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Friday, December 15, 2023

Decemystery (2022.3) 15: The 20-foot-tall Monster in Montana

Montana is a state that I feel is sorely overlooked when it comes to beauty and mysteries. There are a surprising number of cryptids, ranging from Bigfoot and Wendigo sightings, UFO reports, unsolved murders and disappearances, and the folkloric “Shunka Warak’in,” a hyena-like quadruped whose name translates to “carries off dogs.”

Indeed, there’s a lot that Montana holds; God willing, I’ll cover a few of those stories next year. Until then, today’s story is one of the more fantastical cases from The Treasure State—not to mention one that is more “out there.” I call it The 20-foot-tall Monster in Montana because there’s no other way to put it. So come along, dear reader, let’s explore Big Sky Country together!

For Whom the Trees Shake

I found this story while browsing through the archives of About. It was posted back in July 2007 by a fellow named “Brad G” under the title “Monster in Montana.” I added the height because I wanted this write-up to be more eye-catching; let’s be real, “Monster in Montana” is about as generic as you can get. William Randolph Hearst taught me to always aim for clickbait! 

Brad’s story occurred on August 8, 2005. On this lovely day, he and his friends were going for a walk through the Montana woods. I want to say right now: Brad doesn’t say how many friends he was with (though there were at least two with him), nor how old they were. This will be relevant for later, trust me.

Anyway, during the walk, Brad and his were goofing around; they began to tease one friend—a girl—by saying, “Don’t let the Boogie Man get you!” They did this as she was “scared of paranormal things.” This strikes me as something a child would do, but perhaps I read and watched way too much Goosebumps when I was young.  

“Don’t let the Werewolf of Fever Swamp eat your face!”

Yeah, that has the same energy in my eyes.

Okay, let’s get back on track. The group continued their walk—to where is anyone’s guess—until they heard something. Brad described it as a “loud, deathly moan.” This was accompanied by a foul stench that was likened to “rotting blood.” After that came “a deep, raspy breath” from a nearby group of trees; the friends looked at them and saw something emerge, something that, I swear to God, I am not making up. Go scroll back up and click the hyperlink if you need to, but I swear that this is what Brad wrote.

That “something” was a 20-foot (6-meter) tall “creature.” For comparison, a giraffe is anywhere from 16–20 feet (4.8–6 meters). Sadly, I cannot say if it looked just like one, as Brad didn’t give too many specifics on what its physical appearance was. He did say that it sported razor-sharp teeth and claws and was “holding three deer by their ankles.” So, if I had to hazard a guess, I would say that it was bipedal.

This outlandishly tall monstrosity then threw its head back and let out an explosive roar (metaphorically, of course) that caused the tops of the trees to sway “like they were being played with by the wind.” How on Earth this didn’t cause the group’s eardrums to burst is beyond me. Admittedly, I have no idea if it was that loud, but if it caused trees to sway, I’m shocked their ears didn’t, at the very least, ring. If you can shed some light on how this didn’t happen (or if it wouldn’t have), please leave a comment; now, let’s move on.

Unsurprisingly, the sight of this abomination caused Brad and his friend to run away. This next part honestly confuses me because the way Brad worded it is just bizarre. I’ll let him do the talking:

Then we cut loose and ran. As soon as we started running, I stopped an looked back.

I’m not sure how long Brad ran for, if he did at all, given he apparently stopped as soon as he started running (given that’s what it sounds like). Or maybe my reading comprehension is deteriorating with every passing second; either way, that confused me.

Whatever the case may be, when Brad looked back, he saw that the 20-foot-tall demon had “moved to where it could see us.” Then, it did something even more incredible than having grown to be the size of a giraffe. It shrunk—all the way down to 6 feet (182 centimeters). Then, it did something even more amazing than taking on the role of being Ant-Man: it vanished!

Rounding off his story, Brad had this to say:

What did we see that night? Whatever it was, it scared the snot out of me.

That’s where his story ends; I know of no cryptid that sounds like this, nor do I know of a presumably bipedal being like this—not outside of the more fantastical Wendigo sightings. However, as I briefly touched upon when I talked about The Bagodemon, the creatures people call “Wendigos” aren’t the same as the Wendigo of Algonquin legend.

Anyway, enough rambling. With the story now over, we can dig into the theories; there are a handful of them this time, so let’s try and make quick work of them!


1. A hoax

I would love to know the logic that would have gone into fabricating this story. I can’t imagine someone sitting down and writing this, believing that it would fool that many people. Then again, this was 2007; I remember that hear about as well as I remember what I had for dinner last month. Let’s see, it’s November… I don’t remember. :(

In all seriousness, this theory isn’t that implausible. Although I’ve made it abundantly clear this month that I try to refrain from giving anything the “you’re a hoax!” sticker, this is one case where it’s hard not to lean toward that assumption. After all, you’re talking about someone who claims they saw a creature the size of a giraffe that roared so loudly it shook the trees. Nobody else heard it; Brad and his friends somehow didn’t deaf, and it vanished into thin air after it shrank. There are so many questions to ask, yet zero answers to get.

Nevertheless, it’s hard for me to say this theory has a lot to stand on—at least, from the way I look at it. As I said above, I cannot imagine someone writing this and believing they’d fool anyone. It’s so far-fetched that I feel even the most ardent believers would scoff at it. Though, I’m sure that someone out there would buy into it. More power to them if they happen to read this article. Anyway, on to the next theory!

