Tag Archives: cryptozoology

‘The Beast of Bodmin–Is It Real?’ (2016)

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Somewhere out on lonely Bodmin Moor prowls the deadly Beast of Bodmin, seeking to prey on anyone foolhardy enough to roam the moor by night…

https://leeduigon.com/2016/05/29/the-beast-of-bodmin-is-it-real/

All right, let’s say the Beast of Bodmin isn’t really, there’s no such thing, all the stories are baloney. But does that mean there never was a Beast? If not, where did all those stories come from? Welsh tales written down a thousand years ago, after having been handed down from one generation to the next over several centuries–did they do that just to confuse us, ages later?

I wonder how many hikers would take a dare to walk the moor at night.


‘Are Unicorns Real?’ (2015)

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Before you instantaneously cry out “No!” or “Yes!”, let me add the qualifier, “sort of.” Are they sort of real? Were they ever sort of real, even if they aren’t anymore?

https://leeduigon.com/2015/01/04/are-unicorns-real/

God’s creation is too vast for any human mind to grasp. Every day we find something in it that we’d never seen before.

I mean, we can’t even be 100% sure of what’s in the New Jersey Pine Barrens–let alone the taiga forests and sprawling tundra of Siberia, thousands of times bigger.

Save some room in your mind for wonder.

 


Has Anybody Seen the Nandi Bear?

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It’s hard to write this up as Mr. Nature, because the Nandi Bear might not exist. But it’s been a staple of East African folklore for a very long time, and I am told there are people in Kenya who are absolutely sure the beast is real–and very much to be avoided.

It is described as something between an oversized hyena and an undersized bear. As far as scientists can tell, bears have never lived in Africa south of the Sahara. Ice Age hyenas were much bigger and stronger than today’s hyenas, and they ate mammoths and rhinos. Eating a human wouldn’t pose much of a challenge.

Is it possible that an incredibly rare, powerful, nasty relative of the hyena prowls the forests of Kenya? People do sometimes attribute unidentified, fatal animal attacks on humans to the Nandi Bear. Hard to study an animal when no one who ever sees it lives to tell the tale.

And then there’s the basic problem of cryptozoology: no specimens. Because if you do come up with a specimen–like when fishermen first caught a coelacanth–it immediately ceases to be cryptozoological and becomes just plain zoological! What’s a poor cryptozoologist to do? His situation is impossible.


Seein’ Things

Image result for images of jersey devil by miller and mccloy

Some of you seem to think that anyone who says he’s seen the New Jersey “Mantis Man,” let alone the Jersey Devil, must be a kook. But I’m not so sure.

My late brother-in-law, Ray, co-authored two books on the Jersey Devil, for which he conducted many face-to-face interviews and spent a lot of time getting nibbled by strawberry flies all around the Pine Barrens. At the end of it all, he used to say he was halfway convinced there was something there; but he didn’t know what.

Seeing weird stuff in places like the Pine Barrens is nowhere near as badly tainted as the whole UFO scene. There are no alleged hypnotists running around finding repressed Mantis Man encounters in everyone they put under–even if that is a good way to find “Brett Kavanagh tried to rape me!” stories. I dare say the Mantis Man stories are less incredible than those. And as for the Jersey Devil, they’ve been telling stories about him since early in the 1700s.

In evaluating stories told, currently, by persons who swear they’ve seen either of these famous cryptids, I look for several things to help me decide whether the witness is telling the truth.

*The story has to be pried out of him, and he’s clearly uncomfortable, telling it. He may even break down into tears. B.S. artists, unless they are especially gifted and happen to be named “Bill Clinton,” don’t behave like that.

*The witness is not cashing in on the story–no monetized Youtube channel, no guest spots on Lifetime TV, no Go Fund Me account, etc.

*Other than the “monster” itself, the details of the story contain nothing improbable. Like, “I was driving down this country lane at night when my car conked out” is really a lot better than “The KGB chased me into the Pine Barrens when they discovered I was a plant for the CIA.”

