Travis Roy is the president of Granite State Skeptics. I am the director of investigations for Granite State Skeptics. GSS is our local skeptic group. Local skeptics meet at a restaurant, drink, eat, have some fun once a month. New Hampshire (the Granite State) while small, is very rural. Many of the members of GSS drive one or more hours to get to the meetings. I drive an hour and a half from my home in Antrim to the monthly meetings in Manchester. Usually I enjoy car pooling with Travis Roy the president of the group. Travis and his wife Dale live about 15 minutes away, so we meet at the local “park and ride”. Sometimes it’s just Travis and myself driving, if Dale is busy.
Our meetings are always fun, educational and friendly. We love it when a new member shows up. They soon learn this is a skeptic group of good friends. Often we have a great speaker, even if only via Skype. We talk way later than we should, and when we wrap up to go home it can be rather late.
Travis is a native of New Hampshire. He likes to show me, as I’ve only lived in New Hampshire 17 years, some of the back roads and byways of the state. One evening we were taking a very rural shortcut when the headlights fell upon a creature. It crossed the road in front of the car, Travis had slammed on the brakes, and we just sat there for a moment.
“Did you see what I just saw?” Travis exclaimed.
I took a breath and think I answered something like “Yeah, if you think we just saw a chupacabra.”
At this point, we just started to laugh. The last people that need to see a mysterious creature crossing the road late at night are leaders of the local skeptic group.
We compares notes:
1.It was not a dog
3.It had a long snout
4.It had teeth
5.It was big, like small pony or Great Dane big
6.It was skinny
7.It was not terribly furry
The problem with this is that whenever we tell anyone what we have seen, and most of our friends are skeptics, they say “Well, it was just a dog with mange”. We don’t hear, “It might have been a dog with mange.” We don’t hear “Do you think it was a dog with mange?” We get “It was a dog with mange.”
No, it was not a dog with mange, unless it was a Great Dane with mange that was half kangaroo.
Travis and I learned a great lesson, which is to treat people reporting an unusual sighting with respect and not to “tell” them what they’ve seen. There is a lot of weird stuff out there.
Skeptics often have as much trouble as paranormal believers in just accepting “we don’t know.” Travis and I have developed a better understanding of how it must feel to have skeptics tell you what you saw, wasn’t what you saw. I’ve read all about how our eyes deceive us and how our memories are imperfect, but reality is the vision of that creature at least feels very sharply etched in my mind. I was truly scared. Time slowed down as that thing crossed the road in front of us. It wasn’t any of the explanations given without thought or investigation by our skeptic friends. I’m glad I did not see the creature alone, because then no one would believe me.
Travis and I certainly do not believe we saw a chupacabra. It has become a joke between us. We drive back from meetings now just hoping to see it again. This is true also of people that think they have had a paranormal experience, they want to have that experience again. They want to see whatever it was, at least one more time. I’d love to see it again to try to get more information, enough to truly figure out just what that was. It was exciting, it was fun, and it was just plain old weird. While others give us their belief, we have to go with “You weren’t there.” When a rational explanation lines up with what we saw, we’ll be the first to say “Yes, that must be what it was!” Until then, we don’t know. We’re alright with that.
However, that doesn’t stop Travis from saying “I haven’t shown you this old road…” and driving us home not via the highway. One day maybe the weird hopping creature of New Hampshire will show itself again.
- New Hampshire Skepticamp! (Be there!) (twodifferentgirls.com)
- JREF Offers a Number of Scholarships and Grants for Students, Educators and Local Skeptic Groups (randi.org)
- Chupacabra explained, unfortunately (infocult.typepad.com)
- The skeptical spectrum: people, pathology and perspectives (idoubtit.wordpress.com)
Is that hopping like a kangaroo, a deer, an injured dog, or a rabbit?
sadly hopping like a KANGAROO! We are almost ashamed to say, it really looked like a sick kangaroo. Not injured, the front legs only touched down briefly as if to balance it. We WISH it had not hopped like a KANGAROO! If we had been in Australia the funny thing is that there would have been no mystery. We would have said “Well that kangaroo looks a bit sick.”
An unclaimed kangaroo was captured in Wisconsin in 2008:
Ha! Wonder where it came from?
You haven’t mentioned anything about color.
Maybe it was a chupacabra because the chupacabra is jumping like a kangaroo.
As you said, I think people of all types don’t like uncertainty. Some want to believe in strange things, other want to believe in their non-existence. Personally, I think most, if not all, strange animal sightings like that or Bigfoot are probably not real, but I’d like it if they were true. 🙂
what people don’t understand is that skeptics would love for aliens to visit or there to be a new species of animal such as a Big Foot or chupacabra. The paranormal investigators have the most to lose, as scientists (such as biologists) and the government would take over. You could no longer go traipsing through Big Foot territory if Big Foot is proven true, as the government would probably enact laws ensuring their privacy and protect them. (Think of the hoards of people that would invade a wooded area where Big Foot lives). The average paranormal researcher does not have the necessary education to really protect what most certainly must be a very rare species of animal.
Good point, and honestly, if there are these strange species out there, I kind of hope they stay hidden for their own good.
I love that “one of our lot” has seen something like this!
And I love the approach you both take towards it – “not sure yet”.
Wouldn’t it be cool if animals like the Chupa and Biggy were found. So many questions to be asked *drool*
Honestly, pet stores would carry cupacabras as pets. Let’s face it, the don’t attack humans. They might make good pets! (except for your goats…you can’t own both). Big Foot, that would be a field day for the creationists and the scientists. Just WHERE does Big Foot fit on the family tree? I would love Big Foot to be real, once again, as they don’t attack humans, but I imagine feeding a Big Foot pet would be very expensive.
Are there people living near that back road? If so, would you consider going there and conduct some interviews?
It might be an easier job, now that you could break the ice by saying ‘I saw something too, and I don’t know what it was’ 😉
It’s great that you had the oppurtunity to get in touch with the power of “maybe”…more people should embrace the maybe state.
it really was a chupacabra!
I appreciate your frankness. I try to keep one foot in both the skeptical and “anomalist” camps–which means I neither outright believe or disbelieve things, I simply weigh the facts and keep an open mind as much as possible. But I’ve seen my share of odd things over the years, and have been frustrated by the knee-jerk dismissiveness I encountered early on when I shared my own stories. For example, when I was thirteen a friend and I were sitting on my porch when we suddenly saw a glowing disc-shaped object float up over the distant trees, then move around in a jerky, mechanical fashion (not at all like a balloon), then disappear from sight. We were stunned. I called up the local airport to report it and ask if anyone else saw it; the fellow who answered said, “No, we’ve had no reports. You saw an advertising blimp is what you saw, I’m pretty sure.” I told him we’d seen that very advertising blimp he mentioned an hour earlier, in a different part of the sky, and this was completely different from that. He insisted, “No, I’m sure that was an advertising blimp, but thanks for calling.” To this day I don’t know what I saw, and certainly don’t claim it was an alien spacecraft; but I do know what it wasn’t –an advertising blimp–and if nothing else, experiences like that taught me to be less quick to judge when listening to others’ stories.
Reblogged this on Yankee Skeptic and commented:
We later found out it was probably an animal with mange, and perhaps a bear with mange. One was found locally after this was published. Google “bear with mange” and that was truly close to what we saw.