How Can Cryptids Stay Hidden?

When discussing cryptids, such as Bigfoot or Mothman, I seem to be faced with the same question, time and time again. This question seems simple but could really be quite complex if you really think about it. The question is, “If these creatures exist, how do they stay hidden against hundreds of people looking for them?”

There are many answers to this question, and which answer you use normally depends on your point of view on the specific cryptid or type of cryptid in question. I will briefly explain the three major answers to the question.

The first answer is nothing more than trying to show that there are still plenty of areas not properly explored by man, or are so vast and inaccessible that it gives large animals a fair amount of living space without needing to stray into more densely populated areas. This is normally used by believers in the specific cryptids existence or at least those who are open to the possibility.

The second is simply that the cryptid doesn’t exist and that sightings are simply nothing more than misidentifications or flat-out fabrications. Thus there is no ‘real’ animal to be found. Most professional debunkers use this for nearly everything.

The third answer seems to divulge into the very strange, it can be summed up in two words, multidimensional beings. This idea has seemed to grow in popularity and has a large number of supporters. Basically those who support this idea think that since most cryptid encounters seem to have many paranormal parallels to it, the creatures most likely come from another dimension or something similar. This idea seems more logical for some cryptids but not for most of them.

Sources

Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology by Michael Newton

Cryptozoology A to Z by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark

The Complete Guide to Mysterious Beings by John A. Keel

Thought-Forms

Throughout the world there are beliefs pertaining to the power of thought, the most abundant idea is the possibility of ‘thought-forms’. Thought-forms are a popular idea between many occult researchers and scholars. The idea behind a thought-form is simple, they are exactly as they sound, a kind of creature, force, or object brought into existence purely through the power of one’s mind. There are numerous accounts of encounters with the paranormal and phenomena that could potentially be explained through the unconscious  thought-forms. Some examples of this are poltergeists, some cryptids, ghosts, and UFOs/extraterrestrials.

Thought-forms are generally said to be created through extreme concentration and focus on whatever it is said person or persons want to be brought into existence, often times, according to legend, the creation ends disastrously for all those involved. Unconscious thought-form creation is slightly more complicated, though never mentioned in any belief system or myth, some theorize if enough people believe in the existence of the same thing, eventually it will come into existence, for example, after the first Bigfoot prints were popularized, the idea of a large ape-like creature exploded, even after the prints were admitted to be fakes sightings of Bigfoot persist, because of this, some think that the immense belief in the creature literally brought it into existence.

The best known example of thought-forms in myth, and where most modern ideas within the subject of thought-forms originate from, comes from the ideology of the Tibetan monks. The monks believe that if you meditate and fast in a specific way, you can potentially bring to existence, a tulpa. Tulpas are specialized thought-forms, they seem to require specific rituals to bring forth, but afterwords, they follow their creator’s commands. Tulpas also begin as invisible to all other than their creator, but as they gain strength, they are able to be seen by others. There are also accounts of tulpas becoming strong enough to develop their own will and break free from the commands of their creator.

There are many issues with the existence or possibility of thought-forms, but many occultists claim that somehow, thought-forms are able to break the laws of physics to come into existence.

What do you think? Could thought-forms explain some or all paranormal phenomena? Or is this all superstitious crap? Tell me in the comments

Sources

Harper’s Encyclopedia of Mystical; and Paranormal Experience by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

The Directory of Possibilities edited by Colin Wilson

The Encyclopedia of Ghost and Spirits by Rosemary Ellen Guiley.

Spiritualism

Spiritualism is the name for the rise in occult studies and attempt to contact the spirit world during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The beliefs were spread by various groups, both serious and fraudulent, that were very abundant during these times. The movement has been associated with the modern obsession with the occult and psychics. Many connected to the spiritualist movement turned out to be frauds but there were some genuinely believing groups. The movement is also considered to be the rise of psychics and fortune-tellers.

The roots of the movement can be traced to Kate and Margaret Fox, sisters who claimed that spirits were communicating with them through a series of knocks and taps but were later shown to be frauds. After the Fox sisters went public with their claim, many followed. Spiritualism was extremely popular among minorities, mainly because of their belief in equality for all. Spiritualism also claimed to be the middle grounds between religion and science, and because of this, spiritualism was demonized by most religious orthodoxies. During World War I, spiritualism gain many supporters in Europe, mainly because spiritualism supported the belief of spirits of the dead lingering. Over time, spiritualism gained a more political standing and was further frowned upon.

Spiritualism’s most popular idea was that through the right equipment and ritual, you could contact the dead. Contact was done through things such as seances, specific boxes used for communication, discussions through mediums, channeling, and automatic writing. The two best known people who were active in the spiritualist movement, either against or for, were Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini.

