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2012: A monstrously good year in review

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After gathering all the best cryptozoology stories on the site for the year, on one evening, I consulted the experts – Blake Smith, Ben Radford and Karen Stollznow of Monster Talk – to talk about the year in strange creatures. Here are the best of the best stories in the crypto world this year.

1. Bigfoot

It was a huge year for the big guy. See my summary of Sasquatchery here. News abounded but we didn’t really get very far. No doubt, Sasquatch/Bigfoot and all his foreign cousins were the biggest monsters of 2012. Here are some of the stories that made Bigfoot the number 1 monster topic of 2012.

There were two really great monster videos that provided us with a media party and tons of speculation.

2. Mammoth video hoax.

This video, done by a known hoaxster, was dubious from day one. But was it a bear or a CGI critter. The story was even better as the video was real and REALLY from Russia. But the critter? Not so much. The Monster Talk folks get props from their work on this one.

3. Icelandic worm video.

This strange video was recorded in a glacier river in Iceland. It was interpreted as the legendary Lagarfljóts worm. But what was it really? Turns out this had a normal explanation as well if you looked close enough. But, that conclusion didn’t get distributed as far as the more fun one.

4. Unidentified carcasses

Every year, you will find some stories, of seemingly unidentifiable critters lying around – maybe they were hit by a car or, like this year, they were washed up on shore. When mammals lose their hair from being in water for long periods, they look unrecognizable. In addition, the decay process removes body parts or distorts them so that we can’t readily tell what animal it may be. This year we had the  East River monster, a beach body and the San Diego Demonoid as our top mystery carcasses. All were identified.

Photo: Denise Ginley

Photo: Denise Ginley

Two mythical monster made the news as REAL this past year. Thanks media!

5. Mermaids

Thanks to a pseudo documentary on Animal Planet, mermaids were a popular monster topic on the internet in 2012. Some who watched the show assumed that the network would show science-based programing and so there must be something to this. There wasn’t. The aquatic ape hypothesis used to “science up” the show was long discredited.

6. Zombies don’t exist says the CDC

Due to a rash of strange, possibly drug-related incidents of psychotic people eating other people, zombies were all the rage. Also propelled by popular movies and TV shows, zombies seemed to be coming a reality. So much so, that the Center for Disease Control had to assure people that there really was no “zombie virus”. Capitalizing on the zombie craze, zombie attack was used as analogy for the spread of an infection disease. It made the topic fun and more understandable but possibly messed with the public psyche a bit too much.

7. Crypto adventure to the congo fails

Once upon a time, a group of kids had this great idea to head to the dark continent and search for the fabled monster Mokele mbembe and the legendary giant spiders. They raised $29,000 from supporters. Some of us tried to warn them it wouldn’t be the best idea, it had failed multiple times before, the living dinosaur, Mokele mbembe, was certainly not a real dinosaur nor likely a mystery animal and it was DOWNRIGHT dangerous to try this. In the end, they didn’t embark on their adventure. I believe this was for the best.

8. Loch Ness George Edwards humpty hump photo

George Edwards had this picture that he said may show Nessie. It was a strange picture and it had a strange history – one that pretty much exposed this as a hoax to try to bring more tourists to the Loch.

Photo credit: George Edwards/CASCADE NEWS

Photo credit: George Edwards/CASCADE NEWS

9. Local terrors

In far-reaching places around the globe, people have neighborhood monsters and ghouls that they believe lurk in the shadows, terrorize the people and cause havoc. Here is a selection of them.

Carli Segelson / Fla. FWCC via AP

Vampire of folklore Sava Savanovic and the mill house where they say he lived.

Vampire of folklore Sava Savanovic and the mill house where they say he lived.

10. Big cat reports

People reported large cats like lions and tigers where there really were not supposed to be big cats. A Bengal tiger was spied by witnesses in Washington state: Puyallap tiger. And a lion caused a circus in Essex: Essex lion. Neither turned out to be how they were described. We can take away a good less about humans as poor observers. As much as might think it was a monster we saw, it was actually something very ordinary.

Listen to the Monster Talk broadcast where we talk about all these topics.

Happy monster hunting in 2013! Send us stories!

