Archive for Cryptozoology

What’s Making the Earth Hum?

StrangeNoises01Worldwide people have noticed a strange phenomenon that’s been happening for at least decades. The Earth is humming. Could this be a cryptozoological mystery or is the answer closer to home? We examine this latest clue in the mystery of the noises coming from no where!

David Deming, a geophysicist at the University of Oklahoma, believes the Hum heard ‘round the world has a global source. He quotes someone named Moir who says, “It’s a very, very low wavelength noise, perhaps between 50 or 56 Hz. And it’s extremely difficult to stop infrasound because it can have a wavelength of up to 10 meters [nearly 33 feet], and you’d need around 2.5 meter [8 feet] thick walls, built with normal materials, to keep it out. It gets into our wooden houses very easily. And part of the reason people have so much trouble identifying the source of it is because of how low frequency the Hum is: It literally  moves right through your head before you can figure out which ear picked it up first.”

According to Deming’s research the likely candidate for the hum’s origin is a US Naval system called TACAMO (Take Charge And Move On). This system uses VLF (very low frequency) radio waves to communicate with submarines far below the ocean’s surface. They use these frequencies because they are so large that they can go around just about any obstacle in its path like a mountain or skyscraper. Also, these frequencies can penetrate seawater unlike other forms of MFs.

An aside here: Remember how the original Ghost Hunters used to talk about high EMF levels in homes and/or areas? They also mentioned that there have been studies done where high levels of these waves can cause hallucinations, depression, and a host of other symptoms.

Back to the Earth hum.

StrangeNoises02Variations

Deming points out that peoples’ experiences with the Hum, as well as scientific data collected in those areas, sometimes conflict. The problem is further complicated by the entrance of all the conspiracy theorists who blame the noises on UFOs, grand governmental plots to overthrow the world, and the like. Personally, I think we can put all those “theories” aside. The Earth is a noisy place and people are naturally noisy – I think the explanation lies in that direction.

What we need is more serious research! Deming has been encouraging more research by his peers but they are slow to respond. Deming cites one example where the Hum was investigated in the Connecticut community of Windsor. This study was federally funded and had been requested by local Connecticut authorities. Deming thinks that getting local authorities involved in the studies is the way to go. He feels the data they gather will contribute to a greater, more comprehensive view of what’s really causing the Earth to hum.

Dr. Glen MacPherson, of the University of British Columbia, runs a website dedicated to collecting information about this phenomenon. You can find it here:

www.thehum.info

MacPherson hopes through the efforts of this website that professional and independent researchers will use his data to construct effective testing procedures and methodologies.

Moir believes that unless somebody funds a serious study and finds scientists to conduct serious tests into the phenomenon, the general population will continue to blame things like telecom towers, radio bands used by the police, mobile phones and the more bizarre explanations nurtured by conspiracy theorists.  The taint of these fringe theorists is what causes serious scientists to turn away from this problem. That has to be overcome and it starts with common sense and spreading the word among the general public.

Distribution of Noise Map

If you go to MacPherson’s website you will find a global map showing where these mysterious noises are occurring. For now, we’ll concentrate on the US portion of the map.

DistributionMap

The first thing that caught my eye was that these noises almost all seem to be in or near urban centers. Note how they follow the coastline and the busy Midwest cities. There are some that seem remote in the upper mid to West states (Montana, the Dakotas, Idaho) but we can’t tell from the map what is in those areas. I say that because these noises have been blamed on things like large industrials site noise, electrical substation noise, and pipelines. Those types of things may be in those areas.

For a long time, I thought these noises may be part of the natural world such as tectonic plate noise, volcanic grumbling, electrical build-up within the Earth, and things like that. But look at the worldwide map of noise distribution and the area in the world with the most volcanic and tectonic plate action, the Pacific Rim of Fire, has few to no reports of strange noises!

So that’s got me thinking. Maybe these noises are being caused by something(s) manmade.

Call Home Then Hang Up

To that point, remember how Deming felt the noise was mostly being caused by that Naval communication system, TACAMO?  I have to wonder, do they ever turn it off? I mean when we call someone, we call, communicate, and hang up. Doesn’t the Navy ever hang up? Maybe there’s a reason the system has to be on all the time, but if that’s true, then it’s a dirty trick. It’s not fair or right to seriously inconvenience people with these noises.

What Is Clear

Studying this problem leaves us without any doubt – more extensive research is needed. The scientific community has to get over its disdain for the topic based on the silly notions of some conspiracy theorists.

I could say the same thing. I could avoid cryptozoology altogether because there are some people with strange and wild ideas about EVERYTHING we talk about, from Bigfoot, to aliens, to mermaids and beyond. But I stick to the scientific side of things as much as I can.

The scientists would be able to do that even more than I can for the simple reason they are trained and qualified scientists.

I think most of us can see that there is some kind of natural or manmade phenomenon behind this nightmare and it’s something we need to solve. It’s bothering thousands of people around the world, and who knows what it’s doing to all the animals in the same areas. The potential is there for the noises to be wrecking entire ecosystems.

I don’t know what we can do to get the scientists involved, but if I can think of something, you can bet I’m going to do it!

StrangeNoises03

Have you ever heard these strange Earth noises? What do you think they are?

Reference

http://theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com/2014/07/06/a-mysterious-sound-is-driving-people-insane-its-spreading-and-nobody-knows-whats-causing-it/

www.thehum.info

 

 

 

The Murderous History of Mermaids

FlirtyPinkMermaidSure, they’re beautiful, seductive, and alluring, but as far as cryptids go, they’re all up to no good. Cryptozoology stories show us time and again how these sirens of the waters are out to kill men who wander into their grasp. So why do we find them so fascinating? CryptoVille investigates!

