It's Weird Out There

From Sasquatch to the Mothman, our writer takes on the supernatural

Oct 1, 2003
Outside Magazine

Paranormal mysteries are rarely solved; they're just tarnished by schlocky film adaptations. Mel Gibson's performance in Signs couldn't stop the centuries-old CROP-CIRCLE phenomenon, in which large-scale patterns mysteriously flatten sections of wheat fields and other crops. Teenage pranksters claimed responsibility for the 15 interconnected circles that turned up in June in a wheat field near Fairfield, California, but true believers (known as "croppies") suspect aliens at work.... SASQUATCH, the hairy North American man-beast still reeling from the box-office stinker Harry and the Hendersons, took another one on the chin last December. That's when the son of Northern California logger Ray Wallace announced that his pop had punked the world by faking the footprints that spawned the modern Bigfoot legend, in 1958. Ray died a few days before the announcement.... Meanwhile, the Brits keep hunting for Big Shaggy's snowbound Himalayan cousin, THE YETI. Scientists were baffled by the DNA in so-called yeti hair discovered by a British expedition in Bhutan two years ago. "It is not a human, not a bear, nor anything else we have been able to identify," said Bryan Sykes, of Oxford University's Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine. "We have never encountered DNA that we couldn't recognize before."... Nobody's filmed the MOVING ROCKS IN DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK yet, although creeping boulders would have livened up Matt Damon's 2002 wander-in-the-desert snoozer, Gerry. The rocks, some as heavy as 700 pounds, inexplicably move across a region of the park known as Racetrack Valley, leaving long trails on the hard desert floor. One theory holds that rainstorm runoff saturates the ground, making it slippery and allowing heavy gales to push the rocks. Another says a thin coating of ice might move those big boys.... Richard Gere's recent thriller The Mothman Prophecies hasn't inspired any new sightings of the MOTHMAN, the bizarre seven-foot-tall, winged apparition that haunted the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, in 1967. Perhaps Mothy moved south and mutated into EL CHUPACABRA, the feared Latin American goat-sucker that's said to resemble a fanged kangaroo with wings. Chupa began draining the blood of goats, chickens, and rabbits in Puerto Rico in 1995. Since then, reports of Chupa have come from Mexico and Central and South America. Some believe the critter was born of a NASA genetic-tinkering experiment gone horribly awry. The Chilean news agency EFE quoted a Chilean architect as saying, "The gringos had at least three genetic experiments run away from them." Calling Hollywood: Can we get a Chupa biopic in development already?

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