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This Legendary Cryptid From Sumatra Most Likely Exists

In the westernmost island of the archipelago in Indonesia is a jungle that is home to the most elusive Crytpid in the world, the Orang Pendek. The animal is said to be a cryptozoological wonder and is a bipedal primate that is small which has been seen by natives to the island along with researchers. This elusive animal may have been recently caught on video as proof of what is often called the miniature Bigfoot of Asia.

Evidence of The World’s Most Elusive Crytpid, The Orang Pendek

Orang Pendek Means Short Person

Orang Pendek translates to the short person in Indonesia and it is a primate species that has remained undiscovered and which might be from the homo genus. Locals, travelers, and researchers have over the years claimed to have seen the cryptid, many saying that they came across it purely by chance.

One thing that everyone who claims to have seen the Orang Pendek has said is that the animal is between 30 to 60 inches tall and covered in grey, brown or golden hair and is bipedal. This means the creature walks upright in the same way that a human being walks. What is even stranger about the creature is the fact that its facial features resemble those of a human being and differ totally from the majority of monkeys.

Is Orang Pendek The Lost Cousin of Human Beings?

Due to the creature having the facial looks of a human being the creature has been said to be the lost cousin of humans and it shares a common ancestor. A research group did come across the remains of human-like species in the region and it was small and they reported it as being Homo floresiensis, the real-life Hobbit. Many have said that this is the cryptid of Sumatra.

The Indonesia people have said that the Orang Pendek is a creature that shows great intelligence and it has the ability to be able to hide away from human beings. This has caused the people of Sumatra to be in fear of the creature. One native claimed an encounter with the creature and said that the animal had put its arms up into the air so as to make itself look bigger. Others have claimed of sightings that have been similar and of the creature showing aggression. It is not known if the creature has actually ever attacked anyone.

British Journalist Saw Orang Pendek in Jungle in Sumatra

British journalist, Debbie Martyr, is among the most famous of researchers who claimed to have seen the creature. In 1994 she said that she was out investigating and saw the Orang Pendek in the Sumatran jungle. While she was not able to capture the creature in a photo, she said that what she had witnessed was a bipedal primate that was unlike anything she had seen before.

The crew of a military helicopter also claimed to have seen the creature when the helicopter was flying over Kerinci Seblat National Park, which has been the center of the sightings of the Orang Pendek. It was said that the creature was in a tree, and it has a head that was a different shape to a human, more like an ape but the face was humanoid.

Video Evidence of the Orang Pendek

While there have been photographs of the Orang Pendek, there is one video film that has stood out above all else as being proof of the Orang Pendek. In the video, a small pygmy like creature is seen darting out of the woodland right in front of dirt-bikers. The creature takes off into the jungle, as one of the bikers tries to catch up with it. The creature is caught on film for only a few seconds.

The creature is seen to fall over, and then it picks up a long staff and runs off, it is thought to be wearing a loincloth. It was the size of a small human being, but the actual height is said to be difficult to judge because of the angles of the footage captured. The creature does seem to have less hair than what has been described by other people claiming to have seen the Orang Pendek, and this is one of the reasons some have said that the video was a hoax.

Researcher Took Cast of Footprint of Orang Pendek

Englishman Adam Davies is another researcher who has been tracking down the Orang Pendek. Davies claims that he made a cast of what is the footprint of the creature in the jungle in western Sumatra. He found that the cast did match up with descriptions that the Orang Pendek has a divergent toe like a monkey. However, there is a difference in the toes are not quite as long as monkeys. Instead they are wide and short the same as found on human beings.

Richard Freeman has been exploring regions such as western Sumatra for many years taking photographs. He said that he had taken photographs of about 60 species that have never been seen before and this means that there is a high possibility that there are an unknown species of primate in existence. Cynics have said that the sightings of the creature were in fact orangutans. There have been many confounding factors that go towards dispelling the skepticism, with the main issue being that orangutans have not been seen in that region of Sumatra.

It was also said that Orangutans use their arms and knuckles to balance with while walking and they do not walk fully upright. Many people have claimed that the Orang Pendek walks upright and strides out. While the Orang Pendek remains something of a mystery right now, researchers believe that they will find concrete evidence of the existence of them.


