In the realm of knowledge, there exists a type often referred to as “special knowledge” or “insider knowledge.” It’s the kind of information that can prove invaluable in various situations, from navigating the intricacies of business deals to safely navigating treacherous waters. Having insight into currents, riptides, or hidden rocky outcroppings can give you a distinct advantage.
However, more often than not, many of us find ourselves in a situation where we lack this “special knowledge.” In fact, it’s common to operate with a substantial deficit in this regard, and as time passes, it may seem to deteriorate further. We might occasionally reminisce, thinking that we once possessed it, but the years have a way of dimming our memories.
In the absence of such knowledge, when something unusual or unexpected occurs, we find ourselves doing what humans do best: making sense of it. We recall the old adage attributed to Sherlock Holmes—if all other possibilities have been eliminated, then we must investigate the seemingly impossible.
This narrative takes us back to a personal encounter from years ago, an experience that defied conventional explanation. The setting was a rural road alongside a reservoir, approximately eight miles long, a two-lane, winding route devoid of lights and overtaking opportunities (though some daring souls occasionally tried). The storyteller was on the brink of entering a neighborhood when an incident transpired—a sudden burst from the foliage on the left side of the road.
In that split-second moment, the observer was faced with a peculiar sight, a blur of bipedal motion. The legs and feet were a frenzy of movement, and the entity in question was quite large, akin to a big dog. Yet, it was unmistakably different from any known animal. Animals accustomed to moving on all fours appeared awkward on two feet and were certainly not known for speed. Birds hopped and walked but could not match this entity’s size or pace. It was wearing black attire, perhaps with differently colored pants, and the clothes seemed loose enough to flutter in the wind.
In that fleeting moment, the observer eliminated all known animals as possible explanations, leaving only the seemingly impossible. Upon returning home, a debate ensued within, should this curious encounter be shared? It remained a mystery that needed unraveling. Eventually, the storyteller recounted the incident to their spouse—a nearly missed encounter with a diminutive figure, no taller than 3.5 feet, darting out of the bushes, dashing across the headlights’ path, and vanishing into the underbrush on the opposite side of the road.
The storyteller described how this little being was bent over at the waist, arms outstretched for balance, and appeared to be wearing a black tuxedo jacket with tails trailing behind, reminiscent of a formal event. The response to this account was a burst of laughter, so infectious that it led to the thought of waking the children to share in the amusement.
In essence, the storyteller had done their best to make sense of the enigma, and their mental “rollidex” had landed on a formally attired cartoon character, running bent over like a Marx Brother, perhaps even puffing on a cigar. It was a sight witnessed and remembered, yet its true nature remained elusive.
Two weeks later, a recurrence transpired at the same location. This time, the entity emerged a few yards ahead, allowing for a clearer view in the illumination of the headlights. However, it provided no additional clues, merely a prolonged glimpse of the familiar sight. Tails and clothes still fluttered, the legs a blur, and a bald figure with a red beard or mustache persisted. A forest gnome late for a formal gathering, one might jest.
The storyteller chose not to share this updated experience, as laughter had accompanied the previous account. What was the point of recounting it once more?
Then, a week later, the storyteller spotted the same figure in an unexpected place—perched in their century-old oak tree in the front yard. This time, the figure was accompanied by others, an entire family of them, congregating on the ground to collect fallen acorns while the apparent “grandfather” stood sentinel in the tree.
For most people, turkeys are round headless, legless, frozen balls of meat in the local grocery store, there are pictures on greeting arts with their feathers still on, but it doesn’t compare to the live bird, standing in your tree!
It was then that the storyteller gained new knowledge, albeit not yet recognized as “special.” The mystery persisted, and questions swirled. How had turkeys, of all things, entered the narrative? They had been absent from the storyteller’s life until now, suddenly appearing on the road at night, in dreams, and even in their own tree.
Had there been a council among the turkeys? A meeting to declare a Manifest Destiny of sorts, “Go north, young Tom, where acorns aplenty await you”? Whatever had kept them away for so many years was evidently no longer a factor. Turkeys were now everywhere.
Here, we arrive at the crux of “special knowledge.” In a conversation with the veterinarian, the storyteller relayed their tale of the mysterious turkeys. The vet responded with laughter, followed by a whispered revelation, “One of your neighbors introduced Southern California turkeys to the Bay Area. Looks like he succeeded.”
That’s the essence of “special knowledge”—the unveiling of hidden truths that can unravel the most confounding mysteries.
It’s a logical ending to a bizarre story, it’s just not as funny.