The Black Bird of Chernobyl
An artist’s impression of the Black Bird of Chernobyl. Image: Smithsonian Institute.
Around the time of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, there was a giant black bird that appeared in the area. The bird was said to be about the size of a small airplane, with glowing red eyes and a wingspan of over 20 feet.
Description of the Black Bird of Chernobyl
The Black Bird of Chernobyl was described as being eerily similar in appearance to the infamous Mothman of Point Pleasant, West Virginia.
It was described as being a headless humanoid figure with a 20-foot wingspan. It was pitch black all over apart from its glowing red eyes which were in the centre of it’s chest.
The Disaster at Chernobyl
The ruins of reactor 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant following the disaster. The photograph is grainy due to the high level of radiation. Photo: Ghost Story UK
The Chernobyl nuclear accident occurred on April 26, 1986, in the Ukrainian city of Pripyat. It was the worst nuclear disaster in history.
During a safety test, a combination of human error, design flaws in the reactor, and a lack of safety protocols led to a catastrophic explosion and fire. The reactor’s core was exposed, and a massive amount of radioactive material was released into the environment.
The immediate aftermath of the explosion led to the deaths of two workers, and over the following weeks and months, an additional 28 people died from acute radiation sickness. Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from the surrounding area, and a large exclusion zone remains in place around the site to this day.
The accident had far-reaching environmental and health consequences. The release of radioactive materials contaminated land, water, and air across large parts of Europe, causing a significant increase in cancer rates and other health problems among those exposed to the radiation.
The Chernobyl accident led to significant improvements in nuclear safety worldwide, as well as a reevaluation of the risks and benefits of nuclear power. It remains a tragic reminder of the importance of safety measures in the operation of nuclear reactors.
Sightings of the Black Bird of Chernobyl
A video retelling the legend of the Black Bird of Chernobyl
In early April 1986, people in the vicinity of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant started to witness a series of bizarre occurrences centered on sightings of an enigmatic creature.
The creature was often described as a huge, dark, headless man with enormous wings and glowing red eyes.
Those affected by the Black Bird of Chernobyl reported experiencing terrifying nightmares featuring the creature, as well as menacing phone calls, and even personal confrontations with the winged monster.
Prior to the catastrophic meltdown, a number of workers at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant had claimed to have witnessed the Black Bird of Chernobyl. A few of the employees even reported these strange events to their superiors at the plant.
According to reports, some of the workers who survived the initial explosion and fire at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant but later succumbed to radiation poisoning, had claimed to have seen the Black Bird of Chernobyl gliding through the clouds of radioactive smoke billowing from the reactor.
Possible Explanations for the Black Bird of Chernobyl
A nuclear sign in Pripyat, near where the Black Bird of Chernobyl was seen. Photo: The Guardian.
What was this strange creature?
Some believe the Black Bird of Chernobyl was the same creature behind the Mothman sightings in Vest Virginia. Some even speculate that the two creatures are simply members of the same species that has an uncanny ability to appear to humans just before something disastrous occurs.
Perhaps the creatures are spiritual entities that thrive off of the negative energy created by human suffering and death.
An alternative theory, albeit less widely acknowledged, proposes that the Black Bird of Chernobyl may have been simply a case of mistaken identity involving the black stork, an endangered species found in southern Eurasia. The black stork is around 3 feet tall and boasts a wingspan of nearly 6 feet.
While not impossible, it is pretty unlikely that a Black Stork would be hanging around in Chernobyl.
Perhaps the most likely cause of the legend of the Black Bird of Chernobyl is that it is simple a folk tale that has come to life in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster. Sometimes it’s easier to cope with some of life’s most horrible aspects by adding a bit of mystery and magic to them.
Do you think the Black Bird of Chernobyl is a real creature? Let us know in the comments.
If you enjoyed learning about the Black Bird of Chernobyl you might also be interested in learning about it’s American cousin: Mothman, or another harbinger of doom: the Sluagh.
Nandi Bear: A Ferocious African Cryptid
An artist’s interpretation of the Nandi Bear. Photo: Cryptid Archives.
The Nandi Bear is a ferocious cryptid spotted in the highlands of Kenya during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Description of the Nandi Bear
A footprint of a Nandibear
The Nandi Bear is also known as the Chemosit, Kerit, Koddoelo, Ngoloko, or Duba. It has been described as as a carnivorous animal with a formidable build, possessing long legs exceeding a height of four feet, and a back that slopes downward. It is described as being highly aggressive in nature.
Nandi Bear Sightings
A drawing of a Nandi Bear encounter by A. McWilliams
A number of early 20th century authors mention the Nandi Bear in their work.
Richard Meinertzhagen claimed in 1905 that he was told by the Nandi people that the Nandi bear was once widespread when they first settled in the highlands of present-day Kenya, around the early 17th century.
The Nandi people believed that the rinderpest epidemic towards the end of the 19th century pushed the Nandi bear to the brink of extinction. Although the Nandi bear was never numerous, it was not uncommon prior to the epidemic.
Unfortunately, the population never fully recovered from the impact of the outbreak. During the colonial era, the Nandi bear was held responsible for the deaths of numerous native people, whose skulls were found crushed every year.
While the Nandi Bear was widely feared by the native population, it does not appear to have been known to Europeans or colonial officials until the beginning of the 20th century.
