Is there room in the Para/Crypto/Fortean world for a gun-toting, paranoid, bipolar, opinionated bastard? A lonely romantic in search of his lost soul? A knight, Samurai, gunslinger, born in the wrong century? A self-destructive, doom-driven survivor seeking redemption? A heavy drinking gonzo outlaw cryptozoologist whose ego is exceeded only by his libido?
No, there isn't. That's why I'm here...

05 August 2009

The Dark Watchers

While reading through "MONSTER! The A-Z Of Zooform Phenomena" by Neil Arnold (HIGHLY recommended, btw!) I found the following entry:

"WATCHERS- spectral figures in hats and cloaks said to haunt the Santa Lucia Mountains. Every time these weird, eerie beings are seen, it is said they always look to the sky."

I've never heard of these beings before, so I tried to find out what I could learn about them. A web search for "watchers" turned up a loong trail of dead ends. I got results pertaining to "The Watchers", having to do with the Nephilim (the race of superbeings and "giants" mentioned in the Book of Genesis and expounded on further in the Book of Enoch, when the "sons of God" mated with human females). Interesting, yes, but not what I was looking for.
Since the Santa Lucia Mountains are in California, a search for "watchers California" revealed a number of results about a California family known as "The Watchers". Apparently, there is a house in California and for whatever reason, there is ALWAYS a male member of the family standing at the front window with a camcorder videotaping the front of the house and the street. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Why? Nobody knows. The housedwellers are reclusive and eccentric, the males (I believe there are two or three) are usually wearing overalls, and there is an elderly female in a wheelchair. There are quite a few Youtube vids depicting locals driving by the house and videoing themselves being videod. It's become sort of a local pastime to drive past the "Watcher House" just to see them. Again, it's interesting, alright. But again, those aren't the Watchers I'm looking for.
But finally after seeing a reference to "DARK Watchers", I found a few hits using that search term.
Here's some pertanent information (at last!) from the Weird California site:
From about Avila Beach, through San Luis Obispo, and all the way up to Monterey, runs the Santa Lucia Mountains. Lurking within these mountains are the strange and mystifying Dark Watchers. The Dark Watchers, as they have come to be known, are apparently giant human like phantoms that are only seen at twilight, standing silhouetted against the night sky along the ridges and peaks of the mountain range. When spotted, the beings are usually seen staring off into the open air of the mountains seemingly at nothing in particular before vanishing into thin air occasionally right before the spectators eyes.

Who or what the Watchers are, no one knows. Where they came from or why they are there, again lost in speculation. And what they are looking for or watching is beyond anyone's current comprehension.

The Chumash Indians first spoke of them in legends and their cave painters drew them in their colorful wall drawings. Later legendary author John Steinbeck described them in his short story, "Flight":

"Pepe looked up to the top of the next dry withered ridge. He saw a dark form against the sky, a man's figure standing on top of a rock, and he glanced away quickly not to appear curious. When a moment later he looked up again, the figure was gone."

The poet Robinson Jeffers mentioned them in his poem "Such Counsels You Gave to Me" as "forms that look human . . but certainly are not human". If Jeffers or Steinbeck ever actually saw one of the Watchers is unknown, but the local legend has been around since long before they wrote about it.

In the mid sixties, a Monterery Peninsula local who was the past principal of a local high school saw them while hiking in the mountains. He had enough time to study the dark figure, to see its clothing and notice how the figure was strangely studying the mountains. When the principal called out to his fellow hikers, the figure disappeared.

Other, more recent sightings have included a dark hat and cape in the description of the mountain residing phantoms.

I still haven't been able to find anything on the original legend, just a few references to John Steinbeck's and Jeffers's mentions of them in their works. Supposedly, John Steinbeck's mother actually saw one of them, and Robert Steinbeck (John's son) also wrote a short story (allegedly based on a local tale) in which a DW plays a major role.

And here's a link to an excerpt from the book "Big Sur Country" with a little more info on these mysterious beings.


Sharon Day said...

Wow! Rarely do posts give me the chills, but you just did. I love that subject. I was doing a lot of research on shadowpeople phenomemon to come up with some theories. I kept reading about these ones that people saw that looked like they were wearing a trenchcoat and hat and were tall. They were different than the other shadowpeople who usually show up as small. I wondered why the "old west" sounding figures? Perhaps smaller shadowpeople are dispatched by them. I have seen one of the tall ones on my back patio and one in my living room. Both times, they were nothing more than a tall, wide-striding dark figure, very manly looking with what appeared to be a robe or coat and hat in shape. Both times I thought it was just peripheral vision because both times I saw them out of the corner of my eye, turned and then they sort of walked into invisibility. Both times I had a weird feeling as if it were a forewarning of something about to happen, perhaps a warning of danger. Both times I heeded it. I got out of the pool when the lightning started, the other time I reached for the light switch with a wet hand and remembered the plate was removed from it for repair and stopped myself. I can't explain either encounter, but I felt like I had a protector. Sort of like a stern parent warning you. I hope to read up more on this subject. Thanks soooo much for covering it.

Gummerfan said...

I never thought about a shadowperson connection. The DWs appear more solid, until they vanish.
I wonder what they're watching? Are they looking for a sign? Are they waiting for something to happen? I thought there might be a connection to the flying humanoids, since the DWs are watching the sky, but the areas of the respective phenomena have yet to overlap.
I noticed that the first source described them as giants, but in the "Big Sur" passage they are reportedly smaller.

Sharon Day said...

Yeah, those shadowpeople are an interesting thing. Although they're called that because they appear black, they are reportedly opaque. My son, when he and his friend saw one, used their digital camera's red light for aiming on it and it showed itself to be solid--the light did not go through it but sat on it. That shocked my son more than anything because the damn thing was 3' tall! They're often reported to be seen first out of the corner of your eye and then you turn and when these things know you saw them, they disappear. They also bring a foreboding sense of dread. I'm interested in this phenomenon. You've definitely got some theories going and everyone knows I adore theories. Let me know if you find ties with descriptions of flying humanoids or shadowpeople. If you read about shadowpeople online, you'll find accounts are popular of him wearing a hat and cape or coat....