The Phantom Hand of 5th Ave

With the 2019 Downtown West Bend Ghost Walk season kicking off on September 7th, my mind has been wandering back to seasons past. Guiding these walks is a lot of fun for a lot of reasons. It allows me to tell stories, it allows me to meet open minded people, but it also sometimes allows a large group to experience paranormal activity.

Before I get into exactly what I mean, please understand no guarantee can be made that anyone will experience unexplainable phenomena on a walk. In fact, most walks happen without anyone reporting anything peculiar. I especially never experience it, because my back is always to the alleged haunt—though I’ve had a few occasions where people shriek and take pictures over my shoulder.

However, usually a couple of times a year, one or more tour patrons are fortunate enough—or unfortunate depending on your point of view—to see, hear, or even feel something. I’ve been waiting to share a particular event for a while, as it occurred between stops on the walk, thus it is rarely told.

It was a few years back, on an early October Saturday night. It was a very small walking group, thanks to some terrible, unseasonably cold drizzle. Only three patrons had proven sturdy enough to endure the unpredictable Wisconsin weather. As the tour neared its conclusion, the weather began to clear. We left the exterior of the Old West Bend Theater and we marched back towards our meeting place in front of History Center of Washington County on 5th and Chestnut. We were silently walking past the corner of 5th and Walnut when one of the young women cried out. I turned around to see if someone had fell, and she was looking at the other two women who were following a good eight or nine feet behind her, talking amongst themselves.

“Did you just touch me!?” she asked urgently.

I had turned quickly and knew there was no way they could have been within arm’s length of her, nor had they been paying the slightest attention to anyone but each other. The two young women looked at each other in confusion, and said they hadn’t.

According to the alarmed patron, as we got a few feet beyond the crosswalk, she’d felt a large, heavy human hand rest itself on the middle of her back, and move to the right, as if brushing something from her clothing.

The woman was very disturbed by the encounter. She’d not expected to have physical contact with paranormal phenomena, especially when we weren’t even in front of a (known) haunted location. After having explained what had happen, she regained her composure and we walked on and finished the tour. As I told the final story of the night, she remained on guard, as did the others, who were now nearly as frightened as she was.

I suppose it just goes to show you, when you go out seeking the paranormal, sometimes it seeks you. One woman found that out first hand, when she became to first person to experience the phantom hand of 5th Ave.

-J. Nathan Couch

Nathan Speaks at the Grafton, Wisconsin Public Library

Things are really gearing up as Autumn quickly approaches!

I’ll be speaking at the USS Liberty Memorial Public Library in Grafton, Wisconsin August 27th at 6pm!
All the details are on the library’s website. The event is free to attend. Please drop by and say hello!

Goatman: The Midnight Delivery #1


Guess what came in the mail yesterday?

Goatman: The Midnight Delivery #1 by Tim Vargulish! Tim is a hilarious and talented indy comic creator who’s written and drawn numerous comics about everyone’s favorite hoofed crypid super hero!

If you like Goatman, and you love comics, go support Tim’s publishing efforts! Copies of this great comic, and many others can be obtained by visiting Goatman Comics on Facebook!

Nathan at Milwaukee Paranormal Conference 2019

I Hope everyone is pumped up for the weekend!

Summer is winding down, and we’re gearing up for fall here in my home. I assume everyone else is too. So I figure now is the perfect time to announce I’ll be in attendance at Milwaukee Paranormal Conference 2019!

The Con is September 13-15 at Alverno College, 3400 S. 43rd Street! I’ll be there in the vendor area Saturday and Sunday! I’ll have copies of both Goatman: Flesh or Folklore and the recently back in print Washington County Paranormal!

Visit the Con’s website for more details!

J. Nathan Couch appears on The UnXplained!

Hey Gang,

Just another quick note saying thanks to everyone who’s contacted me after appearing on History Channel’s The UnXplained.

It was a wonderful experience, and it was a pleasure getting to appear on the same screen as wonderful cryptozoologists as Loren Coleman, Nick Redfern, Ken Gerhard, and Chad Lewis. And of course, who could forget the legendary host, William Shatner?

If you missed it, check local listings of visit Amazon.com. We discuss Goatman, Mothman, the Chupacabra, the Mongolian Death Worm, and lots of other highly strange entities.

