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The untold story of the Fresno Nightcrawlers part 1

High Strangeness

The untold story of the Fresno Nightcrawlers part 1

The untold story of the Fresno Nightcrawlers part 1

Introduction

Just a little after midnight one November night in 2007 a pair of mysterious cryptids walked across a family’s lawn in Fresno, California. The footage went viral and became an internet sensation.

The “walking pants” became the cute and cuddly face of cryptozoology. They walked across the screen in such a silly and ridiculous fashion that most of us couldn’t help but instantly fall in love with the little guys. And that is pretty much where the story concluded.

A paranormal reality show here or there would cover the topic, discussion boards would debate the validity of the footage (usually ending in agreement that at least they were adorable), and the whereabouts of the man who filmed the events was left to mystery. Case closed, right?

What if I told you there was so much more to the story?

What if the cuddly and adorable Fresno Nightcrawlers were something so much more complicated and mysterious? I went to the actual grounds of the Fresno Nightcrawlers incident and spoke to the family who experienced the ordeal.

This is the untold story of the Fresno Nightcrawlers.

BOOTS ON THE GROUND:

Boots on the ground

I drive into Fresno on a blistering 100-degree day in June. The sun is scorching highway 99 as I roll into town. The town is alive and bustling on a Saturday afternoon and is in full swing of summer fun. My purpose is to uncover some truth about a dark and cold night back in November of 2007.

I pull up to a normal looking house in a what looks like a typical California neighborhood. In the driveway awaiting me is a man named Rogelio, brother to Jose who originally filmed the Nightcrawler footage.

Jose, unfortunately, passed away in 2014. However, Rogelio was there for every part of the Nightcrawler saga. He and his brother experienced this together and it was one part of a powerful bond the two brothers shared.

Rogelio keeps a picture himself alongside his brother as his phone screensaver. I meet Rogelio on the same lawn that two mysterious beings traversed fifteen years ago. Rogelio is about to tell me about that night and so much more.

THE NIGHTCRAWLERS ARRIVE:

The Night Crawlers Arrive

Jose lived with his family in the heart of Fresno. Their neighborhood of residence had a bicycle thief in their midst, so Jose decided to install a surveillance system. One camera was set up to directly overlook the front yard of their house.

One night the family dog began barking to an extreme degree. Jose turned on the monitor linked to the surveillance system. Jose grabbed his camcorder to record the monitor in the hopes of catching whatever caused the dog to go off.

Jose witnessed two beings walk across his lawn. These entities are now infamous in their description, almost all leg with a small stump head. They walk in a very “uncanny valley” type of manner that comes off as clumsy and awkward.

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The beings pass a small tree as they make their way across the lawn. In comparison to this tree the beings should be roughly about two feet tall. In shock Jose called out to Rogelio and showed him the footage. Both were in astonishment of what they witnessed.

The first being walks by and appears to look up at the camera. Rogelio stated that in the original footage from his brother’s camera you could tell the being had large solid black eyes (this detail will come back into play later).

Both beings seem to be wearing little capes or have loose skin around the bottom of their legs.  The two brothers stepped outside onto their lawn and looked around for any sign of the creatures. They were only met with the cold air of the night and an unnerving feeling that they witnessed something beyond comprehension.

However, according to Rogelio Jose felt something else, utter fear.

THE MONSTER ON THE SCREEN:

The monsters on the screen

The next morning Jose and Rogelio discuss what happened. Both come to the agreement that this is not a prank. I ask Rogelio if there was any reason as to why someone would prank his family. Rogelio was adamant that his family got along with the entire neighborhood except for one particular family.

When I inquire about the possibility of a prank from that family, Rogelio gives a very direct answer. “They wouldn’t have played a prank; they would have most likely did a ‘drive by’ if they were upset”. While Rogelio and Jose were in agreement that the footage was not a prank, the two differed on what to do with the footage.

Rogelio felt that they should just let it be and see what happens. Jose on the other hand wanted everyone to see the footage. He felt compelled to share it with as many people as possible.

Jose contacted the local UniVision news station and they had Jose to come down to the tv station. As Jose showed the footage to a reporter, she requested that her cameraman get the footage as quickly as possible so they could have the footage ready for air that day.

He then proceeded to film Jose’s footage from a tv monitor with his camera. To recap, the quality of footage that would introduce the world to the Nightcrawlers was as follows.

