sounded like a wildcat) and proceeded to bound away in long leaps across the yard, eventually becoming lost to McDaniel’s sight as it made its way towards the railroad embankment and the cover of the trees. He asserted that he had seen the thing cover fifty feet in three leaps.

McDaniel quickly called the police and Illinois state troopers who responded to the call found tracks "like those of a dog, except they had six toe pads." The tracks were measured and two of them were four inches across and the third track was slightly smaller.Investigators soon learned that a young boy, Greg Garrett, who lived just behind McDaniel, had been playing in his yard about a half-hour before. Suddenly, the creature had appeared and attacked him. Apparently, though, it just stepped on his feet, but this was enough to tear the boy's tennis shoes to shreds. Greg had run into the house, crying hysterically.However, the police couldn’t find any trace of the entity, so things cooled down for the moment.

On May 6, Henry McDaniel was awakened in the middle of the night by howling neighborhood dogs. He looked out his front door and saw the monster again. It was standing out near the railroad tracks. "I didn't shoot at it or anything," McDaniel reported. "It started on down the railroad track. It wasn't in a hurry or anything."
McDaniel's bizarre reports soon brought publicity to Enfield and prompted the threats from the county sheriff, but it was too late. Soon, hordes of curiosity-seekers, reporters, and researchers descended on the town. Among the "monster hunters" were five young men who were arrested by Deputy Sheriff Jim Clark as "threats to public safety" and for hunting violations. This was after they had opened fire on a gray, hairy thing that they had seen in some underbrush on May 8. Two of the men thought they had hit it, but it sped off, moving faster than a man could.

Other witnesses came forward. Among them were Rick Rainbow, the local news director of WWKI radio. Rainbow claims that he and three others sighted the creature running near an abandoned home not far from the McDaniel's property. Rainbow allegedly was able to record a vocalization of the creature and shared it with noted cryptozoologist, Loren Coleman. Upon investigating Loren told the press, "I traveled to Enfield, interviewed the witnesses, looked at the siding of the house the Enfield Monster had damaged, heard some strange screeching banshee-like sounds, and walked away bewildered."

Between the years of 1941 and 1942, there was a string of similar sightings in the small village of Mt. Vernon (which is, ironically, less than forty miles away from Enfield). These encounters involved a mysterious leaping beast that terrorized the local people, and is supposedly responsible for numerous animal deaths and mutilations in the region.

The locals called the creature "the Mt. Vernon Monster," and described it as being vaguely baboonlike in appearance and able to leap anywhere from twenty to forty feet in a single bound. However, this creature is likened more to the Devil Monkey than the Enfield Monster. But it is a possibility that this was, in fact, the same creature.


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