Horrifying Explorations by Author Gordon Grice
Nice photos. What kind of wasp? We had what I believe is a European Hornet nest somewhere in the woods around my house this summer. Strange critters, attracted to light at night --- much like a moth.
I believe it's a paper wasp--genus Polistes. That's interesting about the hornets coming to the light. I don't think I've seen any hymenoptera do that except some ichneumon flies.
The first pic reminds me a lot of the "grey" aliens that used to terrify me as a child...
I've heard people say that about mantids as well.