Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Enfield Horror

My posts on this blog follow a loose format.  I describe a mysterious creature, talk about evidence, and then discuss its likelihood.  I look at possible explanations, and determine which is most probable.  Today, though, I can't do that -- because I have no idea what the Enfield Horror could be.  This is a strange cryptid indeed -- backed by plenty of evidence, yet completely lacking an explanation.

There have only been a handful of sightings, all from 1973.  They started on April 25th, with a man named Henry McDaniel returned home with his wife.  There he found his children in a state of terror -- something, they told him, had tried to break into the house.  Evidently, it hadn't given up -- because shortly thereafter, McDaniel heard a scratching at the door.  When he investigated the sounds, he expected to see a stray dog.  What he beheld instead was horrifying.

The creature was between four and five feet tall, with greyish skin and bulging red eyes.  It stood on three legs, and had small claws for arms.  Horrified, McDaniels emptied a pistol into the beast -- which bounded away, covering fifty feet in three jumps before vanishing unharmed.  McDaniels wasn't the only witness -- a local boy was attacked half an hour earlier by a creature of the same description.

The Enfield story quickly became a media sensation.  Young "monster hunters" combed the woods looking for the beast, and some of them evidently saw it.  They described it as a "grey monkey" that moved much faster than an animal -- far too quickly to be caught.  McDaniels also saw the creature again, traveling along the railroad tracks in the dead of night.  By the end of May, the sightings had ceased, and none have been reported since.  But the question is this -- what caused them in the first place?

Usually, I would dismiss such an improbable-sounding cryptid.  There are no large animals that walk on three legs, let alone ones with claws and bulging eyes.  There's no natural explanation for this creature -- small wonder that it's often called an alien.  So why am I not brushing off this monster?  Because despite its bizarre nature, it's supported by plenty of evidence.  Police found three-footed tracks in McDaniels' yard, and the witnesses involved were quite reliable.  Loren Coleman himself heard the Horror's shriek, and observed the scratch marks on McDaniels' door.

In light of this evidence, some people have offered theories to the Horror's identity.  None of these seem probable, but I'll repeat them for the sake of discussion.  Some suggest that the Enfield Horror was a loose kangaroo -- which would explain its jumping motion.  Its third leg, they say, could have been a dragging tail.  To me, this seems like a stretch -- kangaroos aren't grey, lack red eyes, have no claws and are easily identified.  Who could mistake a kangaroo for such a monster?  Besides, if a kangaroo had escaped from a zoo, it would surely have been reported.

Another possibility is that the Enfield Horror was a "Devil Monkey."  This is a broad category of cryptids including various North American primates.  They tend to be fast, aggressive and around the Enfield Horror's size.  While Dale Drinnon -- whose opinions I respect -- supports this theory, I'm not so sure.  Monkey tails aren't thick enough to mistake for a leg, and none have hairless grey skin.  As I said at the beginning of this post, I'm going to hold out on stating an opinion.  In this case, no clear answer is apparent.

Read more about the Enfield Horror:

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