Cryptozoology for Dummies


Art by Steven Rhodes

Reilly Bisoski, Writer

Cryptozoology- the study and search for entities whose existence is unsupported and disputed, the entities being referred to as “cryptids” or “urban legends.” 

The arrival of October means ghost stories and pumpkin spice lattes. Ghosts are cool and stuff, but the urban legends that are referred to as Cryptids don’t get nearly as much recognition. There are hundreds of them out there- everything from ginormous birds to sea monsters to aliens. Some of them even have museums dedicated to them.  

Here are the 10 most popular cryptids in alphabetical order.  

  1. Bigfoot 

First spotted in 1958, Bigfoot, one of the more famous urban legends, is described to be a 6

Patterson-Gimlin frame 362 film of Bigfoot

foot tall ape-like creature covered in brown or red hair, with long arms, muscular body, a visible face and no neck. It’s said that Bigfoot inhabits the forests of North America and Canada. 

2. Chupacabra 

Blamed for livestock killings since 1975, the Chupacabra has been spotted in Puerto Rico, America, Chile, Russia, and the Philippines. It’s described to be hairless and very dog/lizard/alien-like and is about the size of a small bear or a wild dog with spikes or quills running along the back. The Spanish translation literally means “goat sucker” since it kills by sucking the blood and organs out of livestock. 

Artists representation of the Chupacabra

3. Dogman 

The very first sightings beginning in 1887 in Wexford, Michigan, the Dogman is said to stand 7 feet tall on two legs, with a canine-like head with the body structure that of a man. The Dogman has mainly been spotted and documented in the Northwestern part of the lower peninsula. 

“The Indiginous Dogman” by Linda Godfrey

4. Dover Demon 

The three documented sightings of the Dover Demon happened in 1977 by four teenagers and were located on a 2-mile-long straight line in Dover, Massachusetts. It’s described as having “tendril like fingers” and large glowing eyes, stands about 4 feet tall with no eyes or mouth on a watermelon shaped head with a monkey like body. 

Sketch drawn by William Bartlet, one of the witnesses of the Dover Demon.

5. Flatwoods Monster 

The Flatwoods Monster was first sighted in 1952 in the town of Flatwoods in Braxton County, West Virginia after a bright unidentified object crossed the night sky. It’s described as a man-like figure with a round, red face surrounded by a spade shaped hood with eye-like shapes that emit a green/orange light. It has a dark green or black body with small arms and clawed hands and stands 10 feet tall. It’s reported that it glides and makes a hissing sound by witnesses, as well as makes them sick. 

Original sketch of the Flatwoods Monster by a New York artist.

6. Fresno Nightcrawlers 

Caught on security video footage in a homeowner’s backyard in Fresno County, California in 2007 and again in Yosemite National Park in 2011, these presumed aliens are described as being pale with two long legs, no arms, and two small eyes on a small, circular head. Often called a “walking pair of pants,” these cryptids have only been spotted in pairs and not doing anything to harm anyone. 

Screenshot of the security camera footage from 2007 of the Fresno Nightcrawlers

7. Jersey Devil 

Originated from the folktale “Mother Leeds 13th Child”, the Jersey Devil was first sighted in 1909 and is said to inhabit the pinelands of South Jersey. It’s described to walk on two legs similar to a kangaroo’s, with a horse/goat head. It has leathery bet wings and small, clawed hands with hooves for feet and a forked tail. Witnesses reported that it makes an inhuman screeching sound. 

Original drawing from 1909 of the Jersey Devil, published on the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin


8. Loch Ness Monster 

One of the most well-known cryptids, this creature originated in Scottish folklore and is said to inhabit the waters of Loch Ness, Scottish Highlands. First sighted in 1933, “Nessie” is described to have a long neck, with a very large body and humps on its back that show above the water. 

“Surgeons Photograph” taken of Nessie in 1934, and later revealed to be a fake

9. Loveland Frogman 

The Loveland Frogman is exactly what it sounds like: a humanoid frog that stands 4 feet tall. It was first sighted in 1955 in Loveland, Ohio and again in 1972, then in 2016. Imagine your state cryptid being a frog. Lol. 

Photo taken of the Frogman by Sam Jacobs while out playing Pokémon Go in 2016

10. Mothman 

Mothman seems to be a fan favorite. Spotted in Point Pleasant, West Virginia from November of 1966-December of 1967, Mothman is described to be a large black/grey creature with glowing red eyes with a 10 foot wingspan. It’s said to be linked to the TNT Area, the site of a former World War 2 munitions plant, and the collapse of the Silver Bridge. 

A drawing of Mothman featured in Buzzfeed Unsolved