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Cryptozoology

A “National Geographic” Cryptid

As every schoolboy knows, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1912 novel, The Lost World was inspired by the tepuis: the 100-odd mesas towering on perpendicular cliffs up to a mile above the jungle in the borderland of Guyana and Venezuela. Of course, even as a schoolboy, when I read the novel (twice), I sensed a problem: huge animals require lots of living room, and a “plateau” only 20 miles wide was far too small for a breeding population of even a single species of dinosaur. No, dinosaurs do not, and cannot, inhabit the cloud-masked, rain-soaked, infertile tops of the tepuis. But that does not mean they are not ecological islands, with populations isolated one from the other and undergoing divergent evolution. You cannot throw a net without finding a species of something or other unknown to science. Therefore, we should take seriously any account of unknown species somewhat larger than the run-of-of-mill.
Take Auyán-tepui, one of the largest of the group, with the distinction of featuring the world’s tallest waterfall, Angel Falls. In 1977 amateur entomologist, Dr Silvano Lorenzoni mentioned leading three expeditions to its summit, and finished his article with the following paragraph:

Moreover, there is one witness who asserts that he has seen three “plesiosaur-like things,” about 50 cm. [20 inches] long (with 25 cm. necks) swimming in a river atop the Auyan-tepuy. While this witness can scarcely be called a scientist (he is an adventurer that roams the area digging for diamonds) his statement remains to be one more fascinating piece of information in a jigsaw puzzle that is already taking on a recognizable shape.

Reference: Dr Silvano Lorenzoni (1977). ‘Extant dinosaurs: a distinct possibility’, Pursuit 10(2): pp 60-61. (This was the official publication of the now defunct Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained.)

Would you believe? This very same witness again turned up – this time in the august pages of the National Geographic.
In 1986, the German explorer-writer, Uwe George joined a helicopter expedition to the top of Auyán-tepui. But first they called on 75-year-old Alexander Laime, whom they found living alone in a termite-eaten shack on an island in the middle of a major river, surrounded by his subsistence gardens. Here was man who obviously had carved out his own little niche, and let the rest of the world go by. “Publicity hound” is not a description which springs readily to mind. But let Herr George tell his story:

Alexander is a keen student of wildlife on the tepuis, and he insists that on his 1955 expedition to Auyan he encountered three dinosaur-like lizards. Over tea in a corner of his garden he told us he had come upon them while searching for diamonds in one of the rivers on top of Auyan-tepui.
“They were sunbathing on a rocky ledge above the river,” he said. “At first I thought they were seals, but when I sneaked closer, I saw they were creatures with enormously long necks and ageless reptilian faces. Each had four scale-covered fins instead of legs.”
For proof Alexander rummaged through a pile of papers and came up with some drawings that he had made at the time. To me they resembled plesiosaurs, marine reptiles that became extinct 65 million years ago. [pp 546, 548]

Drawn to scale, they were revealed to be slightly less than three feet long. So what were they? A species of large, long-necked otter was one suggestion. But then one of the scientists in the group pointed out that the rivers up there contain no fish, making it rather difficult for even one otter to survive – let alone three. Also, to the best of my knowledge, otters have furry legs, not scaly fins.
But, you might ask, whatever they were, why haven’t they been seen since? After all, there have been many expeditions up Auyán-tepui, and it is even the site of tourist treks. In that case, you have no idea of the sheer ruggedness of the terrain, and the fact that the summit covers 270 square miles. It was not until Herr George’s second expedition that they encountered a mountain lion, or puma. What was it doing there? And it had two cubs, so it wasn’t just a transient which had scaled the terrible, steep inclines; there was a breeding population. Yet its chief prey, the lowland tapir would never be able to get up there. And yet …a third expedition discovered tapir tracks in the same general location on the summit.

Reference: Uwe George (1989) ‘Venezuela’s Islands in Time’ , National Geographic May 1989, pp 526 -561

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Cryptozoology

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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Cryptozoology

Russians Claim ‘Indisputable Proof’ of Yeti

Russian researchers looking for the yeti — the Asian version of the North American Bigfoot — claim to have found “indisputable proof” of the long-sought mystery beast in Siberia.