In an entertaining article by Matt Simon for Wired.com, he relates some facts and anecdotes about mermaids that leave us all wondering, why the heck do we love mermaids so much?!

Here are a few of his major points:

  • The first sea-person was actually a male named Ea and he was the Babylonian god of the sea. He was known to battle evil while also introducing his people to the arts and sciences.
  • After that the Greeks and Romans adopted him and renamed him. He became Poseidon in Greece and Neptune in the Roman world.
  • Ancient Syrians believed in a goddess named Atargatis and she was actually the first mermaid. She was human on top and fish below and they believed she safeguarded the fertility of her people.

So up to this point, the merfolk were pretty much benevolent and nurturing. Then for some reason, they start to turn toward the dark side.

MermaidsMurderousMerfolkCoupleDark Side Begins

If anyone has been through any classical history courses, then they’ll be familiar with Pliny the Elder, a Roman naturalist and writer. One of his topics included the Nereids whom he described as half human, half fish.  However in this case, the upper, human part was still covered with scales so their appearance was rather rough, and by implication, unattractive. (Artwork of a mer-couple above left 16th Century Italian by Ulisse Aldrovandi.)

Pliny mentioned that these Nereids would climb aboard ships at night and sink them. Definitely not nice.

In Greek mythology the sirens were evil creatures who lured sailors to their doom by enchanting them with their exquisite singing. Their appearance and their songs were supposedly irresistible.

Conflicting Views

And so these conflicting views of mermaids entered the minds of Medieval Europe spawning a mix of tales about these creatures, from the sublime to the deadly. Overall the message was that mermaids should be avoided if you know what’s good for you!

MermaidsMurderousAtagartisonCoinMatt mentions an interesting point in his article, writing, “[…] it was a pervasive ancient belief that every land animal must have a counterpart in the sea, and humans were no exception.” I hadn’t heard that before and I find it interesting because it would explain the large amount of  stories and legends about these watery people across all of Europe. (Photo right of Atagartis holding an egg on an ancient Syrian coin. Courtesy of Wiki.)

There’s another salient point to this, I think, that I’d like to share with you. I was reading a book review on Amazon and the reviewer, “Ashtar” wrote, “We are used to a modern, scientific view of nature and animals. The Middle Ages saw things differently. Animals weren’t seen as random products of blind, natural forces. They were created by God for the edification of the human race. Indeed, Adam named all animals in the Garden of Eden, each name reflecting their true character. Animals were not just brute beasts. They carried a moral message, directed to sinful humanity. They also carried a hidden, mystical meaning, which somehow paralleled the message of the Bible itself! All the world was seen as an enchanted, magical place, with each thing a symbol for deeper, moral or spiritual, realities.”

So for example, in a Medieval bestiary, you’d see a brief description of a pig followed by a dissertation on sinful gluttony and heretics. Don’t we still say, “S/he eats like a pig?”

MermaidsMurderousClonfertCathedralMermaid Image

Knowing how the Medieval world thought about creatures gives us a clue as to how they’ve developed such a bad reputation. Since the Medieval world set-up and spawned most stories about mermaids, we have to consider how these people would have viewed sexy sirens, sensual creatures, and tempters/temptresses. (Photo left of a mermaid in the Clonfert Cathedral, Ireland.)

I believe they’d have seen them as immoral and decadent beings looking to lure men (and in some cases women) into sin. So the horrific crimes these merfolk are accused of in the legends are told as cautionary tales indicating people of sound moral stature should avoid them or suffer the consequences.

Better Days Ahead

Nowadays, though, we can relax a bit about mermaids because they’ve gotten quite friendly and amiable as in the Disney cartoon, The Little Mermaid. There are even some romance novels starring mermaids that are pleasant enough to keep their readers buying the stories.

Even more fantastical, there are women around the world running businesses as mermaids! They star in aquarium shows, appear at private parties, work in movies – all on the up and up.

ArielI can understand how the merfolk got the bad rap in the old days – it was simply a part of the culture back then. But nowadays things are dramatically different, and these stories and legends about these alluring creatures are seen for what they are – beautiful art, entertainment, and mysterious stories.

As for whether they really exist, well, so far there is absolutely no scientific proof that they do. So if you love mermaids and want the world to believe in them, keep a sharp eye on the water and have your camera charged and ready to shoot!

If you’d like to read more stories about mermaids, see my Mermaid Mondays feature. Go to the top right of the screen and you’ll see “Articles by Topic.” That’s a drop down menu. Select Mermaid Mondays and it’ll bring you to those reports.

Til the next time!

SeaJellyBed

Reference

If you’d like to read the rest of the article by Matt Simon, here’s the link. It’s very amusing as well as informative:

http://www.wired.com/2014/10/fantastically-wrong-strange-murderous-sometimes-sexy-history-mermaid/

Deer Men and Women: Real or the Stuff of Legend?

DeerManBronzeSculptureA bipedal creature lurking in the forests around the US, prominent deer antlers on their head. Are they half human, half deer? Or the product of legend and lore? CryptoVille investigates this cryptozoology puzzle to see if this monster is the real deal, or not!

Most of what I read about the Deer Men of the world is firmly based in Native American legend, lore, and tradition. Are these stories clues to something real? And what about sightings in recent times? Let’s see what we can make of all this.

Legends and Lore

It seems there are two basic stories about Deer People, one concerning a Deer Man and the other a Deer Woman.

