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10 Military Encounters with Monsters That Make you Wonder “What the Hell?”

Battlefields and warzones are chaotic places, and many soldiers often recount tales of their experiences. A good war story is compelling, often fraught with excitement and danger, but sometimes, they can take a turn for the bizarre. 

The Pentagon recently admitted that military personnel have been encountering unidentified aircraft for a while now, and we have records of these encounters dating back decades. However, UFOs are not the only things soldiers report seeing out in the field. While many of these stories are beyond strange and impossible to verify, they make up a specific military folkloric history. Here is a top 10 list of the oddest military encounters with cryptids and monsters, ranging from the simply weird to the genuinely “what-the-hell?”


Military Monster Stories
(Image Source: US Department of Defense)

#10 The Camp Pendleton Sasquatch Sighting

Sometime in the fall of 1968, four Marines from Camp Pendleton observed a Sasquatch-like creature during nighttime training. The reporting witness, who remained anonymous, submitted his report to BFRO in 2001. The source stated that while waiting in a dug-out hill sometime after midnight, he and his companions heard ‘something’ coming up the side of the mountain. One of the Marines yelled for whoever it was to halt, then saw what had been responsible for the disturbance.

The witness described the monster as “huge,” about six to seven feet tall and three-and-a-half feet wide, with a pointed head and long, hanging arms. Terrified, the four witnesses waited silently as the beast walked out of sight. Maybe a bear? Maybe not?

Although the witness didn’t report any other stories in the area, his father, who had worked for the Green Lake county sheriff’s department in Wisconsin in the ’70s, remembered reports of Bigfoot from local deer hunters. 

#9 Rock Apes vs. Nguoi Rung

Gary Linderer was one of a six-man patrol from the 101st Airborne Division’s Long-Range Reconnaissance Patrols serving in Vietnam when he and the rest of his team observed a strange humanoid creature emerge from the underbrush. Standing about five feet tall with broad shoulders, a prominent brow, and a hair-covered face, there was some argument about the animal’s identity.

One among them asked if it was a Rock Ape, another strange creature commonly observed throughout the Vietnam War, to which another team member replied, “I’ve seen Rock Apes, and that sure as hell isn’t a Rock Ape!”

Linderer said that it appeared to be an orangutan, an animal last native to Vietnam in the Pleistocene Era. However, locals maintain the existence of a species called Nguoi Rung – or ‘forest people.’ Nguoi Rung reports from armed forces on both sides of the conflict proved so prevalent that the North Vietnamese party ordered a scientific study of the region while the war was still ongoing.



#8 The RAF Alconbury Werewolf

Royal Air Force Alconbury, located in Cambridgeshire, England, has had more than its fair share of strange occurrences. However, in the early ’70s, it seemed to have had quite the werewolf problem.

Although authors John Hanson and Dawn Holloway turned up four separate encounters with strange hairy humanoids from this timeframe, one of the most iconic accounts came to author and researcher Nick Redfern’s attention via a comment on his blog.

A man who went by the name of ‘Wes’ claimed that, when he was stationed at RAF Alconbury in 1970, he alleged that he had a run-in with the ‘werewolf’ while in a secure weapons storage area. Although frightened of the beast, which he described as a bipedal, five-feet-tall, hairy creature with a flat snout and large eyes, he “never once considered” using the firearm he was holding. He stated that he felt no aggression from the animal, which took off towards a deeply wooded area next to the base. Following the encounter, Wes claimed a sort of obsession with contacting the creature again, an obsession which proved fruitful. Some weeks later, he stated that he caught a glimpse of the creature moving through the woods. 

#7 A Nessie Sighting from WWII

In 1943, Mr. C. B. Farrell of the Royal Observer Corps was not looking for strange creatures – instead, he was keeping an eye out for German bombers. Where was he stationed? None other than Loch Ness.

According to the tale, one morning, Farrell was scanning the skies when he noticed a large animal in the loch. His binoculars afforded an excellent view of the creature, which he described as having a four-foot-long finned neck. Farrell believed that the creature was having its breakfast at the time, as he observed it ducking its head into the water, raising it out of the water, and shaking it before repeating the process over again. 

#6 Anubis in Illinois

A former member of the U. S. Navy wished to be referred to only as ‘Emma’ wrote to author Linda Godfrey about a bizarre experience she had while stationed in Illinois at Naval Hospital Great Lakes. According to the report, in September of 1994, she and two others, her future husband, Jon, and a mutual friend, Jim, had been assigned shore patrol. All three were traipsing around the base, radioing back and forth, when sometime around 3:00 AM, Jon didn’t respond to Emma.

She walked to his last stated location and found the young man standing and staring at the woods, mouth agape. Following his gaze, Emma saw a tall figure with an ‘odd head.’ Later, upon seeing a cartoon representation of the Egyptian god Anubis, the jackal-headed god of mummification and the afterlife, Emma claims this is what the creature resembled. It had large, green-yellow eyes and long arms. Upon the approach of their third companion, the creature puffed up ‘like a cat’ and bounded off into the night. If Neil Gaiman taught us anything, maybe Old Gods never truly die.

#5 The Flying Woman of Da Nang

Earl Morrison served as a private in the First Marine Division in Vietnam when he and two others had a brush with the unexplained in the summer of 1969 near Da Nang. According to Morrison, all three men were sitting on top of a bunker when they noticed a glowing figure approaching – only, not on foot. Rather, this figure, described by Morrison as appearing like a naked woman, had two giant bat’s wings which flapped almost soundlessly as she moved closer and closer.

