Severed Press has just brought THE DOVER DEMON back to life. Originally published by Samhain Publishing in 2015, the book was left in limbo when Samhain closed its doors. This little beastie has returned with a kick ass new cover!
Back in 2014, I was at the International Cryptozoology Museum for a book signing on my tour for The Montauk Monster. The museum’s owner is Loren Coleman, one of the most revered cryptozoologists in the world. Loren and I struck up a conversation and I asked him what cryptid I should write about next. He didn’t hesitate in urging me to look into the famous Dover Demon case, one that still baffles everyone associated with it 40 years later.
Over the course of two nights in 1977 during spring break in the affluent town of Dover, Massachusetts, six teenagers spotted a bizarre, bipedal creature scuttling along the dark roads. It appears that all saw the very same being, one of them (Bill Bartlett) drawing a sketch of the anomaly for the police.
Today, a lot of people would say, “Oh, that’s one of those gray alien things.” But you have to remember, this creature was spotted before the iconic image of gray aliens was a thing. Hell, Close Encounters of the Third Kind hadn’t even come out yet. Loren Coleman was called to Dover and was the one to give it its name. Cryptozoologists are still puzzled by what the teenagers saw. They look at it in terms of being a terrestrial animal. UFOologists look to the case as an early example of the grays making themselves known.
A cryptid AND an alien? I couldn’t turn down the challenge. THE DOVER DEMON is both one of my most personal and strangest books to date. So, if you care to take a trip to Dover, the gates are once again open. Beware, you might never be the same!
A little bit of trivia : The man character is a man named Sam Brogna. I named him after a New York Mets short-lived first baseman, Rico Brogna. The man’s career was cut short due to injury, but he lives on in The Dover Demon. Well, sort of.
The Dover Demon is real…and it has returned.
In 1977, Sam Brogna and his friends came upon a terrifying, alien creature on a deserted country road. What they witnessed was so bizarre, so chilling, they swore their silence. But their lives were changed forever. Decades later, the town of Dover has been hit by a massive blizzard. Sam’s son, Nicky, is drawn to search for the infamous cryptid, only to disappear into the bowels of a secret underground lair. The Dover Demon is far deadlier than anyone could have believed. And there are many of them. Can Sam and his reunited friends rescue Nicky and battle a race of creatures so powerful, so sinister, that history itself has been shaped by their secretive presence?
We recently interviewed Lyle Blackburn on the Monster Men to discuss his new movie, Boggy Creek Monster, and book, Monstro Bizzaro. If you’re obsessed with cryptids like I am, Lyle is one of the best investigators in the field today. His previous books, The Beast of Boggy Creek and Lizard Man have prominent positions on my bookshelf.
When all was said and done, I realized I still had a few more questions I’d wanted to ask. So, here is the original video interview along with the bonus questions Lyle was kind enough to answer. Now let’s go squatchin!
We’re very much alike in that we grew up fascinated by tales of Bigfoot and other creatures (as well as a fondness for The Creature from the Black Lagoon!). How did you take the leap from being a rocker in Ghoultown to cryptid reporter?
LB : In addition to being a musician, I’ve always worked as a writer. Among other things, I wrote for a rock magazine and then for Rue Morgue (www.rue-morgue.com) as their cryptozoology-meets-horror columnist. I’ve always wanted to write a book, so I decided to take some time off from the band to pursue that. I ended up choosing one of my favorite subjects, The Legend of Boggy Creek. Once I started investigating these sort of cryptid cases and writing the books, I really enjoyed it so I continued. I always thought the job of a professional writer sounded boring, but this brought me to interesting places and I met interesting people as part of the writing process – not to mention it involved my fascination with cryptids. My band Ghoultown still plays and records, but we don’t tour like we used to.
