The Gnome of Girona: A Real-life Smurf Hoax

The preserved remains of the Gnome of Girona. (Image credit/source here.)

The preserved remains of the Gnome of Girona. (Image credit/source here.)

Sometime in September 1989, two couples named Añaños and Pujals went camping in a forest near the Spanish city of Girona. While the four friends were barbecuing and listening to music on a cassette player, a strange creature suddenly walked out of the bushes. The “Gnome of Girona”, as it was later called in Spanish media, was a small rabbit-like creature that had glowing red eyes and bluish skin. Apparently attracted by the music, the Gnome walked up to the cassette player and stood as the campers watched.

When one of the men turned the music up, the creature let out a loud laugh like an old man’s, and tried to run away. To prevent its escape, the campers threw a blanket over it and placed the Gnome in a birdcage. It smelled like sarsaparilla and had very soft skin. Aside from three pieces of hair found on the back of its neck, the Gnome was hairless. Its height was measured at 12 centimeters (4.7 inches). It made no protest about being captured, but refused to eat. After four days in captivity, the creature died.

Drawing of the Gnome of Girona. (Image credit/source here.)

Drawing of the Gnome of Girona. (Image credit/source here.)

The campers decided to save the creature’s remains in a coffee jar filled with formaldehyde, and it was later sold to Angel Gordon, a Spanish parapsychologist. Gordon paraded the remains around the media, appearing on the Spanish TV shows Otra Dimensión (“Another Dimension”) and En los Límites de la Realidad (“In the Twilight Zone”). Some speculated that the creature was an alien, but Gordon himself said that it was an elf, the same sort from German folklore which inspired The Smurfs.

Gordon’s bizarre story attracted growing skepticism after he gave conflicting accounts of how the Gnome was found. He couldn’t specify where in the forest the campers saw the Gnome, and nobody could locate the campers either. (He could assumedly neither explain why anybody would go camping with a birdcage.) In 1991, pictures taken of the Gnome were examined by Dr. John Altschuler, an American pathologist interested in UFOs and cattle mutilations. Altschuler was not convinced that the remains were of an extraterrestrial origin, dismissing it as an animal fetus, possibly a cow or pig.

Angel Gordon displaying pictures of the Gnome of Gerona remains. (Image credit/source here.)

Angel Gordon displaying pictures of the Gnome of Gerona remains. (Image credit/source here.)

In a move to defend the Gnome, Gordon appeared on a Spanish TV show along with Dr. Luis Linares de Mula, a medical doctor and fellow parapsychologist. Mula claimed that the Gnome of Girona was an abnormal animal unknown to science. The campers who caught the Gnome, the Añaños and Pujals, also appeared on the show and gave a first-person account of the story.

Biologists from the Barcelona Zoo later investigated the Gnome and came to the conclusion that there was nothing extraordinary about it. Its legs, they noted, were underdeveloped and couldn’t possibly have been able to walk. The “Gnome”, in fact, was very likely a deformed three-month-old calf fetus.

Pictures of the Gnome of Gerona. (Image credit/source here.)

Pictures of the Gnome of Gerona. The remains have become yellowish over time. (Image credit/source here.)

Any hope that the Gnome of Girona really was a blue little elf was extinguished when a man named Manuel Tello came forward and told a different story about how the Gnome was found. According to Tello, one of his neighbors had found the Gnome dead while walking in the countryside. He thought it was a rabbit fetus, or possibly some rare animal. After Tello took some pictures of the thing, Angel showed up and bought it. Tello began to see Angel touring the media circuit with the camper story a few weeks later.

As another skeptic would later uncover, the Añaños and Pujals turned out to be actors hired to promote Gordon’s camper story. There are, of course, some believers who still insist that the Gnome of Girona is either an extraterrestrial/real-life Smurf/elf corpse or the fetus of an unidentified animal, but this story has been thoroughly debunked as a hoax.

The 6 Foot Tall Monkey on a Skateboard that Terrorized New Delhi in the Summer of 2001

Sketches of the monkey-man. Source: cryptomundo.com.

Sketches of the monkey-man. Source: cryptomundo.com.

In April 2001, three men in the Indian city of Ghaziabad reported being attacked by a monkey while they were asleep. While the first two attacks had happened while the victims were laying on their terraces outside, the third attack occurred in the inside of a building. As the attacks increased, the monkey took on a stranger appearance, with one woman claiming he had glowing light bulbs on his back. Panic broke out across the city, and when rumors began to spread that police had arrested a “monkey man” on April 10th, a crowd gathered in front of the police station and demanded to see it.

After only a month passed, sightings of the monkey-man spilled over into the near-by city of New Delhi. The creature seemed to prey entirely on the poor, visiting their neighborhoods late at night and mauling people who happened to be sleeping on their rooftops. Eyewitness descriptions varied widely, with some claiming that the monster was a four foot tall monkey covered in black fur, while others said it was a six foot tall monkey-like creature that wore clothing and had the face of a man. He had everything from an astronaut helmet to a skateboard to the ability to jump from roof to roof without leaving a single footprint behind.

Source: tribuneindia.com.

Source: tribuneindia.com.

Hysteria erupted whenever somebody shouted out that they saw the monkey-man. Three people, including a pregnant woman, died while attempting to escape him, and there were two other incidents in which angry mobs almost killed men suspected of being the monkey-man because one was four foot tall and the other carried a motorcycle helmet. Vigilante groups, feeling the police weren’t doing enough, patrolled the streets themselves.

The police, however, treated the existence of the monkey-man seriously, even releasing sketches of eyewitness reports. 3,000 officers were dispatched to the case, instructed to shoot-on-sight. A special task force was assembled and given special vehicles to pursue a monster that could allegedly run and jump at top speed. A reward of the equivalent of $1,000 was even offered to anybody who could help catch the monkey-man.

A Japanese monkey-man toy. Image source: mediacomtoytv.com.

A Japanese monkey-man toy. Image source: mediacomtoytv.com.

Meanwhile, Sanal Edamaruku of the Indian Rationalist Association began to investigate and interview witnesses. He found that many of the sightings were inconsistent, some portraying the monkey-man as a phantom monster, others as a sci-fi robot. The scratches and wounds on victims touted around the media as proof turned out to be small and non-serious, caused by mosquito bites and laying on traditional Indian beds. The victims he interviewed didn’t show signs of trauma, but of excitement. The monkey-man, as it soon emerged, was nothing more than mass hysteria.

The reports of sightings and attacks stopped as quickly as they started, and life in the city returned to normal by the end of the summer. A movie inspired by the incident, Delhi-6, was released in February 2009.

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