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Cryptozoology

The Smile On the Face of The Manticore And The Leucrocota

“I know you,” whispered Strange again. “You are…You are…” He moved his hands through the empty air as if tracing magical symbols. “You are a Leucrocuta!”…

“You are the Wolf of the Evening! You prey upon men and women! Your father was a hyena and your mother a lioness! You have the body of a lion; your hooves are cloven. You cannot look behind you. You have one long tooth and no gums. Yet you can take human shape and lure men to you with a human voice!”
Susanna Clarke – Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Medieval bestiaries contain many monsters, but few are stranger or more sinister than the following pair of feline fabulosi.
Combining the stature and body of a red lion, with the head and leering face of a bearded man (but sporting no less than three separate rows of shark-like teeth in each jaw), and the sting-tipped tail of a scorpion (which also bore a series of long spines that could be hurled from it with deadly accuracy at any would-be foe), the manticore was a rapacious beast originally from Persian mythology. However, it also entered European folklore after being documented in a now-lost book on India by Ctesias (a Greek physician and historian at the Persian court of King Artaxerxes II in the 4th Century BC), and later appeared in many medieval bestiaries. Not only did this ferocious monster attack and devour any human that it met, it even consumed their bones, clothes, and any belongings that they had with them, thus leaving behind not the slightest trace of its victim’s former existence.
A manticore in Liber de Proprietatibus Animalium, a 16th-Century bestiary
Zoologists have attempted to identify the manticore with the tiger (or even as a shape-shifting were-tiger), but there is scant – if, indeed, any? – similarity between the two creatures. Its sting-tipped tail has been explained by the occasional prominent presence of a horny claw-like structure at the extremity of a tiger’s tail. However, such structures are regularly present at the tip of lions’ tails, as well as those of leopards and even domestic cats on occasion, so this is hardly a characteristic exclusive to tigers. Equally unsatisfactory are claims that the manticore’s triple row of teeth was merely a misunderstanding based upon the fact that each molar of a mammalian carnivore bears three cusps or lobes. And why, if the manticore were indeed based upon a tiger, did it lack that great cat’s most distinctive feature – its stripes? (Incidentally, fantasy artwork featuring the manticore often gifts it with a pair of large bat-like wings, but this is a modern invention, which does not appear in early sources.)
Somewhat akin to the manticore but less well known was another mythological Asian monster – the leucrocuta (also spelled ‘leucrocota’, ‘leucrocotta’, ‘crocotta’, and other variants). Sometimes confounded in bestiaries with the hyaena (whose spotted species has been given the zoological name Crocuta crocuta), and said to frequent Ethiopia or India, the true leucrocuta was believed to be the hybrid offspring of a male hyaena and a lioness, but exhibited various features not possessed by either of these creatures – such as its hoofed feet, and, instead of normal separate teeth, having only a single unbroken ridge of bone in each jaw, forming one long continuous tooth without any gum.
A bestiary portrayal of the leucrocuta
Other characteristics included the head of a badger, the limbs of a stag, a lion’s neck, breast, and tail (as well as its bravery), a stature approaching that of a male ass coupled with the speed of a horse and the strength of a bull, plus an invulnerability to any weapon made of steel. Most bizarre of all, however, was its extraordinarily wide mouth, which allegedly stretched right back to its ears in a thoroughly unnerving grin!
Just like the manticore, the leucrocuta was a man-eater, but was much more cunning, luring its victims out of their houses at night by calling their names in a perfect imitation of a human voice. Indeed, and again like the manticore, the leucrocuta was often claimed to be a shape-shifter, able to adopt human form in order to increase the success of its voice’s ability to draw its victims within reach of its deadly jaws.
The Cheshire Cat’s evil doppelganger? A manticore as portrayed by celebrated fantasy artist-author Una Woodruff
Even in modern times some vestigial fear of these man-faced, horror-jawed, semi-feline were-beasts survives. As recorded in Peter Costello’s book The Magic Zoo: The Natural History of Fabulous Animals (1979), novelist David Garnett revealed that in 1930, while visiting Spain, one of his friends, a Mr Richard Strachey, was mobbed by sedentary gypsies living in the Andalusian village of Ugijar after his beard led to his being mistaken for a manticore.
Peter Costello’s book The Magic Zoo, featuring a manticore at bottom-left on the front cover (Sphere Books)

More recently, in 1964, Garnett learnt that another friend, an English lady who had stayed one evening with a bearded male companion at a small inn near the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Andalusia, was approached the next morning by the inn’s greatly-perturbed hostess, who revealed that all of her staff (hired from the local peasant population) were leaving straight away, because they believed that the lady’s male companion was a manticore who would steal their babies at night, cut them up, and eat them! Despite doing her best to assure their hostess that he would do nothing of the sort, the lady was only able to convince the peasants that her companion was human when she publicly kissed and caressed him while they all watched, hidden from his view, at a safe distance!

A winged manticore on the front cover of Piers Anthony’s A Spell For Chameleon – one of my all-time favourite fantasy novels, and the first in Anthony’s long-running Xanth series (Del Rey Books)
If such remarkable beliefs persist regarding the manticore, what about the leucrocuta? Perhaps it may be best, just in case, to view with extreme caution any stranger who calls your name and then greets you grinning, quite literally, from ear to ear!

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Cryptozoology

What aliens are doing at Loch Ness

What connects aliens to the Scottish lake monster? And why did many eyewitnesses say that a mysterious force prevented them from taking photos or videos of this monster? There are no answers to these questions yet.

