Everyone's heard tales about the creepy things that go bump in the night, and you can't help but wonder what might be watching you from the shadows. Depending on where you live, you might have had experiences with werewolves, the Loch Ness Monster, or a Chupacabra; but what all of these cryptids have in common is that they'll do anything to stay hidden from human eyes.
What Are Cryptids?
Cryptids describe a creature that debatably exists, and one which science has not yet proven to be real. Working off of the details of historic legends describing these animals, the 20th century saw the most significant rise in cryptid sightings with passionate investigators, called Cryptozoologists, scouring the globe for concrete evidence to prove that these folkloric figures walk the Earth.
Cryptids Vary Based on Location
Depending on where you're located in the world determines what kind of cryptids you may come across. From the infamous Bigfoot to the online darling, Mothman, here are just a sampling of the many cryptids that might be lurking in your back yard.
Famous European Cryptids
If you're living across the European continent or its nearby islands, chances are high that you've seen some reference to such cryptids as the Loch Ness Monster or Werewolves. Werewolves stem from the French legend of La Bête du Gévaudan, a large beast-man creature that ravaged the wilds of the Gévaudan region of France during the mid-18th century.
Similarly, Nessie, as the Loch Ness Monster is affectionately called, was first reported in the press in 1933 when a couple described a frightening creature that they saw cross the road in front of their car and disappear into the Loch Ness. Since then, many photographs have been taken of 'Nessie,' though she has never been found.
Famous Central American Cryptids
Cryptids that roam across the Central American landscape reflect their desert habitat and native origins. Take the Chupacabra for example, with its rabid dog-like appearance. The first supposed sighting of a Chupacabra occurred in Puerto Rico in 1995, and subsequent sightings have been reported with inhabitants describing their livestock being eaten by the vicious creature.
Another of these Central American cryptids is La Lechuza, a shapeshifting woman who can turn into an owl and has been circulating legends since the mid-18th century. Located in northern Mexico and southern Texas, this creature is said to attack at night and lure her victims by imitating a baby's cries. Once snatched by La Lechuza, the victims are never seen or heard from again.
Famous North American Cryptids
The United States is a hotbed for cryptid activity, with sightings being reported from every corner of the country. Take a look at just a few of these infamous creatures and see if any of them might be closer to your home than you think.
The Jersey Devil is said to reside in the Pine Barrens area of southern New Jersey. First reported in 1735 in a story about Mother Leeds' encounter with it, this creature gets its name from popular culture's depiction of the Christian Devil - a biped with cloven hooves and wings. In the centuries since, there's been a number of sightings and supposed livestock deaths, but the animal remains an enigma to the scientific community.
In recent years, the Mothman has taken social media by storm and become something of an internet darling. Before it's 15 minutes of fame, the Mothman was flying over cemeteries in Point Pleasant, West Virginia in the fall of 1966. There's some debate as to Mothman's appearance, but records show that people believe him to be a tall humanoid creature that flies and has glowing eyes. Just a year after its first sighting, Mothman returned to Mount Pleasant's Silver Bridge, where later that evening it collapsed and killed 46 people, resulting in the belief that the Mothman appears as an omen of death.
Sasquatch aka Bigfoot
Bigfoot has perhaps the most complicated origins of all the popular cryptids; generally, he can be traced back to the forests of the American and Canadian border, with one of the earliest purported photographs of him being taken by fur trappers in 1894. Bigfoot has definitely received the most attention by cryptid hunters and been scrutinized by scientific professionals as being a hoax. Whether or not a giant, furry, ape-like bipedal man struts about the North American forests, there're multiple sightings reported every year attesting to its existence.
Make a Date With a Cryptid
Half of the fun of learning about the cryptids that supposedly exist is in trying to have an encounter with one of them on your own. Perhaps you'll end up with an interesting story to add to the ongoing catalog of cryptid sightings, or just maybe you'll be the first one to bring evidence of these impressive creature's existence to light.