Nov 22, 2017 I Brent Swancer

Mysterious Creatures and Bizarre Dash Cam Footage

It is a dark night and the landscape leaps out of the pitch blackness into the beams of the car’s headlights, everything else just an indistinct blur of greys and half-glimpsed shapes, perhaps frosted by moonlight, perhaps not. The trees crowd around the road in the passing light as well, seeming to reach their flickering tendrils and fingers outwards overhead, and there is a sense that anything could be crouched or lurking out in the gloom out there beyond this illuminated patch. Then up ahead something lurches, scurries, or skitters out of the murk, something the likes of which you have never seen disgorged from the forest into your lights and possibly your nightmares. As your mind struggles to make sense of what you have just seen and comprehend it, the thing is gone just as suddenly as it appeared, swallowed back up by the night. What was it? Where did it go? You don’t know, and there was no way for you to have possibly taken a picture.

Such reports are commonplace in cryptozoology, sightings made by people driving along at night minding their own business are numerous to the point that it is almost cliché. There was a time when such chance encounters with strange mystery creatures along the remote roadways of our world would have been nothing more than a scary yarn, with nothing to show for it, and confined to our imaginations, yet in more modern times the increasing use of dashboard mounted cameras in vehicles of all kinds has brought some of these strange, passing sightings into the light and captured them on video for all to see. No longer are such reports the realm of mere pure speculation, doubt, and wonder.

Perhaps one of the more well-known such pieces of mysterious footage was captured in 2009 in Lumpkin County, Georgia, in the United States. In the footage a Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office deputy is driving along a lonely road in the Frogtown area at night bantering back and forth with a local named Mary Scott, who was along for the ride as a part of a Citizens Law Enforcement Academy program. As the two make their way through a dark landscape illuminated only by the vehicle’s headlights something runs across the road in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment. It is hard to see in the unenhanced version of the footage, and can take several viewings to catch, but it is something large and dark in color, seemingly bipedal, and very fleet of foot, and it is odd enough to elicit a shout of surprise from the deputy and genuine amazement from Scott, who also saw it. The two then turn the car around to go back and look for whatever it was, and Scott would later say of the odd encounter:

We were going about 55 mph on a curvy road. It was really late-after midnight, I think. We hadn’t passed any other cars, and this thing came out of nowhere. The officer hit the brakes and we both jumped out. We looked on both sides of the road but didn’t see anything, and we looked at each other kind-of like, ‘You saw that, didn’t you? I saw that.’

The officer can be seen in the footage getting out of the car and shining his flashlight around into the wilderness, but they are unable to figure out where the thing went or just what exactly it is they had just seen. The two can be heard speculating that it might just be some teenagers messing around, but they don’t seem to really believe that, and they continue to express bewilderment. They would later take a look at the dash cam footage they had captured and that was when things got decidedly more mysterious. The bizarre figure indeed seems to run on two legs, is quite fast, and does not appear to be of human proportions, although it is only visible for a fraction of a second. Upon seeing the strange footage Scott became convinced that they had witnessed something truly out of the ordinary, saying of the review of the footage “We were both just shocked. It was really tall, and it really looked like the pictures you’ve seen of Bigfoot.” Bigfoot or not, the reactions of the two witnesses certainly seem genuine and they seem to be convinced that they saw something weird.

When the footage was uncovered and posted on the Internet it immediately went viral, and there was intense speculation on what it could be. Was it a misidentified known animal, Bigfoot, a hoax? Debate and discussion swarmed about the footage, and all manner of cryptozoologists, paranormal investigators, and curiosity seekers came pouring into the area, to the point that Sheriff Stacy Jarrard decided to launch his own investigation into the strange sighting. Jarrard claims that he went interviewing residents of the area looking for any helpful testimony and apparently found it in two students at North Georgia College & State University, who he claims acted very nervous in his presence and allegedly eventually admitted that one of them had dressed up in a gorilla suit and prowled about as a prank on the night in question. It seemed like case closed, or was it?

