Cryptozoology Looks at Four Cryptids
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Cryptozoology and our fascination with Monsters
Halloween is a day to be scared out of your wits. It is a time when all of us, young and old, seek out the thrill of being scared out of our pants. Trick or treating allows everyone the chance to dress up as we want but many of us choose the dark and macabre. Vampires and ghouls abound on the streets. Frankenstein and werewolves can also be found roaming. Because of the popularity of the Harry Potter series, wizards and griffins are more likely to show up on your doorstep on the eve of October 31. We have always had a fascination with monsters and the supernatural. Early man considered anything he could not explain as supernatural and came up with fantastic mythology to explain natural phenomenon. Some of this mythology persists today in the form of monsters that appear in our movies and folklore. Sightings of the weird and unusual are not uncommon today.
Monsters in movies and in our imagination are usually huge, or 'otherworldly' and horrific. Vampires can drain our blood and turn us into the living dead, Godzilla is a huge dinosaur-like creature with fiery, deadly breath. However, there are creatures in our folklore that defy this description. They are shy and rarely seen. In fact, there are some who believe that many "monsters", thought by most to be part of human folklore, actually exist. Cryptozoologists actively seek out these monster cryptids by following sightings, descriptions and photographic evidence.
Cryptozoology refers to the study of hidden animals or cryptids. It is the study of animals whose existence has yet to be proven. This study includes looking for animals considered extinct such as dinosaurs and animals where proof of existence is scant but which appear in myth and legend. Cryptozoology is not a recognized science and as such is considered a pseudoscience as many cryptozoologist do not follow the scientific method and rely mainly on reported sightings, photographs and evidence from the general public. Cryptozoologists are a tenacious bunch, however. Here are some of the creatures they continue to seek. The sightings of these creatures keep coming which in turn keeps the cryptid hunters constantly on the run.
When justifying looking for concrete evidence for a large, hairy, hominid living in remote, forested areas of the world, cryptozoologists might ask why create a monster no bigger than the tallest human that is exeedingly shy when our imaginations tend toward the very large, horrific and in your face - can I eat you now after rendering maximum mutilation and fear? Sightings of the Sasquatch in the North American west have been recorded since at least 1783, when in the British Columbia interior the David Thompson expedition found unusually large footprints in the forest floor. They still occur today attested to by a sighting on March 30, 1993 when a man witnessed at 100 yards a brownish-red, hair-covered muscular Neanderthal-looking creature over six feet tall eating devil's club roots with its hands. These sightings are the fuel that keeps cryptozoologists hunting the elusive sasquatch. Check out these active websites hosted by cryptozoologists that record eyewitness accounts, photographs and other evidence found in specific areas of North American.
- British Columbia Sasquatch http://sasquatch-pg.net/British%20Columbia-sasquatch-sighting-reports.htm
- Ontario Sasquatch www.ontariosasquatch.com
- OREGONBIGFOOT.COM www.oregonbigfoot.com
Even if you don't believe in such creatures, the sites provide some fun. I discovered for instance, that Big Foot sightings have occurred quite near my home territory and as thirty acres of forest populates the back section of my property I might take extra precautions the next time I'm out there on my own. The pictures are also interesting and the eyewitness accounts are fun to read and a history lesson in themselves.
There are a few theories cryptozoologists put forth to explain the purported existence of this beast:
- It might be a new ape not yet formally identified;
- Did Neanderthals really die out or interbreed with early homo sapiens? Many cryptozoologists believe that they retreated to remote mountainous areas to hide;
- It might be a remnant population of Gigantopithecus (a hominid allegedly extinct 300,000 years ago).
For a traditional scientist, these theories are impossible to support but what then about all this weird evidence to the contrary. Puzzling evidence has been found and reported by many.
- Casts of huge footprints are not uncommon;
- Pictures and home movies of Bigfoot do exist.
- Tufts of strange hair have been found and examined.
- Many eyewitness accounts are compelling.
However, most of this evidence can be explained by natural phenomenon.
- The footprints could have been made by bears and distorted by natural elements such as wind, rain and snow.
- The footprints could have been placed there by men using wooden or plaster cast huge feet.
