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Sunday, December 26, 2021

Decemystery (2021) 26: Peggy and the Giant Talking Cockroach


Cockroaches are… not exactly the most appealing insects out there. I’ve only ever seen one in my life and it was outside of a hospital in New York City. It took a moment for me to register what it was since it was out of the corner of my eye, but when I saw it fully, I remember shuddering and thinking it was the ugliest thing I’d ever seen. Thankfully, it was dead (I’m guessing the staff had sprayed it with RAID or it froze to death since I believe this was in autumn/winter).

Of course, that’s just my own little experience with them. I hope I never see one again—and if I’m unfortunate enough to see one, I hope it’s dead. Though I mean, that’s just me; I’m terrified of insects (let alone any creepy-crawly). You, on the other hand, may really like them.

One thing I think we can agree on though is that giant insects aren’t exactly the most pleasant thing to think about. Besides being something straight out of an old-timey B-movie, they’d also likely see us as food. It’s because of that that I’m sorry to say that today’s story, which I call Peggy and the Giant Talking Cockroach, deals with precisely that. This is gonna make my skin crawl.

The Story

Today’s story takes us once again takes us back to the Paranormal-World Wiki. It originates from a book entitled “Chasing American Monsters: Over 250 Creatures, Cryptids & Hairy Beasts”, which was written by a man named Jason Offutt. The book was endorsed by Loren Coleman and while I was tempted to buy it, I opted against it since I didn’t want to shell out money since I was strapped for time writing this. So instead, I resorted to my own detective skills—which we’ll talk about more later.

Now onto the actual story. In the late 1990s (the year, month, and day are never specified), a woman by the name of Peggy was driving from Las Vegas, Nevada to Los Angeles, California. That is a near 4-and-a-half-hour-long trip for the record, and I have no idea when exactly Peggy decided to take this trip, though I’m going to hazard a guess and say it was near night time since she opted to stop at a motel in California City (which is roughly 3 hours and 10 minutes from Vegas).

After paying for a room, Peggy went to her room and settled down. According to Paranormal-World, the motel itself was apparently quite nice and not some shady looking place you’d find in a film like 2007’s Vacancy. So that’s good; we don’t have to worry about her being killed by crazy people.

Anyways: sometime later, while Peggy was doing whatever she was doing (Paranormal-World says she was watching VH1, but I’d like to think she was reading a Stephen King book because reasons), there was a knock at the door. Peggy walked over to the door and opened it as far as possible without unhooking the chain that served as a lock, though she was unable to see anyone or anything (likely because of the darkness and the fact the door didn’t open very far—though this is just me guessing).

In spite of not being able to see anyone, Peggy could clearly hear a man asking for bed linen. Yes, bed linen; the thing you put over your bed. I’m guessing that our mystery man’s bed had been ransacked by the nefarious Motel Bed Thief of California City, so he needed someone else’s bed linen.

Unwilling to give something to someone she couldn’t see, Peggy kept looking around to see if she could spot who exactly was requesting her bed linen. After a little bit, she realized that there wasn’t anyone out there. Well, let me rephrase that: there wasn’t anyone human out there.

No, instead, Peggy realized that what had been asking for her bed linen was, in fact, a giant cockroach that stood 6.5 feet (1.9 meters) tall. Not exactly sure how anyone didn’t see this thing walking around the hallways given it’s tall enough to play in the NBA, but I’ll just assume that it’s a local. It is California after all.

Also, before I continue, I want to make one thing clear—since I’m too impatient to wait for the theories section. Out of morbid curiosity, I was curious if cockroaches eat bed linen—or linen in general. While I can’t specifically find if they do eat that, they do eat bed bugs and are known to eat clothes. So I want to imagine this thing was really hungry and had eaten all the other beds in the motel and was still starving, and this was the only room it hadn’t been in.

Getting back on track: Peggy said that the critter outside her door was standing upright—or at least it appeared to be. This gives me the mental image of a little gag from Family Guy of the “bad roaches” in a motel that Brian and Stewie stay at (you can view it below). Besides standing upright, the creature was also “'frenetically'” cleaning its legs—which further makes me think it went to other rooms before arriving at Peggy’s. Gotta get that sweet, sweet bed linen.