Prior to 1912, the Nandi reportedly killed a Nandi Bear after it climbed onto the roof of a hut, broke through, and killed everyone inside. Subsequently, the village inhabitants burned down the hut with the animal still inside. Geoffrey Williams had heard of a similar animal’s preserved skin in Kabras, but was unsuccessful in obtaining it.
There were rumors that a Boer had shot a Nandi bear, but was unable to retrieve the carcass. C. W. Hobley wrote of this story.
Similarly, a farmer from Uganda named K. R. Williams supposedly unintentionally poisoned a young Nandi bear while setting out bait for hyenas.
Williams described the animal as being much larger than a spotted hyena, with the same yellowish fur, and a head similar to that of a bear. However, when he returned to his camp to retrieve a knife for skinning the carcass, actual hyenas had dragged the Nandi bear’s body away.
In 1905, while on the Nandi Expedition to the Uasin Gishu in western British East Africa, Geoffrey Williams wrote of his experiences with the Nandi Bear.
He observed an animal of around 5 feet in height sitting upright like a zoo bear, with small pointed ears and a long head, about 30 yards away.
The creature then ran away with a sideways canter towards the Sirgoit Rock. Williams quickly took a snapshot of the animal with his rifle, but missed it.
He claimed the Nandi bear was larger than a typical zoo bear and heavily built, with thick fur covering its forequarters and all four legs. The hindquarters were relatively smooth, and the color was dark.
Williams could not recall much about the ears, but mentioned that they were small, and the tail, if any, was tiny and barely noticeable.
Engineer Dennis Burnett and his wife Marlene reported the most recent documented sighting of the Nandi bear in February 1998.
While driving along the Koru-Kisumu road near the base of the Nandi Escarpment during a rainy evening, they saw a large animal crossing the road.
Upon reversing their car, the couple observed the animal for about fifteen seconds. Although they initially thought it was a bear, they soon realized that it was “an enormous, shaggy hyena – resembling a Striped Hyena but significantly larger.”
Theories about the Nandi Bear
Bob Gymlan of Bigfoot hunting fame has posted a detailed video telling the history of the Nandi Bear.
In 1923, Charles William Andrews proposed that the Nandi bear might be a surviving species of the extinct Chalicothere. Louis Leakey later suggested in the 1930s that the Nandi Bear’s descriptions matched those of the Chalicothere, despite chalicotheres being herbivores.
The Chalicothere hypothesis was eventually abandoned. In 2000, paleontologist Louis L. Jacobs stated that if Chalicotheres still existed, they would have been discovered, much like the giant forest hog. Jacobs concluded that if there was any truth to the Nandi bear story, it could be a description of gorillas passed down orally across the continent.
Zoologist Reginald Innes Pocock argued that the Nandi bear sightings were actually misidentified spotted hyenas. The British Natural History Museum also stated in 1932 that many reports of the Nandi bear were nothing more than spotted hyenas.
Paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson claimed that the Nandi bear turned out to be honey badgers, which zoologists had been aware of since 1776.
Have you ever seen a Nandi Bear? Let us know in the comments.
If you enjoyed learning about the Nandi Bear you might also be interested in the J’Ba Fofi: A Giant Congolese Spider Cryptid or the Tikoloshe, a South African Cryptid.
Squonk: The Saddest Cryptid
The Squonk as featured in Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods by William Cox. Photo: Wikipedia
The Squonk is said to be the ugliest creature in the world. It is so ashamed of its appearance that it will hide from anyone who approaches and, if caught, it will dissolve into a puddle of tears.
The Legend of the Squonk
The rock band Genesis wrote a popular song about the Squonk
The first mention of the squonk in written history is in William Cox’s 1910 book “Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods, With a Few Desert and Mountain Beasts.”
Cox describes the as the ugliest animal in the world and claims it is aware of its unfortunate appearance.
Cox claims that the squonk used to have a wide distribution and preferred habitats with plenty of desert vegetation on high plains. As these areas changed into swampy, lake-dotted regions, the squonk was forced to adapt to the water.
Due to its low intelligence, the squonk constantly searched for food by swimming in the marshes, and over time developed webbing between its toes, but only on its left feet that were submerged in water. As a result, it could only swim in circles and could never return to shore, leading to thousands of squonks dying from starvation, as evidenced by fossil bones found in the lake bottoms.
Cox also claimed that the squonk can only be found in the hemlock forests of Pennsylvania. It is said to be shy and reclusive, and can be seen mostly during twilight hours.
It is covered in a loose and warty skin that doesn’t fit properly. The squonk is known to be perpetually unhappy and often weeps due to its distressing appearance, leaving a trail of tears that can be followed.
The best time to search for a squonk is during moonlit nights, as it tends to stay hidden in its hemlock dwelling, afraid to catch a glimpse of itself in a reflective pool.
Sometimes, the sound of a softly weeping squonk can be heard, which sounds like a mournful call resembling that of the cross-feathered snee.
A Mr. J.P. Wentling had a disappointing experience with a squonk near Mont Alto. He captured the squonk by mimicking its crying sounds and tricking it into hopping into a sack. As he carried it home the sack suddenly became much lighter. Wentling unslung the sack and looked in. He found that the squonk had dissolved into tears and bubbles.
A variation of the squonk meme that has become popular in recent times.
The squonk has become a meme in recent times, with many internet users feeling like they can relate to the poor little creature. The squonk has even featured in one of our paranormal meme dumps.
Have you ever seen a poor little squonk in the wild? Let us know in the comments.
If you enjoyed this article you might also be interested in the story of the kushtaka or the Central American Whintosser.
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