Tuesday, August 24, 2010


These are the photographs from Ms. Sanguinetti's camera, referred to in an earlier post. These images are unretouched except for color correction to soften the effect of the flash on skin and fur tones. Science marches forward.

Resort Sanitorium Reviewed

Beta testing of Idyll-Beast Research Center Resort Sanitorium.
Our first visitor shares her weekend with you.
Dr. Mary Sanguinetti, the first visitor to our newly re-furbished resort lodge has been kind enough to contribute her research to this blog. Thank you Mary.

“I suppose I’ve always been curious about mysterious Beasts, the possibilities of strange species in our midst. When I was six, my mother took me to see Jean Cocteau's 1947 film Beauty and the Beast, which left an indelible impression on me. Although I still enjoy Beast-themed films, I doubted that the Idyll-Beast existed....but was still intrigued by a photo of the supposed creature taken in front of Cafe Aroma.

A dear friend, affiliated with the Idyll-Beast Research Center, told me that the creatures were a very real part of his home town and invited me to participate in the Beta testing of the Center’s new Resort and Sanitorium. On a whim I accepted the invitation. I needed rest from my hectic life working for a major academic publishing company in the Bay Area. A relaxing weekend in Idyllwild sounded like just the thing.
And so easy. A short flight, a waiting shuttle, a 90 minute drive. We arrived after dark and my old friend greeted me at the door of the Lodge. The newly refinished main room is used for exercise classes, symposiums, and workshops. My loft bedroom was comfortable and the staff accommodating.

I awoke early in the morning fresh and ready to meet the Beast. There was a brief extremely low impact aerobics workout and then breakfast. Breakfast was everything and anything I wanted.Then I explored shady pathways along the creek. I lolled about and then went out for a champagne brunch at a Mexican restaurant where a mariachi serenaded me. I visited Bubba’s Books and met its proprietor, Steve. Steve also operates the Idyll-Beast Research Center Museum and Gift Shoppe, known as “the Cave.” There I learned more about the Beast’s penetration into human culture in this valley. There were many informative displays. And attractive research material at reasonable prices.

Then back to the Resort to rest and recharge.

In the evening I decided to go out to Café Aroma to catch a little music. I was haunted by an image of the supposed Idyll-Beast in front of Aroma. I had heard of the large footprints, and of the Idyll-Beast Festival. As I approached the café. I noticed the tables all seemed to be full. The staff back at the Resort had told me that reservations were recommended, even required, on summer weekends. They had also told me of their overflow seating, the “cheap seats,” where locals caught the acts while perhaps sipping a cocktail in a lawn chair. As I looked for a seat, I saw there, in the soft glow of the stage lights, what was either a man in desperate need of a full waxing and shaving or an Idyll-Beast!

I was shocked to see him in a public place as they are said to be reclusive. But he seemed to be enjoying the music. And no one seemed to have noticed him. It was late, a nearly moonless night, and the customers were drinking in their little islands of candlelight.
The couple sitting next to him got up and sauntered into the night, so I edged closer, seat by seat. Soon I was sitting next to him. He occasionally tapped his feet, or let out a little growl of enjoyment. Would he understand English? How about French? Summoning my courage I gently tapped his furry shoulder.

I think he raised an eyebrow. I nervously dropped my hand bag. The Beast immediately fell to his knee and began to try to rescue the contents, but his paws where so large. He merely corralled them as I scooped them up. Our eyes met, his large liquid beautiful eyes gazing out hypnotically from behind his luxuorious fur. “Excuse me.” I stammered. “Excuse-moi,” the Beast growled sweetly. We sat down again and exchanged occasional quiet comments during the music. The Beast was more civilized than I imagined. And more conversant. I could understand most of his few words. His fur was not as off-putting as I had feared. It seemed well groomed, not matted and dirty. It had a heavenly scent, with a hints of pine, cedar and sage.

I mentioned to him that I had hoped to find a table but knew it was unlikely. The Beast excused himself and in a moment returned with a waiter who escorted us to a candlelit two top just feet from the stage. People did begin to notice now. A few i-phones flashed. The beast seemed to be accustomed to the attention of the “Beastarazzi,” and even posed with one regular. We ordered drinks and I calmed my nerves with a delicious flower garnished Bellini. The Beast asked for Pellegrino. The Big bottle. After downing a number of glasses with a straw, he began to slurp from the bottle directly. Then he noticed me and sheepishly “Excuse-moi”-ed again. He even used a napkin.