One of the best things you bring to the field of cryptozoology is your straightforward, journalistic approach to researching and educating people about creatures like the Boggy Creek Monster and the Lizard Man of Bishopville. You report the stories and the facts as they are without dramatization for the sake of titillating your readers. What made you decide to go in this direction and do you think the field needs more level headed reporting so it can be taken more seriously by the mainstream media and public?
LB: I think these stories are fascinating unto themselves without trying to sway people toward a certain point of view. I just tell the story, report the facts, and let whatever evidence speak for itself. I like to take the reader along as I investigate and give them credit to make up their own mind.
Who are some of your biggest influences and why?
LB: As far as writing and cryptozoology, I would say John Green and Loren Coleman. Green always had a level-headed approach to Sasquatch research and presented the stories in an engaging way. He also paid attention to details and getting the facts correct as best he could. Coleman, of course, paved the way for the modern cryptozoology researcher and has investigated so many of the seminal cases. Many times as I’m doing research, when I trace an investigation back to its original source, Coleman was there first. I’m honored that he wrote the Foreword for my first book, The Beast of Boggy Creek. It’s like having one of your heroes endorse your efforts. So cool.
Out of all the photographic and video evidence for Bigfoot, which to you is the most compelling evidence that it is real? And with just about everyone having a camera/videocam in their pockets, why aren’t we getting more solid evidence? Could it be we are but because it’s so easy to fake now, the real deal might be hiding in plain sight?
LB: To me, the footprints represent the most compelling evidence. Examples such as the Elkins Creek cast from Georgia stand out, especially when I’ve been able to interview the police officer who originally discovered the track.
As far as all the photos and videos, it’s really hard to discern between what might be real and what is a possible case of pareidolia or just outright fake. All the blurry shots don’t do us any good. We need something much clearer in this day and age, and even that is suspect since modern technology allows for such amazing CGI. Most people do carry a smart phone camera these days, but the lack of a clear photo shouldn’t be used as a basis to completely rule out the possibility of these creatures. Chance encounters typically last only a few moments, making it hard to pull out a phone, open the camera app, aim, and take a photo.
I’m sure you’ve heard the Sierra Bigfoot recordings taken back in the 70s. What are your thoughts on it and other similar recordings? Most of them are downright chilling.
LB: They’re definitely creepy and very compelling. In my opinion the Sierra Sounds are legit. And if it’s not a hoax, then that leaves very few possibilities beyond an undiscovered creature such as Bigfoot. I’ve heard recordings from other places which sound very similar; sent to me by credible individuals. They just don’t sound like any known animal.
Do you have any plans to investigate the Skunk Ape in Florida? I have the Fate Magazine with the famous Skunk Ape picture on the cover and keep waiting for someone to hunker down and do some serious research in that corner of the country.
LB: Earlier this year I visited the Ocala National Forest in Florida where there’s been a good amount of Skunk Ape sightings over the years. This was part of the research for my upcoming book, “Beyond Boggy Creek: In Search of the Southern Sasquatch” in which I document the history of Bigfoot sightings all over the Southern U.S. I dedicate an entire chapter of the book to the Skunk Ape, although there’s so much to this cryptid’s history and so many sightings, that I could write an entire book on it. Perhaps in the future.
Follow Lyle Blackburn at http://www.lyleblackburn.com
In the mood for a good cryptid book? Check these out…
Oh yes, the day is finally here. My latest foray into the world of cryptozoology horror – THE DOVER DEMON – takes one of the lesser known but strangest of all cryptids on a wild adventure that has thoroughly creeped out advance readers and reviewers. Having faced Bigfoot in SWAMP MONSTER MASSACRE and delved into the mystery of THE MONTAUK MONSTER, I wanted to tackle a cryptid that hasn’t had as much public recognition. A trip to the International Cryptozoology Museum 2 years ago sparked the idea for THE DOVER DEMON.