  • Step 1: Consumer grade night vision camera hooked up to a CCTV system (films Nightcrawlers)
    • Step 2: Camcorder recording of the CCTV system monitor (records footage of Nightcrawlers from the tv monitor)
    • Step 3: Camcorder footage played on tv monitor at UniVision which is filmed by another camera (this is the footage that airs on UniVision and a copy is made for an investigator named Victor Camacho by Jose)
    • Step 4: Victor Camacho presents footage at MUFON conference and the projection screen (showing the Nightcrawler footage) is videotaped by an audience member (from another camcorder). This is the footage that originally goes viral. The empirical evidence is a copy, of a copy, of a copy. This is the quality of footage that is most analyzed.

The footage was featured the very next day on the “Primer Impacto” show. The segment seemed to generate a lot of speculation so UniVision wanted an expert source on the case.

They contacted Victor Camacho who hosted a very popular Spanish radio talk show on topics of high strangeness called “Los Desvelados”. Victor made the drive from Los Angeles to Fresno and examined the footage in person. I spoke with Victor Camacho to get his opinion on the infamous case.

INTERVIEW WITH VICTOR CAMACHO:

Interview with Victor Camacho

Question: What was your initial reaction to the Nightcrawler footage?

Answer: I was pretty convinced, but I really wanted to talk to Jose about the case and I really wanted to go to the house. But when I talked to Jose at the tv station he was extremely nervous and scared. This event had only happened to him two days prior. He didn’t want me to go to the house out of what seemed like fear of the situation. So, I respected that and didn’t want to pressure him into doing anything he didn’t want to do.

Question: When did you eventually get to investigate the house?

Answer: I initially met Jose and did the UniVision story in November of 2007. Jose called me in March of 2008 and invited me over to the house to allow me to investigate further. I met with Jose and his family and he let me check out the property and interview family and neighbors.

Question: Did you inspect the video equipment?

Answer: He let me check out the video system and the old camcorder he used to film the monitor. He told me he put up the night vision camera outside because somebody was stealing bicycles in the neighborhood. And this was the system he saw the Nightcrawlers on. But, the thing with that CCTV system was that as soon as he would rewind the surveillance tape, he would lose the recording. That’s why he recorded the footage with his camcorder and that original tape didn’t keep the footage.

Question: Do you remember the early reactions from the general paranormal audience of what was on the video?

Answer: I presented the video before anyone was using the term “Nightcrawler”. My opinion back then is the same as it is now. I mentioned that these beings were “mantis” like in their appearance. That has generally been the opinion I have given about this case. In my early presentations many people did agree with me about the “mantis” appearance on this particular case. Perhaps, some kind of insectoid. At the very beginning of the video you can somewhat make out a bright light that appears just before the beings walk into frame. I’m not sure if this is a floodlight going off or perhaps something paranormal in nature.

Question: Did you see the footage taken near Yosemite National Park and do you think it relates to the Fresno Case?

Answer: I think the video from Yosemite is a fake. It’s honestly totally different from what Jose recorded at the house. The Fresno beings had what looks like a cape and when they moved the cape would move, as well. Very hard to fake. The Yosemite beings are just big legs moving.

Question: In all of your years being associated with the case has anyone ever reported a similar incident to you with Nightcrawler beings?

Answer: No, not exactly the same “mantis” or “insectoid” like beings that Jose reported. But I have gotten some reports that are more in line with what the Nightcrawlers are classified as now, long legs with a tiny head. The only ever video footage I have had a chance to inspect was from Peru. But it was clearly the branches of a tree moving due to the wind. I did receive a report from Mexico that was compelling and another report from Canada that included a drawing. These are the only other reports of potential Nightcrawlers that I have received.

NIGHTCRAWLER SIGHTING OUT OF CANADA REPORTED TO VICTOR:

Nightcrawlers sighting out of Canada reported to Victor

Hi, my name is Chris. Me and my friend encountered a Fresno Nightcrawler in 2010 in Abbotsford British Columbia Canada.

Entered my friends backyard 5 acre forest at night close to 1 am in the northwest rural part of my city and both of us immediately saw something out of place down the path below about 30-40 feet away from us in between the trees that was tall, white and three dimensional. It appeared to be completely white and soft like light, but it did not illuminate the trees or ground around it. There was no face or any facial features we could see, no arms and it was shaped in a upside down V or U. It was making creepy swaying movements with its (whole body) two legs left to right back and forth silently still standing on the forest floor in the exact same spot the whole time we saw it. It was so white that you could see the shadow being cast on it while it was swaying like it was a real animal. It did not pick up its legs or walk at all. I can only explain it as looking like 7-8 foot really white, soft, shiny separated curtains in the shape of a upside down V or U with bulkiness/shape to the top, the two long legs/arms looked like the frontal view of an apes forearms would look like when they are crawling on all fours as if the two long legs were hunched infront. It was moving left to right in a specific motion standing on the forest floor in the same area between the trees making absolutely no sound, and there was absolutely no wind. It was beautiful to look at but terrifying at the same time. We watched it in silence as it was swaying and I started to feel impending doom (the sinking feeling in your chest) “set in” and it felt like I was going to die or something bad was going to happen. I told my friend specifically “I don’t like this”, he agreed, and we immediately left the forest.