In an old Cherokee legend, people and animals could communicate long ago. Things went well as long as the people only harvested the animals they needed for food, clothing, and shelter. As time went on, the people got a bit greedy, or some might say, bloodthirsty.

That’s when they started killing animals indiscriminately. The animals tried to rebel but couldn’t overcome the human hunters. Finally Awi Usdi, Little Deer and leader of his “people,” met with the hunters and told them that from that point onward, they had to perform a ceremony before their hunts, asking the animals permission to kill one of their own. Then the hunters must ask for forgiveness from the sacrificial animal and respect it.

DeerManDancneThe story continues by saying if the hunters refused to do these things, Awi Usdi would hunt them down and cripple them using his own magic powers, so that they would no longer be able to hunt.

At first not all of hunters agreed to the terms and they continued to hunt indiscriminately. Awi Usdi hunted them down and afflicted them with severe rheumatism so they were no longer able to hunt. Soon after, all the hunters followed the terms of Awi Usdi and peace descended on the land once more.

The Deer Woman story is a bit different. It reminds me of a Grimm’s fairytale with its cautionary overtones and morality tale undertones.

Deer Woman

Wendy Froud refers to this legend as the “Horned Woman” and said that among the Southeastern tribes of the United States (Cherokee, Muskogee, Seminole, and Choctaw), the legend is pretty much the same. She mentions that the Dakota and Lakota tribes have stories about this Deer Woman that are a bit different, but still similar to those of the Southeastern tribes.

Another tribe, the Karuk, use the story of the Deer Woman more as a spirit associated with fertility and maturation as a means to prepare young women for marriage.

 

DeerWomanThe stories of the Southeast tribes primarily warn against marrying someone who was not approved by one’s family and society. The society felt that arranged marriages ensured the survival of their culture and propagation of their people.

The main story revolves around a young man who is seduced by a beautiful young woman and he leaves his home and family, and tribe for her. If he continues to be with this young woman, he will fall more deeply under her spell and stay with her which ultimately results in “depression, despair, prostitution, and death.”

The only way to discover the real identity of the enchantress is to look at her feet. If she is the Deer Woman, her feet will be hooves and knowing that should break the spell for the enamored young man.

According to Wendy, “Her [Deer Woman] tales are morality narratives: she teaches us that the misuse of sexual power is a transgression that will end in madness and death. The only way to save oneself from the magic of Deer Woman is to look to her feet, see her hooves, and recognize her for what she is. … Deer Woman instructs us that sexual attraction does not a proper marriage make; it is the societal and cultural responsibility of each tribal member to choose a mate wisely — therefore ensuring tribal survival into the next generation. Both the Karuk stories and the Southeastern stories illustrate this cultural responsibility.”

According to Wiki, Deer Woman can also appear as an old woman or even a deer. She is sometimes described as having the upper body of a young woman and the lower body of a deer. When compared with other similar tribal legends of dangerous women, these females all have a physical deformity and lure men to their deaths.

 

DeerManHoaxThen There’s This

In the 50s and 60s, a columnist named Jerry Moriarity popularized the legend of the Deer Man in his column, “Mostly Malarkey.”  It’s important to note that malarkey means “Speech or writing designed to obscure, mislead, or impress.” So his columns were clearly fiction and entertainment.

Another journalist named Dave Clarke wrote several articles about this creature in the Star Courier. Dave believes the Deer Man is local to Kewanee, IL and that if you see it three times, you die.

Finally, in 2005, an episode of the Masters of Horror TV program featured the Deer Woman, probably unrecognizable from the original legends.

 

DeermanHoax02Are They Real?

So are the Deer people real? Are they flesh and blood cryptids? I think not. There’s a very clear folklore component to the stories and it’s easy to see how they are cautionary tales to help preserve the culture and traditions of the native peoples. (Think about all the “old wives’ tales” we all heard growing up as well as Grimm’s fairytales, not to mention Aesop’s Fables.)

Is it above someone to make a headdress with deer antlers and call themselves the Deer Man or Woman? I wouldn’t put it past some hoaxer to do so, as we’ve seen with Bigfoot videos, ad nauseum. But back in the world of reality, I don’t expect anyone to find a real creature like this Deer Man or Deer Woman anytime soon.

What do you think about the Deer Man or Woman?

Giant Shrimp Caught Off Florida Coast: Hoax or Cryptid?

GiantShrimp01Steve Bargeron was fishing off a dock in Fort Pierce, Florida this week when he pulled an almighty huge “shrimp” from the water. This 18 inch beast is either a hoax, or some kind of monster cryptid. CryptoVille investigates!

Steve shared his finding with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and they posted it to their Facebook page. It seems that Steve saw the 18 inch creature in the water and pulled it out by its back, similar to what one does with a live lobster. (Photo right.)

The FWS said, “Scientists think it may be some type of mantis shrimp (which are actually not related to shrimp, but are a type of crustacean called a stomatopod), and continue to review the photos to identify the exact species.”

Mantis shrimp are actually quite formidable animals. Let’s see what science has to say about them, including how big they normally get.

MantisShrimpMantis “Shrimp”

These little beasts (photo left) are not shrimp at all, but are part of a family of crustaceans called stomatopods.  They normally grow to about 12 inches in length, but in rare cases reach up to 15 inches. This 18 inch behemoth would be a rarity indeed, at least as far as we land-based creatures can tell.

They look like a cross between a praying mantis and a shrimp. Their large front claws, referred to as “thumb splitters” are extremely strong and can crack open the shells of their prey or tear into softer targets. Their prey includes clams, invertebrates, and some fish.