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Scientist John Bindernagel spent decades stalking sasquatch

In 1963, John Bindernagel shared with his university class a magazine report about a tall, hairy creature said to populate the forests of North America. His biology professor and classmates dismissed his interest with a laugh.

In the ensuing years, Mr. Bindernagel became a respected scientist who worked for the United Nations on three continents. After returning to Canada, his pursuit of a great ape of the woods became an obsession of sorts and he became world-renowned in cryptozoology circles for his work on a creature known variously as yeti, bigfoot, or sasquatch.

He made plaster casts of what he insisted were sasquatch footprints found on a Vancouver Island trail and claimed to have once heard the chimpanzee-like cry of the creature.

He never stopped searching and some others never stopped laughing.

Mr. Bindernagel, who has died at the age of 76, preferred the term Sasquatch in recognition of the Coast Salish name Sasq’ets for a mammal he insisted was alive and not just a supernatural being of myth.

The wildlife biologist spent four decades in search of the elusive creature, aware of the ridicule his pursuit garnered in some circles, notably the popular media.

“I don’t go around trying to convince people that the Sasquatch exists,” he once said. “What I’m looking for is a forum to explain and tell the evidence we have and say this is worthy of scientific scrutiny.”

John Albert Bindernagel was born in Kitchener, Ont., on Dec. 22, 1941, to Mona (née Sparrer) and Albert Bindernagel, a painter and decorator. He was an only child who enjoyed the solitude of exploring the woods and examining the creatures who lived there.

He graduated with a biology degree from the University of Guelph in Ontario in 1964, and later completed a doctorate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Mr. Bindernagel worked on contract as a wildlife conservation adviser for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago, as well as at the Serengeti Research Institute in Tanzania. In Iran, he wrote a report about conflicts in the forest habitat of the Caspian red deer (Cervus elaphus maral).

Even as he studied wildlife around the globe, he keenly followed reports of Sasquatch sightings in North America. In the 1970s, he moved to Courtenay on Vancouver Island, the forests of which he considered prime habitat for a giant hairy biped.

It was on a hike in Strathcona Provincial Park not far from his home, in 1988, that he encountered a trio of barefoot impressions in the soil that he was certain were those of sasquatch. Although he was in bear country, the prints lacked claws. He made plaster casts of the 38-centimetre (15-inch) prints, which he brought with him to university conferences, museum presentations and forums on mythical creatures, including those held during Sasquatch Daze at Harrison Hot Springs, a resort in B.C.’s Fraser Valley east of Vancouver that has used the sasquatch as a promotional lure for tourists for years.

Four years later, while hiking near Comox Lake, Mr. Bindernagel claimed to have heard a loud and resonant “whoop, whoop, whoop” call that reminded him of the great apes he had encountered in Africa.

He accumulated what he described as more than 2,000 witness accounts over a span of 150 years throughout the continent, including sightings in far-off Florida and even on the Niagara Peninsula.

Mr. Bindernagel wrote two books on the subject, North America’s Great Ape: The Sasquatch (1998) and The Discovery of the Sasquatch: Reconciling Culture, History and Science in the Discovery Process (2010), both released through his own Beachcomber Books imprint.

He never wavered in his belief that evidence of the existence of the creature would one day be confirmed.

“When the discovery of the sasquatch as an extant North American mammal is finally acknowledged, we will owe a huge debt to the aboriginal people for their willingness to explain the sasquatch to disbelieving anthropologists,” he wrote in 2014.

Although he had an aural encounter, Mr. Bindernagel never saw his elusive quarry. He knew more physical evidence would be needed before his work would be recognized for its scientific acumen instead of being dismissed as delusion.

“Some people just won’t be convinced until we have a carcass and bones,” he acknowledged.

He expressed a weariness at having spent a lifetime gathering evidence of the creature’s existence only to have his work dismissed as sensational tabloid fodder. He railed against describing sasquatch as a monster in popular culture and found the modern shorthand of referring to the creature as “squatch” to be disrespectful to aboriginal culture. He might have been unaware that the derivation became popular after a professional basketball team named its hairy ape mascot Squatch.

