My parents live out in the country on several acres of woodland. It was a lovely place to grow up, especially for the socially awkward introvert that I have always been, and visiting is always a nice getaway. We can look out into the woods at the stunning variety of wildlife: a plethora of birds, deer, turkeys, squirrels, turtles, snakes, and rabbits. We’ve seen raccoons and foxes and once a peacock that had wandered away from a nearby farm. That one really threw Mom for a loop as it was shortly after she returned home from a hospital stay that had included very strong painkillers. Even without chemical influence, it’s a place that feels a little magical. And after twenty years wondering what’s out there, we’ve finally caught footage of a previously undiscovered cryptid.
We aren’t a hunting family, but my dad acquired a game camera to install at the edge of the backyard to see who wanders through the yard when they aren’t looking. It’s mostly deer, but sometimes it’s not.
Mom has hung bars of Irish Spring soap in her flower beds for a couple years now to deter the deer (and whatever else) from eating her hostas. In gardening circles, Irish Spring is touted as a miracle cure for keeping all manner of critters away.
So imagine our surprise when a bar of soap went missing, pulled right from the rope. Another bar hung nearby scratched and chewed like the victim of a tiny werewolf attack. It could only be the Callaway Cryptid. After a couple weeks another bar of soap was gone. And another. When only one flowerbed still sported the spicy soap, Dad repositioned the camera in an effort to catch even the grainiest footage of the mysterious munching monster.
We went to check the camera yesterday morning, and noticed that one of Mom’s ferns was squashed, broken, and torn, as though it had been used as a seat to access the treasure right next to it: a shepherd’s hook with the last shred of rope, freshly liberated of its Irish Spring.
Lo and behold! We finally have photographic evidence of the Callaway Cryptid and can finally classify it, shedding even the dimmest light on its mystery.
To the untrained eye, the Callaway Cryptid is just your garden variety opossum. Closer examination of the evidence reveals, however, that it is in actuality a wereopossum. To those new to cryptozoology, the wereopossom, like the much more well-known werewolf, lives as a human by day, only transforming into a wild beast under particular nocturnal circumstances. Not much else is known about wereopossums at this time, and most of the information available is purely speculation.
What we do know, though, is that wereopossums are far less violent than werewolves, which is why they appear far less in horror stories, mythologies, and histories. Their transformation is also not based on a lunar cycle, but seems far less regular. It has been hypothesized that they transform with the local solid waste pickup cycle (colloquially “trash day”), but they have been known to appear outside this regular cycle, and I believe that they involuntarily transform when their own household waste bin reaches capacity and must be taken out.
Less known, is why the fascination with the Irish Spring soap? Is this a trait common among wereopossums, or is it unique to the Callaway Cryptid? Is this wereopossum simply daffy, enjoying the taste of stinky soap, unlike any other creature on this green earth? I have another theory. I suspect that the Callaway Cryptid retains more of his sense of self-awareness than is commonly associated with werewolves; that is to say, the transformation from man to opossum is almost entirely physical, leaving the wereopossum’s mental capacities nearly untouched. Whether that is unique to the Callaway Cryptid or is more characteristic of wereopossums in general remains to be seen.
I suspect that the Callaway Cryptid is a relatively new convert and is grappling with human-held prejudices of opossums. Upon discovering that he had transformed into a wereopossum, the Callaway Cryptid felt “dirty” and sought cleansing. Retaining his human sensibilities, but heightened opossum senses, he smelled the soap, and sought it out, undeterred by abundant evidence of human and canine presence that might otherwise scare away the timid marsupial.
Is this the case? Or am I grasping at shadows to find answers? We may never know. This journey of discovery has only just begun.
If any werepossums are reading this, please know that you don’t need to be ashamed. You’re not dirty (well, you might be, I don’t know your life, but it’s not because of who or what you are; maybe you just need to make an effort at personal hygiene). But if you could leave the soap in the garden, and maybe not trample the flowers, I know my mom would appreciate it. Thanks in advance.