In the age of the Internet it’s easier to be skeptical than ever. That’s fair, too. It doesn’t necessarily mean that people are less open—although there are always some—it just means that everything in the modern age is incredibly easy to disprove. We all have the methods to debunk just about anything now, all available at our fingertips. Admittedly, it can make an interest in the paranormal a harder thing to hold onto and maintain. But speaking for myself, at least, I don’t read this stuff or watch it to think about the fact that most of it probably isn’t true.
The remote possibility that something out of the ordinary is going on is still enticing. It’s not about the fact that most situations you read about could be easily explained. It’s about the fact that every tenth, fiftieth or probably hundredth encounter that you hear about can’t be easily explained, can’t be written off.
Those are the ones that scare you, or at least make you wonder. If, for even a moment, something makes you think “That might actually have happened,” then that’s enough. You really can’t ask for anything else.
Having said that, it’s still entirely possible that there are reasonable explanations for these events on the list, we just don’t know what they are yet. These cases are open-ended. They have yet to be proven as hoaxes, or as situations with real-world explanations at least. And by the same token, they have yet to be completely disproven as genuine supernatural or otherworldly encounters.
The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel
One of the most infamous modern cases of exorcism, Anneliese Michel was a German woman who underwent a Catholic exorcism in 1975 and died in 1976. The death was ruled as negligent homicide.
It’s more than likely that this was a case of severe psychosis, but the difference between that and other cases of exorcism is that she was treated both medically and psychiatrically. Nothing seemed to work.
In her case, exorcism was a last resort. Whether a true instance of possession or a woman losing the battle of her own mental health, the audio clip of “possessed” Anneliese is incredibly disturbing. Her story was loosely retold in The Exorcism of Emily Rose.
The Abduction of Travis Walton
You’ve probably seen the film about this case, Fire in the Sky—and if you haven’t, you should. In 1975, Travis Walton and his friends were driving home from work when they saw a bright light over the trees. Following it, they found a disc hovering above the road.
Walton got out of the truck and ran toward it, with the light from the object beaming down onto him, and disappeared. He was found five days later, believing he had only been missing for a few hours.
What makes this case stand out from most abduction cases is the fact that each person subjected to a polygraph passed and the fact that even though there were a large number of people involved compared to the usual instance of a single person claiming abduction, all of their stories matched up.
The Entity and Doris Bither
The Doris Bither case is one of the most disturbing cases of a haunting ever recorded. It inspired the 1978 book The Entity as well as its 1983 film adaptation.
While Bither had a history of substance abuse and the house was in horrible condition, the experiences reported by her and her two sons were shocking to say the least, as Bither explained that she had been raped by the spirits within the house.
The Flatwoods Monster
Also known as the Braxton County Monster, this is a strange, Lovecraftian incident of a creature that was seen on September 12, 1952. Eyewitness accounts detailed it being at least seven feet tall with a black body and glowing red eyes, with some claiming to have seen long, spindly, clawed arms hang off its inhumanly shaped torso.
On September 12, people reported seeing a bright light in the sky, then a glowing red light through the trees, and finally, this creature. While some speculate the monster to be no more than a barn owl, other people who have seen the monster since insist that it is something else entirely.
The Mothman and Indrid Cold
The true connection, if any, between The Mothman and Indrid Cold is unclear. All that’s known is that a man named Woodrow Derenberger was driving home one night when he encountered a bald, grinning man in the road, wearing a dark suit, calling himself Indrid Cold. Cold had been previously seen by two local boys, about two weeks before Derenberger’s encounter.
Derenberger claimed that Cold conversed with him telepathically, inquiring about the nearby town and its people. When satisfied, he said “It’s been nice talking to you, Mr. Derenberger. We will be seeing you again,” and disappeared into the night. Only ten days later, the infamous Mothman reports in the same region began. The feature film The Mothman Prophecies chronicled the story of both and suggested a connection between the two.
The Westall UFO Encounter
On April 6th, 1966 in Melbourne, Australia, an unidentified flying object was seen descending into an open field. The thing that has always made this encounter stand out, however, is the fact that over two hundred people witnessed the event.
Witnesses also claimed to see the object ascend into the sky once more. The only explanation that was given, which was not said with any certainty, was that it could have been an experimental military aircraft. Either way, alien craft or military experiment, neither one was ever proven. The incident remains a mystery to this day.