So, who (or what) attacked
the unsuspecting citizens of Illinois and Virginia? Was it a mad scientist? A
government agency? A visitor from another planet? No one will ever know for
sure, but the annals of the unknown are plagued with cases of inexplicable
attackers who appear and vanish without explanation, prey on the unsuspecting
without warning and then vanish completely, leaving no trace behind. Could
such attackers come from another time and place? Another dimension? I’ll let
the reader judge that for himself. Just remember though, if these attacks can
happen in the places that follow - they are capable of happening anywhere…
even where you live!
The Mad Gasser Strikes!
The story of Illinois' Mad Gasser begins not in Mattoon in 1944, but rather in
Virginia in 1933. There is no proof to say that the work in the two cases was
completed by a single attacker, but the events were so similar that it would
be ridiculous of us not to admit that the coincidence of it being two
attackers is extreme.
In 1933, Botetourt County,
Virginia was a quiet area of the state and had never really experienced much
out of the ordinary. That all began to change on December 22 when the home of
Mrs. and Mrs. Cal Huffman, near Haymakertown, was attacked by a mysterious
figure that was unlike anything seen, or even heard of, in the region before.
At around 10:00 that evening, Mrs. Huffman stated that she
grew nauseated after smelling a strange gas that had been apparently sprayed
into her house. She decided to go on to bed, but her husband remained awake
and alert to see if the lurker who had sprayed the gas might return. A
half-hour later, another wave of gas filled the room and Huffman immediately
went to the home of his landlord, K.W. Henderson. Here, Huffman telephoned the
police. An Officer Lemon was dispatched to the scene and he stayed until
around midnight. Immediately after he left, another gas attack was launched on
the property, filling both floors of the house. All eight members of the
Huffman family, along with Ashby Henderson, were affected by the gas. Ashby
and Cal Huffman had been keeping watch for the return of the prowler and
thought that they saw a man running away after the attack.
According to reports, the gas caused the victims to become
very nauseated, gave them a headache and caused the mouth and throat muscles
to restrict. Alice, the Huffman’s 19 year-old daughter, was most affected by
the gas and she had to be given artificial respiration in order to revive her.
She was said to have experienced convulsions for some time afterward. Her
doctor, Dr. S.F. Driver, later reported that while part of her condition was
caused by extreme nervousness over the attack, he had no doubt that the gas
attack was responsible for the fact that her condition continued.
However, no one could determine what kind of gas was used
(Dr. W.N. Breckinridge, who assisted with the police investigation, ruled out
ether, chloroform and tear gas) or who could have sprayed it into the house.
The only clue that Lemon found at the scene was the print of a woman’s shoe
beneath the window the attacker was thought to have sprayed his gas through.
The next attack took place in the Botetourt County town of
Cloverdale. Clarence Hall, his wife and two children came home from a church
service at around 9:00 on Christmas Eve. Five minutes after they entered the
house, they smelled a strange odor. Hall went into one of the back rooms of
the house to investigate and came back moments later, staggering and swaying.
His wife, who also felt nauseated and weak, had to drag him outside. The
effects of the gas did not linger with Mr. Hall but Mrs. Hall experienced eye
irritation for the next two days. Dr. Breckinridge again helped the police and
he noted that the gas “tasted sweet” and that he detected a trace of
formaldehyde in it. He still had no idea what the gas was though and
investigators again found only one clue at the scene. Apparently, a nail had
been pulled from one of the windows. Was this to make is possible to spray the
Another attack occurred on December 27 when A.L. Kelly, a
welder from Troutville, and his mother were sprayed in their home. Oddly, the
police learned that a man and a woman in a 1933 Chevrolet had been seen
driving back and forth in front of Kelly’s house around the time of the
attack. A neighbor managed to get a partial plate number on the car but the
police were unable to locate it.
