Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Three: Case File No. 17-121
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Where We Left Off:
Gus and human companion tried to investigate something hiding in a cement condominium structure in the junkyard. Not enough evidence was found to determine what made Gus react so strongly.
Let me just say, I’ve never analyzed nor discussed poop as thoroughly as this entry.
July 9th was another foggy morning for our patrol. I expect to find random piles of poo. That goes with the territory. And honestly, as long as it’s not someone else’s dog or human, I don’t care and simply try to identify it and move on. That morning, Gus and I were immediately drawn into an investigation when I was interrupted by a weird sight of feces with a plastic cap in it.
The cap didn’t look like it was also expelled out of the animal’s body. Based on the way this cap was in regards to the poop pile, I’d say it was dropped there after the pooping occurred and not before. I’ve been watching a lot of forensics shows about blood spatter and when it’s a little dried underneath something like footprints or if broken glass is found under the body rather than over it. So now, I’m quite the master of crime scene analysis.
Not only was this poop + plastic cap situation a mystery, but Gus and I needed to figure out if it was connected to the primary crime: the stolen bird seed cage.
As noted a few entries ago, there has been a lot of positive sightings of wildlife returning to the estate. The Cook said it’s probably because the dogs haven’t been next door since their house burned. Oliver agreed with her. Gus has no real opinion but wants to take over the property now that the dogs are gone. We’ve been happy to see the foxes, deer, and the return of at least one black bear since the hunts depleted that population by several hundred a year. We don’t know if all these creatures will stick around when the dogs come back after their reconstruction.
Parker the squirrel is usually the dominant force at that particular feeding station on the smaller maple tree. She even chases her own partner away, Hardison, and makes him wait on the ground for treats to fall. The peanuts and corn are on the ground anyway. It’s not like these squirrels are starving. Parker simply enjoys eating from the tree. She’s usually spotted on top of the cage structure or hanging from it. She can get herself into all kinds of gravity-defying positions to eat. She’s stolen these cage feeders before, but normally the only damage to them is whether the locks are missing or broken. Sometimes the doors have been taken off their hinges which is why we’ve resorted to using small Master Locks (although they don’t always work either). This is the third cage style feeder; fourth overall because we also tried a cedar one.
For this investigation, the cage was still in good shape. I retrieved it once I found it across the yard and had to wait for The Butler, Alfredo Pesosvalor, to come and rehang it since I couldn’t reach.
A couple of weeks later, the same bird seed cage looked like a small scale version of the shark cage at the end of JAWS. It was hanging in place, but it was crushed and a hinge was broken.
Of course Oliver and The Cook think it was the result of a bear reached up to take it. Many years ago, a large bear smashed a bird feeder much different in style and larger than this one. Oliver wasn’t even born yet. The plastic feeder was smashed to pieces. It had only been hanging from a clothesline to begin with so that’s not the most secure place. At least their theory had merit due to this history. Plus, we were recently sent surveillance images and video from a friend in the region (video above) who also had their bird feeder smashed by a black bear. Theirs looked bigger than the one I’ve seen here.
Gus wanted to see if he could find any witnesses willing to talk. The blue jays weren’t cooperative that day. The cardinals, Stan and Joan, said they didn’t see anything. Then we noticed a petite tufted titmouse hanging around looking like she had something to say, but wasn’t sure she could trust us. We approached slowly. In fact, Gus did some meandering around the bushes so it didn’t give the impression that he had her targeted in one of his brutal ways. I got closer a little bit at a time. Gus and I aren’t exactly ninjas in our footsteps. His running can easily be mistaken for a horse; and well, I’m 170 pounds of not-graceful-at-all human in exploration gear.
The titmouse took off and I thought we lost her. She came back a minute later perhaps realizing that she was not about to be snatched by Gus’ fangs. I said we could leave her name out of the report if she would be willing to provide us with any information on who vandalized and tried to steal the feeder.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. It was able to climb the tree easily.”
We tried to get a physical description from the bird about what or who she saw, but it wasn’t particularly helpful.
- Height/Length: About two to three feet long while scaling the tree trunk
- Shape: thick and muscular, covered in fur
- Traits: walked on all fours mostly used its front paws as bipedal hands when needed
This is weird, but weird is what we do. If you recall the previous case file, no. 16-120, Gus had an interaction with something that disturbed him. We had to leave the case closed/unsolved because there was nothing for us to do. No crime had been committed. Gus was not assaulted, and for once, he didn’t lash out at anyone either. I created a list of speculative subjects which he might have encountered. Now with this new information from the tufted titmouse, we can add to that file in case we need to reference it again.
This unsub (lingo for “unknown subject”) could be the culprit who stole the bird feeder, then later crushed it, and left the suspicious pile of feces.
a wolpertinger an angry groundhog chipmunks
Referencing our list, I think we can narrow it down. Wolpertingers and groundhogs don’t climb up trees and hang on bird feeders. Chipmunks would but they aren’t as large as the unsub’s description from the tufted titmouse. That final three have the abilities, but who would be interested in that bird feeder? Is there something we haven’t put on the list that we’re missing?
I went to Oliver with my questions and we began researching recent unusual wildlife sightings. It turns out that only a few days ago, Camden County had reports of a mountain lion. The Philadelphia CBS Channel 3 news had coverage of it from someone’s trail-cam. A mountain lion could easily climb trees and smash a bird feeder, but it seems like it would be too large of an animal to go to that particular maple tree. I suppose it could but there are larger trees all around.Pumapard, Rothschild Museum, Tring. By Messybeast at English Wikipedia, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1826249%5B/caption%5D
I began to research other types of wild cats and learned that there was a dwarf hybrid cat back in 1896. There were a couple of leopard and puma hybrid cubs born in Chicago on 24-April which were dubbed the pumpards. After that, a man named Carl Hagenbeck played God and tried creating his own hybrids. His creations were born with dwarfism; they were always male; and also always sterile so they could have sustained themselves as a species without intervention. I’m not sure what Hagenbeck was doing to get the dwarfism result, but since that does occasionally happen naturally in mating, perhaps we are looking for a similar wild cat here.
a wolpertinger an angry groundhog chipmunks
This case would go further if we had seen tracks to determine the size of the creature and perhaps which species. Assuming what Gus encountered in the cement blocks was the same creature as the one who stole and crushed the bird feeder, that would mean it would have to be small enough to fit in those spaces. An infant offspring is a possibly, of course. Sometimes a doe will drop off her fawn in a place that seems safe so that she can go out and run errands (maybe have some “me time”); but then the mother doe will always come back to that spot to pick up her baby. With so little information on the pumapard, perhaps we’re looking at a similar situation.
We also don’t want to discount the chupacabra theory either. They easily fit the size and abilities of the description we have. I could see how a chupacabra would cause Gus the level of stress he displayed at the cement blocks. He’s seen foxes and deer and never went full Halloween cat on those; though he did run after the one fox.
We’d love to hear your input on whether you think the culprit was a chupacabra or pumapard. You can comment at Patreon or send a tweet to @elizabethamber.
We have a stool sample, a plastic cap, the damaged bird feeder cage, and footage of Gus freaking out at the cement blocks in the junkyard. We believe the incidents are connected and have it narrowed down to two possible species, but no individual suspects.
Case Status: Open