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Cryptozoology

Cryptozoology: the mad science of monster hunting

Jack Flanagan Staff Writer

There’s science and then there’s pseudoscience. But what about the grey area in between? Jack Flanagan looks at Cryptozoology, the science of legendary monsters.

In 2000, onetime zookeeper Richard Freeman was tired of people making fun of his passion. He was, and still is, a cryptozoologist: someone who researches the animals science knows nothing about.

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Looking like the birthday magician you begged your mum not to hire, he waits in his home for a representative from the little-known Hong Kong film studio “Bang Productions”. He isn’t hopeful.

The legendary Naga of the Mekong River

The legendary Naga of the Mekong River

Then in walks the outrageously beautiful Manami Szymko. Her studio has the commission from Discovery Channel for a piece on cryptozoology. She’s here to convince Freeman to jump on board and help uncover the mysteries of the legendary Naga of the Mekong River in Thailand. The program is to be called “The Mysteries of Asia”. Freeman hardly needs any encouragement.

Sadly, in Thailand the Nagas aren’t forthcoming. Freeman’s enthusiasm, however, is stalwart. Despite unsubstantiated reports of Nagas, an elephant’s tooth mistaken for a snake vertebrae and a video of just rolling waves and clear water, Freeman goes home knowing in his heart that the snake still lies out there, waiting for him.

This was believed to be a photo of Navy officers with the Naga in 1973 – but is in fact just an oarfish

Freeman is one of many. In the UK, the science of cryptozoology is centred around the Centre for Fortean Zoology, or CFZ. They describe themselves as a “mystery animal research group”, and believe that in the remote corners of the world there are animals which are actively avoiding humans. It is a voluntary, not-for-profit organisation.

Cryptozoology straddles the line between the paranormal and empirical sciences, or what’s known as a protoscience. A protoscience is one which chases after ghosts but which, after all, is willing to accept that they may just not exist. That is, if someone can disprove it enough to satisfy a crytozoologist. And, as Freeman proves, that’s not easy.

Bigfoot?

They spend their time investigating the mysterious animals of the world. Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster, Yeti: these animals or “megafauna” have inspired native populations and fiction writers for generations. But some people take it to the next level: believing that they really exist, somewhere out there.

Obviously, this is legit

The famous Loch Ness monster, allegedly

Their faith goes on, encouraged by rare sightings and word-of-mouth. In Freeman’s retelling of his adventures of his time in Thailand, the “evidence” he eats up are the reports of villagers. They claim to have fled from a “70 metre serpent”. He wonders whether this is the creature he’s been waiting for. Meanwhile, any suggestion that the very large Mekong catfish might be his Naga has been “mooted”. Why, he doesn’t say.

Uneasy relationship with reality

To date Cryptozoologists have had few successes, or zero if you’re not generous about it. The Komodo Dragon was once thought to be a fictional animal, but that theory was quickly put to bed in 1910 when a host of skins and trophy heads made their way back to the laboratories in England. Plus, as large animals they were both unable to hide, and didn’t see any reason to: for the most part, large animals don’t need to run away from anyone.

No longer a legend: the komodo dragon

Other legends like the Kraken have been received quite easily into the scientific community: very large squid do exist. Meanwhile, cryptozoologists almost scorn the halfway-house between what is real and what is legend. Could a giant species of squid tear down an 18th century ship? No? Then it isn’t the Kraken. The real Kraken apparently still lurks somewhere unobserved, where scientists are afraid to go.

Kraken or giant squid?

The relationship between scientists and crytozoologists is an uneasy one, at best. Publications like Nature and the Journal of Zoology, and even popular publications like The New Scientist, wouldn’t publish a cryptozoological piece unless it was framed in a classically scientific style. That’s something red-blooded cryptozoologists have no interest in doing: words like “evidence” are treated as mildly offensive, unless it can be reintroduced to include grainy photos and local opinion.

Is this research coming from scientists, or the boys that use to watch Doctor Who?

That’s not to say cryptozoologists aren’t skeptical at all. Karl Shuker: cryptozoologist, editor of The Journal of Cryptozoology and poet has released a number of blog posts debunking online mysteries. It would, it’s worth saying, take a lot to believe these images in the first place.

Shuker’s Journal is a peer-reviewed look at cryptozoology around the world. The “peer-review” is presumably the peers of the cryptozoological community and not skeptics. It’s currently on volume two, discussing Spanish lake monsters and unidentified hominids, among other things.

The work of cryptozoologists is very much questionable. Is this research coming from scientists, or the boys that use to watch Doctor Who and are now trying to live their lives in his shadow? The romanticism surrounding the profession is almost as much a part of their job as trying to actually find the animals. Everyone can find entertainment in the stories of monsters, but how much evidence is enough to prove that that’s all they are?

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Cryptozoology

Orang Ikan – Mermaids from Indonesia

Mermaids live in the folklore of most peoples. Indonesians call their mermaids, orang ikan. The orang in translation from the local language is “man”, and Ikan is “fish”.