2. A monster

I’m lumping every possible suspect—Bigfoot, the Deerman, a Fleshgait, an interdimensional monstrosity; all of them are in this theory. I do this because, quite frankly, there’s no other word in the English language that encapsulates the thing Brad saw outside of “monster.” Sometimes, the best thing to do is condense things, so you don’t waste hours of your life talking in circles about the same thing.

Without many physical features to go off of, this theory relies heavily on assumptions. If I had to guess, this monster probably resembled what most think of when they hear the name “Wendigo.” So, a tall, lanky creature with antlers and a deer skull for a head. At the very least, that’s what I thought of since it’s what my mind goes to when I hear about enormous, carnivorous cryptids. Of course, it may have been more akin to a Bigfoot, or it may have looked like Frankenstein’s Monster. I, sadly, don’t know.

It could have also been an interdimensional being that, for just a bit, appeared in our world. The shrinking was it being brought back into its own reality. That, admittedly, sounds rather preposterous to type out, but I would argue it’s a lot more realistic than a 20-foot-tall abomination that can carry 3 deer (all of whom were presumably fully grown) around like they’re bags of chips.

As you can tell, your mileage on this theory is going to be heavily dependent on whether or not you believe in creatures like this. If you do, then you may find some merit in this one. If you don’t, then I would recommend you not read anything else on this blog; I’d rather not be responsible for your brain dissolving like a slug when it’s exposed to salt.

3. It was Brad’s imagination

This theory is one that made sense for one reason: given the way the story was worded and overall read, I couldn’t help but wonder if Brad was on the younger side. If this were the case, then I can easily believe that what he and his friends saw was a bear that was standing upright. If the bear caught them off guard, they may have figured it was something much scarier and ran off. Hell, they may have known it was a bear and instinctively bolted.

Additionally, since we lack testimonials from his friends, we only have his word to go on for the monster carrying the deer carcasses. That may have been a false memory, along with the absurd size of the monster. As for the shrinking, that may have come from the bear walking away.

This theory does fall apart if Brad was older; if he was, I’d have a bit of a harder time believing he mistook a bear for a monster of this size. While not impossible, I wouldn’t be as likely to believe it, but that’s just me. I’ve mistaken a lot of things for being far larger—and smaller—than they really are, and I’m now 27. Human error is as real as the air that I breathe, so who am I to judge?

4. Nightmare Fuel Ant-Man

It makes about as much sense as whatever the hell the Marvel Cinematic Universe is doing these days.

My Take

It feels like this month has been littered with stories that have left me speechless; this is yet another one of them. Granted, I have some ideas on what may have happened, but the sparse details leave me very uncertain, so I’ll just lay them all out.

The first idea I have is that this didn’t happen. Granted, I cannot fathom why someone would make up a story this outlandish. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a Bigfoot report where it was said to be 20 frigging feet tall. If you were going to make a cryptid encounter up, I think there would be better ways to go about it, like having it be a more modest height. That’s just my opinion, though; I understand if you don’t agree with me.

With that said, it is nonetheless hard for me to believe that an encounter like this happened. I do not, for a fraction of a second, believe that Brad and his friends met a 20-foot-tall monster that roared, made the trees shake, and then shrank before vanishing. I know that some people will point to Wendigo sightings; there are tons of them from sites like 4chan, but those aren’t close to what a Wendigo is supposed to be (a demon that possesses people and causes them to commit unforgivable acts of savagery). Call me a buzzkill, but I’m not labeling this as a Wendigo.

That’s just one idea I have, though. The second is that Brad and his friends got scared off by a bear and mistook it for a monster. The way the whole story is written makes me think it was done by someone who’s on the younger side. The mention of the “Boogie Man” is something I’d expect out of someone who was around 9 or 10—though maybe I’m out of touch with what teenagers joked about in 2005. That, coupled with the phrase “it scared the snot out of me,” and I have to wonder if the imaginations of some children—or maybe just Brad himself—produced the image of a giant monster.

As for the claim about it carrying deer carcasses, along with it shrinking before vanishing, it would have likely been false memories produced in hindsight because Brad was scared. To me, this would be the most rational explanation, though I wish that Brad had given some sort of age range for him and his friends. Without it, I have to rely on my own guesswork—which is extremely shoddy at best.

There’s also the matter of the trees shaking. While it’s possible the roar coincidentally happened at the same time that a gust of wind came, I must admit that that’s pretty hard to explain unless bears can cause trees to shake when they roar, though I sincerely doubt that.

The third and final idea that I have is that this was, in fact, some kind of monster, specifically, an interdimensional being that momentarily appeared in our world before going back to its own. How likely is this? Well, my stance on interdimensional entities is weird. While I certainly think there are other realities out there, I have to admit that I doubt realities or dimensions would overlap, causing a 20-foot-tall monstrosity to pop up for just long enough to say “Hi!” to some people. Still, I think it’s technically possible. I mean, I can think of worse explanations.

If I had to guess, though, I think I’d lean toward this, having been a case of imagination running wild. While I think the theory is flimsy, I think it’s the most level-headed take. The one thing I’m confident in saying is that it wasn’t a monster; I cannot see this having been a Deerman, Bigfoot, escaped government experiment, or anything of that sort. I think it was either Brad’s imagination or a hoax; the former is the one I’m going with for this write-up.


Covering this story was surreal. Maybe it’s because I wrote it the day after I slept rather poorly, but this whole thing was strange. Despite that, I have to admit that it was a great take to dive into and was a genuine challenge to make heads or tails of. Anyway, I’d love to know what your thoughts on this encounter were, and as always, stay happy, stay healthy, and thank you for reading!

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