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Thursday, December 14, 2023

Decemystery (2023) 14: The Shrieking Hulk

A quick note before we begin: this image has nothing to do with the story, but I thought it was too funny not to use; if anyone knows where it’s from, let me know!

One of my greatest dreams—as of the time of writing—is to go hunting for Bigfoot with a few of my friends. Although I hate the idea of going camping, my love for the legend of Bigfoot outweighs that dislike. As such, I often tell my closest friends how awesome it’d be if we got together and went hunting for the infamous ape-man in what I envision as a fun time out in the wilderness. That, or we go ghost hunting at a place like Waverly Hills Sanitorium. Boy, there’s a place I desperately need to do a write-up on!

Of course, there are a lot of logistical hurdles that would need to be overcome for this dream to be achieved. As it stands, I cannot overcome a single one, so it remains nothing more than a dream that I shall think about until it comes true or I give up on it. Lucky for me, dreams drive me to at least continue pursuing the things that I love—in the case of today’s Decemystery entry, a case about a creature that reminded me a great deal of the aforementioned Bigfoot.

While browsing through the ever-so-amazing About archives, a story caught my eye. At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to cover it since I didn’t want to poach an ungodly number of cases from the site, especially since I feel that a fair number of them tend to end with me feeling a bit uncertain about what it was. However, the more I thought about this case, the more I was quite confident that I could draw a concrete conclusion. So come along, dear reader; this is the tale of The Shrieking Hulk!


As I stated above, I found this story in the About archives, where it was submitted as “The Shrieking Hulk.” I knew the website would be a gold mine, but I didn’t think it’d help me this much when it came to finding stories. Thank God I found sustained_disgust’s iceberg, or I would have never discovered this treasure trove of weirdness.

This case was submitted by an anonymous user in April 2008. Although they submitted anonymously, they clarified early on that they were a “young boy,” so I will be referring to them as Victor. Anyway, the encounter with this “Shrieking Hulk” occurred between 1990 and 1992; Victor said he couldn’t “remember exactly.” What he did remember is that he was “younger” and between the ages of 5 and 18. Now, I’m not the best at math, but I’m pretty sure that the difference between those numbers isn’t 2.

Okay, joking aside, Victor later said that he was between the ages of 5 and 7, which would mean that he submitted this report when he was in his 20s. You know, I just want to say that I’m a bit surprised nobody at About bothered to fix that error. The first time I read this, I was taken aback, and I initially thought I may have misread the dates given. Thankfully, no, I didn’t, and it was merely a weird typo. My eyesight is nowhere near as bad as I briefly thought it was. As for the inconsistency in Victor’s age, I’m not sure, but I don’t want to linger on it for too long, so let’s get back on track.

Victor’s encounter took place in a “very small town in upstate New York.” He doesn’t specify where in order to “protect its sheer natural beauty,” though he does say that “it is near Coxsackie.” I decided to check where this town is, and it’s near Albany, New York’s capital. For the sake of humor, I’m going to pretend that this took place in Albany and that the horrific monster that Victor saw was, in fact, a young Andrew Cuomo.

My timeless political jokes aside, I believe it’s worth noting that this town was—and presumably still is since a fifth of New York is farmland—quite desolate. Victor said that he and his family “were in the middle of nowhere,” flanked by trees from all sides. It would be from those trees on this one evening that Victor would learn that man shares this land with some pretty scary things. Look, I wanted to try my hand at sounding like a scary story narrator; don’t judge me.

Okay, I promise, that’s the last digression. Anyway, Victor said that he enjoyed going outside at dusk to play around; I can relate since there was a time when I liked to do the same. In Victor’s case, there was a pond in his backyard, so he enjoyed going out there to look. This night was different, though; the sounds of animals were noticeably absent. It didn’t take him long to find out why as he “happened to look at the edge of the woods” and saw something that would stay with him “until the day I die.”

It was an 8-foot (2.4-meter) tall biped that was “hairy as the day is long,” which gives me the mental image that this was an alternate version of Steven Tyler, where he played point guard for a basketball team. I digress, though; this creature was “bending over a sapling” and looking at Victor.

Now, I’ll say upfront: this sounds a lot like some type of Bigfoot; New York is by no means a stranger to these types of creatures. While most people’s minds go to New York City when they think of the state, most of the state is aesthetically closer to Vermont and other parts of New England; heck, some outright call upstate New York an extension of Vermont. However, what the creature did next is something that really dumbfounded me when I first read it—and it still does. In the little bit of light that was still out before night fully took over, Victor could see that the creature smiled at him.