No attacks took place over the next two weeks but on
January 10 the Gasser struck again at the home of Homer Hylton, near
Haymakertown. Hylton and his wife were upstairs asleep and their daughter,
Mrs. Moore, whose husband was out of town on business, was sleeping
downstairs. Around 10:00, she got up to attend to her baby and later recalled
that she heard mumbling voices outside and someone fiddling with the window.
Moments later, she said that the room filled with gas and as she grabbed her
child, she experienced a “marked feeling of numbness.” The window where the
noises came from had been slightly broken for some time and this may have
allowed the Gasser access to the house. Author Michael T. Shoemaker, in an
excellent article on the subject for Fate magazine in 1985, suggests
that we could theorize that Mrs. Moore was simply spooked by the wind blowing
through the crack in the glass if not for the voices that she heard. Again,
some might say this was only her imagination as well but for the fact that a
neighbor, G.E. Poage, also heard voices around the same time.
Also on January 10, a Troutville man named G.D. Kinzie was
also attacked. This case was not reported until later and was different from
the others. Apparently, Dr. Driver investigated his case and stated that the
gas used in the attack was chlorine. Chlorine was then mentioned in several
subsequent accounts until a Roanoke chemistry professor later ruled it out as
a possible cause.
After a few quiet nights, the Gasser returned on January
16, this time attacking the home of F.B. Duval near Bonsack. Duval left the
house to summon the police and as he reached a nearby intersection, saw a man
run up to a parked car and speed away. He and Officer Lemon spent several
hours driving around searching for the car, but they found nothing. The next
day, Lemon again found the prints of a woman’s shoes, this time where the car
had been parked.
On January 19, the Gasser struck again. This time, gas was
sprayed into the window of a Mrs. Campbell, a former judge’s wife, near
Cloverdale. She was sitting near the window in question and moments after
seeing the shade move, became sick.
A few nights later, the gas attacks reached their peak with
five attacks taking place over a period of three nights. The first attack took
place on January 21 when Howard Crawford and his wife returned to their home
between Cloverdale and Troutville. Mr. Crawford went into the house first to
light a lamp but quickly came stumbling back out. He was overwhelmed by the
gas, which Dr. Driver again said was chlorine. Police officers were again able
to find only a single clue at the house - the crank of an old automobile. The
metal crank seemed to have absolutely nothing to do with the attack, but it
was simply to strange of an item to be left behind. On the other hand, it was
also too common of an item in those days to be traced.
On January 22, three separate attacks occurred in Carvin’s
Cove. In just one hour’s time, the Gasser covered a distance of about two
miles, attacking in order moving southward, the homes of Ed Reedy, George C.
Riley and Raymond Etter. In each of the houses, the victims all claimed to
have numbness and nausea. Riley called his brother, a Roanoke police officer,
and a blockade of the nearby roads was quickly put into place. Although the
Gasser managed to elude the authorities, one of Mr. Etter’s sons claimed to
see a figure disappearing from the direction of the house. He gave chase and
even fired a few shots at the man from a distance of 30 yards, but he got
On January 23, Mrs. R.H. Hartsell and her family spent the
night with some neighbors and when they returned to their Pleasantdale Church
home at 4:30 a.m., they discovered that the house had been filled with gas.
For some bizarre reason, someone had also piled wood and brush up against
their front door during the night. The only possible motive that I can see for
this would have been to keep the family from easily escaping once the house
was filled with gas. This means that the elusive Gasser must have believed the
family was home at the time of the attack.
This new series of gassings had the entire community in an
uproar. Families who lived in more isolated areas began spending the night
with friends and neighbors, hoping to find security in numbers. Local men
began patrolling the roadways at night, armed with shotguns and rifles. The
local newspaper, the Roanoke Times, stated that it was sure the gassers
would be caught and it pleaded with the farmers not to shoot anyone.
The authorities were now growing more concerned. Prior to
this, they had believed the gassings had been nothing more than pranks played
by some mischievous boys. Now the county sheriff’s office was forced to admit
that if this had been the case, the boys would have been caught long before.
