Kate  Mystery of the Alien-Pod

A couple of weeks ago, Seán found a mysterious, silvery pod on the ground beside the house, about the size of a lime. It appeared to have been there for a while, as it was very light and seemed dried out. We took our guesses: was it a plant-pod? Some kind of egg sac? I thought it might be an owl-pellet, due to it's hairy outside texture, shape and size. We decided to lovingly refer to it as the “alien pod”:

alien pod

There was only one thing to do in order to solve the mystery – cut it open:

alien pod open

Now, remember... I thought this thing was an owl-pellet...

alien pod inside

My reaction upon opening it up:

spirited away chillsIt... really... IS an alien-pod!”

We carefully tipped out the mummified contents of the double-layered cocoon:

alien bug The multi-eyed husk of a head with the mummy-like body

( Seán ~ My mind drifted straight to the creatures from Nausicaä when I saw this. )

alien bug head The shrivelled head

Whelp, it turns out that it's actually not quite an alien, but an old pupa of a type of giant silkmoth! It seems to be either a Columbia silkmoth (Hyalophora columbia) or a Glover's silkmoth (Hyalophora gloveri), and it may have been parasitized.

You can investigate the thread I started on BugGuide which led to the probable answer here!

But for now, it shall continue to reside in its original container:

alien container

Next time on Humm Hill Mysteries: Cocoon... or Space Capsule!?