The being was described as pure black with a greenish, radiant glow. She came close enough that the witnesses could make out fine details, such as how her limber arms had the delicate skin of a bat’s wing going over them. The three stunned men just sat, frozen, as she flew closer and closer, finally moving right over the top of them and disappearing into the night.



#4 The Edwin Godoy Bigfoot Encounter

Edwin Godoy served at Fort Lewis in Washington State in 1978 when he had a truly bizarre encounter with a Sasquatch-like creature. The story begins when he and his platoon returned from a military exercise in the forest around 8:00 PM when their truck suddenly lost power. Unable to start it up, the acting commander ordered Godoy, the one who had signed for the vehicle, to remain behind while he and the other soldiers walked back to base.

Shortly after midnight, Godoy noticed a huge, hair-covered figure with red eyes swaying back and forth about 300 meters away. The creature began running towards the frightened witness, who shouted at it to ‘halt’ three times. He fired first a warning shot into the air and then shot at the creature, which moaned and grabbed its chest before running into the forest. As for Godoy, he locked himself inside the truck and remained there until two mechanics arrived on the scene at 6:00 AM.

However, the events following this strange monster encounter sound like something straight out of an X-Files episode. According to Godoy, giant, human-like footprints were left in the area, as well as odd pools of oily blood. Soon after, the area was allegedly invaded by lab-coated scientists, and Godoy was put through a medical examination. According to the initial reporting of this story, Godoy claimed to have many repeated encounters with the paranormal. Is this a case of the “boy who cried Bigfoot?”

#3 The Camp Okubo Man-Bird

U. S. Air Force Private Sinclair Taylor was stationed at Camp Okubo near Kyoto, Japan, in 1952. While on guard duty one evening, he heard something which sounded like the flapping of wings – and according to the witness, that’s precisely what it was.

Hovering overhead was a gigantic bird that Taylor believed was preparing to attack him.

The beast flapped closer, and Taylor noticed, to his alarm, that this wasn’t simply a large bird – instead, it had the body of a man. He described it as being about seven feet tall with a wingspan nearly equal to that. As it slowly descended towards him, Taylor fired at the bizarre birdman and continued to fire even after it hit the ground. However, when he checked to see if he had indeed taken down the creature, it had mysteriously disappeared.

According to Taylor, when he told his superior officer of the incident, his SO supposedly said that this wasn’t the first time something like that had been reported. Another guard had claimed a nearly identical sighting the previous year. 

#2 The McGuire Air Force Base Prowler

Before women were allowed to serve in the military fully, female Air Force auxiliary personnel, known as WAFs, were enlisted to help in various support roles. According to this story, a female Air Force WAF member had just returned to her apartment near the McGuire Air Force Base in the spring of 1966.

Her attention was drawn by a sound coming from her bedroom. Upon investigation, she discovered a pair of very pale hands with very long fingers resting on the jamb of her mysteriously open window. When she screamed, the hands retreated, and she immediately alerted the Air Police to the bizarre prowler.

Though they failed to bring him in, they did give chase to a tall man “with his sweater pulled up over his head.”

Though this case is quite short and lacking in further detail, there is something about the witness which is of interest. She claims that several years before this incident, while she was staying in New Mexico, she awakened in the middle of the night to a monk-like figure standing over her bed, with one arm extended over her. She reached out to touch the figure, and it crumbled into powdery ash. We said early on that some of these will make you say, “what the hell?”

#1 The Cyprus Monstrosity

In September of 1968, a man stationed in the British barracks on the island of Cyprus had an encounter that is best classified as ‘unclassifiable.’ At around 3:00 in the morning, the growling of his large Turkish wolfhound awakened the sleeping officer, pseudonymously referred to as ‘Ken’ in Jenny Randles’ book, Mind Monsters: Invaders from Inner Space. As the typically fearless animal proceeded to crawl under the bed, Ken noticed a faint, high-pitched noise. Trying to figure out the source of the noise, he opened his door, unprepared for what he would confront in the hall.

A ‘thing,’ described by the witness as possessing a flat, orange face with large red eyes, was covered in rough red hair and appeared to be wearing a light blue jumpsuit. Alarmingly, it was ‘floating’ up the nearby stairwell while its head rotated unnaturally to face Ken, the chin coming all the way over its shoulder. The high-pitched noise seemed to accompany this bizarre apparition, growing in intensity all the while.

Ken retreated into his room, bolted the door, and armed himself, of all things, with his spear gun used for underwater fishing as well as his handy-dandy diver’s knife. Strange sliding noises moved up to, then past his door, then returned, then finally faded away, taking the high-pitched noise with them. Ken collapsed into bed and woke up for early morning role call with both weapons still by his side. No one else had observed anything odd that night, but as for the guard dog, it became utterly submissive from that point onward.

(Image Source: US National Archives)

Of course, these monster encounters cannot be verified. They are stories, after all, but they paint an interesting picture. While these tales may range far from the realm of science and maybe even fact, they paint the picture that folklore and mythology have an impact on our reality.

It seems that soldiers and military personnel have been reporting some wild things over the years; sometimes they are in the air, and sometimes, they seem to be the things that go ‘bump in the night.’

Zelia Edgar is a Wisconsin-based folklorist, researcher, and YouTuber.

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