Sunday, November 20, 2011

Return of the 'Monk'

Some months ago, I posted about the wild animal which terrorized the Latrobe area in the late summer and autumn of 1945. Although it was usually said to be a monkey, it's tempting to think of it as possibly a juvenile Bigfoot, since, after all, this is on the Chestnut Ridge. It seems to have first appeared in the Crabtree area and the predominant theory was that the animal was an escapee from a circus, according to the Pittsburgh article cited below.

A young boy from Lloydsville, Jerry Nolan, ran into his home in late August, having been chased by a monkey from a field. The boy's mother looked out a window to see the animal swiping at their furiously barking dog. After it struck at the dog, it turned tail and jumped over a four-foot fence. Latrobe police, gamesman Robert Reed, and veteran hunter John Horne went to Lloydsville to search for the ape, but to no avail ("Monkey, If There Is One, Still Eludes Folks of Latrobe Region", Connellsville Daily Courier, August 27, 1945).

On September 13, James Poole of Greensburg was bitten on the neck and hands by a monkey which dropped from a tree onto his shoulders. He was treated at Westmoreland Hospital by Dr. C.C. Crouse ("Greensburg Man Bitten By Monkey", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sept. 13, 1945).

This and the previous post constitute the extent of my knowledge on this case - at this time, anyway.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Red Devil-Bat of Chester

From the New Castle News (August 24, 1928):
A strange creature termed a "devil" caused a sensation in the rooming house of Mrs. Mary Strichter here early on Thursday [August 23].

Awakened by the "devil" flying into the room where she was asleep, Mrs. Andrew Turk, a daughter, screamed, arousing her husband who found the strange creature hiding behind a curtain. Seizing a chair he knocked it down and aided by several roomers bundled the creature into a rug and hurled it through a window, according to her story.

Mrs. Turk described the "devil" as being about three feet broad with a bright scarlet body and two protruding horns. It made a continuous buzzing sound, she said.

Neighbors when they learned of the incident nodded their heads knowingly and re-asserted that the house was "haunted". The occupant of the home prior to the advent of the Strichter family was a lone old lady who kept a number of rooms locked and barred. Rumors were current following the episode that one of these rooms had been unlocked.
Maybe someone saw a bat and majorly freaked out?

This may have occurred at 719 Mill Street, according to the obituary of Mrs. Stichter (minus the R), which I found in the Chester Times for July 6, 1937. That is the address where it says she lived with her husband, Horace, and it also lists a daughter, but gives her name as Mrs. Anthony Turek, not Andrew Turk. This all sounds close enough for me.

This location, it seems, isn't very far from where a Chester man was pursued by the Jersey Devil -- "with wings like a bat and a long tail the end of which looked like the point of an arrow" -- which rose from the fog and gave chase along Engle Street, disappearing near the elevated railroad tracks, on the night of January 21, 1909.