Philadelphia residents, sports fans, and those with an interest in horrifying accidents of nature thrilled to the arrival of the Flyers’ new mascot Gritty. A fuzzy orange bipedal entity who wears a Flyer jersey and an ill-fitting helmet, Gritty sees the word through unblinking googly eyes. He has presented to the world a bright, silly fella with a love of hockey who lives but to entertain.

However, Gritty did not simply spring up full-grown like Athena from the head of Zeus. Gritty had a life before this unveiling. A life others might not want you to know about, but I will reveal it to you. Information wants to be free, and I am just the man to liberate it.

Gritty- Champagne
Gritty mocks our pop culture obsessions, all the while undermining our faith in the Lord. (Courtesy of Philadelphia Flyers)

Earliest Encounter with Gritty

Estimating Gritty’s true date of birth is impossible, given the conspiracy of silence surrounding him. Was he (it) even born? It certainly appears mammalian, but that does not necessarily mean he is. Grown in a lab, perhaps? Or sprouted from the ground. We literally cannot know. Not until the Flyers allow us access to the creature’s records and/or examine the creature itself.

However, a small furry “thing” being was spotted in the neighborhood around the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as revealed by an analysis of newspapers, police logs, and neighborhood watch. Individuals reported noises that resembled a “fork being shoved into a running garbage disposal” or “what existential terror would sound like if it had a voice.”

On a random notation in the museum’s overnight security log, refer to an incident where a woman in a trenchcoat banged on the door screaming for help. When the guard opened the door, she shoved a box into his hand and ran away. The signature on the note refers to a person that the museum insists they have no record of ever working for them

The year of record was 1993.

Unexplained Supplies

Soon after the above-mentioned security log note, the museum began to order significant amounts of steel, concrete, welding materials, and razor wire, as indicated by financial records. Additionally, the museum began to pay a separate security firm without explanation. Finally, the budget also indicates the museum employed a special chef. Biographical data was presented but without a name or other identifying information. An internet search failed to match the information to anyone alive and in food service today.

The museum has long either denied these purchases outright or attempted to write them off as connected to upgrades in security and structures. However, no permits filed with the city or state could be located. Additionally, the structure of the museum seems entirely unchanged despite said “upgrades.”

Interestingly, about ten years ago the museum utilized a demolition company. That company’s internal records indicate the withdrawal of several tons of steel and concrete. The museum, again, reports no such hiring or work on any portion of the museum.

It was after an inquiry about this period of time that the museum ceased communicating with this reporter and directed all further communications to their “legal team.”

Gritty- Jazz Hands
“Tadaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” Gritty bellowed upon entering the home of James R. Gothe. The Gothe family disappeared later that night. (Courtesy of Philadelphia Flyers)

The Pets

During a six week period in 2004, a wave of pet disappearances converged on the neighborhoods surrounding the museum. Residents of the area at the time report missing pet posters wallpapered phone poles, light poles, and streets signs. It reached the point that stores rented space out to families seeking disappeared animals so their posters could be seen.

There appeared to be no rhyme or reason to the animals taken. Birds, lizards, fish, and turtle disappeared just as often as cats, dogs, rabbits, and hamsters. Experts could discern no patterns even when controlled for date, location, or size of animal.

Then, all at once one night in December the animals returned.

Veterinary records suggest there appeared to be no psychological issues with the pets. If anything, some appeared even healthier than when they left. However, to a one, every owner reported the animals as seeming “different.” Formerly docile creatures seemed to be almost manic. A dog that had never bitten anyone in 15 years bit nine people in a single day. Once standoffish cats followed owners room to room begging for attention, hating to not be near them.

All the animals had in common seemed to be a new collar featuring a museum keychain and a paper tag on which the letter G had been written, as if by a “broken handed child.”

Gritty- Gat
Although rarely spotted without his t-shirt gun, rumor has it Gritty’s touch proves far more deadly. (Courtesy of People’s Magazine)

Hockey

Beginning in January of 2005, visitors to the museum began to report the sounds of a hockey game echoing through the building. This continued for approximately three years. According to particularly moth-eared patrons, the games were not necessarily current but occasionally were. It seems, as best as anyone can tell, that the games ranged from the Phillies’ early years forward. Again, no pattern was detectable.

The museum has no record of a hockey-centric exhibit during these years. They refused to offer any explanations of what could have made so many people hear hockey game broadcasts over so long a time period.

The Incident

On October 25, 2008, the Philadelphia Phillies were playing the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 5 of the World Series. Officially suspended for rain, the game would not resume until the 28th. This apparently marked the first such instance of a suspended championship game in baseball history.

However, there is plenty of evidence to suggest something more, something darker, was going on.

Take, for instance, a rider added to the Philly Phanatic’s contract. It mentions a “Gritted One” and insists that such a thing cannot have contact with the Phanatic “for any reason.” Representatives for the Phanatic insist the rider means nothing and, “honestly, that in-joke comes from so long ago none of us can even remember why it started.” Further questions received a terse, “Look, champ, just leave this one alone.”

The area around Citizen’s Bank Park saw several reports of frozen pipes bursting. This is confounding given the high of 80 degrees that day. People living up and down Pattison Ave insist an event identical to an earthquake shook the street for 8 minutes. One man insists he saw something emerge from a fissure then push the ground back together, somehow erasing the crack. No documentation of this, however, has ever been located.

Most distressingly, surveyors insist that after the 25th, Philadelphia shrank by approximately 80 yards. Figuring out where the city lost those 80 yards, though, has proven impossible thus far.

Gritty- Spooky look
“Hey kids, I’m here to eat your dreams!” Gritty shouted upon his debut according to credible sources. (Courtesy of Philadelphia Flyers)

The Move

Late one evening in November 2008, an unknown party shut down a route between the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Wells Fargo Center. If the stories are accurate, black helicopters carrying long heavy black sheets flew along the route obscuring any review of the cargo. A caravan of several 18 wheelers apparently drove it with one periodically turning away from the group to follow a different route. By the time the caravan reached the Center, it had shrunk from 20 trucks to just three. Those three were apparently burned in a field outside the city after they were emptied of their unknown cargo.

A woman and her daughter report glimpsing a perfect ball of concrete “about twice the size of the City Hall dome” that was dumped into an already dug hole and hastily buried. At some point in the next three days, it was covered in black top.

Now

No further Gritty related activities were noted for almost ten years.

Until this week.

The Flyers claim Gritty was disturbed from his “hiding spot” by recent construction, but they have refused to reveal said spot. They claim we have nothing to fear from him, that he is just a Philadelphia sports fan.

At the same time, they insist fans should never make prolonged eye contact with the mascot. Fans should never utter the phrase “the City of Brotherly Love” in his presence. Finally, if a fan touches the entity for longer than a minute, they must visit a special decontamination unit offsite. Rumor has it no one who has gone to the unit has returned quicker than a week.

Finally, in his first appearance on the ice, he shot a man in the back.

But sure, he’s just a “loyal but mischievous” sports fan.

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