Some of these witnesses do seem credible to me. At least, I can’t see any reason why they would make up such a story.

Maybe they’re mistaken in what they thought they saw, although at least in some cases, you have to say nobody could be that badly mistaken. The fine details of the story may be helpful here, especially if you can get a clear description of the monster–which hardly ever is forthcoming. A lot of these encounters badly startle the witness and last for only a matter of seconds.

Is it possible that there are things out there, living things, no farther away than the Jersey Pine Barrens, that no one has ever captured, classified, or understood? Creatures that haven’t even been photographed successfully, but nevertheless exist?

I don’t know.

 


Sanity Break: Baby Okapi

Before the news inundates us, a glimpse of some of God’s stuff…

This baby okapi was born at the Brookfield Zoo, Chicago, in 2011. Isn’t she beautiful? And remember, we’re looking at an animal that Western scientists didn’t know existed at the start of the 20th century. In 1899, the okapi would have been a subject for cryptozoology. In 1901, it became part of just plain zoology.

I have a lot of sympathy for cryptozoologists. As soon as they discover something, it isn’t crypto anymore.


Mr. Nature: The Okapi

When the 20th century started, this animal didn’t exist, scientifically. There were rumors of it, coming out of central Africa, but nothing official. Not until 1901.

Hi, Mr. Nature here, with the only animal in the giraffe family that’s not a giraffe–the okapi. This one’s in a zoo. The wild ones live in the Congo rain forest.

This gorgeous animal illustrates an unsolvable problem in cryptozoology: once a cryptic creature actually turns up, it immediately ceases to be crytozoology and becomes just plain zoology. The poor cryptozoologists, by definition, can’t have any specimens!

One of my aunts gave me a wonderful toy okapi when I was about five years old: wish I still had it. It may be in my brother’s toy box.

We pray God defends and preserves these beautiful animals that He’s created.


What in the World is This?

https://clareflourish.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/narmer_palette.jpg?w=407&h=610

This is the Narmer Palette from ancient Egypt, dated to about 3150 B.C.–insofar as anything that old can be dated with any degree of certainty. The scholarly consensus is 3150 B.C., but consensus is not quite the same thing as solid fact.

Narmer–we think!–was the first king of a unified Egypt, and this siltstone palette, about two feet high, memorializes him and his achievement. Both sides are illustrated, but only the side shown above is our subject for today. We’re talking around 3150 B.C., and already the Egyptian hieroglyphics are in use and can be read, and certain artistic conventions, which would persist for three millenia, are already in place. There must have been a long period of learning and development in Egypt before this artifact was created. Going how far back, we do not know.

But getting down to business, check out the middle section of the palette–the two strange beasts with long necks intertwined, and wranglers controlling them with halters. Look at them closely. What are they?

The consensus (here we go again!) is that these are imaginary animals that probably meant something, once upon a time, in ancient Egyptian iconography, but whose meaning has been lost over time.

But when you took a good look at those creatures, did the word “dinosaur” pop into your head?

Oh, but that’s absurd! Those animals have external ears, and dinosaurs didn’t!

Didn’t they? Ears are soft tissue. The chances of external ears surviving as fossils are so small as to be virtually zero. If some dinosaurs had external ears, we wouldn’t know it.

Yeah, but the faces! They look much more like lion or leopard faces–not dinosaurs.

Oh? Suddenly we know what all dino faces looked like?

It occurs to me that there was a sauropod dinosaur in Africa called Vulcanodon, which was just about the same size, relative to the human wranglers, as the creatures on the palette. No skull of Vulcanodon has ever been found, so we can have no idea what its face looked like.

Consider: If elephants did not exist today, and no one had ever seen one, or even a picture of one, what would any scientist think, who found a fossilized elephant skull? Would he ever deduce the elephant’s trunk? They like to say they would, but we are at liberty not to believe them.

Ancient Egyptians routinely and realistically portrayed many animals in their art, and even in Narmer’s time, had zoos. So there are really only two choices, in regard to the long-necked beasts on the Narmer Palette.

