Werewolf Radar: If I Had A Million Crawlers by Nate Balding

Werewolf Radar: If I Had A Million Crawlers
By Nate Balding
Published Issue 127, July 2024


Over there in the woods!

It’s a bird! It’s … well, no, it’s not a plane; that would be ridiculous. More like the collective nightmares of all the children subjected to Return to Oz manifested as a fully nude Wheeler (This would be the space to say “Google it” but, actually? Don’t). Shades of David Bowie in full-body mime makeup playing solo charades as “super hot shaved otter;” The Thin White Duke just popped in from a trip on Charon Cruises for a quick cuppa and some Jaffa Cakes. Then again, it might just be a washer-slicked white sheet blown free of its air-dry clothespin prison to undulate amidst the brush and branches, buffeted by a demon wind imbuing it with perceived sentience and malintent. And how many did you guys take? Because I think I’m on the wrong side of the Rubicon over here.

The insistent truth is, unfortunately, that despite all of these possibilities being of equally reasonable value, nobody has an answer except to say that what we have here is your definitional description of the ever-elusive Appalachian haint known as the Pale Crawler.

I know you’re wondering and, yes, Pale Crawler is both Munly’s secret sobriquet and the derogatory Swiftinymic for Jason Aldean’s current tour.

Sightings of this bleached blanket gringo may date back as far as 1946. That year on April 2nd, recent veteran of the second war to end all wars and forename-eschewant known only as Sergeant McCay bore witness to a pale, hollow-eyed creature that, to his 2017 death, he claimed was the cause of his chronic PTSD. One might be pressed to imagine that facing wartime odds against a seemingly unstoppable fascist force built on an unabashedly racist and maniacal program of genocide would be enough to drive a person into the despairing pits of brain-breaking stress conditions. But, of course, that would be the kind of silly-headed thought that only a curious and responsible nurse from a nascent MASH unit might acquire.

While indeterminate as the source of ongoing mental anguish (though there’s no way to know what state of mind they might have been in whether it be pretty drunk, very drunk, god-damn-it-I-said-I’m-not-drunk), in 1988 a trio of kids were freewheeling around the back roads of Independence, Missouri on the way to a friend’s house. In a turn that could only be imagined in the tone of a young-ish Bill Shatner, they caught sight of some-thing on the road. They described a large white creature, humanoid in shape, that leaped wildly over a guard rail and took a heavy-palmed swipe at their vehicle. Certainly, this could have been the work of the progenitor of a real-life person upon whom the character Joe Dirt would later be based. But it seemed to disappear into the night, merely frightening the travelers enough to file a report.

Another, later account — and one that falls possibly into the world of Creepypastas — took place during the 2020 lockdown period in Noblesville, Indiana, a city living in defiance of Medicine itself! Two people — get this, a boy and a girl, romantically connected — were bored at home. I’d attribute this to the monotony of some of the weeks during which they surely hadn’t left their shared living space, but I’m strongly leaning into the theory that this state of being would have been a recurring case for many youths of Noblesville, Indiana. And like many people with naught better to do, they hopped in the car for an aimless, beautiful night drive. The kind of aimless, beautiful night drive that can’t help but turn a corner into (I’d say The Twilight Zone but we’ve been there already so …) total, unrelenting horror in a Lovecraftian vision. And when they rounded that corner, brights (importantly) shining, squatted a porcelain humanoid, seemingly just hanging around, probably on a smoke break from scaring. The girl screamed and the boy smashed his brakes, skidding to a halt long enough to see that it had super long legs and arms with elbows that touched the ground. The crawler (later defined in this story as a “rake” — a term the originates as a type of Creepypasta), now sighted, darted into the treeline and lept 15 to 20 feet into its barky embrace, fading into the darkness despite its glittering luminescence.

Whether a misguided teen scrawling into the unending expanse of the fun fictional part of the internet (that’d be the one that hasn’t been befouled by January 6th conspiracy theorists or anyone from 4chan), or a series of long-standing genuine encounters, the Pale Crawler is here, baby, and it looks like it’s here to stay. 

Have questions about the paranormal?
Send them to werewolfradarpod@gmail.com or on Twitter: @WerewolfRadar.
It’s a big, weird world. Don’t be scared. Be Prepared.

Nate Balding is a freelance humanoid who occasionally manifests in print and can most likely be seen at Werewolf Radar. Should you wish to hear him manifest audibly you can do so at the aforementioned Werewolf Radar’s associated podcast on Spotify and Apple, and if anything ever becomes humorous again, on a variety of stand up stages around the nation. If you’re truly craving further content there’s always @Exploder on Twitter — even if it is only a form of digital self flagellation at this point. His one thing that he considers actually accomplished was this time he was published in the journal Nature and then later collected into a volume called Futures from Nature, still available in places that have things.

Check out Nate’s May Werewolf Radar install, Fraud Save The Queen, or head to our Explore section to see more of his work.