This cryptid that I am going to talk about has nothing to do with Fresno, or even California in general, but is one of my favorite legends. It was seen in Dover, Massachusetts over the course of two days in 1977 and even after three decades it still is one of the strangest things to ever occur in the realm of the paranormal.
The first sighting occured on April 21, 1977 at night by a group of teenagers who were driving through a wooded area when their car's headlights illuminated the creature. The driver, Bill Bartlett, thought at first it was perhaps a cat or dog, but as he got closer he realized it wasn't either of those. Instead he described it as a bizarre, unearthly creature crawling along a stone wall that ran adjacent to the road.
Bartlett continued to observe the creature and described it as having a disproportionately large, watermelon-shaped head with glowing orange eyes. It had long, thin arms and legs with slender fingers, which it used to grasp onto the wall. The creature had no hair and the skin appeared to have a rough texture and was flesh-toned. The creature had no discernable mouth, nose, or ears.
Two hours later and about a mile away from the first sighting the creature was seen again, this time by John Baxter as he was walking home from his girlfriend's house. He saw the creature moving toward him, but when it spotted him it fled into the woods adjacent to the road. Baxter, thinking it was a neighborhood child, pursued the creature through the woods, across a shallow brook, and through a field. Soon though Baxter lost sight of the creature and decided to stop and rest for a minute.
As he was resting, Baxter finally got a clear view of the creature which was leaning against a tree. His description was similiar to what Bartlett described, down to the glowing eyes. During the following media circus, Baxter insisted that he made his report without knowing that Bartlett had seen the same creature a few hours earlier.
This wasn't the last time the creature was seen. The following day a Abby Brabham and Will Traintor saw a similar looking creature on the side of the road from Traintor's car. Brabham described it as a hairless primate with a bulbous head. She also said the creature had bright green eyes, different than what both Bartlett and Baxter described. This description has some skeptics claiming a hoax as the descriptions differ.
All of the eyewittnesses were asked seperately to sketch the creature they had encounter. Amazingly, the results were remarkably similiar. The only difference being the difference in eye color.
The creature as Bill Bartlett describes it.
John Baxter's version of the creature.
No one really knows what the Dover Demon was or what happened to it. Some ufologist think the creature was somesort of alien. Others speculate that it was a being from another dimension. All of these are speculations of course, but famed Loren Coleman (who coined the term Dover Demon) said "this is one of those situations where I'm most definitely secure in saying I don't know what this is" and "It's almost as if the Dover Demon popped in to our reality and popped out."
Skeptics weren't without their own theories. One wrote that the description of the creature's head matched that of a newborn moose. This is unlikely as one of the sightings of the creature specifically stated that the creature had visible fingers, whereas a moose has hooves. Other skeptics mention that all the witnesses were high school teenagers and claim that it was some sort of hoax. In a recent interview Bill Bartlett stuck by his story, thirty years later. He said he didn't know what he saw, but he saw something.
Evidence was never found of the Dover Demon, but the story persists to this day.
Wikipedia - Dover Demon
American Monsters - The Dover Demon