I love strange creature stories and am always lamenting the fact that the Central Valley is lacking in them (unless you want to count the numerous sighting of dogs with mange being reported as Chupacabras). So imagine my surprise (and a bit of shock) when I came across a story of a supposedly evil gnome that was terrorizing a farm house near Porterville.
The first incident occurred when a woman by the name of Tammy moved herself and her three children into a small farmhouse on the Tule River near Porterville. Soon after moving in Tammy started feeling like something was watching them and had an uneasy feeling ever time she walked by the old barn. For some reason most of the animals on the farm seemed to avoid the rickety old building and soon she noticed that the number of her ducks and chickens had started to dwindle, but couldn't figure out why. She was soon going to have an idea why.
One night Tammy and her son were coming back from grocery shopping when, as she parked the car and got out, noticed movement to her right. Thinking nothing of it she picked up a grocery bag and noticed it again, this time accompanied by what she described as a "very freaky, very evil sounding chuckle". Looking in the direction of the noise Tammy noticed about 50 yards from her a small humanoid looking figure. Or as she described it, a gnome.
The figure was about two to three feet in height, wore black baggy pants and a gold colored shirt. The face was partially covered by a long salt and pepper beard and on top of the head was a long, red pointed hat. The nose was large and bulbous and the eyes were rather deep set. As the figure grinned at them, Tammy noticed that the grin was almost from ear to ear and the teeth looked to be an ugly brown color and appeared to be either pointed or jagged.
Horrified, Tammy dropped the groceries and grabbed her son and ran off towards the house with the cackling little man right on her heels. Tammy was able to get inside the house and was in the midst of telling her two daughters what she saw, when she saw movement outside the kitchen window. Upon investigating she saw the top of the figure's red pointed hat moving back and forth underneath the window. Finally after what must have seemed like an eternity, the figure disappeared and Tammy was able to get the groceries from the car. This was the only time she actually saw the figure, but until she moved out she would always hear creepy chuckling coming from the old barn, as if it was taunting her or something.
You would think that this would be an isolated occurrence, but it seems the gnome wasn't satisfied with just terrorizing Tammy and her family.
In March of 2010 a family moved in to the same house on the Tule River. According to the wife, Charlie, it was perfect for what their family needed. Her husband took a particular liking to a pond on the property and decorated it with fairy, gnome, and toadstool yard ornaments and stocked it with Japanese koi fish. Not surprisingly, Charlie and her family also had an eerie feeling about the old barn on the property and tried to stay away from it as much as possible.
One night, at around 3:00 am, Charlie and her husband were woken by what can only be described as a "raspy, gurgling singing". Charlie and her husband looked out their bedroom window and what they saw defied what they considered their reality. Standing by the pond and holding one of the garden gnomes was a creature that came out of a Grimm's fairy tale, as Charlie described it. The creature was two to three feet tall, wearing maroon pants and a baggy yellow shirt with a brown vest over it and a dark waistcoat. It had a large gray beard and was wearing a reddish brown pointed hat. Charlie went on to say the most horrible part of the creature were its eyes and teeth. When it grinned it's teeth appeared to be jagged and pointed and the eyes were small and beady and had a dark mean look to them.
Apparently the creature saw the couple looking at him (it?) and reached into the pond and grabbed a koi and dropped it into its mouth and swallowed it. Furious, Charlie's husband pushed open the window and yelled at the creature to leave the yard or he'd call the police. The gnome grinned and laughed as he gave them the finger and disappeared. The police were called, being notified that an "intruder" was on the property, but when they got there an hour later the only evidence that was found was small footprints, about the size of a child's, around the pond.
This wasn't the only time the gnome would visit the pond. Night after night it would be seen holding a yard ornament and eating a fish. The family eventually wised up and moved the ornaments and put the fish into a tank inside the house. Apparently this didn't go over well with the gnome. Upon the usual time of its appearance of 3:00 am, when the gnome saw that the yard ornaments and fish had been removed it went into a crazed frenzy and began yelling and screaming in some language that nobody could understand. But they understood it was pissed. It began to run around the house screaming in whatever language was native to it. The family felt safe until Charlie realized the dog door in the kitchen was unlocked and feared the creature would try to enter the house through that. She was able to lock and then ran upstairs to close the rest of the windows. The last they heard of the creature was a very loud screeching, cackling sound that was heard underneath one of the living room windows. Charlie's husband went to investigate and saw the top of the creature's hat underneath the window.
Given all that had gone on the family decided to get out of the house and Porterville in general. One has to ask, was this the same creature that Tammy saw a few years prior? I first heard of both Tammy and Charlie's story on MysteriousUniverse.org and it seems the author of the article was able to put the two women in contact with each other. After exchanging info and indeed confirming that both had lived on the same property, they agreed to meet and revisit the property where their terrifying encounters had occurred. Upon arrival, they noticed the barn structure that had given both of them an eerie feeling had been torn down but the property still had that dark feel to it. Before they left they decide to knock on the front door of the house to see if anyone was home. A woman answered but was not happy to see them and told them to leave the premises after being asked about the barn or if she had experienced anything weird.
This story intrigues me to say the least. First you have two witnesses describing a similar looking creature that they saw years apart from one another. Then you have a creature that is known only in folklore but is usually of a pleasant nature, not the mean asshole that was seen by the two women (for some reason I find it hilarious that he flipped off Charlie and her husband). So what did these two women see? I'm going on a different theory here and I know I'll probably get more grief than I usually do, but I think what Tammy and Charlie saw was one of the fairy folk. Namely a redcap.
Redcaps come from English folklore and were said to be a type of malevolent murderous fairy that mostly inhabited ruined castles found along the border between England and Scotland. They would murder any traveler who was foolish enough to stray into their homes. Redcaps got their names from the practice of dying their hats with the blood of their victims. They were described as having the appearance of an old man with red eyes and large teeth.
So how in the hell did a mean little creature straight out of English folklore get all the way to Central California? Remember the United States used to be a British Colony and the early colonist brought over their beliefs from their home land. What if somehow the things they believed in became real? Tibetan Buddhism has a concept called a Tulpa, or a thought form. Basically the idea behind it is that if something is concentrated on enough it is somehow brought into existence.
What if some of the early settlers that came here still held a belief that redcaps were real? So real that they took form and had a life of their own? And over the many years the now very real redcap wandered the country and somehow wound up in California. How else do you explain what was seen? If it was just one person that saw the creature the idea of a hoax of prank could be brought into consideration. But the fact that two people saw the same thing years apart has me wondering what the hell is on the outskirts of Porterville.
Now obviously this is merely conjecture and nothing more. It can't be real; it's just some creature out of a fairy tale right? Tell that to both Tammy and Charlie. Whatever they saw was real to them and it scared the hell out of them. And I have a feeling it's still there, waiting to terrorize someone else.
Since I found this story on another site I feel I have to link back to the original MysteriousUniverse article. You can find it here.
Also it seems the show Monsters and Mysteries on the Destination America network did a story on the creature. You can find the episdode on YouTube but you have to pay $1.99 to see it. I see the show on all the time and imagine they probably run repeats of this episode.