I recently showed First Nations where I live me and my friends experience and the sketch and they told me it was a Double Headed Serpent

in the research I have been doing these creatures correlate with Quetzalcoatl

They go by various different names from different first nations cultures in PNW Canada like Sisiutl, laqaqua’sa, sʔi:ɬqəý̓, Shla- lah-kum, Su’ike, Ts’ewalf , Sunulqaz, énétlékē, wasgo, Say Nuth Kway , Sinulhka, Hi?, Grubworm, Larahwæse, Sisiuth, Se-sook, sulwa’us and Klu’bist. Cris Teece.Here is the rough sketch I made of exactly what it looked like:

FRESNO WINDOW AREA?:

Fresno window area

After the UniVision coverage the story became a viral sensation. Soon the case was featured on SyFy’s Fact or Faked tv show and the name “Fresno Nightcrawlers” took off from there.

Another video from outside of Yosemite National Park (roughly an hour from Fresno) appeared online and all of a sudden the Fresno area seemed to be like a “Nightcrawler hot spot” or window area.

I felt that I needed to do my due diligence on getting to the bottom of the significance of the Nightcrawlers in terms of their significance to Fresno.

I reached out to Michael Banti who runs the website Weird Fresno for his opinion on the case and the lasting legacy of the “walking pants”.

INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL BANTI:

Question: When did you first encounter the Fresno Nightcrawler story? 

Answer: I first came across the video in September of 2008. I had just started writing for Weird Fresno and it was one of the very first things I wrote about.

Question: What do you make of the video? 

Answer: The Fresno video I believe is real, meaning that whatever was filmed is not a hoax or fake. Whatever they are I cannot tell. Sadly the quality is so bad as this is a recording from a projection onto a screen at a conference and that video was a copy of the original CCTV footage which wasn’t very high quality to begin with. As for the Yosemite video I believe that one is a hoax and for several reasons. One the footage is said to be recorded by a paranormal investigator but when I went to contact them I noticed this video was the only thing on their channel. I attempted to contact them several times with no luck and there was never any other activity on that channel except for the Yosemite footage. Also the movement is different than the Fresno footage and it feels like someone was trying to recreate that.

Question: Do you think the Fresno area is a “window area” given that there was another sighting near Yosemite National Park (roughly an hour from town)? 

Answer: Despite my opinion on the Yosemite footage I do believe this area is a thin area. Fresno itself is a bit of a liminal place. But there is a lot of weird things that have happened here over the years.

Question: In your opinion, are the entities in the video a peek at “the other” or is there a more natural explanation available? 

Answer: I wish I knew what these were. I honestly thing something slipped through and we got a peek at something maybe ultraterrestrial. I’ve said it before and for some reason they remind me of the fae folk.

Question: Why do you think these beings have such a lasting legacy in pop culture? How has that impacted Fresno? 

Answer: I think their cuteness is what has allowed them to last so long. Do a quick Etsy search and you will see all types of merchandise like stickers and plushies of the Night Crawler. But the weird thing is most of these are made from people outside of Fresno (though I’ve noticed recently that more and more are being made by locals.

Question: Is this the strangest story to come out of Fresno?

Answer: I’d say yes. I’ve written about a lot of things over the last ten plus years but this one was one of the first I wrote about and has lasted all that time. People still ask me what it is and I still have the same answer. I don’t know. I don’t think we will ever know. This was a one time thing but it’s legacy is definitely lasting.

THE UNTOLD STORY:

The untold story

Back under the scorching Fresno sun, Rogelio finishes telling me about his experience with the Nightcrawlers. But that is not the end of the story. Actually, the story is really just beginning.

“I don’t know when this house was built, and I don’t know the history. But weird things have always happened here ever since we moved in.”

The next story Rogelio shared with me completely dropped my jaw and honestly changed my entire view of the Nightcrawlers and the potential situation surrounding this case.

Read The untold story of the Fresno Nightcrawlers part 2

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Nick Valenzuela Is the creator of California Creepypasta and Lead Journalist for Paranormality Magazine. Nick has been fascinated with the strange and mysterious all his life. Add to that, a zest for the open road and throwing myself with reckless abandon into adventure (sorry mom). Nick is a native Californian. A graduate of the Warren Institute for Paranormal Studies as a certified paranormal investigator. "I consider myself a Fortean and open minded researcher. "

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