Over the last 300 years in the Santa Lucia Mountain Range people have reported sightings of shadowy creatures amongst the mist. Legend has it that no one has been able to see one up close and if they do approach the Dark Watchers they might never be seen again.
The Dark Watchers are massive specters, featureless dark silhouettes often wearing wide brimmed hats or carrying walking sticks. They are usually seen around sunset or sunrise. Poet Robinson Jeffers described Dark Watchers as beings that look human but definitely aren’t human. He explains that they emerge from behind the ridges to observe before they melt back into the shadows.
in the 1700s Spanish Settlers who moved into the area they were said to have witnessed the Dark Watchers calling them Los Vigilantes Oscuros. Decades later as American settlers began to journey over the mountains they also reported the feeling of being watched and sightings of strange shadowy creatures.
Olive Hamilton, the mother of author John Steinbeck, often told stories of her days riding through the remote woods of the Santa Lucia mountains on her way to teachign jobs. Several times she saw the Dark Watchers lurking inthe shadows and even left food offerings for them. On her return trips the food offerings would be gone and bunches of flowers would be left in their place.
Skeptics have some up with a number of possible scientific explanations for this phenomenon. The first being what is called a Brocken Specter. This is the sun hits a hiker at an unusual angle after being reflected off the mountain range and causes their shadow to be projected in a strange place. Perhaps witnesses are seeing their own shadows or the shadows of other hikers somewhere in the vicinity.
Psychologists claim the Dark Watchers could just be hallucinations brought on by exhaustion or oxygen deprivation. They also suggest they may just be pareidolia, a phenomenon where humans see faces or other familiar patterns or shapes in unclear things.
Another possible explanation is that there is infrasound present being generated by the wind. Infrasound is sound that is too low pitched to be heard by humans has been proven to cause feelings of uneasiness and anxiety.
While these explanations no doubt account for some of the sightings there are always accounts that seem to evade all attempts at explanation.
If you liked this article you might like to learn more about shadow people or skin-walkers.
Fofao: The Killer Doll
The creepy Fofao dolls did in fact contain a sharp spike within to support the doll’s head. Photo: Latin Folktales
An urban legend spread throughout Latin America in the late 1980s telling of a knife being hidden in Fofao dolls. It turns out it was somewhat based in reality.
Who was Fofão?
The rather spooky looking character of Fofao. Photo: Wikipedia
Orival Pessini was tasked by TV Globo director, José Bonifácio de Oliveira Sobrinho , to create a child character for the upcoming program Balão Mágico. As any character that was created would go on air, Orival was unsure of what to create, having no prior experience with children.
After contemplating various possibilities such as a dog, pig, clown, teddy bear, extraterrestrial, or human, Orival decided to combine all the ideas, resulting in the creation of Fofão.
Orival was also inspired by Steven Spielberg’s E.T, which he described as being unattractive but possessing a great heart and charisma. Therefore, he aimed to create a similar character in Fofão.
In 1983, the character Fofão made its first appearance on the morning children’s television program, Balão Mágico, as a supporting character to the children’s musical group.
Despite its minor role, the character quickly gained popularity, eventually becoming an iconic figure in Brazilian media during the 1980s. This was largely due to the high sales of a plush toy based on the character.
In 1986, following the end of the original program, Fofão was given its own solo show called TV Fofão, which aired on Rede Bandeirantes until 1989, with a brief return between 1994-1996. The character made its final TV appearance in 1998 on the CNT Gazeta channel.
During the early 1980s, he gained immense popularity among Brazilian children and became a sensation. The character had its own TV show, released albums, dolls, and various other licensed products.
The Legend of the killer Fofao dolls
A video telling the story of the creepy Fofao dolls
After Fofao’s meteoric rise to fame the Fofao dolls sold in huge numbers. Not long afterwards rumors began to spread about the dolls having a knife concealed inside them.
According to the legend, Fofao dolls were cursed and would come to life in the middle of the night. The doll’s head would then separate from its body revealing a large knife. The Fofao doll would then repeatedly stab the child sleeping peacefully next to them.
After the story of the cursed Fofao doll became widely known, many people reportedly burned their own Fofao dolls out of fear. The story has since become a popular urban legend throughout Latin America.