Exactly what the creature’s face looked like isn’t specified, but given that most Bigfoot have ape-like faces, I’d say it’s more or less safe to assume that it resembled, say, Sasquatch, The Missouri Monster, or any other Bigfoot-type creature that’s said to roam the United States (or, heck, the entire planet). Whatever the case may be, Victor was naturally put off by this creature’s smile, which he said gave him the impression that “it wanted me to come closer.” Being a smart person, he didn’t do this and instead started to back away.

That action didn’t make Bigfoot’s New York cousin very happy as its smile turned into a sneer. Then, it made a noise, one that Victor said was “god awful” and sounded “like a howl with the sound of a dying rabbit,” the latter of which he clarified is true. I wouldn’t know since I’ve never heard a rabbit die outside of World of Warcraft. As a side note, there are a lot of reports of Bigfoot-type creatures making howls like this; some attribute them to mating calls, while others say they’re made to ward off potential threats or intruders.

I’d like to go into more detail on this one day because I find it genuinely fascinating, and I would do so now, but I’m writing this at the start of December, and I still have seven of these articles to go. So, unfortunately, it’ll have to wait until I cover the Sierra Sounds. My sincerest apologies, but if there’s one thing I refuse to screw up, it’s something as influential to me as Bigfoot.

Anyway, getting back on track, Victor ran back to his house “in record time.” Normally, I’d question if the thing had pursued him, but given there wasn’t any commotion outside after he got back into the safety of his home, I doubt it.

Being good parents, Victor’s mother and father asked him what was wrong. Alas, he couldn’t talk; whether or not he did tell them what scared him so badly wasn’t said. If I had to guess, they likely didn’t believe him because parents can be like that.

The fun doesn’t end there, though; nay, in New York, your encounters with 8-foot-tall ape-men come packaged with additional goodies. In Victor’s case, when he awoke the next day, he discovered that his bedroom window “was ripped out and thrown all the way across the stream next to my window.” Said stream was 30 to 40 feet (9.1 to 12.1 meters) away. I’m not going to ask how he didn’t hear this happen because I’ve slept through some loud noises in my life, as have people I know. I do have to wonder if any footprints were left behind because any large humanoid tends to leave them behind.

To round things off, Victor said that he “never saw or heard” the creature again—only that’s a lie; he did hear it again a decade later (so, between 2000 and 2002; I’ve included the “2000’s” and “21st Century” tags as a result of this). One day, a now-teenage Victor was camping with “a close friend” in the former’s backyard. During their little camping endeavor, the two heard the same shriek that Victor had heard all those years ago. However, this time, it was “far away.”

Being sensible individuals, Victor and his friend went inside. However, “teenage pride” got the better of them, and so they went back outside—albeit armed with “a machete, a hatchet, and a large stick.” However, they didn’t find anything, nor did they hear it again. I just want to say that I question what a stick will do against an 8-foot-tall ape-man that most say can throw large tree branches like they’re sticks. Props for having the brains to bring two sharp instruments, though!

With that, our story comes to an end. This was probably the smoothest pace I’ve moved when it comes to writing one of these articles; as I’ve said before, and will continue to say as this month continues, writing 64 articles one after another without much of a break really drains you. How on God’s green Earth I managed to finish this month at all is beyond me, but I digress. With our tale now done, it’s time for us to dive into the theories; let’s scream “geronimo!” and dive into ‘em!


1. A hoax

I want to start off with this theory because it’s the one that appears every single day; in fact, I think it appears in all but, what, two or three of write-ups this month? I don’t know; I haven’t kept track of the theories. I’ve written these across half the year, and it feels like a dozen years have gone by.

I digress, though; there are a few things going against this theory. For starters, as is the norm, I don’t really know what there was to gain from fabricating the story. That is, of course, a golden rule that I’ve decided to adopt when it comes to labeling things as hoaxes; I’ve gone over it in other write-ups this month, and I’m pretty sure I will be going over it later this month, too. I won’t go over it here since I don’t want to sit here for the next three paragraphs explaining my stance.

There’s also the matter of this reading like a textbook Bigfoot encounter. Sure, there are a few things missing (such a strong odor), but by and large, it sounds like Victor saw a Bigfoot of some type. There was total silence, which is normal when it comes to Bigfoot; heck, any kind of humanoid cryptid. The horrific shriek also fits Bigfoot.

