A Novel Case of Red Eye-Glow Potentially Relevant to Cryptozoology and the Paranormal

Posted by: Karl Shuker on August 13th, 2014

The anomalous phenomenon of red eye-glow is one that has been reported both with tangible, corporeal creatures of cryptozoology (including bigfoot, mystery dogs, and mystery cats) and with zooform entities of a seemingly supernatural, paranormal nature (such as phantasmal Black Dogs and pookas).

Black Dog, public domain

The instance of red eye-glow presented here, however, provides a uniquely clear-cut, novel, and thoroughly fascinating explanation potentially relevant to some if not all such cases on file.

Further information can be accessed here on my ShukerNature blog.

Karl Shuker About Karl Shuker
My name is Dr Karl P.N. Shuker. I am a zoologist (BSc & PhD), media consultant, and the author of 25 books and hundreds of articles, specialising in cryptozoology and animal mythology. I have a BSc (Honours) degree in pure zoology from the University of Leeds (U.K.), and a PhD in zoology and comparative physiology from the University of Birmingham (U.K.). I have acted jointly as consultant and major contributor to three multi-author volumes on cryptozoology and other mysterious phenomena. I am the Life Sciences Consultant to The Guinness Book of Records/Guinness World Records (Guinness: London, 1997-present day), and was consultant to Monsters (Lorenz Books: London, 2001), as well as a contributor to Mysteries of the Deep (Llewellyn: St Paul, 1998), Guinness Amazing Future (Guinness: London, 1999), The Earth (Channel 4 Books: London, 2000), and Chambers Dictionary of the Unexplained (Chambers: London, 2007). I appear regularly on television & radio, was a consultant for the Discovery TV series Into the Unknown, and a question setter for the BBC's quiz show Mastermind. I am a Scientific Fellow of the Zoological Society of London, a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, a Member of the Society of Authors, and the Cryptozoology Consultant for the Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ). I have written articles for numerous publications, including Fortean Times, The X Factor, Paranormal Magazine, FATE, Strange Magazine, Prediction, Beyond, Uri Geller's Encounters, Phenomena, Alien Encounters, Wild About Animals, All About Cats, All About Dogs, Cat World, etc. In 2005, I was honoured by the naming of a new species of loriciferan invertebrate after me - Pliciloricus shukeri.

4 Responses to “A Novel Case of Red Eye-Glow Potentially Relevant to Cryptozoology and the Paranormal”

  1. hoodoorocket responds:

    Karl, thank you for an interesting post. It certainly provides material for speculative thought.

    I would also like to say thanks for all of your posts here. While your work may not be sensational or controversial enough to stir up great numbers of responses, I want you to know that you are read, and your scholarly approach is greatly appreciated.

    As far as red eyeshine, in the case of a cloudy eye in a dog, specifically, I believe what is happening is that the light is greatly diffused upon reflecting from the tapetum and is illuminating the entire inside of the eyeball. The red color being the illuminated blood vessels lining the inner eye. Normally the light would strike the tapetum acutely and reflect, with the light exiting the pupil in a straight line, revealing only the color of the reflective tapetum lucidum. Any veterinarians out there who can “vet” (pun) my thoughts?

    Now, here’s where I need an expert. In animals with no tapetum there is no appreciable eyeshine (except in instances of photographic strobe flash, which we call red-eye) Is that correct?

    If the consensus of bigfoot reports list eyeshine as a characteristic, that would indicate the presence of a tapetum lucidum. It would be interesting to see which known primates possess this.

    I have no idea what eyeshine color the consensus of bigfoot reports lean towards. Anybody know?

    If red eyeshine is commonly reported (don’t know if it is), then, assuming bigfoot is nocturnal (or biurnal- is that a word?), there must be some interesting things going on to give them night vision (possibly a hybrid of color/day vision and night vision?), OR they are as blind in the dark as we are. If they are blind in the dark, it might explain stone throwing as a defensive practice, which has been reported at night, but to my knowledge, not during the day.

  2. DWA responds:

    hoodoorocket: eyeshine is indeed a feature of a great number of sasquatch encounter reports at night. And red is, indeed, a frequently reported color. As a number of reports I have read indicate daytime rock tossing, I think this is more or less standard-issue primate threat/intimidation behavior.

    Other eye colors are reported too; and of course we know of one primate that has multiple eye colors, so no reason to believe no other could.

    What I would be interested in is more discussion of factors that could conceivably cause anomalous eyeshine. The dog doesn’t seem to be suffering from the condition in one eye. Could it possibly occur in both as a benign condition?

    Chimpanzees are known to perform effectively at night where conditions (war; heavy bushmeat hunting) appear to have selected for the behavior. They don’t have specialized night vision. Could an animal familiar with its surroundings perform decently at night with a vision impairment? Maybe this condition, for some reason, occurs more frequently in sasquatch. Or maybe there is yet another thing about this animal that we still need to know.

    There is of course the possibility given the intrusion of age into the discussion that older animals less able to function at night are “selected for” in terms of night encounters.

  3. DWA responds:

    And separating this thought from all the dross I just posted: Karl, your blogs are some of the best stuff going in zoology, never mind crypto. Never underestimate the power of the open mind.

  4. Karl Shuker responds:

    Thanks very much Hoodoorocket and DWA for your very kind comments regarding my writings and resesarches, which I greatly appreciate! All the best, Karl

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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