Among the many strange encounters in the world of the paranormal, there are often those that serve to be partcuarly baffling. These are the cases that hover out beyond our ability to really classify them or put a name to them. Are they ghosts, mysterious animals, aliens, or what? No answers are clear in such accounts, and they lurk out there in the periphery of the fringe. Among these bizarre accounts are tales from all over of what appear to be some sort of thin, pale beings, often hunched over, crouching, and crawling, that have come to be collectively known as "Pale Crawlers," and which are every bit as creepy as you might imagine.

Probably one of the most well-known cases of these odd entities is that of what have come to be called the Fresno Nightcrawlers. The first account of these truly bizarre and unidentifiable creatures surfaced in the 1990s, when a video came forward showing something very strange indeed lurking about in the area of Fresno, California. There was a family who were concerned about trespassers on their property, as their dogs had begun to bark out into the darkness nearly every night, and this prompted them to install a security camera outside by their garage, facing the front lawn.

That next morning after they set up the camera they were in for quite a shock, as there in the video was a pair of pale beings a few feet in height, with no discernible arms and two long, spindly, almost stilt-like legs that appear to bend backwards. Interestingly, there seems to be some sort of fabric flapping around the legs, drawing many comparisons to a pair of disembodied walking pants. In the footage the creatures smoothly and fluidly move across the front lawn and out of view, and that’s that. You can see the footage here.

The quality of the footage is sadly low, making it nearly impossible to discern any real details, but the general shape and their odd way of moving were creepy enough to have the family contact the police. Before long the media got a hold of the footage and the “Fresno Nightcrawlers" became a hot topic. Although thought by many to be a hoax, others say that this footage has captured something truly otherworldly, and the footage was subjected to a detailed analysis on the SyFy Channel show “Fact or Faked,” which showed that the footage seemed to be genuine, and they were unable to reproduce the same results by intentionally faking the video.

Following on the heels of this video was another, this time taken over in California’s Yosemite National Park in March of 2011. In this case surveillance cameras had been set up by park officials for the purpose of identifying some intruders who had been vandalizing an area of the park, and again they seemed to have caught on tape something anything but human. Again there is a pair of spindly white entities loping across the frame on a hillside, one seemingly much smaller that the other, and both with what appears to be some sort of webbing connected from the knees to the upper body. Although they appear to be very similar, it is unknown if the Fresno creatures and the ones from Yosemite are related or not, and there have been theories ranging from that this was all a hoax, to that they are Native spirits from lore, ghosts, or even aliens. No one really knows.

Something similar to these entities was sighted in January 2004, in a case documented by researcher Albert S. Rosales. The sighting allegedly happened in Manchester, Dearborn County, Indiana, when a young man was driving along a remote rural road in the area. As the witness rounded a bend, his headlights illuminated a tall, frail looking, pale being crouched over a puddle of water. As the witness passed the thing he looked back and could make out that it moved in a disjointed, odd manner, and had, according to him, “protruding joints that buckled out.”

As he watched the thing flickering in the red light cast by his tailights, the crouched, bone white creature purportedly stood to a height of an estimated 6 feet 7 inches tall and began to walk about in a "strange manner." Interestingly, as he watched there was apparently another car that came along and seemed to swerve to avoid the thing before stopping. The witness would talk to the elderly couple in the car and they would confirm having seen the same thing, of which they said, “It was no human being, it was no man.” They were all so spooked that they decided to drive out of there in close procession together. Indiana has produced some other similarly odd reports as well. In one case from the winter of 2016, the witness was out feeding goats on a farm in Daviess County, Indiana, at around 8 PM, and when she finished she started walking back. The witness would say of what happened next:

After I had finished I began to walk back. I had crossed one field and was about halfway through the narrow path when I started to hear rustling in the underbrush. All I had with me was a little flashlight that only shined about 10ft in front of me. I was almost to the end of the path when I spotted something. It was on all fours with a bony frame, elongated limbs, and pale skin. While the first part of that description sounds pretty generic, it did seem to have a long and highly flexible neck. Not long after I noticed it it noticed me and bolted down the path. It ran, almost skuttling into the second field. This field had a small hill in the center, this thing fled and disappeared over one side. I ran as fast as I could around the other side of the small hill and zig-zagged back to my house where I quickly locked all of my doors. This thing was terrifying, but it seemed watchful more than anything, for now.

In another account from Indiana, documented in the National Cryptid Society database, we have a case from Michigan City, Indiana from 2012, in the middle of a lightning storm to add some atmosphere. The witness claims that she had been staying at the beach house of a friend by Lake Michigan and that there had been a lightning storm at the time. At around 2 AM some of them went outside to smoke and watch the lightning, and that was when they noticed the beam of a flashlight scanning the tall grass by the shore nearby as if searching for something. Thinking this to be a bit odd, the group of friends watched on and saw that the beam had captured an elongated, grayish humanoid looking creature stretched out on the beach, and the witness would say:

The light sweeps by something in the grass, then it shines back onto it. What was illuminated was very strange. It appeared to be a naked guy crawling around on the grass. Although, it had elongated arms and legs. It was moving kinda fast crunched over. It only lasted a few seconds, long enough for all of us to see it. Then, after the thing ran off, the flashlight shines directly at us. It stayed pointing at us until it went out after a few seconds. Creepy.


