Cryptozoology is a pseudoscience with the objective of proving the existence of extinct animals, or animals from folklore and mythology. These creatures are referred to as cryptids. The most famous cryptids are Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. However, there are more out there, waiting to be found. Here is a brief list of some of the better known cryptids, all of which have found their way into movies and television.
The wendigo is a creature or spirit from Algonquian folklore. It is said to inhabit the northern forests of the Atlantic Coast and the Great Lakes area of both the United States of America and Canada. The wendigo is associated with cannibalism, greed, and other human taboos.
The culture bound syndrome known as Wendigo psychosis gets its name from this creature. The symptoms include the craving of human flesh and a fear of becoming a cannibal.
|The wendigo has appeared in several movies and television shows. Director and writer Larry Fessenden has especially included the beast in several of his works, starting with the aptly titled Wendigo (pictured to the left). The sister witches in Charmed battled a wendigo, which was depicted as more werewolf-like, and it could turn some humans into wendigos by scratching them. The wendigo seen in Supernatural was more human-looking.|
The chupacabra, whose name translates to "goat sucker," is a legendary creature known throughout the Americas. Visual descriptions vary. Some say it looks reptilian, is the size of a small bear, and it has spines running down its back and tail. Another common description says it resembles a mutant dog.
While witnesses' accounts are not consistent, the chupacabra is always reported to feed on livestock's blood or organs.
|The chupacabra has appeared in several low-budget horror B-movies including Chubacabra – Dark Seas and Mexican Werewolf in Texas. A group of people are attacked by a pack of humanoid chupacabras in the recent movie Indigenous (pictured to the left) . The X-Files episode "El Mundo Gira" had its own spin on the chupacabra legend.|
The mothman is a well-known legendary entity from West Virginian folklore. Sightings of the black and winged, red-eyed humanoid go back as far as 1966 in the region.
Many connect the mothman to the 1967 collapse of the Silver Bridge in Point Pleasant. Some say the mothman is even an omen.
|Richard Gere and Laura Linney starred in 2002's The Mothman Prophecies, which was loosely based on the paranormal book of the same name. In 2010, Syfy aired a creature feature, Mothman (pictured to the left), that had the titular monster killing a group of young people sharing a dark secret from the past.|
Alligators obviously exist, but there is a special breed of the American alligator that supposedly lives beneath New York City. An old urban legend consists of families flushing pet gators down the toilet, and these critters grow into full-sized, albino adults that lurk in the sewers.
There have been actual accounts of alligators being misplaced and ending up in the sewers, but they did not appear to be albino. Scientists rule out sewers as a hospitable habitat for alligators as the reptiles are cold-blooded and regular s of food are scarce.
|Lewis Teague's 1980 creature feature Alligator (pictured to the left) plays on the urban myth by having a city's residents being munched on by a giant alligator rising from the sewers. It grew to mammoth proportions by eating discarded pets injected with growth hormones.|
This legendary beast is from New Jersey folklore, and it is said to haunt the Pine Barrens in the southern part of the state. According to legend, the Jersery Devil is the thirteenth child of Deborah "Mother" Leeds. The frustrated mother cursed her child in 1735, causing the newborn to eventually change into the Jersey Devil.
The Jersey Devil is described to be bipedal, and it has hooved feet and clawed hands. The monster has a goat head and bat wings as well as a serpent's tail.
|In The X-Files, the protagonists encounter the elusive creature in the episode "The Jersey Devil." Stephen Moyer starred in The Barrens, a supernatural horror movie where a family spending time in the famous wooded area is suffering from the delusions of their father. The ice hockey team, the New Jersey Devils, are named after the creature.|
The megaconda is a much larger, rumored variant of the anaconda, a real species of snake that lives in South America. Actual anacondas can reach up to 17 feet in length, but megacondas are said to be well over 30, almost 40 feet. Some sightings have been bold enough to say a megaconda was nearly 60 feet long.
|In the 1997 box ofice hit Anaconda (pictured to the left), Jon Voight and Jennifer Lopez combat a giant anaconda that defies both logic and realism. More of these fictional serpents appear in the three sequels to the movie.|
The Mokèlé-mbèmbé is a creature from Congo River basin folklore. Its name in the Lingala language translates to the "one who stops the flow of rivers."
