Cats photoshopped as noir detectives

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Expand for Adventures with Gus Table of Contents

Where we left off…

Gus and I continue to find bones in the area. Some of them have us perplexed.


I seem to be mending progressively since my fall from the tree Gus and I were on. He continues to find that section of trees interesting and yes, continues to worry me when he gets out of sight. There are some good things about returning to the same scene: I found my bug spray which had fallen from my expedition bag; and Gus learned to slow down and appreciate the view. It’s still tiring standing among the trees while he takes time to lie on the rocks or trees, but it’s so nice to see him take that moment to settle down. He’s always so excited when we’re outside.

Unfortunately, I’ve found ticks on myself — one was stuck in and left a lovely itchy bite. Thankfully the other two were on my clothes and I was able to get them off easily. My skin however is hating the gorgeous spring sun. My face is exposed and it’s blotchy and broken out. I only forgot SPF face cream one day and that hurt a lot.

Back to the Artifacts!

Gus keeps trying to walk whatever way he pleases with complete disregard for trails or paths I’ve tried to clear. I’ll give him credit for being good while I was having a hard time walking. He seems to know I’m feeling better and thus resumed his more aggressive style of exploring.

Progress on previous discoveries

I’ve taken the four bones that were found in one week out of the cleaning solution. I posted videos and pictures on Instagram. I think my assessments are still pretty close.

Fig. 1: Collage of bones

The Cranium

Even though this specimen looks like it could be an entire pelvis when held certain ways, I still think it’s a type of skull. There are some orbital spaces that match “eye holes” or ocular orbits. The fusion of the plates resembles the fusion patterns of human craniums. There are a lot of small details that I haven’t identified.


I still don’t know the species, but it’s safe to say it’s not human. I’ve ruled out opossum, dog, and fox. According to the specimens in the photographic database,, it is a great match for half of a white-tailed deer cranium. Unfortunately, that database does not have cryptids.


This next bone I previously thought to be a femur is more likely a humerus (arm/front leg). So much of it is missing that I kept wavering back and forth about the identification. The curve from the knobby head of the ball joint to the shaft and the curve of the body of the bone itself (diaphysis) leads me to believe it’s a humerus. If more of the proximal head remained, it would certainly be an easier job.

Unlike the cranium fragment, the long bones have significant amounts of bite marks. The cranium has a few especially around the occipital foramen. This humerus was gnawed thoroughly.

Long Bone Fragment #1

The shortest long bone fragment is about 2-2.5 inches wide. This one is interesting because it still has some connecting bone tissue inside, fragile, but not broken.

I think this may be the part right above (proximal to) the metaphysis of a femur.

Long Bone Fragment #2

The last bone of this batch had me so perplexed. I couldn’t tell if it was wood or a bone. It is heavier than other specimens we’ve found. There are some other unique features of it.

Before cleaning and whitening, it was much darker than the other pieces. I think the outside surface which is smooth is the periosteum. Other bones have so many teeth marks the surfaces are rough. The most significant feature is that there a groove cut across the bone; it doesn’t go deep, but it’s clearly not a tooth marking. This is visible in Figure 2 above. The ends also look like fairly straight cuts as with a blade. Perpendicular to the cut marks, there’s a notable stress fracture along with other small fractures which don’t go all the way through.

I don’t know the detailed process of field dressing an animal. Are bones normally cut out and left behind? I thought the guts had to be removed to keep the blood from poisoning the meat and then the rest of the carcass taken to a butcher.


Case Theory:

Though three of the bones were found in the same day, we still don’t have evidence that they belong to the same skeleton. As previously noted from Oliver Winchester’s research, this area was known to have a Jersey demon population. White-tailed deer have some similar characteristics in biology to those Jersey demons.

Though the Jersey demons are often compared biologically to horses or kangaroos (we do not have roos in NJ), the cryptid anatomy has lacked documentation. The reproductive system of such a creature could allow for mating with other similar species such as horses, deer, antelope, zebras, etc.

Wingless Variety of Jersey Demon?

If such crossbreeding occurred, changes in the DNA structure could have created anomalies where hybrids lacked wing structure or maybe carry wings as a recessive gene trait.

If you’re asking why on earth we wouldn’t accept the “Occam’s razor” theory that is to say the simple explanation is that these bones came from a white-tailed deer who was killed during hunting season, honey, please. PUHLEEZE. This is rural New Jersey. A “Bermuda Triangle” of weird between New York, Philadelphia, and the Delaware Bay.



Case Update:

This case has been updated based on other evidence. See Year Three Case No. 32.

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