Myth Monday: Night of the Octosquatch (Aliens & UFOs)
By Kara Newcastle
Driving at home late at night after a long, hard day of work is crappy enough; you’re exhausted, you’re hungry, you’re probably still stewing over something your idiot boss forgot to do and you’re getting the blame for it yet again …
Now imagine finding something blocking your usual way home. A weird something. Something weird and hairy.
Something that looks like a furry octopus with glowing eyes. Walking on land.
Suddenly your boss’s B.S. seems kinda minor.
That’s what happen one summer night in Spain in 1961. Around 11 p.m., a trucker named Arquimedes Sanchez and his partner (who refused to be identified following the sighting) were en route from the Basque Mountains in the province of Vizcaya to deliver a shipment of jackhammers to Puerto de Barazar. They took the same road they had every night for years. They knew every twist and turn, and never had an issue getting home.
Until that night. (Well, yeah. … otherwise, we wouldn’t be talking about it.)
According to Sanchez and his partner, they were turning a bend in the road when their headlights illuminated something at the base of a steep embankment in front of them. To the men, it looked like a fuzzy octopus! Shocked, Sanchez braked hard in front of it, catching it in the middle of his headlights. The thing flinched back, as if startled, then raises a tentacle up to cover its glowing eyes … that’s when Sanchez and his partner realized that the thing they were staring at was standing there, reaching a height of 3 to 4 feet tall and covered with rust-colored fur.
The men said they stared at the mini-Cthulhu and it stared back at them, unmoving, for what seemed like several minutes. At some point, Sanchez was so frightened that he decided they had to rid the world of this furry cephalopod. Sanchez devised a brilliant idea to get the monster out the way: he ordered his partner to go after it with one of the jackhammers. His terrified partner probably responded with, “¡Que te den!” and refused to move from his seat.
Likely fighting off panic, Sanchez went with Plan B and threw the truck in reverse. He backed up a way, put the truck in drive, and gunned it towards the creature, coming to a screeching halt just a few feet from it.
The beast scooted back but didn’t get out of the way.
Sanchez tried this a few more times, succeeding in eventually making the Cousin It creature so nervous that it backed up against the embankment, but still wouldn’t move off the road. Sanchez did report that at some point during this one-sided game of chicken another truck rolled past them. If the driver saw anything, he didn’t react and just kept on going.
By now not only was Sanchez nearly out of his mind with fear, but it also dawned on him and his buddy that they still had a delivery to make, and this thing in the road was going to make them late. Perhaps summoning up the last ounce of his courage with a cry of, “Screw this!”, Sanchez floored it. The mustachioed mollusk reacted, shuffling out of the way and into the darkness, permitting the two practically hysterical men to careen their way back into town.
Since this sighting, paranormal researchers have taken to dubbing the hirsute bipedal octopus Octosquatch, since its physical description resembles that of a Sasquatch-like entity (sort of, I’ll explain in a minute) and, well, was an octopus.
Spain, as with every other country on the planet, does have legends and reports of Bigfoot-type creatures tramping around their forests and mountains, but none of them have taken to wearing an octopus on their head. However, while the story is recounted in numerous books and blogs, the actual description of how the Octosquatch was standing is never fully described (it’s possible the original report in Spanish has more detail,) but illustrations of the Octosquatch show what looks like a hairy octopus standing straight up on its tentacles.
We don’t know for certain if this truly was an extra-terrestrial being—though admittedly it does bear more than a passing resemblance to the Yip-Yips from Sesame Street—but when it is discussed, you’ll frequently find it in chapters and books about aliens and UFOs. Generally, the Octosquatch is listed as an alien encounter because it really doesn’t look like anything … and it’s so weird to write it this way … “naturally unnatural” from our world, if that makes any sense. As far as I can tell at this point, there were no reported sightings of UFOs in the area before or soon after the encounter.
This is why we have to flash forward seven years to find a connection between the hairy Squidward and aliens.
Seven years later on August 16, 1968, a farmer by the name of John Mateu woke up at 6 a.m. to begin his work on his farm four miles outside of Tivissa, in the province of Tarragona. As he got the feed ready for his cattle, he noticed a bright light reflecting in the distance. Thinking that maybe it was a car that had gotten stuck, Mateu told his wife that he was going to see if the driver needed any help. He trekked over a half-mile to the site, trailed by his lovable dog.
Upon reaching the spot, Mateu has startled and confused by what he found there; it wasn’t a car, but some kind of hovering, glowing, metal device that he said looked like “half a watermelon.” It hung suspended in the air, about four feet above the ground.
Hang on, it gets weirder.
As Mateu studied the craft, he became aware of movement on the other side of the vehicle. The two apparent owners of the ship were hauling their way through the field back towards him, running as fast as they could on their tentacle-like legs.
Yup, the octopus aliens were back. Again, they seemed to have tentacles for limbs, but they were moving so quickly Mateu wasn’t sure if they had four or five legs. They were light in color, but this time they seemed to be hairless. Mateu later said they were “disgusting.”
Possibly fearing that the human farmer was going to hijack their metallic space melon, the octoaliens jumped in and sped off into the sky. Mateu was so freaked out by what he saw that he fainted right there in the field, and laid there most of the day, as his wife had assumed that he had gone back to work after helping the stalled “car” and didn’t think to look for him. His dog was unharmed.
After Mateu recovered and made it home, he and his brother Sebastian examined the area where Mateu had seen the craft and the hairless octopi. They discovered that the grass beneath where the flying ship had been was burnt in a perfect circle. Mateu later found two more older scorch circles of the same size nearby. No scientific tests were made of the sites, but both men reported that their watches stopped in the vicinity of the circles. A similar claim was made by a Hungarian couple who came to investigate.
Okay, so there’s the possible UFO/alien octopus connection right there. That doesn’t definitively prove that the Octosquatch was an alien, but it lends some credence. Both events happened in the summer, both featured land octopuses, and the two locations are about four hours away from each other (plus there’s an incident from 1967 when a woman from Barcelona claimed to have seen a “cactus creature” with “four limbs,” but that was the extent of the report I found), so maybe the Octosquatch and his bald cousins were making regular trips there.
Even so, I wouldn’t be doing my due diligence if I didn’t point out that all these stories could be a load of crap. In the truckers’ case, it was late, it was dark, they were likely tired, and they could have run into something or someone that they mistook for a monster—a dreadlocked backpacker maybe? And who knows, they could have been wasted on Patxaran at the time, which would have altered their perceptions.
As for John Mateu, it was his brother Sebastian who wrote a letter to the Barcelona Tele-Express detailing the incident, and though he sent it without a return address, he still signed it with his name. UFOlogists flocked to the area to investigate it, and after a combination of local pressure plus a published plea from the Center for Interplanetary Studies, Sebastian reluctantly came forward. Worried that he would lose his job as an accountant over the mess, Sebastian stated that he wouldn’t elaborate any more on the encounter to any reporters, though he did respond to the Center for Interplanetary Studies via letter (no, I don’t know what the letters said.) As for John Mateu, he was apparently cornered in a tavern by reporter Alex Boots. Whatever story Mateu told Boots—plus the absolute lack of any concrete findings—caused a boatload of investigators to decide the whole thing was a hoax.
So, what are we left with? As usual, a wacky story with no clear answers. Meanwhile, I’m just sitting over here wondering if cooked Octosquatch pairs well with marinara sauce.