However, despite that, there are some things working in the theory’s favor. The first is the whole ordeal with the window. We never exactly got any details about it; I have no idea if there were footprints outside, signs of any soil disturbance or marks on the wall, or what Victor’s parents thought about their son’s window being torn off and thrown across a stream.

Granted, it’s possible Victor didn’t deem it necessary to provide answers to this since it didn’t have to do with the larger story. That’s fair, but I think it would have helped a great deal if we knew what they thought since I’m pretty sure that they’d think that whatever scared their son so badly may have tried to break into his room.

The second, and what I consider to be the biggest, thing going for this theory, in my eyes, is that somehow, Victor’s parents didn’t hear the scream of the creature. That’s something I didn’t mention during the main story, and the reason for that is it didn’t hit me until I was almost done with the write-up. I have the smoothest brain on Earth; you can’t change my mind.

In all seriousness, it’s possible that somehow, in some way, they didn’t hear it. It’s also possible the creature didn’t shriek that loudly the first time. That still doesn’t quite explain how they didn’t hear it the second time since it was loud enough to be heard from within the woods. Unless they weren’t home—which is possible.

The third and final is the error that Victor made with his age early on. In my eyes, you could reasonably argue that it’d be insanely difficult—if not impossible—to accidentally mix up “I was 5–7 years old” with “I was 5–18 years old.” Personally, I’d disagree by virtue of having made some astonishingly stupid typos when messaging friends over Discord, so I feel I’m in no position to judge.

Overall, I’d say that this theory has a bit more going against it than it has going for it. Of course, that’s just me; I leave it up to you to decide. But do wait to decide because we have a few more theories to go through!

2. Misidentification

Children are by no means the most reliable witnesses; they can exaggerate things like nobody else. I’ve said that before, and I will say it until it’s no longer true; get ready to wait a long time, dear reader!

Our second theory is that this was a case of misidentification. You’d be hard-pressed to find a Bigfoot sighting, or any humanoid cryptid sighting, where this theory isn’t one of the most plausible. In this particular case, I think it’s a mixed bag. There’s one thing that goes strongly in its favor and two things that go strongly against it.

I’ll start with what works in its favor. This encounter happened over a decade prior to being written about. Victor himself outright admitted that he couldn’t remember the year it took place (nor could he remember his age). So, one can reasonably question what he might have gotten wrong in the way of details; maybe it wasn’t an 8-foot-tall ape-man of some sort. Maybe it was a bear or some other wild animal?

The most common animal cited when it comes to Bigfoot sightings are bears; in New York, black bears are very common. I saw a few when I lived there! Given that this was in a rural community, I’d hazard a guess and say that black bears are a fair bit more common than in the suburban location where I was raised. On top of that, black bears—when they stand upright—are between 5 and 7 feet (1.5 to 2.1 meters) tall. While a bit below the 8-foot stature that Victor claimed the creature sported, it’s still quite tall, especially for someone who was apparently between the ages of 5 and 7.

So, that’s it; case closed, right? Well, no; if it were that easy, this write-up wouldn’t be posted on this blog, and I’d instead be covering some other absurd case. Now, it’s time to get into what doesn’t work about this theory. First, I’ll address two very minor things. Victor didn’t say what this thing’s hair color was; if it wasn’t black, then I doubt it was a black bear. I don’t think New York has brown bears or any other type of bear, for that matter.

The second is that I don’t think bears can smile or sneer—at least, not in a way that I imagine this thing was doing it. I could be wrong, though; if I am, do let me know.

Now, on to the main issues with this theory for real. I don’t know if the sound this creature made would match those made by black bears (I’ve never heard them roar, bellow, or anything else like that). If a zoologist or anyone who’s well-read when it comes to bears can tell me if they do or do not produce sounds that are akin to a howl mixed with a dying rabbit, let me know.

What I can say is that the course of action Victor took—specifically, running away—was something that may have caused the bear to charge at him. While it’s not a guarantee, that’s a piece of advice I’ve often seen given. The right course of action is to slowly walk away and make yourself look as big as possible. If you run away, that may send it after you because it’ll perceive you as vulnerable.

That leads to the main problem with it being a bear; there’s no way in Hell that Victor would outrun one. Unless he was considerably closer to his door or the bear, for whatever reason, didn't chase him, he wouldn’t win that race. I don’t think I need to say this, but in case I do, bears are fast (I’m unsure about the “furious” part, though).

That issue aside, there’s also the matter of the window. I know that bears are intelligent animals, but I sincerely doubt they’re smart enough to do handiwork of any kind; I also doubt they have access to the necessary tools to remove an entire window and then throw it across a stream, all without drawing attention to itself. Unless someone attempted to break in (or did break in and went unnoticed), I doubt that a bear did that. Even then, that would be a weird coincidence, and I’d be floored if Victor’s parents didn’t notice any sign of a break-in.

