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Cryptozoological Beasts of North America

by Alesia Brooks 2 years ago in monster
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5 Beasts to Look For

Cryptids of North America

Cryptozoology. What is it? Well it’s defined as “the search for and study of creatures whose existence or survival is disputed or unsubstantiated.” Think things like Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster or the Chupacabra. These creatures have cemented their places in local legend, but have yet to find a place in the scientific community. Cryptozoology is commonly thought of as pseudoscience, but the researchers and investigators who have made it their life mission to prove the existence of these creatures would likely beg to differ.

Most North American cryptids have their roots in Native American lore. Tribes have long told the stories of ancient beasts walking the earth, some harmless, but most, more terrifying than you can imagine. There are some you’ve heard of, some you may find yourself scared of, but the ones you haven’t are possibly the most horrifying of all.

Let’s get started.

Batsquatch - Mount St. Helens, Washington

The Batsquatch

I know, I know. How terrifying can it be? When you first hear the name, it may make you chuckle, take it as a joke. But if you ever came across one in real life, you’d wish it was just a joke. Batsquatch was reported for the first time near Mount St. Helens in Washington state. It was 1994 and a man claimed that on a drive, his truck suddenly died. As he pulled it to the shoulder, a creature jumped in front of his truck, shaking him to his very core. It was a creature about nine feet tall, covered in blue fur. And if that wasn’t bizarre enough, the creature had massive bat-like wings that spanned at least 20 feet. Another report on the creature wasn’t made until 2009 near Mount Shasta in California. Two men claimed to have seen a massive creature with a 50 ft. wingspan fly from a cave on the mountain. One report in 2014 from Akron, Ohio saw an entire second period Spanish class claim to have seen a flying creature that matched the Batsquatch description.

Batsquatch’s name was given by the area where it’s first sighting took place. The area was already known for the North American sasquatch, so when a large furry creature with wings appeared, it made sense to honor the naming tradition. Most people have dismissed Batsquatch as a hoax, claiming that it’s the product of people with limited imagination trying to get their 15 minutes of fame. Sightings of the beast have allegedly been happening since the 1980’s, and while some sightings have taken place in other areas, the most frequent place for it to be spotted is in the vicinity of Mount St. Helens in Washington. Some have claimed that the Batsquatch is just the pacific northwest rendering of the Mothman, which is commonly sighted in West Virginia.

Mothman - West Virginia

The Mothman

Speaking of the Mothman! This cryptid has been regularly sighted in West Virginia since the 1960’s. The Point Pleasant Register, of Point Pleasant West Virginia, reported a story about two couples encountering a beast they struggled to describe. The article, titled “Couples See Man-Sized Bird… Creature… Something.” The national news cycle soon picked up the story and it became sensationalized overnight. The story goes: two couples told police that they saw a creature. The creature was described as large and gray, with two glowing red eyes. They recalled that the beast was like a fly with 10 foot wings. It followed them as they drove their car in an area outside of town, at the time called “the TNT zone” as it was the former site of a World War II munitions plant. Several more sightings were reported in the following days, and many sightings are still reported to this day.

The Mothman is described exactly as its name would imply. The body is usually described as human-esque with moth-like wings that reach a span of 10 - 20 feet. The most defining characteristics that all sightings have in common is the eyes. They’re described as an eerie glowing red. Mothman can reach insane speeds of up to 100 mph, and is often seen in speedy passes. The town of Point Pleasant has embraced its infamy, adapting to create a Mothman museum, festival, and even a large statue in the town center. Whether or not the Mothman exists is open to debate. But the residents of Point Pleasant are convinced that there is something inhabiting their town - and it isn’t all human.

