This one is… strange. I mean, we specialize in strange with The Gasp Menagerie, but this is just really strange. It’d fall under cryptozoology, I suppose. But… really… has anyone looked seriously for faerie folk since the Victorian days of England?
This story comes from Linda Moulton Howe’s Earthfiles. Now, Moulton Howe seems like a very nice lady, but it has to be said: Sometimes she hits the crazy-sauce pretty hard. Some of her work is extremely revealing, fitting her background as a mainstream investigative journalist. Some of it… well, let’s be nice and say it’s not quite as believable.
This would fall into that latter category if it weren’t for the photo evidence that goes with the story. These files have been examined by experts, and no evidence of editing has been found. As far as we can tell, these are photos of what was in front of the camera when the owner says they were taken.
They show… a gnome. A real, live gnome. Not some dwarf in a cute outfit, either. These shots depict a moving, living, impossible creature. Tiny, spindly legs; pointy head or hat; about three to four feet in height… it’s a fricking gnome, people. It fits what you could imagine inspiring our traditional view of a garden gnome, which is what makes it so convincing. It’s not a statue come to life; it’s something you could understand inspiring the more anthropomorphic version of gnomes we’ve seen for generations.
I can usually spot a hoaxed cryptozoological photo a mile away. Years of study in the field does that for you. This one, believe it or not, passes the sniff test. It moves and changes configuration like a living creature. It’s behind leafy brush far enough away from the camera to prove it isn’t an insect or a miniature close to the camera using forced perspective. The cam recorded the time taken, and the photos are too close together to account for posing a model.
It also passes the psychological examination: Why fake this? If you’re going to, why fake it this way? Why not make it more easily identifiable as man’s idea of a garden gnome? It’s so abstract, it defies explanation as a hoax.
I’ve got nothing. I’ve been wracking my brain trying to explain this thing away, and as far as I’m concerned, it seems likely there’s a gnome wandering around the Pennsylvania forests. I also suddenly want a large amount of liquor.
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