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  • Writer's pictureJohn Wick

The Mysterious Cryptids Of Vietnam War

During the Vietnam war, there were a significant number of documented incidents during which American soldiers reported having confronted mysterious cryptids. In this post, we examine some of the strangest cryptids encountered by the American soldiers during the war.

On the morning of the 2nd of March 1965, US military aircraft unleashed a series of devastating bombing raids against targets located within the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. These airstrikes were the latest action in America's ongoing response to what had become known as the Gulf of Tonkin incident, where North Vietnamese patrol ships had allegedly attacked and damaged the USS Maddox.

Operation Rolling Thunder marked a significant escalation of US involvement in the Vietnam War, a decade-long conflict which would not come to an end until the fall of Saigon in April of 1975. It is estimated that during that ten-year period, somewhere in the region of 60,000 American Service Personnel would lose their lives with a further 300,000 wounded. Whilst the majority of humanity's historical conflicts have involved unfathomable degrees of suffering of loss, the sheer futility of the Vietnam War and the utter savagery it would evoke from combatants on both sides would result in lasting political and social issues.

Deep scars, which continue to affect modern society to this day. It was a war which provoked the worst attributes of humanity, immersing its protagonists in an unrelenting and nightmarish battle from which it seemed there was no escape. Amidst this hellish landscape, tales of strange and inexplicable confrontations have since emerged. Stories of soldiers surviving engagements with enemies, which could not be considered earthly in nature.

The Da Nang Airbase had first been established by the Japanese Armed Forces for use during World War II, but by the outbreak of the Vietnam conflict, it had been handed over by the French authorities who had inherited it, to the Republic of Vietnam. By the implementation of Operation Rolling Thunder, the facility was firmly under the control of the United States Air Force.

Encountering the "Night-fliers"

During the summer of 1969, a mysterious occurrence would take place there, which continues to defy rational explanation. The incident came to light following the testimony of a Marine Corps Private by the name of Earl Morrison, who at the time of the encounter, had been holed up in a bunker on the base perimeter, carrying out nighttime sentry duty. Alongside him were two other Marines, and like many of their overnight shifts, things had largely been uneventful. Morrison was seated on a munitions crate, playing a game of cards with one of his colleagues, when the third marine had called them over to the observation embrasure as he had detected what he believed to be movement nearby.

Grabbing his rifle, Morrison hurried over to the opening, nervously scanning the perimeter for any indication of enemy activity. Gradually, as his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he became aware of a dull glow, slowly making its way closer to the facility's fence line as it slipped out of the jungle near by. The three men watched on in growing wonder, as a humanoid shape emerged from the darkness, moving forwards with in the center of the glowing haze. As this figure drew closer, it became evident that it was traveling through the night air on a large pair of wings.

Morrison was struck by how silently this unannounced nocturnal visitor was moving, despite the impressive size of the wings mounted upon its back. It was then that he gasped, realizing that the humanoid he was looking at appeared to be female. A thick knot of dark hair wound down around her shoulders, and her black skin seemed to somehow emit the fluorescent glow which was enveloping her. Finally, as she had neared the bunker, the mysterious entity had paused, hovering overhead in the sky above.

The three sentries had by now cautiously emerged from inside, and yet none raised their weapons, all seeming to feel an overwhelming sense of soothing and calm emanating from this mysterious and unexpected intruder. For the next few minutes, the trio stood staring up in wonder at the beautiful woman, who stared impassively back down upon them, before with a series of strong wing beats, she then turned and slowly made her way back into the cover of the nearby jungle.

During the following days, Morrison and his colleagues made discreet enquiries around the base to see if anybody else had encountered anything out of the ordinary whilst on sentry duty, but chose to keep the detail behind their own encounter under wraps. When there were no further disclosures from any other soldiers serving on the base, Morrison decided to ask the inhabitants of a nearby village if they had ever seen such a creature before. Surprisingly, he found that his question was met with neither bewilderment nor fear from the locals he spoke to, only a grim and a knowing smile.