On one final note, I imagine that the second time Victor heard the scream, he would have been old enough to know what a bear’s cry sounded like. Granted, it’s possible he didn’t, but I imagine that if he’d spent his entire life living in upstate New York, he’d be familiar with it. But what do I know? I’m more of a city slicker than I am a rural man. It comes with having been to New York City more times in my life than I believe to have been healthy.

3. Bigfoot

I’ve discussed Bigfoot-type creatures on this blog, though I’ve never covered some of the more famous ones, like Sasquatch. That’s because the history of that creature is so long that there’s no way I could do it justice. If I ever cover Sasquatch, it’ll probably be one of the very last write-ups I ever do because I’d love to make it something akin to the definitive telling of that creature.

Thankfully, this is not a theory that this was Sasquatch, but rather just some kind of Bigfoot. There are tons of different kinds of Bigfoot; some are peaceful, some are incredibly aggressive, and then there’s the Kapre of The Philippines that’s said to sit in trees and smoke. God, I love that story; I need to cover it one day.

This theory has a bit going for it, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t insanely biased in that regard; I’ll try to remain as unbiased as possible, though. The first thing I’ll mention is that the general appearance of this thing sounds a lot like a Bigfoot: hairy, tall, and presumably bipedal. The shriek, as I said during the main story, is also something common when it comes to Bigfoot. The smiling is up for debate unless someone who’s much more well-versed can elaborate upon that aspect.

Additionally, as I’ve said a few times now, New York is no stranger to Bigfoot sightings. If Bigfoot is real—which I make it no secret that I think people have been seeing something throughout history—I’d be dumbfounded if there wasn’t a species residing in New York. I just hope the state government doesn’t try to tax it.

On the flip side, there wasn’t any stench that was noticed. Strong odors are common when it comes to Bigfoot—something that I’d rather not know the reason for on account of not wanting to lose my appetite, which is already comically awful. The last thing I need to do is explain to the doctor why I haven’t eaten in days because I learned why Bigfoot smells like garbage.

There’s also the matter of the window removal. That’s something that I find pretty odd. While I’ve heard of Bigfoot ransacking camps, I’ve never heard of one removing a window only to then throw it out of what I’m guessing was a fit of rage. If this thing was outrun by a child, then either this was the world’s slowest Bigfoot, or it needs to hit the gym. I’ve heard of Bigfoot families and Bigfoots using primitive tools, but never a Bigfoot that tried to become a burglar. That’d uncharted territory for me, and it’s not territory I think I want to explore. Oh well, if you happen to know more about this aspect, do let me know!

3b. An alien

I’m including this for fun. There are people who believe that Bigfoot is some kind of alien; given New York’s no stranger to UFO sightings (then again, I don’t think any place on Earth is really a ‘stranger” to them), I figured it’d be nice to bring this up. Given the lack of lights in the sky—unless Victor didn’t spot them—I doubt this was a case of an extraterrestrial Bigfoot. But, hey, who knows; maybe this Bigfoot was dropped off by some aliens and hadn’t gotten a ride back to whatever planet it originated from! The possibilities are, dare I say, limitless.

4. A person in a costume

This is a wildly implausible theory since, according to a CBS News article, there are only 10 people in the world who have been “confirmed or reliably reported” to be over 8 feet tall. However, it’s one that I wanted to include because it’s a common explanation for Bigfoot sightings, so I figured I’d mention it.

Right off the bat, with the statistic that’s given in that CBS article, it’s unfathomably unlikely that this was an 8-foot-tall person in a costume; it’s not impossible, but the odds are stacked so highly against it that there’s no reason to believe it. However, of course, it’s possible that Victor got the height wrong, and the creature was about 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall.

If, by some chance, that was the case, then this theory does have a reasonable amount going for it. People have dressed up as Bigfoot more times than I care to count for one reason or another, whether to scare other people or just for fun. Given Victor apparently lived in a rural community, it’s possible that someone wanted to pull a prank for a cheap laugh.

On the flip side, there are two problems. The first, and what I believe to be the bigger problem, is the shriek this so-called “Shrieking Hulk” made. Humans are capable of making some weird noises; just take a look at Pauly Shore, whose noises in the movie Bio-Dome made me want to shove pencils into my ears. However, assuming that this was some sort of guttural roar, it’d take a lot of practice to produce such a noise. At least, I think it would; this costumed fellow could have been the vocalist to a death metal band in their spare time.