They had begun to investigate the idea that a mentally deranged person might
be the culprit, perhaps even an unhinged gas victim from World War I.
On January 25, the Gasser may have attempted to strike
again, but this time was foiled. Around 9:00 on that evening, a dog at the
home of Chester Snyder began barking. Alerted, Snyder jumped out of bed and
grabbed his shotgun. Darting outside, he ran across the yard and fired a shot
at a man that he saw creeping along a ditch that was about 20 feet from the
house. Apparently though, the shot went wide and Snyder only had one shell in
his gun. He ran back inside for more ammunition but by the time he returned,
the man was gone.
He called the police and a deputy sheriff named Zimmerman
investigated the scene. He managed to find footprints that led from the road
to the ditch and signs that the prowler had hidden behind a tree on the
property for some time before the dog sounded the alarm. More tracks led from
the tree to the house and then stopped, marking the point where the man had
retreated. Visitors who had left the Snyder home shortly before the happening
recalled seeing a man about a half-mile away on the road. There was, of
course, no real evidence to say that the prowler was actually the Gasser, but
based on the events that had been occurring, any sort of incident like this
was immediately suspect.
On January 28, the Gasser did manage to pull off another
attack and he would actually return again to this same residence and attack
again. The home belonged to Ed Stanley of Cloverdale and Stanley, his wife and
three other adults were all affected by the still mysterious gas. Frank Guy, a
hired hand on the farm, ran outside immediately after the gas filled the house
and stated that he saw four men running away in the direction of the Blue
Ridge Mountains. He ran back inside to get his gun and when he returned to the
yard, he couldn’t see the fleeing figures, but could hear them in the woods.
He fired several shots in the direction of the voices but felt that it was
unlikely that he hit anything.
The Gasser returned again two nights and again attacked the
Stanley House. This time however, Stanley heard a sound outside the window
before the attack took place. What happened after that remains a mystery as no
further details were reported in the contemporary accounts.
The last of the likely authentic gas attacks took place in
Nace, two miles from Troutville, on February 3. The house that was attacked
belonged to A.P. Scaggs and he and his wife, along with five other adults were
all affected by the gas. The group was so badly hurt by the gas that Sheriff
Williamson would tell the skeptics who later emerged over the gassing cases
that “No amount of imagination in the world would make people as ill as the
The attack became as dramatic as the first attack on the
Huffman family and author Michael T. Shoemaker noted that perhaps the Gasser
wanted to mark his entrance and exit with large attacks. Another similarity to
the Huffman attack was that it seemed as though the gas was sprayed into the
house two times that evening, although investigator Lemon stated that he
believed lingering gas near the ceiling could have been responsible for what
seemed to be a separate attack. The gas had some pretty strange effects on the
people in the house, as one of Scagg’s nephews began screaming hysterically
that he was “trapped” in the house, and on the family dog as well. Officer
Lemon returned to the house to continue his investigation the next day and one
of the children came in crying that the dog was dying. Lemon went out and saw
that the animal was rolling over and over in the snow, just as dogs do when
they are sprayed by a skunk. As no skunk odor was present, this certainly
seemed odd. A witness later told Michael Shoemaker that the well-trained dog
was sick and would not pay attention to commands for some time after the
It was at this point that
the story began to deteriorate. During the following week, there were 20
attacks reported in nearby Roanoke County and a number of other reports in
Lexington, about 30 miles away. And while a few of the later “attacks” may
have been genuine, they lacked the detail of the original incidents and most
were likely hysterical reactions to ordinary odors or the result of hoaxes
perpetrated by pranksters. In one of these hoaxes, a teenager threw a bottle
of insecticide into a woman’s window and a similar incident on February 9 gave
the police and the newspapers the opportunity to declare that the Gasser
mystery was over.