Spiritualism is still popular today. Psychics, frauds, and ghost hunters are quite common. As many as 41% of people in the United States believe in a form of psychic abilities and as many as 35% of people in the U.S. believe in ghosts and spirits. There are many television shows that focus on the ‘adventures’ of those who appear to search for the unknown.

Sources

The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Foundations of Parapsychology by Hoyt L. Edge, Robert L. Morris, John Palmer, and Joseph H. Rush

Glossary

Everyone knows the terms “UFO” or “sea serpent”, but some of the other terms I use you may not be so familiar with. Because of this, I have decided to post mini glossaries so those who aren’t particularly familiar with the terms I may use can look up what they mean. There will be five or six words each post so they won’t be too lengthy.

Flaps- patterns of time, connected to groups of unusual encounters or happenings. Described by Loren Coleman as “an attempt to understand a grouping of reports which cluster in time, and for monster accounts, usually in a specific local.” It is worth noting that nearly all encounters with cryptids (unknown animals) or UFOs come in clusters.

Windows- specific places that seem to act as magnets for the unusual. Commonly attributed to cryptids, UFOs, or hauntings. Often window areas serve as locations for multiple types of unusual occurrences.

High Strangeness- there are two definitions for this term, first, encounters or reports with unexplained phenomena that seems more unusual than most reports (example, there was once an encounter with a supposed extraterrestrial which apparently gave the witness “space pancakes”). The second definition are areas that seem more unusual than normal window areas, for example, the Bermuda Triangle.

Zooforms- literally monsters. Zooforms are technically apparition creatures that resemble animals, but the phenomena seems to include most paranormal creatures, from werewolves to vampires to the bogey-man. It is an extremely vast and complicated phenomena.

Name Game- patterns within names of witnesses of the paranormal or names of places where paranormal encounters. Some examples of names within the game are Fayette, Dover, Decatur, and Logan.

Waves- similar to flaps, except waves are simply the clusters of sightings while flaps are the patterns within the clusters.

Sources

Mothman and Other Encounters by Loren Coleman

Mysterious America by Loren Coleman

PSIence by Marie D. Jones

Monsters! An A-Z of Zooform Phenomena by Neil Arnold

Green Fireballs

When you think of a UFO, you probably think of a shiny, metal spacecraft, in the shape of a disc. That is what is portrayed as the “classic” UFO, but interestingly enough, most UFO sightings are simply moving lights that have an unknown origin. One case of these strange sky lights is known as the Green Fireball Wave of 1948-1951.

Green fireballs are literally what they sound like–giant, green, round objects that appear to be on fire. The fireballs were seen throughout the southwestern United States, although they seemed to cluster in New Mexico. The first known sighting of the fireballs was on December 5, 1948. The objects were seen by two pilots, who were flying over New Mexico during the time, twice, 22 minutes apart. Many just shrugged the encounter as a meteor but the witnesses insisted it was not a meteor, but the military was more concerned.

The next day the Air Force formed a study of the fireballs. Two of the investigators encountered another fireball under similar circumstances as the two pilots. The Air Force the contacted Lincoln La Paz, a well known experts on meteors, to consult on the study. La Paz later encountered one himself and concluded, due to the lack of speed and sound, that the fireballs were not, in fact, meteors.

After study of the atmosphere from the places where encounters happened, La Paz found that there was an unexplainable amount of copper particles in the atmosphere. La Paz said that this was more proof that the fireballs weren’t meteors, because there is no evidence showing copper particles coming from meteors.

Eventually the study decided to try and photograph the objects. Project Sparkle came from this, the official title for the attempt to photograph the fireballs. Due to lack of funding and equipment failure resulting in no pictures, Project Sparkle was shut down. Those who were involved speculated from their observations that the objects weren’t natural but were artificially made, some say by extraterrestrial craft.

Unusual lights are still seen in the sky today, the most famous being the Marfa Lights in Texas and the Naga Fireballs seen above the Mekong River in Thailand.

Sources

Strange and Unusual Phenomena by Jerome Clark and Nancy Pear

The UFO Encyclopedia by Jerome Clark

Djinn

“If you fear one thing in life, fear the djinn.” This is the message on the back cover of Rosemary Ellen Guiley’s groundbreaking book, The Vengeful Djinn, coauthored by Philip J. Imbrogno. In the book the authors explain the basics within the world of the djinn and what they could be doing in the world of today. So what are the djinn? And why are they so alarming to many occult scholars and researchers?

According to Islamic legend, the djinn are a race of interdimensional beings, born of a smokeless fire, who have nearly endless amounts of power. It is said that the djinn have the ability to shapeshift into any form, can fly and teleport, are able to become invisible, have super speed and strength, can influence thoughts and dreams, and are able to possess people. They almost sound like super villains. It is said that while the djinn aren’t evil they are certainly tricksters, and their tricks may not be the most pleasant.