Scientists tell us that they can “fire” their appendages at 170 mph! They are fierce competitors in their little marine environments. They often live around coral reefs, rock crevices, and any shoreline debris they can find. They spend most of their time hidden away in their burrows, coming out to search for food, using their excellent eyesight to search for predators while they are exposed.

Mantis shrimp mostly live in tropical/subtropical waters, but there are some heartier varieties that can live in sub-Antarctic waters. They also come in a variety of colors.

GiantShrimp02What Does it Mean for Cryptids?

I think this find is exciting because it shows us that animals already known to science can be more diverse than we may initially think. This is especially true when we’re dealing with aquatic/marine animals. Due to our inability to get into the oceans, seas, and rivers long enough and be able to go deep enough, we can’t tell what’s really living down there. (Another view of the 18 inch “Giant Shrimp”, right.)

I think as time goes on we can expect to find a lot more exciting surprises like this mantis shrimp, especially from the ocean!

Til the next time!

A Vanishing Cryptid Reappears! Introducing The Kashmir Musk Deer

Musk-DeerCaptivitybyNikolayUsikScientists couldn’t believe their eyes! Right before them an extremely rare animal appeared, then disappeared again. Is this a monster of cryptozoology lore, or a real beast struggling to survive in harsh conditions? Let’s take a look!

Long prized by Afghan hunters for their scent glands, the Kashmir musk deer (Moschus cupreus) was feared extinct because scientists hadn’t seen one since 1948. (Photo right by Nikolay Usik of a captive male Kashmir musk deer.)

The Kashmir musk deer is very strange looking to Western eyes. Unlike the gentle grazers we know in the Americas, the males of this species actually have fangs!! Scientists believe they use them fighting other bucks during mating season.

These deer only measure about two to three feet tall, weigh between 15 and 37 pounds, and are extremely hard to spot in the wild because they don’t group together in herds but seem to remain mostly solitary.

This recent sighting was reported by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) team led by Dr. Stephane Ostrowski and even they admitted the animal(s) was/were difficult to spot. This team reported five sightings in Eastern Afghanistan in “rugged, foliage rich terrain.”

Male-Kashmir-muskdeer-five-years-old-in-captivityWhat I especially find funny is that they weren’t able to get a photograph of it either! So now it’s a little less hard to criticize people for not being able to get a good photo of Bigfoot, right? (Photo left of a captive 5 year old male Kashmir musk deer.)

Anyway, Peter Zahler who is the Deputy Director of Asia Programs for the WCS, said, “[the musk deer is] one of Afghanistan’s living treasures. [They hope] that conditions will stabilize soon to allow WCS and local partners to better evaluate conservation needs of this species.”

I wish them luck. As we all know from the news, Afghanistan is far from stable in any way, shape or form.

And what about these scent glands? According to a site called IFLScience, “By weight, their scent glands are more valuable than gold, fetching as much as $45,000 per kilogram on the international black market. Their musk – the brown, waxy secretions from glands near a male’s rear end – have been used in cosmetics, fragrances, and traditional medicine for centuries.” The sad part is they could extract the scent without killing the animals if they were so inclined.

Male-Kashmir-muskdeer-in-captivityAnother factor contributing to their endangered status is loss of habitat. Combine that with overhunting by scent-gland-crazed poachers and the outlook for these poor creatures doesn’t look too good. (Photo right of a captive male Kashmir musk deer.)

References

http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/fanged-deer-back-afghanistan

http://www.sci-news.com/biology/science-kashmir-musk-deer-afghanistan-02248.html

http://www.weather.com/news/science/nature/fanged-deer-afghanistan-20141103

 

Happy Halloween from CryptoVille!!

HalloweenCreatureHappy Halloween friends of CryptoVille!

Things are certainly hopping in this land of cryptids and mysterious happenings! This year, I thought I’d share some articles with you by topic so you can read about the weird & wonderful creatures that you like!

 

Are VAMPIRES your thing? We took a bite out of these mysterious creatures in these articles:

http://visitcryptoville.com/2014/04/15/vampires-rise-again/

http://visitcryptoville.com/2014/02/19/sochi-olympics-and-the-vampire-morana/

 

Zombie01

How about Zombies???

http://visitcryptoville.com/2012/06/02/zombie-apocalypse-is-it-for-real/

http://visitcryptoville.com/2014/10/22/scandinavias-draugen-vampire-zombie-or-ghost/

 

Werewolf02Maybe a Werewolf is more your style?

http://visitcryptoville.com/2014/04/01/what-is-a-rougarou-exactly/

 

We have some GHOST stories too!

http://visitcryptoville.com/2012/06/13/titanic-ghosts/

http://visitcryptoville.com/2014/09/08/proof-that-ghost-lights-exist/

http://visitcryptoville.com/2012/11/01/haunted-india/

http://visitcryptoville.com/2013/04/11/ghost-photos-real-or-hoaxed/

http://visitcryptoville.com/2013/04/15/update-on-hampton-court-ghost-photo/

Ghost01

Strange Creatures haunting your dreams?

http://visitcryptoville.com/2014/10/14/the-kudimudra-and-the-disappearing-lake/

http://visitcryptoville.com/2014/09/30/brazils-mapinguari/

http://visitcryptoville.com/2014/09/25/alaskas-otterman-or-kushtaka/

BigFoot02

Let’s not forget BIGFOOT!!