Loch Ness, located in Scotland, is primarily famous for its mysterious monster, nicknamed Nessie, which according to various theories is either a huge eel, or a seal, or a prehistoric dinosaur. In turn, some associate the appearance of Nessie with the activities of aliens, and not from scratch.

It is true that strange lights or disc-shaped UFOs are regularly seen over Loch Ness, but there is also an eyewitness story about how aliens landed on the shore of the lake. This happened on August 14, 1971, when the eyewitness Jan Ove Sudberg (now deceased) was 23 years old. Early in the morning, between about 8:30 and 9:30 am, he was on the shores of Loch Ness in the Foyers Bay area.

Suddenly he stumbled upon something amazing and it was not a monster. Sudberg saw a clearing ahead, on which stood an unusual large object, shaped like a huge cigar. It was about 10 meters long, and at the top there was something like a cockpit. Near the object were “pilots” – humanoid creatures.

There were three of them and they were dressed in tight suits, similar to diving. When they entered the object and the object then rose high into the air, then Sudberg realized that he was observing aliens. As the ship gained altitude, it began to slowly fly over the hills towards the nearby Loch More Lake.

The story doesn’t end there. Sudberg was not a Scotsman, he came to Loch Ness as a tourist and flew back to his native Sweden shortly after seeing the aliens. And there a new stage in this strange story began. In Sudberg’s house, unusual phenomena began to occur, a poltergeist, he began to receive mysterious phone calls, and later even Men in Black came to him.

Soon Sudberg contacted the British researcher of anomalous phenomena, Ted Holiday, and told him his story. He also complained to him that he could not photograph UFOs and aliens in the photo, although he had a camera with him. He felt as if some force paralyzed his will and did not allow him to do it.

It is curious that Holiday later repeatedly encountered a similar phenomenon from Nessie’s eyewitnesses. All of them, when they saw the monster in the lake, for some unknown reason, either could not photograph it, or tried, but they did not succeed.

He also found out that much earlier eyewitnesses of Nessie faced this phenomenon. On November 12, 1933, eyewitness Hugh Gray captured a photograph of Nessie, which is considered the first 100% authentic photograph of the Loch Ness Monster.

Gray’s photo shows something serpentine floating in the water. However, few people know that when Gray saw this creature in the lake, he took as many as five pictures before it went under water.

However, only one out of five photographs showed the monster, the rest of the negatives for some reason turned out to be empty.

The conclusion seems to be obvious: the monster in Loch Ness is more than just a large eel, it has some powers to protect it, and in some way it is connected with UFOs and aliens.

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Cryptozoology

A Briton captured on camera a creature similar to the Loch Ness monster

A resident of British Southampton Steve Challis, during a vacation in Scotland last year, photographed a creature in a lake that looks similar to the famous Loch Ness monster, reports the Daily Record.

Photos were taken during a trip to an excursion to Arkart Castle on the shores of the famous lake. A man photographed the opposite shore when he noticed a ripple in the water. He took some pictures, and then the creature itself appeared out of the water for a moment. 

After that, it disappeared and did not appear again. As a result, the camera recorded the animal in only one frame, which Challis discovered a few months later, when he looked at the quarantine pictures taken during the trip because of the coronavirus.

After the Briton shared a strange picture on the Internet, users suggested that it was the famous Loch Ness monster. However, the photographer does not share this opinion. He does not believe in the monster and believes that the creature he shot was simply a big fish or seal.

Interest in the photograph was expressed by blogger and expert on Nessie Roland Watson, but he suggests that the picture taken by Challis was edited in Photoshop. Challis claims that the photograph is genuine. He drew attention to the fact that the shot he made was completely different from those snapshots of monsters that the network abounds in. At the same time, he is still convinced that he shot just a big fish.

The story of the Nessie creature from the Scottish Loch Ness attracts many tourists who want to see it with their own eyes. According to eyewitnesses, the mythical monster from the urban legend has a long neck and a huge torso. Nessie’s existence is not proven.

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Cryptozoology

A video of the second “confirmed” appearance of Nessie appeared on the internet

A Nessie fan recorded a second meeting with her this year. O’Faodhagen, a 55-year-old employee of the Irish hospital, claimed to have seen Loch Ness floating in Urquhart Bay.

He managed to film this meeting. He is delighted with the video. O’Faodhagen sent his results to the Official Loch Ness Monster Observation Register, and they confirmed the footage as an official second observation in 2020.

The video shows a dark figure rising from the water.

She splashes, creating waves and a white foamy substance. Then it goes under water and reappears. Despite the fact that he saw about 1.2 m of the creature emerging from the water, O’Faudhagein estimated that it probably had a length of at least 3 m. The frames that show this creature last 1 minute 38 seconds. O’Faudhagain said that Nessie had not appeared for the past three months. He decided that Nessie went to quarantine.

Her appearance surprised him. He believes that Nessie has stepped out of the depths to say hello. O’Faodhagen noticed that during her appearance on the lake there is no activity. On January 18 of this year, he observed her appearance from the water. Gary Campbell, keeper of the Official Loch Ness Monster Observation Register, confirmed this observation.
According to O’Faodhagen, it is very exciting to get a new observation, especially when it happened almost immediately after the first. And he seems to know what he is looking for.

Last year, he managed to capture 4 encounters. 2019 was a record year for people who saw the Loch Ness Monster. A total of 18 observations were confirmed. This is the biggest since 1983.

Some believe in the existence of Nessie, others are critical. Perhaps it is not worth denying that a strange creature unknown to science lives in the dark waters of the lake. If you have not seen any phenomenon, this does not mean at all that it is not.

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