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Cryptozoology

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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Cryptozoology

Expedition Bigfoot’ scours Oregon woods for signs of the mythical and elusive beast

© Shutterstock

Mindy Weisberger
LiveScience

A man crouches on the Oregon forest floor late at night, peering between the trees for signs of nocturnal life. The scene is pitch-black but his face and hands are visible in infrared footage, and he scans the landscape with a thermal camera, looking for a heat signature that would indicate he isn’t alone.

Suddenly, a red blob emerges in the distance.

“Do you see that?” he whispers. “It’s something big.”

But could it be Bigfoot, North America’s fabled apelike creature? That’s the question this man — author and explorer Russell Acord — and his colleagues are trying to answer, in the new Travel Channel documentary series “Expedition Bigfoot,” premiered on Dec. 8 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

More than 10,000 eyewitness accounts have described Bigfoot encounters in the continental U.S. over the past 50 years. Bigfoot even has an FBI file that was released to the public on June 5; in 1977, the agency examined 15 unidentified fibers that were suspected of being Bigfoot hairs. But the hairs were eventually found to be “of deer family origin,” FBI Assistant Director Jay Cochran, Jr. wrote in a letter.

Now, Travel Channel searchers are hot on the trail of the bipedal beast, bringing the hunt to the Pacific Northwest, where about one-third of all “Bigfoot” encounters have taken place.

In the series, a team of experts — including a primatologist — embarked on a three-week search for the elusive Bigfoot. Using state-of-the-art equipment and computer algorithms, the team analyzed footprints and possible nest sites, and recorded mysterious vocalizations at Bigfoot “hotspots” around 90,000 acres of land in central Oregon, Travel Channel representatives said in a statement.

bigfoot search

© Travel Channel
Primatologist Mireya Mayor has searched for rare and elusive animals in remote locations around the world.

Hairy and apelike

Purported Bigfoot sightings often describe a tall, hairy creature resembling a gigantic ape that walks on two legs. An enormous primate known as Gigantopithecus — standing 10 feet (3 meters) tall and weighing up to 595 lbs. (270 kilograms) — once lived in Southeast Asia, but it went extinct hundreds of thousands of years ago. And large, hairy animals such as woolly mammoths and rhinos roamed North America during the Ice Age. But to date, there is no fossil evidence showing that large primates other than humans ever inhabited North America, said primate researcher and “Expedition Bigfoot” team member Mireya Mayor, director of the Exploration and Science Communications Initiative in the College of Arts, Sciences and Education at Florida International University.

However, the idea that a new type of undiscovered primate could be hiding in dense woodlands in North America “is totally within the realm of possibility” as long as the animals have food, shelter and a habitat that isolates them from humans, Mayor told Live Science. In fact, chimpanzee researcher Jane Goodall said in a 2002 interview that she wouldn’t dismiss the possibility that such creatures might be real.

“I’m a romantic, so I always wanted them to exist,” she told NPR host Ira Flatow.

Big and small

In 2001, Mayor co-discovered a new species of tiny mouse lemur that is one of the world’s smallest primates, weighing less than 2 ounces (57 grams). Small animals can be hard to spot in the wild, but even a very big primate such as the reported Bigfoot could conceal itself from humans quite effectively, Mayor added.

“We’ve seen that throughout history with other apes,” she explained. “When I went in search of western lowland gorillas, because of the dense vegetation that they live in [and] the fact that they’re not habituated and in fact avoid humans at all costs, there were times where we were no more than 3 feet [1 meter] away from a 450-lb. [204 kilograms] silverback, and didn’t know that it was there for a good hour or two.”

As Mayor reviewed eyewitness accounts of possible Bigfoot sightings, one thing that stood out was the consistency of the descriptions: a large, bipedal creature with primate-like behavior. “And when we were in the field, we were able to capture something on video that fits this description: very big and moving in an apelike — if not bipedal — fashion,” Mayor said. “That, to me, is probably the most compelling piece of evidence that I’ve seen so far.”

Mayor shared this footage with a fellow primatologist who has studied living primates around the world and is familiar with all known forms of primate locomotion.