The last “insecticide” case did have some interesting
aspects to it however. At the time when J.G. Shafer of Lithia believed his
house was gassed on February 9, he went outside and scooped up some snow that
contained a sweet-smelling substance. It was analyzed and was determined to
contain sulfur, arsenic and mineral oil, which was commonly used in
insecticide sprays. This caused the police to dismiss the attack as a hoax,
but was it really? Strangely, investigators found footprints leading from the
front porch of the house to the barn, but no trail that led away from this
building. It was as if whoever had been on the porch had then walked into the
barn and simply vanished. Also, as with some of the other earlier cases, a
“woman’s tracks” led from the yard to the road.
The later cases that came along led the general public to
swallow the unconvincing theory that faulty chimney flues and wild
imaginations had caused the entire affair. Those who were attacked and police
officers involved, like investigator Lemon, never accepted this explanation.
However, the ongoing cases of panic did not help to convince the non-believers
to reconsider. Actually though, looking back on the case now, the later cases
actually helped to show that the original cases were not hysteria. The
later cases did not follow the pattern of the original attacks, occurred
outside of the already established area, took place at no particular times and
did not cause any lasting physical effects. It should also be noted that the
original attacks, while taking place in Botetourt County, were spread out
enough throughout the area that neighbors could not infect one another with
So if mass hysteria was not the answer in the Mad Gasser of
Botetourt County case, then could a natural explanation have been to blame?
This also seems unlikely for explanations like pollution and faulty chimney
flues don’t hold water when the reader examines the factors in the case,
including the selection of victims, times of the evening, intense police
investigations and of course, the fleeing figure (or figures) that were seen
running away from the residences in question. The hoaxer, or even the lone
lunatic, theories are not much better either. Even though a mysterious figure
was often seen, there were never any useful clues left behind and the identity
of the Gasser was never discovered.
It was almost as if the strange figure left Virginia and
vanished without a trace, never to return again. And while perhaps the Gasser
did not return to Botetourt County, could he have possibly surfaced in
Illinois 11 years later?
The Mad Gasser of Mattoon
Mattoon, which is located in
the southeastern part of Central Illinois, is a fairly typical example of a
rural Midwestern town. The strange events that took place here in 1944
however, were anything but typical. These events would place the small city
under the scrutiny of the entire nation and would one day become a textbook
case of what authorities and psychologists called "mass hysteria". But was it
really? Could the legendary “Mad Gasser” be simply starting over again in a
The whirlwind of events would begin in the early morning
hours of August 31. A Mattoon man was startled out of a deep sleep and
complained to his wife that he felt sick. He questioned her about leaving the
gas on in the kitchen because his symptoms seemed very similar to gas
exposure. The woman tried to get out of bed and check the pilot light on the
stove, but found to her surprise that she could not move. Just minutes later,
according to published reports, a woman in a neighboring home also tried to
get out of bed and discovered that she too was paralyzed.
The next evening, a woman named Mrs. Bert Kearney was
awakened by a peculiar smell in her bedroom. The odor was sweet and
overpowering and as it grew stronger, she felt paralysis creeping into her
legs and lower body. She began screaming, and drawing the attention of her
neighbors, was able to alert the police. The following day, she would complain
of having burned lips and a parched mouth and throat from exposure to the gas.
A hasty search of the yard by police officers, and her shaken neighbors,
revealed nothing. But that would not be the last strange event to occur at
this particular house...
Later that night,
when Mr. Kearney returned home from work, it was just after midnight. He
spotted a man lurking near the house who would later fit the descriptions of
the "Mad Gasser". The stranger, according to Kearney, was tall and dressed in
dark clothing and a tight-fitting black cap. He was standing near a window
when Kearney spotted him and the odd man ran away. Kearney pursued but was
unable to catch up with him.
The events in Mattoon soon became public knowledge and
panic gripped the town. The story was badly handled by the authorities and the
local newspaper reported the Kearney case, and subsequent others, in a wildly
sensational manner. The newspaper is believed by many to be the culprit behind
the "Gasser hysteria". Years later, the newspaper would be blamed for
everything that happened in the case and for manufacturing the scare. The
frightened citizens, according to these skeptics, took leave of their senses
and began to imagine that a “mad gasser” was wreaking havoc in the town. This
particular approach has been considered by many to be the simple explanation
for the affair, but it certainly does not eliminate all of the evidence for
something very bizarre to have happened in Mattoon.
