On This Day in Cryptid History
September 27th: In 1989, a group of children in Voronezh, Soviet Union (now Russia), saw a UFO and a strange looking alien. According to the Russian News Agency, the boys were playing football when they saw a pink glow in the sky, followed by a “three-eyed” alien.
The Flying Monsters Terrifying American Towns | Boogeymen | Shiver
i hope i am not just a tumblr account to you but someone who you’d decay in an ancient forest with
Look, some "creepypasta monsters" really don't deserve the mockery they have gotten in later years as generic and juvenile, especially things like Slender Man, Momo and Siren Head whose origins are all infinitely interesting rabbit holes just based on subtle horror art from simple, everday artists who rarely are even mentioned as the original creators of these massive media phenomenon adaptations. The looming eerieness and vagueness of the original creators' work that beckons and forces people to create elaborate backstories as a means to comfortably process and understand their own feelings of dread when seeing it, it's genious and monumental, and reducing it to something that glue eaters snort-laugh at Youtubers and peers getting low-effort-jumpscared by is such a shame.
anyways, I'll take the chicken quesadilla and a Sprite, please
So this was Dream's general look when he met with Jareth the Goblin King and his entourage.
(Thank you, Yoshitaka Amano for the glorious images of Dream, in the Dream Hunters. Also imagine Tom Sturridge pulling this look off IRL in the Netflix series and... yeah. Good mental images there, folks.)
As mentioned before, Hob rather appreciated *snicker* His Darkness' magnificence and was very enthusiastic in showing it.
It rained red roses and lavender in the Dreaming for a solid week. Matthew is STILL plucking rose petals out of his feathers.
He and Lucienne deserve medals for not commenting on the fact that Dream's blush was rather becoming on him, and that blush also didn't go away for quite a while.
I’m just gonna leave this here
This is a post about Ghân-buri-Ghân and the Woses, or the Wild Men.
Full disclosure: When I was a kid, I pretty much skipped this part. I was already getting very lost with the logistics of the Rohirrim’s movement, and I was very impatient for Merry and Pippin to be reunited already and Frodo and Sam to be done with the quest and back on home turf. I was having a hard enough time telling the difference between Gondor and Rohan (every other race in Middle Earth only gets one country that’s very important, but for the most boring race of them all I’m supposed to keep track of two?? preposterous), and having yet another group of humans pop up out of nowhere just to disappear after half a chapter left me baffled and annoyed.
After all, the Wild Men are pretty much disconnected from everything else in the story, aren’t they? They aren’t related to any of the characters we’ve met already. They’re not personal friends with any members of the Fellowship, or even friends with the friends of the members of the Fellowship. They have very little to do with Rohan and Gondor, and nothing at all to do with elves or dwarves or ents or hobbits or wizards or anything else that Little Me thought were the Important Parts of the story. If you took your cue from the movies, this opinion would only seem reinforced: the Riders of Rohan reach Minas Tirith with no complications greater than a Mumakil, and the Wild Men aren’t mentioned even once. If you didn’t know better, you might think the Wild Men are little more than an extraneous detour.
But it’s exactly because they seem extraneous that I think we need to pay them extra attention. Tolkien is not a careless storyteller; he’s long-winded, for sure, and has a knack for descriptions in excruciating detail, but he’s not careless. Every word, every sentence, every line of dialogue and narration and poetry exists in the story for a reason. If Tolkien didn’t have to put the Wild Men in the story—if they weren’t strictly necessary to the plot, save to solve one problem that (let’s be honest) kinda looks like it was invented just so they could fix it—that means he wanted to put them there. He wanted them there, because he wanted to tell us something.
I think it behooves us to listen.
So what is Tolkien trying to say? I have no idea. The man’s dead, and I can’t ask him. But the message I’m getting here has two parts:
1. The World Is Big
If nothing else, the Woses serve as a reminder that Middle Earth is much, much bigger than even Lord of the Rings makes it out to be. That’s saying something, because LotR isn’t a small story! This is a grand legend that stretches across nations, from one horizon to the other in an epic trek, and yet it still fails to capture Middle Earth in its every detail. Entire nations and kingdoms get lost in the wash, or are only mentioned in passing, and some names we only see in the maps at the back of the book.