“When he saw the footage, he was completely blown away and agreed with me that something apelike was far from its home,” Mayor said.

The burden of proof

Compelling though this new evidence may be, only a recovered body or genetic data from organic tissue, feces or hairs could definitively establish this fabled creature as a newfound species. Scientifically describing any new species means establishing a holotype — a single physical specimen representing the species, according to paleontologist David Hone, a senior lecturer in zoology with the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences at Queen Mary University of London.

Describing the new species also requires a detailed outline of behavioral, anatomical, and genetic features that establish the animal’s uniqueness and set it apart from its close relatives, he wrote for the Guardian.

To date, physical evidence supposedly representing Bigfoot has consisted primarily of hairs, and all of those samples that underwent genetic analysis have belonged to existing animals. In 2014, researchers examined 36 “Bigfoot” hair samples collected around the world, linking most of the hairs to raccoons, horses, deer, cows, coyotes, a Malaysian tapir and even humans.

Intriguingly, two samples did not belong to any known species. However, the DNA data showed that the mystery hairs didn’t come from primates, and they likely belonged to unknown bear species, the scientists reported in their study, published in March 2014 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

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Cryptozoology

Bigfoot chasing car in Bashkortostan (video)

A few days ago, an interesting video filmed in the Birski District in Bashkortostan was widely circulated on the Internet.

The footage of the video was made by a group of local young people. They captured “something” dark and big. The creature, waving its hands, moves through the tall grass to the steppe path.

The creature apparently has a powerful back, broad shoulders and big hands.

This video intrigued so much Moscow’s Bigfoot researchers at the International Homology Center that they were refusing to leave Bashkortostan.

The head of the Center is the famous Russian researcher of Yeti – Igor Burtsev, who has been searching for these cryptids for half a century (he himself is 79 years old). According to him, he “lost sleep and rest ” when watching this video. He is sure that the captured video footage is a real Yeti, and they are by no means fake.

In an interview with the BTRC Bashkortostan, Burtsev says:

“This, I think, is the second such case in the world. It is very convincing. It becomes clear that this creature is running. In addition, as we were studying the video footage, I saw there at one turn a bulge – this is a woman’s chest. Do you understand? This is a female.”

The record was reported to have been made in 2016, but has only recently become widely available on the web. The authors of the video claim that this creature was chasing their car. At one point, it still manages to catch up with them and damage the trunk and the rear window, but that’s exactly what they couldn’t take.

Burtsev was already out of the forest in the Birski area and immediately saw the traces of Yeti’s presence. He shares:

“When we entered the forest, we saw broken branches. We were back there days ago. There are completely fresh footprints. The locals call it shurale, and scientifically called hominoid. It’s also called Yeti and Bigfoot, but these are all names of the same being. “

According to media reports, the scientists spent several days to  interview local residents if they have seen a shape-shifting Shurale, a creature in Bashkir and Tatar folklore. It’s referred to as a forest spirit but believed to be a shapeshifter which can have a humanoid body with long fingers, glowing eyes, a horn on its forehead and a woolly body

Unfortunately, the original video has been removed from the web, which raises many questions …

You can see the edited video below.


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Cryptozoology

Baseball star captures ‘Bigfoot’ on deer cam

Image Credit: Twitter / @jordy_mercer

Is this Bigfoot, or is someone pulling a prank ? 

Tigers infielder Jordy Mercer has posted up two still images of an alleged Sasquatch on his property.

The 33-year-old Major League Baseball veteran reportedly captured the images on the 18th and 19th of November on his ranch in Oklahoma.

Both images show a large bipedal creature walking from right to left across the frame.

“Anyone know what this is ?” Mercer wrote. “Showed up back to back days on my deer camera!”

Little else is actually known about the images or the circumstances surrounding them and it is not even clear whether the post is intended to be serious or tongue-in-cheek.

As is often the case with such photographs, the ‘Bigfoot’ could simply be a person in a costume.

It is also possible that a third party was pulling a prank without Mercer’s knowledge.

His original Tweet can be viewed below.

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