Either they are imaginary, or they’re not.

And if they’re not… what are they?


Did We See a Pterodactyl?

I want to tell you about an odd experience we had, some years ago. I’ve used this video of a pterodactyl model in flight because it was the closest thing I could find to what we saw.

Ten or fifteen years ago, Patty and I celebrated our anniversary with a day on the Seaside Boardwalk. It was August 8.

Coming home with plenty of daylight left, we found ourselves driving all alone on Route 34 in Holmdel Township. That in itself was quite unusual. But then we looked up at the sky.

At first we thought it was a hang-glider, because it sort of looked like one. But there’s nowhere for many miles around suitable for hang-gliding. No cliffs, no mountains, no skyscrapers. So how could he have gotten up there in the first place?

We watched it for long enough to be sure it wasn’t a hang-glider, or any kind of aircraft that we’ve ever seen, or any kind of bird. What it looked like was a pterodactyl. Unlike the model in the video, it never flapped its wings. We also had a strong impression that it was much, much bigger than any model–although with nothing to use for scale, we couldn’t be sure about its size.

It glided all the way across our field of vision, and as the car kept moving, eventually we could see no more of whatever strange thing this was. All we both can say for sure is that it sure as heck looked like a pterodactyl. As a lifelong dinosaur buff, I ought to know a pterodactyl when I see one.

Very, very strange: and we never heard that anyone else saw it.


The Killer Cats of Britain

Image result for images of monster cat

Well, scarier than that!

In the early Middle Ages it was “Palug’s Cat,” a giant cat that lived on the island of Angelsey and knocked off some 180 warriors before Sir Gawain finally killed it: so says Welsh and French lore of the 12th century.

You’d think that would’ve been the end of it–but no! There are still stories today. The Beast of Buchan haunts Scotland, and has been reported there since the 1930s. The Beast of Bodmin has haunted Cornwall since 1983, scaring hikers and mauling livestock, despite a British newspaper’s “investigation” that supposedly revealed it to be an ordinary cat (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/beast-bodmin-moor-mystery-solved-4812877).

Over here we’ve got Bigfoot, the Jersey Devil, and Chupacapra. Over there they’ve got giant wild cats–and there are no zoo or circus cats missing. Indeed, there are similar “big cat” stories from Australia–lots and lots of them. Australia has no native cats at all, and only small wildcats are native to Britain.

Why do people keep on saying they’ve seen big cats in places where there are no big cats? Who thought up the old, old story of Palug’s Cat, and what inspired it?

God made the world a bit more complicated than we like to think sometimes.


Mr. Nature: Behold the Mighty Stegosaur

Image result for images of miller toy stegosaurus

Of all the Miller Co. wax dinosaurs I had in my childhood, only a couple of these Stegosaurs survive, a big one and a little one. For some reason, these were much less apt to be broken than the others.

And speaking of Stegosaur survival, there are persistent rumors that in the largely unexplored Likouala Swamps of the Republic of the Congo, a creature very like a Stegosaur still lives. The few people who live there call it mbielu-mbielu-mbielu, which means, I think, “What the hell was that?”

In western North America are found the best and biggest fossil Stegosaurs, Stegosaurus ungulatus and S. Stenops. Other species have been discovered in Europe, Tanzania, China, India, and, most recently, Australia (just footprints there, so far). So they must have been quite a successful group of animals.

There’s only so much we can learn from bones, though. Still puzzling are the exact arrangement of the armored plates along the Stegosaurus’ back and the seemingly inadequate size of its brain, indicative of a belief in socialism.

But we will learn much more when somebody finally captures a live mbielu-mbielu-mbielu.

And no, it’s not a fake fact I made up on the spot!

P.S.: Edgar Rice Burroughs, in his “Pellucidar” (prehistoric world inside the hollow earth) novels presented the Stegosaur as being able to glide through the air by lowering its back-plates, but he never found many takers for that theory.


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