Friday, November 30, 2012

Stumbled upon History in the Dark

One night earlier this week I was following a lead on a potential Skunk Ape sighting on West Bypass when I literally stumbled upon a remarkable little place on the edges of the City. This tiny lost plot of land is the Rose Cemetery, which, it turns out, is the final resting place of Kindred Rose, one of Springfield's earliest residents.

Kindred Rose was not only the man credited with giving Springfield its name - According to legal records he also was a successful property and slave owner, and in 1867 became the man who smacked a Mr. James Simpson in the head with an iron bar  (the Union and Emancipation were still touchy subjects).

On the night I first accidently discovered this place I attempted to photograph it, but the picture was ruined by the presence of a lot of pesky orbs.  I returned to the place two days later to take the photograph shown here.

While researching the history of this spot, I came across a number of bits of information that hint at the earliest attempts to find the Elusive Skunk Ape in Springfield.  More on this in next week's post!



Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Fungi Theory

If you have not already read the previous entries regarding the tiny unidentified cryptids and the previous rational explanation thereof then do so before continuing.  From here on things get a lot more strange.

In the years since I saw the tiny running creatures I had settled on the kitten hypothesis mentioned earlier, but that all changed a month ago when I spotted this rather tall mushroom, one of a number of species commonly called False Morels, growing in a neighborhood lawn.  I instantly recognized the cylindrical shape and color of the stalk as being identical to that of the creatures, leading me to my new theory:  The Animate Fungus theory!

As you'll probably remember from Biology Class, a mushroom is only a small part of the fungal organism - the "fruiting body" of the underground mycelium which grows under the soil as a network of hyphae, often over a rather large area.  The purpose of the mushroom is to spread spores to new areas. Unfortunately, the urban environment can limit the growth of mushrooms. Any portion of the mycelium growing under concrete or asphalt is unable to sprout a fruiting body above itself, and wide areas of man made surfaces keep spores from ever finding fertile ground.

On the other hand, some distant relatives of mushroom sprouting fungi have motile phases. Members of the Chytrid phylum create spores with flagella that can swim through water. Land dwelling Slime Molds (which are not true fungi) go through an amoeboid motile phase that allows large patches of the organism to slowly crawl across a surface as a single unit - a thought that once terrified me as a boy!  Even the cell structure of fungi resembles simple animals more than plants, with cell walls made not of cellulose like plants, but of chitin as found in the exoskeletons of arthropods.

So, when I first saw the aforementioned False Morel, I suddenly realized that a mushroom having the ability to separate itself from the mycelium and sprint short distances across roads or parking lots would have a definite advantage over other mushroom species in an urban environment. The tiny white creatures I had seen were the stalks and legs of two sprinting mushrooms, their black caps invisible in the darkness.

Since then we have been able to collect and dissect a number of similar mushrooms in hopes of finding one with evidence of limb development, but so far we have been unsuccessful. Perhaps the motile species, otherwise similar to other Morels and False Morels, only develops limbs immediately before sprinting?  Obviously we have a lot more searching ahead of us.

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Rational Explanation

Last week I described the two tiny creatures that I saw some years ago in a darkened front yard here in Springfield Missouri.  Over the years I have come to two conclusions as to what kind of creature or creatures I saw that night.  This weekend I will describe what I call the Rational Explanation, while next weekend I will cover my New Explanation.

If you'll remember, I caught sight of two little, white, headless and armless creatures running through the grass in a darkened lawn just south of the Brentwood Library.   Every cryptozoologist should always be aware of the possibility that the strange creature being observed may just be a common animal that looks strange because of the peculiar circumstances of the situation.  Thus I came to the conclusion that the two little cryptids were actually one animal.  As you can see in the illustration, a kitten with a black head, torso, and tail and white haunches and legs could appear to be two smaller running animals.  Mystery solved!

Well, maybe not.  Next week I will describe the recent observation that led to my new theory regarding this sighting, for I now propose that the creatures that I saw that night were...

Animate Cryptid Fungi!!!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Possible New Cryptid Class?

Usually, an observed phenomenon can be quickly classified - common animal, cryptid, or whatever.  Sometimes, though, one sees something that is very difficult to identify or explain.  The following is something I experienced some time ago that I only now have been able to explain to my satisfaction.  Indeed, I now realize that I may have seen an entirely new classification of cryptid lifeform!

About twelve years ago I was driving through the Brentwood neighborhood in southeast Springfield, just south of the Brentwood Library on Stewart Avenue.  One section of the street was not well lit by the streetlight, yet two white objects in the darkened yard to my right caught my eye.  Suddenly, as my headlights briefly flashed across the yard, I caught a clearer view of two small white creatures running through the lawn.  Each one was less than eight inches tall, with two legs and no visible head or arms.  Then, just as suddenly, I lost sight of them.


For years I have rationalised this strange experience as a mistaken sighting of some mundane sort of creatures.  Indeed, they did not appear to be any kind of imaginable animals, normal or cryptid.  Yet, this week I made an observation that gave me an amazing new possible explanation for these tiny unidentified creatures.

I will post my new theory next weekend, but in the meantime I challenge you to come up with an explanation, rational or irrational, for this strange phenomena.  See if YOU can decide what I saw on that dark night twelve years ago, and send YOUR theory to:
springfield.cryptids@gmail.com

Friday, November 2, 2012

Big Changes at Urban Cryptids!

The Urban Cryptids website continues to grow - Here's a few new additions:

First, our New Address - The site can now be reached through
www.urbancryptids.com

Second, the updated Urban Cryptid Rangers Unite tab - more information on becoming an Urban Cryptid Ranger is on its way, but in the meantime you can go to the Online Equipment Source.

Third, the ZOM ALERT tab - There's been a lot of zombie and other "aberrant human" activity recently which needs to be filed separately from cryptid reports. Click the ZOM ALERT tab to find the link to the website of the SW MO Zombie Response Team.