The night is still, quiet except for the dog. Every time you find yourself about to drift off, the barking starts up again, somewhere in the distance. The rest of the party seems unphased by it, but it never fails to jar you from sleep. After being woken up for what feels like the hundredth time, you groggily climb out of your bedroll, scan in the dark for any sign of the offending animal.
You see movement, at first it’s hard to make out in the dark but as your eyes adjust you see movement, something with four legs. You squint, trying to make out details, and as you acclimate to the darkness you realize it isn’t one thing with four legs, but two things with two legs, legs that are too long and seem to attach to nothing, just a body that is too small. You cannot see eyes on either creature, but you somehow know they are watching you.
Get ready, gentle traveler, for you have found yourself in the orbit of the Fresno Nightcrawler.
This bizarre cryptid has been spotted in California’s Central Valley and Yosemite Natural Park, with reports of similar creatures in Ohio, Indiana, and Poland. It is described as pale, usually white, with long, slender legs and a disproportionately small body with no arms and backward bending knees. Think the legs of a deer attached to a tiny body. Nightcrawlers are always spotted travelling in pairs, like two ethereal pairs of pants roaming the landscape.
There aren’t any reports of nightcrawlers causing harm, but their presence is always unexpected and unnerving, their motivation and temperament unknown. Stories spread across the internet suggest they have always been here, an ancient visitor that has been exploring Earth since before the rise of humanity. It is speculated that they are here to observe, watching humans go about their lives from a distance with the goal of bringing peace and balance. Though this may be true, those who have encountered the Fresno Nightcrawler or its midwestern counterparts describe a strong sense of dread and fear taking hold as soon as they see the creatures, so it’s difficult to say they are a strictly benign force with any kind of certainty.
As the name suggests, all Nightcrawler sightings have been after dark, usually in the middle of the night. The only hint that a Nightcrawler is near comes from dogs, which seem to universally hate these things, barking and growling when they are near. If you want to avoid these leggy interlopers, you’d better find yourself a canine companion for your travels.