The djinn were said to be the original inhabitants of the Earth, but eventually they enraged Allah, for when he created man, Iblis, the leader of the djinn, protested Allah’s commandment to bow before Adam, the first man. This story has been repeated as the Christian story of the fall of Lucifer, it is considered by many scholars that Lucifer and Iblis were the same being. Allah, enraged over the disobedience, condemned Iblis and his djinn to another dimension.

Many occult scholars are alarmed by the djinn for two reasons, because the djinn are obviously more powerful than humans and they want their world back, and second because they can be used to explain virtually any unusual happening. Guiley drew significant parallels between the djinn and fairies, extraterrestrials, UFOs, ultraterrestrials, cryptids, shadow people, ghosts, and even poltergeists.

So what do you think? Are the djinn as scary as some think? Or is this all just superstition and needless fear? Tell me in the comments.

Sources

The Vengeful Djinn by Rosemary Ellen Guiley and Philip J. Imbrogno

The Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

A Field Guide to Demons, Vampires, Fallen Angels, and Other Subversive Spirits by Carol K. Mack and Dinah Mack

An Encyclopedia of Occultism by Lewis Spence

Real Vampires, Night Stalkers, and Creatures from the Darkside by Brad Steiger

Cryptozoology Misunderstandings

Cryptozoology is the study of animals that aren’t recognized by science to exist. Unfortunately many misunderstand this and use the term to explain the study of magical/mystical creatures or monsters. That isn’t what cryptozoology looks for, yes some cryptozoologists do look for mythical creatures, like the unicorn and dragon, but the difference is that they don’t think the creatures are magical, they simply think they are unidentified animals. Cryptozoology does not include zombies, vampires, ghosts, extraterrestrials, the Rake, Slenderman, or fairies. I’ve seen people calling everything I just listed as a cryptid. (cryptids are any creature within cryptozoology).

I think the reason most people associate other things with cryptozoology is the simple fact that it is generally mocked and  misrepresented as the zoology of frauds and cranks. This is unfortunate because almost every cryptozoologist have degrees in biology, zoology, and anthropology, often they have more degrees than just those as well. True cryptozoologists aren’t kooks who think the government is after them because they found “evidence” of something the government doesn’t like. True cryptozoologists are those who think there may be some mystery left in the world of zoology and strive to solve these mysteries. Yes, most of the better known cryptids seem to be sensationalized, and yes, often the media personifies these people as nutters, but nearly every person who has contributed to cryptozoology is completely qualified to do so.

To further this point I will list some important cryptozoologists or those who have contributed to the field and what their job description would technically be:

  1. Loren Coleman, anthropologist and psychologist
  2. Bernard Heuvelmans, zoologist
  3. Ivan T. Sanderson, zoologist
  4. Jeff Meldrum, anthropologist and evolutionary biologist
  5. Grover S. Krantz, anthropologist
  6. Mark A. Hall, naturalist
  7. Karl P. N. Shuker, zoologist
  8. Jane Goodall, primatologist

Cryptozoology and those who work within the field is simply the science of hidden animals, anything considered a cryptid should be some kind of animal, no entities, no spirits, no mystical creatures outside the realms of science. There are other fields for those.

Source

Cryptozoology A to Z by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark

Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology by Michael Newton

The Skookum Cast

Many Bigfoot enthusiasts and cryptozoologists, those who study animals not recognized by science, hail the Patterson-Gimlin film (a minute long film that shows what appears to be a large, human-like ape) as the best evidence we have for the existence of Bigfoot, but there has always been a huge amount of controversy with the film. There are even people claiming to be the person in a gorilla suit being filmed. Because of this issue, there are some who have pointed their fingers at a different piece of evidence as the most conclusive. Its known as the Skookum cast by researchers and it is thought to be made of an unknown humanoid’s buttocks, various sections of its legs and feet, knuckles, hand imprints, and an elbow.

The cast was found during a research expedition into Skookum Meadows in Washington state. The expedition was funded by the Bigfoot Research Organization (BFRO) and included a long list of specialists in various fields, a psychologist and pheromone expert, an expert tracker, a zoologist, a wilderness guide, a bait expert and a communications specialist, to name a few. The expedition began on September 16, 2000, and went until September 23. The group made “traps” in hopes of finding evidence of the creature, the traps were simply setting fruit inside a large section of mud in hopes they would attract a Bigfoot and get tracks, what they got was much better. On September 22 two of the group decided to check the traps for any prints, the first two were duds but the third and final trap had a strange set of prints that caught the eye of the researchers. It required 325 pounds of plaster cast to record the full cast.

The name “Skookum” is actually one of the many Native American words for Bigfoot like creatures. The word can be found used in the names of many places throughout Washington and Oregon. This, in fact, was the reason the BFRO chose the Skookum Meadows for the expedition.

