Cryptozoology is the study of animals whose existence has yet to be proven. If you’ve ever read stories on cryptids such as Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster, then you have dabbled in cryptozoology. The term is not considered to be scientific, nor is it a branch of zoology – in fact, those who do believe in the existence of these undiscovered animals may seem like kooks. So why does the term exist in the first place? Cryptozoology is a pseudoscience because it depends on myth, legends, and any evidence of the creature’s existence including sightings with video, audio, and photography.
With the latest trends in television shows focusing on the mysterious, cryptozoology is being explored more thoroughly. There are shows dedicated to Bigfoot hunters and there are even a few individuals who have capitalized on society’s fascination with these mysterious animals, orchestrating hoaxes. When it all comes down to it, though, many feel that the stories surrounding these creatures must have come from somewhere – some sightings date back earlier than we can record. Stories or legends of these creatures were passed down through generations, and have been embellished or added to after more sightings were reported.
Perhaps it was a way to come to terms with natural phenomenon, or maybe someone really saw something that truly terrified them. Maybe it was a fear-driven way to get children to behave! Cryptozoology has quickly grown in popularity with thousands of websites and books coming out every year dedicated to the subject. We’ve compiled information on ten of the most mysterious cryptids, but this is just a sliver of the ever-growing database. Some of these cryptids you probably know about, but others will be brand new. If you’re a conspiracy theorist or just enjoy a good yarn, these 10 mysterious crytpids are sure to intrigue.
Let’s get the most obvious and popular cryptid out of the way. Yes, most of us are familiar with the legend of Bigfoot but there’s still an undeniable element of mystery and fascination with the creature. Also known as Sasquatch, Bigfoot remains a hot topic in the media with his ape-like stature and his potential relationship to homosapiens. First spotted in the Pacific Northwest in the early fifties, Bigfoot sightings exploded around the world, leaving people baffled as to how a creature like this can exist without proof, even despite innovative technology.
9. Loch Ness Monster
The Loch Ness is the largest body of freshwater in Britain at 22 ½ miles long and 1-½ miles wide. With such a large body of water, the potential for something large to be living in the water is quite possible. The craze of “Nessie” dates back to 1933 and sightings continue to this day. There is a whole culture surrounding Nessie including organizations, events, t-shirts, and scientists who wish to find the creature just as badly as the amateur explorer. But interestingly enough, sightings of a lake creature do go back to the 6th century, giving the hope of the existence of Nessie some extra drive. True or not, it’s a serious tourist money spinner in the region.
8. Mongolian Death Worm
If worms make you squirm, brace yourself. The Mongolian Death Worm first came to the attention of the West in 1926 thanks to a book called, On the Trail of Ancient Man. The worm is bright red and can reportedly be between 2 and 5 feet long. According to legend, it has the ability to spew acid as well as turn anything it touches yellow and corrode it. It is reported that this creature inhabits the Gobi Desert and hundreds of witnesses have been able to describe the creature with extraordinary detail.
7. Dover Demon
The Dover Demon surfaced in the town of Dover, Massachusetts between April 21-22, 1977. At the time, the witnesses were primarily teenagers including 17-year old William Bartlett, 15-year old John Baxter (who drew a chilling picture of what he saw), and 15-year old Abby Brabham. The Dover Demon has been described as having glowing eyes and tendril-like fingers and having features similar to the generic UFO-type creation with a large head, orange eyes, and no ears, nose, or mouth. While the accounts have been chalked up to potential teenage pranks, there have been more sightings of creatures similar to the Dover Demon, and witnesses have yet to recount their testimony to the authorities.
The chupacabra is a legendary cryptid, its name meaning “the goat sucker”, that surfaced in 1995 and continues to be sighted in the Americas. After the discovery of dead livestock, farmers in Puerto Rico needed answers. The nature of their dead animals was especially disturbing, with puncture marks in the necks of the animals with their blood drained. Descriptions of the chupacabra have changed since 1995, going from a more reptilian-alien like creature to an animal that looks more like a hairless dog. Even after scientists and debunkers have tried to explain the animal deaths, there are diehard chupacabra believers who continue to search for proof.
Perhaps Champy (otherwise known as Champ) is the North American cousin of Nessie? Well, some have speculated that Champy is merely used to draw in tourism, but several photos have surfaced that are claimed to be of the mysterious creature that swims in Lake Champlain. Sounds have also been captured underwater in the lake that are similar to orcas or beluga whales, but neither species lives in the lake, which leaves us all to wonder… what was making the noise?
“Release the Kraken!” or that’s what you might be thinking as you read about the Akkorokamui. Dating back to Aino and Shinto folklore, this creature is half-human and half-octopus with a bright red hue. In the 19th century, John Batchelor wrote about the creature, his accounts describing the creature 120 meters in length, with the ability to regenerate new creatures by amputating its limbs, exhibiting healing powers. The creature is said to have been spotted in the Funka Bay in Japan, as well as parts of Korea.
3. Jersey Devil
One of New Jersey’s oldest tales of folklore is the Jersey Devil, which continues to terrorize local residents to this day. The legend of this mysterious creature is over 300 years old, marked by accounts of the creature lurking in the Pine Barrens. The legend behind the Jersey Devil starts in the 1700’s and is about a woman known as Mother Leeds. A mother of 12 already, her husband was a drunkard, and upon learning of the pregnancy of her 13th child, Mother Leeds declared, “Let this one be a devil!” Several months later upon giving birth, the baby transformed into a creature with horns, claws, and wings, killing as many people in the house as it could before running away into the woods. There were sightings of the Jersey Devil in the 18th and 19th century and sightings continue to this day in the Pine Barrens and even in areas such as Pennsylvania.
We’re not talking about Ariel or singing crabs! Mermaids have been central to much folklore and legend for centuries. With the body of a human and tail of a fish, sailors and any other person who has spent a long time on a boat have spotted mermaids. What makes these aquatic creatures fascinating is the fact that they have been noted in folklore around the world. Despite reports from the National Ocean Service in the United States stating that there is no evidence for mermaids, millions of people worldwide continue to believe in their existence.
From November of 1966 to December of 1967, the little town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia was plagued by numerous sightings of a black man-like creature with a huge wingspan and glowing red eyes. After two young couples had a run in with the “Mothman” (given its name by a reporter after “Batman” was taken) by the “TNT area” of the town that was used for a World War II munitions plant, over a hundred people reported sightings during the following year. Stories corroborated with each other, and authorities were left scratching their heads. Since then, sightings of Mothman have persisted worldwide, and in Point Pleasant there is an annual festival for Mothman.