It didn’t take long for the Papa Roach to realize that it’d been spotted; it was none too pleased about this and spit a “brown substance” at Peggy. Out of morbid curiosity, I checked to see if cockroaches are capable of spitting acid or really anything at their prey. As far as I’m aware, they don’t, though do feel free to correct me if I’m wrong; I only brought this up because I was really curious if this was a thing.

Getting back on track once more: being spit at by a giant cockroach wasn’t something that Peggy was too ecstatic about. She screamed, which must have caught the insect off guard as it supposedly uttered one single word.


Gee, I can’t imagine why she’d react that way Mr. Roach. If I was standing in front of an insect that was an inch shorter than Michael Jordan—let alone one that had just spit something at me—I too would scream.

Not desiring to answer the critter’s question, Peggy opened the door and bolted past it. According to Paranormal-World, there was a “slumped body” of one of the motel’s employees—which I’m guessing means this roach had actually killed someone (or at the very least incapacitated them). More on this later though.

Once our less-than friendly neighborhood gigantic cockroach had realized what had happened, it made its way towards Peggy. I don’t know if it crawled towards her like a regular insect or if it ran, but I like to imagine it running upright since I get this image of a Scooby-Doo character in my head. Nobody had better take this away from me or I’ll be very sad.

Boy, I am getting off topic a lot. Well, anywhoozle: the creature proved to be faster than Peggy could’ve ever anticipated. It quickly caught up to her and got a hold of her clothing, wrapping its “double-barbed hands” around her wrists. However, Peggy had one ace up her sleeve—and it was an ace that would make any insectoid tremble with fear.

You see, just as she was about to be gobbled up by the big old roach, Peggy performed a leg sweep, causing the creature to fall down. After this, she kicked it in the face and then ran off yet again. According to Paranormal-World, Peggy did this on account of remembering an action movie she had seen, but I’m inclined to believe this was a little tongue-in-cheek gag by the writer. Though if this is something she actually told Jason Offutt, I must admit that it threw me for a loop. Guess that’ll teach me to not bother buying a book.

Well, anyways, falling to the ground and being kicked in the face didn’t really do much to our cockroach friend (or foe rather). It got back and continued pursuit, nearly catching up to Peggy. However, she was faster; she opened the hallway door and proceeded to slam it shut. In doing so, she also severed one of the creature’s antennae, causing it to emit an extremely loud shriek. This’ll be relevant for later, so keep it in mind.

Anywhoozle: that horrific screech didn’t deter Peggy. Nay, she never slowed down and kept running until she was outside. Not far away, she could see a young man, who was using a payphone. This man—whose name isn’t mentioned as far as I’m aware—would become the second person to see the giant cockroach. This is because the critter was hot on Peggy’s trail and emerged from the motel not long after she did.

What happened after the cockroach emerged is strangely not something I can find details on. I imagine it was a game of cat and mouse, with Peggy running around doing everything she could to not get caught by the cockroach, though for all I know: the two of them sat down for a cup of tea and talked about politics. I also think it’s worth mentioning that it’s at this point that the Paranormal-World page starts to say use “cockroaches”, which could be a grammatical error on the part of the writer, but it threw me for a loop. I’ll touch upon this later though.

Whatever the case may be, it’s stated that two police cars “almost instantly” arrived there. When they did, the cockroach (or cockroaches) scurried off over a nearby hill. Reportedly, the cops didn’t see the creature[s] and instead took Peggy to the police station to process her report.

Paranormal-World rounds off the story by stating that Peggy reportedly had conversations with some locals who told her they’d seen “things flitting behind trees”. What these “things” are (or were) isn’t explicitly known, but one can easily assume that they’re giant cockroaches just waiting for a satisfying meal.

That’s where the story ultimately ends—kind of. I was really curious to see if there was any more information on this case. To my dismay though, there really isn’t. Naturally, Paranormal-World is the first result I get whenever I look up anything remotely related to “giant talking cockroaches”, though there is one other thing that sprang up. One whole thing.