While I was there, I was lucky enough to meet famed cryptozoologist, Loren Coleman. We got to talking about creatures he’s personally investigated. Turns out, he was the man on the scene in Dover, MA in the late 70s when the uber strange biped was spotted by several people over the course of two nights in April. He also gave it its name, the Dover Demon. As a lover of monsters and aliens, I couldn’t resist. I mean, look at that mug!
Believe it or not, to this day, people still aren’t sure what they saw. Yes, today most people would see the image and think it’s an alien from a visiting UFO. But here’s where it gets interesting. The witness who drew the first image did it before the ‘gray alien’ became an internationally recognized icon! This was before the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind and years prior to Whitley Strieber’s Communion.
I was so fortunate to have an early release event at the I.C.M. in August. I got to spend some quality time with Loren Coleman and meet people just like myself who are fascinated by the wondrous creatures that have been spotted around the world. Cryptid fans from out of state made the drive to get some Dover Demon love!
At the time it was spotted, it was treated as a terrestrial creature, though the high strangeness of the event brought MUFON to the town as well. No one could figure out what came to visit Dover, and the story hasn’t been recanted by the witnesses even 30+ years later. So, the mystery continues.
My novel takes on several questions:
- What if other people saw the creature that night but never reported it because their run in with the creature was as terrifying as it was strange?
- What if the Dover Demon makes a return in 2015? What would it, or they, want?
- What if it isn’t anything that people have theorized it to be?
Here’s the official blurb for the book –
In 1977, Sam Brogna and his friends came upon a terrifying, alien creature on a deserted country road. What they witnessed was so bizarre, so chilling, they swore their silence. But their lives were changed forever.
Decades later, the town of Dover has been hit by a massive blizzard. Sam’s son, Nicky, is drawn to search for the infamous cryptid, only to disappear into the bowels of a secret underground lair. The Dover Demon is far deadlier than anyone could have believed. And there are many of them. Can Sam and his reunited friends rescue Nicky and battle a race of creatures so powerful, so sinister, that history itself has been shaped by their secretive presence?
I lovingly wrote this for all the monster/cryptid/horror lovers out there. So take my hand and let’s walk the moonlit paths of Dover. You never know what you’re going to find.
You can get THE DOVER DEMON in trade paperback and ebook. Click here to access my bookstore page!
And if you’re in the Portland, Maine area, check out the International Cryptozoology Museum, or visit the website and support Loren’s little gem, the only museum dedicated to cryptids in the world.
It’s the heart of winter here in the north east, judging by the snow and preponderance of heavy jackets and wool hats. One of my favorite places in the world is the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine. Let me tell you about Maine in winter. It’s cold. I mean spit freezing before it hits the floor kind of cold. Portland is right by the Atlantic Ocean. Brrrrr.
Needless to say, Portland is not a big tourist destination in January and February. Sure, plenty of interior parts of Maine get a ton of visitors because of all the skiing. In Portland, there are no slopes. Just cool joints to eat and frozen water.
The Cryptozoology Museum is owned and operated by Loren Coleman, the man I call the godfather of modern cryptozoology. I wrote an article about meeting him at the museum in the summer of 2013 that you can read by clicking here. If you’re a fan of Bigfoot, The Jersey Devil, Mothman, sea serpents, The Dover Demon and a host of other strange and unusual beasties, this place was designed just for you.
Winter months are lean months in Portland, which is why Loren needs your support. Please visit their website and either make a donation, in any amount, or purchase something from their gift shop. Every dollar goes to keep the museum running. There is no other place like it on earth. I went and bought a Bigfoot action figure and signed copy of Fate Magazine today. This way, Loren and I are both happy.
Squatch above soon to be on the Monster Men set!
I’ve now seen the coolest review of THE MONTAUK MONSTER. I want to give a big shout out – and thank you – to Erik Smith and his Low Budget Review Show (love the name!). I have to say, I think he said nicer things about the book and me than my own mother. If you haven’t picked up the book yet, I think Erik can give you the final push to grab one at your local bookstore or online.
