Apr 1, 2013

10 of the Most Legendary and Mysterious Creatures of Modern Times

There are creatures that lurk out there in the dark, that haunt the isolated forests of the world, that hide in the icy depths of the deepest lakes. They appear unexpectedly and inexplicably, then vanish just as mysteriously, usually leaving witnesses dumbfounded, frightened and, unfortunately in most cases, without a shred of evidence. But, do these creatures really exist? Did they ever exist? Or are these merely hoaxes, or the result of over-active imaginations? Even though many people claim to have seen these creatures, for most of them they are just some legends of the ancestors, passed from a generation to another, and suffering modifications at each repetition.

Here are ten of the most legendary and mysterious creatures of modern times.

 

Bigfoot (Sasquatch)

Bigfoot, also known as sasquatch, is the name given to an ape-like creature that some people believe inhabits forests, mainly in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. Bigfoot is usually described as a large, hairy, bipedal humanoid. The term sasquatch is an anglicized derivative of the Halkomelem word sásq’ets.

bigfoot-illustrationBigfoot - illustration [image source]

Most scientists discount the existence of Bigfoot and consider it to be a combination of folklore, misidentification, and hoax, rather than a living animal, because of the lack of physical evidence and the large numbers of creatures that would be necessary to maintain a breeding population. A few scientists, such as Jane Goodall, Grover Krantz, and Jeffrey Meldrum, have expressed interest and some measure of belief in the creature.

bigfoot-02Frame 352 from the Patterson-Gimlin film, alleged by Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin to show a Bigfoot, and by some others to show a man in an ape suit. [image source]

Bigfoot is described in reports as a large hairy ape-like creature, in a range of 6–10 feet (2–3 m) tall, weighing in excess of 500 pounds (230 kg), and covered in dark brown or dark reddish hair. Purported witnesses have described large eyes, a pronounced brow ridge, and a large, low-set forehead; the top of the head has been described as rounded and crested, similar to the sagittal crest of the male gorilla. Bigfoot is commonly reported to have a strong, unpleasant smell by those who claim to have encountered it. The enormous footprints for which it is named have been as large as 24 inches (60 cm) long and 8 inches (20 cm) wide. While most casts have five toes — like all known apes — some casts of alleged Bigfoot tracks have had numbers ranging from two to six. Some have also contained claw marks, making it likely that a portion came from known animals such as bears, which have five toes and claws. Proponents claim that Bigfoot is omnivorous and mainly nocturnal. [link]

Video: Bigfoot Documentary

 

Loch Ness Monster (Nessie)

The Loch Ness Monster is a cryptid that is reputed to inhabit Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. It is similar to other supposed lake monsters in Scotland and elsewhere, though its description varies from one account to the next. Popular interest and belief in the animal has varied since it was brought to the world's attention in 1933. Evidence of its existence is anecdotal, with minimal and much-disputed photographic material and sonar readings.

loch-ness-1934The first purported photo of Nessie was published in The Daily Mail on April 21, 1934. [image source / credit: The Daily Mail]

The most common speculation among believers is that the creature represents a line of long-surviving plesiosaurs. The scientific community regards the Loch Ness Monster as a modern-day myth, and explains sightings as a mix of hoaxes and wishful thinking. Despite this, it remains one of the most famous examples of cryptozoology. The legendary monster has been affectionately referred to by the nickname Nessie (Scottish Gaelic: Niseag) since the 1950s. [link]

loch-ness-illustrationNessie – illustration [image source]

 

Chupacabra

The Chupacabra (from Spanish chupar "to suck" and cabra "goat", literally "goat sucker") is a legendary cryptid rumored to inhabit parts of the Americas. It is associated more recently with sightings of an allegedly unknown animal in Puerto Rico (where these sightings were first reported), Mexico, and the United States, especially in the latter's Latin American communities. The name comes from the animal's reported habit of attacking and drinking the blood of livestock, especially goats.

Chupacabra-01image source

Physical descriptions of the creature vary. Eyewitness sightings have been claimed as early as 1995 in Puerto Rico, and have since been reported as far north as Maine, and as far south as Chile, and even being spotted outside the Americas in countries like Russia and The Philippines. It is supposedly a heavy creature, the size of a small bear, with a row of spines reaching from the neck to the base of the tail.

chupacabraimage source

Sighting reports of the Chupacabra have been disregarded as uncorroborated or lacking evidence, while most reports in northern Mexico and the southern United States have been verified as canids afflicted by mange. Biologists and wildlife management officials view the chupacabra as a contemporary legend. [link]

Video:

 

Yeti

The Yeti or Abominable Snowman is said to be an ape-like cryptid taller than an average human, similar to Bigfoot, that inhabits the Himalayan region of Nepal, and Tibet. The names Yeti and Meh-Teh are commonly used by the people indigenous to the region, and are part of their history and mythology. Stories of the Yeti first emerged as a facet of Western popular culture in the 19th century.

yetiimage source

The scientific community generally regards the Yeti as a legend, given the lack of conclusive evidence, but it remains one of the most famous creatures of cryptozoology. The Yeti may be considered a sort of parallel myth to the Bigfoot of North America. [link]

yeti-02image source

 

Jersey Devil

The Jersey Devil is a legendary creature or cryptid said to inhabit the Pine Barrens of Southern New Jersey, United States. The creature is often described as a flying biped with hooves, but there are many different variations. The most common description is that of a kangaroo-like creature with the head of a goat, leathery bat-like wings, horns, small arms with clawed hands, cloven hooves and a forked tail. It has been reported to move quickly and often is described as emitting a "blood-curdling scream."