- Video and pictures could simply be men dressed in ape suits.
Most evidence is refuted as a hoax but enough unexplained evidence exists and eyewitness accounts still occur leading cryptozoologist to continue their search for the hairy beast. For most of us, believing that something big and hairy and a little like us might live in the North American wild is enough to give us a scare. Isn't that what the Halloween season is all about? Watch out for Bigfoot or perhaps the abominable snowman appearing on your doorstep this Halloween begging for candy. Maybe you'll be the one getting the willy-nillys!
OGOPOGO AND THE LOCH NESS MONSTER
A number of deep lake monsters have been reported for hundreds of years. Ogopogo of British Columbia's Lake Okanagan may stem from an Indian legend. Long ago, it is said, local tribes left the monster food at its cave near Squally Point and sightings of the large creature have been reported ever since pioneer settlers moved into the area. Ogopogo is similar in description to the Loch Ness monster of Lake Loch Ness of the Scottish Highlands. Both are reported as resembling a pleisosaur, a marine mammal which existed in the Jurassic Period having a small head, long, slender neck and turtle-like body with a short tail and two pairs of large, elongated paddles. Like the Sasquatch, the pictures and other evidence are numerous in quantity but many have been proven hoaxes. Until a dead carcass washes ashore or a live specimen is captured the existence of both Ogopogo and Nessie will remain a mystery.
Like the sasquatch, the Loch Ness Monster has its own web page. The site reveals images from a camera focused on Lake Loch Ness. Watch yourself, perhaps on Halloween night, and possibly you will get a glimpse of this ellusive cryptid and become a believer.
This monster also has its own official Fan Club Page:
Ogopogo also has it own web page entitled: The Legend Hunters: The Search for Ogopogo Continues:
Again, check both sites out and read about recent sightings and the latest news of these popular cryptids.
Mokele-mbembe of Lake Tele in the Congo Swamps of West Africa was described by Bangombe pygmy tribes as an animal as long as a school bus. It had a long neck with a lizard-type head, four stubby, powerful legs and a long flexible tail. It was said to eat fruit and leaves and spend much of its time neck-deep in water. It is thought these creatures may be a surviving group of plant-eating sauropod dinosaurs living in the heart of the Congo swampland.
Again, as with the Sasquatch, evidence exits which entices cryptozoologists in their hunt.
- There are footprints and mysterious roars from unexplored swampland;
- there are sightings of something in the water too large to be a hippopotamus;
- there are blurred video recordings of a mysterious beast;
- two photos exist of unusual sightings in Lake Tele.
Again, hoaxes are possible but the evidence is tantalizing. However, until a carcass or live specimen is recovered and confirmed by the scientific community, the existence of Mokele mbembe will be disputed.
Cryptozoology - Science or Mythology?
There Are Still Mysteries on Earth
It seems impossible that in our modern world with most of the globe having been explored that large creatures could still be out there living in populations large enough to sustain their species. However, it is not a completely unknown phenomenon. In 1938, a Coelacanth, a fish species thought to have been extinct for millions of years was pulled ashore in a fisherman's net. The existence of the Okapi or Forest Giraffe was confirmed in1901. Specimens are found in many zoos worldwide and in the wild, there are strong populations in the forests of Zaire. The Colossal Squid (discovered in 1925) and the Okapi were initially believed to have been fictitious or hoaxes until actual specimens were discovered. Cryptozoologists have proven a few legends to be real. Perhaps the Sasquatch, Loch Ness and Mokele-mbembe monsters will be next to join the ranks of animals previously relegated only to myth and legend.
Check Out Part 1 and 2 of my Halloween Series
- Samhain and the History of Halloween
Halloween is traditionally the night we embrace our dark side. Discover the origin of this ghoulishly fun holiday and the ancient and medieval customs that have resulted in many of the fun and scary symbols of this holiday.
- Change in Physiology in the Face of Fear
Watching a particularly scary movie while babysitting can elicit a number of fear reactions including sweaty palms, the hairs rising on the nape of the neck and pounding heart. There are biological reasons for these reactions that go back to our days
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