There isn’t a ton of evidence to work with — just a few strands of hair and some tracks in the snow — but it’s enough that the research team says its 95 percent sure that the yeti exists. Others, however, are mighty skeptical of the findings.

The yeti is said to be muscular, covered with dark grayish or reddish-brown hair, and weigh between 200 and 400 pounds. The yeti is relatively short compared to Bigfoot, averaging only about six or seven feet in height.

Despite dozens of expeditions into the remote mountain regions of Russia, China and Nepal, both creatures’ existence remains unproven. Sir Edmund Hillary, who was the first to scale Everest with sherpa Tenzing Norgay, found no evidence of the creature. Famous mountaineer Reinhold Messner also spent months in Nepal and Tibet, climbing mountains and researching yeti reports following his own sighting. In his book “My Quest for the Yeti” (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2001), Messner concludes that large native bears are responsible for yeti sightings and tracks.

This is, of course, not the first time that searchers have claimed strong, or even indisputable, proof of the yeti. In 2007, American TV show host Josh Gates claimed he found three mysterious footprints in snow near a stream in Nepal’s region of the Himalaya Mountains. Locals were skeptical, suggesting that he simply misinterpreted a bear track. No follow-up information ever emerged, and the “Gates track,” once touted internationally as strong evidence of the yeti, is now largely forgotten. 

Last year, a strange, nearly hairless animal was captured by hunters in the Sichuan province of China. Researchers and news reports suggested that a yeti had finally been captured alive, though the proclamation turned out to be premature: embarrassed officials eventually admitted it was nothing more than a mangy civet — a small, catlike animal native to the region.

The Russian search for the yeti was conducted, in part, by a small group of researchers invited to participate in a “yeti conference.” Apparently, the team found some gray hairs in a clump moss in a Russian cave in the Kemerovo region in western Siberia. According to a spokesman for the Kemerovo region, “During the expedition to the Azasskaya cave, conference participants gathered indisputable proof that the Shoria mountains are inhabited by the ‘Snow Man.’ They found his footprints, his supposed bed, and various markers with which the yeti uses to denote his territory.”

If true, it’s an amazing find. Yet it’s not clear why, if the researchers are certain that the cave had been recently (and actively) used by the yeti, they didn’t simply set up cameras to record the creatures, or wait for the animals to return to the cave, where they could be trapped and captured alive, offering conclusive proof of their existence.

Some Russians view the announcement with considerable suspicion and skepticism, suggesting that the sudden discovery is a publicity stunt to increase tourism in the impoverished coal-mining region. So far it seems to have worked, as hundreds of people have come to tour the cave. In fact, the event seemed more of a media circus than a scientific expedition when former Russian heavyweight boxer Nikolai Valuyev recently toured the cave “searching” for the yeti, to great media attention.

If populations of yetis — like Bigfoot — really exist, they have somehow managed to avoid leaving any physical traces of their presence: no bodies, bones, teeth, hair, scat, or anything else. Of course, just because these creatures have never been found is not conclusive proof that they don’t exist. All new evidence should be carefully and scientifically analyzed; however, if history is any guide this latest yeti discovery will soon fade away, leaving proof of the creature’s existence in question.

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Cryptozoology

10 Strangtest Entity & Creature Sightings of 2017

Cryptozoology fans behold, this post will give you the chills!

Existing in a realm beyond UFOs and ghosts are the mysteries that leave one scratching their head.

What exactly is it that the folks below just saw?!

This year provided us with many weird beings and creatures.

Here are the 10 strangest, most bizarre monster sightings of 2017.

Small, hairy, bipedal creature seemingly captured in Azerbaijan

‘Jersey Devil’ photographed over highway in Pennsylvania

Strange ‘humanoid creature’ encountered by bikers in Sumatra

Bizarre leprechaun-like entity photographed during full moon

Terrified children film ‘goblin’ in Argentina

‘Banshee’ mesmerizes crowd in India

Farmer stumbles upon a chupacabra in Argentina

Dinosaur-like creature spotted in Scotland

Arizona man photograph ‘demon’

Unsettling ‘swamp monster’ emerges from bathroom in Malaysia

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