Over on, there is an interview with Jason Offutt; the hosts go over an array of stories that are all super cool, though if you want to hear about the giant roaches, just go to 31:42 for the story. It has a little more insight, mostly because it’s an interview with the man who directly sat down with Peggy (and because there isn’t some guy adding in his commentary every other sentence).

If you’re not interested in listening to the podcast, I’ll just sum up what went on here. It’s more or less the same story, though Jason states that the creature actually asked “why?” after it was kicked in the face by Peggy. He also states that the cockroach’s antennae brushed against Peggy and she immediately felt dizzy (this is, admittedly, mentioned in Paranormal-World’s article, but I thought it was better off mentioning it here since I thought mentioning it earlier broke the flow of the write-up). Jason also states that there were police cars nearby when the cops were called because of the presence of a giant roach. This would, to some degree, explain why there aren’t any details about what happened in the interval between Peggy escaping the motel and the cops arriving, though I still have to wonder what went down during that period.

One other thing I want to mention here is that Jason never states that there was more than one giant roach. Perhaps within the pages of his book, it’s stated that there was more than one of them (perhaps hiding in other rooms or in the motel’s lobby), but I wanted to make note of this since I believe the Paranormal-World page’s writer made a little error when writing the piece for this story. So, if by some chance they end up seeing this: do tell me if I’m wrong in assuming it’s an error. Also, I love your work.

Though with that, the story’s over. In spite of it being such a fantastical tale, there’s almost nothing out there on this. So I guess it’s time to move onto the theories—or what few I can actually scrape up.


1. Aliens

I won’t lie: I had to guess what theories would be put forward since there isn’t a source that has any. So I more or less went with ones that made the most sense to me, and the first one to come to mind was that the giant roach was actually an alien.

Insectoid aliens are rather common; you needn’t look further than “Mantis Aliens”. There are an absurdly large number of stories about praying mantis extraterrestrials that either created humans, live among us, or something along those lines. As such, I figured it was only natural that this creature—or these creatures—were, in fact, aliens. I mean heck, the X-Files had an episode on alien roaches, and that movie Monsters vs. Aliens had a character named Dr. Cockroach, so who’s to say that fiction isn’t based in reality?

Ehh, I dunno. Sure, the idea of insectoid aliens is rather popular, but I’ve never heard of anything along the lines of a cockroach alien—such as a beetle. I also don’t think the creature in the story really fits the bill of an ET. Sure, it spoke, but it sounded perfectly terrestrial (barring the fact it was a bipedal cockroach). The closest thing to anything alien was that Peggy felt her vision blur when the antennae brushed against her, but you can very easily chalk that up to anxiety and fear.

At the same time though, it wouldn’t be that outlandish to imagine a species of alien roaches; they’re among the most durable creatures on Earth (if not the most durable) and are capable of surviving in extreme climates; they can live in places that are a whopping -188 degrees Fahrenheit (-122 Celsius) and can survive a nuclear war. So if I expected any insect to also be an extraterrestrial race, it would be a cockroach.

2. Mutants

Throughout Paranormal-World’s write-up, the writer refers to the creature as a “mutant”. This is probably the most plausible theory (if you don’t think it was a hoax) given that California’s reputation for breeding strange things is up there with Florida’s. I mean, they did give us Hollywood after all, and that place is filled with strange people.

Man, I just recycled a comment I made earlier in the write-up. I gotta get new material.

Anyways, this theory isn’t exactly novel. Like with Pale Crawlers or any other exceptionally odd story involving a weird creature, the idea would go that it was an escaped government experiment. Given the durability of cockroaches and their ability to survive without their heads for a whopping 40 days, it wouldn’t exactly be too crazy to imagine. There are also some people who claim they can be useful in medicine (though I won’t touch upon this because I know absolutely nothing about medicine).

Because of those two factors though, you could piece together a rather simple story. Some secret government base was trying to see if they could make some sort of human-cockroach hybrid for some devilish purpose. Things go awry, the creature escapes, and now it’s on the loose in California. It gets to a motel, things get even worse, and then it eventually flees into the forest where the super-duper secret government-cryptid division kills it because, well, it’s a giant killer cockroach the size of a human.