By the morning, of September 5, the Mattoon police
department had received reports of four more "gas attacks". All of the victims
complained of a sickeningly sweet odor that caused them to become sick and
slightly paralyzed for up to thirty minutes at a time.
That night would be the occasion when the first real clues
in the "Mad Gasser" case would be discovered. They were found at the home of
Carl and Beulah Cordes, but what these clues meant has yet to be discovered.
The Cordes were returning home late that evening when they found a white cloth
lying on their porch. Mrs. Cordes picked it up and noticed a strange smell
coming from it. She held it up close to her nose and was overwhelmed with
nausea. In minutes, she seemed to have a severe allergic reaction to it as her
lips and face swelled and her mouth started to bleed. The symptoms would
disappear in about two hours. The police investigated and took the cloth into
evidence. They also found a skeleton key and an empty tube of lipstick on the
porch. They decided the prowler was probably trying to break into the house
but had failed.
The police believed that the cloth was connected to the
other gas attacks. It should be noted however, that the odor on the cloth
caused different symptoms in Mrs. Cordes than in the other victims. She did
feel sick to her stomach but there were no sensations of paralysis. The case
itself is also different because if this was the Gasser, it is the only time
when he actually tried to gain access to the home of his victims. Could his
intentions in this case have been different?
The Gasser attacked again that same night, but he was back
to his old tricks and sprayed his gas into an open window. There would only be
one other report that even hinted that the attacker tried to break into the
house. The woman in this instance claimed that a "person" in dark clothing
tried to force open her front door. Was it really the "Mad Gasser"?
The attacks continued and Mattoon residents began reporting
fleeting glimpses of the Gasser, always describing him as a tall, thin man in
dark clothes and wearing a tight black cap. More attacks were reported and the
harried police force tried to respond to the mysterious crimes that left no
clues behind. Eventually, the authorities even summoned two FBI agents from
Springfield to look into the case, but their presence did nothing to
discourage the strange reports. Panic was widespread and rumors began to
circulate that the attacker was an escapee from an insane asylum or was an odd
inventor who was testing a new apparatus. Interestingly, I was sent a letter
in 2002 from a woman who explained to me that her father grew up in Mattoon
during the time when the gas attacks were taking place. He told her that there
had been two sisters living in town at the time who had a brother who was
allegedly insane. A number of people in town believed that he was the Gasser
and so his sisters locked him in the basement until they could find a mental
institution to put him in. After they locked him away, her father told her,
the gas attacks stopped.
Armed citizens took to the streets, organizing watches and
patrols to thwart any further attacks, but several took place anyway. The gas
attacks were becoming more frequent and the attacker was leaving behind
evidence like footprints and sliced window screens. This evidence would become
particularly interesting after the revelations of the authorities in the days
A group of citizens did manage to arrest one suspect but
after he passed a polygraph test, he was released. Local businessmen announced
that they would be holding a mass protest rally on Saturday, September 10 to
put more pressure on the already pressured Mattoon police force. Now, the
Gasser was becoming more than a threat to public safety, he was becoming a
political liability and a blot on the public image of the city.
The Gasser, apparently not impressed with armed vigilantes
and newspaper diatribes, resumed his attacks. The first residence to be
attacked was that of Mrs. Violet Driskell and her daughter, Ramona. They awoke
late in the evening to hear someone removing the storm sash on their bedroom
window. They hurried out of bed and tried to run outside for help, but the
fumes overcame Ramona and she threw up. Her mother stated that she saw a man
running away from the house.