Remember, Tolkien’s framing device for LotR is that it was an eyewitness account, a history written by the hobbits and supplemented with accounts from their friends. The POV characters we’ve had so far—if I’m remembering correctly—are Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, Fatty Bolger, Bilbo, Aragorn, Gimli, and a sort of omniscient narrator that seems to represent “hearsay” or “local gossip”. If any of these characters didn’t witness something and come back to report it, then it didn’t make it into the story. If they didn’t go someplace, or meet some people, and come back to tell about it, then it didn’t make it into the story.
But just because the unnamed peoples of Middle Earth don’t get into the histories doesn’t make them any less important. Just because we don’t learn their names doesn’t mean they didn’t suffer under the fear of Sauron, or rejoice when he was defeated. Just because we don’t know them doesn’t make them any less…well, for lack of a better word, human, or any less important.
The War of the Ring mattered just as much to the Wild Men as it did to Gondor or Rohan or the Shire. Because the War of the Ring was about saving their world too.
2. A Treatise on Treatment of Native Peoples
Again, I’m only trying to reiterate what I can see of Tolkien’s opinion in this passage. I happen to agree with a lot of what he says, but we’re talking about him, not me.
The Woses are, as far as I can tell, the closest thing to an indigenous or native people group in the southern region of Middle Earth. Obviously they must have come from somewhere—anyone who’s read the Silmarillion could probably fill me in on that—but Ghan-buri-Ghan says himself that “Wild Men live here before the Stone-houses; before Tall Men come up out of Water”. The Wild Men preceded the settlement of Gondor, and inhabited the land even before the Numenorians; they were here First, and still they remain.
So, how does Tolkien portray this native people group? Well, the first thing he does is to say—hilariously and pointedly—that the Wild Men are anything but stupid. Ghan warns, in his broken speech, that Mordor’s forces outnumber the Rohirrim, and Eomer challenges this assertion—“how do you know that?”—to which Ghan says, if I may paraphrase, “boi I’m not a child I can count as well as you can”. The first point made is that, though the Wild Men may seem ugly and primitive and are clad only in grass skirts, they are as shrewd as the tacticians of Rohan, and maybe even more.
The next thing that happens is that Ghan strikes a deal: he and his people will lead the Rohirrim to Minas Tirith by long-forgotten roads, and in exchange, the men of Rohan must battle to drive off the Darkness so that the Wild Men may go back to their lives in peace. Of course, this arrangement benefits both parties; both are in danger, and both have a common enemy. To see the end of the Darkness would be infinitely valuable to them both.
This is fascinating to me, because you can’t really say that one party here was “using” the other, or that one benefited at the other’s expense. Yes, the Rohirrim gained the guidance of the Wild Men, which furthered their goal; but in the end, it only put them one step closer to possible death on the battlefield against a great Enemy. Yes, the Wild Men get to sit back and watch the Horse-Men risk their lives in open war, but if they should fail, what then? By helping Rohan, they are establishing themselves as an enemy of Sauron; whether Ghan realizes it or not—and personally, I think he does—this single act of defiance is putting a target on the backs of his people, should the Enemy emerge victorious. Sure, they can hide in the forests for a while—as long as there are forests. But not forever. I think that’s why Ghan takes his stand now; he knows there might not be another chance.
Ghan has established that he is shrewd, straightforward, and honorable. He even vows that he will lead the Rohirrim himself, and that they may kill him if he steers them wrong; he’s that willing to stake his life on his word. But when Theoden promises to handsomely reward Ghan for his help and his faithfulness, Ghan only asks for one thing in return: “if you live after the Darkness, then leave Wild Men alone in the woods and do not hunt them like beasts anymore”.
There’s something in me that kinda…twinges, when I read this. Like I’m half-remembering a bolt of anger from Baby Me before I checked out of this passage entirely. How dare this book imply that these kind, noble horse-people would be so cruel and barbaric as to hunt other human beings like animals? Wasn’t this the same people whose king accepted Merry like a son, and who provided Gandalf with the best horse in the world? These are the GOOD guys! They wouldn’t do something like that! The book doesn’t know what it’s talking about, clearly. I wish I could get back to the hobbits again.
