Cryptids and Where to (Not) Find Them

People swear they see mythical creatures all the time, but the evidence is always blurry or nonexistent. Nevertheless, the sightings continue. Creatures whose existence is contested but not proven, are known collectively as cryptids. Most sightings are written off as jokes or hallucinations, but some are so common they become widespread folklore.

These unconfirmed creatures have critics and supporters all over, some more passionate than others. Certain areas have their economy based in tourism because of a popular cryptid; the state of Washington widely supports the theory of Bigfoot. Here are six stories about legendary cryptids around the world.

  1. 1. Ningen

    The legend of an 80-foot sea monster originated in the 1960s from a Japanese ship. The crew reported a giant creature with multiple arms, legs, sometimes tentacles, and a tail with pale white skin. Stories also include a distinct face with eyes and a mouth. The creatures have a reputation of benevolence or ambivalence toward humans, choosing to hide instead of attacking sailors. They continued to be sighted periodically throughout the decades since, including recent years. Ningen sightings are more common at night, and many believe the government hides detailed reports of the Ningen from the public.

  2. 2. Bigfoot

    Perhaps the most well-known cryptid of all time, Bigfoot, has a huge following across the globe. Enthusiasts encourage those who see the infamous cryptid to report sighting and include as much detail as possible on a common website. The easy reporting access lends itself to pranksters who report false sightings. Many people believe Bigfoot lives in Washington State, and there are more than 670 reports of sightings. Bigfoot is also theorized to reside in North Carolina, with 97 official sightings. The foggy forests and mountain areas in both states could quite easily hide a large, shaggy creature. Bigfoot’s existence is so widespread that people often dress in costume for a joke or Halloween.

  3. 3. The Van Meter Visitor

    The story of the Van Meter Visitor has a special place in my heart, as the sighting happened in small-town Iowa. In October of 1903, the town of Van Meter, Iowa was plagued by a half-human, half-animal creature with bat wings stretching 8 feet wide. It left a terrible stench wherever it went and was unaffected by gunfire. The creature terrorized townspeople and killed animals. Many claimed to see a beam of light shining from a horn on the creature’s forehead. The entire town, including many prominent residents, claimed the sighting was real and staked their reputation on the story. The creature disappeared near a coal mine outside of town after about a month and was never seen again.

  4. 4. The Beast of Bladenboro

    The Beast of Bladenboro is a popular story of a North Carolina cryptid experience that happened on December 29, 1953. The beast was said to be a cat-like vampiric creature with footprints the size of a silver dollar. As word of the sightings spread, residents reported that it killed two dogs and drained them entirely of their blood. Local citizens were so scared they wouldn’t go outside. That incident spurred on a mob of fraternity brothers from UNC Chapel Hill determined to kill the beast and mount the head as a trophy, but they left empty-handed. Unlike some of the other legendary cryptids, history attributed the existence to a bobcat, coyote, or a panther, in place of a blood-hungry creature.

  5. 5. Mothman

    Mothman is a winged humanoid creature first spotted in Point Pleasant, West Virginia in 1966. Stories include the ability to travel faster than 100 mph. Locals reported multiple sightings near a TNT storage area at an abandoned munitions company. The most credible sighting is that of Roger and Linda Scarberry, driving in a black ’57 Chevy Bel Air with Steve and Marry Mallette. The couples were near the power plant area around midnight when Linda noticed two large eyes glowing red in the darkness beside them. Another less credible report came from witnesses who claimed to have seen Mothman just before an encounter with the Men in Black! Currently, the area is a wildlife sanctuary, but there are still chemicals remaining that have seeped into a nearby pond.

  6. 6. Ahool

    The legend of a winged creature that eats fish and occasionally attacks humans is popular in Indonesia and New Guinea. The first reported sighting was in 1925, but people still testify to its existence. Enthusiasts say that the creature is incredibly territorial and warn tourists to beware. Not much else is known about the elusive creature, but the distinctive name makes it one of the most fun to say!

If you’re out late at night and see a scary creature in the dark, you’re not the only one! You might be a little tired, or you might have seen a cryptid! Although their existence isn’t supported by science, cryptids have a huge following around the globe, and many people are proud to call themselves believers.