A short time later that night, the Gasser sprayed gas into
the partially opened window of a room where Mrs. Russell Bailey, Katherine
Tuzzo, Mrs. Genevieve Haskell and her young son were sleeping. At another
home, Miss Frances Smith, the principal of the Columbian Grade School, and her
sister Maxine were also overwhelmed with gas and fell ill. They began choking
as they were awakened and felt partial paralysis in their legs and arms. They
also said that as the sweet odor began to fill the room (as a thin, blue
vapor), they heard a buzzing noise from outside and believed that it was the
Gasser’s “spraying apparatus” in operation.
By September 10, "Mad Gasser" paranoia had peaked. FBI
agents were trying to track down the type of gas being used in the attacks and
the police force was trying to not only find the Gasser, but also to keep the
armed citizens off the streets. None of the law enforcement officials were
having much luck with any of these tasks. By Saturday night, several dozen
well-armed farmers from the surrounding area had joined the patrols in
Mattoon. In spite of this, six attacks took place anyway, including the three
just mentioned. Another couple, Mr. and Mrs. Stewart B. Scott, returned to
their farm on the edge of Mattoon late in the evening to find the house filled
with sweet smelling gas.
This period seemed to mark a turning point in the case and
it was almost if the idea of the gas attacks moving from the city of Mattoon
to the country outside of it had pushed the scales of official acceptance in
the wrong direction. In the words of Thomas V. Wright, the City Commissioner
of Public Health: “There is no doubt that a gas maniac exists and has made a
number of attacks. But many of the reported attacks are nothing more than
hysteria. Fear of the gas man is entirely out of proportion to the menace of
the relatively harmless gas he is spraying. The whole town is sick with
hysteria and last night it spread out into the country.”
At this point, newspaper accounts of the affair began to
take on a more skeptical tone and despite claims by victims and material
evidence left behind, the police began to dismiss new reports of attacks and
suggested that local residents were merely imagining things. The episode had
gone so far that it was really the only thing left for them to do. The Gasser,
if he existed at all, could not be caught, identified, or tracked down. They
started to believe that if they ignored the problem, it would just go away.
After all, if the man were real, how could he have possibly escaped detection
for so long?
Psychology experts opined that the women of Mattoon had
dreamed up the "Gasser" as a desperate cry for attention, as many of their
husbands were overseas fighting in the war. This theory ignored the fact that
many victims and witnesses were men and that this so-called "fantasy" was
leaving behind evidence of his existence.
On the night of September 11, the police received a number
of phone calls but after half-hearted attempts to investigate, dismissed all
of them as false alarms. Just days before, a crime specialist with the State
Department of Public Safety named Richard T. Piper told reporters that “This
is one of the strangest cases I have ever encountered in my years of police
work” but now new calls were only worthy of perfunctory examination. This is
in spite of the fact that a doctor who appeared on the scene shortly after one
of the evening’s attacks stated that there had been a “peculiar odor” in the
room. The officials were just no longer interested.
The Mattoon police chief issued what he felt was the final
statement on the gas attacks on September 12. He stated that large quantities
of carbon tetrachloride gas were used at the local Atlas Diesel Engine Co. and
that this gas must be causing the reported cases. It could be carried
throughout the town on the wind and could have left the stains that were found
on the rag at one of the homes.
As for the "Mad Gasser" himself, well, he was simply a
figment of their imaginations. The whole case, he said “was a mistake from
beginning to end.”
Not surprisingly, a spokesman for the plant was quick to
deny the allegations that his company had caused the concern in town,
maintaining that the only use for that gas in the plant was in their fire
extinguishers and any similar gases used there caused no ill effects in the
air. Besides that, why hadn’t this gas ever caused problems in the city
before? And how exactly was this gas cutting the window screens on Mattoon
homes before causing nausea and paralysis?
The official explanation also failed to cover just how so
many identical descriptions of the "Gasser" had been reported to the police.
It also neglected to explain how different witnesses managed to report seeing
a man of the "Gasser’s" description fleeing the scene of an attack, even when
the witness had no idea that an attack had taken place!
