|For me, the very essence of the strange and unknown boils down to encounters between man and mystery, without the baggage of belief. Some of us have seen the windmill blink. We will never be the same.
As if ghosts, bedroom phantoms, enigmatic visitors, and Bigfoot were not weird enough on their own, what are we to make of encounters where these same anomalies dress in plaid or checkered fabrics? We define plaid or checkered here as any fabric with stripes or bars of various colors and widths that cross at right angles. A true plaid has the same pattern when you rotate it ninety degrees.
Try plugging the word “ghost” along with “plaid shirt” or “checkered shirt” into your favorite Internet search engine. “Ghosts-in-plaid” also nets interesting results. You will receive an immediate embarrassment of online riches.
Arizona: Two bartenders closing a Tombstone establishment in the wee hours of the morning both looked up when they felt something cold go by. It was a man in a checkered shirt and dark pants. They described him as a “big guy, but you could see thru him.”
Iowa: On an Emmetsburg (county seat of Palo Alto County) site along Highway 18, where a Motor Lodge once sat, a ghostly old man in a plaid shirt walks along, pausing six times, as if he is checking the doors to rooms that no longer exist.
Massachusetts: People often report seeing a ghostly man with red hair and a plaid shirt hitchhiking on Route 44 between Seekonk and Rehoboth.
Montana: Patrons frequenting the Aleworks in Bozeman occasionally glimpse a ghost floating above the pool room in a red-and-black-checkered shirt. Sometimes a chilly presence turns on the radio and opens and closes locked doors. One night, employees could not shut down the security system because it detected motion in the completely empty restaurant.
North Carolina: A furniture store in Thomasville is haunted by the ghost of a tall man in a checkered shirt.
Ohio: The ghost of what appears to be a farmer in a red plaid shirt and old worn out jeans has appeared in an Avon residence on numerous occasions.
Pennsylvania: A family living in an apartment building in Alburtis has named their ghost. Nicholas is about 9 or 10 years old. All they saw was his face and plaid shirt in the mirror.
Utah: A ghost wearing a plaid shirt is seen frequently at Betty’s Cafe, formerly known as The Brickhouse, located on Main Street in Cedar City.
Written and directed by Oren Peli, the horror/thriller film, “Paranormal Activity,” was released in October of 2009. The movie’s tagline, “What Happens When You Sleep?” taps into our vulnerability of being asleep. This film is fiction.
What happens when you sleep is another matter.
Canada: In August of 2010, a housewife from London, Ontario awoke to find a man in a brown-reddish checkered shirt staring at her. She screamed and her husband, who was downstairs watching television, ran to her aid. No interloper was found.
West Virginia: Author John “The Mothman Prophecies” Keel recounts the testimony of Linda Lilly from Point Pleasant. Late one night in March of 1967, Linda woke up and saw a large figure towering over her bed. “It was a man,” she said. “A big man. Very broad. I couldn’t see his face very well, but I could see that he was grinning at me.” She cried out that there was a man in her room. “He walked around the bed and stood right over me.” Linda declared, “I screamed again and hid under the covers, when I looked again he was gone.” She then ran into her mother’s room. When asked for a full description of the man, Linda said she thought he had been wearing “a checkered shirt.”
Keel wrote that “Bedroom phantoms in checkered shirts are old hat to investigators of psychic phenomena. I have come upon this again and again.”
Posting his personal bedroom invader story online, a college student from the United Kingdom relates that, in 2009, his father confided to him that he also “was woken for no reason in the early hours of the morning, looked toward the end of the bed, and he saw a man at the end of his bed, walking around the room. It was so vivid that my dad could tell me that the man was wearing a red checkered shirt, and was carrying something. The man was very tall as well. My dad called out to the man, but there was no answer. He switched on the light and the man disappeared.”
Enigmatic visitors encountered in the waking state carry on the plaid fashion tradition.
Singapore: A family moved into one of those L-shaped flats at Kim Tian Place. One of the children witnessed a man’s head and upper body peek out from behind a pillar at the end of the kitchen. The man disappeared behind the pillar very quickly and the youngster remembered being attracted by his colorful checkered shirt that he had on. Checking behind the pillar, there was no one there.
Currently, we have those “Black-Eyed Kids” or BEKs as they are called, a phenomenon that rivals the chupacabra in recent interest.
This strange trend was first reported by Texas journalist Brian Bethel on January 16, 1998. According to Bethel, two boys approached him while he was sitting in his parked car. Bethel described the youths as stylish, olive-skinned kids. The boys asked for a ride home explaining that they were on their way to the movies, but had forgotten their money.
Bethel claimed that the boys grew ever more adamant that they be allowed into his car. It was then that he finally noticed their eyes – no white corneas or colorful irises, just a pair of big, black, shark-like eyes — whereupon he was momentarily paralyzed with fear. These black-eyed beings seemed to realize that their window of opportunity was closing and their demands reached a fever pitch, at which point Bethel promptly fled the scene. Thus began the “official” saga of the BEKs.
It must be noted here that, as each and every case unfolds, eyewitnesses have claimed to have felt an almost overpowering rush of fear when they came into contact with these “children.”
Shaun Belekurov, author of 2012 The Paranormal Cookbook, elaborates that these BEKs “dress as you would expect a normal teenager to dress (contemporary) with one exception; they seem to have a definite fashion statement in the wearing of checkered shirts or pants. We see this to be recurring theme with the ‘Grinning Man’… We will also point out the checkered shirts worn by Bigfoot in the ’70s, the checkered robes in some higher masonic and magical rituals and the Phantom Clowns. This indicator is a piece of information rarely known to the general public. It is a little more familiar in the circles I travel in, but not much. So this is a consistency that your average hoaxer would have very little awareness of, at best.”
Checkered shirts worn by Bigfoot?
Yes, reports occasionally surface of hairy bipedal creatures being seen wearing plaid shirts.
Oregon: Tracy (last name withheld) encountered her Bigfoot just south of Wolf Creek, while driving north on I-5 on December 27, 1997. It was one o‘clock in the morning and raining hard. She says, “I could see what I thought was a person walking fast, with a red plaid shirt on his shoulders. I was straining hard to try to identify a human with clothes. As I got closer, I didn’t see any pants on him, and he was intent on walking fast and didn’t turn around. Finally, as I was within fifty feet, I could see it was no human being. It was dark brown with hair. As I was passing it, it looked down at me with dark red piercing eyes, and he looked pissed off. He was at almost a run, at that point. He took two steps in seventy feet, to the edge of the hillside/forest, and he was gone. When he took those last steps, it seemed like he defied gravity, and just smoothly glided thru the air. It was almost surreal, the way he did it.”
California: On March 12, 2011, Paul Dale Roberts, General Manager of Haunted and Paranormal Investigations International, posted his interview with Marcus Zeller. Marcus saw his Bigfoot in 1987, as the sun was setting on Loomis. He described the creature as about seven feet tall with broad shoulders and red eyes. “Here is the crazy thing about this Bigfoot, it was wearing a plaid shirt! It was red and white; I remember it as clear as day.”
There are no trivial solutions to these absurdities. There exists reports of high strangeness and high witness credibility for which no one – and I emphasize – no one, has been able to explain.
Robert A. Goerman is a native of New Kensington, Pennsylvania. As an author and investigative scholar of the unknown and unexplained, he has been fortunate enough to have his research and writings featured in national magazines and serve as source material for many books and television shows such as Unsolved Mysteries, The Unexplained, History’s Mysteries, Animal X, and MonsterQuest.