http://visitcryptoville.com/2014/07/10/bigfoot-thursday-sequoia-park-bigfoot/

http://visitcryptoville.com/2014/04/22/bigfoot-language-the-debate-continues/

http://visitcryptoville.com/2014/05/01/bigfoot-thursday-mike-wooleys-hairy-encounter-with-bigfoot/

http://visitcryptoville.com/2012/09/06/vietnam-bigfoot-forest-manbatutut-is-it-real/

 

If STRANGE PLACES are more your style, check out:

http://visitcryptoville.com/2014/09/04/palmyra-atoll-paranormal-paradise-or-gateway-to-perdition/

http://visitcryptoville.com/2013/11/19/mysterious-garden-unearthed-and-restored/

http://visitcryptoville.com/2014/02/28/strange-tale-of-sisterly-love-146-years-of-graveside-flowers/

http://visitcryptoville.com/2013/03/11/park-of-monsters/

 

Ogre

There’s still plenty more to find! If you go to the top of this page, in the right margin, you’ll see “Articles by Topic.” That’s where you can find more articles about all things cryptozoological.

Thanks for visiting CryptoVille! Come back and see us soon! Happy Halloween!!

Halloween-Free-Cover-Pictures-For-FB-Timeline

Kangaroos that Walked: What it May Mean for Cryptids

GiantKangarooBrianRegalScience has revealed another gem that changes the way we think about a species of animals. It got me thinking. Could it be applied to the way we think about cryptids? Could these strange and mysterious monsters of the cryptozoology world be variations on a theme, like sthenurines were on the kangaroo family tree?

A professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Brown University, Christine Janis, is pretty sure that giant kangaroos, who lived 100,000 years ago, walked instead of hopped. She was joined in her research by Karalyn Kuchenbecker (former undergraduate at Brown University) and Borja Figuerido from the University of Malaga, Spain. They posted their research results in the journal PLOS ONE, which was later reported by Science Daily. (Artwork above right by Brian Regal of Sthenurus stirlingi.)

Native to the Pleistocene era, giant kangaroos, or sthenurines, weighed upwards of 550 pounds, and could reach two meters (6.5 feet) in height. Their faces resembled a rabbit’s, and they seem to have had “sticky up” ears too, though not as big as a rabbit’s in proportion to the face. Their arms were short and definitely made for foraging. In contrast, modern kangaroos, the reds and the grays, use their front arms for walking when on all fours.

The Differences

Janis and her team concluded an exhaustive, detailed look at bones from these now extinct sthenurines and compared them to skeletons of modern kangaroos. They found significant differences.

  • Sthenurine teeth were made for browsing, as opposed to the teeth of modern kangaroos that are clearly made for grazing.
  • Hopping requires a flexible backbone, sturdy tail, and hands that can support the body weight. Sthenurines had none of these traits.
  • Sthenurines could support their body weight on just one foot; a requirement for walking. Modern kangaroos cannot.
  • Sthenurines had bigger hip and knee joints which is required in walking animals. Also the pelvis is different than that of modern kangaroos. Larger bones allow larger, stronger muscles to attach to them. Critical when one is walking.

GiantKangarooByNobuTamuraJanis said, “If it is not possible in terms of biomechanics to hop at very slow speeds, particularly if you are a big animal, and you cannot easily do pentapedal locomotion [which includes using a long tail] then what do you have left? You’ve got to move somehow.” (Artwork left by Nobu Tamura.)

Evidence is good that these animals, these relatives of modern day kangaroos, walked instead of hopped.

So why am I telling you this on a cryptozoology website?

Cryptids: Just Variations?

So this got me thinking. Never mind that this member of the kangaroo family most likely walked instead of hopped – what about the rabbit-like face? I find that even more weird than the fact it most likely walked instead of hopped.

Let’s look at bipedal creatures we hear about often enough. Bigfoot, Sasquatch, the Yeti, Mande Barung, Orang Pendek. From all I’ve read about them it seems to me more than likely they are just variations on a theme in the evolutionary tree. I believe, of all the cryptids we talk about, these are the ones that have the greatest chance of being real and one day provable.

What about things like Saber Wolves, Siberian Tigers migrated to Alaska, giant bears, the Tasmanian tiger? Well all of these creatures are based on animals that we are very familiar with today. It seems less of a stretch of the imagination to think these have a good chance of being real.

There are other creatures that will probably not be found to be evolutionary variations, in my opinion. These would include the Mothman, Jersey Devil, Deer Man, Wolf man, Lizard man, and things like that.

BigfootRedHairbyLexaFor the creatures that may one day prove to be real, we’re going to need evidence. That would involve a carcass, unfortunately. Science needs to be able to test and measure something in order to evaluate it properly. Notice with the sthenurines, they had at least a hundred skeletal samples to examine. In the cryptid world, we’ll be lucky if we can get them just one!

Still, my hope is one day more of these creatures of cryptozoology will be added to the roster of known animals around the world. As always, science is going to point the way.

What do you think?

References

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141023142306.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fmost_popular+%28Most+Popular+News+–+ScienceDaily%29

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0109888

Cryptid Shows: Doing More Harm than Good?

CryptidComicCoverCryptozoology lovers are no doubt enjoying all the latest TV shows delving into the mysteries of monsters from all parts of the United States. Bigfoot, Swamp Beast, Saber Wolves and all the rest are fair game to these intrepid investigators. But is any of it real?

Like many of you I’ve been enjoying the latest rash of TV programs about the cryptids we love to think about. We have Destination America channel’s Mountain Monsters, Swamp Monsters, Alaska Monsters and the very popular Cryptid: Swamp Beast over on History Channel.  (Comic cover right; can’t read artist’s name but it’s there.)