Others were not reluctant to poke fun at his findings. The late humourist Arthur Black once examined the case.

“Either John Bindernagel had the tracks of sasquatch,” he wrote, “or Dennis Rodman was running around the Canadian wilderness with a terrible case of gout.”

Mr. Bindernagel died of cancer on Jan. 18. He leaves his wife, the former Joan Keyes, as well as a son, a daughter and four grandchildren.

Read More On This At Cryptozoology – Google News

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Madagascar’s mysterious little people


There are plenty of reports of enormous hairy hominids from all over the world, and indeed they seem to be a phenomenon that spans across cultures. Yet equally as curious and bizarre are the stories of smaller, miniature versions of these man-like beasts. One place that has long has a tradition of curious little forest people is the island nation of Madagascar, which is a majestic land full of spectacular mysteries both known and unknown.

Located in the Indian Ocean off the coast of East Africa lies the island nation of Madagascar, or officially the Republic of Madagascar. The main island is the fourth largest island in the world, and broke off from the Indian peninsula approximately 88 million years ago, after which the flora and fauna went on to evolve in complete isolation. It is due to this unique geological history that the island has a wealthy abundance of completely unique species and ecosystems seen nowhere else on Earth, with many more thought to remain undocumented. Considering this remote isolation, the swaths of pristine, uncharted wilderness, such a plethora of unique wildlife, and the strong possibility of lost, unidentified species, it should come as no surprise that Madagascar also has its share of bizarre and elusive mystery monsters.

One of the more intriguing of Madagascar’s alleged strange denizens is a creature most commonly known as the Kalanoro, which is said to roam isolated pockets of rain forest and lurk in dark caverns all over the country. Known by a myriad of other names depending on the local tribe, such as the Kotoky or Vazimba, these odd beings are said to stand around 2 feet in height, with somewhat ape-like features and hooked fingers endowed with extremely long fingernails. They are mostly said to be covered in long hair, although it is often said that they also have some sort of quills or spines on their backs, and the eyes are typically said to be formidable and fierce. The creatures are often reported as loving water, and can supposedly be seen cavorting about in rivers or lakes. More unusual details include that they have only three toes that face backwards or that their eyes glow in the dark.

The Kalanoro are said to be for the most part shy and hiding from mankind, but will come forth under the cover of night to steal food from villages and even on occasion abduct children, and they are known to be rather aggressive if encountered. They are most often described as having prodigious strength for their size, and it is usually recommended to avoid them if at all possible, although sightings are remarkably rare. Interestingly, most of the lore and descriptions of the Kalanoro are remarkably consistent amongst the myriad tribes scattered about Madagascar, which prompted the great cryptozoologist Bernard Heuvelmans to once muse, “These legends may be fantastic, but they are found all over Madagascar, and it would be odd if they were utterly without foundation.” Indeed, far from just a completely folkloric legend there have been a few supposed sightings and encounters with the diminutive beasts on occasion. Some interesting early reports were written of in 1886 by a G. Herbert Smith within the pages of the Antananarivo Annual, where he said:

We next come to the forest, and from there we get endless stories of the Kalanoro, a sort of wild-man-of-the-woods, represented as very short of stature, covered with hair, with flowing beard, in the case of the male, and with an amiable weakness for the warmth of a fire. An eye-witness related that once, when spending a night in the heart of the forest, he lay awake watching the fire, which had died down to red embers, when suddenly he became aware of a figure answering to the above description warming himself at the fire, and apparently enjoying it immensely. According to his story, he put a summary end to the gentleman’s enjoyment by stealing down his hand, grasping a stick, and sending a shower of red-hot embers on to his unclothed visitor, who immediately, and most naturally, fled with a shriek. Another tells how, on a similar occasion, the male appeared first, and after inspecting the premises and finding, as well as a fire, some rice left in the pot, summoned his better half; the pair squatted in front of the fire and – touching picture of conjugal affection – proceeded to feed one another!

One must confess that the creature described looks suspiciously like one of the larger sorts of lemur; but in a village near Mahanoro, and on the verge of the forest, the inhabitants say that very frequently these wild people come foraging in their houses for remnants of food, and may be heard calling to one another in the street.

Read the rest of the article here.

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