After taking a summer break from writing, I’m gearing up to start my next book. I wanted to go back into the world of monsters and cryptids, so I figured who better to ask for a creature to unleash on my readers than world famous cryptozoologist, Loren Coleman. I have to say, he gave me a great one to tackle. I’m going way beyond Bigfoot and Montauk Monsters this time around. Get ready to meet a monster you may not have heard of before, but will never forget when all is said and done.
Pinnacle is planning to release my next summer paperback in July, 2015. It’s called TORTURES OF THE DAMNED. Set in a New York suburb right at the moment when the world as we know it ends for good, TORTURES follows an ordinary family thrust into extraordinary circumstances. It’s 100% zombie free and not your typical post-apocalyptic nightmare. If it gives you heart palpitations, I’ve done my job.
OK, that’s all the news fit to print for now. I’m going back to my first movie marathon of the summer. So far, I re-watched Dark Skies (I’m a sucker for alien flicks and this is a favorite), Alien Abduction (pretty damn good), The Quiet Ones (better than I thought it would be but nothing to crow about), Thor 2 (dig it), and finally watching Arrow (promising after 5 episodes). The Green Arrow/Green Lantern comics in the 70s and 80s were always a favorite team-up of mine. And even though I’m a Marvel guy, I’m oddly psyched for The Flash this fall.
Oh, and I have officially given up on The Strain. Damn, I really wanted to like it.
What’s cookin’ monster dudes and monsterettes? Hope you’re enjoying your summer as much as I am and catching up on some quality reading time. August is the month I rest up so I’m ready for my favorite month, #Horrortober! Already putting together my list of horror flicks to watch and books to read.
When I’m not lounging around searching for my lost shaker or salt, I’ve been visiting bookstores, libraries and horror cons, talking about The Montauk Monster. And not just the book, but the real story behind the myth and how I tied fact and fiction together and injected it with a human growth hormone/speed cocktail.
Fellow Monster Man Jack and I recorded one of our get togethers where we talked all about the Long Island beasts and how the book deal came about. For those of you who can’t get to one of my talks, I present it here for your viewing pleasure (or displeasure).
What monster do you think is under-appreciated and needs its own book? You may be the person to inspire my next monster novel! If you live in the US and give a suggestion in the comments here, you’re eligible to win a signed copy of The Montauk Monster. Let your monster freak flags fly!
Anyone who has ever hung around my blog and chain knows I’m a cryptid fanatic. Just check out Swamp Monster Massacre if you don’t believe me. Or my upcoming book, The Montauk Monster. Or the one after that, Hell Hole. I recently had my fortune read by a traveling gypsy, and for the price of one silver coin, a lock of my hair and two drops of blood, she said I was once the leader of a clan of Bigfoots and that one day I would return to the wild. That explains everything.
I was an enormous fan of Lyle Blackburn’s debut book, The Beast of Boggy Creek. Here was a man I could tell loved Sasquatch as much as me. His book was one of the best researched and well written in the vast cryptid library (no offense to Loren Coleman, who is the king of the field).
When I heard Blackburn’s follow up book would be about the Lizard Man of Bishopville, South Carolina, I chomped at the bit to get my hands on it. I snatched up a copy when it came out in October, but with writing deadlines, I had to wait until now to read it – or to put it more accurately, plow through it.
I have a confession to make. With all my fascination with monsters and beasties, and having half my family live in South Carolina, I’d actually never heard of the Lizard Man. I intentionally avoided looking anything up before reading the book. I trusted Lyle to give me all I’d need, and I was right.
Back in 1988, when hair metal was in full swing and I was playing cards in the cafeteria more than going to classes in college, there was a series of encounters with a large creature that walked on two legs, attacked cars and people and generally scared the bejeesus out of an entire town. That town was Bishopville, SC, which, like the ol’ beast of Boggy Creek, was home to the Scape Ore Swamp, prime living quarters for the strange beast.