Check out that screen shot of yours truly in the upper left. Now maybe everyone will stop asking me why I always wear a hat.

Goatman sketch

J. Nathan Couch is In Search of Monsters

Hello all,

You’ve likely noticed I’ve been quiet for a long time. Even though the silence here has been deafening, I have not been idle.

I hope some of you had the opportunity to see me on Travel Channel’s new series In Search of Monsters. I appeared in episode #5, which was all about a terrifying creature called the Wendigo.

A huge part of this particular episode was Mindy Rossette’s bizarre encounter near Holy Hill back in 2014. Below is here sketch of the creature she and her daughter witnessed dart in front of them.

Goatman sketch

Was it a Wendigo? Was it Goatman? I couldn’t say, but hopefully now that the incident is one again in the media, another encounter will occur and provide some compelling evidence.

If you missed the episode, check your local listings or visit Amazon.com.

Minotaur

Virginia Minotaur Runs Amok

The Driftless Region has me back at work, digging through dusty old books, yellowed newsletters, and obscure websites in search of information on the stranger Fortean topics, so I figured, in an attempt to be more outgoing with my work-in-progress, I’d share one with you. The following is an excerpt from the December 18th, 1868 Petersburgh [Virginia] Daily Index. To my knowledge this bizarre story was first unearthed by Jerome Clark, who, in my opinion, sets the golden standard for Fortean writing. He transcribed the story in his book Unnatural Phenomena: A Guide to the Bizarre Wonders of North America (2005). This may or may not end up being referenced in one of my many unfinished manuscripts.

Minotaur

“For the past few weeks visions of an alarming character have been seen in the neighboring forest, but more peculiarly in the copse adjacent to Mr. Brown’s barn and stable. At numbers of times has an immense figure been seen passing to and fro near the barn, with large horns and terrible claws, which it contracts to a sort of hoof, and has assaulted Mr. Brown, when he attempted after dark to feed his horses and stock, in such a manner and with such violence that he has been compelled to flee to his house for safety. The figure, to the best of Mr. Brown’s recollection, seemed about three times as large as a man in the front, and having a back converging from it’s neck, and shoulders horizontally to the distance of some six to eight feet, and supplied on each side with huge and tremendous arms. It is of a pale blueish [sic] color when first seen, but upon being irritated by the near approach of any person becomes a deadly white, and issues from its surface a small volume of smoke, accompanied by a sickening smell.

“The ghoul or unnatural and horrible animal or demon, has been seen as often as four times near Mr. Brown’s stable, and when seen it has lingered till its deadly effluvia has completely impregnated the atmosphere.”

The article continues, describing other witnesses reaction to this possibly fictitious, but thoroughly fascinating creature. This is part of one of many completely baffling incidents Clark collects from 49 out of 50 states. It’s highly recommended reading, if you can manage getting a copy of this out-of-print treasure.

Washington County Paranormal

All Things Come to an End

All beginnings have an end, but this knowledge does nothing to ease me in writing this message.

In 2011 I was in the process of finishing my first book, Washington County Paranormal, and I was in dire need of money to get the book published. I got a crazy idea and took a chance—I’d start a Ghost Walk in Downtown West Bend as a fundraiser. After a couple of initial hiccups, my tours started in late April of that year and it’s been a tremendous time. Needless to say, the tours were successful that year, and for each year thereafter.

Washington County Paranormal

Each and every tour was enriching to me as not only a Fortean author, but also as a paranormal enthusiast. I don’t think a single night went by when someone didn’t share fascinating, and often times, extremely personal, unexplainable encounters. That’s what makes this so difficult. But I might as well say it.

The Downtown West Bend Ghost Walk will not be returning in 2017. It isn’t because of lack of interest, oh no. I’ve been getting inquiries about tours all spring. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, Washington Countians are avid about their haunted history. No, the reason the tour is being discontinued, is what makes this message bittersweet, as opposed to simply sad.

Both my wife and I have been given some wonderful opportunities to enrich and challenge ourselves in the Driftless Region of Wisconsin (our new address will be roughly two a half hours from our current address in West Bend). Her career is moving ahead, and hopefully, I’ll actually be motivated to finish one of the numerous manuscripts that I’ve been neglecting for going on two years now. The only draw back is, it won’t be economically feasible to continue the tours.