I’d like to share with you my thoughts about these shows and my perceived problems with them, then get into whether they help or hurt the cause for serious investigation into these creatures.

Hunting Cryptid Formula

With the three shows on Destination America, Mountain, Swamp and Alaska Monsters we clearly see a formula. They tell us a little about the creature they’re hunting, they go interview some witnesses and look at some “evidence.”

For me, that’s the first problem. We never see the evidence long enough to be able to analyze it. We just get quick glimpses of what instantly looks like some computer generated image (CGI) but I for one would like more time to analyze these things.

AlaskaMonstersThen there is the “footprint” evidence they occasionally find. To a one, they are all flat images that look like someone took a stamp and squeezed it against the dirt. When real trackers find prints, there is rarely a uniformity about the impression. Why? Because animals are alive and moving. Even Bigfoot prints show unevenness, dug in toes or heels. But the images from these programs all show what I believe are impressed, that is manmade, footprints.

As far as finding hair and scat samples – they love pointing them out but NO ONE puts any into a Ziploc bag for laboratory analysis by some scientists later on. That’s an egregious error if done by people who are seriously on the trail of a cryptid creature. And that’s why I doubt they are serious.

Other Problems

So the hunt continues and they hear all sorts of things and get glimpses of even more ephemeral things in the woods and bayous.

MountainMonstersBogus Glimpses

The worst example (in my opinion) of this “seeing things” occurred in a recent episode of Alaska Monsters. They were hunting the Otterman/Kushtaka and the youngest member of the group was seen ahead of them, then disappeared. But then he turns up right behind them saying he was behind them all the time. The implication is that the image of him they saw was actually the “shape shifting” Kushtaka. Um hmmm. We all saw the guy walking in front of the investigators – it could have been anyone in the crew in the dark considering the shot was somewhat unfocused.

Creature Calls

In all three shows the “creature calls” are awful. They just sound “canned” like they came out of an amateur studio technician’s repertoire. I’m sure I even heard a supposed “Yeti” roar on that TV show, Russian Yeti: The Killer Lives that was also played on Mountain Monsters in one of their shows. The sounds were exactly alike!

It’s so bad that I don’t believe a single creature call that we “hear” in any of these programs.

Camera Men in Peril

Don’t you love all the shots of the investigators running from harm’s way, sometimes even getting in a car/ATV/whatever and we see them race away into the darkness? So what happened to the camera man left behind to film the getaway? Are we to seriously believe that if anything was really trying to kill the investigators, they’d leave their crew behind? Would anyone be that heartless? I doubt it.

cryptids_by_heavymetalartwork-d6oi4ibThose Traps

All these shows seem to delight in making a newfangled trap to catch the cryptid of the week. Maybe it’s a redneck thing, but I look at them and think what a waste of a tree. They all make a lot of assumptions about cryptids they never see when deciding what’s big enough or clever enough to hold them. I look at them all and think “Rube Goldberg.” (Artwork left by HeavyMetalArtwork on Deviant.)

The Investigators

I think across the board, the producers have found some very interesting and fun characters to host these shows. I mean some of them are really “out there,” wouldn’t you say? But they’re also endearing in their own weird ways and that’s one of the things I like about these shows.

I also think they’d love to actually find these things the same way that we’d love them to find the creatures. So I give them A for effort.

I would also love to see them all lose those horrible, dirty beards – ewwww!!! But that’s just me.

SwampMonstersWhat about the Hog?

You may be thinking that on the show Mountain Monsters they were delighted with themselves because they actually trapped a large hog. Yes, but it wasn’t a monster sized hog or a cryptid.

Here’s the thing about these wild boar/hogs. They are overrunning many parts of the southern US at this point. I think by this time in Texas they must be a plague. Hunters are shooting them as quickly as they can because these porkers are literally ruining the landscape.

So to catch a wild boar in one of the Rube Goldberg style traps, isn’t that exciting to me. It’s not a cryptid.

(not) Finding Bigfoot

The Animal Planet program Finding Bigfoot sort of follows this same formula, but for me the saving grace is they have a skeptical scientist on board to lend balance to the investigation, Ranae Holland.

FindingBigfoootThe other three investigators on the show, Bobo Fay, Matt Moneymaker, and Cliff Barackman at least try to approach the search somewhat scientifically. I know they get into some weird things like having disco lights at night in the forest, playing guitars, hog calling, but for the most part, their approach is fairly sound.

Speaking of sounds, I think the main problem with their investigation is that they make toooo many sounds! They make too much noise, do too much calling and wood knocking – surely that’s going to scare away a wild animal. But I guess it makes for good TV.

At least they cast any footprints they find and they scientifically gather any hair or scat evidence they think they find – and they get it tested.

I hope they do one day bring home the definitive proof that Bigfoot exists to the point where the scientific community agrees and classifies the beastie as a new member on our roster of known animals.

One annoying thing about this show (and to be fair, many other programs, especially the ghost hunting ones) is that when they hear a call in the distance or a knock, we can’t hear it. Do you mean to tell me that audio technology in this day and age isn’t able to capture the sound so the TV viewing audience can hear it too? It drives me crazy!

Help or Harm?

These shows help bring a variety of cryptid creatures to our attention that we otherwise may never have heard about. That’s very true in my own experience. In fact, I’ve really enjoyed researching some creatures I never heard about before and sharing my findings here in CryptoVille.