These creatures had been glimpsed many times before and were referred to as 'night-fliers' by the Vietnamese people. He was told that they preyed on lone travelers, particularly young men, but posed no danger to those who traveled in groups. The entity described by the villagers to Private Morrison appears to resemble a cryptid known as the Ahool, a siren like predator similar to other winged creatures, which have been reported in Mexico and Java. The origins of these aerial monsters are unknown, and they are somewhat notorious for having been able to remain highly secretive, continuing to avoid detection even with the advent of photography and video cameras in modern society.

Horror in the Bong Son-River

An equally troubling encounter would later be reported by Craig Thompson, who had served during the Vietnam War as a Sergeant with the 173rd Airborne Brigade. After the conclusion of the conflict, he related how one day he and his men had been spending some much-needed downtime bathing in the Bong Son-River, when they became aware of a disturbance taking place in the water some distance away. As the men had cautiously started to make their way back towards the shoreline, something had suddenly emerged from the depths of the river and started to snake its way through the water, directly towards them.

At the front of this creature was a large squarish head covered in gold scales that glittered and reflected the sunlight beating down from above. The monster's body was a dull and rusty shade of red, with one huge dorsal fin that jutted out from its spine, rising high out of the water. Thompson would later estimate that this aquatic beast must have been in the region of two feet wide and 30 feet long. He had watched on in growing horror, as the mysterious creature's speed had begun to increase, the closer it had got to the retreating swimmers. As it did so, the haste of the men heading for the river bank had similarly increased, the bathers all too conscious that its eagerness to reach them would likely not end well.

By now, some of the paratroopers who had exited the water and grabbed hold of their carbines. Several shots rang out, bullets impacting and ricocheting off the water around the approaching monster. Almost instantaneously, the huge head dipped instinctively below the water surface, quickly followed in turn by the dorsal fin, and then it was gone. In the years after the war, Thompson found that he could not shake the image of the creature hungrily cutting its way through the water towards his squad and so he began to research what he saw.

Eventually, he found that the closest known species which resembled the strange beast was an oarfish, which have been known to grow to a staggering 36 feet in length. Thompson also discovered that the oarfish is a deep sea creature, never found in freshwater rivers and not known to approach the surface and none have ever been found that are golden in color. Whatever it was that had taken such an unhealthy interest in the American servicemen, it did not match any other aquatic creature so far encountered by man.

The gigantic creature of unknown origin

Another story featuring an encounter with a gigantic creature of unknown origin would be reported by an unnamed military photographer, who had been accompanying a detachment of United States Air Cavalry on a mission into a remote area of the Vietnamese jungle. As the unit's helicopter had hurtled to the air close to the thick canopy below, he had noticed what appeared to be a strange pathway, seemingly cut through the densely packed trees. It was at this point, that the photographer became aware of a commotion coming from the cockpit with the helicopter's pilots apparently indicating to something, off to their right hand side.

Moments later, one of the gunners had leaned over on and tapped him on the helmet, pointing across to a large shape, which was moving slowly along a pathway through the vegetation, similar to the strange pathway that the photographer had previously noticed.

Requesting permission from the unit's commander to deviate from their course, the helicopter had veered away from the rest of the company, and then began to descend over the pathway below, in an effort to see what was traveling along it. Looking down through his camera lens, the photographer had focused on a large barrel-shaped object, which was moving slowly along the ground, kicking up a cloud of dust and its wake. It was at that point that the shape suddenly rose unexpectedly off the ground, as if to meet the helicopter hovering above it.

The photographer cried out in alarm, as he realized that what he was looking at was the head of a gigantic snake, nearly four feet wide and sitting atop a thick and undulating body which stretched out behind it for at least a hundred feet. He had begun to take pictures of this colossal serpent, which incidentally have never been published- when the pilot received orders to rejoin the rest of the unit and the helicopter had circled back onto its original course.

As with Private Morrison, the photographer had later made enquiries with locals about the viability of what he had seen. He was told that in the deepest and most untouched part of the jungle, a species of giant snake lived, which the inhabitants referred to as 'bull-eaters', due to their ability to swallow and consume a fully sized male cow. The bodies of these creatures were said to be so heavy and powerful that they had the ability to force their way through thicker parts of the Jungle, parting or knocking down trees as they travel through it, creating the strange pathways, which he had seen.

