Monsters, Creeps, and Cryptids – an interview with Derek Hayes of Monsters Among Us

If you have a passion for cryptozoology, there is a good chance you may have listened to the online cialis no prescription australia how to write thesis proposal exemple oeuvre dissertation buy viagra online canadian health get link cheap bibliography ghostwriter site gb smoking and drinking essay nexium without a prescription viagra deaths writing a college level essay cheap rhetorical analysis essay ghostwriters website for school how to change your youtube account name on ipad viagra supplier australia buy generic viagra 50 mg jet essay follow site how do i write an essay on my macbook air go to link racism research papers click here dissertation embargo can you take viagra with statins 10 things to include in a business plan prednisone sleep Monsters Among Us Podcast.  If not-why aren’t you? A fun and informative podcast, Monsters Among Us brings you the best of Bigfoot, Lake Monsters, Giant Cats, and other unknowns.  Today I had a chance to speak with Derek Hayes, one of the key drivers of Monsters Among Us, to discuss his interest in cryptids and his own experiences and ambitions. Daniel: Please explain what got you into Cryptozoology. 

Derek: When I was about ten years old I had an experience that changed my life forever. I grew up on a farm in Eastern Ohio. Me, my brother, and a friend would explore the woods behind my dad’s house. There was hundreds of acres of forested land back there and we would just run amok.

Daniel: Great environment. 

Derek: In the 80’s it was awesome! We were back there kind of messing around, and first we heard something strange. We looked up at the hillside and we saw, for lack of a better term, a black panther running across the hill. This creature was immense! A very large wild animal. I’d say the body was four to five feet long, it had a big long tail. It took us by surprise as it ran across the hill. We tried to cut it off-of course it was long gone by the time we got there.  I was enthralled! I knew these things didn’t exist in Ohio, and if they ever did it hadn’t been for hundreds of years. I was like, “What is this thing?” So when I got to school the next day I hit the library and found all these cryptid books. Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, aliens, ghosts, it all just fascinated me to the point I couldn’t get enough.

Daniel: Big Cat sightings are one of the most common cryptid sightings. Not as much in the US, but in the UK they are off the charts. And it could be anything; an escaped wild animal, or it could be a surviving species. That is what is so fascinating about it. 

Derek: That’s the crazy thing. And you’re 100% correct, the UK does have its own big cat legends. Over there they seem to be much more violent, they take down animals left and right. There’s the Beast of Exmoor, a few different creatures of that direction. But in the states, you’d be surprised! There’s a lot of sightings about these things, and they’re called ABC’s-Alien Big Cats. And they’re seen in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, West Virginia-that region is the big hot spot. And the only wild cat that is common in that area is the bobcat, and those are only slightly larger than a house cat. So that’s not what we’re seeing!
Daniel: In a way that is the best kind of cryptid, where they could be a rational explanation. Even not some ancient species that survived, but maybe a crossbreed of some kind of mountain lions or some other wild animal that has gone out of control. It could be real. 

Derek: That’s exactly right. And we don’t know where these things are coming from. It could be a crossbreed. Maybe someone let loose some sort of black panther, and I don’t know if its biologically possible, but maybe it crossed with a mountain lion that happened to be in the area. And now we have this new species of cat that’s so rare only a handful of people have seen in.

Daniel: Now, your specialty is Bigfoot. What got you into that? 

Derek: It was kind of the logical step. I was interested in the big cats, from there I found out about UFO’s and aliens and then I found Bigfoot. I thought “This is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen!” And of course there was In Search Of, Monster Mysteries, and a bunch of documentaries that came out in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I was kind of around for the perfect moment to catch all that. From that point on its been nothing but Bigfoot fascination.

Daniel: As far as Bigfoot goes, its one of those cryptids where I’m 99% certain that most of the sightings are total BS, beyond belief. But you hear about those few sightings where you feel like “You know, maybe? Just maybe?” That’s why its so interesting to me. 

Derek: That’s what keeps me going, actually. You look at 100 Bigfoot sighting reports, you are going to say that 50 of those are a hoax, another 45 are misidentified animals like bears or giant dogs. But then you are left with those 4 of 5 encounters that you can’t explain away. And that’s why I’m interested in all this. I want to know what those 4 or 5 encounters are. Daniel: As far as Bigfoot goes, what would be your favorite sighting or encounter? 

Derek: Well there are so many good ones. One of my favorite ones, and this is from a long time ago, I want to say 1925 off the top of my head. A man named Albert Otsman, who was a prospector in British Columbia. He was back in the mountains by himself, doing his thing. Looking for gold, silver, copper, whatever he was looking for. And he came across a Sasquatch. I guess the thing invaded his camp a couple times at night and eventually it grabbed him in his sleeping bag and all and threw it over its shoulder. Otsman said he walked for ten hours probably, over the top of mountains, over the top of ranges. And finally he arrived to a family of these things. He was held hostage for three or four days and the only way he was able to escape was that he had a can of snuff, chewing tobacco. He gave it to the Sasquatch and it ate the whole thing and immediately started puking. That’s when Otsman grabbed his stuff and took off. And the weird part about this story is that it was 1957 before he finally told anybody that this happened. So,to me, that lends a little bit of clout to his story-the fact that he was willing to keep it a secret so long. If he was going to hoax somebody, and say “oh this thing happened…”

Daniel: “Who’s going to believe this?” Right? 

Derek: Exactly. I’m not saying I blindly believe what he’s saying, but I think it does lend a little bit of credibility to his story. But that is one of my favorites, I think that is just amazing.

Daniel: Are there any other cryptids that you are particularly fond of?

Derek: Oh man, there are so many! There are one off cryptids that I absolutely love, like The Loveland Frogman from my home state of Ohio. There’s the Dover Demon, which is like a little alien out of Massachusetts.