But despite my lack of written output in recent years, I wouldn’t be calling myself an author were it not for the communities of Washington County. Everyone from Kewaskum on down to Germantown opened up and shared with me with paranormal experiences, and the urban folklore they’d grown up with. To everyone who supported my books and my tours, thank you.

I’d like to thank the Washington County Writer’s Club for their help in showing me what works in a manuscript, and what doesn’t. Despite the fact I haven’t attended a meeting in years, I’d of never been able to write readable manuscript without them.

I’d like to thank the History Center of Washington County for giving me the tools I needed to research my various projects. I can guarantee there wouldn’t have been a book nor a tour without the tools and support they gave me. It really, really stinks that Washington County politicians want to take their money away and send them out into the cold (as well as severely cut the budgets of all quality of life services in the county–parks, libraries, senior services, et al. I suppose a community’s history doesn’t matter if someone can save a taxpayer $20 a year on property taxes. If you appreciate your community’s history, please contact your county representative and tell them. Explain to them you WANT a museum and a historical society. Click here, before you lose your history.

This is starting to sound like a retirement speech, but it isn’t. This is not the end for me, far from it. Though I’ll be far away from the community that got me started down the path to Fortean writing, I feel rejuvenated, and excited about the future.

More books are coming. It made me smile to write that.

Farewell for now Washington County, may all your Eves be Hallowed.

The Thanksgiving Goatman Trend Debunked

So, unless you were completely offline for Thanksgiving weekend, you probably noticed that Goatman was all over the Internet, even becoming a top trend on Facebook and Twitter for the duration of the weekend. Within a few hours many of the articles about my favorite caprine cryptid were claiming that there was an outbreak of sightings in three different states! Not quite.

I followed this all VERY closely (hey, I had a 4 day weekend, and it’s rare Goaty gets this much publicity) so I can map this whole thing out for you with a good deal of accuracy.

The whole mess started when, for no apparent reason, MoviePilot.com posted an article on November 27th suggesting that someone should make a horror film based on the monster (oblivious to the fact that several have already been made). That article linked to a CultOfWeird.com article about my 2014 book Goatman: Flesh or Folklore, which stated that the creature has been historically seen in Kentucky, Texas, and Wisconsin.

By the time Uproxx.com posted about it on the morning of November 28th, various websites with little-to-no journalistic integrity had worded their MoviePilot.com plagiarisms to make it all sound as if a sudden outbreak of sightings had just occurred in three different states within a short amount of time, completely misrepresenting the situation. With each new article, the phrasing changed ever so slightly until it seemed as if a heard of man-goats were roaming America’s heartland! This is no slight against Uproxx, mind you. Their article was the best out of the whole bunch, and provided a nice snapshot of Goatman-mania as it swept the Internet.

Not a single article provided any information about these apparently fictitious sightings. No times, dates, locations, or witnesses. As best as I can tell, there has not been one new sighting. At least none that have been reported, anyways. The most recent sighting I’m aware of took place in September, 2014, and this photograph of a strange hoof print from Oak Creek, Wisconsin, was just sent to WPI Hunts the Truth.

Goatman hoof print
Strange hoof print located in Oak Creek

Of course, what truly caused all this trending was that MoviePilot.com introduced a new, strange concept to what I can only call the main stream, people whose only normal exposure to unexplainable phenomena is seeing a cardboard Bigfoot at a gas station beef jerky display. Most only shared the story because of how odd it was, or to mock the very idea of these legitimate, but puzzling encounters. None of them stopped to look and see if anything was actually happening. Please people, question everything. Don’t just assume something happened because you read a news story about it. Especially on the Internet.

But should any of you actually encounter Goatman. I’m right here waiting to hear from you.

Breaking News: Fortean Times likes Goatman

So i just discovered this week, rather by accident, that London’s famous magazine, the Fortean Times, gave my book Goatman: Flesh or Folklore? a stellar two page review in their October, 2015 issue.

“Couch is no slouch… Goatman: Flesh or Folklore should become a template on how to investigate reports of cryptids, and every fortean should read it.”

This is no longer the current issue of Fortean Times, but digital copies are available to purchase all around the Internet.

Fortean Times October 2015 issue featuring Goatman
Fortean Times, October 2015