During the 1960’s, no less six eyewitnesses claimed to have had encounters with a floating, ghostly, blob-like creature that was so intimidating two armed men fled from it in mortal terror.
The strange tale of this unique apparition begins in the forests surrounding Kinderhook, New York — a small town whose name literally translates to “Children’s Corner,” in the language of the original Dutch settlers — not far from the lake of the same name.
Accounts I’ve come across regarding this anomalous animal (for lack of a better appellation) are at times contradictory — and some of the dates are frankly difficult to confirm — nevertheless, what we do know for sure is that the initial event to involve this undulating “being” occurred in 1962.
The first report of this creature comes to us from author and New York State Library genealogist, Bruce Hallenbeck.
When Hallenbeck was a 10-year old boy, he and his cousin were frolicking in the woods behind his parent’s house when they both saw something they would never forget. Hallenbeck would record this bizarre event years later in 1992, in a book he wrote with Paul Bartholomew, Robert Bartholomew and William Brann titled: “Monsters of the Northwoods.”According to Hallenbeck:
“When I was 10 years old (1962) I was up in the woods behind our house with my cousin Chari, who was then age seven. We both heard this really high-pitched whistle noise.”
The children looked in the direction of the strange sound and were shocked to see what he later described as “a white object peering at me from behind a nearby pine tree.”
Hallenbeck would clarify that statement: “I say ‘peering,’ but in fact it had no eyes that I could see.” Wisely choosing caution over curiosity, the frightened cousins beat a hasty retreat back to Hallenbeck’s parent’s home.
Following the childrens’ encounter, this evolutionary enigma would maintain a low profile for two years until 1964. On the evening in question, an unnamed man was taking a leisurely hike through the woods when he saw what he later described as a “big white blob” gliding down the hill toward him.
The sight of the surging, spectral entity frightened the fellow so much that in an effort to escape the floating fiend he leapt over a pond that measured about 6-feet across.
While we might not know the name of this amateur long jumper, what we do know is that the frightened fellow managed to muster up the courage to return to the scene of his encounter, this time with a friend in tow. The anonymous duo armed themselves with shovels and pitchforks and tromped back into the forest ready to confront the hovering phantasmagoric entity. They wouldn’t be left waiting for long.
Without warning, the (once skeptical) cohort froze in his tracks and his face became as “white as a sheet.” The petrified man silently pointed ahead toward a “white shape,” which appeared to be defying the laws of gravity by maneuvering through the high branches of the trees. Both friends, suddenly drained of their courage, dropped their makeshift weapons and sprinted in the opposite direction of the thing.
Some say that the third reported encounter with this creature also occurred in 1964, while others testify that it was 14 years later in 1978. Regardless of the year, this tertiary run-in happened in the late afternoon and involved two youthful campers — Barry Scott and Russell Lee — who were both 14 years-old at the time of the incident.
According to their testimony, the first sign that something was amiss in the woods was when both Scott and Lee heard something “tramping” down the wooded hill outside of their tent. How a creature that is able float can also “tramp” is, perhaps, one of the biggest mysteries in this case.
The curious boys peaked outside their tent and that was when they saw something that their young minds were simply unprepared for. The thing they described was a white, hovering “being” that was virtually identical to the creature seen by both Hallenbeck, Chari and the two unnamed men, except in this case the being looked less like an “amorphous blob” and more like a prototypical ghost.
Both teens agreed that the thing they saw “floated more than it walked,” but each boy took from the experience two unique images. Barry, arguably the more pragmatic of the two, saw what he described as a “bell shaped white being.” Russell, on the other hand, verbally illustrated something that looked more “like the Virgin Mary.”
With the Virgin Mary often being depicted as having flowing white robes, perhaps the boys’ descriptions are not really all that dissimilar. Whatever the thing may or may not have been, moments after they saw it, the rippling beast disappeared in the dense thicket, leaving the teens perplexed and more than a little frightened.
Unfortunately, lacking a photograph or even an eyewitness sketch of the Kinderhook Blob, it’s difficult to even attempt to classify what this wraith-like being might have been… nevertheless, speculation and hypothesis are half of the fun in these genuinely bizarre cases.
While there are plenty of reports of enigmatic entities with a penchant for hovering without any wings or any other evident propulsion mechanisms — such as Thailand’s GHOSTLY SCARECROW OF CHIANG RAI or Kentucky’s DARK BABY — the fact of the matter is that this thing could be anything from a specter to an extraterrestrial to a wood nymph to a beatific vision.
At the very least we can all agree that this UNCLASSIFIED creature was a UFO — in that it was both flying and clearly unidentified — only this time the “O” might stand for “organism” rather than “object.”
Also, assuming that there really is a fourteen year gap (rather than two) between the encounters, could we be dealing with a creature with an astonishingly long hibernation cycle that has made its home in the Kinderhook woods? Or that it might be an alien from OUT OF THIS WORLD who likes to visit rural New York State from time to time?
It’s worth mentioning that there have also been numerous reports of UFOs at the same time as well as a large, reddish haired HAIRY HOMINID living in the same patch of woods. In fact, Hallenbeck’s grandmother and cousins claimed to have seen and pursued what was later dubbed the KINDERHOOK CREATURE by the nationally syndicated television show, P.M. Magazine. According to Hallenbeck:
“On September 24 of 1980 something showed up in my grandparents’ backyard and started making some ungodly sound and scared everybody so much that my cousin came over with a shotgun and scared it off. He said it was walking on two legs. If you experience something you can’t explain you can either say my eyes and ears are playing tricks on me or there is something really out there”
While a flying saucer or an 8-foot tall ape man would be enough to terrify even the heartiest of souls; a rounded (or occasionally wrinkled) floating, cloud-like critter does not seem to be particularly threatening. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to note that all of the eyewitness reacted to it with varying degrees of fear.
Is this simply a case of people being scared of the unknown? Or does this seemingly universal reaction to “run away” from the this entity indicate that intuitively the observers’ sense that there is something malevolent lurking deep in the Kinderhook woods?
Rob Morphy is an artist / journalist / filmmaker / designer / crypto chronicler / pod host / cult movie lover and co-founder of American Monsters.