The Jersey Devil - New Jersey

The Jersey Devil

Sightings of the Jersey Devil have been happening since the founding of the United States in the 1700’s. Common sightings occurred in the English Quaker communities. The creature would attack and kill livestock, as well as harass residents with a certain consciousness, not common in animals. The rumored beginning of this cryptid is an interesting one, for sure. It’s said that the creature had a normal beginning, a pregnant mother, regretfully expecting her 13th child. In her frustration at being pregnant, she cursed the baby in her womb. As soon as the child was born, things went very wrong. The baby developed hooves, a goat’s head and a forked tail. The creature beat everyone with its tail before flying out of the house, never to be seen again by the family. It was later reported that the mother of the baby was a witch and the father was none other than the devil himself. Quite the origin story, if I do say so myself.

One of the most popularized stories of the Jersey Devil happened in 1820, when Joseph Bonaparte, the brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, claimed to see the creature while hunting. In 1840, livestock killings began, along with footprints and screams being reported by residents of a small farming town. There was even a time in 1909 where hundreds of residents in the state claimed to have encounters with the beast. Over the span of just four days, the creature was said to have attacked a trolley car, been fired at by police, and unidentified footprints in snow being found, even from further places like Delaware and Maryland. The reports prompted schools to close, citizens to stay home from work, and hunting vigilante groups to form. Protecting people and their livestock became the utmost priority. There are no reported deaths, aside from livestock, that are attributed to the Jersey Devil, but the true fear it instilled into these people makes you wonder.

Wendigo - Canada

The Wendigo

Is it weird to have a favorite cryptid? If it isn’t, and even if it is, I have to admit that the Wendigo is on the top of my list. The creature comes from the native tribes of the Nova Scotia region of Canada. The Wendigo, though described as a cryptid, is considered to be an evil spirit of sorts. It manipulates humans, enticing them to display terrible behaviors. Things such as cannibalism, murder and insatiable greed take people over as they succumb to the possession of the Wendigo. The name is lent to modern psychology, more specifically the term wendigo psychosis, which is described as the intense craving for human flesh and fear of becoming a cannibal. In some tribes, the creature can even manifest itself in environmental destruction.

Sightings of the Wendigo aren’t common, as they usually inhabit other beings. But the Ojibwe people of Ontario, Canada describe the physical manifestation of the character like this: “The Wendigo is gaunt to the point of emaciation. Skin pulled tightly over its bones. It's complexion is the ash gray of death with its eyes pushed deep back into the sockets. Unclean and suffering from the festering of flesh, gives off a strong odor of decay and decomposition. Of death and corruption.” (paraphrased from Ojibwe teacher and scholar Basil H. Johnston) The creature is terrifying and dangerous, the tribes treated it as such. The Wendigo has worked its way into pop culture, being referenced on several horror or supernatural fiction shows. As far as cryptids go, this one is one of the most terrifying, in my opinion, not because of what it looks like or how it could kill, but who it could turn someone into.

Oklahoma Octopus - Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Octopus

The Oklahoma Octopus. This one definitely tops some of the weirder cryptids in the region, but it’s a terrifying one, nonetheless. Found commonly in Lake Thunderbird, it attacks and kills unsuspecting victims. Despite a movie being made about lost tapes found, there is no known video footage of the creature. So what would convince people it’s real? Well, the astounding amount of deaths in Lake Thunderbird, and surrounding bodies of water, make a lot of people wonder about what could cause it.

It isn’t a monstrous cryptid by any means. It’s a cephalopod that is roughly the size of a horse. It has brownish-red leathery skin and long tentacles. The lakes it inhabits are mostly freshwater and also mostly man-made. This is probably the most controversial beast on this list, given the lack of concrete evidence. But I think it speaks to the fear and intrigue most people have for these types of creatures. An octopus in a freshwater lake, landlocked in by thousands of miles. It vaguely reminds me of a local legend in Washington with the Lake Chelan Monster, Tilly (check out my 4 Legends and Lores of Washington State article to learn more about it). Locals have created superstitions in response to a couple of mysterious events. Most will claim it's all a bogus story, but the ones who claim it's real usually have the fear to back it up.

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About the author

Alesia Brooks

Disney blogger with a dark side

23-year-old blogger and photographer

Follow along with my misadventures - IG: @livinglikealesia

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