Daniel: I’ve heard of that one. Only a handful of people saw it, over a very short period of time, and in a small area. But their descriptions are so congruous that you immediately think “they saw it, the same thing, there was something there?” 

Derek: Exactly. I think it was three sets of kids that saw it on the same night in 1977 in Dover, Mass. But I think my other biggest favorite has to be The Dog Man, or the Beast of Bray Road. Its essentially a werewolf. And people have seen this thing in association with Native American mounds, so there is some sort of ancient history. The backstory is just too good to pass up, I love the Dog Man. Daniel: My personal favorite has to be Moth Man. Much like Dover Demon, the sightings were over a short while, only a year or two, and in an enclosed area. And the people who saw it were pretty much in agreement about what they saw, their descriptions were congruous. Those factors lead to believe there had to be something that they saw. What we can’t say, but it was there. 

Derek: The Mothman story is even crazier than a lot of people realize. Not only was there the Mothman sightings from 1966, in which dozens of people saw this thing over a ten month period in West Virginia, but you also had tons of UFO activity in the area at the time. You had men in black see in the area at the same time. And then there was Indrid Cold, which is this strange entity that came out of a UFO and talked to a gentleman named Woody Derenberger, and essentially told him it came from this planet called Lanulos outside of our solar system.

Daniel: I hadn’t heard of that one. 

Derek: You should look it up. And its another case where he came right out about it, was on the news the next day saying “I spoke to an alien.” Was plain as day about it, didn’t seem to be lying about it. I guess it ruined his life; his daughter said he became an alcoholic because of it, he got divorced because of it, he died because of it. But he stuck to his story the entire time. But it all kind of crescendos into a tragedy that took place 13 months to the day of the first Mothman sighting, the Silver Bridge collapsed and killed 46 people. Its the biggest bridge disaster in US history. They even made a movie about it, “The Mothman Prophecies” with Richard Gere. Its a decent film, obviously you are a horror fan. Check it out. Derek: Well I mentioned Harry and the Hendersons earlier, as far as fictional films. That’s one of my favorites. 

Daniel: That really helped bring Bigfoot into the mainstream, but  it also kind of wrecked it. It was so cute that Bigfoot as a horror image was ruined.

Daniel: On that same note, being an experienced filmmaker, are there any cryptid films you are fond of?  

Derek: It was. The 70’s set it up so well with Boggy Creek, Creature of Black Lake, and a couple others. In Search of and the other documentaries were spooky. But then the 80’s come alone and Harry and the Hendersons came along, there was one just called Bigfoot with one of the kids from Home Improvement.  But luckily in the last decade or so this is all starting to come back to us. There’s Willow Creek, Bobcat Goldthwaight‘s movie that came out a few years ago. That one was terrifying and very well done, I thought it was one of the best found footage films I’ve seen in a long time. Exists was another good one. I watched one recently called Hoax that is on Amazon Prime that I thought held up very well. There’s a nice twist at the end of that one. I think people are leaning more toward the scary Sasquatch these days, as opposed to the 80’s and 90’s, that friendly furry buddy.

Daniel: And its funny, because Sasquatch is a genre made for found footage. 

Derek: Oh it is! And there’s thousands of those films out there too, because they are a dime a dozen to make. You get a suit and some college kids. And they are fun to watch too, get some buddies and beers to make fun of them. The bad ones are the ones you have to make fun of. Daniel: Are there any documentaries or films that you have done that you’d like to talk about here?

Derek: Well the films I’ve worked on I’m not necessarily proud of *laughs* so I won’t mention a lot of them. I worked on the Underworld series, but it was the later end of it. Those were fun, but I really hang my hat on the cryptid stuff. And I’m working on a documentary myself that we are looking to shoot here in the next couple of months, based on a small town in Southern California. There is like, a window area, this place in the desert where all these creatures seem to accumulate. There’s UFO’s, aliens, missing people, all kinds of things that seem to happen in this state park.

Daniel: Almost like South Park in Utah?

Derek: Exactly! You name it, its all here. Its like Point Pleasant, West VA, where Mothman were sighted. One of these window areas where all this strange stuff seems to happen.

Daniel: Venturing into our main topic at House of Tortured Souls, horror! Is there type of cryptid horror you are fond of? 

Derek: Oh man! Like I mentioned, Willow Creek was a really good one. If you’ve ever been out in the woods looking for Bigfoot or any of these creatures, they kind of captured that. There’s a lot of waiting, a lot of build up, a lot of baited breath. All that build up is there, so you kind of understand what Bobcat was going for. I think that’s something that is lost on people that haven’t been out in the woods, late at night, yelling into the darkness, looking for a hairy creature.

Daniel: Have you had any personal encounters besides that one with the big cat that are particularly vivid?

Derek: As far as cryptids, no, unfortunately that’s the only one. But I did see a full body apparition once when I was a kid. Daniel: Really? So you are into the paranormal too?

Derek: Yeah. In my podcast I cover everything from aliens to doppelgangers to cryptids to ghosts to demons, all that kind of stuff. Pretty much anything paranormal is in my wheel house. I was visiting my grandparents in Jacksonville, Florida. And every time I walked by this particular room, out of my peripheral vision, I could see a Native American dancing in that bedroom. He had a full feather headdress on, beads and straps of leather all across his body. And the second I turned my head it was just gone. I saw it three or four times in five days that we were visiting. That was the one full body apparition I can claim I saw. This concluded our interview . If you have a passion for monsters, mysteries, and magic, check out the Monsters Among Us Podcast

Posted by Daniel Ryan

I am a 36 year old man from New Jersey with a lifelong passion for horror, science fiction, true crime, and cryptozoology. I will do my utmost to be a worthwhile contributor to House of Tortured Souls.

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