But my goal, my drive, is to find the evidence that these creatures actually do or don’t exist. If they do exist, then I want to see us find evidence that will convince the scientific community at large. Anything less is unacceptable.

SwordFrom reading reviews and comments about these shows around the web, I can tell you that these shows do a lot of harm. People that would scoff at us for trying to prove the existence of these creatures to begin with, find our efforts even more laughable based on the “findings” of these TV programs.

These shows seem to erode any credibility the cryptozoological community has. It’s a shame, but there isn’t anything we can do about.

Except – bring home the definitive evidence one and for all.

Gold Standard: River Monsters

I don’t particularly like fish and I definitely have never felt the need to fish. Yet this man has me watching his show. How did that happen?

GoliathJeremy Wade is the reason this program is so excellent (with kudos to his excellent team of cameramen & crew). Take him away and Animal Planet would make it into just another silly show.

It helps that he’s a trained biologist and a serious investigator. He’s logical, rational, and very intelligent. His shows begin with a problem or mystery and he sets about solving it. And he always does.

My favorite episode was the one where he searched for the Loch Ness monster; a two hour episode. It was masterful. As a lover of cryptozoology with an entire website dedicated to the topic, I can say I am utterly convinced he solved the mystery of the Loch Ness monster. It was a fascinating journey of discovery.

If you get a chance to watch it, do. Be sure to watch the two hour version, as Animal Planet put together a one hour abridged version (do they think we have short attention spans?!!!).

jeremy_wade.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterbox

 

Wade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He doesn’t build silly traps to catch his prey, he doesn’t rely on gimmicks like creature “calls,” and he always takes very good care of his crew. What he does do is educate us as the shows progress. We learn about fish biology, ecology, climatology, and even some sociology on occasion.

Quite a few times he’s started a show telling us about historical accounts of some creature of legend and folklore and then he goes and actually finds the fishy beast behind the tale. It’s incredible. I wish we could get him to look for Bigfoot!

So if you’re thinking of starting your own show about finding cryptids, this is the show to emulate.

Thumbs Up or Down

For now, these other cryptid shows are doing well which means lots of people are watching. I’m guilty of it myself, mainly because I like to hear about new creatures and also watching these guys go through their antics is often very amusing, not to mention mind boggling!

So what do you think about these cryptid shows? Do they do more harm than good?

The Kudimudra and the Disappearing Lake

Bunyip_(1935)A strange tale from Down Under, this time a monster that haunts a desert lake area. A lake that is sometimes there and sometimes not. Is this just another cryptozoology tale run dry, or could there be something to this mysterious tale?

The aboriginal people of Australia living around Lake Eyre tell the tale of the Kudimudra, a fearsome creature that eats people who wander into the lake. It’s supposed to look like a bunyip, a creature known throughout Australian aboriginal culture. The name varies from area to area, and so by Lake Eyre, it’s called the Kudimudra.

Bunyip translates to devil or evil spirit. They lurk near waterways throughout the continent. Descriptions from early 19th century newspapers described it as having the face of a dog on a crocodile head. It supposedly has tusks resembling those of a walrus, perhaps a duck-like bill, flippers, the tail of a horse, and dark fur! Westerners arriving in Australia found the natives so frightened and agitated by this evil spirit, that these people couldn’t give them an accurate description. Apparently!

Whatever it looks like, the Kudimudra belongs to the bunyip family. But there’s one problem with this tale – bunyips are associated with water and Lake Eyre is usually a dried up wasteland.

Here are some artists’ renderings of this creature:

Bunyip02

 

 

 

 

Bunyip03

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bunyip04

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lake Eyre

If it was full, Lake Eyre would be the largest lake in Australia and the third largest endoheic body of water in the world. Endoheic means that the waters from this lake don’t connect with the sea. Any rivers or waterways draining into it, hit a dead end, so to speak. They never reach the ocean.

lake-eyre-basinBut due to seasonal changes and other climatological conditions, the lake rarely ever fills completely. Making the lake seem further dried up, there are deep basins throughout its terrain, but if and when they are filled with water, it’s so far out that no one can see them.

The last time the lake was completely full was in the years 1974-1976!

On those rare occasions where surrounding rivers run full enough to raise the lake level to full (see satellite image below), they bring with them an abundance of fish into the lake. That in turn attracts thousands of birds as well as other land animals.

LakeEyre01Could the Kudimudra be among them?  If so, where does it go or hide during the dry times, which is most of the time in that desert area? Is it like the species of frogs that live in that lake and bury themselves until the next wet season?

I doubt we’ll ever know. And given the bizarre description of this beast, it seems unlikely to be real. I think it’s probably just a legend and folktale devised by the Aboriginal peoples.

(Unless someone gets a good photo of one during the next rainy season.   )

What do you think?

 

PS — They’re even on stamps!

Stamp01Stamp

Alaskan Tiger – Another Great Beast of the North?

Siberian TigerFerociousCryptozoology reports of a huge tiger living in the frozen wilderness of Alaska have been around for years. Is it really a tiger, or some other cryptid, unknown to science? CryptoVille investigates this monster-sized mystery and grabs this cryptid tiger by the tale, I mean tail!

The Siberian Tiger (panther tigris altaica), also known as the Amur tiger, is well known to science. It’s the largest tiger species in the world. Unfortunately, these beautiful stately animals are critically endangered.

The Siberian tigers live primarily in Eastern Russia with some making their way into China and North Korea. One of the interesting things about these tigers is that they live in harsh Northern climates. They are adapted to put up with cold temperatures and lots of snow. So does that mean they could survive in Alaska? Let’s see.

