Episode 34: Plucky Upstart Cryptids: A Round-up of Some Other Cryptids We Love
Apparently, September is Cryptid month for Fat Guy, Jacked Guy! We didn’t know this going into it, but that’s just how things lined up. For our final episode of this Cryptozoology-themed month, I’m going to do a “round-up” of some of the OTHER creepy creatures in our lives.
All of our wonderful talk about Cryptozoology has reignited my love for this sort of science-y kind of science. It’s part bio, part sociology, part anthropology, part archaeology. It was captivating to me as a pre-teen, and it has always held a special place in my heart as a lover of stories, myths, and the world beyond the sanitized realm of Western Capitalism. Cryptids (mythical or “undiscovered” beasts) were remnants of a world left behind. I believed (and still believe, in some ways) in their existence, because that belief allowed me the freedom to imagine. Still, my belief led me towards scientific inquiry and a primitive type of research. Even as a young cryptozoologist, I knew there were a few important pieces of information to push in the face of any skeptic stupid enough to challenge me. Most importantly, I knew about the coelacanth, snow leopards, mountain gorillas, and pandas, animals thought by Western Science to be myths until they were CONFIRMED. The panda, for instance, was thought to be a myth by Western scientists until it was “discovered” in 1869.
In Colin Dickey’s article on the Gloucester Sea Serpent (a cryptid that was seen by hundreds of people for a period of time in Gloucester, MA in the 1800s), he explains this wonderfully:
“Coelacanths and pandas are enticing mascots for cryptozoology, because they remind us that the animal kingdom still holds mystery for us, and there are still creatures—even large, charismatic megafauna—that might be waiting to be found. But they also raise problems, precisely because their circumstances are so different from most cryptid stories. Rather than a blurry photograph or a dubious eyewitness account, the coelacanth appeared in the 20th century as a corpse, an actual specimen that could be studied, documented, preserved.”
This is the thing about combining Cryptid myth with scientific inquiry: YES, there are animals still to be discovered, but it’s becoming less likely each year. With more ability to capture them on film and increased extinctions due to climate crisis and habitat destruction, our window of really discovering new cryptids is closing. That is probably the WORST PART of our continued destruction of the earth–we won’t be able to meet real cryptids if we keep fucking things up!
It’s hard to tell if the world of cryptozoology has developed or regressed since my younger days of crude Nessie library books. In many ways, people can access cryptid information easier and faster than ever, but like many issues with the preponderance of information, it’s most likely that people aren’t allowed to invest time and energy into loving something. As an 11 year old, I HAD to care about this stuff to uncover it. Now, you can see some shitty hoax photos, sate your curiosity, and then look at TikTok. These legends won’t go away, but I wonder HOW people are consuming cryptozoology information. I know that kids now are much less hopeful or joyful when it comes to mysteries outside of the True Crime genre. Imagination has been quashed in favor of optimization, and that fucking blows. A 6th grader should be wondering if they saw Bigfoot, not how to optimize their brand or start a sneaker resale business. I hope there are kids who, like me, devote their time to wonder and imagination, even if they know it’s unlikely that any of these monsters are “real.” There is so much to love about cryptozoology, and finding the biological truth is one of the least important things.
What we DO HAVE now, more than when I was a boy, is cryptid shit to BUY. I’m not going to make a moral statement on this, because I’m pretty sure that these companies WANT to sponsor Fat Guy, Jacked Guy, but I think we all know where I stand on consumer capitalist nonsense. However, if I were twelve, I guarantee I’d be asking my mom to buy me some of this stuff. So before we do a roundup of cryptids, here’s a roundup of places where you can buy stuff related to mythical beasts.
Cryptid Crate (a monthly subscription box that sends people cryptid stuff): https://boxmountainllc.com/pages/cryptid-crate
Please consider being our sponsor, Cryptid Crate. You’re everything I hate about the world and I love you.