Based on witness accounts, the beast resembles a sauropod.
|Among the many other expeditions on and off screen, Josh Gates and his team investigated the Mokèlé-mbèmbé in an episode of Destination Truth. The 1985 movie Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend (pictured to the left) features a family of sauropods being captured and hunted by humans. A 2012 found footage movie, The Dinosaur Project, starts off with the characters searching for the Mokèlé-mbèmbé, but end up in a world where dinosaurs and other prehistoric monsters still exist.|
The hellhound or black dog is a supernatural canine that has been part of various folklores for hundreds of years. Some associate them with hellfire, and others say the beasts will kill anyone who stares into their eyes for three times or more.
The Black Dog of Bouley is a black dog that lives in the Channel Islands.
|Assassin-like demonic dogs called hellhounds are "seen" in the long-running CW horror drama Supernatural (pictured to the left). Up until a point in the series, the beasts were invisible to the naked eye. Their true forms are finally shown to audiences in the eighth season.|
The owlman is a flying creature that has been sighted in Mawnan, Cornwall, England. It is similar in appearance to the mothman from the U.S.A.
The first sighting was in 1976 when a family spotted the owlman on top of a church. Many people think this is a case of mistaken identity, and the owlman is just an eagle owl.
|The Scottish micro-budget horror movie Lord of Tears (pictured to the left) depicts a man being haunted by the owlman. The owlman is one of the many cryptids showcased in the short-lived animated series The Secret Saturdays.|
|Beast of Exmoor
The Beast of Exmoor is a supposed phantom cat (or cats) that resides in the fields of Exmoor in Devon and Somerset. These ABCs (alien big cats) are believed to be large, exotic felines that have either escaped from zoos or personal collections, or dogs misidentified as felids.
The first Exmoore sightings date back to the 1970s. Some describe them to be a hybrid species with characteristics of a puma and a leopard.
|A couple looking to make some money look for the ABC in the British horror movie X-Moor (pictured to the left).|
The thunderbird appears in the cultures of the Algonquian, the Menominee, the Ojibwe, and the Winnebago. Some say it is a deity that lives in the sky, creating thunder with its wings. Other s believe that the thunderbirds were shapeshifting humans.
|In the FOX series Freakylinks (pictured to the left; click here for a photo of the one used in the show), a group of paranormal investigators finds itself in a small town where a mysterious monster kills and eats people every thirty years between periods of hibernation. They conclude that it is the thunderbird of Native American myth, which was actually a surviving pteranodon. The episode based its story on an unconfirmed photo depicting Civil War soldiers standing over a dead pterodactyl.|
The aswang (or asuwang) is a mythological, vampiric creature from native Filipino culture. It is said that it shapeshifts and consumes human flesh and or blood.
Anthropologists have a theory that Spaniards concocted the aswang myth to instill fear in the Filipinos.
|In the 2009 movie Surviving Evil (pictured to the left) starring Billy Zane, a documentary crew is attacked by the flying, bloodthirsty aswangs while filming in the Philippines.|
The bunyip is a semi-aquatic creature in Native Australian mythology. Natives today translate the name to mean "evil spirit" or "devil."
Physical descriptions of the bunyip vary from region to region, and person to person. Some describe it as a chimera of sorts, with features from crocodiles, walruses, horses, ducks, and dogs.
|The titular character in the Canadian animated series Mona the Vampire (pictured to the left) meets a friendly bunyip in one episode. In the video game Final Fantasy X, one of the enemies is a bunyip.|
The ogopogo is a Canadian water creature rooted in First Nation lore. It is believed to dwell in the Okanagan Lake in British Columbia. The ogopogo is described to look like either a Basilosaurus or a Mosasaur. The name comes from an old English song, "The Ogo-pogo: The Funny Fox Trot."
|Ogopogo served as the inspiration for the 2005 Jim Henson movie Mee-Shee: The Water Giant (pictured to the left). The name of the film's water creature was changed from "Ogopogo" to "Mee-Shee" due to claims of cultural appropriation.|
A kappa ("river child") is a water-dwelling yōkai or imp from Japanese folklore. They are recognized for having a pool of water suspended above their heads, which signifies their life force and is also possibly a of their power.
