Stepping outside of the realm of ghosts, ghouls, vampires and werewolves for a second, let’s talk about some monsters today. I’m sharing five of the best-known cryptids with you. If you don’t know what that means, allow me to borrow a definition from my copy of Cryptozoology A to Z (yes, I do really own a copy of this tome). Cryptozoology is formed of three Greek words: “kryptos” meaning “hidden”, “zoon” meaning “animal” and “logia” meaning “study”. So, essentially this means that cryptozoology is the study of hidden or unconfirmed animals, these are called cryptids and here are a few examples.
1. Bigfoot and Yeti
Bigfoot or Sasquatch seems to be North America’s favourite cryptid. The name comes from a plaster cast of one… well… big foot found in the 1950s, this was eventually discovered to be a hoax but the name stuck. Similarities have been drawn between Bigfoot and snow-dwelling but equally hairy Yeti. There hasn’t been any conclusive evidence for the existence of either of these creatures but that doesn’t stop Bigfoot and Yeti enthusiasts from searching.
2. Loch Ness Monster
On the more aquatic side of cryptozoology, we find the Loch Ness Monster, named after one of the largest and deepest lochs in Scotland where it has been allegedly spotted. There have been countless photos of the monster, nearly all of which have been hoaxes. However, something surprising about this story is that the ever mention of a monster in the Ness River goes back to 565 AD as The Life of Saint Columba includes the tale of a swimmer who was dragged below the water’s surface by a sea monster. Could it be Nessie?
Who’d have thought that the town of Bodmin would get two shout-outs in Blogtober but here we go again. Alien Big Cats, or ABCs, are big cats that have been spotted in places they don’t usually belong. One of the best-known ABCs is the Beast of Bodmin Moor, often thought to be a leopard or puma and believed to have been prowling around in Cornwall in the 1990s. The story became so big that the Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food stepped in and investigated the possibility of a big cat being the cause of recently killed livestock. Ultimately, the Ministry concluded that the deaths could have been caused by animals native to the UK but that they couldn’t absolutely rule out the existence of the Beast either… so there.
We’re heading back to the USA to discuss one of the weirdest cryptids on this list, the Mothman. There were multiple reported sightings of this winged humanoid with glowing red eyes in Point Pleasant, West Virginia in 1966-7. Scientists, however, have come up with various explanations for the creature, from large birds known in the region to car headlights reflected on eyes causing the glowing red effect. This hasn’t stopped speculation about the validity of the Mothman though and there’s even 2002 a movie about the creature starring Richard Gere.
Lastly we have the Kraken, the gigantic sea monster of Nordic folklore. The Kraken was thought to be an octopus or squid-type creature that would attack ships. In the 1800s, a friend and correspondent of Charles Darwin, the Danish zoologist Japetus Steenstrup, seemed to finally put the mystery surrounding this mythological figure to (sea)bed after formally identifying the giant squid species. However, after the discovery of colossal squids in 1925, it well may be that the Kraken is part of a family of squids that can reach up to 14m in length and 700kg in weight.
Aside from the Kraken just being a really big squid, I don’t hold much faith in any of these creatures being real but it’s still fascinating to read about them. Bye for now!