Isla Vista, as anyone who has attended UCSB would know, has been the backdrop for some strange events. The simple fact that flaming couches in the middle of the street have become ho-hum makes this abundantly clear.

But some things in Isla Vista are just weirder than others. One legendary inhabitant of Isla Vista, thought to be dead, has now been spotted in spectral form – and the legend lives on. I refer, of course, to the fabled albino raccoon of I.V., whose appearances, even while alive, were always something of an event.

Before its alleged death, the raccoon had been a resident in I.V. for quite some time – long enough for human residents of Isla Vista to form a Facebook group dedicated to the beast. According to a Daily Nexus article, one way of passing an idle hour in the evening, for some students, was to go hunting for the raccoon, simply to be able to say that they had seen it in the pale, ghostly flesh. Of course, those who were wise kept their distance the standard issue I.V. raccoon is fearsome at the best of times, as anyone who’s ever tried to approach a trash can late at night can attest.

The many albino raccoon enthusiasts, therefore, received a great shock when on April 16, 2007 the Nexus reported that the albino raccoon had been killed. A dog was responsible for the tragedy, and great was the lamentation on campus and in Isla Vista. Facebook resounded to the cries of devastation. After the first grief had faded, Isla Vista returned to normal. Regular raccoons were still a reminder of what the community had lost, but students found other ways to pass their time besides searching for the albino raccoon.

And then the seemingly impossible occurred. The Albino Raccoon is STILL ALIVE!, a Facebook group, is composed of Isla Vista residents who are convinced that the raccoon or its shade is still among us. The latest poster to the board claims to have seen the creature as recently as November 29, 2007. Posts dating back to April 28 of that year also claim the same. The raccoon – or possibly a replacement all-white critter – according to those intrepid Facebookers, has been spotted on Camino Corto, behind Embarcadero Hall, on Sueno Road, on an I.V. bike path, on Trigo Road, and near an intersection of Pardall. The raccoon, it seems, is not only immortal but also practically omnipresent. Great White, as he is also known, gets around.

And so the mystery, at least, lives on. The albino raccoon, despite photographic evidence to the contrary, may still be alive and well in the back alleys of Isla Vista, digging through trash cans and terrorizing the neighborhood. Any sightings should be reported to Weird SB, Facebook, and the X-Files – not necessarily in that order. The truth is out there.


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