Jersey_Devil_Philadelphia_Post_1909The Jersey Devil, Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, January 1909. [image source]

The Jersey Devil has worked its way into the pop culture of the area, even lending its name to New Jersey's team in the National Hockey League, and appeared on an early episode of The X-Files. [link]

Jersey_Devilimage source

Video:

 

Dover Demon

The Dover Demon is an alleged cryptozoological creature sighted on three separate occasions during a 25-hour period in the town of Dover, Massachusetts on April 21 and April 22, 1977. It has remained a subject of interest for cryptozoologists ever since then.

Dover_demonThe drawing was used in newspapers in 1977 and since then used in numerous books, shows, and websites. [image source]

Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman was the initial investigator and the individual who named the creature the Dover Demon; it was disseminated by the press, and the name stuck. Coleman quickly assembled and brought into the inquiry three other investigators: Joseph Nyman, Ed Fogg, and Walter Webb. All were well-known ufological researchers in eastern Massachusetts, with Webb being the assistant director of the Hayden Planetarium at Boston's Science Museum. Coleman did not feel he was necessarily dealing with a ufological phenomenon, but he wanted to have seasoned investigators with good interviewing skills to do a comprehensive examination of the eyewitnesses and their families, as well as law enforcement, educational, and community members. [link]

Dover-Demon1image source

dover_demon-02image source

 

Mothman

Mothman is a legendary creature first reportedly seen in the Point Pleasant area of West Virginia from 15 November 1966 to 15 December 1967. The first newspaper report was published in the Point Pleasant Register dated 16 November 1966, entitled "Couples See Man-Sized Bird...Creature...Something".

mothmanimage source

Mothman was introduced to a wider audience by Gray Barker in 1970, later popularized by John Keel in his 1975 book The Mothman Prophecies, claiming that Mothman was related to a wide array of supernatural events in the area and the collapse of the Silver Bridge. The 2002 film The Mothman Prophecies, starring Richard Gere, was based on Keel's book. [link]

Mothman_statue_2005Mothman statue in Point Pleasant [image source]

 

Mongolian Death Worm

The Mongolian death worm is a creature reported to exist in the Gobi Desert. It is described as a bright red worm with a wide body that is 2 to 5 feet (0.6 to 1.5 m) long.

mongolian-death-wormimage source

The worm is the subject of a number of claims by Mongolian locals - such as the ability of the worm to spew forth acid that, on contact, will turn anything it touches yellow and corroded (and which would kill a human), as well as its reported ability to kill at a distance by means of electric discharge.

mongolian-death-worm-2image source

Though natives of the Gobi have long told tales of the olgoi-khorkhoi, the creature first came to Western attention as a result of Professor Roy Chapman Andrews's 1926 book On the Trail of Ancient Man. The US paleontologist was not convinced by the tales of the monster that he heard at a gathering of Mongolian officials: "None of those present ever had seen the creature, but they all firmly believed in its existence and described it minutely." [link]

mongolian-death-worm-3An interpretation of the Mongolian Death Worm by Belgian painter Pieter Dirkx.

 

Orang Pendek

Orang Pendek (Indonesian for "short person") is the most common name given to a cryptid, or cryptozoological animal, that reportedly inhabits remote, mountainous forests on the island of Sumatra.

orang-pendek-illustrationIllustration: Ant Wallis/Centre for Fortean Zoology [image source]

The animal has allegedly been seen and documented for at least one hundred years by forest tribes, local villagers, Dutch colonists and Western scientists and travellers. Consensus among witnesses is that the animal is a ground-dwelling, bipedal primate that is covered in short fur and stands between 80 and 150 cm (30 and 60 in) tall. [link]

 

Spring-heeled Jack

Spring-heeled Jack is a character in English folklore of the Victorian era who was known for his startling hops. The first claimed sighting of Spring-heeled Jack was in 1837. Later sightings were reported all over Great Britain and were especially prevalent in suburban London, the Midlands and Scotland.

Spring-Heeled-Jackimage source

There are many theories about the nature and identity of Spring-heeled Jack. This urban legend was very popular in its time, due to the tales of his bizarre appearance and ability to make extraordinary leaps, to the point that he became the topic of several works of fiction. [link]

Spring-heeled Jackimage source

Spring-heeled Jack was described by people who claimed to have seen him as having a terrifying and frightful appearance, with diabolical physiognomy, clawed hands, and eyes that "resembled red balls of fire". One report claimed that, beneath a black cloak, he wore a helmet and a tight-fitting white garment like an oilskin. Many stories also mention a "Devil-like" aspect. Others said he was tall and thin, with the appearance of a gentleman. Several reports mention that he could breathe out blue and white flames and that he wore sharp metallic claws at his fingertips. At least two people claimed that he was able to speak comprehensible English.


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4 comments:

There's also possibly the "Tokoloshe" of South Africa, believed to be the sinister creation of witch doctors... although I suppose that would make it an unnatural creature. (most who believe in it say its a dwarf-like gremlin/zombie with gouged out eyes)
Interesting reading
Regards
Steven

In Balkans there is thing called Drekavac, its similar to chupakabra...

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The title for this article should have been "10 of the Most Legendary and Mysterious Creatures of Modern Times Totally Discounted by Science No Matter How Many Witnesses or Physical Evidence You Have".

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