Skeptics of these claims say that no hoaxers have officially stepped forward to publically claim responsibility for such a prank, and the picture that Jarrard said he took of the boys with the actual gorilla suit has yet to materialize, with Jarrard supposedly refusing all requests to release the elusive photo. It has also been pointed out that the area was very remote and that no one lived in the immediate vicinity, making it odd that the boys would be out there trouncing about in their suit on the off chance that someone would actually happen by. It also seems rather ill-advised to do so in the first place, as in this day and age and with armed people running around and hunters about it seems like wandering around the forest in a gorilla suit is just asking for trouble. I can see using a suit to make one’s own fake video, but the deputy was seemingly not in on this, and walking around pranking unknown people with a gorilla suit in Bigfoot country being the death wish it is, it seems foolish at best. Does anyone really do this?

Adding to the whole odd affair, a 2011 Animal Planet documentary group also investigated and confirmed that no teenagers had lived anywhere near the area at the time, making it strange that they should be there, and interestingly when other sheriff’s department personnel were interviewed none of them had any knowledge of Jarrard’s supposed investigation. It seems the only source we have for any of Jarrard’s “investigation” is Jarrard himself, which is a bit suspicious and has led to the idea that he is the one pulling a fast one, possibly to keep people from coming in to snoop about. A BFRO (Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization) statement on the matter reads:

None of the other sheriffs had heard about this story that Jarrard told to a reporter. It seems he came up with the story to quell any fear that local people might have about a monster in the woods, and to prevent hunters from going to look for one.

As far as anyone knows, the two boys might not even exist, and if they do the only one they have admitted a hoax to is Jarrard himself. There has also been quite a bit of analysis done on the video clip by those who claim that the creature seen in the footage seems to be moving much faster and more fluidly than what would typically be expected of a teenager in a gorilla suit, with one estimate saying the thing appears to move at about 10 meters (40 feet) in 1.4 seconds. However, obviously this is hard to determine because whatever it is can only very briefly be seen, and even with enhancements made to the footage it is indistinct, blurry and undeniably hard to make out. It is certainly dark, probably bipedal, and man-sized or larger, but it is difficult to glean much else from the video, meaning that the footage will remain inconclusive, with those watching it divided as to what exactly it shows. You can see the dash cam footage here, with enhancements at the end.

A very similar piece of weird dashboard camera footage that has made the rounds emerged in 2016, and comes to us from Russia’s icy Kazhakstan border, in an area between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains called the Republic of Bashkortostan. The video features two men driving at night along a snowy road in what appears to be a rather isolated and remote area, and they are chatting away in Russian about, well I’m not exactly sure as I cannot speak Russian but it seems like just friendly banter. Around 45 seconds into the video they are noticeably shocked when a large figure lumbers across the road ahead right into the beams of the car’s headlights.

The two startled men chatter away in the universal language of befuddled shouts of amazement and fear, and frantically stop the car and reverse to see if they can figure out what the strange creature was, but whatever it is they saw is gone by then. The witnesses claim that the area they were in is very remote, the weather had been inhospitable and frigid at the time, and that it would be unlikely that someone would have been out there pulling pranks on such a night. They have also dismissed the idea that they may have seen a bear or some wild animal, with driver Vadim Gilmanov stating:

I mean it could have been someone’s cruel prank. But on the other hand, who else could dash out so quickly in the middle of the night? In the middle of nowhere.

As with the Lumpkin footage the creature, hoaxer, or whatever it is, is visible only very briefly, and is not clearly defined. It could be practically anything, but the clip is oddly intriguing nonetheless. You can see it here. Staying with the bizarre humanoid theme we come to what is perhaps one of the most talked about pieces of footage in recent days, this time not from a car’s dash cam but from a helmet cam worn by a biker in Indonesia in 2017.

The footage comes from the helmet camera of one of a group of off-road motocross bikers tearing along a dirt road surrounded thick jungle and high grass near Banda Aceh, north of Sumatra Island. At one point one of the riders loses control of his bike and falls, and it soon becomes obvious why, as it appears that a peculiar figure has scurried out of the wilderness onto the road to startle the rider into crashing his bike. The rest of the bikers slow down to see that the unidentified creature is short, no more than 4 or 5 feet tall, bald, and half naked, holding some sort of pole or spear, and looks to be a humanoid of some kind, but before anyone can get a good look it sprints off at a surprising speed.

