Tag Archives | Cryptozoology

Hunting the Basilisk: The Historical Record of a Mythical Beast

There’s an interesting story at The Smithsonian’s Past Imperfect blog regarding the peculiar history of the mythological basilisk. Those of you who spent your teenage years playing Dungeons & Dragons in your basement might already know what a basilisk is. However, for the rest of you, here’s a description:

The basilisk remained an object of terror long after the collapse of the Roman empire and was popular in medieval bestiaries. It was in this period that a great deal of additional myth grew up around it. It became less a serpent than a mix of snake and rooster; it was almost literally hellish. Jan Bondeson notes that the monster was “the subject of a lengthy discourse in the early-13th-century bestiary of Pierre de Beauvais. An aged cock, which had lost its virility, would sometimes lay a small, abnormal egg. If this egg is laid in a dunghill and hatched by a toad, a misshapen creature, with the upper body of a rooster, bat-like wings, and the tail of a snake will come forth.

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Thirty-Five Years of (T)error: Revisiting the Dover Demon

Image credit Bill Bartlett

Via Cryptomundo:

Blogger Tony Morrill has written a comprehensive overview of the Massachusetts cryptid known only as the “Dover Demon”. The first sighting of the pallid, melon-shaped humanoid creature took place in 1977, and although there haven’t been any recent reported sightings, it remains a popular topic of debate – at least among some people:

“It was not a dog or a cat. It had no tail. It had an egg-shaped head. It looked like a baby’s body with long arms and legs. It had a big head about the same size as the body, it was sort of melon shaped. The color of it was… the color of people in the Sunday comics.”

I can’t help but to notice that the description sounds very similar to the “Grey aliens” that UFO abductees describe from time to time. That being said, some people think that it might have been a young moose.… Read the rest

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Committee for Scientific Inquiry on Chinese Ape-Men

The Committee for Scientific Inquiry has a great article about the hunt for the Yeren, the Chinese ape-man, including a humorous anecdote in which a hirsute westerner is mistaken for the legendary beast:

Some have suggested that the wild man is some human throwback—neither Giganto­pithecus nor Peking Man surely but possibly some oddity like those sometimes exhibited in carnival sideshows (Nickell 2005, 150–58, 202–208). A “monkey baby,” for instance, that lived in Xhin Xhan County of Hubei Province, was simply an unfortunate individual with genetic deficiencies who “walked with a shuffling gait, had a slouched back, had a low misshapen forehead, could only make sounds with no articulate speech, and grinned constantly” (Poirier et al. 1983, 30). Yeren researcher Frank E. Poirier—only a normally hairy westerner who is about five feet eleven inches tall—frightened some local children who “ran away horrified at their encounter with what they screamed to others was the Wildman in their midst” (Poirier et al.

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Paranormal Pioneer John Keel With Doug Skinner on The Disinfocast with Matt Staggs

Mothman Prophecies

Remembering Paranormal Pioneer John Keel With Doug Skinner | The Disinfocast with Matt Staggs: Episode 04

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In this episode of The Disinfocast, we discuss the late John Alva Keel. He is best remembered as the author of The Mothman Prophecies, a classic work of Fortean reportage. The book painted an eery portrait of a tiny town besieged by inexplicable incidents: sightings of a moth-like creature with glowing red eyes, strange lights in the sky and midnight visits from men in black. Keel began his investigation as an outsider, but was soon drawn into the dark orbit of the mothman. Keel achieved some amount of public recognition when his book became the basis of a 2002 movie of the same name starring Richard Gere, but the public at large had no idea that Keel’s encounter with the mothman was only one small part of an incredibly strange, adventurous life. Keel, a veteran writer of the weird, was well-known within the ranks of forteana for his writings on UFOs, conspiracies and strange mysteries discovered in the furthest corners of the globe. Keel’s later years were tough ones. As he grew older, his career suffered. So did his health. Thankfully, he was not completely alone. A small circle of friends and admirers stood by his side. One of them was Fortean writer and professional composer Doug Skinner. Skinner, a close friend of Keel’s, is here to talk with us on the latest episode of The Disinformation Company's official podcast, The DisinfoCast.
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Cryptozoology Meeting In London

