Skip to content
Currently On Hiatus: Please Enjoy A New Reader Question Every Weekday!

2023 Reader Question 45

2023 Reader Question 45 published on 15 Comments on 2023 Reader Question 45

Luckily for the world of Skin Deep, humans are a great mix of gullible and skeptical.

The PATREON PIN CLUB is open for new members! This quarter the theme is CRYPTIDS, and if you join in September and stay joined through November, you’ll get these pins in November! More information and rules over on my Patreon!


Rat Kings actually got proven a few years ago!

A live one was found in 2021, in Estonia. It was documented before being euthanized, because… well, there was no way to free those poor rats from each other.

Kinda a bummer, but still. A very cool moment for zoology slash cryptozoology that didn’t get NEARLY the level of press it deserved due to the… uhh, you know. Plague.

When I think about a hypothetical situation like Skin Deep and its hidden society of creatures, I return to a favorite quote from the original Men in Black movie.

“Why the big secret? People are smart. They can handle it.”
“A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals, and you know it.”

For all that humans rule the roost of earth, they are, at their core, prey animals. Prey that learned how to kill their predators and kill them so thoroughly that those predators may as well have never existed. The evolved human response to any threat, real or imagined, is fight or flight, and it’s a tremendous effort to tame that primal survival instinct, a feat that humanity does not have the time or ability to master.
So, you introduce a single human, a random variable with a 50/50 chance of fighting or fleeing, to a non-human, intelligent creature. And if you’re lucky, fight or flight doesn’t trigger, and they can be agreeable. If you aren’t lucky, you have a single panicked animal trying to either escape or kill their perceived threat. A manageable circumstance, but the more you multiply that variable by adding more humans to the mix, the more volatile and uncontrollable that circumstance becomes.

You’re a bit behind the times. The evolved human response to threat isn’t just fight or flight, it’s clearly fight, flight, or freeze. And the degree to which any human falls along that fight/flight/freeze continuum depends upon the human and the situation. I think humans still cling to the false fight/flight dichotomy because freezing is seen as a failure to take action instead of an action in itself.

Same for Semi-Charmed, what doesn’t get got by the cleaners usually ends up in The Weekly World News or on the Internet amidst the fake garbage so the bureau isn’t too concerned about a pixelated, 15 second video of a dragon and a Phoenix duking it out. They just give the majority of witnesses magically induced amnesia about it.

A while ago there was a webcomic called ‘Scandal Sheet’ about a tabloid whose business was protecting the preturnatural community by publishing (and thereby implicitly discrediting) stories about them, in order to keep any people who could actually ‘out’ them in fear of ridicule and thus off their cases.

The lead photographer was a Sasquatch named Phil, but he could do a good disguise and be mistaken for an extremely large man wearing fuzzy pants.

I enjoyed it, but alas, it has been on hiatus since 2009.

It’s also possible that some of our current “mundane” species would be considered mythics if only they hadn’t broken containment decades or centuries ago. Little lizards that are so completely Not There when you try to find them that there’s no way to prove they haven’t gone invisible. Rats that can adapt to any new environment faster than even the humans. Ravens that Know Too Much. Ducks and swans that might look like anything under the waterline. Cats.

Yep, happens all the time in Australia, like the Lithgow Panther (I’ve seen two, incidentally, and yeah, they are waaay too big to be housecats) and the sightings of thylacines even though it’s extinct (Never seen evidence of that one). And bunyips. And of course minmin, but those are definitely sodding real. Only ever seen one in the distance, and I hope to never see one again.

I’ve also seen a cat in the outback that was way too big to be a housecat. Like, shoulders just about at my knee, which is about the size of a kelpie (the herding dog, not the Avalon resident).

The fur, though. It was an orange tabby. To me that cemented that feral cats several generations in, with few predators and minimal competition for food, really can get Big. Who knows what that cat’s great-grandchildren might look like? And the videos of the Lithgow Panther on Today Tonight have a very housecat-like face.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *