Cryptids, also known as folklore monsters or entities, are often difficult to define but we’ve all heard of them one way or another. Even if you don’t know cryptids by name, you know of a few of them because they’ve become popular myths around the world. Today, we want to explore this subject and gain a bit of knowledge about what they are. Let’s get into it!
What Are Cryptids and Cryptozoology?
According to Daniel Loxton, cryptozoologist, and Donald R. Prothero, paleontologist, in an interview for National Geographic, a cryptid is an animal that hasn’t been described by science. In other words, they are unusual creatures whose existence is either not proven or is in contention.
The word “cryptid” comes from “cryptozoology”, which derives from the Greek roots “kryptos,” meaning hidden, “zoon,” meaning animal, and “logos,” meaning study or discourse. So, cryptozoology literally translates to the study of hidden animals.
To say that cryptozoology is a science is quite the stretch, but it’s a pseudoscience that focuses on proving the existence of entities that are quite common in folklore. The pseudoscience was founded by Bernard Heuvelmans and Ivan T. Sanderson, a couple of zoologists who were very invested in this subculture.
So, Are Cryptids Real?
We don’t know if cryptids are real or not because their existence is yet to be proven. We know of them because of circumstantial evidence at best, such as eyewitnesses. But any solid evidence so far has been proven to be a hoax.
According to Donal R. Prothero in the aforementioned National Geographic interview, there are many factors that weigh against their existence. For instance, cryptids can’t be just one animal. If there’s one, there has to be more. But if they have a population density, why aren’t they spotted more often? Why can’t they be found?
If they really existed, there would be a lot more evidence left behind. There are also other aspects to consider, such as geology. Consider the Loch Ness monster or any other lake monster. How did they get in the lake if they are all landlocked? How can that kind of marine creature get there in the first place?
So, there’s a lot of scepticism around their existence, especially because no archaeological evidence has been found in any case. However, it’s still fun to look into the mystery of cryptids, and studying the rumours and folklore behind them gives us more knowledge about other cultures.
What Are the Most Well Known Cryptids?
Now that we’ve established what cryptids are, let’s discuss some of the most well-known ones!
The Mothman belongs to West Virginia folklore and it’s known as a humanoid creature with ten-foot wings and red, glowy eyes. There are many sightings recorded of this creature and they are usually reported before disasters, so it’s believed danger and chaos attract the Mothman.
The Chupacabra’s existence has been thoroughly debunked, but it’s still a popular cryptid and people like to discuss it. It’s well known in the folklore of Latin America, but the stories have spread to many parts of the world. It’s described as a large, gray, hound-like quadruped with spines and sharp teeth that’s known for feasting on the blood of livestock. It’s believed that hairless coyotes have been mistaken for chupacabras since they have gray skin and usually bite the animals they attack.
The Ahool belongs to Indonesian folklore and they are described as giant bats with ape-like heads, large eyes, large claws, and their bodies are covered in gray fur. They are thought to live in the Java rainforests and they’ve been spotted in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
We’ve all heard of Bigfoot at least once in our lives. It’s also known as Sasquatch and it’s one of the most well-known cryptids in North American folklore. It’s described as a nine-foot-tall ape-like hominid and it’s believed to live in the woodlands of the Pacific Northwest. There have been many sightings and British explorer David Thompson is credited with finding the first set of footprints in 1811.
The Loch Ness Monster
The Lock Ness monster, also known as Nessie, is another extremely popular cryptid everyone has heard of. It’s considered to be the most famous cryptid ever and it’s said to live in Lock Ness, the largest lake in Scotland. Thousands of people visit the lake hoping to spot this aquatic beast, but so far, its existence hasn’t been proven. References to Nessie are found throughout Scottish history, dating as far back as 500 A.D., so there might be something to it.
Last but not least for today’s list, we have The Yeti, also known as the Abominable Snowman. It’s part of Asian folklore and it’s described as a bipedal, muscular creature that’s covered in dark gray or reddish-brown hair and it’s 6 feet tall. It’s not covered in white hair as it’s largely believed, but there’s no photographic evidence to back anything up either way.
Whether or Not They Exist
Whether cryptids are real or not, the fact is that they’re a huge part of many cultures around the world. That’s why it’s so fascinating to learn more about them and the myths behind them.
We don’t know if the existence of any of the cryptids we’ve mentioned before will ever be proven, but it’s fun to think about them, imagine what they look like, learn about their sightings, and understand what they mean in the different cultures of the world.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Jerry Cornelius
Jerry Cornelius (author) on July 31, 2021:
Thanks, Kanwal, I'm happy you liked the article!
Kanwal Khan Yousafzai from Pakistan on July 26, 2021:
Im a great fan of unsolved and mysterious creatures. I really enjoyed to read about cryptids as zoology was one of my major subject in graduation (BSc).
Thanks for sharing this information!