Big Foot. Loch Ness. Yeti. chupacabra. Mokele-mbembe. There are legends about several elusive creatures whose existence has never been scientifically proven. These are called cryptids, and the study of these “hidden animals” is known as cryptozoology. For more on famous and less famous cryptids, check out these YouTube channels, blogs, and podcasts.
Cryptozoology is pseudoscience, however, and we’re not saying these creatures actually exist. Treat it as fiction or treat it as plausible reality is up to you. What you can’t deny is that it’s fascinating and interesting to learn more about the monsters that roam the very Earth than we do.
1. TREY The Explainer (YouTube): Best Intro Videos for Cryptids and Cryptozoology
Trey Swenton covers cryptozoology, paleontology, zoology, and biology on his excellent YouTube channel in a way that any average person can understand. Above all, Trey is not a myth follower and tries to assess every claim with a healthy skepticism that newcomers to cryptology will appreciate.
The best videos to start with come from the Cryptid Profile series, where Trey dives deep into one creature at a time. The information in the video comes from renowned researchers, books, online discussions, and declassified documents, and put together in a single, cohesive video. If you want a quick briefing on a cryptid, your first stop should be to check if it’s been featured in Trey’s Cryptid Profile series.
If you like the Cryptid Profile series and are also fascinated by dinosaurs, check out his Paleo Profile series. And the Speculative Evolution series is a fun look at the monsters of mythology and popular culture, like the science of dragons, Godzilla, and the anthropology of Game of Thrones. Besides cryptids and dinosaurs, Trey touches on popular conspiracy theory topics like aliens, evolution, mythology and more in other videos.
2. Monsters Among Us (Podcast): Stories of People Who Have Seen Cryptids
Myths and legends around cryptids come from humans. It all starts when someone sees or hears something they can’t explain and then talks about it with others. The story is what matters, and Monsters Among Us tries to collect it straight from the source.
Host Derek Hayes asks listeners to call out the show with their own paranormal encounters with monsters and cryptids. Each episode contains around three or four stories which include popular cryptids like Mothman and sasquatch as well as little known inexplicable creatures.
Monsters Among Us is now in its 13th season, with previous seasons having at least 20 episodes each. So there are tons of stories to listen to. But given the show’s longevity, it naturally expanded from simple cryptids to all sorts of paranormal encounters like ghosts, unexplainable phenomena, and more.
You can also email or call Monsters Among Us to tell your own story, via a five-minute voicemail or other types of submissions you’ll find on the official site. Hayes also provides links to topics covered in each episode on the show notes of his website.
Listen to Monsters Among Us on any podcast app
3. Malcolm’s Musings (Web): In-depth blog posts and translations on cryptozoology
Zoologist Malcolm Smith is the author of several books on cryptozoology, including the definitive paper on Australian cryptids. Through his blog, he turns his attention to other monsters around the world, such as BigFoot variants, sea serpents, and other strange creatures.
Smith is a polyglot and uses his skills to translate articles on cryptids from other languages. Through excerpts from local newspapers from different countries, dispatches and journals, and books in foreign languages, he has amassed an enviable section of eyewitness accounts and descriptions of cryptids that you won’t find anywhere else on the internet. Apart from translations, he also writes expert articles on known cryptids through meticulous research from different sources.
The best place to start reading is the site’s helpful index. Smith has divided his collection into translations, classic cases, alien big cats, sea serpents (as well as lake monsters), miscellaneous, and a special section on abominable snowmen or bigfoots. There’s also an excellent two-part article on the myth of the giant squid, which delves into a myriad of cases that make this monster more fascinating than imagined in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
4. Shuker Nature (Web): Insightful analysis by a leading crypto expert
British zoologist Dr. Karl Shuker is one of the world’s foremost experts on cryptids and other strange animals. He has written several books on these topics, is a consultant to Guinness World Records, and strives to bring a scientific temperament to the pursuit of cryptozoology.
On his blog, ShukerNature, Dr. Shuker reviews books on cryptids, examines and analyzes new and old claims, and also writes in-depth articles on possible cryptids through his research. Despite being an academic, the writing style on the blog is conversational and keeps things simple for the layman to understand.
Dr. Shuker’s extensive research also gives him access to a wide variety of images, which you won’t easily find on other parts of the web. In fact, if you scour the full blog index, look for posts titled “A ShukerNature Photo of the Day.” Many of the posts include interesting illustrations, which Dr. Shuker often analyzes and debunks by citing the lore and context around the image.
For an idea of what to expect on ShukerNature, check out their article on Chinese Phoenix Feng-Huang. This piece encapsulates Dr. Shuker’s detailed research, his ability to draw material from a variety of sources, and the use of images to deepen his narrative.
The Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology (EoC) is the closest thing you’ll get to a Wikipedia of all cryptids. Anyone can contribute and edit this directory of 444 unknown or mythical animals, which also contains 250 other articles of related material like cryptozoologists, hoaxes, cryptobotany, etc.
On each cryptid’s page, you’ll find a detailed account of everything you want to know about them. Usually the page lists the best descriptions through eyewitness accounts and paintings, a timeline of when and where she was sighted (often with large excerpts from autobiographies and diaries), leads to physical evidence (including including photographs, audio recordings and artifacts), and theories about its existence (including possible hoaxes).
You can browse the cryptid directory by country or by region or by type of animal. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try random items to descend down a rabbit hole of exotic creatures. The “Featured Articles” section also has some great reads. The EoC homepage also tracks cryptozoology news and blogs, making it a good place to find updates on anyone’s research.
Cryptozoology today, zoology tomorrow
Due to its very nature of being scientifically unproven, cryptozoology should be viewed with a skeptical eye. These stories are fascinating, the creatures intriguing, but as long as they are not proven, they must be taken with a grain of salt; but not with mockery or disrespect.
In the past, cryptids have proven true. Dr. Shucker makes an important point when he speaks of the inherent disadvantage of cryptozoology, saying, “Cryptozoology can never win, for as soon as one of its subjects is confirmed to be real, he is not more cryptozoological but zoological instead.”
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