But now that I’m older, I think it’s more telling that Rohan isn’t spotless and blameless in this transaction. They have wronged the Wild Men in the past; out of ignorance, maybe, and out of prejudice, perhaps, and out of fear, almost certainly. We all fear what is foreign to us and what we don’t understand. But Ghan is putting that aside for the moment. Ghan chooses to extend forgiveness. For once, his people and Rohan face a greater evil, and they unite against a common enemy. All of the sudden, Rohan has an opportunity to make amends for all their wrongs, by “driving away the bad air and darkness with bright iron”.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you about the historical treatment of native people groups in our real world. The archetypal example, of course, is the European settlers and the native tribes of North America; but we see the same thing in Central and South America too, and that’s not even getting into the British Empire’s other affairs in Egypt and India and China and Oceania. I could talk about the Spanish conquistadors; I could talk about the Dutch in South Africa and apartheid. But it goes even further back than that. It’s what the Roman Empire did to the Germanic peoples of Gaul; what the Islamic Empire did to the entire Middle East and much of Northern Africa; what the Babylonians and Persians and the Mesopotamian superpower of the week did to their vassal states on a regular basis. Standard practice in Babylonia was to invade a place and immediately ship all the smart, strong, and wealthy people off to Babylon to be assimilated, leaving behind the weak, poor, unlearned, and destitute to till the land and keep their heads down. Can’t have a rebellion if everyone’s too dumb and starving to organize it.
(Incidentally, the Roman Empire is what gave us the word “barbarian”; the speech of the Germanic peoples they conquered was unintelligible to them and sounded like “bar-bar-bar”, so they named them after it. The fact that the word they coined now refers to a ruthless, stupid, uncouth person should tell you a lot about the Roman Empire’s opinion of these folks.)
Anyway, the point is that throughout history, there’s always been a pattern: up comes this people group who’s smarter and more advanced than anybody else, and they think that gives them free rein to go wherever they want, do whatever they want, and use, abuse, and extort the people they see as “beneath” them. The Romans had figured out indoor plumbing by the time of Christ, and they thought they were such hot stuff that they took over the Mediterranean and taxed the living daylights out of them. (Some estimates put the tax rate at about 90%. 90!! Imagine keeping only a tenth of your paycheck every month. I know it already feels like that, but still!)
We’d do well to address the question that Baby Me probably thought when I read this for the first time: “Why can’t the Wild Men just be Men of Rohan?” Why can’t they put on real clothes, and pick up spears and swords, and get on horses and ride into battle and make a real contribution? Why do they insist on going back to their primitive lives? Perhaps part of the reason the Men of Rohan felt justified in hunting the Wild Men is because they saw them as more crude and less advanced people; “they live in the forests, clad only in grass, hunting and sleeping under the stars like dangerous wild animals, and therefore must be treated as such”.
But let me ask you a question: Aren’t the people of Rohan primitive too? Aragorn describes them as “unlearned, not writing any books but singing many songs”; how is that any different from the songs that may be passed down by Ghan-buri-Ghan’s people? Isn’t Rohan crude and simple in its own way, at least in comparison to some others? Just because they build houses of wood and speak with fair, beautiful speech doesn’t mean they are better than those who don’t. If Rohan had the right to treat the Wild Men as they wished—because, as “civilized people”, they were so much smarter and more advanced—then Saruman had the right to treat Rohan as he wished—because, as a Wizard, he was so much smarter and more advanced.
I want you to get this. If Rohan does not check itself here and humbly accept the Woses as equals, then Rohan is no better than Saruman.
Thankfully, Rohan does pass the test. One of Theoden’s greatest traits is his humility, and it serves him well here. A deal is struck, a path is cut, and the Wild Men make their contribution and disappear into the forests, with only a lingering portent that the wind is changing, and maybe the times with it. The book says that they were “never to be seen by any Rider of Rohan again”; by which I take it that Rohan’s side of the promise was upheld, and the Wild Men lived on, in their own ways, unmolested, in the Druadan Forest until the end of time.
I don’t have a way to end this, but maybe that’s appropriate to the subject matter; like the Wild Men themselves, this post will appear out of nowhere and disappear just as quickly as it came. I just think the Woses are fascinating—both for in-universe and meta reasons—in spite of, and perhaps because of my initial annoyance all those years ago.
We will return to your daily crack post tomorrow LOL
Ohh yeah, I’ve heard of this!
On This Day in Cryptid History
September: In September of 1993, a Polynesian clergyman named Solomona and his son saw a sea serpent while fishing between the twin atolls of Manihiki and Rakahanga, in the Cook Islands. They described it as a lizard the size of a whale, and the story was recorded by the News Daily on September 29th.
The ‘Not Deer’ thing
So as some of you have probably caught on by some of my posts: I am a huge fan of many things mythology and cryptid. I love learning about local folklore of an area, I love cryptozoology, I love learning about myths and legends, the whole shabang. But recently I was made privy to it by a coworker (and by Tiktok shoving it down my throat) to the “not deer” (or Deor as they are sometimes called) and its supposed foothold on Appalachian folklore. But does it really have this? Is this really an actual cryptid? You guys know me, so I used some of my research time in the office to do some digging and the following is my consensus (as a historian and casual fan of all things spooky)
Its not real. Its not a real legend, being, spirit, or story. It originated on Tumblr and was adopted by tiktok and is being passed off as an actual legend.