Science Says

Science tells us that these creatures can be fierce but they also tend to avoid humans. Living in such harsh and cold conditions helps them to avoid humanity who tend to visit those areas far less frequently than other places. There have been some cases when tigers turned into maneaters, but if memory serves, I think that was in India.

SiberianBearFightOne report I read stated that their favorite prey were red deer. Another said that they also eat elk and wild boar. (Taxidermy exhibit left between Siberian tiger and brown bear from Vladivostok Museum.)

In the early 90s, scientists were able to tag and monitor eleven tigers for a year and a half. What they found was the tigers far and away preferred to follow the red deer around, and didn’t pay much attention to wild pigs, elk, moose, or bear. That said, another study, per Wiki, found that when all sizes of prey animals are in the area, the tigers will go after the largest among them. Tigers have been known to kill and eat adult moose as well as bears weighing in excess of 990 lbs (450 kg).

So what does this mean for an Alaska tiger, if one exists? Well, the problem is red deer no longer live in Alaska. In fact no deer live in Alaska with the exception of a few along the Southern region, south of Juneau. So if they are the primary food source for Siberian/Amur tigers, we’ve got a problem.

Another interesting fact that science tells us: where tigers are present, wolf numbers drop dramatically. Now if it’s one thing that Alaska does have, it is wolves. So their presence would indicate the absence of tigers.

SiberianChallengeAppearance

Siberian/Amur tigers grow between 8 and 10.5 feet long. They used to grow bigger but hunters have killed off the really big ones. Nowadays tigers are lucky to survive into adulthood for very long because hunters are still trying to kill them.

Anyway, the male can weigh between 450 – 675 pounds while the females weigh between 200 – 350 pounds. In the wild they generally live to be 10 – 15 years old. But in captivity, they can live up to 22 years and beyond.

The color of these tigers ranges from reddish-orange to a reddish-brown color. As you would expect, they have long vertical stripes on their sides.

These animals have a winter coat and a summer coat, so there are color variations according to season. I’ve read where they “lighten up” in winter, presumably to blend in better with the snow.

WhiteSiberianFolklore

In a book review called Tiger Tales, Eric Morrison quotes author Alexander Dolitsky as saying, “The significance of the tiger to the cultures of the Russian Far East is comparable to the importance that many animals have in the cultures of the indigenous people of Alaska and the Arctic regions. It is a courageous character, so you will find the tiger character in the mythology and the legends and folktales of these people that see the tiger with admiration. It’s the same as some Native people see the wolf, for example, with admiration as well.”

If you ever take a cruise along the Inside Passage of Alaska, you may be surprised to see how much of a Russian influence is in the area. I visited there years ago and was quite surprised by it. So it leaves me wondering if this admiration for the tiger has just overflowed into the psyche of the Alaskan people via the Russian influence.

I wonder if knowing about a tiger that lives in the snowbound forests of Siberia may make one think that it probably lives in Alaska as well. As we all know, many creatures crossed the land bridge from Russia to Alaska a long time ago. Could the tigers have come through as well?

SizeComparisonTiger Migration

One source I read (adventure-tigers.com) said outright that Siberian tigers were present in America in the state of Alaska about 100,000 years ago. They make this claim by pointing to the fossil record. (Picture right shows size differential between a Siberian tiger and a man.)

The scientist who discovered this data is Sandra J. Herrington who is/was associated with the Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas, Overland Park. Here’s what she found out.

I think we all know that when the Bering Land Bridge formed during various ice ages, it allowed animals from Asia to migrate over to the area now known as Alaska.  This bridge was made up of what scientists call “steppe tundra habitat.”  These kinds of areas have little to no places to hide.

That’s our first problem. Tigers only live in areas where they can be hidden at all times. They abhor being out in plain sight. Ms. Herrington quotes another scientist (Hopkins from a report issued in 1982) who thought the tundra may have included some areas that were wooded. The question then remains, was it wooded enough to satisfy the tigers’ need to hide?

SiberianSnowMs. Herrington says that they have fossil remains of lions (Panthera atrox) from that area. Could some of them be tiger fossils mistaken for lion fossils? The question arises because apparently it’s hard to tell the difference between a modern lion skeleton and that of a tiger, much less those of ancient fossilized lions and tigers.

Ms. Herrington figured out a reliable way to distinguish between the two. This wonderful discovery led to the knowledge that tigers at least got as far as the Eastern Bering land bridge (Beringia as science calls it) during the Wisconsin glacial period (85,000 – 11,000 years ago).

She writes, “These results suggest that other large fossil Panthera may have been misidentified, and additional evaluation may further increase the range of fossil tigers.”

Interestingly, the fossil tigers found in Beringia were the same size as modern day tigers.

siberian-tigerrelaxedAnother Monster for Alaska?

Based on my research, it seems unlikely that there are surviving tigers in Alaska today mainly because their favorite food source is missing (red deer) and the presence of wolves who tend to avoid areas with tigers.

That said, Alaska is so huge, vast, and unexplored, who can really say what’s lurking in all the hidden places of that landscape? I’d like to give the tigers a fighting chance. So I’ll say:

“However unlikely it is, there may be a chance that some tigers exist in Alaska.”

What do you think?

References

http://www.alaskazoo.org/amur-tiger

http://www.adventure-tigers.com/tigers-pdf/save-america-tigers.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siberian_tiger

http://www.pittsburghzoo.org/animal.aspx?id=36

http://bigcatrescue.org/tiger-facts/

http://www.hanskrause.de/HKHPE/hkhpe_22_01.htm

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