Mike Conley's Tales of the Weird:
driver runs over reptile man California
July 7th. As the weather heats up, strange creatures go on the prowl.
More than 20 years ago,
South Carolina’s became famous because of the Lizard Man. On a June night in 1988, 16-year-old Christopher Davis of Lee County first spotted the two-legged reptilian creature when it bounded out of the swamp and attacked his car, leaving scratch marks on the roof. He was the first to report seeing this creature and it led to that part of Bishopville, S.C. becoming known as the home of the Lizard Man.And it seems that other places may be home to similar unknown beasts. One night in 1958, a southern California man ran into something like the Lizard Man.It was Saturday, Nov. 8, 1958 and Charles Wetzel was driving his green two-door 1952 Buick in South Carolina The man was simply trying to get home that night and he was listening to a radio station out of Riverside, Calif. . All of a sudden, Wetzel’s car radio was full of static. He changed the stations but it did not help.At around the same time, Wetzel’s Buick reached the point where Los Angeles North Main Street crosses the Santa Ana River in . He saw that the river was overflowing a low point in the road and he slowed down. Then something weird leapt out of the nearby bushes and landed right in front of his car, according to a Web site.“It had a round, scarecrowish head, like something out of Halloween,” Wetzel said later. “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 protruberant mouth.”Wetzel would later describe the creature’s legs as sticking out sideways from the body, not from the bottom. He stated that its skin looked “scaly, like leaves.” He also said it “screeched like a (something not acceptable in a family newspaper).”The terrified man reached for the .22-caliber pistol that he kept under the seat of his car. But Wetzel quickly changed his mind about shooting at it. He knew that if he fired the gun it would shatter the windshield that stood between him and the reptilian monster. Wetzel hit the gas instead. The creature fell off the hood and hit the ground.To make sure he would not get attacked again, Wetzel ran over the creature in the road. He could feel a scraping sound underneath his car. He could also hear a screaming and gurgling sound. Wetzel drove as fast as he could to the nearest police station, according to the Web site.Later, police found scratches on the car’s hood and windshield. They went back to the scene of the encounter with bloodhounds but found nothing. The very next night, another driver reported a similar experience.Many years later in 1982, researcher and cryptozoologist Loren Coleman took a closer look at this sighting. He interviewed Wetzel and got a complete account of what happened on that night in 1958.In his book “Mysterious America,” Coleman writes that he discovered yet another Charles Wetzel who had seen a weird creature. This Charles Wetzel, who lived in Riverside , had reported seeing something looking like a 6-foot-tall kangaroo hopping around his farm in July of the same year. The sighting left a profound impact on this Charles Wetzel. He named a beer for it at the brewery he operated in Nebraska . He called it Wetzel Kangaroo Beer. Nebraska