The Creature of Kotch, Ohio
Disclaimer: This is the last known transcript of Tom Murdoch, a field reporter for the Chicago-based National News Radio. On July 11, 2015, Tom visited the ghost town of Kotch, Ohio to report on the disappearance of several hikers in the area and about the local folklore surrounding the abandonment of the town due to a chemical spill. What you are about to read has not been released to the public and is property of the Federal government pending investigation. Reader discretion is advised.
From the NNR studios in Chicago: In other news today, something that could easily be derived out of local folklore. Kotch, Ohio was once a town of 2,000, until an environmental disaster in the 1970s made it virtually a ghost town. Recently, as many as a dozen hikers and adventurers in the area have mysteriously vanished and locals believe that a quote “mutant monster” are responsible. National News Radio’s Tom Murdoch brings this story.
Forty years ago, Kotch, Ohio was just like any other Rust Belt town. At its peak, two thousand people once called this place home, and the largest employer was the Kotch Chemical Company. In 1978, an explosion at the plant caused a leakage of toxic gas into the environment, killing three workers and creating an ever burning fire underneath the town. Despite efforts from the Department of the Interior, nothing could contain the fire, and so slowly and surely, all but eight residents left Kotch, leaving behind a crumbling ghost town.
Walking through Main Street during broad daylight, all the structures look not much different from town photographs taken decades ago. The homes and buildings, small in size, are weathered with ivy and other vegetation taking over, and the smell of methane gas still lingers in the air. The townspeople packed up and disappeared, leaving their home to be consumed by toxic gases. 77-year-old Fred Johnson, a lifelong resident of Kotch, is one of only a few who actually stayed in his old home.
“I’ve gotten so used to the smell, it don’t bother me no more. I went to these schools and stores when I was a boy, I ain’t leaving.”
Recently, teenagers and other adventure seekers in the Ohio Valley will occasionally come to this town for a cheap thrill. School children of the area often scare each other with ghost stories of mutant monsters lurking underneath. But a mysterious creature has been seen by a few travelers, with as many as a dozen of these tourists disappearing within the last three years.
On April 20, 2015, Kyra Levitt, a 20 year old student at Ohio State University, took such a day trip with three of her friends. The party was attacked by a mysterious and hair covered animal, and only Kyra has been seen since. Her friends, Rachel Grabner, Elaine Smith, and Jenny Buss, disappeared after the attack. Here, she gives an eyewitness account of the incident:
“We were hiking on a hidden trail near the town. It was around 5:00, and a large black creature came towards us. It was about ten feet long and with black hairs. I was knocked unconscious, and when I woke up, Rachel, Elaine, and Jenny…were gone. The police told me it was a black bear. I know it wasn’t a bear. A bear has four legs, this…thing…this horrible creature had more than four.”
She shows me two large, red and purple gashes, one on her leg and one on her stomach.
“I grew up in Ohio, and we always tried to scare each other as kids that Kotch was filled with mutants from the chemicals. We never believed them as adults, just wanted to come here to drink beer and have cheap fun. Those stories are all right.”
When interviewed by the press, state police chief Randal Kowalski had this brash argument to say:
“Look here, there are no monsters in Kotch. We are taking the disappearance of up to fifteen people in the area very seriously, and we do not believe in local superstition. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the disappeared, and we hope to reunite them soon. We are a rational and logical police force, and we know that there is a logical explanation for this epidemic. My boys are combing the nearby forests and trails night and day, and we hope to uncover evidence very soon.”
Until these hikers are found, Kotch still remains a landmark of strange folklore, and a living testament as to what effects an environmental disaster of such magnitude can have upon a small town. This is Tom Murdoch for….
(a loud crash and scream from Murdoch)
From the NNR studios in Chicago, Illinois: Tom, are you there? Tom can you hear me?
Ladies and gentleman, it appears I have fallen through Main Street in Kotch. The crumbled infrastructure and years of poison gas erosion has sent me underneath the town in a black inferno. I can’t even begin to describe the smell to you. When I was in high school, I was on a field trip to a crime lab in downtown Chicago. We toured the morgue, didn’t see any dead bodies, but the coroner passed around a jar of formaldehyde, to demonstrate how awful it smelled. It’s that smell mixed with methane times a hundred. This is what forty years of toxic gas can do.
I feel something moist at my feet. I’m going to turn on the flashlight of my iPhone to see what it is. Oh dear God! Dear listeners, I know that you can hear me only via radio and no other form of telecommunication, but I am standing in an animal carcass. I think it was a deer. I can’t tell, there is no skin on this poor critter. Just the white and pink and red muscles, with a jawbone popping out. Something made this animal its dinner. I know it happened recently. I can feel what’s left of the animal’s body heat radiating onto my own face. Oh god, I’m about to vomit right now.