I am aware this might be an inflammatory statement to some but it is true: Not Deer or “Deor” are not a thing. And when you look at the evidence it becomes clear that this is more of a “that time tumblr created a whole Greek goddess” situation mixed slightly with the whole “slenderman is real” thing with a DASH of cultural appropriation (do not worry, we will get there).
One of the BIGGEST giveaways to me that this is not a real legend is that most of the postings and documentation that I can find on “Not Deer” or “Deor” (not the poem but the creature being referenced here) do not precede 2019 at the earliest. That, and no documentation can be found about them outside of tumblr and a few other select sites.
Using google trends I typed “Not Deer Legend” and these were the results:
Most of the search queries happen around 2019-2021. There is a small blip of searches in November of 2015 but this lends me to believe that this was when the story was originally published online or it could be some bizarre mashup of search terms. It could be either or.
Things generally stay the same when I typed in “Not Deer Cryptid”. Again, note the very large spike during the time between 2019-2021
Same thing goes for “Not Deer Appalachia” (again please note that large spike)
When you just type in “Not Deer” however things get more interesting. You can see here that numbers across the decades have stayed pretty consistent. However, this does not mean that “Not Deer have been around for decades and I am just stupid”. I would also like to note here that the simple search term “Not Deer” can be apart of several other search terms related to just deer in general.
The first 2 related queries are related to the creature I am talking about, but the rest are directly related to other queries involving things that deer cannot do. This makes up a majority of the related queries.
But to make sure I am not missing anything I went onto the “Not Deer” tag to try to find the earliest mention of the creature and although the tag has been active since 2012 the first ACTUAL MENTION of something similar to what we know of the Not Deer today was made on January 10th 2020. The post can be found HERE. However there is another post that predates the one I linked that seems to be the original story (linked here) that was published back in 2019 (August 21st 2019). This is the EARLIEST definitive mention of it that can be found on the internet (and that lines up with the google analytics page).
And around the same time of that first post I linked, the creator of the story actually commented on a reddit post asking about the not deer (which I will link here):
The next thing I would like to point out is how people describe encounters with Not Deer.
This is a normal White Tailed Deer (the kind found in Appalachia, along with a large chunk of the rest of North America).
Here is a size comparison.
They are large but not to the point where its unreasonable. They are kinda clunky, kinda creepy, and very stupid.
They can also look at you like this. Its creepy but its normal deer behavior.
Most of the Not Deer encounters I have heard described consist of a few different types:
The Deer was not afraid of me/was not behaving normally
The Deer had proportions that looked off
The Deer looked like a fucking hellspawn (aka not like a deer)
The Deer’s antlers were weird
The Deer attacked me
Most of these things can be explained by “CWD” or “Chronic Wasting Disease” (which is a neurodegenerative prion disease that can be contracted by Deer and other cervids that causes them to have profound neurological problems, not eat, and eventually die).
Here is a map of where CWD is, and look, its in part of Appalachia along with a bunch of other places.
If you see a deer that is emaciated, spinning in circles, showing no signs of fear towards you, wondering aimlessly in public spaces, salivating a lot, or other strange behaviors it PROBABLY HAS CWD. Brain abscesses, deer warts, brain worm, mange, and blue tongue can also cause similar physical or neurological symptoms of CWD (or in some cases explain these deer sightings).
If you see a weird deer in the woods your first thought should not be “OMG ITS A CRYPTID” it should be “why is that deer acting strange” and then a call to your local game warden since CWD is incurable, spreads fast, and is pretty serious.
Most of the videos posted “catching Not Deer on camera” also follow this same pattern. They are either filming a deer with some kind of disease or just a deer doing normal deer things. People are looking for creepy material and are finding it because deer themselves are kinda weird to begin with. And if you are not around deer often: of course them swivel staring at you to running away at mock 9 is going to be unsettling. But unsettling does not equal cryptid. And likewise, diseased does not equal cryptid either.
Skinwalkers and Wendigos
I have heard the argument many-a-times that “Not Deer” are just code for Skinwalkers or Wendigos (2 creatures originating from native folklore). This is also not true (and this is where cultural appropriation comes in).
