Tuesday, September 29, 2015

From the Archives of the Idyll-Beast Research Center

     From time to time we like to poke around in the old archives and dust off a bit of evidence from the more or less distant past. This week's gem reminds us how one Idyllwild old-timer, Ernie Maxwell,  imagined the Beast.
     We could discuss probable height and weight, the length of the arms, the articulation of the knees and hips, all in the name of trying to dismiss the possibility that the cartoon depicts a man in a fur suit. We could present expert opinions as to the state of the art in fur suit making the year the cartoon was published, and the possibility of an Idyllwild resident (perhaps even Maxwell himself) having such a suit.

     But all this misses the point. Emax was a credible artist, and although his cartoons of people were described by one editor as "grotesque," his Idyll-Beast is quite sleek. It's hairstyle correlates well with modern sightings. He seems to have outdone himself with realism, to have pushed the self-imposed limits of the cartoonist's medium to bring the reader face to face with the Beast. And for that we salute him.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Let's Dance!

     The internet is full of mysterious video. Twenty Most Convincing Bigfoot Sightings. Top Ten UFO Cases. Twenty Five Things You Should Never Do If You Are Over Forty. The Greg Jones Band's new video for their song "Milwaukee Step." This last item features a number of Idyllwild locations and residents, including  what appear to be actor Connor O'Farrel and an Idyll-Beast. 

      As usual, the evidence leaves a lot to the imagination;  Is that really Connor or is it a costume? What's with that tie?  Did they train him to do that or is it a case of "monkey see, monkey do?" Is Conner getting scale for this?  And as to the Beast,  how did he get involved?  Was the inclusion of these two subjects intentional or did their images just "show up" when the tape was reviewed? The producers of the video have so far declined to comment. The clips do provide an answer to one old question; "can they dance?"
      New evidence often illuminates older material.  Greg's toe-tapping ode to leaving behind a bad love may be the missing link cryptozoologists have long sought. After a detailed and exhaustive analysis, I feel confident that we now know what the lumbering, black-furred biped seen in the famous Paterson/Gimlin film was doing....  He (or she) was doing the Milwaukee Step.

Saturday, July 18, 2015


The "selfie" (or selfy) is an emerging popular artform in our new century, and "selfies" with the Idyll-Beast make up a unique genre of cryptozoological evidence. This example was received in late May, but a close examination suggests that it may have been taken at the 2015 Date Festival in February. It is an interior shot taken with a shaft of natural light, and the blue and red panels behind the animals recall the color scheme of the Idyllwild backdrop used at conventions and other events.
The creature on the left is apparently "Sophie." The one on the right "Idy."  Although it is not recommended to attempt "selfies" with bears, bison, sharks or other ill-tempered (and often hungry) wildlife, the Idyll-Beast is notable for its tolerance of the casual composition and haphazard framing that so often befall the beginning "Selfie-ist."  Sophie may not have managed to center the faces in the frame, but she captured the spirit of inter-species comraderie that motivates the Beast to seek out photo-ops like this.  We look forward to seeing the rest of her face sometime soon. See you in Idyllwild, Sophie!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Save the Date

     These two photos were submitted by anonymous researchers attending this year's Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival. They certainly seem to be enjoying themselves, and why not? Many contactees call their Beast encounters "peak" experiences, akin to reaching the top of a mountain, having their first child, or eating funnel cakes and then getting on one of those human centrifuge experiment rides.

     The Idyllwild corner of the "Taj Mahal" has been something of an oaisis in the heat and crass commercialism of the Fair. In the cool and realative quiet of the "non-profit" pavillion one can learn about date agriculture or the Salton Sea. Admire baked goods. Or meet the Idyll-Beast. Enter an imaginary forest, relax and chat about Idyllwild. Take a photo, maybe spin the wheel and win a prize (if you are under 14.)

     We certainly are there selling something, but its a soft sell, low pressure. We're not trying to close the deal or take your money. And although the Idyll-Beast paws at passing deep fried zucchini and ice-cream cones, his snacking has been limited to things the demonstration chefs pass out, and the chocolates the Nature Center representative hands out as "prizes."