Frank Ferro, Aroma’s host, introduced himself and complimented the Idyll-Beast for his taste in feminine company. “But you are always with the most beautiful women.” I was taken aback at his inexpert flattery. Frank seemed to realize he had been indiscrete and offered me another drink. My head was already swimming from the altitude, the first cocktail and the unexpected situation. I was still clear-headed enough to ask him to use my camera for a few photos, for evidence. I had to capture this moment. The townspeople went on as if nothing unusual was happening. Only the tourists still whispered and glanced.

As we finished our “Chocolate Indulgence” my furry companion gestured for the bill and produced a wallet out of a fold in his fur. There was money in it, but he seemed unable to handle it. A fistful of bills was soon scattered across the table. He succeeded in pulling out the ones he wanted, but I had to help him get the rest back into his wallet.
I was so tipsy, but I still wanted to interview the beast, and I thought perhaps I would never see him again. I doubted that I would be able to make an appointment for tomorrow. I asked him if I could interview him back at the research center. He told me that his “cave” was on the way and invited me to stop in. Although he had said “cave” it was actually quite nice. It was a fur lined study behind the Idyll-Beast Research Center Museum and Gift Shoppe, which is called “the Cave.” There we enjoyed a cup of elder berry tea as I asked him about himself.

He had no idea how old he was. When he was younger there was no electricity, no cars. His family he believed to have been “harvested” by human hunters. “Got to go sometime.” An early 20th century photograph of an Idyll-Beast in a carnival cage turned out to be an uncle. I sensed his loneliness.

Foraging was quite good, although changed from the old days. The beast-berries were making a come back, and the local Restaurants were better than ever. He was not a strict vegetarian, but claimed to avoid eating humans, unlike some of his ancestors. His feelings about the encroaching human community were mixed, “Not all bad,” he murmered reflectively. “You came.” Soft music played in the background and candles glowed in huge chunks of quartz or some other clear stone.

The Beast offered to let me run my fingers through his collection of celebrity hair-pieces. It seems that many a vacationing Hollywood B-Lister had felt an unexpected breeze as they strolled through the Idyllwild evening. The Beast was fascinating. And the more I knew about him the more sensitive he seemed. He was kinder and more thoughtful than many of the men I had dated. He shied away from human contact for the most part but enjoyed music and the occasional contact with more tolerant “furless ones.” He began to play a strangely familiar tune on a Ney, but by then it was getting late and my head felt heavy. I must have dozed off. The last thing I remember was a soft paw stroking my cheek and the sensation of being carried through the dark woods.

The next morning I awoke in my room in the Lodge. Had it all been a dream? I saw a wisp of golden fur on my blouse.
Then I remembered my camera. Where was it?

NOTICE: Dr. Sanguinetti’s camera was found outside Aroma that night! When our technical team have determined the authenticity of the images they will be released on this site.

Monday, August 23, 2010

As the Fur Turns

The missing 55 minutes, that’s the problem with the recordings of the Mid-Summer’s Night Chamber of Commerce meeting. Various versions of that evening's events have surfaced, but none completely satisfy. One version has it that as the evening went on Chamber Then-Still-President, Acting Secretary and etc. Ken Carlson slowly began to change into an Idyll-Beast. First the hair: beautiful golden fur sprouting all over his face. Then the body: his stature and posture looking stranger and stranger there on the dais. And his defense became less and less intelligible until the Beast, protesting, had to be led outside, where he remained the rest of the evening pressing his muzzle against the window.

No one has reported that this actually happened. But a lot of unusual events do go unremarked around here. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but Ken’s continued (normal) appearance about town give the lie to this story. He was seen at Café Aroma the very next night, standing at attention (with hand over heart) as the Skeleton Crew belted out the Perry Mason theme. Carlson is also said to be considering a spot in next season’s reality TV bomb: the Bachelor, Pine Cove Edition. Way to stimulate the local economy, Ken.

By now we’ve all heard or read that Ken had to write a check to the Crier for $5,000. For pettifogging tom-foolery. For wasting the court’s time and Town Crier’s rich British masters’ money. There was no Golden Parachute for this skydiver into the abyss of small town politics. He did it all for free. And he says it has made him much more popular. He was quoted as saying “litigation is not positive for anyone.” Not even lawyers, I guess. Did he really say that? Now we all know about that Secret Graveyard out behind the chamber meeting hall. Graveyard of ambitions, they say. Not buried too deeply. As kids we used to dare one another to spend the night there. Especially on Good Friday, when “God is dead and the devil is loose.” There is a ritual that former directors are said to have recourse to. It involves a candle, a mirror and a copy of the Chamber By-Laws. I am already looking forward to the “All Hallows Eve” Chamber of Commerce meeting.