Here's a picture of a baby Moose.
Isn't it weird that a baby Moose isn't cute? I mean not even in the slightest. Most baby mammals can reduce an entire room full of Marines into slushy six year old girls. Hell, even Charles Manson would probably stop ranting about black people for two minutes to fuss over a little tiny Panda bear.
A baby moose on the other hand is just far too goofy to ever be considered cute. With it's stupidly long legs, it's half horse half cow face, and ears that point to the heavens like their on a pilgrimage, a baby moose looks like the bastard child of a donkey and the monster from Cloverfield.
However, what a baby moose doesn't look like is the Dover Demon.
Allow me to explain. The story begins in 1977. Now 1977 was probably the single greatest year of the 1970's. For example, on September 28th a piece of pure automotive genius in the form of the Porsche 928 made it's début at the Geneva Motor show. On August 15th the “Big Ear” radio telescope picked up the “Wow!” signal (Gee Note: For those of you who have no idea what that means don't worry. It undoubtedly makes you far more likely to leave your house than anyone who does). On October 28th The Sex Pistols released the album “Never Mind The Bollocks...” which almost single handedly turned the music world on it's head. And, as mentioned previously on this blog, a year of terror was brought to an end when David Berkowitz was arrested in Yonkers, New York on August 10th.
But most importantly that summer cinemas around the world treated movie goers to something truly amazing. For in that glorious season the trumpets of 20th Century Fox were proud heralds to the story of a farm boy who joins a band of misfits in order to help defeat an oppressive government. That' right folks. On May 25th 1977 Star Wars arrived.
Even before all that however, something exceedingly odd happened in Dover, Massachusetts on April 21st 1977. At approximately 10.30 pm William Bartlett and two friends were driving along Farm Street in Bartlett's Volkswagen Beetle when the 17 year old spotted what appeared to be a small child moving on top of a stone wall. As they drew closer they realised that it wasn't a small child at all. Instead it resembled one of those little pot bellied dudes from the X-Files. Except the X-Files was a good fifteen years away from being transmitted on television, so that reference probably didn't come up between Bartlett and his friends. (Gee Note: To be honest if they said anything other than “WHAT THE F*@% IS THAT!??!?!” I'll be amazed). This creature had tan coloured skin and a large bulbous head which was almost the same size as the rest of it's body. And had no ears. Or mouth. Or nose. Oh and it had slender fingers on the end of each one of it's limbs. And.... it was hairless.
Bartlett said he got a good look at this oddity for a good 10 to 15 seconds. The oddity itself apparently had a good look at Bartlett as well, staring back with a pair of bright orange eyes. (Gee Note: Always with the re.... Wait, did he say “orange” eyes? Orange eyes? Not red eyes? Oh man, do I not like this). Bartlett immediately drove home lickity split and, being an aspiring artist, drew a picture of what he had just witnessed.
(Gee Note: I'm trying to come up with a joke to tie this picture to the popular Swedish Cartoon characters The Moomins. So far I haven't come up with a damn thing. So to hell with it, I'm gonna be lazy and go with a picture of my own.)
A further two sightings of this odd little beastie were reported in the next 24 hours. About an hour after the initial sighting a chap named John Baxter, aged 15, saw the creature on two legs running along before stopping by the side of a tree. The next day Abby Brabham, aged 15, and Will Traintor, aged 18, spotted it from Traintor's car (Gee Note: Hands up here who asked the question “what was a 15 year old girl doing in an 18 year old boy's car?”. I sure did. Sadly none of the interviewers in the reports I've read ask Ms Brabham that. Tsk, I don't know. Cryptozoologists eh? No sense of tabloid sensationalism). The descriptions matched Baxter's and Bartlett's except for one thing.
According to Abby Brabham the creature had green eyes that were reflected back from the car's headlights. The initial investigators questioned this, offering that the two other witnesses gave the animal completely different colour eyes. Nope, said Brabham, those peepers where definitely green.(Gee Note: Always with the re... What? GREEN?!?! Oh to hell with this.)
Upon hearing of this Loren Coleman came to town. Coleman, widely regarded as cryptozoology's version of Jurassic Park's Alan Grant (Gee Note: Rest in peace Michael Crichton), is possibly the most respected person on the planet to regularly talk about such subjects as Bigfoot and the like to the media. He enlisted the services of a couple of local well thought of ufologists and set about discovering as much about this phenomenon as he could.
Now bare in mind that what makes Loren Coleman so good at being a renowned cryptozoologist is that, much like his late friend Ivan T. Sanderson, he tends to approach such things with a healthy dose of scepticism. So it's arguably quite a big deal when, after conducting numerous interviews and working on hours of field research, Loren Coleman announces that he doesn't believe that what happened in that two day time frame was perpetrated by a hoaxer.
So if the Dover Demon is real entity what could it be? Well several proposals have been put forward from the obvious mutant theory to the obviously ridiculous being from another dimension theory. One of the most popular amongst sceptics is that the Dover Demon was nothing other than a misidentified baby moose. Despite the fact that there were no reports of moose in the Dover area at the time, and that moose don't have freakishly long fingers or nothing on their face apart from a pair of eyes, this theory is surprisingly popular.
Now what makes the Dover Demon stand out above the rest of the rag tag bunch of cryptids that regularly appear on internet discussion forums is this. Those that I've listed above are the only known sightings of this creature. Since then not one single person from the Massachusetts area has claimed to have seen the Dover Demon. Which, thankfully, rules out the “one size fits all” explanation of mass hysteria.
And so, with nothing other than the half-hearted rationale that all the witnesses were teenagers and so therefore must have either made the whole thing up or misidentified a young moose to discredit it, the Dover Demon remains one the most intriguing examples of the unexplained. Even now 31 years after the event, it is still hotly debated amongst amateur sleuths and cryptozoologists alike.
And for some reason I just can't see a goofy little baby moose stirring up that amount of controversy.