    See you in Idyllwild!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Two Beast or not to Beast

     Several new submissions grace our blog this week. Both are what we call "miniatures," measuring less than 5 by 7 inches.

     The first, an unsigned work by a visiting youngster,  re-imagines a well-known post card image. The skyline includes a prominent stand of conifers to the left, and the horizon could be either a sunset or golden mountains against a red sky. A lone mid ground pine looms directly above the head of what appears to be an Idyll-Beast proceeding across the frame, left to right. The animal's eyes peer out at us, and the left paw seems to be waving, the squiggles that surround it suggesting motion. The Beast is somewhat portly, or perhaps foreshortened. The use of the "continuous line" technique of sketching gives a virtuoso flair to the confirs and the "frame" around the work, striking a pleasing medium between calculation and spontaneity.

     The second is a quick-looking pencil sketch on a note pad, but was signed by Cameron Gage, 7 years old, and labeled, for the doubtful, "Idyll-Beast." The pad itself is a light orange outlined in darker orange, with a stark white "bone" in the middle of the page. Perhaps this refers to the identity of the depicted Beast as a "bone of contention." 
     The monochrome is varied by a range of intensity or weight of line. There is a light shading the provides a background, some more defined lines to suggest a forest, and then the forceful strokes that delineate the main subject. The Beast emerges from the background, and seems to be on the verge of stepping out of the background and even right off the page and into the viewers frame of reference. The left leg extends outward, like a shadow elongated by the setting sun. The position of the arms is unique, showing a twisted torso, as if the animal has paused in his motion, swiveled towards us at the waist, and then stepped towards us, truly "stepping out" (of the frame.) Or perhaps he (or she) is "testing the water" of our consciousness, gently stirring our imaginations with a toe to check us out before either coming forward to greet us or dashing back into the background. Very suggestive.

    I'd like to thank our young artists for their participation in this project. Critics and Cryptozoologists would be wise to keep their eyes peeled for future works from these little animals.  See you in Idyllwild!

Monday, October 13, 2014


This week's guest Researcher is Caleb, age 5, of Pomona. He first became interested in the Idyll-Beast during a visit to our community last year, and since then his home has been of a hot bed of theoretical speculation. He contributed this image of a bi-colored Beast this weekend, shortly before he had an encounter and conversation with a similar animal. I am not sure if this sighting did anything to quench Caleb's insatiable curiosity, but in my experience, the more you learn, the more questions you have.

Caleb was especially interested in the Animal's paws. The photograph he had seen seemed to highlight the man-like quality of its "hands." This lead to a discussion of the virtues of opposable thumbs, and the many other animals that use (and abuse) them.

The other Old World Apes of course have them. But some New World Monkeys  eschew the "Fancy Thumb" as an unnecessary and fadish modern inconvenience in favor of the good old-fashioned prehensile tail. The Panda has a sort of pseudo-thumb. If you ever shake hands with one check it out, but don't be too obvious about it.  They are a little sensitive about this. Some African Rats have them.

My personal favorite is the Polydactyl House Cat. These innovative creatures often have opposable thumbs and pinkies among their six or more digits on each paw, doing the monkeys one better and allowing them to perform a number of complex tasks. Cats are generally quiet about this, knowing that if the secret gets out humans will find more high-tech ways to secure household foodstuffs, or even begin asking cats to help them with complex tasks like word-processing. Yawn.

There are a number of Marsupials including Possums that make use of the opposable thumb. And don't forget the Dinosaurs; both flying and earthbound members of this group were early adopters of the opposable thumb.

So the Idyll-Beast may be related to Man, or even a kind of Man, but that's nothing to be ashamed of.  Many respectable animals are. The thumb, however, is no "great divide" between Humans and the other Beasts. In my experience, looking for such a divide is a bit of tail-chasing, and maybe just a wee bit vain, but not wholly without educational value.  And as any cat will tell you, chasing your own tail can be a perfectible healthy and delightful pass-time