The snake described by the photographer is larger than any ever encountered on Earth and twice the size of the largest prehistoric snake fossil to have been found. It sounds closest in similarity to the Green Anaconda, which has a tendency to be heavier and thicker and longer species such as the python or adder. The heaviest Anaconda to have been killed was found to weigh 227 kilograms, being 30 feet long and 4 feet wide. The existence of a species over three times that size is quite a terrifying prospect, particularly when this is not the first such encounter to have been reported.

In 1959, a flying officer by the name of Remy Van Lierde was being flown over the Belgian Congo, when he had caught sight of a gigantic snake moving along through the jungle below. Estimating it to be nearly 50 feet in length, he had asked his Pilot to go back and hover over it, so he could capture it on film. He had just managed to take a few quick photos, when the creature had suddenly reared up off the ground, quickly rising 10 feet into the air towards the hovering aircraft. This action immediately spooked the pilot, who had turned and headed back to their base, where Van Lierde was able to successfully develop his photographs of the encounter.

The Creepiest Cryptids Of Vietnam

As well as colossal snakes, there were also reports of other encounters with mysterious reptilian creatures, such as one related by an Army Corporal on patrol about 30 miles south of the DMZ on an evening during the summer of 1970. He had been acting as a second in command of a recon platoon, which had been walking a trail through the jungle when they detected movement up ahead. The soldiers had immediately gone to ground, assuming concealed positions and setting up to ambush what they believed to be an enemy patrol.

15 tense minutes had passed, before the platoon had broken cover and moved cautiously forward into the waiting darkness, only to find that someone had laid a low wall of boulders across the trail, which now impeded their path. Skirting around the obstruction, the soldiers encountered what appeared to be a trail of disturbed foliage, leading into the trees and away from the track. Wearily, they had followed this fresh pathway for several minutes until it led them to a cave sent into the face of rocky outcrop.

Upon approaching the mouth of this tunnel, the Americans were immediately forced to withdraw by a foul and debilitating stench, like that of aging or rotting meat. Believing that whoever had placed the boulders on the path was hiding in the cave, the soldiers had then fell back into the trees, training their weapons on the dark, rocky hollow. As they sat staring intently at the gaping entrance, several were struck by how smooth the edges of the opening were, as if they've been bored into the rock by some kind of tool or machinery, rather than natural erosion.

Lying in wait, it seemed to the soldiers as if all the sounds in the jungle had slowly died away, with no animal or bird cries to be heard. Then suddenly, there was a movement within the confines of the cave, and two figures emerged into the moonlight. The Corporal described the pair as approximately seven feet tall, and humanoid in appearance. They were not wearing clothes, their bodies were covered in a thick and scaly hide of some kind and had apparently begun to communicate with one another, using a series of loud clicks and hisses.

Suddenly, the creatures had paused, turning to stare directly into the undergrowth at the point where the American platoon was concealed. Slowly, one of the pair raised a clawed hand, as if pointing or indicating to his companion where the soldiers were hiding. And then, all hell broke loose. One of the younger members of the squad opened fire, utterly terrified of what he had seen. Almost instantaneously, the rest of the platoon followed suit, peppering the mysterious entities with a hail of deadly gunfire.

Half blinded by the volley, the unit's sergeant had yelled for his men to cease fire, an order which took several seconds to complete. Creaking forwards, the recon soldiers found that the two lizard men had escaped back into the tunnel, leaving several pools of what they assumed was blood behind. The overpowering stench was now even worse than before, apparently, as a result of this fluid. And so the decision was made to use the team's explosives to blow the cave up and seal the entities inside.

This task completed, the sergeant had sworn his men to secrecy before resuming their patrol. No formal report on the encounter was ever filed. And it only came to light many years later when recounted at a social function where several of the veterans were present. These reports comprise only a fraction of the testimony from American units and soldiers in relation to mysterious encounters during the Vietnam war.


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