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Poor Bandit!

I'm reading one of the classics in Fortean and UFO literature; Gray Barker's The Silver Bridge, about the Mothman sightings in Pt. Pleasant, Virginia, in 1966. (though many will tell you Mothman and other weirdness is still going strong in the area.) Until recently, The Silver Bridge has been very hard to find, and very expensive. I've seen the book listed as high as $400.00! Thanks to Mothman's Photographer II's Andrew Colvin, who has reprinted the book, it's now available for a decently affordable price. If you're at all interested in Mothman, esoterica, UFOs, etc. you have to read this book.

There are so many things about the Mothman phenomenon; so many angles to this event, that it's no wonder the Mothman continues to fascinate people after all these years. Flying saucers, MIBS, government experiments, folklore, curses, American history, politics, monsters, culture, cryptozoology. . .it's a long juicy list of Fortean goodness.

Aside from the obvious mystery of Mothman itself, there are lots of side episodes of extreme high strangeness that orbit around Mothman that keeps a Fortean, esoteric minded, flying saucer junkie like myself intrigued.

I've always been interested in animal behavior within paranormal and UFOlogical events; reactions of the family dog type stories. The Mothman event has its share of animals, usually dogs, who behaved abnormally when in the vicinity of Mothman. One such dog was Bandit. Bandit, a German Shepherd, alerted owner Newell Partridge to something weird going on in their barn. Going outside to investigate, and feeling a strange sense of fear himself, Partridge found Bandit barking furiously at something before running off into the woods. His tracks were found the next day, as if the dog was going around in circles. Bandit was never seen again.

The skeptoids like to say Mothman was nothing more than hysterical people giving in to vivid imaginations, when in reality, Mothman was only a bird of some kind. A sand hill crane, or, as uber-skeptic Joe Nickell has put forth, an owl. (As we all know, Nickell is obsessed with owls. Owls were mistaken for alien robotic entities in the case of the Flatwoods Creature, and owls were mistaken for teeny outer space critters in the Hopskinville, Kentucky case in 1955.)

(By the way, isn't the Fortean "name game" as cryptozoologist Loren Coleman often plays, an interesting bit? With all this Mothman and bird imagery and energy, we get Bandit's owner's last name: "Partridge.")

But a dog, especially one used for hunting or used to going along with the family on outings and camping trips, and usually living in a rural area, wouldn't react so negatively and bizarrely just over a bird. Even with birds not natural to the area; dogs aren't going to disappear, run away or hide, or display other wimpy un-doglike behavior when they see a bird, no matter how tall it might be. They might get wiggy, but not crazy wiggy.

Stories involving UFOs, strange creatures seemingly from beyond, and ghosts that involve the family dog or other domestic animals behaving strangely are a standard motif in esoteric literature. How many ghost stories have you heard where the cat or dog is growling, hissing, spitting, and generally acting weirdly to something humans can't see or hear?

The "rational" person will say there's nothing there, after all, the human can't see or hear it; so of course that means there's nothing there. Fluffy or Spike are just acting weird. Now, unless you do happen to have a particularly goofy pet, why would Fluffy or Spike just up and act weird for no reason? It seems irrational to respond with that explanation. There's also the matter of context; if a house or area has a reputation for being haunted, or there have been reports of flying saucers in the town, etc. the reaction of animals might be supporting the reality of those paranormal or UFOlogical events.

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