Yeah, it’s silly, but it’s the best I can come up with. Though now that I’ve typed it all, that sounds like the plot to a Men in Black film. Too bad Tommy Lee Jones is basically 500-years-old; I’d love to see it made now.

3. It was a cryptid of some sort

I’m admittedly not fully convinced this should even be a theory since I’ve never heard of a cryptid quite like this—barring Mantis Man, but that’s an entirely different story since it ties into the praying mantis alien theory. Still, it would be rather silly to leave it out because it’s a very obvious one to throw out there (especially since giant insects are far from something novel).

The idea would be that there’s a species of giant cockroaches out there that have some level of sapience. One waltzed into town, caused some havoc in a motel, then ran off into the forest where it thrives. It’s basically the same deal as the mutant theory, except the government did kill it in the end.

I won’t lie, this is all I can really think of because I’ve yet to come across another talking insectoid story that doesn’t involve extraterrestrials. Mantis Man is an exception and I promise that one day, I’ll go over that one. I just need time, patience, and a lot of rum.

4. It was all made up

Perhaps the one that most people would think when they hear the words “giant talking cockroach” strung together, this theory posits the entire thing was made up. After all, the idea of a giant talking roach is really silly and sounds like something you’d see in an animation sketch (like that gag from Family Guy earlier). Also, there’s common sense; it’s a giant talking insect. That’s just really silly.

Though believe it or not, disproving this story is remarkably hard. Mostly because I have no idea if Jason Offutt has any sort of history of publishing bad information. As far as I’m aware, from my little time looking things up, he hasn’t been accused of making things up. Also, given the number of stories he put into the book that this story originates from, I can’t imagine all of them would be made up for laughs. It seems really odd to just throw in one original creation for the sake of it.

That means that all eyes would be on this “Peggy” lady and, well, I have no idea who she is. So we’re at something of a crossroads; everything would have to come from Peggy, who as far as I know is known only to Jason, and the motel she stayed at (which I have no idea where it is or if it’s even still standing). Though it’d be interesting to see if anyone could find it.

5. Seconds of Summer


My Take

To start things off, I want to say that I was really uncertain if I wanted to do this story this month. I’d already covered the Jetpack Man of Kazakhstan and I was worried it may look like I wasn’t trying to find my own material. However, in the end, I was so infatuated with how absolutely bonkers this story was that I would’ve kicked myself endlessly if I didn’t do it now; waiting any longer than I already have (which has been over a year at this point) would’ve been cruel and unusual punishment.

So with that out of the way, I have to say that I lean towards this story being fake. Though at the same time, I feel like I have no way to back that up—mostly because I have no way to debunk the story. If I had some idea as to where Peggy stayed, I’d happily look it up and see if there was anyone who died there during the 1990s under mysterious circumstances. I’d also see if anyone reported seeing anything strange around that time frame nearby. Alas, laziness, along with being a trash-tier researcher, means that’s out of the question. I know, really professional, but I’m not going to waste my time trying to do something I doubt I can do—especially given there are a ton of motels there and I’m a one-man team.

I guess I really do put the “I” in “team”.

With that said, I’m more than willing to keep an open mind with this story. It’s certainly not the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard of (and I’m well aware I’ve said that a lot). As I said earlier, the idea of a cockroach-alien species seems logical given their durability. The only question I’d have—besides why this story hasn’t been talked about more, is: why? Why on Earth would a cockroach-alien or mutant humanoid cockroach go into a motel, ask for bed linen, and then try to kill a woman? That’s so bizarre and makes me wonder if this whole story was a troll. Though if that’s the case, it’s even weirder that it’d be done without any semblance of satirical edge.

I guess the only way I’d ever find out the truth is if Jason Offutt commented here and admitted it, but I doubt that’ll happen. If it does though… cool. I just hope he doesn’t sue me for being skeptical. That would really suck since I’m a nobody on the Internet who can barely live his own life. Man, that’s really depressing.


Now that I’ve effectively sprayed RAID all over my house, I think I can safely say that this story is over. See you tomorrow and remember: don’t answer the door without checking through the peephole to see who it is.

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