Spookily, the Fofao doll legend wasn’t completely made up. When the head of the doll was removed a large, sharp plastic spike was revealed. This was used as a structural support to help the doll to sit up on its own.
Did you hear the legend of the Fofao dolls when you were growing up? Tell us about it in the comments.
If you enjoyed this article about the creepy Fofao dolls you might also be interested in Okiku: The Doll with Growing Human Hair or the story of Gabriel March Granados and the world longest prison sentence.
Demon Cat of D.C
A possible Demon Cat peering over a fence in Washington D.C. Photo: Wikipedia
Several people have reported seeing a large cat lurking around the US Government buildings in Washington D.C. Some say the cat appears as a warning before significant events.
The Legend of the Demon Cat of D.C
In the mid-1800s, cats were introduced into the underground tunnels of the United States Capitol Building with the purpose of exterminating rats and mice.
The story of the Demon Cat began during this time, with the belief that it was one of these feline workers whose spirit remained in the basement crypt after its passing.
The crypt, which was meant to be a final resting place for President George Washington, is said to be the Demon Cat’s favourite hangout.
As per a Washington Post article from 1898, the Demon Cat initially appears to be a regular-sized housecat but quickly expands to the size of an elephant, causing fear in the observer’s eyes.
In a 1935 Washington Post article, a witness described the Demon Cat’s eyes as glowing with the same intensity and fierceness as the headlights of a fire engine.
In addition to the Capitol Building, the legend extends to the White House. According to the tale, when the Demon Cat is seen on the Ground Floor of the White House (previously known as the basement), it means that a huge tragedy is about to unfold.
The Demon Cat’s notoriety is largely attributed to a collection of cat paw prints that can be found on the concrete floor of the Small Senate Rotunda, located near the entrance to the Old Supreme Court Chamber.
While the Architect of the Capitol asserts that these paw prints belong to the rat-catching cats that once inhabited the building, proponents of the Demon Cat legend contest this claim.
According to them, the paw prints only materialized after the rotunda was almost obliterated by an explosion in 1898, which they attribute to the vindictive cat, although official records attribute the blast to a gas explosion. (Who is to say the cat didn’t cause the gas explosion).
These believers also allege that the initials “D.C.” etched into the same floor stand for “Demon Cat”.
Sightings of the Demon Cat of D.C
One of the cats that lurked in the basement of the Capitol Building
The first recorded sighting of the Demon Cat was in the United States Capitol in 1862 when it appeared in the basement, which was then used as a bakery to feed soldiers during the Civil War.
The cat was seen multiple times in the basement, and a guard supposedly fired a gun at it, causing it to vanish.
Since then, the Demon Cat has been spotted most frequently in the Capitol Building’s basement. While some describe it as a tabby, others claim it to be black.
A White House guard claimed to have witnessed the Demon Cat before the 1929 stock market crash, while another night watchman spotted it prior to John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963.
Even though no firsthand source confirms the Demon Cat’s sightings at the White House, the feline ghost is occasionally included among the “most renowned” spirits of the Executive Mansion.
Possible Explanations for the Demon Cat of D.C
A video about the Demon Cat of D.C
The legend of the Demon Cat of D.C is thought to have originated from a guardsman at the United States Capitol who had possibly consumed too much alcohol during a long night shift, as per public historian Steve Livengood from the United States Capitol Historical Society.
Livengood speculates that upon waking up from a nap, the guardsman saw a basement cat that appeared larger than life due to his lying down position, and this experience might have perpetuated the story of the Demon Cat.
Such oral ghost stories are commonplace, particularly among those who worked graveyard shifts in the Capitol and White House, and the Demon Cat legend aligns with the traditional perception of cats as mystical creatures with the power to bring misfortune.
In addition to this, cats are often associated with nefarious activities and witchcraft. As a result, the Demon Cat tale is probably an amalgamation of history, imaginative narration, and widely held beliefs, making it one of the most renowned ghost stories in the nation’s capital.
Have you ever seen the Demon Cat of D.C? Let us know in the comments.
If you enjoyed learning about the Demon Cat of D.C you might be interested in other supernatural cats like the Bakeneko or the Canterbury Panther.
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