The Fresno Nightcrawler: Haunted Pants or Minor Diety?

Introduction

In 2007, a man from Fresno, California know simply as “Jose” checked the security footage from a camera located in his backyard. His dog was barking at something in the darkness. Jose decided to review the footage in an attempt to discover what had spooked his pup so late at night. As the tape reached the last few minutes before 1 AM, Jose discovered the first recorded footage of what would later be deemed: The Fresno Nightcrawler.

What does The Fresno Nightcrawler look like?

Standing at approximately 3-4 feet tall with an entirely grey/white body, this strange bipedal creature walked upright on two disproportionately long legs. The legs took up the majority of its body. It has much smaller torso perched on top. Although the original footage is of very poor quality. In-depth video analysis has led to the conclusion that the creature has two small, black eyes. However, there is no sign of a mouth, nose, ears, or any other significant facial features.

The Fresno Nightcrawler
The first footage of The Fresno Nightcrawler

This initial video shows the creature ambling at a moderate pace across Jose’s front lawn. Its gait is awkward and stiff; most have concluded that it appears as though its knees are bending backwards. It moves slowly across the yard before disappearing from view. It appears unaffected by the supposed barking of Jose’s dog. However, the only original video that is available on YouTube includes an overlaid audio track. There is no way to confirm or deny whether or not the dog can be heard in the original audio.

The video was broadcast on television and reviewed at a MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) conference. There have been various other claims of related sightings. Another couple in Yosemite Park, California, supposedly captured video of similar creatures on March 28th, 2011. At approximately 2 AM, two creatures are seen walking across the property, one slightly in front of the other. The first creature that walks ahead appears to be almost double the size of the creature not far behind. This video then sparked the theory that these nightcrawlers tend to travel in pairs; an attribute that renders them completely unlike very other known cryptid.

Sightings spread

There has also been a supposed sighting of these creatures in Poland in 2017. However, the footage is extremely shaky and unclear, making it incredibly difficult to make out the creature clearly. The camera moves rapidly around before settling on the creature for a few quick moments. It takes a few steps before the camera moves again and the creature is lost.

The Fresno Nightcrawler went relatively unheard from after the Yosemite sighting. Other “sightings” were written off as a hoax or recreation. But in 2020, we saw a reemergence of this unique cryptid. At approximately 9:45 PM in Billings, Montana in April, 2020, security camera footage shows another similar creature lurking on the edge of the camera’s view. It walks in to frame, stops, and then turns around and walks back the way that it came. According to Wight Claudia, the YouTube account that uploaded the video, a deer carcass was found in that area the next day.

Should we be afraid of the Fresno Nightcrawler? Are we living in a time where Jimmy Neutron’s “Attack of the Pants” could come come to fruition? Should we prepare ourselves for an invasion by sentient pajama pants? Although that would be a hilarious end to our species, all signs generally point to no.

It is difficult to determine if the original 2007 footage was faked or not. The film has been endlessly re-recorded and compressed for upload onto various media platforms. All the visual noise and pixelization that has distorted the original footage makes it impossible to make out any potential means of puppeteering. According to Jose, the original footage was accidentally taped over, leaving the distorted version as our only means of further investigation into this specific sighting.

Captain Disillusion takes on The Fresno Nightcrawler!

The fact that it was a stationary camera makes it extremely easy for the removal of elements through editing. YouTuber Captain Disillusion shows how easy it is to create similar footage by removing his torso from a clip of him walking with a watermelon. He also goes on to say that the quick walking of the creature in its last second on screen appear to be completely animated.

In an episode of Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files, the 2007 footage was reviewed and deemed to be potentially legitimate. This was because the TV crew was unable to accurately recreate the film’s creature with a puppet. However, as shown by Captain Disillusion’s recreation, CGI could have easily filled the gaps that puppeteering left in creating a realistic-seeming pair of sentient parachute pants.

The Yosemite video

The Yosemite video is regarded as the least legitimate “verified” sighting of the Fresno Nightcrawler. In this clip, the creatures are leaning very far back as they awkwardly step forward, almost as if they are being pulled forwards by their feet. Realistically, this type of posture would have cause the creatures to fall backwards. With the way they’re built, these guys can’t afford to end up anywhere than on their feet. How are they supposed to get back up? That’s some footage that I would really like to see – one of them rolling around like an upside-down turtle trying to get back up on its feet.

As the 2020 footage is still fairly new, there hasn’t been much research done yet into its validity. However, the combination of a stationary camera and almost ten years’ worth of CGI technology advancement could have easily resulted in yet another fake “sighting”. Furthermore, the deer carcass that is mentioned in the video’s description doesn’t appear to add up with the creature’s physical description; how could the creature have killed a grown deer with nothing other than it’s legs?