Where do Orang Ikan live?

They chose for themselves the Kai Islands in the province of Maluku. These islands are famous for their white sandy beaches, amazingly clear water and are a real gem.

In 1943, when the Japanese landed there, the soldiers immediately began reporting that they were observing some strange creatures. Those were seen in coastal waters, looked like a man, especially the face and hands.Their mouth was described as very wide and similar to the mouth of a carp.

They barely reached one and a half meters, their skin was pink, and on their head were some spikes. At the same time, unlike the classic mermaids, they had ordinary human legs, not fish tails.

These creatures swam in shallow water near the beaches. It happened that they were selected on land.

The style of their swimming seemed to the Japanese like a breaststroke. One night, one of the soldiers went swimming and saw a creature in the sand, which he at first mistook for a child.

But when it turned to face him, he saw that his features were not like human ones. Immediately after this, the creature scooted into the water and disappeared. The soldier peered into the water for a while, but the creature never surfaced.

Fishermen said that sometimes these creatures get on their nets, and the Japanese asked if this happens again, to deliver Orang Ikan to them.

Real story

One day, Sergeant Taro Horibu was called to the village, where, as it turned out, a dead fish man was found on the shore. The creature was picked up and brought to the elders’ house, where Horibu was able to examine it.

“It was 160 centimeters tall, had long dark hair with a reddish tinge. His neck was covered with spikes, his face seemed to the Japanese like a monkey face with a wide fish mouth, in which there were a lot of small sharp teeth. Between the fingers and toes the fishman’s membranes were stretched, and the body was dotted with strange growths that looked like algae ”
– Horibu said.

Sergeant Horibu said the creature was not like anything known to him. Unable to photograph or sketch the creature, he limited himself to oral stories, but many considered him a liar or an inventor.

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Cryptozoology

Eyewitnesses talk about their encounters with humanoid insects

Humanoid insect-like creatures are some of the most frightening cryptids. Sudden movements, thin long limbs, similar to arachnids or cockroaches, these creatures seem to come from nightmares.

Here are some eyewitness accounts that have encountered such creatures.

This story was told in September 2016 on Coast To Coast AM paranormal radio. The narrator went camping with his family and friend in Sequoia National Park, southern Sierra Nevada, California.

This park is famous for its giant ancient redwoods. The majestic trees give the local landscape a special, fabulous atmosphere.

In the evening, while camping, the eyewitness sees something very strange there.

He tells:

“About 9 pm, all my relatives already wanted to sleep and went into their tent. Only my friend and I stayed by the fire. But, I was bored and decided to take my iPod out of my pack to listen to music with headphones.

I went to the car and opened the back door. Then suddenly I saw that there was something infront, next to a tree. In the darkness, I saw the outline of something great.

When I aimed the lantern, I swear, I saw a huge mantis, almost 2 meters tall. When I saw it I froze, I held my breath and stared at it. I was shocked.

Then, this creature stepped back and … disappeared. It was as if it had become completely invisible. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

When the shock passed, I slammed the car door, ran back to the fire, and told my friend everything. I started waking my loved ones telling them about the “mantis”. But, they didn’t believe me, even though I was apparently horrified. They even started laughing at me.

Suddenly strange noises were heard, which others also heard. It was like a very sharp click. It was all so weird and I was really scared. ”

What the creature is, the author of this story did not understand. He no longer heard or saw anything strange in the park.

The following story is taken from the archive of the researcher Albert Rosales and is taking place in Poland. An eyewitness is a tourist who goes camping in the forests of the Greater Poland Voivodeship, in the western part of the country.

The woman installed her tent near a small forest lake, and then went to look around. In the evening, she returned to the tent. As she approached her, she noticed an unusual figure crouching by the lake.

At first, she though it was another tourist, surprising as this area is very isolated and away from hiking trails. But as she began to approach, about 15 steps from the figure, she realized that she was not human.

The structure of its body was humanoid but similar to an insect. At a height (in a sitting position) it was about a meter and a half, with thin long limbs and grayish-beige color. The creature had huge black eyes, similar to the facet eyes of an insect, and on the back were thin, translucent and fragile entities such as wings.

Hearing the woman approaching, the creature turned to her. She was surprised to realize that she was not alone.

The woman shares:

“It was looking at me. I also looked at it and didn’t know what it was going to do. Our meeting was casual and unexpected for both of us. “

The creature quickly disappeared and the woman didn’t even know where. After that, she quickly gathered her things and left the area.

The story described below happened to a resident of Ontario, Canada, and was sent to mysterious creature researcher Lon Strickler. 

At the time this was happening, the eyewitness was still a child and lived with his family in a remote mountainous area.

The Canadian says:

“The summer of 1968 turned out to be very hot and stuffy. In those years, no one had air conditioning, so we just left all the windows in the house open day and night. I slept in the nursery where my older brother and sister were in addition to my bed.

