Cryptids are animals which are generally believed to be legendary in mainstream biology. These animals are studied by people known as cryptozoologists, who are either interested in proving that they exist, or interested in studying the myths and cultural beliefs which have arisen around such animals. Strictly speaking, cryptids are not mythological; creatures like unicorns, for example, are not considered cryptids, because they are accepted as myths. Rather, cryptids are animals which some people think could actually exist.
In some cases, cryptids are rediscovered extinct species, or animals which people originally thought were hoaxes. In these cases, the animal is considered a cryptid because only a few unverified sightings have occurred, but eventually enough scientific evidence accumulates to prove that the animal really does exist, in which case it is no longer a true cryptid. One example of this is the coelacanth, a fish thought to be extinct until living versions were discovered. Another is the platypus, which European scientists thought was a hoax until numerous proofs were brought back to show that it really did exist.
Other cryptids include humanoid creatures such as the Abominable Snowman or Yeti and Sasquatch, also known as Bigfoot. Creatures like the Loch Ness Monster, known affectionately as Nessie, are also considered cryptids. Other legendary animals may be more animal like in nature, such as the chupacabra, drop bear, Northwest Tree Octopus, and the Montauk Monster.
Some supporting evidence does exist for most cryptids. This evidence can include reported sightings, historical claims, grainy images, and sometimes even video. However, the evidence does not hold up to rigorous scientific examination, and thus is not accepted by the scientific community. On occasion, scientific rejection of these animals has resulted in egg on the face of scientists as zoologists manage to verify that a supposed cryptid really does exist; several animals believed to be extinct, for example, have been rediscovered and treated as cryptids for some time before the evidence finally indisputably proved that they exist.
Many cultures have legends featuring mysterious animals, with various versions of legendary beasts swimming, flying, and crawling across all the corners of the Earth. In some cultures these legends are treated primarily as fun fiction, and not taken seriously, while in others, people genuinely believe that these cryptids exist. They may ascribe various social and cultural problems such as the loss of livestock or disappearance of children to these legendary animals, for example.
A List of Cryptids Believed To Roam the United States
When you first learn about cryptids, you may think they are mere beasts of foreign folklore. However, the United States has plenty of reports of various varieties of elusive creatures roaming the region. Here are a few of the most intriguing U.S. cryptids:
- The Beast of Bray Road - Elkhorn, Wisconsin
- The Jersey Devil - The New Jersey Pinelands
- The Ohio Grassman - Ohio and Western Pennsylvania
- The Pukwudgies - Massachusetts and Eastern Rhode Island
- The Snallygaster - Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio and West Virginia
7 Aquatic or Semi-aquatic Cryptids From Around the World
Nessie, Scotland's Loch Ness Monster, may be the most famous aquatic cryptid. However, she isn't the only legendary marine creature. There are numerous other aquatic or semi-aquatic anomalies worldwide. Some of the most notable water-loving cryptids include:
- Akkorokamui - Volcano Bay, Japan
Japan's Volcano Bay residents believe in Akkorokamui, a colossal sea creature. The region's locals report sightings, as well as a British missionary, John Batchelor, who was visiting in the early 1900s. Batchelor noted in his writings that a massive monster overturned a boat of three fishermen, identified the creature's round shape and told that it "emitted a dark fluid and noxious odor."
- Dobhar-Chú - Ireland
"Dobhar-chú" translates to water dog and is believed by the Irish to be a species of giant animal with canine- and otter-like features. People typically report seeing these frightening beasts around Ireland's rivers and lakes. They believe that they are highly aggressive and tend to strike in multiples. Interestingly, some ancient gravestones document the dobhar-chú as the decedent's cause of death.
- Filiko Teras - Coastal Cyprus
Filiko Teras is one of many Greek legends. People believe that this creature resides off the coast of Cyprus. Although it is infamous for overturning small boats, it is not known for ill-will towards humans. In fact, Filiko Teras means "friendly monster."
- Mokele-Mbembe - The Congo Basin, Africa
The Mokele-Mbembe is a famous cryptid that purportedly lives in the Congo swamps. The name Mokele-Mbembe means "large river-dweller." Since the 18th century, people have reported the occasional glimpse of this monster. Residents believe that this Congolese creature occasionally causes blockages in the area's water system by wedging itself into a bottleneck of a river or stream.
- Ogopogo - Lake Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada
British Columbia has its own Loch-Ness-esque water serpent called Ogopogo. It was initially called N'ha-a-tik, which translates as "sea devil," by the native tribes of the Lake Okanagan region in the 1800s. The tribal people have passed down tales of the creature requiring a live sacrifice of an animal before allowing someone to cross the lake. These stories led the people to kill a chicken or other small animal at the lake to toss into the water to appease the monster.
- Selijordsormen "Selma" - Lake Seljordsvatnet, Norway
Locals have given the Selijordsormen the cute nickname Selma. Like Nessie of Scotland, Selma's body holds a serpent-like appearance. People believe she lives in Lake Seljordsvatnet in Norway, and reports of sightings of her go back to the 1700s. Selma is described as approximately 20 meters long, swimming around the lake with the help of frontal fin-like appendages.
- Waitoreke - New Zealand
Waitoreke are mysterious creatures of New Zealand that look like giant otters and live in New Zealand. Fortunately, they don't have a reputation for being malicious or bothering humans. These cryptids have been on the minds of New Zealanders for centuries. Native Maori people show an animal pelt, supposedly from a waitoreke, that their 1800s ancestors killed. No one has identified the unique hide as originating from any known species, so for now, this is one item of "proof" that waitoreke are real.