Thursday, June 15, 2017


A friend asked me if I've done much study in cryptozoology or Fortean topics. If so, were there any cryptids or anomalous phenomena I found particularly compelling? 

We need to draw an initial distinction. Some cryptids, if they exist, are biological organisms. Therefore, assessing reported sightings depends in part on what's naturally possible or probable. 

Conversely, some cryptids, if they exist, are numinous beings. So naturalistic criteria don't apply. 


That may have its basis in the giant squid

Giant anacondas

It's possible that there are larger anacondas in the wild than we've discovered. However, beyond a certain length, an anaconda would have the girth of a subway train. How realistic is that? 

Loch Ness monster

Several issues:

i) I guess the theory is that after the ice age receded, it left behind a geographically isolated species. Old glacial fiords. I don't think there's anything antecedently improbable about that.

ii) One issue is how many breeding pairs would need to reside in Loch Ness to maintain a replacement rate. You'd expect more sightings if there are more specimens.

iii) I believe Loch Ness has been probed by sonar beams, but nothing turned up.

iv) To me, the famous grainy 1934 photograph looks like a bathtub toy for kids (e.g. rubber ducky). And the picture has no frame of comparison to judge the scale of the object. 

I'm guessing the Loch Ness monster is a legend, perhaps to promote tourism. 


i) If it exists, what is it? Is it an Old World ape that migrated to the New World across the  Bering Land Bridge during the ice age? Or is it supposed to be humanoid (e.g. Neanderthal)?

ii) If it has humanoid intelligence, I'd expect it to produce corresponding material culture (e.g. Neolithic). That would be easy to detect. 

iii) To my eyes, the famous  Patterson–Gimlin film looks like a man in a monkey suit. Like those low-budget sci-fi flicks from the 50s. 

iv) I've read about Indian tales of Bigfoot. But in Indian tales, Bigfoot is a numinous being. So that either rules out naturalistic explanations or else Indian tales reflect legendary embellishment.

v) A difficulty with Indian stories is establishing their indigenous pedigree. Since most tribes were oral cultures, it's hard to say how old the stories are. 

And that raises the question of whether Indian stories have evolved due to contact with the white man. Could these be hybrid stories that reflect cross-pollination between Indian folklore and European folklore? 

vi) I'd add that (iv-v) also apply to wendigo. 

vii) I don't have an informed opinion about the Yeti. Perhaps such an animal could exist in the remote religions of the Hindu-Kush without scientific confirmation. Or maybe it's a tall tale for gullible tourists. 


From what I've read, this was first reported in 1995. That would be pretty inexplicable on either naturalistic or supernatural grounds. 


I actually read a reported example of that recently Forget where.

In general, I believe that Old-Hag syndrome probably has an infernal source. I believe that individuals and cultures that practice witchcraft and necromancy can expect to encounter evils spirits, whether demonic or vengeful apparitions of the damned.

In her book, The Hands Feel It, academic anthropologist Edith Turner talks about specters and other spooky phenomena reported by locals at an Eskimo fishing village where she lived for a year. The village was located on old Indian burial grounds. Some of the graves were Eskimo witchdoctors.

Some of the villagers were Christian while others continued to practice indigenous witchcraft. Under the circumstances, I find it plausible that spooky things happened. 


  1. Regarding the Yeti, we have a friend who is a Christian minister in Nepal who is from Tibet and ministers in the Himalayas. He talks about the Yeti as casually as though it were a yak like everyone has seen one and should know they exist. Regarding bigfoot, the most compelling evidence to me has been the accounts of "Survivorman" Les Stroud who used to be skeptical, but has had some encounters. It doesn't seem like he would make that up given that his reputation as a suvivor expert is at stake. If bigfoot exists, I think the vast majority of sightings are bunk or misidentifications, and that the range is smaller than enthusiasts think.

    Regarding the chupacabra, the ones that have thought to have been chupacabra that they have found have turned out to be a mix of coyote and wolf with the mange. So I think misidentification is the primary culprit here.

  2. I, for one, am hoping Pegasus and Unicorn are on the New Earth. I image there is a Kraken in Clash of the Titans Gehenna. ;)

  3. The most intriguing theory (to me, anyway) that I heard about Big Foot is that Big Foot was actually descended from the first groups of Vikings that colonized America, but they're so interbred they have physical deformities and look extra hairy, etc.

    I don't think that's what they really are, if they even exist, but it would make a fun story :-D