Beyond our brothers at Cryptid Crate–Etsy, Zazzle, and enemy of the show, Amazon, have thousands of gifts for the cryptozoology lover in your life.
Non-sequitor: Had I known that the International Cryptozoology Museum was located in PORTLAND MAINE, I would have visited it constantly. I was in Portland last summer, what the FUCK! Next time I'm in Maine to see my biological brother or our wonderful patron and brother, Randy, I am going to this place. If you’re in beautiful Portland, Maine, stop by and support our brothers at the museum!
Part 2b: The Cryptid Roundup!
Sure, we looked at aliens, lake monsters, and the skunk ape, BUT we’ve left out so much. I want to take some time to look at those equally-important monsters that you may not know much about. This list isn’t exhaustive, but hopefully it give you something to research on this, the last episode of our cryptozoology month. This podcast is for the lil guys. Those plucky upstart creatures who haven’t gotten the credit they deserve.
Because we didn’t get to this character before, we are going to take a moment to talk Bigfoot. That’s right, fools. Bigfoot is the other cryptid in the room. You probably have some idea of Bigfoot. Any Cryptozoologist has Bigfoot theories and opinions. Our wonderful patron and brother, Jeff Beck, asked me to speak a bit on Bigfoot. Bigfoot is perhaps the most well-known Cryptid in the world. Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, is a large bipedal hominid said to inhabit many parts of North America.
Bigfoot has corollaries around the world, especially in Europe and Asia (the Yeti). The idea of Bigfoot comes from many folkloric legends in indigenous North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Honestly, wherever you go, you’ll have a Bigfoot-type creature. The North American Bigfoot is the iconic Cryptid. There have been popular Bigfoot movies Like Harry and the Hendersons, and entire television series about trying to find Bigfoot.
As a young Cryptozoologist, my theory was that Bigfoot could only be the last remnant of the extinct Gigantopithecus, a massive Asian ape that died out around 300,000 years ago. Gigantopithecus was about the size of a gorilla, though it wasn’t bipedal and it had orange-ish fur. Other theories posit that Bigfoot is the missing link between our great ape contemporaries and us, while others say it’s some other ape formerly believed to be extinct.
When I was a kid, I was very skeptical of all Bigfoot content. I found most of the photos and videos too easily hoaxed (the existence of ape costumes really makes it hard to take things seriously). The most famous Bigfoot footage is the Patterson-Gimlin footage shot in 1967 by Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin in Northern California. Both Patterson and Gimlin maintained that the film was absolutely real, and they were not part of a hoax. There have been many scientific analyses of the film that mostly analyze the creature’s gait and appearance, and weirdly enough, some scientists tend to focus on Bigfoot's ass. Here are two choice quotes from scientists about the Patterson Bigfoot’s booty:
“He objected to the film subject's hair-flow pattern as being too uniform; to the hair on the breasts as not being like a primate; to its buttocks as being insufficiently separated”
“The gluteals, although large, fail to show a humanlike cleft (or crack)." Bigfoot should have a bigger CRACK.
Costume designers are split on the footage. Some of them think that, if it’s a guy in a suit, it is an awesome ape suit. Others have said that it’s a shitty suit that fucking sucks. A dude named Philip Morris claims to have designed the suit for Patterson. Another dude named Bob Heironimus claims to be the guy who wore the ape costume.
Thousands of people claim to have seen and encountered Bigfoot. The American West and Pacific Northwest are hotspots for sightings. Just like our friend the skunk ape, many Bigfoot sightings are believed to be misidentified bears.
Part 3: Let’s Fact Blast 5000 for a bit:
Chupacabra is fairly well known, but most people couldn’t necessarily pick it out of a lineup. The image of el chupacabra kept me up those middle school nights. It has perhaps the most visage in cryptozoology land. Chupacabra means “goat sucker” and it’s a Latin American cryptid whose sightings date back to the 1970’s, but it was officially reported in 1995 when a local farmer discovered 8 dead sheep in the small town of Moca. The sheep were all killed through small circular incisions that drained their blood.