The last "Gasser" Attack took place on September 13 and
while it was the last appearance of the attacker in Mattoon, it was also
possibly the strangest appearance. It occurred at the home of Mrs. Bertha
Bench and her son, Orville. They described the attacker as being a woman who
was dressed in man’s clothing and who sprayed gas into a bedroom window. The
next morning, footprints that appeared to have been made by a woman’s
high-heeled shoes were found in the dirt below the window. And while this
report does not match any of the earlier attacks in Mattoon, readers will
undoubtedly recognize the claims of a woman’s shoe prints from several attacks
in Botetourt County in 1933.
After this night, the "Mad Gasser of Mattoon" was never
seen or heard from again...
The real stories of what
happened in Mattoon and Botetourt County are still unknown and it is unlikely
that we will ever know what was really behind these strange events. It is
certain that something did take place in both locations, however strange, and
theories abound as to what it may have been. Was the "Mad Gasser" real? And if
he was, who was he? And if he was real, could he have been the same figure in
both cases? It’s hard to ignore the similarities between the two cases, from
his method of operation to the unusual form of attacks. In Virginia though,
the Gasser was not always reported as being alone as he was in Mattoon, but
then again, what about the identical reports of prints left by a woman’s shoe?
Stories have suggested that Mattoon’s Gasser was anything
from a mad scientist to an ape-man (although who knows where that came from?)
and researchers today have their own theories, some of which are just as wild.
Could he have been some sort of extraterrestrial visitor using some sort of
paralyzing agent to further a hidden agenda? Or could the "Gasser" have
been an agent of our own government, who came to an obscure Midwestern town to
test some military gas that could be used in the war effort? It might be
telling that once national attention came to Mattoon, the authorities began a
policy of complete denial and the attacks suddenly ceased...
Whoever, or whatever, he was, the "Mad Gasser" has vanished
into time and, real or imagined, is only a memory in the world of the unknown.
Perhaps he was never here at all - perhaps he was, as Donald M. Johnson wrote
in the 1954 issue of the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology,
simply a "shadowy manifestation of some unimaginable unknown."
But was he really? How do we explain the sightings of the
“Mad Gasser” that were made by people who did not even know the creature was
alleged to exist? Or identical sightings from independent witnesses who could
not have possibly known that others had just spotted the same figure. Was the
“Gasser”, as some have suggested, a visitor from a dimension outside of our
own, thus explaining his ability to appear or disappear at will? Was he a
creature so outside the realm of our imaginations that we will never be able
to comprehend his motives or understand the reason why he came to Mattoon?
Sources & Bibliography:
Bartholomew, Robert - Phantom Menace (Fortean Times - 131) (March 2000)
Chicago American Newspaper
Clark, Jerome - Unexplained! (1999)
Coleman, Loren - Mothman & Other Curious Encounters (2002)
Coleman, Loren - Mysterious America (1983/2000)
Decatur Herald & Review Newspapers
Fortean Times Magazine - Various Issues
Guiley, Rosemary Ellen - Atlas of the Mysterious in North America (1995)
Hauck, Dennis William - Haunted Places: The National Directory (1996)
Keel, John - Complete Guide to Mysterious Beings (1970 / 1994)
Pohlen, Jerome - Oddball Illinois (2000)
Rath, Jay - I-Files (1999)
Scott, Beth & Michael Norman - Haunted Heartland (1986)
Shoemaker, Michael T. - The Mad Gasser of Botetourt (Fate Magazine - June
Taylor, Troy - Haunted Illinois (2001)
Taylor, Troy - Into the Shadows (2002)
Westrum, Ron - Phantom Attackers (Fortean Times - 45) (Winter 1985)
Personal Interviews Writings & Correspondence
Any materials not listed have been left off unintentionally from the list
and may have a bibliographic listing in one of Troy Taylor’s book if the
material on the website was excerpted from the book. If you recognize a
reference that has not been listed. Please Email us!
© Copyright 2002 by Troy Taylor. All Rights Reserved.
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