Mar 162015

I remember reading John Keel’s book Strange Creatures from Time and Space when I was about nine or ten. I believe I was already familiar with Bigfoot, but Keel’s book introduced me to many more strange cryptozoological entities. Fascinating stuff, especially for a child, but eventually I became very skeptical of most cryptozoology claims, particularly Bigfoot.

Cryptozoology differs from UFOlogy in that animals must follow the laws of evolution. Claims that Bigfoot is a “shape shifter” or “interdimensional being” are marginalized and shouted down within the subculture of “respectable” cryptozoology. This is in opposition to UFOlogy, in which UFOs can be anything at all, nuts and bolts space ships that defy the laws of physics or interdimensional vehicles that got here via worm hole. UFOs can be any size, shape, or color. They can be single or many. UFOs are sort of like gods, in that they can be more or less anything you want them to be!

I had an anomalous animal sighting once, and I believe it’s worthwhile to write down an account of the experience. It occurred while driving at night. I had parked my truck the night before in front of my house. At the corner is a raised concrete traffic circle, intended to “calm” traffic. I think vehicles are supposed to go around it in a counter-clockwise fashion, as seen from above. But it’s a small intersection, a big traffic circle, and my truck has a large turning radius. I sometimes take the sort cut and turn left without going around the circle.

On this occasion I did just that; I turned left without going around. It was windy, but not raining. There are street lights in the neighborhood, so visibility was decent. In front of me and to my right I saw what I believed to be a black rat scurrying across the road, from left to right. For a moment I was upset, as no one wants rats in the neighborhood. But then I realized it wasn’t a rat, that it was much too round. Then I thought it was a raccoon, maybe a baby raccoon, but it was sort of hemispherical, and had no tail. Perhaps it was a turtle, but I’d never seen a turtle move that fast, or in a way that I was witnessing, which was a sort of side-to-side oscillation. My problem was that the sighting was brief, and I had to divert my attention to safely turning the car in the intersection. Had the event occured even ~slightly~ differently, I would to this day be claiming I saw a particularly weird animal that night. Perhaps a new species!

But I had JUST enough time during the event, which was over and done in a matter of seconds, to actually figure out what it was. It was a small black plastic bag, propelled by the wind, which JUST HAPPENED to be fluttering in a way that I initially perceived as a living animal.

I often make the comparison between UFOs and objects in the roadway. I sometimes call them “UROs” or Unidentified Roadway Objects. I see them all the time! Was that a dead animal, a piece of cardboard, a piece of tire, a rag, a dirty shirt, a piece of metal, or something else entirely? There is a common feature seen in both UFO and URO sightings: They are often brief and unexpected. Had we been given more time, better optics, or a chance to examine whatever it was up close and directly, we could most likely discover what it really was. This also illustrates why anecdotal evidence comprised of eyewitness accounts is not hard scientific evidence: It’s simply too easy to be mistaken, misperceive, or misremember what we saw. I certainly did for a moment or two during my sighting!

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