Descriptions of the cryptid varied, and in truth, after reading the book, it didn’t seem to be at all like an actual Lizard Man. I get the feeling that what folks were seeing was more in line with a Bigfoot, and I feel Blackburn leans in the same direction. No matter what it was, the town was gripped with Lizard Man fever for a long, hot summer.
Blackburn went down to Bishopville and interviewed the man who had been sheriff at the time, as well as some of the people who had come in contact with the unknown. The man does his homework. He even explored stories of reptiles and lizard men in other areas, pop culture and movies. In fact, he mentioned a few I haven’t seen and will seek out when I go to Horrorhound in Cincinnati next week.
I totally dug Lizard Man and it’s now sitting proudly on my special shelf of prized cryptid and ghost books. I don’t want to spill the beans on the whole book, so I highly suggest you pick up a copy. I did get the feeling that with the flap being so brief and reports not jiving with one another, Blackburn had to pad the book a little to give it some weight. No matter. The padding was just as good as the underpinnings of the story itself.
Let me finish with a personal request for Lyle. Come on up to New York and knock on my door. There’s a place in Orange County I can take you to that will give you enough fodder for three books. I’ll do the driving and buy the first round. Hell, I’ll even break out my cowboy hat.
Hey, fans of Bigfoot, Mothman, the Jersey Devil, The Dover Demon, Sea Serpents, Chupacabra and all creatures strange and undiscovered, did you know that there’s an International Cryptozoology Museum? I didn’t, and I have been vacationing right outside its doors for years! Located in Portland, Maine, it’s owned and run by world famous cryptozoologist, Loren Coleman. He’s the man who actually coined the terms for many now famous cryptids such as the Montauk Monster and The Dover Demon. You’ve seen him on TV and documentaries like Ancient Aliens, MonsterQuest and Weird Travels. The best part is, when you go to the museum, Loren is there to greet you and talk monsters.
As soon as I found out about it, I had to drag my kids to see it for myself. Located on a small side street off the main drag in downtown Portland, we were greeted by a flag depicting a Coelacanth, a large fish thought to have been extinct for millions of years until one was pulled from the depths in the 1930’s. Loren informed me that the prehistoric fish was the inspiration for my favorite Universal Monster, The Creature from the Black Lagoon.
The museum consists of two rooms jam packed with actual artifacts from cryptid investigations as well as recreations. I was immediately drawn to some of the Bigfoot plaster casts and the news stories accompanying them.
Loren actually owns the largest Bigfoot in the world and he’s happy to take pictures with everyone standing in front of old Squatchy. Being next to a legend in the field by a giant Bigfoot was the highlight of my trip.
Once we got through the huge Bigfoot displays, there was a host of other mysteries and wonders to explore. Turning a corner into the other room, I came face to face with the legendary Fiji Mermaid, a bizarre, mummified creature that P.T. Barnum used to proclaim was an actual mermaid. It kind of looks like a shriveled up Yoda with boobs. I wonder of Lucas got his inspiration from this.
The second room had a little bit of everything, from a small Chupacabra display…
To the Dover Demon, an alien-like creature that appeared in a Massachussets town over a 2 day period in 1977.
Turns out, Loren investigated the strange and creepy Mothman and was even friends with John Keel, the man who reported on the infamous cryptid. He was a consultant for the movie, The Mothman Prophecies and starred in a documentary on it. It’s my belief that what went on in that West Virginia town in the 60s is one of the weirdest events of all time. You can check out our Monster Men podcast on the subject here.
Loren told me that he was the man who gave the Montauk Monster its name. He also said it was just a decomposed raccoon. Bummer.
The museum has it all. For a guy like me, I could have stayed there all day, but it was getting late and we had a Duck Boat tour to take and a baseball game to see. So, if you’re ever in the Portland area, I highly suggest you check it out. It must be popular, because it was even mentioned on the Duck Boat tour. There are monsters everywhere….at least I hope.