Looking closer at the image only complicates the issue further; the hole in the deer’s abdomen appears to have been cleanly cut, as there is no sign of the flesh being torn or otherwise damaged by teeth or claws. The notion that the creature could have just Spartan-kicked the deer into oblivion wouldn’t seem to make sense either, as blunt-force trauma doesn’t result in the complete removal of a portion of flesh.

Undressing The Fresno Nightcrawler..

According to all of this, it would initially appear as though the Fresno Nightcrawlers are just a hoax. Invented by Jose as an attempt at television fame that was replicated by anyone with basic puppeteering/video editing skills. However, there is not enough evidence to rule out the possibility that this footage was hoaxed. Various other theories as to the Fresno Nightcrawlers’ origins, and motives, have shown up in threads and forums.

Was it a.. Monkey?

The first theory is that this is a simple case of mistaken identity; the Fresno Nightcrawlers are just instances of an already-known animal under very specific, albeit odd, circumstances. Suggestions have included a primate with very short or no arms, a gazelle standing upright, or a deer using its hind legs in an attempt to reach leaves on tree branches. The theory of an ape can immediately be ruled out; there are no apes that are native to the Northern American continent.

Maybe a Deer?

The same logic holds for the theory that it was a gazelle standing on its back legs. The only other animal that could have potentially created a similar image is that of a deer. However, in each of the clips, it does not appear as though the creature acts as a deer would whilst trying to graze from a tree. No other potential animal candidates have come forward, as there is no wildlife anywhere in the world that mimics this creature’s appearance and movements. Therefore, the chances of these clips simply being normal wildlife are very low.

Who ya gonna call?

The second theory is that these creatures are a spirit, or otherwise supernatural entity. The fluid movement of the legs which was originally chalked-up to be the swaying of loose fabric could potentially be the movement of ghostly clothing. Many spirits appear clothed, it’s possible that the creatures are garbed in clothes that they wore in life. This theory, although much more plausible than armless-monkey, doesn’t account for the creature’s apparent backwards-bending knees. If the spirit is humanoid, there is no apparent explanation for why its knees would bend so unnaturally. Furthermore, it does not explain why there are multiple creatures, or why they have been spotted in locations that are so far away from each other.

The Fresno Nightcrawler phones home?

The third theory is that these creatures are actually extraterrestrial lifeforms roaming the Earth’s surface for…some reason? This is the major pitfall of this theory; if they are aliens, they appear to have no specific purpose in being here. Its body is unlike anything else seen on Earth. This theory does not explain why they would be wandering around for no apparent reason. Ignoring the potential case of deer-murder, these creatures appear to have no interest in people and are fairly non-aggressive. In the 2020 footage, the creature appears to acknowledge the car driving by on the road on the far left-hand side of the screen. Then it proceeds to turn and walk away from potential human contact.

Blame Darwin

The fourth theory is that this may potentially be a new creature that has evolved right under our noses. However, this is highly unlikely for a number of reasons. First, we would have noticed a creature like this evolving. Evolution is incredibly slow and takes generations for results. Second, it doesn’t account for the Poland video, as we would be witnessing identical cases of evolution in two parts of the world simultaneously. Third, this physical form is not a logical evolutionary path for any of the species that we are aware of.

Dances with pantses

Theory five is these creatures were identified by Native American folklore as a creature that reconnects humanity and nature. According to these legends, these “earth fairies'” long legs are due to the fact that its home-world is entirely swamp, making it physically difficult to navigate without proper features.

The idea is supported by a variety of photographs of Native American wood-sculptures. These sculptures are very similar to the Nightcrawlers. YouTuber ParaBreakdown claims that, after extensive research into the Native American folklore in the Fresno region, there are no mentions of any creatures that are anything like the Fresno Nightcrawler.

Reddit weighs in on The Fresno Nightcrawler..

The sixth and final theory comes from redditor “rainbowcanada”, who is a self-proclaimed conduit of higher level beings. According to them, these creatures are known as elementals. The physical forms are specifically crafted so as to fulfill their purpose while on Earth. These elementals, known as “Colourings”, are sent to individuals that are fighting diseases to raise moral. They don’t go into detail about how they accomplish this task. Long legs and bendy legs don’t seem ideal.

I wouldn’t feel energized being confronted by a creature that’s 99% legs. Other hobbies include murdering local fauna and wander aimlessly around peoples’ backyards. This theory is likely nothing more than the ramblings of a prophetic-wannabe hiding behind sophisticated language, vague cultural references, and internet anonymity.

Conclusion

There is not enough evidence to either confirm or deny the existence of the Fresno Nightcrawler. Most evidence would appear to point towards the conclusion that these creatures are the result of some crafty visual effect. The possibility that the footage is un-staged and un-edited should not be totally ruled out. The good news is, if the Fresno Nightcrawlers are real, they most likely don’t have a vendetta against humans. They’re probably just going out for a little midnight stroll.

Check out our Podcast episode below for more on the Fresno Nightcrawler!

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