ZSL-crypto-composite-June-2011-490-pxCan the search for monsters and mystery creatures please become a reputable branch of science? Scientific American has a report on a meeting of experts who take the matter very seriously. Maybe they can investigate my mother-in-law (*slide whistle*):

The meeting was chaired by Henry Gee. Henry explained how the discovery of Homo floresiensis led him to take seriously the idea that “perhaps stories of other human-like creatures might be founded on grains of truth” (Gee 2004).

Dr. Michael Woodley showed how species discovery curves for large marine animals generally seem to match the numbers of undiscovered species purported to exist on the basis of circumstantial accounts. In discussing several key ‘Cadborosaurus’ and long-necked seal accounts, Michael also explained how – since most cryptozoological claims are published in the ‘grey literature’ – they escape evaluation, even when this is deserved or even required.

If cryptozoology is imagined as the investigation of ‘target’ animals whose existence is supported by circumstantial and/or anecdotal evidence (eyewitness accounts forming the bulk of such evidence), then one might argue (as I have) that cryptozoology is practised far and wide by ‘ordinary’, technically qualified biologists.

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Has Bigfoot Been Filmed on This Hiker’s iPhone (Video)?

BigfootAnnie Bishop reports on KXLY4 News:
SPOKANE, Wash.— A Spokane woman out for a day hike along the Spokane river claims to have proof of the mysterious and elusive Bigfoot. Samantha, who did not give her last name, and her friends were hiking at Downriver Park over the weekend when they captured Bigfoot by using their iPhone camera. Samantha posted a YouTube video of the creature a few days later.
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Yeti Hand Returned To Remote Mt. Everest Monastery

_52390062_photo-3Jimmy Stewart, a monastery hidden in the snow capped mountains of Nepal, and the disappearance of an unexplainable, hideous clawed hand. BBC News reports:

A pilot from New Zealand is in Nepal to return a replica of what some believe is the hand of a yeti to a remote monastery in the Everest region. Mike Allsop will fly from Kathmandu to Pangboche Monastery, which sits at 13,123ft.

The originals were stolen from the monastery in the 1990s. They first came to light in the 1950s when an expedition to find the mythical yeti came upon the monastery. Peter Byrne, the leader of the 1950s expedition to find the abominable snowman, said that the hand did not match the skeleton of a human or a primate.

Mr Byrne managed to take one of the bones from the hand out of Nepal to his friend, the Hollywood actor James Stewart, who was on holiday at the time with his wife in Calcutta.

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Russia Sets Up University Institute To Study Yeti Sightings

WampaKevin Makice writes on Wired:
As geeks, we are encouraged to suspend our disbelief while simultaneously challenging everything we see and hear. In the words of Agent Mulder, we want to believe, but our geek roots are firmly planted in the scientific method. That tension is possibly being resolved on one front. The Russians are establishing a scientific institute on the study of yetis, hairy ape-like creatures rumored to inhabit the Himalayas. Officials in coal-mining region of Kemerovo Oblast announced plans today to open a Yeti Institute at the Kemerovo State University, a 38-year-old higher education entity in western Siberia. KSU boasts 31,000 students and is best known for reviving regional languages, like Shor. Yeti researcher Igor Burtsev reportedly claimed that 30 Russian scientists are currently studying yetis, or Abominable Snowmen, and the Institute could allow them to better collaborate.
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Bigfoot Sues State

From the "You can't make this stuff up" department, via AP/Seacoastonline:
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — First there was a Bigfoot sighting. Now, there's a Bigfoot suing. A performance artist and amateur filmmaker who dressed as the mythical beast says New Hampshire park rangers didn't have the right to kick him off a mountain where he had been scaring, or at least amusing, hikers while friends videotaped his antics.
Backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Jonathan Doyle is suing the state...
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