Humboldt County, California
In the 790 acre Arcata Community Forest, eyewitnesses claim to be seeing what most closely resembles a 5-6 ft tall, 200 to 300 lb bipedal Squirrel affectionately nicknamed "The Murrel", and at least some of these accounts maybe the only seemingly credible part of the whole "phenomenon". With photographic "evidence" of Murrel dung, Murrel tracks, a Murrel skull and of the famed Murrel itself, Dr. James Daniels, Director of SaveTheMurrel.org, (who many feel is as mysterious as the Man-Squirrel itself, prompting him to post a copy of his alleged birth certificate - see below) is making his team's case for the existence of the absurd mega-mutant known by such names as "Squirrelsquatch", "FrankenSquirrel", "Squirrelfoot", "Squirrelzilla and "Bignut" and is offering the staggering sum of 2 million dollars for the humane capture of the cuddly cryptid.
The existence of Dr. James Daniels, the man spearheading the "Murrel" conservation effort, and the authenticity of the "photographic evidence" seem to be what commenters on the story call into question the most.....nevermind the giant Squirrel walking around on two legs. Despite several pictures of Mr. Daniels on the their website and a seemingly authentic birth certificate, readers seem to be more skeptical of the old man more than the Mega-Squirrel itself. According to Steve Neill, assistant to the good doctor, "this is something we never anticipated and find quite baffling". Mr. Neill went on to say that "Jim (Dr. Daniels) spent 45 years working for the Department of Defense as a consultant on very sensitive projects and as a result, finding out much about him is difficult, it's not like he spent his career as a professor or an employee of a company that could easily be researched".
As to the authenticity of the photographs, anything can be photoshopped, it's hard to know for sure without the services an expert in photographic analysis.
There are varied eyewitness reports on their website, with more promised, Steve Neill says that "they thoroughly vet all eyewitness reports and only make public those which meet their strict standards of credibility", here are a few selected accounts:
“I am a tenured Humboldt State University educator. After having a life-altering encounter with this creature, I was very conflicted about coming forward, I was terrified of being ostracized by my peers and making a career-ending mistake. Instead of career suicide, I chose to contact an old colleague(Dr. Daniels) who is an expert in this field. I trust he will follow the evidence and honor the scientific process”
“I’m a local wildlife official who personally interviewed over 2 dozen eyewitnesses, all of whom were willing to be polygraphed. My report and the numerous requests for action that followed were ignored by both my superiors and senior officials at Humboldt State. After several attempts to be taken seriously, I was threatened with the loss of my job and forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement. I have since hired an attorney”
J.B. – Arcata, Ca
“I live near Redwood Park in Arcata and often take my Jack Russell Terrier out for his morning pee. On an early morning walk, I saw what I just assumed was a black bear digging through one of the trash cans, upon hearing my dog bark, the creature stood upright and looked right at us then and took off running into the forest at light speed. It took days for me to process what I had witnessed, I was embarrassed to tell anyone until I started seeing other eyewitness reports. It was like something out of a movie, the brain just cannot comprehend seeing something like this, it still has me questioning my own sanity”
M.S.- Arcata, Ca
and my personal favorite: (I had to have it translated)
“One arvo in the bush with me mates, I really had to park me brekkie so after finding a spot, I dropped me daks and grundies and while giving the ol’ Aussie Salute I saw huge bloody Squirrel chasing a bird, it was a blinder, mate, bigger than a bloody boomer and moved like a Possum up a gum tree, It was London to a brick a bloody Squirrel, I swear on me life. I was bloody gobsmacked. I thought to meself, fair suck of the sav, that Squirrel was the size of a bloody bloke, that’s the deadset, mate”
D.M. – Trinidad
When the story first broke in a small Humboldt area publication (one that Dr. Daniels asked me not to mention by name as he is very upset with them) they were hopeful it would garner the attention of the "correlating and relevant government agencies" to "assist in the research and conservation campaign" but instead "turned their world's upside-down" and "put his team on hard times", here is an excerpt from a statement he wrote that he says he was promised would be published by the aforementioned publication but never was:
"Since your 1st article was published, I’ve been called a fraud, a troll, a crack-smoking wacko, Grandpa Fruitcake, Dr. Quackers, Looney-Tunes, demented, senile, Fruit Loops, stark-raving mad, bat-shit crazy, a washed-up, triggered old geezer, cuckoo for Coco Puffs, nuttier than Squirrel turds, and, my personal favorite: “crazy as a shithouse rat”, just to name a few.
We’ve been flooded with reports of fake sightings including one from a person who claimed to be violently sexually assaulted by the Man Squirrel and another from a man who claims to have seen the creature whilst engaging in “steamy, unnatural sex acts” with his boyfriend in the Community Forest.
One of our lab technicians got punched in the face while hanging up posters because of the article, Another team member’s wife left him and, here’s some of the “evidence” we’ve received from purported “amateur field researchers” (some of which was sent to my hospital room while in recovery from surgery): domestic dog hair that appears to have come from someone’s vacuum cleaner bag, a restaurant to-go box with Chicken bones (including the used napkins with wing sauce on them) photographs of men’s penises, matted cat hair with poop in it attempting to be passed off as “Murrel dingleberries”, a used tampon, allegedly containing bodily fluids from a menstruating Murrel, toenail clippings, balled up ear wax and 2 lbs of human feces with canned corn, crushed peanuts and whole acorns in it (sent in a used bread bag) attempting to be passed off as Murrel dung"
Either an elaborate hoax, the delusions of a mad scientist, a joke by college students or a real phenomenon that is being presented with manufactured evidence to compensate for a lack of convincing data, the story of The Redwood Man Squirrel is amusing nonetheless. In the crazy times we live in, the idea of a "terrifyingly adorable" man-sized Squirrel living in the woods is a nice departure from the daily bombardment of depressing and stress-inducing news constantly being shoved down our throats.
With no biological precedent for such a creature, no historical references and no reported sightings outside of the Arcata Community Forest, how did this creature come to be? There can't possibly be a breeding population so, is "The Murrel" the last of its kind? According to the "latest news" page on SaveTheMurrel.org the origin story of "The Murrel" may be coming more clear thanks to a recent a "whistleblower" who's story they've announced will be released next week. As a tease to the story, they've posted what they claim to be a leaked document provided by their star witness. I have spoken to 4 eyewitnesses at length as well as to the good doctor himself (he had a lot to say) and will be spilling it all in the next 2 installments of this blog.