People generally describe kappa to resemble a child-sized humanoid with turtle features including a shell and a beak. Warnings of kappa are sometimes used as a way to keep children from playing near rivers and other bodies of water.
|In the Lost Girl episode "Oh Kappa, My Kappa" (pictured to the left) sorority girls are sacrificed to an imprisoned kappa. The character Dendy in Ian Jones-Quartey's online series OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes is a kappa.|
The qilin is a mythological beast throughout East Asian culture, but it first originated in Chinese folklore. It is said to appear at the birth or death of a sage or a respected ruler.
The qilin is supposedly a stylized, ancient representation of a giraffe. In Japanese, a giraffe is called a "kirin." Many depictions of the qilin has it resembling a scaly unicorn-like beast covered in flames. The qilin is considered a good omen that is connected to prosperity and serenity.
|In Five Star Squadron Dairanger (pictured to the left), a series in the long-running Japanese franchise Super Sentai, the blue member's totem animal is the Qilin (or Kirin). Power Rangers' adaptation of the series' footage called the creature a unicorn, though.|
|Mongolian death worm
This creature, whose name translates to "large intestine worm," from Mongolian folklore inhabits the Gobi Desert. The worm is said to be able to generate electricity, which it uses along with venom for hunting prey.
The Mongolian death worm is described as being about five feet long and shaped like a sausage.
|Sean Patrick Flannery starred in a Syfy movie, Mongolian Death Worm (pictured to the left), that featured many of these creatures. The Graboids in the Tremors franchise could be inspired by the Mongolian death worm.|
|Loch Ness Monster
One of the most famous cryptids to "exist" is Nessie, the aquatic monster that supposedly lives in the Loch Ness. Nessie is almost always described to look like a plesiosaur.
Over the years, researchers still have yet to find conclusive evidence of Nessie's existence. There have been many hoaxes, too.
|Nessie has been the inspiration for many contemporary sea/lake monsters in both real life and fiction. Vintage movies such as The Crater Lake Monster (pictured to the left) and The Loch Ness Horror both tried to capitalize on Nessie's reputation. Ted Danson starred in a 1996 movie, Loch Ness, and a children's movie by the name of The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep was released in 2007.|
|Beast of Gévaudan
The real-life Beast of Gévaudan was thought to be a dog, wolf, or wolfdog that terrorized southern France between 1764 and 1767. Depending on the , there is said to be between 60-200 victims. The Kingdom of France devoted much time and money to stopping the Beast of Gévaudan.
Modern theories about what the Beast of Gévaudan really was include it being an armored mastiff, owned by Jean Chastel, or an escaped lion.
|The 2001 movie Brotherhood of the Wolf (pictured to the left) showed the Beast of Gévaudan to be a crossbred lion covered in protective armor and spikes. In the Teen Wolf TV series, the beast was a werewolf.|
Bigfoot, or Sasquatch, is a bipedal, ape-like animal that is believed to live in the Pacific Northwest. The name "Sasquatch" is from the Halkomelem word "sásq'ets."
Bigfoot is often described as tall, reaching up to nine feet in height. Many claim it is nocturnal and omnivorous.
There are other Bigfoot-like hominids across the globe. This includes the Yeti of the Himalayas, the Menk of Russia, and the Yowie of Australia.
|Bigfoot is the most commonly depicted cryptid in the media, including books, commercials, movies, and television. The creature is usually cast as the antagonist of sorts in many horror movies, including the 2014 found footage flick Exists (pictured to the left).|
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