Ladies and gentleman, if I’m not mistaken, I am deep within what once was Kotch, Ohio’s sewer system. I feel as though if I keep following this path south, to where the Chemical Plant still stands, I might be able to escape freely. I understand I will be exposed to toxins that could either kill me now or many years from now, but goddammit I want to at least try. Perhaps I will find the answers for those missing hitchhikers. Godspeed.
Dear listeners, it’s been about ten minutes of walking through such a dark corridor. My iPhone has only 15% of battery life left. If it goes out, I will be in complete darkness. I can only to escape this abyss before it does. I know on the surface, a few Ohio State troopers are out there, looking for these disappeared kids and I am extremely confident that they will come across my path. I can only hope, I guess. As I keep walking, the smell is getting worse and worse. Now it smells like methane gas mixed in with rotten meat. I suppose that other animals fell into this forsaken pit of hell and died in the process, much like my once four-legged friend back there.
(A loud crash, coughing)
I have now fallen face down is something soft. I’m about to vomit again. Shit, where’s my phone? Where’s my fucking light source? In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m fucking panicking right now!
Oh good, here it is, let me turn on the…Oh my God…oh sweet Jesus! Ladies and gentleman, I cannot begin to even describe what…I feel into a pile of putrified corpses. My heart is heavy now, I wish I could say animal corpses. These are…oh Jesus Christ! They’re humans! God, I must have found the missing hikers, and there certainly are dozens here. Maybe even a hundred corpses are here. There are no distinguishing facial features, but melted muscle on blackened bones, as though they were…oh Jesus…I think something digested and shit out these people. What the fuck? There are no complete skeletons, just piles of bones. I can see what’s left of the flesh drooping of their ribs. This is truly, the most horrifying thing I have ever seen in my lifetime. I can’t help feel sorry for the poor souls who perished in Kotch…this godforsaken furnace, and the family members who won’t be able to see them again. Something inhuman did this.
It appears as though I am in a cave, as there are walls covered in…oh my God is that a gigantic spider web.
(muffled screams from the cave walls)
Something is moving, I better go check it out.
I just tore off some of the web. It’s a girl. She must be 20, maybe 25 years old. So young, and she’s wrapped up in a spider’s web and looking starved and weak.
What did this to you? Don’t worry, I’m going to do my damnedest to get us out of here.
(a low roar is heard)
What was that? What the fuck was that?
A dark shadow has come across the….Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. I found the creature. Young Kyra back in town isn’t joking. It’s about fifteen feet long and hairy with eight legs. Jesus Christ! It’s a spider. I can see all eight of its red, burning eyes. Don’t worry, I’m cowered underneath the corpses, away from his sight…and the girl is…Oh God!
(a loud, bloodcurdling scream)
Oh God no! She’s being…eating alive! This gargantuan arachnid has sinked its ravenous and sharp fangs into her torso. Nothing is more traumatizing right now that having a good sight of the pain in her eyes. Listeners, I have seen this poor young woman’s blood splatter all over the fucking place! Are those intestines? I should be there helping her instead of watching her being eaten alive by something otherworldly.
(the screaming continues louder then ceases)
(the creature roars, Murdoch steps on a bone)
It…sees me, I gotta go back, I gotta….
I think I’m safe…for now. If I make it out of this hellish dark pit, nothing will ever make me forgot this experience. I have been to some dark places during my twenty year career with National News Radio. I have covered wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I was there during the violent unrest moments in Ukraine and Syria. Hell, I went to a shopping mall only hours after a psychopath killed several people there. I never thought I would experience was is the real life equivalent of a B-rated monster movie. Only it isn’t something I could lampoon in a crowded movie theater. No, this is worse. I saw a poor, helpless young women…a woman with a future, being devoured alive by a mutant spider, and I didn’t save her. I’m a failure.
Even if I live and am rescued, I am tendering my resignation from National News Radio effective immediately. God didn’t make that…thing back there. We did. We polluted the town of Kotch, Ohio, and as a result, a horrible monster was created, because of our dependance on toxic, man made chemicals to make our lives easier, and so the corporate CEOs could get wealthier, and wealthier. I guess sometime between now and the 1978 plant malfunction, some arachnid inhaled the toxic fumes and became the behemoth that I witnessed.
May God forgive us for what we have done to this planet. We talk about a sixth extinction. We just started it. We messed with nature, we got too big for our own good. I fear to comprehend if there are other such creatures lurking near Chernobyl or Fukushima. All I know is, we made these monsters.
For National News Radio, this is Tom Murdoch signing off.