When you think of “cryptid”, you wonder if it’s actually a word or not. Well, in our world it is. After that you typically think of your favorite creature first. However, what about all the others that don’t come to mind.
Worry not GT faithful! Since I know you’ve all stayed awake at night wondering about this, I decided to go ahead and post a list of the top 10 cryptids/mysterious creatures as compiled by our friends over at about.com.
So, without further adieu, the list (in no particular order):
1. Bigfoot / Sasquatch / Yeti / Skunk Ape
These hairy apemen are probably the most consistently witnessed unknown creatures in the world. Whether they are called Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti, Skunk Ape or Yowie, they have been seen in isolated woodlands and mountain areas in virtually every corner of the globe. And the descriptions – from the North American northwest to Florida to Australia – are remarkably consistent:
-taller than an average man (seven to eight feet)
-covered with long brown or auburn hair (or white hair in the case of the Yeti)
-a strong, repugnant odor
-large feet, as evidenced by castings of footprints
-an aversion to man
-a piercing, eerie howl
The vast number of sightings, many by highly reliable witnesses, gives Bigfoot, in my estimation, the best likelihood of being a real creature as yet unknown to science. But what is it? A missing link? Some ancient relative of humans that somehow has survived in the wilderness? An unknown species of ape?
We may find out someday soon. Sightings seem to be on the increase as mankind encroaches deeper and deeper on the wilderness. And technology may aid in the search. The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization recently announced its intention to place motion-triggered digital webcams in various areas of US forest where the hairy beast has been seen. This 24-hour surveillance with potentially thousands of computer-based witnesses looking on will dramatically increase the chances of obtaining credible evidence.
For the diehard skeptic, nothing less than a captured specimen will do – or at least some other tangible evidence. And one that could qualify has recently emerged: an impression of Bigfoot’s butt. No kidding. Researchers in the American northwest have found what appears to be the impression in the ground of where a large hairy primate has sat. Hey, he’s got to rest those big feet sometime.
2. Loch Ness Monster (and other Lake monsters)
Despite excellent expeditions with sophisticated electronic equipment, the lake monsters of the world continue to elude scientists. Yet spontaneous sightings by good witnesses, although rare, persist.
The Loch Ness monster, or Nessie, is undoubtedly the most well-known of these aquatic mysteries. But other deep, cold lakes around the world have their own legendary beasts: Chessie in Chesapeake Bay, Storsie in Sweden’s Lake Storsjön, Selma in Norway’s Lake Seljordsvatnet and “Champ” in New York’s Lake Champlain among others.
Descriptions of this creature, too, are amazingly similar:
-a large creature with a long neck
-a horse-like head
-a humped back
Most sightings report the humps protruding from the surface of the water (which skeptics dismiss as being almost anything, from schools of fish to floating logs), but occasionally a lucky witness will see the creature stretch its neck high above the water and look around a bit before submerging.
Photo and video evidence is rare. And although some of the photos are tantalizing (most notably the famous “flipper” photo taken by the Rines expedition in 1975), most such “proof” is fuzzy or inconclusive at best.
If the creature does exist, many researchers suspect that it could be a kind of plesiosaur – an animal from the age of the dinosaurs that is thought to have become extinct more than 66 million years ago. Could a lineage of these incredible creatures possibly have survived?
Even though some sightings date back to the 1970s, El Chupacabra – “the goat sucker” – is primarily a phenomenon of the 1990s, and its fame has largely been spread by the Internet. The sightings started in earnest in 1995 with reports coming out of Puerto Rico of a strange creature that was killing farmers’ livestock – chickens, ducks, turkeys, rabbits and, of course, goats – sometimes hundreds of animals in one evening. The farmers, who were familiar with the killing practices of wild dogs and other predators, claimed that the methods of this unknown beast were different. It didn’t try to eat the animals it killed, for example; nor did it drag them away to be devoured elsewhere. Instead, the creature killed by draining its victims of blood, usually through small incisions.
Then came the bizarre eyewitness descriptions:
-about the size of a chimpanzee
-hops about like a kangaroo
-large glowing red eyes
-grayish skin and hairy arms
-long snake-like tongue
-quills running along its spine that seem to open and close like a fan
-some believe it may even have wings
Toward the end of the ’90s, the sightings of Chupacabra began to spread. The creature was blamed for animal killings in Mexico, southern Texas and several South American countries. In May and June of 2000, a rash of incidents took place in Chile, according to certain newspapers there. In fact, some of the most incredible claims yet came out of those sightings: that at least one of the creatures was caught alive by local authorities, then handed over to official agencies of the US government.
What is it? Theories abound, including: an unknown but natural species of predator; misidentified known predators; the result of genetic experimentation; an alien. Most serious researchers consider Chupacabra merely folklore, perpetuated by over-enthusiastic locals immersed in superstition or a penchant for telling tall, exaggerated tales.
Yet you can be sure that we haven’t seen or heard the last of Chupacabra.
4. The Jersey Devil
There is a terrifying creature, they say, that haunts the dense pine barrens of New Jersey, and its frightening appearance earned it the name of The Jersey Devil. The legend of the Jersey Devil dates back to about the mid-1700s when it was considered an omen of disaster or war, but multiple sightings did not begin until the early 1900s. Some researchers claim that more than 2,000 witnesses have reported seeing the creature over the centuries. Although rare, sightings continue up to the present day.
Descriptions vary, but these are the most commonly cited attributes:
-about three-and-a-half feet high
-a head like a collie dog and a face like a horse
-a long neck
-wings about two feet long
-back legs like those of a crane
-walks on its back legs and holds up two short front legs with paws on them
It’s interesting to note the similarities to Chupacabra!
Unexplained animal deaths and mutilations have been blamed on The Jersey Devil. Dozens of eyewitnesses claim to have been frightened out of their wits by it. What could this creature possibly be? The theories are similar to those cited for Chupacabra, but something scary definitely seems to be out there in the New Jersey woods.
For about 13 months beginning in November, 1966, a series of bizarre sightings took place around the area of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Aside from a spate of UFO reports and claimed poltergeist activity, several witnesses came forward with descriptions of an astonishing creature that may have been the focal point of all the weird goings-on. As detailed in John Keel’s classic book, The Mothman Prophecies, hundreds of witnesses allegedly saw a large, winged humanoid being.
Here is how they described it:
-approximately seven feet tall
-a wingspan over 10 feet wide
-gray, scaly skin
-large, red, glowing and hypnotic eyes
-able to take off straight up in flight, traveling up to 100 miles an hour
-liked to mutilate or eat large dogs
-screeched or squealed like a rodent or electric motor
-caused radio and television interference
-had some mind control powers.
Dubbed Mothman by a local newspaperman, the creature seemed to have a peculiar affect on those with whom it came into contact: they began to “channel” information from what Keel called “ultra-terrestrial” entities. Keel himself was affected in this way, receiving “prophecies” from some unknown origin that were, more often than not, oddly less than accurate.
As long as you’re at the halfway point, you may as well go here for the remaining 5…..
In my opinion, few of these examples have much chance of existing at all. However, aside from Bigfoot, I do have a strange fascination with Mothman. Why? I couldn’t tell you, but it’s something that really bothers me. Especially since we rarely see sighting reports. It’s one of those, whadaya call, obsessive compelshons.
Now I’m sure you can name something that you believe should be on the list but unfortunately it’s called the top 10, not the top 100. However, there are several cryptids that could be added such as werewolves. If you have one that you think should be on the list, go ahead and name it.
Finally, here’s wishing everyone a happy 4th of July!
Thanks to About.com for this creatureful list.