So, we’re all like WTF was that, we asked what each other saw. We all seen a weird stretched out naked guy. The only explainable thing it could have possibly been was a drunk gangly naked guy. But, I don’t think so because it looked abnormally stretched, the light pointed at us, and it freaked everyone out. It was something strange. I can’t say what the height of it was accurately, maybe around 7ft tall. My husband said it looked like something from a Marilyn Manson music video.I wanted to go down there. I wanted to see if we could find it. But, no one would go and they were creeped out and wanted to go back inside.

What on earth was the outlandish thing they saw? What was with that flashlight and why did it train itself on the observers of this surreal scene? Who knows? There have been a few sightings of something similar and equally baffling around the town of Effingham, in the state of Illinois. One case file of the National Cryptid Society is dated as 2010, and concerns a witness only known as “Jade.” The witness was allegedly out one night headed for the supposedly haunted Kasbar cemetery out in the deep woods outside of Effingham along with two friends. When they were out in the countryside, at around 1 AM in the morning, something very curious congealed out of the night, and the witness would say:

I see something with yellow glowing eyes off the side of the country road just past the ditch in the head lights. Too short to be a deer, but too big to be a possum or raccoon. As we get closer it gets clearer, and I realize what I’m looking at is skinny, hairless and grey, human like but definitely not human. Crazy as hell looking…thing. It was crouched down, It’s arms were incredibly long and looked like it could have been 7ft tall or bigger standing. I can feel myself get cold and my heart race and my hair stand on that back of my neck.


Complete shock and terror set in and i can’t make a sound, I’m just staring at it. By that time we are right in front of it, passing it and it just watches us drive by. It slinks into the dark. Then we all just start screaming. Literally freaking the hell out. I was convinced it was a demon for months but still doubted myself even seeing it. Thinking my mind was playing tricks on me. We didn’t even make it to the Kasbar that night, we went straight home. I couldn’t sleep that night.

The witness went on to become convinced that what she had seen was a “ghoul,” or an entity that lurks around feeding on the dead. She would say of this:

They feed on the freshly dead and normally stay close to cemeteries to be close to food. They have been known to show themselves to humans when trying to get close to them to eat in times where fresh deceased bodies are scarce. I went to images of them and could only find illustrations but they look exactly like what i saw that night. Everything i was reading was falling perfectly in place. Lined up perfectly with my experience. I couldn’t explain it away.

Also in the state of Illinois is a case from the town of Rossville, in 2010. The setting was at a cemetery and the time was just after sunset. The witness and a friend were walking down the main lane through the cemetery when something fairly weird scuttled out of the night. The witness would say:

Something came running from the gate and past us on our left. My friend had laughed and asked if I had heard that, and I stopped walking and responded that no, but I had seen it. As the thing had passed between headstones I caught a look. Looked like a pale, emaciated humanoid that was running on all fours. It had no hair at all that I could see, and I did not get a look at the face. It was moving far faster than any person running on hands/feet should have been able to. My friend and I just stayed frozen there and waited for another friend to come and get us because we were too scared to move. It continued to circle us, as we could hear it moving around. It never seemed threatening. If anything it seemed curious/scared of us. But who knows. I do know that it was not a coyote or a stray dog. I never saw the face but I did see the head; it did not have a muzzle. There was no tail, either. It definitely didn't have fur; it had pale, almost bluish skin and I remember I could make out the ribs from where I was standing. Forgive me if this is a hot mess of a post; I was up all night researching this thing and when I did fall asleep I didn't sleep well.

Other locations have had sightings as well, such as Ballard County, in Western Kentucky. As the witness was driving along the back roads on a gravel road one night at around 2 AM he says that he caught something in his headlights that startled him to the core. He would say:

I caught sight of something white and vaguely human crawling in the ditch. As we passed I hit the brakes thinking it was a person who needed help. "Are you crazy?! Don't f***ing stop!" Blake screamed. I looked in the mirror and saw that it was standing up. Even though it was still in the ditch it was as tall as the stop sign next to it. It took a step towards us and I hit the gas. As we drove away I saw in the mirror that it dropped to all fours and was crawling after us. I didn't start pulling away from it til I got up to about 40 mph. No matter how close I was to it I never got a good look at it. It was fuzzy like it was constantly out of focus. I'm not sure why but something about it makes me think of it as male. Maybe the height? When it crawled it moved like a lizard-hands and feet flat on the ground, elbows and knees up and out, body wiggling side to side. This happened when I was around 22. I'm 40 now and have never seen that thing again. I've taken many a midnight cruise along those narrow roads but I've never had the nerve to go near that particular farm road again. Call me a chicken...I'll cluck happily.

Such accounts seem to lie beyond any easy classification. Are we dealing here with some sort of cryptid, ghosts, aliens, inter dimensional interlopers, or what? Or is it all just hoaxes and misinformation? These obviously seem to be far beyond normal reports of cryptids or ghostly phenomena, leaving us to merely ponder just what might be going on. Whatever the answers may be, these truly bizarre entities are not anything anyone would want to encounter slithering down a darkened road at night in the middle of nowhere, stumbling into your headlights.

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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