Bigfoot, Nessie, and sundry creatures

Since I’ll be away all weekend, I snagged this topic on Wednesday from Kay’s Best Intentions blogspot and wrote it early. Didn’t want to get so busy I skipped a week again!

I came across Kay’s list of 36 Of The Best Blog Post Ideas.. EVER! on Pinterest a couple weeks after she first published it. This one is #25: “What supernatural things do you believe in or not? (aliens, bigfoot, ghosts, etc.)” I wouldn’t describe what I’m about to write about as “supernatural,” but since she put bigfoot in between those parenthesis I decided to just go with it.

A Budding Cryptid Obsession

I first discovered cryptozoology 14 or 15 years ago on an out-of-the-way bookshelf in Perrycook Memorial Public Library in the tiny town of Johnsville, Ohio. Alan Garinger’s book Water Monsters was thin and black with a brightly colored image on the front depicting a stylized water creature with a purple head shaped like a sharpened pencil. I had to stand on tiptoes to reach the shelf where it was snuggled up beside a cheesy-looking UFO book.

Once I’d read the book at least three times, I sent letters begging for more information to each address listed the back of the book, and received a treasure trove of reading material. I was sent an article on the Alkali Lake Monster, a booklet titled “The Legend of the Silver Lake Sea Serpent,” and a nice letter from a communications manager who had written about the Bear Lake Monster hoax. The city of Kelowna sent articles about Ogopogo, and the Churubusco Chamber of Commerce gave me an information packet on their giant turtle, including turtle shaped pencil-toppers and a bottle opener.

Water Creatures

I’m picky in which cryptids I follow. My favorites are the water creatures, though the “living dinosaurs” are a very close second. I’ll also keep track of research on hairy hominids (bigfoot, yeti, skunk ape, alma, etc.), but they can’t hold my interest for long. I feel like they are less mysterious than the water dwellers, almost too close to being recognized by mainstream science to be intriguing. Other areas of cryptozoology I rarely touch are the creepier cryptids like chupacabra, anything that starts to fringe into alien-hunter territory, and questionably extinct species like Thylacine.

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me at Lake Champlain in 2012

Anything that supposedly lives in the water, though … that I like. The lake monsters: Champ of Lake Champlain, Ogopogo of Lake Okanagan, Nahuelito of Lago Nahuel Huapi, Nessie of Loch Ness. The sea serpents: Caddy typically sighted off the coast of British Columbia, the Valhalla sighting of 1905, the Gloucester Sea Serpent, the tadpole-like Hook Island photos, the enormous crocodilian blown out of the water by the German U-28 submarine in 1915.

The only cryptozoologically famous spot I’ve visited so far is Lake Champlain. We missed the heyday of sightings at Bulwagga Bay by about 40 years, but this commemorative board listing Champ sightings in the area was as close as I’ve come to one of my favorite lake monsters.

Monster Art

For my final project in my digital art class at college, I did a series of prints focused on 7 different cryptids and placed them in a book. They were Nessie, Champ, Ogopogo, Caddy, Mokel-mbembe, Ropen, and Bigfoot. I’ll include the first three at the end of this post. Each piece arranged sketches, photos, and sighting informaition around a map of the area each creature is said to inhabit.

I can’t finish this post without touching on the living dinosaurs. The most well-known — mokele-mbembe, emela-ntouka, and kongamato — have been reported on a fairly regular basis in the Congo region of Africa. Mokele-mbembe (consistently described as a small sauropod dinosaur) seems to me like one of the cryptids most likely to be real — the area is difficult to explore well enough to rule out their existence, and the people who actually live there talk about mokele-mbembe as if they are as real as hippos, monkeies, and snakes.

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From an art project I completed in college (click for full-size. The notes are read-able)

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