Many scientists have tried to explain the print as nothing more than a deer laying in the mud but the cast does not appear even close to what deer body imprints look like. Anthropologist and primatologist, Jeffrey Meldrum examined the print and concluded that the print was almost definitely made by a humanoid of seven to eight feet in height. He points to the clear dermal ridges (dermal ridges are small creases in your hands and feet, such as your fingerprints) in the feet and hands, as well as the appearance of hair imprints throughout the body.

Sources

Bigfoot! by Loren Coleman

Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science by Jeff Meldrum

Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology by Michael Newton

Thunderbirds

Thunderbirds, birds of enormous size from Native American legends, were said to cause thunder and lightning just by flapping their huge wings. Could birds of this size really exist? Some researchers believe that they aren’t just legend, and that they still occupy the skies of America. Sightings have occurred throughout the United States but the majority are clustered within the Midwest.

In legends, the birds were described to be big enough to blot out the sun, but in modern times the size is described as having a wingspan between fifteen and thirty-five feet. The creature is often described as a giant bird, black in color, occasionally with a white stripe around its neck. Although most encounters fall into the above description there are some reports that give the Thunderbird a more reptilian description, similar to a pterodactyl.

There are very few reports of a Thunderbird actually interacting with a person, most are only seen in the sky from a distance. There is one exception to this, dubbed the Lawndale Incident by researchers, the witnesses actually claim a bird of gigantic proportions actually picked up a ten-year-old child and carried him for a short distance. The encounter occurred on July 15, 1977, at a family home in Lawndale, Illinois. Marlon Lowe was playing outside his home, when two large birds flew above him. One of the birds flew down to Marlon and grabbed him in its talons and carried him for several feet before letting go and flying away. The birds seemed to be frightened of, ironically, by Mrs. Lowe’s horrified screams. The birds were described as being as large as ostriches but appeared more like condors. The most significant part of the encounter is that condors are not strong enough to lift a child into the air and fly even the few feet that it did.

Since most descriptions associate condors with the Thunderbird, the most likely candidate for the Thunderbird are the extinct Teratorns. There are two known types of Teratorns, the Teratornis merriami which had a wingspan of eleven feet and the Teratornis incredibilis which had a wingspan of twenty four feet. The other likely candidate for the Thunderbird is a relict species of pterosaur, an extinct group of flying reptiles. The pterosaur theory works mainly because of the handful of sightings of reptilian Thunderbirds as well as the newly discovery of feathers on pterosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles.

So could large unknown birds roam the skies of midwest United States? Some researchers think so.

Sources

Mysterious America by Loren Coleman

Cryptozoology A to Z by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark

The Encyclopedia of Monsters by Daniel Cohen

Monster Spotter’s Guide to North America by Scott Francis

Unexplained! by Jerome Clark

Black Eyed Children

There are reports of people encountering kids, at night, who seem to have pitch black eyes that seem to stare into your soul. Black eyed kids (BEKs) look like normal teenagers except for the startling fact that their eyes appear completely black. BEKs are commonly encountered in groups of two to five, rarely more or less. Witnesses report the kids look normal enough until they notice their eyes. As with many entities seeing a BEK is accompanied with an overwhelming feeling of terror that doesn’t seem explainable.

Most people encounter the children at night, normally outside the witness’ home or car, always asking permission to enter the house or car. Normally they ask some sort of question such as, “Can we come inside? We need to use your telephone,” or “Can you drive us home? We don’t live far,” The witness then notices their black eyes and refuses them access. When the kids are told no they begin to become violent, often screaming and pounding on the door, demanding to be let in.

Although the BEK phenomena is fairly recent, it has its roots in ancient occult ideas, namely the vampire. In ancient Europe, vampires were thought to be demons who possessed a corpse to use as a form of vehicle to do its evil deeds, there was only one problem, they needed to be given permission to enter one’s “domain”. Someone’s domain is any structure one feels safe in, such as a house or car. Even in the oldest lore domains are thought to be protected. Many researchers believe that BEKs could be a modernization to ancient vampire legends.

Nobody’s really sure as to what happens if you allow the kids to enter because there has been no reports of it happening but Brad Steiger, a psychic phenomena expert, theorized that it could lead to poltergeist phenomena (unexplained movement of objects, unexplained sounds, smells, etc.) which then leads to the possession of the weakest in the house. Steiger based this on a similar report where a child had allowed an unseen entity access to his home.

No matter what the black eyed kids are, they’re here and are causing panic across the world.

Sources

“Invasion of the Black-Eyed Kids” by Stuart Ferrol in ForteanTimes 322

Real Vampires, Night Stalkers, and Creatures from the Darkside by Brad Steiger