With the amount of tourism dollars the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, Mothman, other cryptids and extraterrestrials bring to the areas where they allegedly roam or have been reportedly seen, it’s not hard to see why other cities are interested in cracking into the strange creature market. However, it’s tough to break into the top tier of tourist or conference-attracting cryptids and aliens – it helps if they’re scary (but not killers), show up regularly and are somewhat believable. The Fresno Nightcrawler falls short in all three categories, but that hasn’t stopped the local newspaper from promoting it in hopes it could become Mothman 2.0 or make Fresno a junior Roswell.
“It’s up there with Chupacabra, the Mothman and Bigfoot. It’s very niche. It seems to be bigger outside of Fresno than inside. There’s like a dictionary of different cryptids, or strange creatures — like there’s Bigfoot and the Chupacabra — there’s never been this before. And no one has really been able to determine what it is.”
Really? Have you heard of the Fresno Nightcrawler? Michael Banti, founder of Weird Fresno, is one of the promoters of this unique … something. Its story began in 2007 when a video was uploaded to YouTube (watch it here) of what looked to most people like a pair of white pants or an alien with no upper body or a really short-but-long-legged cryptid running down a road. Paranormal investigator Victor Camacho, another Nightcrawler fan, analyzed that surveillance footage shortly in 2007 and could not explain it. Camacho says he was able to speak with the video’s owner (now deceased) and the man appeared to be terrified of leaving his house – a sign to Camacho that he believed the creature was real.
The name “nightcrawler” appears to be linked to the 2010 TV show “Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files” and may refer to a Native American legend, although that has been debunked. Skeptics have claimed the creature is a puppet, a bird, a person on stilts, deer, CGI … anything but a cryptid or an alien. They gain support from the fact that it was only seen once in Fresno. Another sighting came from Yosemite National Park (another video but with two beings) and one that sounds similar was reported in Poland. That hasn’t stopped people from trying to cash in on what is now called the Fresno Nightcrawler.
“A lot of that merchandise can be found on Etsy, where artists sell Fresno Nightcrawler shirts, pins, paintings, pillows, stickers, patches and Christmas ornaments, to name a few. Most of the makers live outside Fresno. Nightcrawler merchandise has also been popping up at ArtHop in downtown Fresno.”
As Banti points out to The Fresno Bee, much of the money being made on Fresno Nightcrawler merchandise on Etsy is going to non-Fresno sellers. They need more local events like the ArtHop. A festival would help (think Mothman) or a conference (think Bigfoot) or more security cams (think haunted houses) in order to turn the Fresno Nightcrawler into the Loch Ness monster, Fresno into Inverness and local business owners into millionaires.
Time to step things up a notch, Fresno Nightcrawler!