Sometimes the things that go bump in the night are more terrifying if they’re not in your closet. It is estimated that there are hundreds of undiscovered species out in the wild, but the stories that captivate the most interest describe creatures that are the most elusive… and sometimes dangerous.
Where mainstream science is concerned, some of these monsters are often an undiscovered species that have branched off from the main trunk of their evolutionary kin and have remained hidden by virtue of the fact that human beings have not explored their habitat. The discovery of many varieties of marine life that exist in the depths of the world’s oceans fall into this category, and quite often look like creatures that would terrify the regular person outside the context of marine biology. As well, certain tropical regions of the world are recognized as biodiversity hotspots that contain hundreds to thousands of species of uncharacterized microfauna. So while a new species of sea plankton is not as sensational as a fanged creature that mutilates livestock in the middle of the night, there nevertheless remain many animals that human beings have not discovered.
Cryptozoology refers to the study of “hidden” creatures and is a rich source of anecdotes and speculation on the existence of some of the world’s more fantastic flora and fauna. It is a field which has persisted throughout history and has provided us with stories about some of the more popular beasts known around the world- the Yeti, the Chupacabra, the Loch Ness monster, the Sasquatch, the Jersey Devil, Mothman…
Invariably, these reports all share similar elements: the observer is alone, either in an unfamiliar area or someplace at night when they suddenly perceive a fleeting movement, or hear an unexpected sound or even catch a whiff of an unsettling scent, that somehow indicates that some creature is either stalking or watching them. While the power of human imagination, coupled with a dose of trepidation, often lends itself to the genesis of the creature behind these disaparate sensations, there are still some accounts that cannot be explained and even more puzzling, are corroborated by independent and multiple eyewitnesses who often describe the same phenomenon.
In such instances, proof has ranged from the most incidental to the most concrete. While witness accounts often make up the bulk of support arguing for the existence of such paranormal creatures, they are subject to the vagaries of human imagination and quite often the credibility of such people are questioned if they are not scoffed outright. Not to mention the abundance of hoaxes which are perpetrated for purposes of notoriety or just plain mischievousness. But more difficult to deny are the tangible bits of evidence of something that cannot be explained by traditional means. Pictures of a creature in the water, unexplained scratches in the night on a cabin, or howling in a seemingly empty field that no biologist can explain- such things leave cryptozoologists (and regular human beings) with a wealth of mysteries to explore.
With this in mind, where should one begin looking for such creatures? It may be as simple as looking in our own backyard, and in an upcoming series of articles focused on our Paranormal Menagerie, North American cryptids will be highlighted.
So next time you hear something rattling around the trash cans outside, or hear a hurried skittering of something running away, make sure to keep your senses open- you’ll want your own witness account after all…