Origins of the Fresno Nightcrawler, a Pants-shaped Cryptid

By: Desiree Bowie  | 
Is it just us, or does this version of a Fresno Nightcrawler look like a PAC-MAN ghost in skinny jeans? Nicole Antonio/DALL-E

First caught on camera in 2007, the Fresno Nightcrawler might be one of the most peculiar-looking cryptids to ever (allegedly) walk the Earth.

According to eyewitnesses and CCTV footage, the mysterious, two-legged creature resembles a pair of white pants that can move independently. Imagine encountering that in your yard or during a camping trip at a national park.


So, how did this teeny cryptid rise to prominence? Has the oddly fun urban legend been debunked? Let's dig in.

What Exactly Does the Fresno Nightcrawler Look Like?

Unlike Bigfoot and Nessie, the Fresno Nightcrawler is one of the tinier cryptids to make waves in the media. It is a mysterious, bipedal entity primarily distinguished by its long, extremely thin legs and minimal upper body structure. Its small head seems to sit directly on its torso without a clear neck, giving it a very stark, unusual silhouette.

The creature's overall height is modest, but the legs constitute most of its body length, creating a peculiar, almost stick-like appearance. It moves with a smooth, flowing motion that adds to its eerie presence.


Typically seen on grainy video footage, the Fresno Nightcrawler appears white or light-colored, enhancing its ghostly and cryptic visual impact. Its distinct, minimalistic form has sparked much curiosity and speculation about its origins and nature since the fun-sized creature first entered the spotlight in the mid-aughts.

First Reported Sighting

Also known as the Fresno alien, the tiny white cryptid was first spotted on video in late 2007 by a Fresno, California, resident who identified himself as "Jose." A little after midnight on Nov. 5, the man was awakened by his barking dog and decided to check his surveillance camera footage to see why.

And there, on the screen, he saw two unusual creatures strutting across his front lawn.


Afraid and needing answers, the Fresno resident shared this intriguing footage with the city's Univision affiliate station.

Enter paranormal investigator Victor Camacho.

Public Debut

The host of the radio show "Los Desvelados" played a pivotal role in bringing the Fresno Nightcrawler phenomenon into the public eye. His experience with the Nightcrawler began when Univision asked him to come on air to review the footage and declare that the cryptids were indeed extraterrestrials.

He had never seen such a creature and refused to make this confirmation based on the grainy footage alone. Months later, Jose reached out, hoping for new information, and Camacho visited his home to see where the creatures were first sighted.

Later that year, the paranormal investigator premiered Jose's footage at a UFO conference in 2008, sparking widespread interest and debate within the paranormal community. His presentation increased scrutiny and speculation, with various experts and enthusiasts trying to decipher whether the creatures were extraterrestrial, supernatural or simply a hoax.

However, after meeting with the Fresno resident, the investigator firmly believed the footage was legitimate.

Jose was filled with fear after the sighting, Camacho told the Fresno Bee. "He didn't even want to go out of the house. He stayed home for a couple [of] weeks … It wasn't possible that someone tried to make this video just to fool you or the TV station."

Camacho has continued to discuss and investigate the Nightcrawlers, deepening the public's intrigue and helping the cryptids become a notable subject within the field of ufology.

Rare Appearances

Ultimately, the creature is nowhere near as prominent as heavy hitters like Nessie, partially due to the rarity of its sightings. Only a handful of people have reported spotting Fresno's most famous cryptid since that fateful night on Jose's lawn.

Four years after its rise to fame, the Fresno alien was allegedly spotted in Yosemite National Park in 2011. Apparently Fresno Nightcrawlers were also captured on camera in Poland in 2017 and Montana in 2020. However, there's still no hard evidence that the creatures actually exist; sign point to a hoax.


Art and Cryptids Collide

While you'd be hard-pressed to find clear footage of the cryptid, that has yet to stop the Fresno Nightcrawler from being embraced by locals and non-locals alike. In fact, one artist has embraced the cryptid's emergence by playing with its image in his art.

Eduardo Valdés-Hevia, a digital artist and medical school graduate from Spain, uses Photoshop to create images that seamlessly integrate cryptids such as the Fresno Nightcrawler into settings that appear historically authentic.


His work visualizes these myths while framing them as if they are part of documented history. This blurring of fantasy and reality helps connect the cryptid to contemporary culture, broadening the Fresno Nightcrawler's appeal from regional folklore to a global audience.

Valdés-Hevia told Business Journal that one unique aspect of the Nightcrawler is that the beginnings of its lore are easily traceable, unlike those of other cryptids whose origins date back thousands of years.

"In this case, you can clearly see it started in this certain year, with this certain person, telling this story, and then it grows from that," Valdés-Hevia said. "It's very different from the myths I'm used to."


The Pride of Fresno

The Nightcrawler holds a curious place in the hearts of Fresno residents. According to Michael Banti, founder of Weird Fresno, the cryptid is surprisingly more popular outside of Fresno than within, but it has a more niche appeal locally.

Locals engage with the Nightcrawler story with a mix of pride and amusement, seeing it as a quirky part of Fresno's identity that brings a unique flavor of "freaky fame" to the area. The cryptid has become part of the city's culture, especially around events like ArtHop, where Fresno Nightcrawler merchandise — from shirts to Christmas ornaments — features prominently.


Fresno-based artist Laura Splotch features various cryptids in her artwork, with a particular fondness for the Fresno Nightcrawler due to its local connection. "These really intrigued me because they're from Fresno," Splotch told Business Journal. "They look unique and different. It's a weird thing to fake, but if they're real, that's even weirder."

The Carmel Area Creature vs. the Fresno Nightcrawler

Surprisingly, the Fresno Alien is not the only long-legged cryptid in the United States, but it may still be the smallest.

The Carmel Area Creature is a cryptid spotted in December 2014 near Carmel, Ohio. It is described as a 7-foot-tall (2.1-meter-tall), slender figure with pale, gray skin and disproportionately long legs. This mysterious creature was seen crossing a road in an awkward gait, sparking interest and speculation in cryptozoology circles due to its eerie appearance.


Regarding cultural impact, the Fresno Nightcrawler has achieved a broader following, inspiring artistic interpretations and merchandise ranging from plush toys to T-shirts. The Carmel Creature, discussed within cryptid circles, has yet to attain similar levels of pop culture recognition, remaining more of a localized curiosity.

Additionally, the nature of their sightings also contributes to their distinct profiles; the Nightcrawler's multiple video captures allow for ongoing public and scholarly scrutiny, whereas the limited visibility of the Carmel Creature, documented only through one eyewitness, leads to greater ambiguity about its existence and nature.

We created this article in conjunction with AI technology, then made sure it was fact-checked and edited by a HowStuffWorks editor.