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A still from the strange footage showing the humanoid

The group immediately gives chase on their motorcycles but the humanoid runs along the road very quickly and then loses them by veering off into the high grassland, prompting the pursuers to stop their bikes and look for it on foot but all they can find is the strange pole it had been carrying discarded upon the ground. The creature itself is nowhere to be seen despite all frantic attempts to locate it by the puzzled witnesses. The strange footage set the Internet on fire when it was first released, baffling all those who saw it. What was this diminutive little humanoid and where did it come from? No one really knows, but there have been theories. One is that this could be actual footage of an Indonesian cryptid hairy hominid called the Orang Pendek, which is reported from Sumatra and is also claimed to be only around 3 to 5 feet tall, but the lack of any apparent body hair at all on the subject of the footage makes it look more like a human than a hairy ape man of any sort.

Considering its similarities to a human being and its small stature, there has also been the idea that this could be a member of a previously thought to be a lost tribe of mysterious pygmies called the Mante, who are only known through two that were supposedly captured in the 17th century to be presented to the Sultan. There are other tribes present in the region as well, although none that really resemble what was seen in the footage. Of course there has also been the idea that this was all a hoax, but in the end despite millions of views and constant discussion, debate, and analysis of the footage it remains a total mystery. You can see it here.

Orang pendek Sumatra Indonesia
The Orang Pendek

Whatever it was or wherever it went, I’m sure it wanted its stick back. Speaking of that stick, one thing I wonder about with this case is what happened to it? It seems to me that this is a major piece of evidence that was actually retrieved and could hold profound clues as to what or who we see in the footage. If the design and any markings on the stick were consistent with other tribes of the area, then that would pretty much settle everything, and if it is a new kind of pygmy or hominid then this artifact could offer all sorts of interesting insights, yet I cannot find any information at all as to what has become of it or if it was ever seriously studied. So where did the stick go? Did the bikers keep it? Did they just throw it away? It seems to be just as big a mystery as the little humanoid itself.

Adding to all of the dash cam videos of purported hairy humanoids is one that is purported to show a mysterious canid creature of some sort roaming about in South Texas. In 2008, Texas Sheriff deputy Brandon Riedel was out in his patrol car training a new deputy in DeWitt County in a rural area near the city of Cuero when they came across a bizarre creature trotting along the side of the road near a fence line. The mysterious animal looks to be a canine of some sort, and has short front legs with longer back legs, a hairless body, a long, thin snout, and a skinny, rat-like tail. Reidel would say of the bizarre sighting:

I’ve been patrolling these back roads for a long time and I never run across anything like this. We were out checking fence lines and we came around the corner and we saw this running down the road. You need to record something like this because it’s not every day you find something that looks like this running around out in the middle of the county. It just doesn’t look like your average coyote or dog or anything.

A still from the Cuero Chupacabras dash cam video

The sighting and the footage generated a huge amount of interest at the time, particularly since the area where it was taken was going through a spate of sightings of strange, hairless dog-like creatures roaming the region that had gained the nickname “The Cuero Chupacabras,” which were said to sometimes kill pets or livestock and frighten people at night. There has been a lot of speculation as to what the creature in the dashcam footage and the Cureo Chupacabras could be, including that they are just coyotes or dogs with some skin condition such as mange, which can cause the hair to fall out to dramatically alter their appearance, or that they are hybrids of coyotes, wolves, and dogs or even aliens or really Chupacabras. Whatever the thing is in this footage, it is certainly creepy and a bit unsettling as well in a way. You can see it featured in a news report here.

It seems that as more and more people use cameras and the technology becomes more readily available we can expect more of such pieces of mysterious footage. After all there are fewer and fewer excuses for people to use the old excuse of “if only I’d had a camera.” Almost everything we witness today can now be captured in photos and on videos, and there are fewer ways for these mysteries to escape being seen and analyzed by the masses. There are few shadows to hide in anymore. Vehicles are not much different, as more and more utilize dash cams to catch everything that happens on the road. This might not be the best way to capture video evidence of strange creatures, since the very nature of these circumstances makes the sightings fleeting at best, and it is perhaps no surprise that by the time the vehicle turns around to get a better look the creature is long gone, yet it certainly does add a tool to the photographic chronicles of the world of the mysterious and will no doubt keep us wondering.

Brent Swancer

Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert living in Japan. Biology, nature, and cryptozoology still remain Brent Swancer’s first intellectual loves. He's written articles for MU and Daily Grail and has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM and Binnal of America.

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