The second problem is that, for whatever insane reason, the same person decided to pull the same stunt a decade later after apparently not having done it once in between. Is that impossible? Absolutely not; it’s definitely a possibility. However, I’d argue that it’s quite unlikely. Unless the person was arrested for some reason, got out after ten years, and went back to dressing up as Bigfoot for laughs.

Despite those two issues, this theory isn’t impossible; heck, it’s not even improbable. However, if Victor absolutely didn’t get the person’s height wrong and they were 8 feet tall, then I retract everything I just said; there’s absolutely no way this was a man in a costume. Not unless they were using something to make themselves look taller, but I know nothing about costume design and how one can make themselves appear taller.

5. Bruce Banner

Here’s the obligatory “Hulk” reference in a story entitled “The Shrieking Hulk.” Every fan of The Incredible Hulk can now rest easy.

My Take

This, to me, screams, “Bigfoot sighting.” As I said during the main story, New York is no stranger to them, and as a staunch believer in the legendary hairy hominid, I think this was a close encounter with one. If I had to guess, I’d say that it thought Victor was encroaching on its territory, so it let out a warning cry of some sort. It didn’t sound like it pursued Victor (if it did, then I have no idea how it didn’t catch him since I imagine Bigfoot would be considerably faster than a child), so I doubt it had any intention of harming him.

Why it smiled is beyond me, but I think you could chalk that up to either Victor misremembering its facial expression or reading it as a smile. Or maybe it was smiling because it thought it was funny the human saw it; I don’t know; I don’t read social cues well. If anyone who’s more well-versed with Bigfoot can tell me if any of them are capable of expressing emotions like this, I would love to know!

That said, I will note a few things. The first is that, as always, it’s within the realm of reason that this was a case of misidentification. As I said earlier, children can exaggerate things incredibly well, and I would by no means be shocked if this was a bear that Victor mistook for some sort of ape-man. Even though I stand by the other thing I said earlier, and I think the bear would have gone after Victor when he ran, it is still possible it didn’t; there is no universal law dictating that bears need to chase after everyone who runs away from them.

There’s also the matter of the window. I find it a bit odd, though I do know that a lot of humanoid cryptids tend to wreck camping sites; heck, wild animals, in general, can and will do that. While I must admit that I’m a bit skeptical of a Bigfoot ripping out a window and not doing anything else, I will at least concede that the action of taking something for no reason is by no means unheard of with them. At least, to the best of my knowledge, it’s not unheard of.

The third thing is that Victor’s parents didn’t hear this thing shriek. As I said during the first theory, there are some things that can explain why, but I will admit that it is odd. I know that some parents can be oblivious—heck, a lot of people can be. However, you’d think that if your child went outside and a loud noise rang through the air, you’d rush outside to see what caused it.

Alternatively, it’s possible they thought Victor himself made it; a silly possibility and one that I doubt is the case, but weirder and sillier things have happened. So, I figured it warranted a mention.

The fourth and final thing I’ll note is that, as is the case with any cryptid report, we have to take the word of the eyewitness. This, to me, is the hardest thing to do since—even with my staunch belief in Bigfoot—I like to try and aim to disprove or rationalize the encounter before I say that it’s real and cannot be disproven in any capacity. However, given I can’t interview Victor myself since I don’t know him, this aspect is impossible to let go of. The only reason I’m doing it for this story is, well, I want to break my own rules since earlier in the day that I’m writing this, a close friend of mine told me that “rules were meant to be broken.” So, I’m taking her advice and breaking one of my own rules!

Long story short: I think this was a Bigfoot sighting; no two ways about it this time, folks!


You know, I did this write-up after getting a whopping four hours of sleep, and yet it was easily the smoothest write-up I’ve done in months—at least, I think it’s been months. Admittedly, most of this year has all but blurred together in my mind since most of my days have been spent writing, writing some more, and then writing a bit more before showering and passing out. Somewhere in between all of that, I found time to eat, watch NASCAR, and occasionally play video games; all the while, I thought about what I’d write next. It’s a simple life, a life I quite enjoy.

Anyway, I would love to know what you think Victor saw; was it a Bigfoot, a hoax, a guy in a costume, a bear, or a real estate broker who was trying to get Victor’s family to lease their land so they could build a warehouse? Let me know because, well, I love to see what others think when it comes to these stories. With that, I bid you all adieu; stay happy, stay healthy, and thank you for reading!

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