One night, I suddenly woke up to some noise. I got up and went to the open window. From there, I saw a strange creature in the backyard.

This creature was squatting beside a bush, resembling both a human and an insect. It was thin, with black shiny skin. Suddenly, it looked up at me. I saw some antennas or thin needles sticking out of his head.

That’s all I remember. I don’t remember what happened after that. The next morning I told my mother about it, but she decided I was just having a nightmare. But in the years that followed, I saw this creature twice more at night. I’m convinced it’s not a dream. ”

Another story was sent to the ufology website at MUFON and describes a strange incident that occurred in April 2016 in the vicinity of Ziggy village, Cyprus. An eyewitness said that that evening, there was a friendly party in the yard of her house with sandwiches, treats and various soft drinks.

At one point, only she and her friend stayed out. The others entered the house. Suddenly, her friend noticed a flicker moving slowly across the sky. At first, the woman thought it was a comet. But, the object was moving too slowly. For a moment, she remained completely still among the stars.

In a few minutes, this object descended so low that it was near the line of the nearby tree tops. Then it became apparent that this object had a triangular shape.

The woman says:

“We wanted to get close to it, but all of a sudden, my friend and I felt paralysed. We were lying on loungers and could hardly move.

Meanwhile, a humanoid figure emerged from this ship with the head of an ant, flaky skin on the body, like a crocodile. It had many tiny eyes and weak long limbs. This creature came very close to the fence in our yard, but then turned abruptly and disappeared into the darkness. Then the triangle ship flew west and disappeared completely.

Later, my friend and I remembered that when we were lying on deck chairs and the creature was standing by our fence, there was some strange “tool” in its hands. ”

The October 8, 2017 issue of Strange Magazine published an eyewitness story that recounted an incident that occurred in 1948 in Bremen, Washington.

On her day off, Virginia Staples walked with a basket of dirty clothes to the laundry room in the basement of her apartment building. The girl regularly used washing machines in this basement and nothing unusual happened to her.

The grim cellar had long been in need of repair. In places there were holes in the walls and the floor, there were water leaks. Water was said to have seeped through the canals of the local port.

The basement looked always scary, but on this day, Virginia was especially scared. She felt a strong sense of anxiety as she went down into the basement. The light bulb barely illuminated part of the room. The rest was at dusk and the shadows seemed to be moving.

Virginia began filling one of the laundries, and the sinister sensation increased. She shares:

“I suddenly felt a lot of fear. I turned and looked at the back of the room. I froze in place. I couldn’t move in fear because there was a creature in one of the holes in the floor. It had a bright orange color, its weak limbs resembled the legs of a spider, and the antennas on its head moved back and forth.

I ran out of the basement, reached my apartment, packed up all my belongings as quickly as possible, and left. I was terribly scared and couldn’t even stay in this city.

I went to Seattle with my cousin. No one believes me, but God testifies to me, it really happened!

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Cryptozoology

Highest number of Loch Ness Monster Sightings in Nearly 40 Years

A count of Loch Ness monster sightings in 2019 finds that the famous cryptid has been seen 18 times, which is the highest number in almost 40 years.

Highest Loch Ness Monster Sightings in Nearly 40 Years

The count comes from the Loch Ness Monster Sighting Record, maintained by longtime researcher Steve Campbell. According to the Nessie hunter, who collects reports throughout the year and judges the credibility of the cases, the considerable number of notable sightings is the best ever recorded since 1983, when it is said that 20 different encounters occurred.

This would be continuing a trend that has been unfolding in recent years, in which Nessie’s sightings are constantly increasing at a remarkable pace. To that end, for those who maintained a score, 2018 had 15 sightings, 2016 had 12 and the three years prior to each presented seven reports. These numbers contrast sharply with much of this century, as it was not uncommon for many years between 2015 and 2000 to have only one or two cases.

Campbell credited two key factors to this meteoric increase in sightings in recent years: webcams observing the waters of the famous sight, which allow anyone in the world to detect the creature, and an increase in tourism in the legendary landmark. He too reflected to a local newspaper that modern technology has helped a lot, because “in the connected digital world we live in now, people are taking pictures and sending them to us”, which is considerably easier than in the “old days” where a witness would need to have his possible photo of Nessie physically revealed in a laboratory and then mailed.

It is somewhat ironic that 2019 ended with a considerable number of sightings, since it was also a year in which the legend of the monster that lurks in Loch Ness was even more publicized thanks to an environmental DNA study which suggested that the creature was a giant eel. For his part, Campbell disagreed with the findings, arguing that “Loch Ness is an open waterway. It is not a closed ecosystem ”. Leaving this debate aside, as it is likely to continue for some time, the question for 2020 may be whether or not we will see another increase in sightings, or whether last year will end up being seen as the peak of Nessie sightings.

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