Lets take a look at skinwalkers first since these are brought up the most.
Skinwalkers are a being originating from Navajo folklore (keep in mind native culture is not one homogenous thing and can vary GREATLY geographically) who were once medicine men/woman who abused their healing gifts for evil and thus became a skinwalker. They have the power to transform into (or wear the skins of) animals (usually animals that are predators or ones that carry some form of relation with death). They are essentially the complete opposite of a medicine man/woman who exist to heal, and yes they ARE people (or were once people anyway).
This legend is pretty isolated to the western half of the states, only appearing in Navajo oral tradition along with the oral traditions of peoples who are in that same geographic area. I would also like to note that historically the Navajo people have been extremely reluctant to go into much detail on the story with outsiders. The Not Deer are supposedly an Appalachian legend (which for those unfamiliar, Appalachia is a region on the EASTERN half of the US). Geographically things are not lining up. Along with that white tailed deer are viewed as symbols of peace, prosperity, and other VERY positive things. Skinwalkers can turn into any animal they choose, but they usually present as coyotes, wolves, foxes, cougars, dogs, and bears. This is why wearing pelts of those animals specifically is taboo in Navajo culture.
Also as a quick aside: why would a Navajo witch be running around in the forests of Appalachia terrorizing teenagers? They are people who have committed the evilest of deeds to get where they are now, why would they be wasting their time across the country fucking with tiktokers and tumblr users specifically?
This brings us to the Wendigo.
Wendigos ARE native to the eastern half of the continental US and originate in the Algonquian language family of peoples. HOWEVER, as I have mentioned before Wendigos ARE NOT deer creatures. This is a false Hollywood portrayal. Nowhere in the original legend do Wendigos ever have deer parts, antlers, or have become Cervine.
They look like this (more or less).
Wendigos are also a story about the corruption of the soul. You become a Wendigo by committing a act of greed (like cannibalism or murder) and you become insatiably hungry, forever. Wendigos go for the kill, they dont just stand there and kinda watch you like not deer do. They straight up kill you on sight which is also why they are so terrifying. They have no restraint.
Saying “Oh, Not Deer are just these native monsters” is kind of insulting since its clear by making that statement you have not even bothered to read those legends and become familiar with them. At this point its just another way to sensationalize and profit off of a perverted and meaningless portrayal of native oral tradition. As a historian who values native culture: that's kinda bullshit. By doing that you are actively destroying those stories by diluting them with fake stories that have nothing to do with the actual point of the original ones. You are not helping by doing this, you are hurting.
The Slenderman situation
The final part to my unholy post-rant is this: “remember the slenderman thing, this is like that”.
For my fellow internet youngins who are unfamiliar with what I am talking about: the slenderman stabbings took place back in 2014 and happened because people could not discern between fiction and reality. 2 girls lured their friend into the woods, violently stabbed her 19 times, and tried to sacrifice her to “Slenderman” (a creepypasta character) and become one of his proxies. This was on the news when it happened and lead to some major ripples throughout the Creepypasta community (including major crackdowns on people encouraging similar behavior).
To me this is very much like that (only with less violence).
A fun story was written online (and props to the OG author, I love it) and people literally took it and ran with it (so much so that a bunch of chronically online teenagers are saying they are seeing/being stalked by these things). By continuing to feed into the story and people’s fears about Not Deer, we are feeding into an issue where reality and fiction are broken down. Its fine to enjoy things, but it gets a bit extreme when individuals that already struggle with separating reality from fiction are being told these beings are real, and could possibly kill them or hurt them. It gets extreme when we are posting videos in all seriousness saying we spotted these creatures. It gets extreme when we feed into those anxieties of the unknown.
We have already determined by the info above that this is not a real legend. This is not actual folklore. This is not a code name for a vastly different native legend. This was just a fun story that blew up in 2020 and has made its rounds in popculture.
You have not seen this. You probably saw a diseased deer or just a normal deer doing deer things.
Tiktok is not a source, kids, and this is a prime example of why. It helped invent an entirely new legend based off of a tumblr post published in 2019.
Always fact check.
In this city I'm the local cryptid. The local cryptid is me.
according to my friend, the noise she makes is “herghuauahggergh”, spelled like that
So we're all in agreement that Hob's default endearments for Dream are: duck / love / dove. He's so used to saying them that it's practically instinct at this point.
Before Hob's students found out his name, a bunch of them actually legit thought that Dream's name was "Duck."
I mean, Duck of the Endless does have a certain ring to it.