Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the salad bar, this bizarre, plasma craving, vegetative monstrosity seems to have leapt right off of a 1950’s drive-in movie screen and directly into path of an unsuspecting hunter; a young man who needed to fear not only his potential loss of sanity… but also the very real loss of his blood.
During the waning hours of the day in July of 1968, a bow hunter by the name of Jennings Frederick was stalking woodchucks in the bucolic backcountry outside of Fairmont, West Virginia. Unable to bag his quarry, Frederick was about to call it a day when he stumbled across a nearly indescribable entity that would forever alter his perception of the natural world.
In his 1978 chronicle of extraterrestrial encounters titled “Alien Meetings,” Brad Steiger stated that the bizarre and harrowing event began when Frederick — a West Virginia native and U. S. Air Force veteran — heard a sound which he compared to a “high-pitched jabbering, much like that of a recording running at exaggerated speed.”
The bow hunter glanced up and saw one of the strangest sights in the annals of paranormal research. What Frederick described was a looming, green, jaundice-gazed entity with a skeletal, stalk-like frame that loomed over him. According to Steiger:
“Suddenly, there it was, a being with semi-human facial features, long ears, and yellow, slanted eyes. Its arms were no bigger around than a quarter… its body resembled the stalk of a plant in shape and color, for it was slender and green.”
Most disturbingly, Frederick noticed that this strangely sentient flora had what appeared to be three, exceedingly slender, 7-inch long fingers with syringe-like protrusions at the tips. These prickly needles (or thorns, perhaps?) tapered down into suction cup shapes where the first knuckle would have been on a human finger.
Despite the shock he felt upon seeing the creature — not to mention the elevated pitch and alacrity of its inhuman voice — Fredrick’s panic addled brain managed to translate the foreign sounds emanating from the thing into this seemingly innocuous message:
“You need not fear me. I wish to communicate. I come as a friend. We know of you all. I come in peace. I wish medical assistance. I need your help.”
Before he could even react to this eccentric entity‘s plea for help, it suddenly whipped one of its tendril-like appendages towards him and wrapped its fibrous fingers around his hand with alarming strength. It was at that moment that the thorn-like fingertips penetrated Fredrick’s rugged flesh sending an excruciating jolt of pain up his arm.
Without warning, streaks of crimson began to leech into the leafy thing’s yellow eyes. The colors began to inexplicably swirl together creating a rotating pattern of orange circles, which had a hypnotic effect on Fredrick and seemed to instantly alleviate his pain.
Although his agony had ceased, the hunter could feel blood being extracted from his veins by this botanical nightmare. This process of exsanguination lasted less than two minutes, but the experience would haunt Fredrick for the remainder of his days.
After this evidently carnivorous, plant-like beast had its fill of Fredrick’s blood, it abruptly released its stunned victim, turned and sprinted up a steep embankment on its slender legs. The astonished veteran would later note that the creature swiftly disappeared over the crest of the hill as each of its gravity defying steps had carried it no less than 25-feet!
As soon the Vegetable Man — and its anesthetic/hypnotic gaze — had vanished, Frederick felt the throbbing pain rush back into his now pock-marked hand. As the pain returned he also felt a swell of panic. As he raced away from the scene of his encounter, he heard a deep humming sound, which Frederick later surmised may have been the propulsion system of UFO taking the ostensibly alien entity home.
Frightened by the ridicule that would almost inevitably accompany his account of his run-in with this vampiric varmint, Frederick resolved to keep the story to himself and told his family that the wounds on his had had been caused by a briar patch. Some years later, however, he found that he could no longer live with the secret and revealed his strange story to an author, paranormal investigator and occasional hoaxster by the name of Gray Barker.
Barker — who was instrumental in investigating the FLATWOODS MONSTER and MOTHMAN cases as well as introducing the world at large to the insidious MEN IN BLACK phenomenon — recorded Fredrick’s testimony and published it in his newsletter in March of 1976.
It’s worth noting that while neither Frederick (nor anyone else for that matter) would ever again report an encounter with the blood sucking Vegetable Man, this would be the second time that the young veteran had a run-in — at least second-hand — with a strange critter from OUT OF THIS WORLD as some years before his mother claimed to have seen a bizarre, demonic figure — which we’ve dubbed the SPACE DEVIL — tethered to a flying saucer outside her West Virginia home.
Rob Morphy is an artist / journalist / filmmaker / designer / crypto historian / podcaster / co-founder of American Monsters and Cryptopia