In the summer of 2002, I collected one of the most fun and interesting stories I have ever stumbled upon. A gentleman by the name of Darrell contacted me to say that he had an “interesting story” to share. He insisted on meeting in person so he could “size me up first.” I was fine with that so I agreed to go to his home in Draper the following day. The next morning I packed up my gear, grabbed my assistant and headed out for what turned out to be an adventure in and of itself.The address took me to a beat-up trailer park beside a frontage road. I found his trailer and knocked on the door. Darrell yelled from inside “Door’s open, come on in!”
As soon as I opened the door, the stench of cat piss slammed into me like a truck. There had to be at least twenty cats living inside this trailer with him. There was fur everywhere. For the record, I love cats, but moderation is a must. I took a seat on what I thought was a couch. Darrel sat down on the chair in front of me and we began chatting. It wasn’t long before he started telling his story.
“Now I swear to you, all of this is true. All of it! It was Thanksgiving Day of 1965. I was spending the holiday with friends in St. George and went for a walk in the field behind the house where I was staying. It was a little before five pm, so it was starting to get dark. I had been walking in the large field behind the house for about twenty-minutes when I saw something very strange.” He paused here for a moment. “Now I had been drinking, but I wasn’t drunk and I know what I saw. I saw two GIANT RABBITS the size of heifer calves sitting under a grove of trees. I watched them hopping around and grazing for about ten minutes before I realized it was getting dark and I needed to get back to the house for supper.”
I sat there listening to his story in awe. He was very eloquent and had typed out his whole story to give to me. So I took his story, thanked him for his time, and got out of there. The cat piss was overwhelming. Once I got home, I burned my clothes and showered.
I started thinking about Darrell’s story. I had heard stories of giant rabbits before, just not in Utah. But do you know what else people claim to be seeing in Utah? Kangaroos! In fact, in 1981, there was a kangaroo sighting in Cedar Fort, and there have been numerous other sightings of kangaroos in the United States.
This may seem preposterous, but there is a concept in cryptozoology (the study of animals not yet recognized by science) called “out of place animals.” This means people are seeing non-native animals in areas where they don’t belong. It hasn’t been entirely uncommon for certain non-native animals to escape from circuses, zoos or personal collections. In some cases, these animals were never recaptured and survived in their new “out of place homes.” These animals are seen and reported from time to time, and that is exactly what I believe Darrell saw ― escaped kangaroos in St. George. Not giant rabbits, but just as interesting.
Danny B. Stewart is a local folklorist, tradition bearer and television personality. He is also best friends with a fifteen-year-old cat named Telemachus.
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