There have been MANY chupacabra “attacks” and sightings over the years, from India to Maine and the American southwest, and throughout Latin America. Chupacabra is sort of a vampire dog, sort of a reptilian freakazoid. It depends on where or who saw it. Many chupacabra sightings are believed to be dogs or coyotes with mange, which can look quite horrifying.
Honey Island Swamp Monster: this is just a little treat for you, brother! Anywhere there is a swamp, there’s a related cryptid. The honey island swamp monster is Louisiana’s Skunk Ape! It’s also called the Cajun Sasquatch or maybe the bayou Bigfoot, and it lives in the Honey Island Swamp in St Tammany parish, Louisiana.
There’s a great origin story that I read about this one: “Local lore tells of a train crash that occurred near the swamp in the early 20th century in which a traveling circus lost chimpanzees who adapted to the environment and offer a potential explanation as to the creature's origins.[“
The Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp is a humanoid cryptid known to live in the swamp lands and sewers of Lee County, South Carolina. They stand nearly seven feet tall and are covered in dark green scaly lizard-ish skin. The first time a lizard man was sighted was by Christopher Davis, a 17-year-old boy, in the summer of 1988.
The Mongolian Death Worm is a creature alleged to exist in the Gobi desert. "It is shaped like a sausage about two feet long, has no head nor leg and it is so poisonous that merely to touch it means instant death. It lives in the most desolate parts of the Gobi Desert." It is said to be able to kill at distance with venom discharge. It is kind of like the monster in tremors. Horrifying sand worms don't get enough credit these days!
Michigan Dogman was allegedly witnessed in 1887 in Wexford County, Michigan.
-seven-foot tall, blue-eyed, or amber-eyed bipedal canine-like animal with the torso of a man and a fearsome howl that sounds like a human scream. A
-According to legends, the Michigan Dogman appears in a ten-year cycle that falls on years ending in 7. Sightings have been reported in several locations throughout Michigan, primarily in the northwestern quadrant of the Lower Peninsula.
As a special request, let’s talk a little about the Beast of Gevaudan. This is a dope cryptid occurrence in history that I never learned about.
-Between 1764 and 1767. A mysterious beast or group beasts attacked people throughout the province of Gevaudan in France.
-The attacks covered an area spanning 90 by 80 kilometres (56 by 50 mi), and were said to have been committed by one or more beasts with formidable teeth and immense tails, according to contemporary eyewitnesses. Most descriptions from the period identify the beast as a striped hyena, wolf, dog, or wolf-dog hybrid.
-This is some shit that historians are sure happened. And a bunch of people were legit murdered by these beasts, most by having their throats ripped out. A 1987 study estimated there had been 610 attacks, resulting in 500 deaths and 49 injuries; 98 of the victims killed were partly eaten. Other sources claim the animal or animals killed between 60 and 100 adults and children and injured more than 30. The beast was reported killed several times before the attacks finally stopped.
-Because humans love myths and monsters, the reports of the beast as a supernatural creature became common, though most historians believe it was wolves, which were known to kill people throughout Europe during this time. Other people still claim it was lions, while one author theorized that it was a group of Tasmanian tigers imported to France from Oceania. Tasmanian tigers were a carnivorous marsupial native to Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. The last one, Benjamin, died in 1936 and they’re now extinct, but they looked really cool and we’re sad that they’re gone.
Some hope to leave on. In an Atlas Obscura interview with Richard Freeman, a cryptozoologist, had a compelling answer to one of their questions about cryptozoology’s place in modernity.
“What role does cryptozoology play in today’s world of cellphone cameras and satellite imagery?
The world is not fully explored. You have this false notion that because of satellite photography the world is explored and mapped, which it isn’t because you can’t see through a forest canopy. There are large swaths of central Africa, Asia, Australia, South America that are uncharted. The great days of zoology are not done. Things are being discovered all the time.”
That made me feel nice! Sure, it could be lip-service to justify his passion, but whatever. We all do this.