Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Coffin Hop: Linda Godfrey Talks About A Different Kind of Monster

Welcome to Day 6 of Coffin Hop 2014!

** Be sure to stop by the main Coffin Hop site and visit a bunch of authors, artists, etc. Coffin Hopping through Halloween. There'll be prizes, giveaways, ghoulish fun and more!  (See all the Coffin Hop books at the bookstore. Don't forget the giveaways we have on most of our posts here. See page tab at top or side logo for day one.)

Today Linda S. Godfrey, author of American Monsters: A History of Monster Lore, Legends, and Sightings in America, talks about a different kind of monster sure to haunt your dreams...

My Favorite Monster; Not What You’d Think!

As an author specializing in unknown creatures, choosing my favorite monster is not an easy task. There are so many weird things leaping through our forests, skimming over our lakes and whooshing through the skies, each possessing its own dread charms.

  While it’s true that I’ve studied and written more about the werewolf-like, upright canine creatures (often called dogmen or wolfmen) than any other cryptids, I don’t find them especially endearing. Described by witnesses as aggressive, snarling, and stinking like the worst outdoor dog that ever lived, the wolfmen can be repugnant. I’d say what I feel for them is more akin to fascination than adoration--after 22 years of researching dogman reports, perhaps familiarity has finally bred a little contempt.

That may be why I presently find myself gaga over giant birds--especially huge, stork-like avians with twenty-foot wingspans, like the one spotted by John Bolduan in a meadow near Hayward, Wisconsin in 2005. I hadn’t written much about them before American Monsters, and am continually amazed at how often they’ve been sighted, given how unlikely it seems that they could exist.

Art: Eyewitness sketch of giant bird by John Bolduan

The giant storks have other appealing characteristics, too. Their enormous, silver-white wings make me think of angels, and no one has ever reported that a huge bird smelled like month-old urine or scowled at them. True, there was that 1977 incident in Lawndale, Illinois when a creature similar to Bolduan’s grabbed a ten-year old boy and unsuccessfully tried to fly off with him, but terrorizing the populace is what monsters do, and the boy was just fine. Almost as scary is the thought of what their droppings could do to a car.

I’ve even had dreams about beautiful bird people, so maybe they’re my soul-monsters. (A term I just made up.) As if to affirm this thought, I’ve received more reports about massive birds than any other creature since American Monsters came out. Most of the witnesses have seemed more entranced than horrified, mentioning the birds’ majestic mien or the beauty of their flight. There’s a reason that Big Bird is one of the most lovable of Sesame Street’s Muppets.

So at the risk of offending all those roadkill-chomping, yellow-eyed Fidos-gone-wild, I’m going to go with giant storks this time. And if any upright canines dare to telepathically accuse me of having a fickle heart, well, there’s only one thing to say to a huffy dogman…

Bite me!

 --Linda S. Godfrey is the author of American Monsters: A History of Monster Lore, Legends, and Sightings in America, (see blog ) and of the fantasy novel, God Johnson: The Unforgiven Diary of the Disciple of a Lesser God . Read more about the book here.

** CONTEST:  Comment to win a copy of Haunted Wisconsin or Monsters of Wisconsin (US shipping only) and tell us your strangest "monster" sighting or experience. 


  1. well my strangest was many years ago when my wife and I were house sitting for my Mom and Step Dad, when something that my Father messed with many years before THAT decided to check in on it's "investment", (a situation that has hopefully been resolved!) to do so it "borrowed my parents Cat, which did not like my Wife so that may have made it easier. at one point I looked down at him and the cat looked back with human eyes. shortly after that it CHUCKLED in front of a friend of mine who was standing next to me at the time before darting behind the wood stove. my friend looked at me and asked "did the cat just...?" not wanting to get him dragged in I replied with "what no...lets go up in the kitchen and get a snack. all I really know is that it backed off after a private conversation with my wife.
    Randolph Carsten

  2. I love it!!! A giant Stork. So... do they still bring the babies, or do they have an in-flight snack? ;)

  3. Giant storks?! Bizarre. Also, small world--my dad, Charles Stansfield, has written a bunch of the Haunted Series books for Stackpole.

  4. haven't seen any

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  5. Unfortunately/fortunately I haven't seen any monster myself. Although I was stalked by a cougar once. And, yes it was the one with fur, not the one with too much time and money on her hands :-)