Monday, July 31, 2006

Tales from Riverside

I was reading a book this afternoon given to me by Kate and Banji. The title is "Weird California" and that's exactly what it is, a collection of odd tales and stories of happenings, places and people. So far my list of places I need to visit is growing almost exponentially. Kelly and I are trying to convince Adam to go and see the Winchester Mystery House - a mansion built by the wife of the founder of Winchester rifles, to house the ghosts of those killed by the guns. Regardless I have found that my home base of Riverside seems to be a hotbed for unusual activities ranging from a seemingly haunted mission outside of town that boasts hidden tunnels. But this story I couldn't Resist Sharing with everyone. It seems just a little too odd.

Taken From "Weird California" by Greg Bishop, Joe Oesterle, and Mike Marinacci. Page 93

------Riverside Bridge Monster
Charles Wetzel was just rying to get home, and he never bargained for what happend to him on the night of November 8, 1958. As he neared the point where North Main Street crosses the Santa Ana in Riverside, he found that the river was overflowing the road and he slowed down. Suddenly, he noticed that his radio signal was being drowned out by static. Almost simultaneously, something leaped out of the underbrush and landed right in front of his car. "It had a round scarecrowish head," he said, "like something out of Halloween. It wasn't human. It had longer arms than anything I'd ever seen. When it saw me in the car, it reached all the way back to the windshield and began clawing me. It didn't have any ears. The face was all round. The eyes were shining like something fluorescent, and it had a protuberant mouth." He later reacaclled that the thing's legs stuck out sideways from it's bodya and the skin looked "scaly, like leaves."

As the lanky hoobajoob clawed at his windshield, Wetzel reached for a .22-caliber pistol he kept under the seat. Quickly changing his mind about opening the window or shooting htrough the one thing that separated him from the monster, he floored it. The creature tumbled off the hood to the ground. Not caring what the thing was or particularly concerned for it's safety, Wetzel ran it over. He felt the scraping underneath and heard screaming and gurglin. He hightailed it to the nearest police station.

Officeres noted scratches on the bood and windshield of his car, and smears along the oil-covered underside. However, when they returned to the scene with bloodhounds, they found nothing. The next night another spooked driver reported a similar experience. If anyone else saw the pumpkin-headed ghoul, they kept it to themselves, and the Santa Ana River basin has been quiet sicne then - except in 1970s when Bigfoot-like tracks were discovered nearby.

In his book "Mysterious America", researcher Loren Coleman has pointed out the preponderance of wierd thingsg associated with place and personal names. Wetzel was high on the list, along with Fayette, Hobbs, and of cour anything associated with the devil. Coleman also discovered that another Charcles Wetzel, this one in Nebraska, had seen something that resembled a kangaroo hopping around his farm in July of the same year. Weird, huh? -------

So that being said, I think next time it really rains here, I am going to take my car down to that little road over the Santa Ana. Perhaps I will meet this illustrious pumpkin-headed ghoul... although unlike the others I will have a camera, perhaps my polaroid just incase. Always important to have a polariod when tracking the undead or dead. Perhaps it was just a tree nymph looking for a drink in the engourged river, caught off guard and was scared and trying to protect itself. Who knows I will just have to wait. Anyone want to help in my expedition. Oh and to my friends in CA, get the book it's great fun. There are about two years worth of fun things to see in LA.


Anonymous Joe said...

Found your entry when I was searching for info on the monster that attacked Charles Wetzel.

Just wanted to say good luck on your hunt :)

2:16 PM  
Blogger Erica Ness said...

Not entirely sure but think I just got props from the writter of the book... perhaps, Joe is a common name...

2:22 PM  
Anonymous Joe said...

Nope sorry, not the writer of the book :)

Joe is somewhat common here in California, much more so in New Jersey where I'm originally from.

And no I do not know the writers of the Weird California book (actually I don't even own it yet) nor do I know the guys who do Weird NJ (that book I do own). Ironically I've owned the domain "" for several years and at least a few years before the book came out.

3:19 PM  
Blogger Erica Ness said...

ahh ha I see, well it was a nice fantasy while it lasted. I like your website, I've bookmarked it and I'll keep you up to date on the weird in Riverside

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Joe said...

Thanks! hope you continue to enjoy it. It's slowly coming together as I get all the content up on it. And thanks for keeping me up to date :)

4:31 PM  

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