Dear Mr. Mike Brent,
Crackpot! Charlatan! Impostor! Fake! I am quite used to this sort of hysterical name-calling. But all the same, I do not appreciate it.
I maintain an open mind, and extend an open hand to anyone who believes they have something to contribute to the cause of Cryptid Awareness. I was hopeful that you might be a new ally... But I see now that your use of the moniker "Dark Strider" is purely coincidence.
Your accusations demand response. But I will not descend to simply returning insults. I will show you more respect than you have shown me, and someday you may accept the truth: the Earth is not flat, the sun and stars do not revolve around us -- and there are still animal species in the world that remain undiscovered.
I've been anticipating new attacks on my character ever since I began this "web log." I do not have time to respond to every critic... But your accusations, Mr. Brent, are really quite typical. And so, I will respond to you at length -- as an example to others.
1. I fail to provide photographic evidence
The Quay Sisters and I DO possess photographs of the Dark Strider. Visual and material evidence exists for many of the creatures I describe. But what good does it do?
If I reproduce photographs here, there is no doubt in my mind that your next accusation will be that they were "PhotoShopped." Skin, fur, bones, even animal cadavers -- a closed mind will say that these must be from a "large bear" or that they have been "surgically pieced together from other animals." I refuse to remove a living animal from its habitat -- but if I did, the caged beast would most likely be explained away as an anomalous mutation of some known species.
The entrenched skeptic can explain away any proof, no matter how definitive.
2. I have plagiarized your artwork
Let me assure you: despite having traveled to far-flung corners of the world, I do not have "deep pockets." My expeditions depend on the generosity of a global network of like-minded individuals who are able to pass on rumors and provide me with transport. If you attempt to sue me, you will not benefit from it.
But let us consider this "Dontiss" of yours. What similarity is there, really? Six legs, and a passing similarity to the Praying Mantis? That's not much on which to base a legal case.
Remember: It was Mr. Bonnichsen who pointed out the parallel -- not me. Prior to this past week, I had never even heard of you.
3. I have you under surveillance
You say that someone was lurking behind your house, you heard running, and then a van raced away -- and you suggest that I am the culprit. May I suggest a simpler explanation: that perhaps you have been visited by raccoons?
Of course, I don't want to trivialize your concerns. Perhaps you are under surveillance by police or government agencies. I know nothing about your life, or what sort of trouble you've gotten yourself into. But I assure you: I am not your stalker.
Please think about this rationally... Of all the people who disagree with my views, why would I single out you in particular for this attention? What would motivate me to go through the trouble of hunting down your home address -- and more significantly, to pay the expense of flying to your state?
4. I have fabricated evidence of cryptids
You say that you found a discarded papier mache mask and stilts that resemble the Dark Strider. And, predictably, you accuse me of fabricating them.
It is absolutely true that throughout the years some unscrupulous individuals have perpetrated hoaxes, fabricating evidence of cryptids. But if that costume is an attempt at a hoax, I am not the one responsible for it. Recall what I have written: the Dark Strider is native to Romania. Why then would I bother planting evidence in the USA?
My modus operandi is to provide scientific descriptions; when I need art, I hire a professional artist. What you've described sounds more like the work of a child who is in the process of making their Halloween costume. If so, it gladdens my heart. It suggests that this "web log" is successfully inspiring the next generation of cryptozoologists.
5. My description of cryptids is inaccurate
Mr. Brent, you accuse me of inventing the Dark Strider... And then you claim intimate knowledge of the parasites that plague it. I quote from your own website, "Everybody knows that it's not possible to conduct a forum without the presence of Noubs!"
How can you claim that my description of the Dark Strider is wrong if it's purely a fiction? You can't tell me that I'm lying -- and then turn around and tell me my description of the thing is inaccurate!
6. I suffer insanity
Walk down the streets of any major metropolitan center and you'll encounter men and women who truly need help: who are homeless, drug- and alcohol-addicted, who suffer schizophrenia or post-traumatic stress syndrome...
Myself, I am content with and even proud of my life. I am a threat to no one. Read my writings and you must admit that I am capable of coherent thought. The only difference between me and you -- and I am granting you the benefit of the doubt here -- is that we have a difference of opinions.
I urge you not to casually imply that people are crazy simply because you disagree with them. At best, this behavior diminishes the seriousness of mental illness. At worst, it encourages a climate where individuals can be arrested and imprisoned on political grounds. If you believe in freedom of thought and speech, then have the courage to give my ideas a fair hearing!
As proof of an earlier claim, I have decided to include a photograph of the Dark Strider at the top of this post. Permit me to anticipate the next objection...
7. My photos are of poor quality
Cryptids, extremophiles, and exomorphs are notoriously difficult to photograph. With the Dark Strider, we were able to use a tranquilizer dart to stun the beast -- but still, neither the Quay Sisters nor I would be so foolhardy as to come within striking distance of its skewering legs. Instead, we attached the radio transmitter to a parasitic Noub, which when released, flew to the Dark Strider's back and attached itself there for us. Flash photography might have shocked the animal out of its stupor and into a frenzy... And with no flash, the shot is inevitably going to be dark and blurry.
Given the fact that excellent photos will not convince an entrenched skeptic -- and that most of the photos we possess are admittedly not of very high quality -- I have abandoned using photographs as a means to reach the public. Commissioning paintings that bring these animals to life in the viewer's imagination -- this is now how I hope to mobilize concern.
To the best of my abilities I have attempted to address your complaints, Mr. Brent. This is the last I will say about the matter in this forum. If you wish to pursue a more reasonable conversation privately, I can be reached at this email address: professor.ichbonnsen AT gmail.com